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Power saws help make a range of jobs easier and faster to complete. With so many styles, features, and options, though, it’s often challenging to find the right one for your needs. Here we’ll break down the most common types of power saws and how to find the best one for the job you need to complete. We’ll cover the features to look for, provide the top seven best power saws, and give a clear comparison of what each offers.
Bottom Line Up Front
For most job-specific tasks, it makes sense to have more than one saw. It’s often impossible to complete a task without the right equipment. But overall, the best power saws are multi-function ones, such as the WORX WX550L 20V Reciprocating Saw and Jigsaw.
WORX’s WX550L is our top choice for multiple uses as it functions as a reciprocating and jigsaw, plus has the handy features we’ve come to expect from a power saw. With a built-in blower, variable blade compatibility, and tool-free blade change, it’s a quick and ready saw for almost any application. Read on for more on how we chose the top saw, plus which other tools earned the distinction.
Different Types of Power Saws
Endless variations of power saws exist, and the same is true of power saws, too. But here we’ll look at the most common types of power saws on the market, including those for professional and home use.
Band saws can be either portable or stationary, but we’ll focus on the portable type which qualifies as a power tool. Portable band saws can cut through most materials, but highlights are items such as wood, tubes, pipes, and even PVC.
In professions such as plumbing and welding, band saws can prove invaluable. Fortunately, there are portable power types available which you can move wherever you need to use them.
Circular saws are probably the most commonly available saw and the most commonly used. You can use a circular saw in many applications, and with different blade designs, you can cut a range of materials including wood, stone, plastic, brick, and more.
A circular saw involves a circular blade that ranges in sizes of up to 24 inches in diameter but averages between seven and nine inches. Multiple blades provide adequate cutting for different materials and scenarios.
Jigsaws are ideal for cutting curved lines (and other non-straight lines) and come in corded and cordless versions. A jigsaw blade is short and fine and moves up and down to cut through a range of materials. Ideal for flat table-top cutting, jigsaws are an indispensable tool in many workshops.
In general, a miter saw mimics a hand saw and can make accurate crosscuts and miters. Its movement imitates a hand saw, but the blade moves quickly in a dropping motion to cut through the material. You can achieve precise cuts with a miter saw, but a compound miter saw also offers additional cuts for complex projects like trim and other small-scale designs.
Perhaps the most familiar saw, the reciprocating saw looks a lot like old-fashioned hand saws. In contrast with a hand saw, though, a reciprocating saw does the back-and-forth work for you. Many people will recognize the name Sawzall when it comes to reciprocating models, but the brand is only one of many manufacturers of reciprocating saws.
A reciprocating saw or “hognose” saw uses the same push-and-pull movement of a traditional saw, but at a much faster rate and with more precision. Of course, the power function of the saw makes many jobs quicker and easier.
It might not look like a saw, but a rotary saw is a type of power tool for making precise cuts without pilot holes. Its most common application is in cutting drywall, but a rotary tool is also excellent for cutting holes in plywood or other thin yet solid materials.
How to Find the Best Power Saws
Because there are so many types of power saws out there, it’s unlikely you’ll find one to fit every cutting need. However, there are a few features of the very best power saws that can make the difference between an “okay” result and a phenomenal one. Here’s how to find the best power saws, starting with the features and what they mean in real-world applications.
Power saws draw their power from either a cord or a rechargeable battery. Both options have their perks, but it comes down to personal preference whether corded or cordless is best for your needs.
Corded power tools, in general, provide consistent power which never quits. Power saws with cords do limit usability, though, because you need to either bring an extension cord along or stay close to a wall outlet to get the job done.
Battery-powered power saws are ideal for traveling or using outdoors, but you’ll want to ensure you have enough battery power to complete the task at hand. Ideally, you will have at least one backup battery (preferably charged up) in case you lose power.
Most rechargeable batteries require extensive charging time, but some will charge in an hour or less. If you plan to use your power saw for extended periods, look for quick-charge batteries or prepare to spend a bit more on multiple batteries for your saw.
Safety isn’t always a top priority for many power tool users, but it’s vital for all of us. Safety features on power saws can prevent someone from losing a finger or worse, which is why purchasing a power saw with built-in safety protection is a good idea.
From blade guards to automatic power-off settings when you let go of the trigger, most power saws come with some form of protection. Depending on how you plan to use the saw and in what environment, you will either want to look for saws with additional safety features or more lax specifications.
Blade Compatibility and Versatility
Each type of saw utilizes a different type of blade (just consider the difference between bandsaw blades and jigsaws, for example), but that doesn’t mean every saw requires specialized blades. Some saws accept different types, even off-brand ones, for varying tasks and materials.
If you already own a saw from a specific brand, it’s worth considering whether any of the blades will work with the tool you’re considering. You may also want to look into the cost of replacement blades, as many units don’t come with spares and they can be expensive in some cases.
