Top Circular Saw Comparison Reviews (2017): These Saws are a “Cut” Above the Rest
A circular saw is one of the most versatile tools around; it’s also one of the most intimidating due to its power and razor-sharp blade. Which is why many homeowners and DIY’ers shy away from it. But you don’t have to. As long as you pay attention, use a quality saw, and use it correctly, a circular saw can be a great asset for just about any project.
Which is where we come in. If you’re ready to expand your horizon’s and invest in one, but don’t know where to start, our Top Circular Saw Buying Guide can help. There are lots of great options on the market, but it’s important with such a powerful tool to know what to look for.
Filled with tips on care, maintenance, and a breakdown of the different types of saws, we’ll educate you on what to look for before you buy. We’ll also review the 5 top saws available to help you narrow your search and give you viable options.
What is a Circular Saw?
- 1 What is a Circular Saw?
- 2 Top 5 Circular Saws
- 2.1 Makita 5007MG Magnesium 7-1/4-Inch Circular Saw
- 2.2 DEWALT DWS535 7 1/4-Inch Worm Drive Circular Saw
- 2.3 Rockwell 4-1/2” Compact Circular Saw, 5 amps, 3500 rpm, with Dust Port and Starter Kit– RK3441K
- 2.4 Bosch Bare-Tool CCS180B 18-Volt Lithium-Ion 6-1/2-Inch Lithium-Ion Circular Saw
- 2.5 Makita 5477NB 15 Amp 7-1/4-Inch Hypoid Saw
- 3 Circular Saw Buying Tips
- 4 Types of Circular Saws
- 5 Circular Saw Safety Tips
- 6 Circular Saw Maintenace Tips
- 7 Circular-Saw Cleaning Steps
A circular saw is a hand-held tool with a spinning, toothed circular metal blade that can cut wood. Many also have blades that can cut through tile, PVC pipe and more, so it can be used to make cuts on almost any material.
From making notches in door frames to cutting granite countertops, it can be used on an endless number of things to produce precise, smooth cuts.
Top 5 Circular Saws
Good for DIY projects around your house or professionals, this circular saw from Makita is the perfect blend of power and lightweight materials. Made with Magnesium components, it has a natural, balanced feel that makes cutting quick and efficient for beginners and advanced users.
The 15.0 AMP motor can cut through wet or engineered lumber, masonry and more with ease and has a large cutting capacity (2 1/2″ at 90°); it also has a bevel capacity of 56°. This makes it ideal for framing, floors and more. And the built-in LED light with dust blower gives you a clear view of your cuts, for greater accuracy.
Then there’s the ultra-coated blade with carbide tips. The ultra-coat stops the blade from heating up and give you a smooth cut while the carbide tips help you cut through nail-embedded wood. In addition, there is a wide clearance between the blade and housing; this allows for a more comfortable grip for those wearing gloves or anyone with large hands and gives you a clearer view of the blade and scale.
DEWALT’s WormDrive saw is a top pick for good reason; it’s quality construction and powerful motor give you a greater range of motion and precision every time you cut.
One of the more user-friendly models on this list, it has a durable magnesium housing that weighs under 14-pounds, making it easy to balance and maneuver without sacrificing power; and the cast magnesium shoe gives users a solid, strong platform for cutting and ripping.
The carbide tipped blade can easily saw through dense and tough materials, while the blade wrench and spindle lock combine for fast and easy blade changes. And the saw hook can handle materials up to 2 1/2′ thick, which is great for cutting plywood and other bulk items.
Finally, it is fitted with a TOUGHCORD cord protection system, offering cord jerk protection that’s 4 times better than other brands.
Don’t let the size of this hand-held saw fool you, as it can deliver as well as most full-size machines. Fitted with a powerful motor, the ability to control it with one hand and it’s small size combine to give you unparalleled versatility.
Weighing just 5-pounds, its slim, inline grip lets you handle cuts from all angles, even overhead, with an ease of motion that belies this saw’s power. It also makes it a great choice for men, women, and older users who need something light yet effective. The 5-amp electric motor is equal to a 3,500 rpm saw and can easily slice through a 2 x 4 while the left-handed blade design helps you to see your cuts easier.
Reasonably priced, this is a great choice for homeowners or professionals looking for a lighter, easier version of a traditional 7-1/4″ circular saw.
For anyone who needs to make precise cuts in areas that are hard to reach or maneuver through, this saw is the answer to their prayers. Weighing just 6.6-pounds, this cordless, electric model is designed to saw through 2″ materials like a knife through butter for a sharp, straight finish.
Fitted with an anti-snag lower guard, users can safely and quickly slide into the wood without jamming and there’s also an electronic brake for less stopping and starting when repeating cuts. Then there’s the heavy aluminum upper guard and foot, giving it an added layer of protection and durability. And the 50° bevel lets you get cleaner, more accurate
The 50° bevel lets you get cleaner, smoother bevels whenever you need it while the left blade design gives better sight lines; it also comes equipped with Bosch’s Motor and Cell Protection to prevent overheating.
If any saw could be called beautiful, this one would be it thanks to superb craftsmanship and performance. Designed to cut well on jobs big and small, the Makita 5477 NB, with its heat-treated Hypoid gears, covers a greater surface area and puts ut more power than traditional gears found on worm drive machines.
