Whether you are working on a roofing project or you’d like to personalize your bedroom, chances are that you will need a tool that can cut both wood and metal. That’s why in this article we are going to show you how to find the best circular saw that will enable you to complete all your DIY projects.
Before proceeding any further you should go through our miter saw vs circular saw comparison to determine which of these tools better fits your needs.
Also, you should keep in mind that there is more than just one type of circular saw and that the range of materials you can cut depends on the type of circular saw you choose. Let’s take a closer look at the features that will help you find the best circular saw for all your wood and metalworking needs.
Top 5 circular saws
|Best Cordless||DeWalt DCS573B||Check price here|
|Best Corded||Makita 5007MG||Check price here|
|Best for DIYers||Craftsman CMES500||Check price here|
|Best Worm Drive||Skilsaw SPT70WM||Check price here|
|Most Affordable||RYOBI CSB125||Check price here|
What is a circular saw?
A circular saw is a handheld power tool that can cut through wood, plastic, metal, and various other materials. Read our track saw vs circular saw comparison if you’re having trouble differentiating between these tools.
A circular saw is capable of rotating the metal blade that features sharp teeth at high speeds which in turn produces a relatively smooth cut. However, the tool is going to produce burrs if you use it to cut plastic or metal.
Performing a straight or angled cut with a circular saw is relatively easy, but the tool’s dust collection system, anti-vibration features, or the shoe’s adjustability can affect the accuracy of a circular saw.
It is also worth pointing out that safety should be your primary concern while using a circular saw, as the tool can behave unpredictably if it struggles to go through a material smoothly.
The types of circular saws?
Handheld circular saws are just one among countless power tools that utilize a circular blade to cut material. However, designs of circular saws are not always the same which affects their power output and performance capabilities.
The location of the motor, weight, and torque output differ from one circular saw type to another which suggests that these tools are designed for different tasks. Here are some of the most common types of circular saws you’re likely to encounter while searching for a model you’d like to use in your workshop.
You should check out our guide to the tools you should always have in your toolkit.
The location of the motor alongside the blade reduces the weight of a sidewinder circular saw enabling you to use it for hours without feeling fatigued. These circular saws weigh around 11lbs or less but their weight doesn’t really affect their performance.
High-end models deliver a sufficient amount of torque to cut through hard materials effortlessly. Sidewinders are available in different sizes, so a full-sized model can be too large to handle for someone who doesn’t have enough strength to keep a firm grip on the tool.
Lighter models that weigh approximately 7lbs are also available and you should choose the option that features a handle that fits your hand perfectly.
The motor on worm drive circular saws is positioned behind the blade, which results in higher torque outputs. These circular saws can cut through wet wood, concrete, or any other material you may encounter at a construction site or in your workshop.
They are also heavier than other types of circular saws, as they usually weigh around 16lbs. Also, the handle is positioned further away from the blade, which enables you to have more control over the tool while you’re using it.
However, the performance capabilities of worm drive circular saws exceed the expectations of most DIYers as they are better suited for use in professional contexts.
Read our guide to the best worm drive saws to learn more about similar circular saws.
Designed specifically for metal cutting applications the cold circular saw utilizes either HSS (High Speed Steel) or tungsten-carbide-tipped circular saw blades. Unlike other saws that can cut through metal cold saws don’t generate heat during the cutting process.
Although they don’t rotate the blade at high speeds, these saws generate an impressive amount of torque that enables you to process both ferrous and non-ferrous alloys. In addition, you can also use these circular saws to cut wood, fiberglass, and other materials.
In case you’re searching for a circular saw that can be used for paneling or creating refined finishes you should get a trim saw. These tools are compact and lightweight so you won’t need a lot of strength to handle them.
Also, the blades trim saws use are smaller than those utilized by other types of circular saws which makes them better suited for making accurate cuts.
The most common uses of circular saws
It is relatively difficult for an inexperienced circular saw user to figure out in which contexts they should use these tools.
Going through our jigsaw vs circular saw and table saw vs circular saw comparisons will help you understand the range of applications for which you can utilize a circular saw. Let’s take a look at some of the most common uses of these power tools.
This is one of the most common types of cuts that enables you to join two pieces of wood. Even though you can create a bevel cut at 45-degrees with a circular saw, the tool won’t provide you with a great level of accuracy.
Performing cross cuts
The ability to follow the direction of the wood grain is one of the main advantages of crosscuts. Circular saws perform cross-cutting tasks faster than table saws or jigsaws and you can use them to shorten a board or piece of lumber to meet the specifications of the project you’re working on.
