Whether it’s for trade or domestic use, the best circular saws have a place in every tool kit. These power tools use round blades with sharp teeth to make quick cuts in materials like wood, plywood, and even metal. To help you find the best circular saws, we’ve included a number of top-rated options from brands like Dewalt, Makita, and Black & Decker.
The best circular saws come at different price tags. The cheap circular saws come with fewer features than you might need if you have a lengthy or particularly intricate design to cut. But that’s not to say they won’t do a good job at cutting through hard materials. The cheaper circular saws are perfect for tackling DIY jobs around the house. Whilst the more expensive circular saws are heavy duty. Many of the more expensive circular saws also come with more power.
You can choose from corded or battery-operated circular saws. The best corded circular saws give you unlimited battery time, whilst battery-operated circular saws are ideal for when you are working on a site where there is no power. Nowadays battery-powered options can be just as powerful as their corded circular saw counterparts, but for sustained power, corded circular saws come up trumps.
What is a Circular Saw?
A circular saw is a type of power-saw that has a circular disc or blade to cut various materials. The blade or the disc rotates around the arbor with a sheer force that can cut almost anything. Typically, these can be found in a woodman’s shop, particularly used for cutting wooden planks or crafting wood.
It is a great option for cutting different types of material as well, like marble, tiles, etc. However, the functionality greatly depends upon the features and the power of the product. This is a great addition to your toolbox.
How to Choose a Quality Circular Saw
Figuring out the right product for your needs and requirements is a big challenge. With so many brands and similar products on offer, it is really hard to identify and choose one. Therefore, it is always advisable to narrow down your individual preferences and the features of the desired product. Here are some of the qualities and features you should consider while purchasing a circular saw.
Size of the Blade
The size of the blade is a very crucial aspect to consider while purchasing a circular saw. This is particularly because the size of the blade determines the type of material feasible for cutting. A large-sized blade would penetrate deep in the material surface and might be a better option for cutting thick material. A small-sized blade would be good enough to cut wooden planks, etc.
The weight of the circular saw dictates its usage. Since most are handheld, these should not be heavy by any means. It should be easy to operate and handle while you can move around freely. Also, materials like magnesium are used for their construction to ensure the durability and lightweight design of these circular saws.
Well, the durability is a must. This is because of the hard material it is supposed to cut. Therefore, it should be extra tough and hard to slice through hard surfaces. Strong building elements like Tungsten prove to be a good choice to use in circular saws.
Amperage and Speed
Amperage refers to the amount of electrical power a motor can withstand without its inner components failing. In the past, electric motors were weaker and not as capable, so amperage was an important specification to tout. Nearly all modern corded circular saws feature 15-amp motors.
A saw’s speed, however, can be a consideration since the faster the blade spins, the quicker it can cut through a material. But speeds tend to be relative because a 15-amp motor can spin a 7¼-inch blade faster than it can spin a 10¼-inch blade. Generally speaking, when it comes to 7¼-inch saws, speeds between 4,500 and 5,500 RPMs are common and should be adequate for fast, accurate results.
Keep in mind that blade speed has very little to do with the density of material a saw can cut. This is largely dependent on the blade type and quality.
Corded vs. Battery-Powered
As with any type of saw, corded circular saws tie the user to the power source (i.e., an electric socket), whereas battery-operated models can go anywhere. On most professional job sites, cordless circular saws are shunned in favor of corded models—and there’s a historical basis for this bias. When battery-powered circular saws hit the market, they were far inferior to a good corded option in both power and speed. They also went through battery life very quickly and would jam as soon as the blade felt any resistance.
Today’s battery-operated cordless circular saws, however, have much more power and far longer battery life. Much of this improvement is due to the adoption of brushless motors (the latest, most efficient technology that’s also maintenance-free) and lithium-ion batteries.
To combat the dangers inherent to circular saws, manufacturers build safety features into their machines. One helpful safety feature is an electric brake, which stops circular saw blades almost immediately after the user releases the trigger. Older models would allow the blade to come to a stop on its own, which could result in a spinning blade coming in contact with something unintended.
Built-in LED lights and spring-loaded blade guards also offer big boosts in safety. The work lights illuminate the workpiece, allowing the user to see the cutline as well as any debris or impending mistakes that they should avoid. The retractable guards cover the blade as soon as the blade is removed from the workpiece, helping to minimize dangers.
