Best Circular Saw – Reviews & Buying Guide

Whether you’re a professional carpenter who builds houses for a living or a DIY enthusiast, having the best circular saw is necessary as it can provide power and versatility. There are a lot of different types of saws, namely chainsaws, band saws, miter saws etc. Likewise, there are different types of circular saws, but they share some common features: it is an electrically run blade that is hooked to a lever, and you adjust the lever so you can set the angles and depth. However, the manner which the tool can do this varies, and that’s where this post comes in as we’ve narrowed the field down to the top 5.

Best Circular Saw - Our Top Picks

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Picture

Circular Saw

Brand

Class

Price

Editor Rating

DeWalt

High End

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Makita

High End

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Skil

Low End

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Bosch

Mid Range

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Ridgid

Mid Range

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Our Top Circular Saw Reviews

DeWALT DWE575SB

Editor Rating:

When choosing a circular saw you should not overlook the DWE575SB. Weighing in at 8.8 lbs, the lightweight, compact design allows for easy control and handling even if you’re cutting tough materials. Just like the majority of sidewinder circular saws, the blade is set on the right side, increasing the balance and comfort.

Features

Probably the most impressive aspect of its design is the way sawdust is removed. A frequent complaint among saw users is the amount of sawdust that piles up on the cutting line and blade, but with the DeWalt it’s not going to be an issue.

A spindle lock is included with the saw, and it’s a nice feature that ensures the spindle doesn’t end up all over the place, and its use of a hex key for removing the blade is convenient as well. Like the other circular saws reviewed here, the DeWalt has a carrying case, but there’s no rip fence included as it is sold separately. However there’s a 9 ft. extension cord bundled in.

Cutting

The DeWalt does not disappoint when it comes to cutting: with it you can make cuts at 1 29/32 inches with an angle of 45 degrees and down to 2 9/16 inches at an angle of 90 degrees. As far as bevel capacity is concerned the DeWalt is right there at the top with a maximum capacity of 57 degrees, more than enough for most. Like other circular saws there are two bevel stops at 45 degrees and 22.5 degrees respectively, and in all likelihood they’re the only ones you’ll need to use.

Power

As far as power is concerned the DeWalt still manages to deliver in spite of its light weight. At 15 amp, this power tool maxes out at 5,200 RPM. While this isn’t the highest RPM we’ve come across, it’s still powerful and more than capable of cutting through hard materials. You also don’t have to worry about compatibility either as the DeWalt runs on 120-volt electricity and works with generators too.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Powerful cutting features
  • Good value
  • Maneuverable
  • Smooth performance

Cons

  • Doesn’t come with a rip fence

The DeWALT DWE575SB is one of those circular saws that manage to combine power with versatility and a compact design. It’s not only the lightest circular saw in this guide, the DeWALT DWE575SB is also one of the most efficient.

Makita Magnesium 5007MGA

Editor Rating:

The 5007MGA is rightfully considered as one of the best in its class, owing to its capabilities and power. It weighs 10.6 lbs, not the lightest saw you’ll use but light enough to be controllable and maneuverable. The design makes cutting easy and it’s comfortable to hold and handle. The blade is set at the tool’s right side, and while premium is placed on comfort, it doesn’t compromise in visibility.

Features

The saw is 7 1/4-inches and comes with a 5/8-inch arbor, so you can hook up this blade size on without any concern. A spindle lock is included that lets you lock the spindle with the press of a button and to remove the blade you use a hex key, a nice touch so you don’t have to use wrenches.

A hard carrying case is included for convenient transport, and a rip fence is bundled in as well, and you can join this to the shoe for consistent cutting. The circular saw is also bundled with an 8 1/2-foot cord, handy if there’s no extension at hand. The dust chute removes dust blade quickly and helps keep the blade running smoothly. As you’re cutting, the chute starts to blow off the cutting line and keeps blade visibility clear.

Cutting

The 5007MGA can cut to a depth of 1 3/4 inches at an angle of 45 degrees and 2 1/2 inches at 90 degrees, and this lets you cut 2x materials with no trouble at all. The 56 degree bevel capacity also means you’ll be able to cut angles at all degrees under this figure. Last but not the least the 5007MGA has a couple of positive bevel stops for rapid adjustments in case you need to do 45 degree or 22.5 bevel cuts.

Power

The 5007MGA is a 15 amp saw and generates up to 5,800 RPM, good enough for cutting through materials smoothly and cleanly. The tool runs on 120-volt electricity and it’s compatible with a generator if you need that.

Pros

  • Solid design
  • Easy to use
  • Powerful
  • Versatile

Cons

  • Warranty is good for one year only

Overall, the Makita 5007MGA is one of the most powerful circular saws today and offers a nice balance of cutting, power and design. The power and features on this tool makes it the ideal choice if you’re after quality.

