Best Circular Saw – A Buyer’s Guide with Circular Saw Reviews
Circular saw is actually a genus of saws that feature a circular-shaped blade spun by an electric motor. These are a must-have in any professional carpenter, craftsmen, woodcutter, handymen and DIYenthusiast’s tool box. Circular saws are highly powerful tools, providing various depths and angles over the cutting object.
|DeWalt DWE575SB||$$||5.0||Check Availability|
|Bosch CS5 Left-Blade Circular Saw||$$||4.2||Check Availability|
|Makita Magnesium 5007MGA||$$$||4.8||Check Availability|
|HITACHI C7ST CIRCULAR SAW||$||4.8||Check Availability|
|SKIL 5780-01||$||5.0||Check Availability|
|PORTER-CABLE PC15CSLK||$$||4.8||Check Availability|
|Ridgid R3205||$$||5.0||Check Availability|
The versatility can be fully utilised in making and remodelling wooden frames, furnitures, wooden roof and obtaining precision straight cuts. Portability is another striking feature of these saws. It helps you achieve desirable results even if you’re not a pro in this field. I assume that you’ve chanced upon my article while searching for some in-depth information on these portable power tools.
I won’t claim to have a PhD degree on saws but yes, as a hobbyist, I’ve personally used a number of saws of different designs and functionalities. A quality circular saw works like an extension of the right of a skilled carpenter. Corded saws take less than a few minutes to set up. If it’s a corded one, simply hook the plug to the power source, set the machine on your worktable, place the blade in line with the cutting area you intend to work on and you’re all set to go. Since it’s not possible for everyone to physically test more than a couple of products, I’ve done the yard for you. The due homework on your part is to follow the key rules of finding out the best circular saw.
Reviews of the Best Circular Saws of 2016
DeWalt is an industry-leader that makes the most lightweight and easy-to-handle circular saws. Its sensible ball bearing design efficiently guards the cutting line against saw dust for optimal retraction. The closely packaged design, weighing only about 8.8 pounds is a breeze to tackle by DIY customers and professionals alike. Unlike heavier models, it doesn’t feel tiring on your muscles after hours of work. The pre-built dust blower whips away dust from the blade for clearer visibility. The functionally sound unit has a max watts out of 1950-2150 RPMs which is apt for even the most intensive sawing tasks.
A 2 9/16 inch depth cutting capacity is the most impressive thing to look forward to, especially if you’re striving to get precise cuts on engineered sheet goods. Veterans swear by DeWALT DWE575SB also because of its 57 degree bevel capacity with 22.5 and 45 degree detents, which is apparently the best in its category. Being an A-list product, it has all the significant safety measurements to prevent the occurrence of accident in the workplace. By employing an electric brake, manufacturers have ensured that the blade ceases to spin the moment you switch off the trigger.Check the Latest Price
Bosch tools are acclaimed all over the world for unifying stunning aesthetics with supreme power. With the massive power output of 6200 RPMs at 15 amps, one can really push the boundary to get to optimum level of accuracy in his work. This ultra lightweight machine is an aggressive cutter by nature, works incredible well on hardwood like Grappa, plywood, wet-treated 2X sheets and the likes. The ergonomics of the saw makes is such as right-handed customers would reap the maximum benefit from it. The clever left-blade designs make it a fuss-free tool for right-handed users to have a clear vision of what they are up to.
Coming to the saw teeth profile, CS5 engages a super-sharp carbide tipped blade with 24 teeth. The only downside that irked my annoyance was the lack of nicely integrated dust blower or chute. Much of the saw dust was drifting back towards my face, making me sneeze like a madman. That aside, Bosch CS5 is a titan among the pantheon of powerful saws owning to its generous features and cutting power. It can effortlessly get you through the most demanding task with safety and ease.Check the Latest Price
Makita is another leading manufacturer of all kinds of commercial and DIY saws. The blade is embedded on the right-side of the tool, while it might sound like a poor decision on the part of the designing team, it actually doesn’t hinder the visibility at all. The curvy and compact exterior is easy to hold and operate. The 15 amp saw imparts power up to 5800 RPMs which is robust enough for anything you throw at it.