The 15-amp motor, combined with ball bearing constructions, improves efficiency and production, while the oil bath technology and gear casings require less maintenance and upkeep. Speaking of which, the base plate is chemically treated, to prevent rust and warping. This increases the life of the machine and allows for superior cuts.
In terms of design, the ergonomic handle with rubber grips give users a natural feel and improves how easy it is to guide. And the convenient push-button spindle lock and attached blade wrench make blade changes quicker than ever.
Circular Saw Buying Tips
The main thing to understand about a circular saw is that they put out a lot of power and take some getting used to when you first use one; which is why the size of the machine, along with things like motor placement, will factor into what you buy. Here’s what you need to know:
- Always hold and test the saw before purchasing. If it is too heavy or not balanced properly you won’t be able to maneuver it properly, which can cause serious injury
- Consider motor placement. A motor that lines up with the blade will give you more torque to cut through everything from concrete to wet lumber. Side motors usually mean a lighter machine, making it easier to manipulate.
- Check handle placement. The handle should sit towards the back so you can easily resist any kickback and make easier rip cuts; rip cuts are those that run parallel to the wood grain.
- Choose a blade that is the opposite of the hand you use. If you cut with your right hand, get a saw with a blade on the left side and if your left-handed buy one with the blade on the right. You need to clearly see where you cut and you won’t be able to if the blade is on the same side as your cutting hand.
- Shoe Style: Whenever possible, choose a saw with a cast-metal shoe. Since there’s a 99.9% chance you will drop your saw at some point and the cast-metal shoe won’t bend like an aluminum one will.
Types of Circular Saws
Before I review the top 5 circular saws, let’s go over the different types.
WormDrive Saw: With this style, the motor and blade are lined up, for added power. This type is ideal if you plan to cut multiple materials, making it the most versatile.
SideWinder: This type of saw has the motor sitting to the side of the blade, allowing for more maneuverability. It’s combination of power and easy use makes it a close second to the WormDrive.
Small SideWinder: A smaller version of the sidewinder, it is a good fit for users who are smaller in stature and need power without weight.
TrimSaw: These are a good idea if you plan to do finishing work or molding. TrimSaws are almost all SideWinders.
Plug-in/ Cordless: There are plug-in and cordless varieties of circular saws. Cordless models have greater power these days but are still limited in terms of torque and how long they run on a single charge. Plug-ins are the better choice if you will be working near a power source.
Circular Saw Safety Tips
Any tool is dangerous if the user doesn’t know the basics. So, to ensure you use your saw responsibly and safely, here are some tips:
- Always wear safety glasses and steel-toed boots when cutting. As the blade comes up through the wood, splintering often occurs and can cause serious injury to your eyes if they’re left unprotected. As for your feet, odds are you will either drop your saw or the lumber you’re cutting; steel-toed boots can prevent a nasty injury.
- Set the blade depth BEFORE you cut. To prevent the blade from jamming or getting stuck, set the depth to the thickness of what you’re cutting, plus 1/8″.
- Be vigilant with your blade guard. Many blade guards remain upright and not going back down; to prevent this from happening, lubricate the guard often and make sure the housing has no sawdust or dirt.
- Never cut a board that is lying across 2 saw horses in the middle. Sounds logical, but it is an easy, and potentially deadly mistake to make. The wood will sag a little over half-way through, causing your saw to bind and kick back.
- Place your saw down properly. Never put your saw down with the blade facing up or place it down on the blade guard. Always lay it down on the blade side.
Circular Saw Maintenace Tips
To get the most from your saw, here is a maintenance checklist to help keep your saw like new and operating safely.
- A dull blade is a dangerous one. Clean it thoroughly after every job to remove pitch, sap, and other debris to keep it sharp; otherwise, you may have to use more force when you saw, causing increased heat and friction.
- Keep your saw away from heat and humidity. Excess moisture can lead to rusting and warping.
- Use a nylon or brass brush to clean the blades, unless the blades are coated. Wire brushes can damage the blade, which can cause your saw to work improperly; We break down the cleaning process in the next section
- Store the machine in a cool, dry, place and make sure the container is not metal. You should have a plastic or cloth material to put your machine in; metal against metal can cause the blade to chip or dull.
Circular-Saw Cleaning Steps
To keep your saw clean and working correctly, here is the proper way to clean it:
- Soak the saw blade in a pan with the solution of your choice overnight; you can use Formula 409, Simple Green or a citrus solution.
- Take a plastic scraper to remove any excess build-up; for hard to remove sap or other gunk you may have to soak it twice.
- Use the nylon or brass brush to clean and get rid of stubborn residue.
- For coated blades, use soap and water to clean, or kerosene, along with a plastic scrubber.
We hope our Top Circular Saw Buying Guide helps you to find the right tool for you. A circular saw is a powerful and efficient tool, one that should be respected and handled with care. Choosing the right saw and using it correctly takes time and knowledge; luckily, all the saws on our list are tested and will meet or exceed your needs. Just remember to use your saw with care!
A circular saw is a powerful and efficient tool to help you in your Woodmaking DIY projects.