Circular Saws: A Short Introduction
Making cuts to wood, metal, sheetrock, and other materials is essential to any home project. Circular saws, the handheld electric saws are generically known in the construction world as “Skil saws,” are versatile powerhouses and virtually necessary for all craftsman needs. Weekend warriors, DIY dabblers, and professional contractors alike all need a top-rated circular saw to get their projects completed.
Find the best circular saw for your projects by reading these circular saw reviews!
What To Consider When Buying A Circular Saw
Corded Or Cordless?
A cordless option would seem like the obvious choice. Freedom of mobility with the saw should be the trump card, right? This option may not be as practical as you think.
With these saws, you usually have to buy the battery separately. If your budget allows for it, it’s not a bad idea to buy multiple quality (high “ah”) batteries so you aren’t sitting around waiting for a single battery to charge. On the other hand, a corded saw has consistent power through every project.
This all depends on which hand is your dominant one. If you hold a saw with your right hand, a saw with the blade positioned on the left will be less awkward to use, as you will be able to see your cuts very clearly. If you are left-handed, a saw with the blade positioned on the right will be better suited for you.
The circular saws we review range from 6 to 10+ pounds. Generally, you can assume that you will trade quality for weight: The heavier the saw, the more durable overall it is. But not everyone can be graceful with a 10+ pound power tool, either. So, choose wisely!
Circular Saw Variations
Most of the circular saws here are sidewinder circular saws. These are considered the most portable, versatile, and easy-to-use saws. They also are virtually maintenance-free. This guide contains one worm drive saw (SKILSAW SPT77WML-01 Worm Drive Circular Saw). Worm drive saws deliver more power and a further reach, but require a little more oiling and maintenance, and are also heavier.
Circular Saw Extras
Different saws have a variety of special features. There are saws that have a laser guide, saws with a work light (for those of us who don’t see so well in the first place), saws with a dust blower, and saws with a wrench onboard for quick blade changes.
Top 10 Reviewed Circular Saws In 2021
1. Ryobi P507 One Plus Circular Saw
- Weight: 6 pounds
- 4700 RPM
- 18 volts
- Onboard guiding base
- 6 ½ inch saw blade
- Imperial measurements (inches)
A brand that is known for creating affordable power tools, Ryobi delivers accuracy of cuts and a budget price with this lightweight and speedy circular saw. This saw boasts a bevel cut angle up to 56 degrees and an onboard guiding base to make cuts more accurate and guided with both hands. A blade wrench is stored in the handle for quick and easy saw blade changes.
The most important feature of this saw is its price. It comes with only the basics you absolutely need in a saw and nothing you can live without. This Ryobi cordless circular saw can handle big and small projects alike. All the Ryobi One power tools use the same batteries, so this might be a good choice if that is the case for you.
Though you could technically get away with using any cordless saw in either hand, this Ryobi circular saw blade is positioned on the left of the motor, which may cause awkwardness for left-handed people.
This saw could be perfect for a beginner DIYer, and the best cordless and lightweight circular saw for the money.
2. DEWALT Circular Saw (DWE575SB)
- Weight: 8.8 pounds
- 5200 RPM
- Electric Break
- Easy lever bevel adjustment
- 7 ½ inch saw blade
- Dust blower
A long time player in the construction world, DEWALT comes through again with a reliable, versatile and lightweight circular saw. It’s mid-range in price. This saw cuts up to 2 9/16 inches deep. The power cord keeps consistent speed while using your saw for endless projects.
After a cut is made, the break stops the blade within 2-3 seconds. Without a break, the blade continues to spin for up to 15 seconds. There are two reasons a break is important; increased safety for the user and the ability to move on to another cut more quickly. While making cuts, the saw blows away dust so you can clearly see your cuts.
When it’s time to make a bevel cut, the saw can be adjusted with the levers instead of knobs. This makes for much more seamless transitions, especially while wearing gloves.
This saw is the highest-rated 15-amp circular saw on Amazon, with over a thousand raving 5 star ratings from buyers. It comes with an option to buy a bag for the saw, which could make a great gift.
The DEWALT 15-amp circular saw is an excellent saw for every level of ability.
3. Makita XSS02Z 18V LXT
- Weight: 7.3 pounds
- 3700 RPM
- 6 ½ inch saw blade
- 2 ¼ inch cutting depth
- High-tech batteries
Makita has become a popular name in recent years for their quality power tools. Originally from Japan, they boast a high-quality battery to accompany all their tools. Now they are made in China (like practically all power tools), but still have one of the best reputations in the industry.
Cordless batteries are a common bane among all cordless power tool users. Makita understands this and comes to the rescue. A computer system installed within the tool and the battery “talk” to each other, which prevents overloading and overheating the battery. This helps the batteries last longer. No more buying lots of expensive replacement batteries!
