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You can’t start a woodworking hobby without a circular saw; it’s the backbone of every tool in your workshop.
You’ll find that it comes in handy for every single woodworking project that you take on, and that a reliable circular saw will be the difference between being open for business, or shutting down the shop, so to speak.
We’ve thoroughly inspected these products to create the best circular saw reviews imaginable, detailing every aspect of the hardware and user interface.
From the best corded circular saw, down to the best brand for blades, it’s all here.
Makita 5007MG Magnesium Circular Saw
We didn’t originally think that Makita would take the gold here, but they blew us out of the water.
Makita’s 5007MG model delivers an intense amount of power, and a zero load speed time for faster use.
If you have to turn this off and on fifty times throughout the day, you won’t be washing extra time.
One flaw is that there’s no real sawdust control on this model. It will be a bit wild, so be sure to have a good pair of protective eyewear handy.
The blade will also slightly rotate to the left during use, which is something you’ll need to account for while cutting.
Between the compact design and the excellent foregrip, it feels excellent in your hands.
It’s a bit heavy for a compact model, weighing in at over ten pounds, but it’s a very small learning curve if you’re used to a more lightweight unit.
You’ll benefit from the LED light to help with precision cutting, though the clarity of your view is a bit obscured.
We would have opted for a slightly bulkier model if it offered a better cutting angle view. That being said, the value and power behind this is still magnificent.
It comes with a fairly standard one-year warranty that covers all factory defects, but if you’re not satisfied right out of the box, there’s also a thirty-day money-back guarantee you can cash in on.
Dewalt DCS391B Lithium-ion Circular Saw
Dewalt is one of the most notorious tool brands in America, and for good reason: they work, and they last.
Dewalt’s DCS model here came very close to beating Makita, but fell short on a few marks.
For one, the price is good, but it’s for the saw with no 20 V battery, charger, or even the blades. These aren’t too expensive to pick up separately, but it’s still a hassle.
That said, it’s very compact and lightweight at 7.1 lbs. There’s a slightly less versatile bevel capacity at 50°, compared to the 56° of the Makitas.
On its own without the comparison to Makita, it’s a proper specimen of what a circular saw should be.
While it’s inconvenient to get the battery separately, they do last for ages.
You’ll get an average of thirty-five minutes per battery, and when you consider the 150 RPM motor being run by a 20 V power source, that’s pretty impressive.
It’s best to buy multiple battery packs. Each of them take a few hours to charge, but nothing crazy.
The plastic guard for the blade is a bit lackluster. It works, but it will clog with sawdust and limit visibility.
If you’re keeping this in your woodworking shop and aiming to use it for precise cuts every single time, you’ll need to clear it out each time before use.
Overall, it’s a lightweight and powerful model, but comes at a slightly higher price point to get everything.
Skilsaw SPT77WML Circular Saw
Skilsaw compares against Dewalt with their quality magnesium blade, but it does run into a problem where the blade is slightly more malleable than it should be.
Precision and care is a must when using the SPT model.
During cutting, this is smooth as can be. It’s like a hot knife through butter. With the 120 V power guiding a 7 ¾” blade, you have enough power in your sails to attack any project.
Skilsaw isn’t a compact model by any means, but that bigger weight comes with a secondary handle to control your saw more confidently.
The SPT model is set to cut through wood and aluminum sheets, but beware of a common problem: bearing failure.
It’s something that happens around six months after your first use, and may happen once more before your first year is up.
If you are skilled with replacing the bearing, you can do that yourself, or opt in for your one-year warranty and have Skilsaw take care of that for you.
The ergonomic handle makes everything feel as calm as possible, while the zero load RPM of 5,300 makes this immediately viable no matter what you’re using it for.
You’ll get a preset indentation for the 45° mark, as well as a Dual-Field cool-running motor. No more settling for your saw getting overheated on the job.
Bosch CS5 Circular Saw
Bosch, like Dewalt, is one of the first names that come up when you’re talking about power tools.
They’ve done a bang-up job with this inexpensive model (generally rests beneath one-hundred dollars).
There’s a good amount of power from the 15 amp motor, revving this up immediately with no wait.
What you see is what you get with this package. The saw, the blade, and the attached cord for the 120 V power supply.
