When starting on a woodworking project, one of the most important tools that is an absolute necessity is a circular saw. There are a variety of types – and uses – for these circular saws which are appropriate for the material that is going to be cut. Whether it’s wood, ceramic tile, steel, or stonework (such as granite or marble) the right type of saw is a must in order to do the job right and not waste expensive materials. The most important aspect is to find the best circular saw for the money for handling the materials needed for the project.
How to use a Circular Saw
Everyone has been told a thousand times – measure twice and cut once. That’s the first thing the shop teacher says in Junior High School shop class. Take a look at some of the best tips on using a circular saw.
Positioning for Easy and Accurate Cut
Since there is no real “rule” stating which direction the circular saw is positioned when making various cuts, it’s generally determined by the space available and the user’s dominant hand. However, there is one helpful hint that will help in the long run – place the saw where motor is seated on the supported section of the material being cut so that the saw doesn’t fall away when the material is sliced. This allows for the shoe of the saw to be completely supported for the duration of the cut and the bulk of the weight lays on the supporting workbench or table.
Proper Support and Guidance is Essential
One very important rule is to make sure that before the rip cut or crosscut is made that the workbench, or table, is secure and stable. In addition, the metal guide must be properly attached to the base of the circular saw, however, if the rip or crosscut is larger, clamp a long board in place to use as a guide for the cut.
Quick Comparison of Top 5 Circular Saws
|Product||Dimensions||Item Weight||Power Source||Customer Rating|
|DeWalt DWE575SB||16.2"x10.1"x10.5”||8.8 pounds||Corded||(4.7 / 5)|
|Hitachi C7ST Circular Saw||14.4"x12.4"x9.6"||15.1 pounds||Corded||(4.6 / 5)|
|Bosch CS5 Circular Saw||18.2"x11.4"x11.4”||13.3 pounds||Cordless||(4 / 5)|
|Skilsaw SPT67WM-22 Circular Saw||9.9"x7.6"x14.5”||12 pounds||Corded||(4.4 / 5)|
|Porter Cable PC15TCS Circular Saw||11"x14.88"x7.88”||11.3 pounds||Corded||(4.5 / 5)|
Circular Saw Reviews
Best Circular Saw for the Money – Editor’s Pick
One of the best rated circular saws on the market is the DeWalt DWE575SB.
This DeWalt DWE575SB circular saw weighs at 8.8 pounds and measures at 16.2×10.1×10.5”. It is a corded model that uses 120 volts. It sturdy design has a lower guard that protects against contamination from dust and a higher quality aluminum shoe that assists in more accurate cutting. A built-in dust blower helps clear the line of site for clearer, more accurate cuts. The blade spins at 5100 revolutions per minute and is ideal for wood, siding, and many other lighter materials. It also has a 57° bevel capacity with both 45° and 22.5° detents, and a 2 9/16” cut capacity depth. It uses a 7¼” carbide-tipped blade.
It also comes with a cord-protection system that help to prevent the cord from easily pulling out of the electrical socket. It is designed with a more ergonomic trigger and handle and the electric brake ensures that the blade stops spinning as soon as the trigger is released, both being excellent safety features.
One of the most popular features with customers is the electronic brake which stops the blade when the trigger is released. Several people said this is one of the best safety features. Most customers liked that it is lightweight and easy to handle; plus the blade is easy to change. Several customers did not like the way the shoe was designed and felt it was not tough or sturdy enough.
Another highly rated circular saw on the market is the Hitachi C7ST Circular Saw.
The Hitachi C7ST Circular Saw has a handle designed with a soft grip that decreases vibrations and provides greater comfort and ease of handling. This model has a strong 15 Amp engine that is sturdy enough to take even the toughest of cutting projects. The blade speed is rated at 6000 revolutions per minute, running smoothly and providing cuts that are free of burns. It weighs in at 15.1 pounds and measures 14.4×12.4×9.6’ in dimension. It is an electric model made of aluminum and steel and has a cutting depth of 45° with a 2 7/16° depth with a cut of 90°. It is designed to easily make 90° cuts and clean 45° bevels. This saw is equipped with a blade guard as a safety feature to protect hands when doing the angled cutting. It also has a built in dust blower so that there is a dust free area for cutting.
This model is equipped with a TCT saw blade with 24 teeth, as well as it carrying case and has a five year warranty.
The customers who purchased this Hitachi C7ST Circular Saw had very high ratings for ease of use and durability of this circular saw. They liked it because it was light, but solid, and it comes with a high quality carbide blade. The main complaint about this circular saw was that the blade is difficult to tighten.
This Bosch CS5 Circular Saw is a cordless drill that is known for its durability and performance and is an excellent tool for do-it-yourselfers who want an inexpensive cutting tool that does a great job.
The Bosch CS5 Circular Saw weighs in at 13.3 pounds and measures 18.2×11.4×11.4”. It run on 120 volts and provides 15 amps. It uses a 7¼” blade and is designed with a clear line of sight for cutting. The lower guard is designed to prevent snags and makes it easy to make a variety of cuts without having to move the guard forward – which is quite handy when making those beautiful beveled cuts. It has a rating of 5200 revolutions per minute with the blade positioned on the left-hand side. This product comes with a one-year warranty.
Customer who purchased this Bosch CS5 Circular Saw stated it was extremely good for cutting both hard woods really liked the high quality Diablo blades that comes with the product. Rips and composite miters are easily handled without the motor slowing down. One customer complained about the rolled edge not properly following the guide, but other than that the other customers liked the product.