SKIL 5780-01

Editor Rating:

Skil has been manufacturing saws since the 1920s and if you’re looking for the best cheap circular saw, the 5780-01 is a good bet. It manages to combine power with efficient handling and performance, things that are hard to come by in power tools, so if you’re looking for a saw that can cut smoothly without compromising the handle, this is it.

Features

The Skil weighs 11 lbs. and that’s not bad as maneuvering and positioning are straightforward. Once you grab hold of the Skil you will realize just how efficient the grip and handles are, and the blade’s strategic placement has a lot to do with that. The combination of the lightweight and compact design makes this the ideal power tool for all day use.

All good circular saws get rid of sawdust and the Skil is no exception. The design does not look exceptional but does what it’s supposed to and that is keep your workspace clean and the blade dust free. Using the saw is easy as is the process for replacing the blade. As you might expect it uses a hex key and comes bundled with a container so you can bring the Skil with you.

Probably the only drawbacks with the Skil is like the DeWalt DWE575SB, it doesn’t come with a rip fence, so if you want one you need to purchase it separately. The other thing is the extension cord is just six feet long, shorter than the one included in the other circular saws reviewed here. However these are not deal breakers as in most cases you’ll be able to cut with no problems.

Cutting

Speaking of cutting, the Skil saw more than delivers as it is able to cut through different types of materials without any problems. During tests, the Skil saw’s lower blade guard retracted smoothly, something other circular saws have difficulty with. The Skil doesn’t disappoint in the depth cutting department either with 1 15/16 inch, 45 degree and 2 7/16 inch, 90 degree cutting options.

Power

The 15 amp Skil generates up to 5,300 RPM, and at this speed is more than sufficient when it comes to ripping through hard materials. While you’re cutting you can use the Skil to create bevel cuts up to 51 degrees, and with a 45 degree bevel stop is more than enough for DIY or heavy duty work.

Pros

  • Comfortable handle
  • Cuts material quickly
  • Has received positive feedback
  • Built to last

Cons

  • Extension cord is only 6 ft.

The SKIL circular saw may have a short extension cord, but its performance more than makes up for it, making this worthy of being in our top 5 list. In terms of cutting, design and handling the Skil is among the best.

Bosch CS5

Editor Rating:

Anytime you look online for the best circular saw don’t be surprised if the CS5 appears in most of the places, as it’s one of the most powerful tools for DIYers in the market today. While the power tool market is already crowded, you have to give this a look.

Features

The 7 1/4-inch Bosch has some notable features and probably the most important is the blade as it is fully visible. One of the most common complaints with circular saws is they compromise visibility with performance, but the Bosch does not. There is a sawdust chute built in and while the design could have been better, it does the job in terms of keeping your workspace and the blade working as it should.

The Bosch is also notable for its left blade design. If you’re used to circular saws with the blade on the right, having the blade on the left might requires a bit of getting used to, but in this case it really helps when it comes to keeping the balance. This does not mean the Bosch is harder to use, only that it might require a bit of adjustment.

Cutting

The Bosch allows you to make cuts as deep as 2 7/16 inches at an angle of 90 degrees. If you’re making a 45 degree bevel cut, the maximum level you can do is 1 7/8 inches, while the bevel degree cut maxes out at 56 degrees. Overall it’s hard to argue with the cutting power you get here.

Power

Like the other circular saws reviewed here, the Bosch provides 15 amps of blade power and it is capable of spinning up to 6,200 RPM, and that is the fastest among the power tools here. With this kind of power it’s not surprising that the Bosch is able to cut through plywood and other materials. While the CS5 does not come with a laser guide, it’s not really necessary as your view of the blade is unimpeded.

Pros

  • Provides optimum visibility
  • Affordable
  • Cuts through materials quickly
  • Easy to adjust

Cons

  • Sawdust chute design could be better

The Bosch CS5 epitomizes the no frills circular saw as it delivers in the areas that matter most like cutting and beveling. Even if it doesn’t have the bells and whistles that other circular saws have, it’s actually a good thing because it allows you to focus on the important thing and that’s cutting and ripping.

Ridgid R3205

Editor Rating:

The R3205 is a good choice as it provides the right mixture of power and comfort. There’s really no point using a power tool if it leaves your hands aching, and fortunately the Ridgid doesn’t suffer from any of those issues.

Features

One of the first things you’ll notice with the Ridgid is it comes with a 10 foot extension cord, and it’s longer than any of those featured here. If you’ve ever had to do serious work with a power tool you know how important an extension cord can be. The tool weighs 11 lbs. and while that is heavier than the other power tools here, the motor balances the weight distribution.

The dust chute works as expected and there should be no issues with sawdust obstructing your progress. One thing to keep in mind though is the Ridgid does not come with a spindle lock for removing the blade, but that doesn’t make the process difficult in any way.