While getting the job done is the primary goal with all saws, the best power saws also showcase convenience features that make completing your necessary tasks easier. Built-in dust bags or blowers help keep your work area clean, for example, and LED guides to ensure your cutting lines stay straight.
Convenience features like ergonomic handles and built-in tool hooks aren’t necessities, but they do add to the overall experience when working on complex projects. Consider whether any of these features are must-haves for your next power saw and look out for them on our list of the best power saws on the market today.
1. WORX WX550L 20V Reciprocating Saw and Jigsaw
With both a reciprocating saw and jigsaw mode, WORX’s WX550L can handle a variety of cutting tasks with little effort on the operator’s part.
- Tool-free blade change
- Converts from reciprocating saw to jigsaw
- Side motor
- Compatible with any standard reciprocating saw and t-shank jigsaw blade
- Built-in blower
A pivoting head accepts both jigsaw and reciprocating saw attachments, and you can swap them out within seconds. Both blade types fit into the chuck, which helps make switching modes even easier. An orbital mode helps with reciprocating movements and the variable speed trigger works in both configurations for customizable cutting.
Keeping your work area clean is easy thanks to the built-in blower, though due to the size of the saw, you might not be able to tackle the biggest projects with this pint-sized tool. Due to safety precautions, you won’t find a continuous operation mode, which could be a drawback for some users.
- Dual reciprocating and jig functions
- Variable speed trigger
- Built-in blower
- Tilting/orbital mechanism
- Not suitable for bigger jobs
- Must hold trigger down for continuous operation
2. TACKLIFE TCS115A Circular Saw
A handheld circular saw with an abundance of features, TACKLIFE’s TCS115A includes blades for multiple applications, built-in safety precautions, and an ergonomic design you can wield with one hand.
- 5.8 Amp motor
- Six blades for wood, soft metal, and tile cuts
- 90- and 45-degree bevel cutting
- Protection switch to prevent accidental opening
- One-handed operation
- Laser guide
Unlike larger-scale saws, the TCS115A doesn’t include a built-in blower; it has a curved dust port for connecting your vacuum cleaner for dust prevention. On such a small hand saw, we can’t fault TACKLIFE for not including a blower, and the port is a nice feature.
While it’s not entirely portable (it is a corded model), the saw does provide a high level of power for prolonged periods thanks to the 120V cord. Overall, it’s lightweight and handy to have for smaller-scale projects, and the safety features are helpful, too; a safety switch keeps the saw from accidentally opening, plus an aluminum alloy guard keeps the blade covered.
- Dual handle option
- Laser guide for straight cuts
- Aluminum alloy guard
- No built-in blower
- Corded (no battery option)
3. SKIL 5280-01 Circular Saw
Continuous power and a built-in dust blower are highlights of the SKIL 5280-01, a circular saw with easy-to-use features and plenty of power to complete most jobs.
- 15 Amp motor
- Spindle lock for blade changes
- Dust Blower
- Anti-snag lower guard
- Laser guide
- 24-tooth carbide blade
SKIL’s 5280-01 Circular Saw packs plenty of power with a 15 Amp motor, but it’s less likely to trip your breaker than other heavier-duty corded saws. But with the features it offers, there’s not much to complain about; a built-in blower keeps your work area free of sawdust, settings are easily changeable, and the trigger has a guard for safety.
If you plan to tackle household jobs regularly, SKIL’s circular saw is up for the challenge. It might not excel in a shop setting with tougher tasks, but for most hobbyists, it’s a solid circular saw with the ability to cut up to 2 3/8 inch.
- Built-in dust blower
- Has a guarded trigger for safety
- Accessible blade depth adjustment
- Lightweight at under seven pounds
- Corded (no battery option)
- Not as powerful as professional options
15 Amp motor with 2.5HP for power & performance. Features include: single beam laser for accurate cuts, 51 deg. bevel with positive stops at 45 degrees, improved dust blower, power ON indicator, safety lock guarded trigger, wide foot plate for stability & rear view depth adjustment for quick depth changes.
4. DEWALT DWS715 Compound Miter Saw
If cutting complex angles on molding is your area of expertise or enjoyment, DEWALT’s DWS715 Compound Miter Saw might be the perfect fit.
- 15 Amp motor
- Stainless steel miter detent plate (14 positive stops)
- 12-inch carbide-tipped blade
- Built-in carry handle
- Sliding fences for up to 5 ½ inches of base molding or crown molding (vertically)
For intricate projects with specific angle requirements, DEWALT’s compound miter saw can achieve a straight and accurate cut through lumber, hardwood, and even plywood. Fourteen positive stops span the stainless steel miter detent plate, and there are sliding fences to accommodate up to 5 ½ inches of molding.
An included dust bag helps keep your work area clean, but you can also attach a vacuum to the output for even less cleanup after you finish the job. One drawback is you won’t be able to tackle extremely accurate tasks (such as detailed molding cuts), but for general molding and other projects, DEWALT’s miter saw is an impressively versatile saw.
