From thick boards to thin panel, a circular saw, with its spinning, toothed blade, makes it easy to cut through wood either with the grain or across it. These versatile power tools are a must for any DIYer who does a lot of woodwork, including framing a deck, furniture building, or even building a doghouse. There are both battery-powered and corded circular saws; battery-powered are more portable, but corded tend to have more power. Which you choose depends on your project and how often you plan to use it.
From cross-cutting 2x4s to ripping plywood, circular saws use high-powered blades to make a variety of cuts. Although circular saws are often thought of as woodworking tools, many models can be outfitted with specialized blades to cut masonry, metal, and laminate flooring.
To help you find a circular saw for your DIY projects, Our team researched the best circular saws on Amazon. Here are our top recommendations.
WHY A CORDED CIRCULAR SAW?
You’ll find a circular saw in nearly every Pros arsenal. Corded models offer nearly infinite power as long as electricity is hooked up or there’s a generator nearby. And with most models offering a 15-amp motor, you get reliably solid power. Even the DIY models can make an effective cut with decent speed using an excellent blade. Around the country, these benefits make Pros keep choosing the cord over cordless convenience. Plus, corded tools don’t force you to stick with one brand’s battery platform – you can get the best tool in each class no matter who makes it.
How to Choose a Circular Saw
Choosing the best circular saw for your project often means balancing cutting power or torque with the speed (or RPMs) of how fast the blade turns. Here are some other features that could help you choose the best circular saw for your project.
- An easy-change blade system that offers one-step blade changes, with and without the use of a tool. This is especially important to minimize downtime if you switch blades frequently.
- An electric brake that stops the blade quickly when you release the trigger, enhancing safety and helping you get ready for the next cut more quickly.
- A dust blower that removes dust from the cut line, enhancing visibility. Plus, a dust port allows you to connect the saw to a shop vacuum or dust bag to collect sawdust as you cut.
- A built-in laser guide in your saw that projects a line on your work for better accuracy and efficiency on straight cuts.
- A rip fence to improve accuracy and efficiency when cutting parallel to the edge of the work piece. Longer fences, or guides, offer better control of the saw.
What to Expect From Saws
Corded circular saws are powerful tools that crosscut wood (cut across its grain) and rip it (cut with the grain). The tools that we examined do not exhibit much design variation. For example, the blades in all but one of these saws are 7.25 inches in diameter, positioned on the right side of the motor, and, when fully lowered, make cuts about 2.25 inches deep (or slightly deeper).
However, when you increase price by $10 to $15 from the category’s basement, you go from a saw with a 12-amp motor to one that operates at 15 amps. This motor is better able to handle deep cuts, especially if the lumber is wet. If you need a saw to cut framing lumber, spend the extra money.
Track Saw or Circular Saw?
Track saws are dedicated woodworking circular saws that travel on a rail to give you the straightest cut possible. They typically use a higher tooth count blade and are designed to deliver a cleaner cut. For many applications, it’s an easier tool to use than a table saw when you need long, straight cuts.
Some of the more recent flagship circular saws come rail-compatible. They give you the accuracy of using a track with the familiar feel of a standard circular saw. You can still put a high tooth count blade on it if you want a finer finish, but the design isn’t as purpose-driven for woodworking as a track saw.
How We Test
Our test material was what you would expect: Douglas fir 2 x 4, 2 x 10, and 4 x 4, and a little hem fir and red oak thrown in for good measure. We used each saw to cut across and with the grain, the blade perpendicular to its shoe and at an angle to it.
Next, we did some hairsplitting crosscuts guiding each saw along a square held across the workpiece. If the saw held true along the cut, that told us that its shoe edge and blade are parallel. If the saw moved off the square (and the cutline), we knew something was amiss. The most common cause is a saw motor and body that makes a slightly sloppy fit with the shoe on which it rides. Here’s how the best saws—from inexpensive, homeowner-duty saws to pro-worthy models, some corded and some without—fared in these tests.
Our Top Picks
There was a time when I thought each circular saw serves a specific purpose. In my eyes, a multipurpose saw didn’t exist (or couldn’t exist). However, the Makita 5007Mg Magnesium isn’t like most circular saws. I’ll tell you all about it in this Makita circular saw review.
For starters, the circular saw’s motor was nothing short of a monster. I’ve seen other saws like the DeWalt DWE575SB and the SKIL 5280-01 sport a 15-amp motor.