Cutting

The Ridgid R3205 can cut to 2 3/8 inches deep, more than enough for plywood and other materials you’ll work with. It’s easy to adjust the cutting depth as well be it for greater efficiency or to make tongue-and-groove cuts. You can also use this circular saw for bevel cuts up to 56 degrees, and when the Ridgid is set at the 1 ¾ inch maximum depth, it should have no problems handling plywood and other materials you throw at it.

Power

The Ridgid is equipped with a 15 amp motor and can produce up to 5,800 RPM, and at that speed you’ll be able to cut materials smoothly. There’s also a blade guard in place that moves smoothly and runs without a hitch. Even when the Ridgid is running at full power though, it doesn’t shake or get unwieldy, and that says a lot about the way the circular saw has been constructed.

Pros

  • Chute design keeps sawdust away
  • Powerful cutting
  • Well balanced
  • Suitable for different applications

Cons

  • Doesn’t come with a spindle lock

The Ridgid R3205 offers a nice balance of power and performance, and the long cord is a nice feature that makes the tool easy and practical to use. While it’s not the most feature packed circular saw, the R3205 gets the job done and that is what matters. If you have to nitpick this tool it would be the lack of a spindle lock, but other than that the feature set here is comprehensive.

What are the Benefits of a Circular Saw?

As the circular saw reviews will show, these power tools are great for DIY projects and different types of woodwork. Armed with this saw you’ll be able to set it up quickly on a sawhorse and start cutting. These tools are especially handy if you’re a craftsman and looking for a portable and easy to use power tool.

All you need to use these power tools is a power source and you can get started right away. The best of these tools share some common features like portability, balance, a powerful motor and so on. However there are different types of circular saws that you can choose from.

Types of Circular Saws

Here are the most common types of circular saws today:

Sidewinder circular saw

Also called the inline saw, the blade is connected to the driveshaft motor, resulting in a light and compact shape. The circular saws we reviewed above are of the inline type as they’re the most widely used.

Worm drive saw

As the name implies, these saws use worm gear to provide power to the blade from the motor so it is more efficient. Worm drive saws are capable of cutting through very hard materials, but this comes at the price of manoeuvrability as they’re harder to handle compared to sidewinder saws, especially with small cuts.

Cordless circular saw

The name is self explanatory, and while they are not as powerful as other saws, they do have the advantage of being portable and not needing a cord. However you cannot use these for heavy duty work as their capacity is limited.

Mini circular saw

These saws are most effective for wall panelling or putting the finishes on your work as you can do quick cuts with it. A mini circular saw is also capable of ripping through a number of different materials such as fence boards and low profile lumber.

What Features You Should Look For

Here are the top factors to consider:

  • Design: The design determines how well balanced the tool is, the visibility and how well the blowers and dust chutes are implemented. A well-designed circular saw keeps dust away off the blade so they don’t affect your work. A dust blower on the other hand, helps you make accurate cuts, hence its importance. Some of these saws have both while others only have one so you need to check the design.
  • Cutting: This is what it’s all about of course as these tools are for cutting. At the very least the saw must be able to smoothly cut plywood sheets and 2 x 4 wood boards. All saws can cut through them but the difference is the manner in which the cut is done.
  • Bevel Capacity: The bevel capacity is important as well as it determines how sharp your cut can be. The majority of these also have bevel stops that you can lock to a particular degree, i.e. 45 degrees or 90 degrees. When the saw is locked at this level, it is guaranteed the cut will be at that degree, so it’s a handy feature especially if you need to be precise.
  • Motor Power: The general rule with power tools is the higher the RPM the better, but it also depends on what type of work you’re planning to do. The average RPM of the saws reviewed here is around 5600 RPM, and that should be more than enough in most cases. As far as the amp is concerned you will see that most are at 15. If you have the money to buy a powerful saw, by all means do it, but otherwise those in the 5,600 RPM range will be more than enough.
  • Safety Features: A lot of the focus has been on the power and performance, but you must not neglect the safety aspect of these power tools. All five saws reviewed here have safety features built in, but you must not rely on them alone as you need to don safety gear including ear covers, protective glasses and gloves. If you have been using these saws for a long time, you’re probably comfortable even if they have only a limited set of safety features, but it’s better to be sure so you should buy a circular saw with trigger locks, electric brakes and a blade guard that acts like a sheath when you’re not using the tool. A lot of these tools also have a feature that slows the blade down so it doesn’t move at 5600 RPM when you are finished cutting.

Conclusion

So what is the best circular saw that you can buy? The truth is, any of the five saws we reviewed above will do. If you read the reviews you will notice they share some common features but also have distinguishing characteristics. In the end you just need to make a list of the features you want and choose the circular saw that meets most, if not all of those specific needs.

  • November 8, 2016
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