To satiate your ever-increasing power needs, the 120 volt system can be connected to a generator without much trouble. Coming to the versatility of sawing, the blade devised in 5007MGA can switch between different angles and various depths like charm, plus, there are a number of positive bevel stops to help you fix a pitch-perfect angle for desirable bevel cuts and change the setting rapidly according to the demand of the project.Check the Latest Price
Hitachi is a Japan-based saw power-tool manufacturer and when the goal is creating the best electronic power gadgets, only a rare few does it better than the Japanese. Hitachi really understands the significance of motor in a saw. In this model, they have hard-wired a 15 amp motor generating near about 6000 RPMs. Despite of constant improvement and steady performance background, Hitachi hasn’t ever hiked the prices of their devices in all these years.
The solid and durable chassis is sculpted from the best quality steel and aluminum. One aspect that’ll please committed professionals is the sheer force and smoothness of the blade. You can create classy jigged pattern on a thick stock faster than you can imagine, that too without minimal overheating or pause. Replete with practical features, solid ergonomics and hassle-free maneuverability, Hitachi C7ST Circular Saw is light on pocket yet matches all the criteria of a high-end model.Check the Latest Price
Skil has been in this business since 1920 and by this time, has grabbed a niche customer base for itself. What makes stand out is the unification of cutting efficiency with remarkable power output. The 11 pounds heavy system might not be the lightest tool you can have. One has to have some experience in woodworking to be able to hold this machine properly and align it with the correct cutting line. The no-nonsense functional design looks nothing extraordinary but does what it’s supposed to do with conviction. Replacing the blades in a saw has never got any faster for me.
Dealing with a bulk stock is definite to become less gruesome when you are dispensed with such rapid adjustment options. The lower blade guard retraction was surprisingly smooth at this price range. Skil strikes the right chord in terms of slicing abilities as well. The blade is amazingly flexible in changing cutting depths and angle on a great number of materials. Homeowners and hobbyist won’t be apparently complaining with the 1 15/16 inch, 45 degree and 2 7/16 inch, 90 degree cutting options.Check the Latest Price
PORTER-CABLE PC15CSLK is a highly versatile, value for money circular saw of the present time. The 15 amp motor inducing up to 5000 RPMs can deal with the most subtle to the most heavy-duty cutting jobs with stellar accuracy and speed. I used to have one in my early days of woodworking and trust me, Porter Cable is the best circular saw for cutting strips. The soft grip handle minimizes vibration during the course of action. It also features a secondary handle for extra stability and safety. Placing the blade at the correct position is aided by the kerf indicator mounted right on top of the base. Addition of a wrench storage helps keeping the parts in place and handy whenever you’re in need of them.Check the Latest Price
Making 2 3/8 inches deep cuts on hard plywood is not as easy as it sounds. Many top-of-the-line products fail to maintain stability at this level and end up splintering the stock. Ridgid R3205 is a serious circular saw for a serious handyman. The adjustable bevel stops and maximum bevel capacity of 56 degrees excels at producing clear-cut figures at desired angles at a blazing speed. The 15 amp motor cranking out around 5800 RPMs helps you perform the most challenging sawing jobs without a hitch.Check the Latest Price
Different Types of Circular Saw
Circular saws are best suitable for making neat straight cuts, rip cuts, cross cuts as well as bevel cuts on a wide variety of materials. These lightweight tools are a breeze to handle and cuts like a charm irrespective of any angle or depth.Design-wise, circular saws can be classified into three major groups, each perfectly fits the bill of a specific type of job.
A sidewinder or inline saw has its motor attached either to the left or right side of the blade. The blade is directly connected to the motor’s driveshaft, allowing an easily maneuverable, and ergionomically sound design for both right-handed and left-handed people. Carve out precision cut-outs at any angle and from any position for personal home projects. These lightweight saws work incredibly well on sticks of plywood and wet lumber weighing around 10 pounds.
Its ultra powerful motor and spiral shape blade makes it an ideal fit for labour-intensive plunge cuts. The motor is located exactly behind the blade. It weighs nearly 10-13 pounds, therefore it has to be tackled with the help of a sawhorse. Due to the heavy-duty construction, Worm-drive saws mostly have professional woodworkers and handymen as its customer base. The logical design and massive power output helps it carves out the toughest materials effortlessly. The handle is mounted right behind the equipment for great kickback resistance.