Our Top Picks:
For all-around capability, performance, and features, the Makita 5007Mg 7¼-inch circular saw is worth a look. This powerful corded model uses a 15-amp motor and runs at speeds up to 5,800 RPMs, allowing it to tackle anything from construction to cabinetmaking.
The 5007Mg has plenty of desirable built-in features. It features two built-in LED lights as well as a built-in dust blower, allowing users to keep their eyes on the cutline at all times. It also has a large cutting capacity, giving the 7¼-inch blade a 2½-inch cutting depth. This circular saw’s beveling base has positive stops at 22½ and 45 degrees. The kit comes with a heavy-duty carrying case as well, protecting the investment during transport and storage.
DeWalt is a leader in the power tool market, and this corded 7¼-inch circular saw is a prime example of why. This lightweight circular saw weighs just 8.8 pounds but still offers heavy-duty, high-speed cutting thanks to its 15-amp motor and a top speed of 5,200 RPMs. And, to bring that 5,200-RPM-spinning blade to a quick and safe stop, this saw features an electronic brake.
This circular saw from DeWalt has a bevel capacity of up to 57 degrees, with positive stops at 45 and 22½ degrees. It also offers a deeper cutting depth than most of its competitors, at 2 9/16 inches. The base is aluminum and features built-in wrench storage for quick and easy blade changes.
Billed as one of the lightest Pro circular saws on the market, the SPT67WL-01 is only 8.6 pounds. While working on all-day projects, you will easily notice the difference a lightweight saw can make. A 10-foot power cord will extend your range without having to worry about running out of power with a battery.
The saw comes with a standard 7-1/4-inch blade that you can tilt up to 56 degrees for a beveled cut. The till locks at a 45-degree angle, which speeds up common cuts. If heat is a concern, the Dual-Field motor will allow the saw to continue running longer while staying cooler.
A laser guide can give you a clear and visible reference point when making long cuts that need to be completely straight. The BLACK+DECKER BDECS300C’s built-in laser makes it a breeze to accurately straight-cut typical 2x boards, rip-cut plywood, and make miter or bevel cuts on typical 2x boards.
The 13-amp motor is not the most powerful on the market but is more than adequate for most DIY or home uses. The bevel adjusts from 0 to 45 degrees, and when it’s time for a blade change, the spindle lock means no struggles. Plus, at only 7 pounds, the saw is light enough for easy portability and maneuvering, and it’s extremely reasonably priced.
If you often work with long boards, this is the saw to keep your cuts straight and true from beginning to end.
The SKIL 5280-01 is one of the most affordable circular saws on the market. If you don’t need all of the premium features provided by brands like Makita and Dewalt, the SKIL 5280-01 could be the perfect power tool for you. It’s designed purely for cutting through wood (the blade doesn’t spin fast enough for other materials), which makes it ideally suited to DIYers and carpenters.
It has a 15amp motor that spins the 24-tooth carbide blade at 5,300RPM (no-load). The maximum depth cut is 2.375-inch and it has a 51º bevel with a positive stop at 45º. All of these stats read similar to the premium circular saws on this list, so it shows that the SKIL 5280-01 is no slouch.
The Porter-Cable PCE310 is the type of circular saw you want to have in the truck when you arrive at the jobsite. It provides 15 amps of power at 5,500 rpm and that’s enough to make short work of your toughest tasks. And because it tips the scales at a modest 9 pounds it has a stunning power to weight ratio that separates it from most of the pack.
It provides 2 1/2 inch cuts at 90° and 1 7/8 inch at 45°. There’s a 55° max bevel and presets at 22.5° and 45°. The 7 1/4 inch carbide tipped blade is hungry and effective and provides nice clean cuts rather than just smashing its way through the material. The magnesium shoe is here for the long haul and the entire tool is perfectly balanced and forgiving. Toss in the fact that it’s ultra-affordable and comes with a 3 year warranty and it’s difficult to make a case against adding one to your arsenal.
The Milwaukee 6390-21 was a rival for the best professional circular saw category, but it was just pipped to the post thanks to the extra level of refinement on the Makita 5007MG. However, the Milwaukee 6390-21 is still a great option for professionals and serious DIY enthusiasts alike, plus it has an impressive five-year warranty so Milwaukee expects this saw to be with you for a while.
