Best 10 Circular Saws
As Of January 2022
We did the
Best Circular Saws For Accurate Woodworking Cuts
Woodcraft requires various tools, but a circular saw is your best friend for those straight and precise cuts. You don’t have to go any further for the best guide that ensures you get the best tool that meets your needs. Whether you are just an upcoming handyman or you are finally getting pretty serious with your woodcraft skills and projects.
Here, you get it all: from the budget-friendly options to higher-quality models that cost you some extra pounds. We are talking about cutting wood and other materials like metal and plastic from circular saws that offer you more versatility. Not forgetting the different types of circular saws to keep in mind, so you don’t get overwhelmed by the choices. Or how to care for your precious investment so you can get the most out of it. Need we go on?
Here’s our well-detailed guide for all this and so much more. Keep reading and you’ll be a pro by the end of it, if you are not just yet.
What is a Circular Saw
A circular saw is a one with cord or cordless power-saw that uses an abrasive or toothed blade or disc, like the table saws or plunge saws, to cut through materials. It uses a rotary motion that whirls around an arbour.
You can use a circular saw for your professional or do-it-yourself projects for making straight-line cuts, especially on heavy or thick materials. Depending on the blade's type, a circular saw can cut through various woods, plastic, masonry, or metal. But, some circular saws are made for cutting specific materials, like just wood, which means you cannot use such on a metallic surface.
A circular saw can also be handheld or affixed to machines, relieving your hands off the weight of handling the saw. They also come in different sizes, so it is best to understand the working mechanism of circular saws and your particular needs to ensure you invest in the right tool.
Types of circular saws
Choosing the perfect circular saw for your projects might not be an easy job, especially since there are many types to choose from. Each of the available circular saws has its pros and cons and is best for particular applications. Here are the most common types that professionals and DIYers use.
Sidewinder Circular Saws
This in-line saw, is one of the most common types of circular saws.
It is a pretty compact circular saw, thanks to the motor mounted on the side. It allows the motor to stay on the solid workpiece rather than on the cutoff portion. Because the motor is closely placed by the blade, a sidewinder will whirl at a faster speed.
They are also lightweight compared to other types, making them ideal for overhead cutting of materials. Most of these tools are cordless, so you can move around the jobsite freely.
If you are looking for a lightweight tool that you can take with you anytime and has high speed and low maintenance needs, a sidewinder is worth giving a chance. The only downside to this type of circular saws is that they are not powerful enough to make deep cuts.
Worm Drive Circular Saws
While the sidewinder's motor is mounted on the side, worm drives have the motor on the tool’s back. This gives it a longer and narrower look compared to the sidewinder. There are two gears placed at a 90-degree position where the saw's cutting power is transferred to.
This lowers its speed, making it slower than the sidewinder circular saw. But, it gives the tool more torque, making it easier for you to work on broader materials and make plunge-cuts. On the downside, most of these tools require regular maintenance. So you have to keep oiling their parts.
Hypoid Circular Saws
Most people will confuse a hypoid and a worm drive, but they are two different tools. As much as they look similar, the gearbox and transmission system of a hypoid circular saw is different from the one on the worm drive.
The saw uses a hypoid gear, hence its name. This is a sort of spiral bevel gear whose axis is not in-line with the meshing gear's axis. It improves the blade's contact, which ultimately improves the efficiency and power of the tool. It also reduces the noise and motor size of the device.
Hypoid circular saws do not require regular oiling for maintenance since the motor system is sealed. These are ideal for cutting long pieces of material and work like magic when working on damp or wet wood. The cons, it is on the higher end of the price point and is usually heavy.
Why do you need a Circular Saw?
Should you invest in one? Absolutely! Circular saws are the most versatile power tools to have in your toolbox for cutting materials. They are the best tools for making straight cuts with much preciseness on pieces of lumber. A circular saw can make rip cuts within the grain, cross-cuts across wood grains, and plunge cuts.
Plus, despite the weight of the model, most circular saws are pretty portable. You can comfortably move around with them between jobsites without having to worry about the tool taking up too much space on the boot of your car.
We made a list of all the essential features that you need to bear in mind when searching to purchase a circular saw. So, here it is:
1. With cord or Cordless?
While a cordless saw saves you from tangling with power cords and gives you the freedom to move around freely, it also limits your working time on a jobsite with no power outlets. Saws with cord come in handy in such scenarios as you have limitless access to power. They can work uninterrupted, allowing you to finish your work on time. Some saws will offer both options, so maybe opt for something like that if you can't decide which is best.
2. Battery Life
If you are going for a cordless model, confirm how long a fully-charged battery runs before it needs recharging. Also, check whether the battery is fast charging and how fast it takes to get a full charge. To leverage against having a battery running out on you when you are still working and having to wait for an hour or so for it to charge, you can invest in an extra battery.
The advantage of some of the newer models, you can use the battery in different tools. Manufactures like Dewalt and Ryobi have battery packs that work in a range of their power tools, so investing in one such model can be useful.
3. Blade Diameter
This determines the capacity of the blade in terms of the maximum cutting depth it can handle. Larger blades offer deeper cuts, so it’s best to choose a large one if you always work with projects that need deep cuts. The problem with larger blades is that they make the tool heavier, while smaller blades are lighter and give you more control when handling the device.