The batteries also charge quickly. They finish charging in about 10 minutes for every “ah” in the battery. For example, if you buy the 3.0ah battery, it will take about 30 minutes to charge, 5.0ah about 50 minutes, and so on.
Not only does this saw come with the blade positioned on the left hand of the saw (better for right-handers), it’s customer reviews claim seamless movement, no drags, and perfectly accurate cuts. You also have the option to buy it with a brushless motor for a higher quality circular saw.
This Makita power tool is the best overall circular saw for the money.
4. SKILSAW SPT77WML-01 Worm Drive Circular Saw
- Weight: 11.9 pounds
- Worm Drive Saw
- Magnesium base plate
- 53 degree beveling capacity
- 2 ⅜ inch max depth cut
Historically, SKILSAW is the first brand to create the “worm drive” saw. Worm drive saws are built to deliver more power behind the blade, but require a little more maintenance than sidewinders. Go ahead and buy some oil when you buy this saw.
Though it’s the heaviest saw on this circular saw review, this SKILSAW is the lightest worm drive saw on the market. It can definitely handle some wear and tear. It’s been designed with the motor in mind, as they have specifically designed the Dual-Field motor for circular saws. The blade is on the left, making it more convenient for right-handed people.
The magnesium boot is a feature to be highlighted because not only is it super lightweight, it’s the most durable material you can put on a saw. The material is more expensive than others, which is one of the reasons it’s one of the more pricey circular saws out there.
The reviews for this circular saw are raving. Many professionals and weekend warriors took the time to weigh in and give their five stars. A lot of these reviews said they exchanged their decades-old saws for this one and were not disappointed. Its weight and power give the saw ease of straight cuts, even free-handed cuts, time after time.
5. GALAX PRO 12A Circular Saw
- 7 ¼ inch saw blade
- 2.45 inch cutting depth
- Laser guide
- Weight: 9.1 pounds
- 5,500 RPM
If you’re a penny pinching DIYer that just wants to cut through (saw pun!) the overwhelming options and buy the best, cheapest saw, then Galax Pro is your brand. They make a circular saw with a quality motor, high RPMs and a lightweight design while even throwing a few extra features in. It’s the ideal option for occasional weekend projects around the home.
Though much of the outside is made of plastic, reviews say to not be wary of this. Inside the saw you will find an iron chassis and steel to reinforce the motor. Galax makes sure to bring you quality and ease of use. With the laser guide and dust-blower, you’re able to execute quick cuts without having to stop to meticulously measure or brush dust off your project (or yourself).
The included blade is designed to cut wood, however, if you want to, you can easily change the blade out by removing the hex bolt with the included wrench. The foreseeable pain points of this saw could be its twisting bevel adjusters, right-sided blade, and less amperage to the motor. Besides these things, it’s one of the best circular saws for the money.
6. POPOMAN Cordless Circular Saw – MTW300B
- Weight: 9.25 pounds
- 2 1/16 inch depth cut
- Laser guide
- Dust extractor
- Comes with a 4ah battery and 2 blades
- 6 ½ inch saw blade
Talk about hassle free buying! This is the only cordless circular saw on this list to come with a battery, battery charger and extra saw blade. The included 4ah battery is not wimpy and should last you a long time. POPOMAN created this saw with the DIYer cutting wood in mind. Right-handers will love this saw because the blade is positioned on the left of the motor.
When you consider how much buying a battery and extra blade is on top of the circular saw, this package deal is very affordable. Top features include a laser guide and a dust extractor, which can hook on to a vacuum to suck up all the extra debris while working. Blade changes are a breeze with the included hex wrench.
Reviewers cite some annoyances with this model, one being difficulty in finding a spare battery. POPOMAN has since updated the product description to include the exact spare battery model to search for. Another thing to watch out for is the size of the arbor (¾ inch). It’s not the standard size that fits most saw blades (which is ⅝ inch), so it might be difficult to find an extra blade that fits (though this isn’t a problem if you know how to sharpen your own blades).
This is a great standard saw for any DIYer.
7. DEWALT 20V Max Circular Saw (DCS391B)
- 6 ½ inch saw blade
- 20 Volts
- Magnesium base plate
- Weight: 7.1 pounds
- 5,150 RPM
Here is DEWALT’s cordless version of their circular saw. As we mentioned before, DEWALT is a very dependable brand with top of the line power tools. This saw is one pound lighter than the corded version, which means you can be a bit more free to move around doing your projects.
Like the SKILSAW worm drive saw, this DEWALT has a magnesium base plate which will extend the life of your saw and ensure no dragging while you cut. It has a break just like the corded version, which is a great way to stay safe while on the job. You will need that break; with the motor voltage at a whopping 20 volts, reviewers compare the power of this saw to that of a worm drive. Impressive!