For customers who want an inexpensive circular saw the Skilsaw Diablo SPT67WM-22 circular saw that does a great job for a variety of materials.
The Skilsaw Diablo SPT67WM-22 circular saw is 9.9×7.6×14.5” and has a weight of slightly over 12 pounds. It is a corded drill that uses 120 volts. It’s smaller bases is very handy for small workspace areas and is a very smooth running saw.
There were several customers who were quite happy with this Skilsaw Diablo SPT67WM-22 circular saw finding it very stable and sturdy, accurate, plus light in weight and easy to use. The main complaint of this saw is that it is not designed with an electric brake that stop the blade from rotating when the trigger is released. Other than that design flaw, it’s a great power saw for smaller jobs.
One of the most inexpensive circular saws on the market, which still does a great job, and is very easy to use is the Porter Cable PC15TCS Circular Saw.
This Porter Cable PC15TCS Circular Saw is equipped with a 15-amp motor and, although it only weighs in at 11.3 pounds, it is an excellent heavy duty model. This has a 45 degree bevel and a spindle lock that makes it easy for bit changes. The dimensions of this saw are 11×14.88×7.88” and it is an electric saw with a heavy duty power cord that is eight feet in length. It comes with a three year limited warranty.
Several customers stated that this Porter Cable PC15TCS Circular Saw is an excellent model, it’s solid, is priced reasonably and several customers have replaced older saws of other brands with this one and been very happy with it. It does precise cuts and it’s easy to use, plus it can easily cut even the hardest woods. The main complaint about this saw is really designed for a left handed person because the motor is on the left side making it difficult for a right handed person.
Types of Circular Saws
There are a wide variety of both hand-held and mounted circular saws that are for assorted materials. Some of the circular saws include the following:
- Abrasive Saw – also called a chop or cut-off type of power saw. It’s generally used to cut concrete, tile, and assorted metals.
- Biscuit Joiner Saw – also known as a plate joiner. It uses a smaller blade to cut the mouth (the oval-shaped hole) in the opposite edges of the material being cut.
- Carbide Saws – these are available in both vertical and horizontal models and are generally mounted on a spindle, or used as layer saws where multiple materials can be cut simultaneously.
- Cold Saw – this type is designed to cut metals with a heavy toothed blade that more efficiently transfers the heat produced by the cutting to the expelled chips. Generally, these are made with a tungsten carbide-tipped or high speed steel circular blade.
- Concrete saw – this type is also called a consaw, and is used to cut brick, tile, and various types of stone, marble, or granite. These generally use diamond saw blades for cutting this denser material, and because cutting these materials produces a lot of heat, the blades must be allowed to cool at regular intervals.
- Pendulum Saw – this type of saw is used predominantly for make cross cuts in the materials, and is fixed on a swinging arm that is often equipped with a weight for counterbalance.
- Pivot Saws – these are generally used for larger, heavier materials (such as heavier metals/steel) are cut
- Radial Arm Saws – these are circular saws which are attached on some type of horizontal arm and is often use for making longer cuts.
- Table or Panel Saw – this type of saw is mounted on a bench or platform.
A Preference of Corded or Cordless
There are many pros and cons for choosing a circular saw with either a power cord or one that is cordless and runs on batteries. Of course there is no substitute for quality and performance and for many people, it as personal choice. Take a look at some of the pros and cons:
|Runs as long as there is sufficient electricity.||When traditional power is not available, there must be a generator, or it does not work.||Perfect where there is no electrical power available.||The battery has to be charged for it to work.|
Must have spare batteries handy when the battery dies.
|No batteries to recharge||Batteries must be recharged frequently.|
Both power cords and extension cords get in the way – which can be a safety hazard.
|There is no cord to untangle and that saves time.|
Also safer because there is no tripping on the cords.
|Unlimited amount of power.||Limited amount of power.|
|Cuts at a faster rate for longer periods.||Tends to slow down on extended cutting projects.|
|No batteries to replace.||Need to replace the batteries.|
|Generally comes with a 7¼” diameter blade which produces more cutting power because the larger blade moves faster.||Generally comes with a smaller blade at 6½’ diameter and has slightly less cutting power because the smaller blade doesn’t move as fast.|
|Not highly portable because they are tethered to an electrical outlet – thus less convenient.||More portability to jobs that are not near a power source – thus more convenient.|
|Tend to last longer than the cordless variety.||Doesn’t always have as long a life as the corded models.|
|More suited for harder materials such as granite, marble, or steel, but can still easily cut wood.||More suited for easier cutting projects such as wood.||Not as good on harder materials such as granite or marble.|
|More expensive||Less expensive|
The most important aspect is to make sure that the right type of corded or cordless circular saw – and blade – is used for the job!
- ALWAYS wear eye protection!
- Before turning it on, make sure that the lower blade guard moves smoothly when retracting and releasing.
- Check the teeth on the blade to ensure none of them are broken, chipped, rusted, dull, or damaged in any way and make sure to replace the blade if there is any damage. NEVER use the circular saw if the blade is damaged!
- Check the power cord to verify that there are no cracks or tears in the cord, and if it’s a battery-powered circular saw, confirm that the battery is completely charged.
There’s nothing worse than wasted time and material when saw is faulty and cuts are not done correctly. Most beginners feel quite comfortable using the more basic tools – a jigsaw, a drill, or a lathe; however, many are intimidated when the circular saw is introduced. There are some excellent circular saws available on the market that are perfect from the novice level to the seasoned professional, and are equipped with excellent safety features and are easy to use.