These no-frill, feather-light devices can be a saviour for hobbyists having zero to medium experience of woodworking or carpentry. Highly preferred for small-scale do-it-yourself home projects, wall paneling, roofing, crown moulding, trimming and adding final touch-ups to the work. Trim-saws or mini-circular saws are amazing as entry-level carpentry tools for the novices.
If you’re up for buying a circular saw for commercial-grade projects which require the unit to be used for a prolonged period, you’ll be probably going with a worm-drive type saw. This particular style of cutting saws is available with a cord. Corded power-tools can run for longer hours without compelling you to charge or change the batteries. Plus, electricity provides a stronger power output than battery-operated units. All you need is a constant supply of electricity to get the things going. Mobility, here, might be pointed as a major drawback. You always have to set your workstation in vicinity of the power socket.
Nonethless, extra power doesn’t overshadow the lack of portability in corded ones. Cordless circular saws source the energy from batteries and works perfectly fine on low-end carpentry projects, plumbing, framing, roofing, re-sawing, laminating etc. If your energy needs are high, corded saws simply have no match. As long as the electricity supply is unhindered, the unit won’t have a single second of downtime, which is not the case with cordless units.
You got to charge the system before and after usage without fail or the machine won’t start. If it has to be a cordless saw for you, it’s best to invest in a pair of Lithium ion batteries that are capable of holding the charge for an extended period. Even if you’ve settled for a corded option, it’s still wiser to have batteries as a back-up option to avoid production downtime.
When it comes to blade styles of circular saws, the choices are numerous. Different blade type is ideal for a particular type of cut. These blades are easily are sold separately and can be altered as per the demand of the job.
This is perhaps the most common and well-known type of circular saw blade. As the name implies, it is specifically aimed for making rip-cuts or lengthwise cutting of metals and lumber. Rip-cut blades can be instantly identified from the fewer number of Flat Top Ground (FTG) teeth fitted on the blade. Rip-cut blades are equipped with a wide gullet and angle hook for rigorous cutting prowess. The design exclusively targets at splitting the wood with the slightest resistance. Fewer teeth helps cutting across the grain of the wood without grinding it.
In comparison to rip-cut, crosscutting across the grain of the wood is a much more arduous task. To accomplish optimal accuracy and complete elimination of jagged, rough edges, the blade has to be large, lined with at least 70-100 top bevel ATB or ATBR style teeth and -2o to 8o positive hook angles. Due to the small size of the gullets, you can expect less amount of sawdust and chips created during the cutting action. Slow circular saw speed setting on these speciality blades aids a finer finishing. For thinner plywood, one can also use a High Alternate Top Bevel to ward off the chances of splintering.
Thick and thin Kerf
Kerf is indicative of the thickness level of a saw blade. The higher the thickness, the more durable, wobble-resitant and effective the blade action will be. Thin kerf blades come to prominence when one has to handle top quality, expensive materials such as hardwood plywood. It is because thin kerf limits the build-up of material waste during the course of action, thus saving up to 30% of the material. A kerf of 3/32” or less can make a huge difference by adding an extra amount of money to your profit.
ATBR is the most usual type of teeth grind noted in thin kerf saw blades. In order to obtain sharper edges on dimensional lumbers, look for an ATB grinder for minimized splintering as faster action. On the downside, thin-kerf blades aren’t as good in providing steadiness through nails as their thicker counterparts.
Combination Saw Blades
Using a combination of saw blades is a favourite among many professionals as well as DIY fans who don’t need to deal with industry-scale, heavy-duty projects. Combination circular saw design is a cross between crosscut and rip-cut saw blades. The blade contains more than 60 ATBR teeth which is highly typical of all-purpose blades. The designs aim to find a perfect balance by utilising the benefits of both rip-cut and cross-cut styles and warding off the shortcomings. Combination circular saw blades make switching between different actions faster and easier as you don’t have to attach separate blades for individual tasks. It features both ATB and ATBR teeth grind for accelerated slicing and reduced splintering on cross-cutting.