Though it’s not pictured, reviews say that the newest model comes with a rafter hook, perfect for hanging your DEWALT circular saw nearby while working on a project on a ladder.
This mid-range priced saw is a great all-around saw for professionals and weekend warriors.
8. Milwaukee 2731-20 M18 Fuel 7-1/4″ Circular Saw Bare
- Weight: 8.5 pounds
- Brushless Motor
- Work Light
- Rafter hook for storage
- 7 ¼ inch saw blade
Milwaukee’s take on the circular saw blade joins the highest-quality parts with the best technology available, while still keeping a check on the weight.
The name “Fuel” does not mean that the saw runs on fuel, it just means that this version has a brushless motor. Brushless motors are great because they don’t require as much maintenance as other circular saws. They are ideal because they are more efficient. This particular model boasts double the running time of other circular saws. The only drawback is that they are very expensive to manufacture. If you can afford it and you’re more of a professional, it might be worth it to invest in a saw with a brushless motor like this.
Not only does this saw have a top of the line motor, the batteries are smart, too. Similar to the Makita cordless circular saw, the battery on this Milwaukee saw has technology to prevent the battery and tool from wearing down.
Little extra features are the icing on the cake with this saw. They include a rafter hook, a LED light for increased visibility, and a magnesium base plate for durability. This is an excellent choice for a professional needing the highest-quality cordless saw.
9. SKIL 5280-01 15-Amp 7-1/4-Inch Circular Saw with Single Beam Laser Guide
- 5,300 RPM
- 7 ¼ inch saw blade
- Laser guide
- Weight: 6.95 pounds
- Dust blower
- 2 ⅜ inches deep cut
At first glance, you might think this is the second SKILSAW saw on this list. Though owned by the same company (Chervon), SKIL and SKILSAW are two different brands. SKILSAW maintains the more professional power tools of the company, while SKIL sticks to products more aimed toward DIYers.
Here we have SKIL’s top rated sidewinder corded circular saw. If you visit any construction site in America, “skil saw” is a name synonymous with circular saws, so you know it’s a trusted brand. This is the second saw on this circular saw review to come with a storage bag.
SKIL really outdoes the competition when it comes to weight. This saw is the best lightweight circular saw available, weighing in at just under 7 pounds. If this 15 amp saw is too much for your budget, you have the option to go down in amperage in order to save a little money.
Some fun features this saw has are a laser guide for accuracy, plus a place to keep a wrench right on the saw for easy blade changes.
The reviews for this saw are not as high as others, but it would be a great choice as a budget circular saw. It’s quite a deal because it’s a corded saw, so you don’t have to think about purchasing a battery and charger.
10. CRAFTSMAN 7-1/4-Inch Circular Saw
- 5,500 RPM
- 7 ¼ in saw blade
- Bevel cuts up to 55 degrees
- Weight: 11 pounds
- Spindle lock
CRAFTSMAN is another trusted name in the power tool world that has been around since the 1920s. This corded circular saw is a good circular saw for the money.
If you don’t mind the saw being on the heavier side, this CRAFTSMAN saw’s focus is on quality parts. It’s one of the few saws on this guide to have metal blade guards, which can stand much more wear and tear than plastic guards. The base plate is magnesium, which we already know is a heavy-duty material that is also light.
When you want to adjust the saw for a bevel cut, it will be very easy due to the lever adjustments. A frequent bevel-cutter will want to buy this saw; it can cut at an angle of up to 55 degrees, which is deeper than most.
The 5,500 RPM’s on this circular saw make it on the faster side. The cord is 8 feet long and it features a spindle lock for hassle-free blade adjustments.
The CRAFTSMAN circular saw is a bit heavy at 11 pounds, but for high quality parts, ease-of-use, features and price, you can’t go wrong.
Circular Saw Buyer’s Guide
While compiling this circular saw review, we have thought through all the different features for you to consider while shopping for a circular saw. Here is an in-depth guide to those features so you can make the best buying decision without compromising what features you want most. Plus don’t forget to check out our in-depth guide on how to sharpen your saw blade.
Corded Or Cordless?
Before you even look at saws, you should really weigh out whether you want a corded or cordless circular saw. Will a corded saw make you feel tied down? Do your projects require you to be further away from an outlet? Will you be working on projects all day long? Does the thought of having to wait around for batteries to charge bother you? These are all questions you need to ask yourself.
Thankfully, money doesn’t have to be too big of an obstacle here. Both versions have budget and expensive options, but cordless saws will generally cost more. Why is this? Most cordless saws require you to purchase the extra hardware of a battery and charger. Beware of this hidden cost!
With cordless saws, unless you have the added protection of computer battery technology, you run the risk of frying your battery or saw motor. Most cordless power tools these days are manufactured to prevent this from happening.