4. Motor Power
It will be indicated in amps or volts. Amps are used on saws with cords, while cordless circular saws use voltage. Of course, the higher the voltage or amp, the more powerful the tool. So, if you want to go for the most powerful tool in the market for your heavy projects, ensure you choose a device with a high amp or voltage.
The standard amp rating nowadays is a 15-amp motor, but there are 10-amp and 12-amp motors. These are ideal for less demanding or infrequent cutting projects. For voltage, most manufacturers are now using a lithium-ion battery for their tools with a voltage of 18. There are more powerful options of 20-volts, but these will be pricier. But if the battery works with other power tools from the manufacturer, it might be worth investing in.
5. Bevel Capacity & Laser Guide
This shows the maximum angle for the cuts a circular saw can attain. This allows you to make angular cuts and tackle more projects, even the most demanding ones. Laser guidance is also an important consideration for precise cutting. If you want precise cutting, then opting for one that offers this kind of guide is a must. Take your projects to the next level with the right features.
Electric brakes help in reversing the flow of electricity in the tool’s motor when you release the trigger. When you reverse the current, the blade stops working faster than when you just let it whirl around on its own until it stops. This will take as little as two seconds, while a saw without the brakes might take up to 15 seconds to come to a stop.
Considering the high speed a circular blade works with, a circular saw can deliver significant damage even in the slower models. Any safety features that reduce the chances of injuries are a great addition to a circular saw. Features like double lock switches help you work with safety even at home where little children might be running around. Safety is very important not just for the person operating the circular saw but also for those around them.
Safety Tips on How to Use a Circular Saw
If you are new to the world of circular saws and just learning how to incorporate one into your do-it-yourself projects, it is essential also to take a moment and learn how to operate one. The last thing you want is to invest in an expensive tool that ends up gathering dust in your garage after a few failed trials.
Of course, the manufacturer will provide you with a user manual. Others even have videos on their websites depicting the safety measures you can take when using your circular saw. We have gathered a list of safety tips to keep in mind when shopping for your circular saw to give you a headstart:
- Always wear protective gear, like goggles, face shield, dust mask or respirator to keep you from safe, harmful dust particles and debris. If you are in a noisy area or the tool is loud, wear hearing protection.
- If you have a circular saw with cord, ensure all cables and leads are not near the cutting path.
- Always keep your eyes on where you are cutting unless you want to protect your fingers
- Ensure your workpiece is well supported when cutting. You can use clamps and a workbench for smaller pieces, while a roller or an extension table is ideal when working with larger pieces.
- Ensure the waste side of the excess wood is not clamped and is free to fall off after cutting. Only the "keep side" needs to be clamped safely in place when cutting.
- Your tool must always be in excellent condition, from cleanliness to the blades' sharpness, before you start working with it.
- Be prepared and strong enough to withstand kickback, especially when cutting between two pressure points. This mostly causes a squeeze on the blade when cutting, resulting in the kickback.
- If you are a leftie, take note that most circular saws are designed for right-handed people. As such, you must be extra vigilant with items like sawdust and chips, which are ejected from the left side of the saw.
- Ensure the retracting blade guard is working properly.
- Ensure you do not set the cutting blade too deep to reduce the kickback risk or saw binding when there is too much exposure to the blade. A depth of 5mm to 10mm past the depth of your workpiece is ideal.
- Ensure there are no metallic materials on the workpiece, like nails, if the circular saw is not for cutting through metal. These will not only cause a kickback but also damage your circular saw.
How to maintain & clean your circular saw
Maintaining and cleaning your circular will make your cutting work easier and efficient and increase your tool's durability. Luckily, circular tools do not need much from you as most maintenance and care involves the blade. Clean these regularly by wiping the blade with a wet cloth or a paper towel. You first have to remove the blade to ensure you clean it entirely.
You do not have to use other abrasive liquids unless there is buildup. In that case, you can use a degreaser with citrus. Spray it on the blade and wipe it off with a clean cloth or paper towel. Ensure the blade is dry before mounting it back into the body of the saw.
When cleaning your circular saw, take note of the teeth to reduce the chances of accidental finger-cuts.
How much should you spend on a circular saw?
You can get a reliable circular saw that meets the basic needs for a price as little as £60.00. Some of the available models in our list lie in this category. Their prices might be low, but these tools offer features that deliver just as much as the higher-end models. So generally, a price range is between £60 to £160.
When considering how much to invest, your financial state. It is best to also think about what the saw is for, how often you will use and how long you want it to serve. If you plan on using it daily, it is worth spending a little extra for power, safety, and comfort. But if you are a DIYer, needing it just for one project and then who knows when again, then you could consider spending less. Still, take into account your needs and your project's demands.
With the best care, a circular saw will last you for years, and if you are a regular woodworker, investing in a higher-end model that lasts for decades is an investment worth making.
As woodworking becomes a common hobby and pastime for handymen, the right tools' need has never been so in demand. But choosing the perfect tool for your jobs, even as a professional, requires your undivided attention. You need to know how circular saws work and what to look for in one before purchasing one.
With our extensive buying guide, you can get great insights to help you towards your final decision. Consider the motor power, whether the saw is battery operated or requires access to a direct power source and its versatility. We are certain you will find the best circular saw for your needs! Happy DIYing!