Dad-joinery or Dado Cut Blades
Dado joinery is a very commonly used term among professionals in carpentry field. Dado is basically a vertically cut slot in which a horizontally cut board shall be fitted at the right angle. You will notice this particular type of joinery in bookshelves and wooden cabinets. Dado blades come in two distinct styles: stacked and wobble. Stacked blades resemble the appearance of a combination saw blade and contain chippers between the side blades. Wobble blades area challenge to handle because of the addition of a two-piece bushing. The constant swiping of the bushing not only hampers the width of the dado cut but also produces a lot of vibration during the work.
Sheet Goods Circular Saw Blades
This is a distinct category of circular saw blades meant for sawing engineered wood sheet goods.”Sheet Goods” is an umbrella term for a large variety of composite materials such as melamine, particle board, medium-density fibreboard (MDF), high density overlay (HDO), medium density overlay (MDO), plywood and laminates. ATB ground blades are considered to be the best choice for sheet goods sawing, especially for fine panelling. For cleaner cut-off and smoother finishing, one can also opt for a hi Angle Top Bevel (HiATB) tooth design.
Hollow-ground Circular Saw Blades
This one is a variant of sheet goods circular saw blades, exclusively crafted for extra fine crosscutting on MDO, HDO, laminates, melamine and phenolic plywood. The surface veneers on these engineered sheet goods are covered with a thin layer of resin soaked overlay. The hard and brittle substances are extremely susceptible to chipping, rather than splintering. For maximum abrasion resistance against this rough exterior veneer and butter-smooth cutting, a saw made with an ultra-sharp carbide tipped blade.
The face of the teeth in such blades looks much similar to a bowl when placed horizontal to the floor. This results in a sharper cutting surface and precise cuts of the objects to be sawed. However, there are several shortcomings to hollow ground blade. First of all, touching up the blade is one hell of a time-consuming process. Two, the blades turn dull very quickly. And finally, the blade catches the heat quickly and allows the resin and glue joining the two panels melt faster. As an inevitable consequence, the resin collects over the blade and aggravates friction and between the blade and the material surface.
Blades for Non-ferrous Materials
If you’re thinking circular saws are only suitable for sawing lumber engineered wood sheet goods, you’ve only explored half of its functionality. Many special saw blades are built to cut smoothly along non-ferrous and ferrous metals, pipes, tiles and plastic objects. These blades, in terms of ergonomics and functionality, differ heavily from blades solely meant for cutting woods. Blades for non-ferrous metals and plastic feature a negative hook angle teamed with TCG teeth shape. Dry-diamond blade and abrasive wheels are profusely devised for masonry, tile, brick and concrete.
Key Qualities of a Steady Circular Saw
Your primary goal is to hand-pick a power-tool that is able to slide across 2x4wood boards, thick lumber, plywood sheets with utmost efficiency and in a lag-free manner. During my quality test, I happened to conclude that corded saws possess a way better cutting capacity than their cordless counterparts. My research also enlightened me on the importance of bevel capacity on the quality and accuracy of the carvings. A steep bevel can help you achieve sharper angle and a great variety of depth. The best circular saws in the industry comprise of a positive bevel lock for infallible precision. Using this feature, you can lock the bevel at a desired angle and ensure it won’t deviate from its place on its own.
Cutting ability is not the only decision-maker when you’re hunting for the best circular saw blade for your specific needs. Design plays a pivotal role in determining the durability and quality of performance in the long run. Although these tools are repeatedly referred to as the lightest sawing machines available, they are still not light enough like a cellular phone. If the weight exceeds 10 pounds, you should expect a carrying case with the product for convenient transportation and storage.
Having a magnesium housing for protecting the motor is a good idea because it doesn’t add up to the non-functioning weight of the entire unit. An ergonomically strong saw includes all the mandatory utilities to make your sawing experience less of a chore and more of a fun. For hardcore professionals who deal with bulky cutting projects of various intensity and style, a model steeped in extra features would be an ideal bargain for the money. Beginning with the basics first, your circular saw has to feature either a chute or a dust blower for quick sawdust removal. Blowers are better because they sweep away the dust, allowing an unperturbed vision of the cutting action. Chute or dust port does the same in an almost similar manner. It wipes away the dust from the cutting line.