If you choose a corded option, the power behind the cuts is consistent every time. This could ease your mind if the thought of breaking things with battery use worries you.
Depending on your project load and commitment to finding the best circular saw, this might be an important feature to think about. Circular saws these days are built with the best technology available, which means less maintenance on your tool and better performance. This goes for even the cheaper options.
Brushless motors are by far the best in the business. They are built to be more efficient, so that means less maintenance for you and more uptime while in use (if it’s cordless). Some saws on this circular saw review either come with a brushless motor or you can pay a little more to have the brushless motor version.
Having a brushless motor over a regular one will likely increase the life of your saw and just perform better overall.
Weight And Materials
It’s difficult to put “weight” into its own category because a saw’s weight is affected by other aspects that are arguably more important.
First of all, if you decide to purchase a cordless saw, and finding the best lightweight saw is important to you, you also need to figure out how much the saw weighs with the battery. The battery can add around 10 ounces to your saw’s weight (that’s just shy of a pound). Find the best lightweight circular saw to meet your needs by calculating the weight of the saw and battery combined because that’s what you will actually be working with.
The base plate (or shoe or boot, as it’s also called) material is another factor to consider. Base plate materials can be aluminum or magnesium, generally. Magnesium is ideal because it is lighter than aluminum and more durable, however, it is also more expensive to produce.
Plastic anywhere on your saw, especially the blade guards, will also make it weigh less while simultaneously subtracting from it’s durability.
When it comes to beveling, if you want to do it quickly, get a saw with lever adjustments, not knobs that you have to twist. These knobs can take up too much valuable time, but are arguably more accurate at keeping the angle secure.
The added feature of a laser could be nice in situations where you are unable to hold a guide up easily. It is useful when cutting a straight line, such as installing windows. Lasers can also be good to keep a saw straight on a guideline. It’s an inexpensive feature that manufacturers can put on a circular saw, but by no means is it necessary for operating one.
The dust blower could be a very useful feature to have if you need to make very long cuts. Plus it helps you see where your saw is heading the whole time. If there is sawdust in the way, it could lead to frustration and inaccurate cuts.
With all of these circular saws and their special features, one takeaway was the number of people suggesting buying a few additional pieces of hardware.
You might want to look into the spare batteries that are available for your chosen model. If the battery is 5amp hours or higher, this is the best and longest-lasting battery available. It’s recommended that you have a few on hand (if you are using your saw constantly within a short time).
All of the saws on this circular saw review come with a saw blade. You can expect a standard, carbide-tipped ripping blade, which does well with wood, plywood, aluminum, plastic, and acrylic. Ripping blades are used to make straight cuts along wood grain. If you want to make any other kind of cut, you might consider buying an alternate blade, or more than one.
Unless you are buying a worm drive saw, circular saws generally don’t require much oiling. If you’re investing a lot of money into one particular circular saw that you will use often, it’s not a bad idea to also purchase some oil to have on hand when you need it.
The manufacturer will tell you which oil to use in the saw. After that, all you need to do is check the oil level in the saw and make sure it is where it should be.
Circular Saw FAQs
Should I get a 6 ½ or 7 ¼ inch circular saw?
It depends on what kind of cuts you want to make and how important having a lighter weight saw is to you. A saw with a 6 ½ inch blade won’t cut a deep as a 7 ¼ inch one. The 7 ¼ inches will also have a better bevel cut than the other blade. A 6 ½ inch will be lighter weight and easier to handle than a 7 ¼ inch blade. If having lots of options for replacement saw blades is important to you, consider a saw with a 7 ¼ inch blade. These extra blades are more widely available.
What is the best circular saw for home use? Is a cordless saw worth it?
Any of the saws in this circular saw review will get any job done around the home. If you’re not looking for anything fancy and just going to be around the house or workshop, go for a corded version. Pick the features that are most important to you, whether that is price, material, or extras. If you’ll be using the saw going up a ladder, or far away from an outlet, then a cordless option is best.
Is more teeth on a saw blade better?
More teeth on a saw blade will give you a cleaner cut and are better for lower-powered saws. If the saw is powerful (5,000 RPMs or higher), you shouldn’t have a problem cutting anything with fewer teeth on your saw blade. Fewer teeth are also quicker to sharpen yourself.
What is the best saw for a beginner?
Any circular saw is a great choice for a beginner. They are extremely portable and can cut through many things. They don’t take up too much space in your workshop or home for how useful they can be. Many of the bigger name brands also make miniature circular saws. So if your cuts don’t need to be too deep, that could be a good option, too.
There are so many things to think about when purchasing a circular saw. We hope our top-rated circular saw review helped you decide which saw is best for you and your projects. Whether you’re working on your own home, or you work on many homes or properties for a living.