Circular saws have been an integral part of most workshops since they were invented in the late 18th century. While they have certainly changed and improved upon over the years, their basic use hasn’t changed all that much. They are very useful for cutting through a variety of different materials and are useful not only to woodworkers but also to construction workers and other professionals.
Nowadays, there are all kinds of different models available, which can seem quite overwhelming. However, that doesn’t have to be the case. Below you’ll find ten of the best models currently available. All of these models would make a great addition to any workshop, and some of them will leave the handyman wondering how they ever got along without it.
Best Circular Saws – Top List
10SKIL 5180-01 7-1/4-Inch
The SKIL 5180-01 has the features often found in higher-priced models but delivers it with a much smaller price tag. It has a 14-Amp motor that delivers 5,300 RPM of no-load board ripping action thanks to its 7.25-inch diameter blade. It’s a user-friendly tool that designed to offer the user both power and precision. This tool is good for cutting plywood down for maintenance projects or for cutting up 2×4 boards for building a new deck. With a dept of cut of 2-3/8-inches and a 51-degree bevel, this saw can cut through a number of miter and angle cuts.
9Hitachi C7ST 7-1/4-Inch
The Hitachi C7ST is a 15-Amp saw that’s designed to be extremely stable but to offer handymen and other professionals the power they need to get their work done efficiently and precisely. Its motor produces a no-load speed of 6,000 RPM, more than enough speed to not only power through wood boards but also cut through granite, brick, and concrete. This tool is durable and is constructed out of steel and aluminum, yet it weighs only about 9.5-pounds, so it’s easy-to-handle. It includes features such as an integrated dust blower, a soft grip handle, and a dust chute, all of which makes it user-friendly as well.
8Milwaukee 6390-21 7-1/4-Inch
Weighing only 10.4-pounds and measuring only 13-3/4-inches, this tool is a lightweight and conveniently sized tool that provides more power than most people imagine it would. The Milwaukee 6390-21 has a 15-AMP, 3.25-HP motor that produces up to 5,800 RPM of blade speed. And while this power is enough to cut through a variety of different materials, it does so smoothly and evenly. Rated as one of the lightest saws in its class, this tool is useful for anyone who’s looking for a saw that’s easy-to-use and handle. This tool is sold with a blade, a wrench, and a case.
7Makita SH02R1 12-Volt Lithium-Ion Saw Kit
Although this tool uses a lithium-ion battery to deliver power to its motor instead of a power cord, it still manages to deliver a great deal of power. It can deliver up to 1,500 RPM of cutting power that can cut through all kinds of different materials. It has a 3-3/8-inch blade that has a maximum cutting depth of 1-inch, so it can be used for any number of different applications. The Makita SH02R1 also has a tilting base that can be used for bevel cuts from 0-degrees to 45-degrees. This kit not only comes with the tool but also comes with a tool case, a 12-Volt CXT charger and two 2.0Ah batteries.
6SKIL 5480-01 13-AMP Saw Kit
This kit comes with the SKIL 5480-01, an 18-tooth carbide blade and a wrench, which is just about everything needed to start a job. The saw uses a 7-1/4-inch blade and is equipped with a 13-AMP motor that can drive this blade at a no-load speed of 5,300 RPM. This tool features a 5/8-inch shank, a 2-point line-of-sight, and a rear depth-adjustment lever. It’s an easy to use tool that’s designed to just get the job done without a whole lot of frills or fancy features. Which makes it a great tool for just about any DIY enthusiasts or craftsman.
5Tacklife 7-1/4-Inch Saw With Laser Guide
This power tool is equipped with a number of features which makes it useful for cutting through wood and plastic materials. It has a 12.5-AMP motor that delivers up to 4,500 RPM of power and can make even extremely demanding cuts quite easily. It has a maximum cutting depth of 2.5-inches at 90-degrees and a bevel capacity of 1-4/5-inch at 45-degrees. This tool comes with a built-in laser guide to allow the user to perform more accurate cuts and comes with aluminum guards that are designed to extend tool life. Other features include a double safety switch, a dust blower, and a 40-tooth blade.
4Makita 5007MG Magnesium 7-1/4-Inch
This tool combines lightweight magnesium components with a powerful 15-AMP motor that delivers up to 5,800 RPM and is designed to handle even tough jobs. This power tool has a cutting capacity of 2.5-inches at 90-degrees, a bevel capacity of 0 to 56-degrees and has positive stops at 22.5-degrees and 45-degrees. This unit only weighs about 10.6-pounds, which means that it’s easy to handle, and comes with two LED light built into it that light up the line of cut and results in greater accuracy. All of these features ensure that this product is lightweight, powerful and precise.
3Dewalt DWE575SB 7-1/4-Inch
This saw is rated as one of the lightest tools in its class thanks to it weighing just under 9-pounds. It has a 7.2-inch width but delivers a good amount of power thanks to its 15-AMP motor that gives the blade 5,200 RPM of no-load speed. This saw has a bevel capacity of 57-degrees, bevel stops at 22.5 and 45-degrees, and has a blade diameter of 7.25-inches. Its depth of cut is 2.55-inches at 90-degrees or 1.9-inches at 45-degrees and it has an electric brake. This tool is not only useful for woodworkers and DIY enthusiasts but is also useful for framers and general contractors as well.
2Dewalt DCS575T2 Flexvolt Kit
This cordless circular saw gives the user the freedom they need to get their work done anywhere but does it without sacrificing power. It has a full-size 7.25-inch blade and has a powerful motor that delivers up to 5,800 RPM of speed. This tool has a bevel cut capacity of 57-degrees with stops at 22.5 and 45-degrees and has an LED that illuminates the cut-line. On a single charge of its battery, this tool can deliver over 300-cuts on a 2×4 board. This kit comes with the saw, two 60-Volt MAX lithium-ion batteries, a wrench, a blade and a fast charger.