Performing straight cuts
A circular saw is the most reliable option if you want to cut material at a 90-degree angle as it enables you to complete this task quickly and efficiently. However, the smoothness of the finish will depend on the blade you use to make the cut.
Cutting metal or wood
All types of circular saws can cut through metal or wood if they are equipped with the right blade.
In case you need a circular saw that is designed to primarily process metals, then you should opt for a cold circular saw, while a worm drive or sidewinder circular saws are a better choice if you’re mostly working with wood.
Turning timber into firewood
A circular saw enables you to cut a large piece of lumber into smaller pieces of wood you can use for heating during winter. The tool is durable enough to withstand heavy-duty usage, so you won’t have to worry about damaging it by producing a large amount of firewood.
The advantages of circular saws
High power output – Even the entry-level circular saws are capable of generating high amounts of torque and rotating the blade at high speeds. Consequently, nearly all circular saws can cut through soft and hard materials with the same level of precision.
Easily portable – Most manufacturers offer circular saw models that are powered by batteries, so you don’t need access to a power grid in order to use these tools. Also, some circular saws can weigh just 7lbs and you won’t get tired carrying them around your workshop.
Great efficiency – Circular saws cut through most materials quickly, which enables you to process large quantities of wood, plastic, or metal in a relatively short time.
The disadvantages of circular saws
Safety issues – Handling a circular saw can be dangerous since there is almost no protection against kickback.
Once the blade reaches the area of material it can’t go through quickly it tends to stall and ultimately it jumps out of the kerf which can be potentially dangerous if you fail to maintain control over the tool.
Factors worth considering while choosing a circular saw
Each circular saw model comes with a different set of features, which is why it is so important to read the list of features of all circular saw models you’re interested in.
We’ve shortlisted several factors that will make it easier for you to get a realistic picture of the tool’s performance capabilities.
The source of power
A circular saw can either be corded or cordless, depending on the power source it uses. Cordless circular saws are powered by rechargeable batteries and you can only use them for a limited time.
A corded circular saw usually has a higher power output than a battery-powered model, but you can’t use them at locations where you don’t have access to the power grid.
This feature indicates how quickly the tool’s blade can go through a material, but it doesn’t reveal if it can cut through hard materials. Consequently, a circular saw with a high blade speed and low torque output won’t be able to cut all types of metals.
Your choice of a blade depends on the material you’re working with and the tool’s blade size compatibility. Go through our guide to the best circular saw blades for more information about blades you can use with your circular saw.
An emergency brake or trigger safety are among the safety features a circular saw should offer. Even if the model you choose has excellent safety features, you should also wear protective gear while using this tool to avoid injury.
DeWalt DCS573B – The best cordless circular saw
The impressive list of features the DeWalt DCS573B circular saw offers makes it suitable for highly demanding cutting tasks.
The tool’s brushless model can rotate the blade at the maximum speed of 5,500RPM while pairing this circular saw with FREEVOLT® batteries will increase its power by 77%. The DeWalt DCS573 has 0 to 57 bevel capacity and it features positive bevel stops at 22.5 and 45 degrees.
Its maximum cut capacity at 90-degrees is 2-9/16-inches, while the maximum depth of a cut you can make with this tool at 45-degrees is 2 inches. This DeWalt’s circular blade is compatible with 7-1/4-inch blades, and it features an electric brake that stops the blade after you release the trigger.
- This tool weighs just 8.2lbs
- Equipped with the LED work light
- An optional dust collection port is available
- Generates high blade speed
- The charger and battery are sold separately
- Not a budget-friendly option
Makita 5007MG – The best corded circular saw
A 15 Amp motor and an excellent cutting capacity are among the features that make the Makita 5007MG one of the most powerful circular saws on the market. The maximum blade speed this tool can develop is 5800RPM which means that you can cut through all types of wood regardless of their density.
The tool’s shoe and other components are made of magnesium, which is the reason why this circular saw weighs just over 10lbs. This corded circular saw also features two LED work lights and a built-in dust blower that enable you to keep your eyes on the blade at all times.
The maximum depth of a cut you can perform with the Makita 5007MG is 2-1/2 inches at 90 degrees.