Another critical aspect to examine thoroughly is the base material. A heavy-duty base made from cast iron or reinforced steel delivers robust resistance and durability under the most testing conditions. Aggravating the cutting accuracy and force in addition to the heavy-duty construction is the carbide-tipped blade. Unlike ordinary steel blades, they can tear through the toughest wood and metal-objects with maximum resistance. Consider the blade length as well. If you’re keen on acquiring deep and precise cuts, go for a larger blade. Some high-end models also offer wrench storage for tightening the blade and removing it easily whenever necessary. This is a great add-on for assembling the components right inside the saw so that you don’t lose it in rush.
Crystal-clear optical clarity is an absolute must when you’re working on a lumber. A minor shift of attention and the entire effort goes into soup. God forbid if you’re a professional and do woodworking for living. Don’t miss out on the specific features that aid correct aligning of the blade teeth with the cutting line. The inclusion of a laser guide allows greater stability and accuracy over the action.
Circular saws are popular for infusing high power with hassle-free portability. Assess the maximum wattage input for running the motor, motor power or RPM and amperage setting. It seems obvious that the motor with higher RPMs will offer a better functionality. Well, how much power you need totally depends on the purposes you’ll willing to fulfil with the saw. The average RPM of 5600 is a usual thing in most medium-range circular saws. I strongly believe it would effectively cover most of the small to medium scale carpentry projects you come across daily. If you’re buying a corded model, make sure to check that the power cord length is not shorter than 10 foot.
Working with any type of saw without wearing gloves, protective goggles and earmuffs equates to committing hara-kiri. It doesn’t matter if you’re pro or a newbie, gearing yourself up with adequate safety measures is an integral sign of professionalism. As far as the built-in safety department of the machine is concerned, features that can make or break the deal include electric brake and trigger locks. These two utilities ensure that the blade doesn’t start spinning even when the trigger is released.eye for a notched blade guard on the saw blade that securely covers the sharp edges when not in use. Indicator lights keep you aware when the saw is switched on. This will help you act more cautiously when the device is plugged in.
Don’t Forget the Tooth Design and Number
Saw tooth profile has a great significance in determining the working speed and finishing of a cut. On the manufacturer’s guide, you’ll come across terms like FTG, TCG, ATB, HiATB. These are the abbreviated forms of some common tooth designs. FTG or Flat Top Grind has been the most popular saw tooth configuration of all time, highly recommended for rip-cutting.ATB or Alternate Top Bevel shape is an out an out cross-cutter. The unique design of two alternative teeth cuts smoothly across hardwood and plywood sheets, reducing the risk of splintering.
It is the next most important parameter you must thoroughly evaluate while shopping for a circular saw. Normally the teeth are spread around the circumference of the blade, the abundance or shortage of tooth defines the purposes that can be effectively handled by the machine. Teeth on crosscut blades are large in size but fewer in number. On the other hand, crosscut blades generally have 80-100 small teeth interspersed around the edge.
Regardless of what the product is, I always insist on buying things, especially something as vital as electronic power-tools from a brand people rely on. Reputed manufacturers constantly strive to improve their product quality and a team of dedicated professionals are always there to make sure that your safety is not compromised at the cost of anything. Top brands won’t make the silly mistake of releasing an item in the market without performing several quality tests on it. Lastly, the biggest advantage of putting your trust and money on a renowned manufacturer is the warranty and 24×7 toll-free customer support.
Wrapping up the Circular Saw Saga
The only rule of thumb to select the best circular saw is ensuring that the item you’ve picked meets the objectives you’ve set for it. There’s no such thing in existence as perfect. Machines cannot be totally flawless, no matter how perfect it looks on paper. The drift is to get a device whose advantages facilitate your diligence. Apart from the common elements present in all circular saws, you should also focus on extra utilities that’ll help you get the most out of your carpentry skills. On that note, it’s time for me to sign off. Hope what you’ve read so far was educative enough to help you make an informed decision.