However, when it comes to blade rotations, the Makita 5007mg hit it out of the park. The 5800 RPM rating is perhaps the highest I’ve seen for a 15-amp circular saw.
Everybody loves quality-of-life features. I’m a big fan as well. And the Makita 5007Mg has a lot of them. The twin LED lights help me maintain my focus even in low light conditions.
There is a built-in dust extraction that complements the LED. So, you get a perfect combination of extra light and dust control. While it falls short by an inch in bevel capacity compared to the DeWalt DWE575SB, it still holds strong at 56-degrees.
There are many worm drive circular saws out there, but the Dewalt DWS535B is definitely one of the best. Like I said, if you’re a framer or you work with really hard dense lumber, you’re going to love it too, because it’s got the power to cut through some really tough lumber with precision.
It comes with a rafter hook or hanger so you can hang it close to you on the job.
If you only engage in simple DIY project at home, a worm drive circular saw might not be the best fit for you, because you can use a simple cheaper sidewinder-style saw instead. But you can still get one of these it’s what you prefer.
In terms of weight, it’s a little bit on the heavy side as compared to the other ones reviewed in this article. However, I would expect nothing less of a saw of this quality.
When compared to the other circular saws that saturate the market, the SKIL 5280-01 is a model that provides a great value for money, without limiting its features and power.
This is an area where SKIL excel – the creation of high-quality products that are affordable for a variety of customers, regardless of their budgets. Not only is the SKIL 5280-01 a perfect circular saw financially, yet it’s not too bad at its intended purpose, either.
Many smart features have been packed into this small design, and if you read below, you’d come to understand why I’m a big fan of the SKIL 5280-01 model – and why you probably will be, too.
Laser guides are an increasing and welcome inclusion in most modern-day tools, and the SKIL 5280-01 circular saw includes a line of sight that is incredibly accurate and makes your job much easier when making cuts.
This not only works well in dim conditions but is also great under the sun (although keep in mind, it won’t be as bright as a darker environment, of course), allowing for use in a majority of situations. When partnered with the dust blower that clears your line of sight – you have no excuses in making irregular cuts with this saw, although you can try this yourself.
Hitachi is an often-overlooked brand but consumers should be paying closer attention to this relative newcomer to the power tool world. The company’s first product was Japan’s first 5-horsepower electric induction motor. Hitachi power tools are great quality and relatively inexpensive.
The C7ST will offer you a powerful 15-amp motor boasting up to 6,000 RPM. You won’t find much you can’t do with the Hitachi C7ST circular saw. This circular saw is well-made, strong, and durable. The base is steel and aluminum and offers easy-to-read side scales. It’s also light at 9.5 lbs.
The price on the Hitachi C7ST is on the lower end of the range for this group. With the Hitachi C7ST you are getting a capable, reliable circular saw at a great price.
The editor of Fine Homebuilding called the predecessor to this Bosch “the best saw I’ve ever used.” It’s not surprising that Bosch built this saw based on the Skilsaw as they own Skil. It features a 15 amp motor, all ball-bearing drive and a diamond arbor for positive engagement between the saw and blade. An all magnesium housing and foot keeps the weight down to 13.2 pounds.
This makes it almost a pound lighter than its predecessor, the major difference between the two. The same anti-snag lower blade guard that’s found on the Skilsaw avoids hangups, even with narrow cuts. Bosch has given this one a saw hook and large adjustment levers for ease of adjustment without tools. This is one of the few worm drive saws around with soft grip handles, something I really appreciate.
Why You Can Trust US?
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Even with all that background on the best circular saws, some additional questions might be spinning through your head about these power tools. The following section aims to answer those queries, as it’s a collection of some of the most frequently asked questions about circular saws. Be sure to check for an answer to your questions below.
What is a circular saw used for?
The overwhelmingly most common use for a circular saw is cutting framing lumber to length. However, it can be used to trim deck boards, cut plywood sheets into cabinet panels, and more.
What kind of cuts can a circular saw make?
Circular saws can make straight cuts, cuts with beveled angles, and even a series of thin, shallow cuts known as dados or rabbets.
Why does my circular saw get stuck?
If your blade is binding to its cutting material, the problem could be your cutting angle or blade. Check to make sure your blade is straight, sharp, and secure before using your circular saw.
How to use a circular saw?
Circular saws are handheld in design. You will hold the handle by your hand and then switch it on. It will power up the motor, which then powers up the circular blade. The circular blade will rotate and cut through any material it comes into contact with.