- Allows for cutting complex angles
- Somewhat portable thanks to the carry handle
- Included dust bag
- Corded (no battery option)
- Difficult to swap blades
The DW715 12-inch single-bevel miter saw has a strong 15 amp rotor which offers an amazingly fast speed of 4000 RPM. This will make your cutting tasks very easy and quick to finish.
5. BLACK+DECKER BDEJS600C Jig Saw
BLACK+DECKER’s Jig Saw can cut everything from wood to metal to pipes, making it an ideal all-around saw for any toolbox.
- 5 Amp variable-speed motor
- Wire guard
- Dust Blower
- Keyless blade clamp
- Four customized orbit settings
- Beveling shoe for angled cuts in both directions
If you’re looking for an affordable do-it-all saw, BLACK+DECKER’s BDEJS600C might be perfect for your needs. It’s a lightweight unit with variable speed settings (adjusted via trigger pressure) and consistent power via the 120V cord.
For an entry-level jigsaw, the included features, like a built-in dust blower and universal blade fittings, balance out the few negative aspects. One blade comes with the saw but purchasing other blades according to the projects you plan to complete isn’t too difficult a task.
It may not hold up in a professional setting with daily use, but for hobby projects and basic around-the-house fixes, BLACK+DECKER’s jigsaw is an excellent addition to your collection.
- Lightweight at under five pounds
- Variable speed settings
- Built-in dust blower
- Corded (no battery option)
- Only one blade included
6. Makita XBP02TX Portable Band Saw Kit
Makita’s portable band saw provides an alternative to bulkier saws with the same functions and delivers optimal battery life thanks to the kit’s two quick-charging 18V batteries.
- Six-setting variable speed
- Built-in LED Protection circuit
- Bumper design for durability
- Tool hook for hanging
- Ergonomic design
- Kit includes two quick-charge 5.0 Ah batteries
In comparison with other saws, Makita’s band saw is on the heftier side; it weighs over 14 pounds. Other band saws are even less wieldy, though, and you can’t beat the functionality for the overall weight of Makita’s saw.
A rubberized grip helps with ergonomics, especially in vertical applications, and a safety switch ensures no accidental cuts happen. Storage is simple, too, with the included tool hook, which is also helpful if you’re climbing a ladder before using the saw.
A built-in LED light provides better visibility as you cut through square tubing, sheet metal, corrugated metal, conduit, pipe, and other materials. Adjustable speeds help accommodate different materials, and a protective bumper keeps your saw from sustaining damage. See how Makita compares to Ryobi here.
- Battery charging takes 45 minutes
- Safety switch
- Cuts through a range of heavy-duty materials
- Weighs over 14 pounds
7. Ryobi P531 Rotary Cutter
Rotary cutters are essential for construction projects and even small crafts, and Ryobi’s P531 is suitable for everything from drywall and paneling cutting to small-scale home DIYs.
- Accepts 1/8-inch and ¼-inch bits
- Spindle lock for switching bits
- Removable depth adjustment guide
While it is a bit noisier than comparable models, the Ryobi makes our list of the best power saws for its versatility. Every homeowner, hobbyist, and professional will benefit from having a basic rotary cutter in their toolbox.
Rotary saws allow for accurate cuts in more delicate materials, such as thin wood which is also relatively brittle. Cutting through drywall, plywood, and other materials smoothly and doesn’t require specialized tools with the help of Ryobi’s rotary cutter.
It also accepts a variety of bits, making for even more usability across a range of projects and sawing scenarios. The only drawbacks we’ve found is it’s a bit noisier than other rotary cutters and the on/off switch is a bit awkwardly placed; it tends to shut off if you don’t observe your hand placement carefully.
- Compact; fits in tight spots
- Accommodates multiple bit sizes
- On/off switch is in an awkward spot
- Somewhat noisy
Ryobi introduces the new and improved 18-Volt ONE+ Speed Saw Rotary Cutter, an excellent choice for a variety of cutting applications. The saw accepts 1/4 in. and 1/8 in. bits and features a depth setting that can be adjusted for making cuts in different types of materials.
Comparing the Options
|WORX WX550L||Recip /Jigsaw||20V||Lithium-ion (included)|
|TACKLIFE TCS115A||Circular||Corded 120V||NA|
|SKIL 5280-01||Circular||Corded 60V||NA|
|DEWALT DWS715||Compound Miter||Corded 110V||NA|
|BLACK+DECKER BDEJS600C||Jigsaw||Corded 120V||NA|
|Makita XBP02TX||Band saw||18V||5.0 Ah Lithium-ion (included)|
|Ryobi P531||Rotary saw||18V||Ryobi 18V (not included)|
Unfortunately for contractors and hobbyist woodworkers alike, there is no perfect saw which is suitable for all applications. Depending on what type of jobs you need to complete, you’ll need to check our list for the best power saws for each scenario and shop accordingly. Fortunately, we’ve made the process a bit easier with our guide to sourcing the right saw for your next project.