1Makita XSR01PT 18-Volt Cordless Kit
Powered by two LXR batteries, the saw in this kit delivers as much power as many of its corded competitors. It has a blade speed of 5,100 RPM and runs up to 50-percent longer than comparable cordless models. It also has a brushless motor that runs smoother and cooler than motors manufactured with carbon brushes, and it can deliver over 550 cross-cuts in 2×4 SPF lumber per battery charge. And since it’s cordless, it can go many places that corded saws can’t go. This kit comes with the saw, two 18-Volt lithium-ion 5.0Ah batteries, a dual port charger, a tool bag, a wrench and a saw blade.
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Choosing a Circular Saw
Power – The first thing that should be looked at when browsing through circular saws is just how much power it possesses. After all, it needs to be able to cut through a variety of materials and do it with precision. It needs to be able to cut through softwood and hardwood boards alike and do it without losing speed. Once a saw’s motor begins to wind down and slow during a cut, then it tends to heat up very quickly. This not only produces a poorer quality cut, but it can also dull the blade. It can also in some situations push the saw back towards the user. Not exactly a desirable situation for anyone.
When looking for a power saw, however, some people may be tempted to look at the Amps of the saw’s motor but this doesn’t present a reliable indication of power and only tells the user how much power the motor draws. Horsepower tells the user a little bit more about the power of the saw, but that too can be a bit misleading. Horsepower tells how much torque is provided by the motor but doesn’t necessarily indicate how the saw performs while it’s being used.
A better indication of power than either Amps or horsepower is probably the price of the tool. High-end saws may cost more, but they also tend to produce more torque than low-cost or budget circular saws. These are tools made with brushless motors and manufactured with quality components. Because of the way they’re built, they usually start above the $100 dollar mark and may cost up to $300. While the cost may dissuade some people from buying these saws, the truth of the matter is that they will not only cut better but will last longer than cheaper models.
Another thing that needs to be taken into account when browsing these types of saw is their style. There are about 4 different saw styles and each of them has their own pros and cons. Below are some of the more common types of circular saws:
Cordless – Cordless models are great because they can be taken into the field and in areas away from the electrical grid. However, while the power of these power saws has increased over the past few years due to better battery technology, they still have a limited run time.
Worm Drive – Worm Drive models have motors that are inline with the blade. This ensures proper torque and gives this saw the ability to cut through tough jobs including concrete if the right blade is equipped. However, these power saws can also be extremely expensive and can sometimes be hard to maneuver.
Sidewinder – These saws only weigh around 12-pounds usually, so it’s easier to use than many worm drive saws. And while they might not be as powerful as a worm drive saw, they are pretty close. Which makes them useful for all kinds of construction and woodworking tasks.
Lightweight Sidewinder – These saws only weigh around 8-pounds or so, which makes them a good alternative to full-size sidewinders. This means they are easier to maneuver but still provide a good amount of power.
Blade capacity is another important consideration. The general rule of thumb is that the larger the blade, the deeper the cut. Usually, saws with blade capacities of 6-inches or larger can cut through 2-inches of lumber at a 45-degree angle in just one pass. A 5-3/8-inch saw can accomplish the same thing at 45-degrees, but it requires two passes to do it. A 5-3/8-inch blade can cut through 2-inches of lumber, however, when it’s done at a 90-degree angle.
The size blade that a person needs really depends on their needs. Saws with smaller blades tend to be lightweight and easier to control, which makes them ideal for light jobs. However, most professional jobs will require a saw blade of over 6-inches. Which is fortunate because the average blade diameter is about 7.25-inches.
Bevel Capacity and Bevel Stops
The next thing to consider is beveling capacity and the bevel stops. Bevel capacity is a measure of the maximum bevel cut the saw can perform and the bevel stops are a preset feature that makes it easier for users to make adjustments on the fly. The user should buy the saw model that has the specs they need in both categories.
Other Features to Consider
There are a number of other features which aren’t exactly necessary for a saw to do its job but does contribute to the tool’s usefulness and versatility. Below are a few of the most common features currently found on circular saws:
- Spindle Locks – The spindle lock, also known as the shaft lock, allows the user to lock the shaft and blade into place. This makes it easier to change the blade quickly and efficiently.
- Laser Guides – Laser guides shoot a laser beam along the cut line. This results in improved accuracy while cutting.
- Electric Brakes – Electric brakes reverses the electricity in a saw’s motor. This allows it to stop the blade quicker than a saw that doesn’t have this feature.
The saw blade is one of the more important features of the circular saw. Which is why it needs to be treated with care. Most likely, when a user buys a saw, it’s already equipped with a blade. However, care has to be taken as to how that blade is used. Blades are designed for a specific purpose and may not be suitable for the job the user has in mind. That’s why the user needs to pay attention to what the use the blade is rated for and only use it for that purpose. For example, if a blade is rated for wood cutting, then don’t try to cut tile or masonry with it.
Another thing that needs to be kept in mind is that blades should only be purchased which are compatible with the particular saw they’re being installed on. Below are some of the more common types of blades:
- Masonry Blades – Designed to cut through a variety of masonry materials including brick, concrete and cinder blocks.
- Carbide-Tipped Blades – These are designed to stay sharper longer than steel blades.
- Tile Cutting Blades – These are designed for cutting tile.
- High-Speed Blades – These blades are designed to be more durable than steel blades and to keep their sharp edges longer.