This circular saw has a great power-to-weight ratio and the cushion topped handle has eight different position options, enabling adjustment for any job while maintaining both comfort and control. It’s a reliable model that comes with a tough carry case and 9-foot power cord, so Milwaukee has definitely put a lot of consideration into professional job needs. One thing that lets this circular saw down, however, is that it’s missing bevel stops for quick adjustment, but it’s still a great saw that’s easy to use.
8. Ryobi CSB125
This Ryobi is a good little saw that got off to an unfortunate start. At first it didn’t seem like it was going to cut the mustard, let alone lumber. We were mystified. We have enough experience with Ryobi power tools by now to know that a lack of performance would be reason for concern. The problem turned out to be the blade. The inexpensive one that comes with the saw helps to hold down its price, but it also holds back its performance.
We swapped out that blade for an Irwin Weld Tec (a $9 upgrade) and before you could say “sawdust,” we had a saw that cuts like a champ. The CSB125 handles nicely, thanks to its light weight, comfortable grip, and the fact that it’s well-balanced.
The Craftsman renaissance is real. Since the company’s purchase by Stanley Black & Decker (owner of the famed DeWalt brand), Craftsman tools have been improving. We’ve always liked the brand, and we were very pleased to find this saw carrying on a capable tradition of high-quality power tools. It’s about a pound lighter than the Skil. That may not sound like much, but it can make a work day go a little bit easier, especially given that you’re probably also moving lumber and hammering nails. Yes, the Craftsman’s motor is a bit smaller than the Skil in terms of its amperage, but the cutting performance between the two tools is negligible.
We’re not looking for anything to complain about, but the small difference in rank between this saw and the Skil is due to the fact that the edge of the Craftsman’s shoe isn’t quite parallel to the blade, creating minor inaccuracy when you run the saw along a square in crosscuts or use a long straight edge for rips. Fortunately, if you apply a little extra due diligence, you can keep the saw cutting true.
There’s no denying the incredible convenience of a cordless circular saw. With today’s higher-capacity batteries, it’s not unusual to get a full day’s worth of cuts without having to stop and recharge.
The Metabo HPT MultiVolt circular saw rises above the rest of the competition as our pick for the best cordless circular saw you can get your hands on.
It has remarkable power and accuracy, even among other advanced cordless competition. We also like its lighter weight and AC adapter option.
This one is only available as a bare tool and runs a reasonable $179. A MultiVolt battery/charger starter kit is $169 and it’s the same price for an AC adapter.
- Always wear eye protection.
- Never use a rusty or cracked blade.
- Always make sure blade guards are operating freely.
- Never lock or jam blade guards out of the way.
- Always be aware of where the power cord is so you don’t accidentally cut through it.
- Never change a blade with the saw plugged in or the battery attached.
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We’ve been in business since 2012 covering tools, writing reviews, and reporting on industry news in the construction, automotive, and lawn care industries. Our Pro reviewers work in the trades and have the skills and experience to know whether tools can perform well in the field.
Each year, we bring in and review more than 250 individual products. Our team will put our hands on hundreds of additional tools at media events and trade shows throughout the year.
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How to use a circular saw?
To start using the circular saw out, you will firstly need to unpack it from the packaging box. Next up, see if the circular saw comes with a batter; if not, you will need to go ahead and buy one. Take the circular saw and hold the handle with your hand, and then just press the “ON” button. This will power up the motor, and the circular blade will spin and cut through any material that it comes into contact with.
Can I use the circular saw to cut metal?
The main purpose of the circular saw is to cut wood and any type of wood materials. Trying to cut meta or stone can cause irreversible damage to the circular saw. If you want to cut metal, then buy a metal cutting power tool.
Should you get additional features in a circular saw?
The circular saw comes with many additional features, and most of them are meant to assist and reduce manual work. However, one feature that we advise you to look after is the electrical brake, and it can be a lifesaver.
Are Circular Saw Blades Universal?
The quick answer is no! As noted earlier, saw blades can come in various sizes. So, you can’t use a bigger saw blade than your circular saw can handle. Before you even start using the circular saw, be sure to read the whole user manual to know which blades work the best with your type of circular saw.