As with the previously reviewed circular saws, there’s a 7 ¼” blade with this unit, making it practically universal when you need to swap it out.
Bosch failed on the footplate, though. There’s an issue with locking and flexibility, so be wary when using it.
It’s something that can’t really be replaced easily, so you’re sort of stuck with it. While that was a thumbs down from us, Bosch hit home on the warranty.
There’s no reports of bearing malfunctions or anything major, but Bosch offers a one-year warranty to cover come-what-may.
The big deal with this and why we’re mentioning it, is that Bosch has a much more comprehensive warranty than its competitors, despite the unit costing less than others we’ve reviewed here.
Enjoy an excellent line of sight on your project, as well as a narrow learning curve. For some Godforsaken reason, most saws are made for left-handed cutting only.
That doesn’t mean a right-handed person can’t use them, but there’s usually a learning curve with it. From the ergonomic design that Bosch made, this won’t take long to get used to.
Worx Compact Circular Saw
As you might imagine, there’s a little less to talk about with this one. Worx is the most inexpensive model on our list, and for good reason.
It fits most smaller jobs and thinner boards, making it great as an in-between electric hand saw when you need to reach tight corners and angles.
Despite the petite size, there’s a surprising amount of power here. You’re only holding 4.4 lbs of weight, and that’s a good thing.
Since the bevel capacity is only at 45°, this will work well for shelf making and furniture building, but will not necessarily work on more intricate projects.
The big selling point here is that it’s a simple one-handed operation. The price reflects the smaller size, but this circular saw is actually a steal considering how durable it is.
The amp power is only 4, so it’s going to have a little bit of drag going through a very long piece of wood or thicker boards.
It will cut through, you just have to give it a little more time than what you see in demonstration videos for more powerful circular saws.
For light woodworking, this is great. If you’re tackling a commercial project or pulling up boards on your deck, this is not what you want.
It’s light-grade duty, but it comes with a three-year warranty to cover all manufacturer defects. We do wish that it came with a protective case.
Circular Saw FAQ
Everything you’ve ever needed to know about buying a circular saw is right here.
There’s a few things that you need to keep an eye out for, and conveniently, the marketing material for most circular saws don’t display some of these aspects as openly as they should.
This guide is your ultimate preparation for buying smart, and getting something that you are truly happy with.
What Can Use a Circular Saw For?
A top rated circular saw can cut through wood, sheetrock, and even sheets of thin aluminum.
The latter will dull the blades far faster, but it is still possible while getting a straight edge on the final cut.
The reason most people get the best rated circular saw is for woodworking, or if their job requires that they have one.
When it comes to woodworking, a circular saw gives you the ability to make precise 90° cuts, even if you’re not that experienced with one.
Circular saws are often used in the preparation of joining wood together. Before you can even think about using a biscuit joiner, you have to cut the wood in the right shape and size.
Circular saws also usually have a small blower, which moves the sawdust while you’re cutting. This keeps your path and line of sight clear, so you can cut with confidence.
Circular saws are best used for wood that’s around 4” or under in thickness. When you get into thicker wood, a 15 or 20 amp motor isn’t going to do the trick the right way.
This is when you would start using a table saw in its place. For most woodworking projects in your home, a circular saw will fill many roles.
What is an Electric Brake?
These are the most helpful addition to circular saws since their inception.
An electric brake is an exterior component that covers the circular blade, hugging it to a rapid halt immediately after the trigger/button is released. The cutoff of power activates the brake.
This allows you to go straight to another cut without having to wait. There’s no grace period of letting the blade slow down on its own.
Electric brake systems are excellent for contractor use, or if you’re making side money off of woodworking and trying to keep things timely.
They are not a complete necessity for every situation, they just come in handy and reduce your risk of accidental injury.
Can I Use a Bigger Blade on my Circular Saw?
When people ask “What is the best circular saw?” they’re looking for one that accommodates unforeseen obstacles.
They might upgrade their workshop, get a job in the trade, or just need it for bigger projects than they initially expected.
While it would be nice to buy bigger blades and put them on your circular saw, it’s rarely possible.
Unless the saw on your list specifically states that it’s meant to work with bigger blades than the ones that it includes, you should never assume that you can upgrade the blade diameter.