- Compatible with all 7-1/4 blades
- The tool ships with a rip fence
- Excellent safety features
- Positive bevel stops at 22.5, 45, and 56 degrees
- Managing the tool’s shoe can be difficult
- Limited portability
Craftsman CMES500 – The best circular saw for DIYers
In case you’re searching for an affordable circular saw that is capable of high-end performances, you should take a closer look at the Craftsman CMES500. This corded circular saw is equipped with a 13 Amp motor that rotates the blade at the maximum speed of 5300RPM.
Although this Craftsman’s model comes with an 18T carbide tip blade, you can pair it with any blade that has a 7-1/4-inch diameter. The tool features a spindle lock that enables you to switch between blades within moments.
The maximum depth of a cut at 90-degrees is 2-1/2-inches or 1-3/4-inches at 45-degrees and the tool covers a 0 to 45-degree bevel range. The Craftsman CMES500 has a contoured and over-molded handle that allows you to keep a firm grip on the tool.
- Provide high power output
- Equipped with a durable and efficient 7-1/4 blade
- Spindle lock allows quick blade changes
- Excellent price-performance ratio
- No emergency brake
- Dust collection features are not available
Skilsaw SPT70WM – The best worm drive circular saw
Professional woodworkers and metalworkers who need a circular saw that can cut through almost any material will benefit from getting the Skilsaw SPT70WM worm drive circular saw.
The 15 Amp motor this corded circular saw uses can develop the maximum speed of 4600RPM, and the tool has a 0.81-inch arbor. Maximum cut depth at 45-degrees can’t exceed 2-3/4-inches at 45-degrees or 3.685 inches at 90 degrees.
The Skilsaw SPT70WM is compatible with all 10-1/4-blades, but the manufacturer recommends using 40-tooth carbide-tipped blades. This circular saw doesn’t have an electric brake, a dust blower, or a dust collection port.
If you cut 4x, there's nothing like cutting it in 1 pass with this 10-1/4 Inches SKILSAW worm drive saw. No matter what the material, this worm drive saw is built to be relentless with it's 15 Amp dual field motor designed specifically for saws. It keeps the motor cooler, providing increased power and durability for the life of the saw. Only SKILSAW has it.
- Impressive maximum depth cut capacity
- High blade rotation speed
- The shoe is made of cast magnesium
- Features an integrated rafter hook for easy storage
- Poor safety features
- Heavier than most handheld circular saws
Ryobi CSB125 – The most affordable circular saw
Even though the features of the Ryobi CSB125 are far from being spectacular, this circular saw offers everything you need to cut through different materials. Its motor enables you to operate the blade at the speed of 5000RPM which means that you can perform a cut quickly.
The tool’s bevel range spans from 0 to 51.5-degrees with positive stops at 45-degrees and 51.5-degrees. You can adjust the depth of a cut using a scale as a reference and the maximum depth of a cut Ryobi CSB125 can make is limited to 2-7/16 inches.
This corded circular blade is equipped with an air diverter and a dust exhaust but it doesn’t have a work light that would enable you to use this tool in low light conditions.
- Compatible with 7-1/4 20-tooth blades
- Comfortable handle
- Suitable for plunge cuts
- Good dust collection features
- Limited cutting depth
- Not powerful enough to cut high-density materials
Frequently asked questions about circular saws
Answer: Yes, you can sharpen a steel-toothed blade with a file, but you will need a diamond wheel sharpener if you want to sharpen a carbide-tipped blade.
Answer: The answer to this question depends on the manufacturer of a circular saw, the model, and how frequently you use the tool. In most cases, you’ll be able to use your circular saw for at least a few years without having to replace any of its components.
Answer: A single Li-ion circular saw battery can withstand two to four hours of continuous usage, so you may need two or three batteries to complete an entire workday without having to recharge your batteries.
Answer: The cost of a circular saw depends on its performance capabilities, so you’ll have to spend around $200 for a high-end model, while an entry-level circular saw can be purchased for less than $100.
Our Verdict: How to know which circular saw is the best?
A circular saw is one of the most versatile tools you can add to your workshop because it enables you to cut different materials quickly. Although corded models provide you with more cutting power it is difficult to use them outside of your workshop.
So, if you are searching for a portable circular saw that can cut through high-density materials we recommend choosing the DeWalt DCS573B.
On the other hand, if you are not planning on using the circular saw at locations where finding an electric socket can be difficult you should opt for the Makita 5007MG or the Craftsman CMES500 if you’re searching for a more affordable option.
Which of the best circular saws we featured in this article are you going to choose? Leave a comment and let us know or continue reading our guide to finding the best track saws.