Most circular saws are built with the blade size in mind throughout the entire design.
If you need a bigger blade than the largest circular saw you can find, then you need to get a table saw instead.
How Many Amps Should a Circular Saw Have?
Amps are calculated by dividing the watts that an item gives off, by the volts from the outlet. You know how your dryer uses a specific cable for a 210/220 V outlet?
Those require a lot more consistent amps to function properly. The more amps, the more powerful the motor/demanding the device is that you’re using.
At least, if they’re energy efficient enough to use all that power properly.
The top circular saws on this list all use a 120 V power source, apart from those that use a 20 V battery.
The battle between corded and battery-operated units is a long fight, but basically, if they can provide the same amount of amps (which is admittedly more difficult for cordless units), then they’re equal.
A good amount of amps to have in your circular saw is either 15 or 20.
These are high-powered, usually have zero startup time, and provide a much smoother glide through wood, including thicker pieces.
If you’re going to cut through wood that’s 4” or thicker, you’ll need 15 amps at the very least (and a 7 ¼” blade diameter) to ensure a perfectly straight cut, every single time.
Lastly, the higher the amps, the better it will cut through dense wood like oak. You could throw Irwin blades in every one of these circular saws, and come out with different performances.
It’s not about the blades, it’s about how powerful the motor is at slicing through wood with them.
Some mid-tier circular saws will have about 12 amps, and those are okay, but now you’ve fallen into the category of circular saws that we wouldn’t recommend for commercial or job use.
12 amps will obviously be less powerful than a 15 amp unit, but will still get most of the jobs on your checklist done.
What Size Circular Saw is Best?
The best circular saw for contractors will have a wide range of sizes, and may even accommodate larger blades than the industry standard of 7 ¼”.
However, commercial circular saws might also jump hundreds of dollars from the price average that we have on our list.
This list was compiled with woodworking in mind, not general contracting.
You can still perform carpentry-based tasks with these, but the standard 7 ¼” size is best for woodworking.
If you need anything bigger for really high-scale projects, you might be looking at a table saw instead.
Then there’s a 4 ½” circular saw, which comes in handy for its own tasks.
Since these models usually average five pounds or less (the Worx saw we reviewed is only 4.4 lbs), it offers far better mobility.
Larger saws in the 7 ¼” blade size range are rarely less than ten pounds.
As we talked about earlier, amperage is super important. Without enough amps, your saw might not be up to the tasks you have in mind.
If you work with a lot of dense woods, such as oak and cherry, then you’ll want to opt for a 7 ¼” model or above.
For general cutting as well as trimming projects in their later work stages, these larger saws will do better.
Smaller saws are good for detailing, cutting thinner boards, and fixing mistakes that you might not have seen. 4 ½” saws also work wonders if you’re trying to make two boards flush with one another after using a biscuit joiner.
Do I Need a Cordless Circular Saw?
The best compact circular saw usually isn’t a cordless one. It all depends on what you’re planning on using it for, though.
If you’re here because you need a new circular saw for your jobsite or commercial work, a cordless circular saw isn’t going to suit your needs properly.
Even if you have a few extra battery packs, that limits the time you can use it in an intense situation.
For personal woodworking shops, a cordless saw might actually be better.
You’re not building the frame of a house; you’re putting intense detail on your woodworking project, and you need to be able to maneuver all around it.
If you’re building a desk or dining table, the cord might mess with your mobility while trying to move it from area to area.
There is a common misconception that cordless models are not as powerful as corded models.
If it’s a 120 V power source and operated at 15 amps, it doesn’t matter if it comes from a battery pack or an extension cable running across the floor.
Cordless is about mobility, corded is about dependability. If you are going to choose a cordless circular saw, take the battery charging times into account.
You don’t want to be held-up on a project while you’re waiting for 20 V lithium-ion batteries to charge for five to six hours.
The Last Circular Saw You’ll Ever Need
You know the brands, you know the models, and you know everything about mobility, power, and the right specifications to get the job done.
The only thing that’s left to do is grab your ideal model, and get the job done.
Contractors can keep their miter saws, but woodworkers that want to truly customize their classic work need a circular saw.
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