A circular saw is a must-have tool for any craftsman or beginner woodworker, because it can be used to carry out any kind of woodworking projects.
We find uses for it in almost all the woodworking projects we carry out, from building simple patio furniture, to building sheds, decks, bed frames and so on. You can use a circular saw to make any type of straight cut, including crosscuts, rip cuts and bevel cuts. It’s an all in one tool especially for beginner woodworkers who don’t have a big budget to invest in other types of saws like table saws and miter saws.
One more area where a circular saw shines is for overhead applications. As a framer, you can take it up a roof and cut rafters, beams and other parts of the building frame. That’s something you can’t do with many other types of saws like miter saws and bandsaws.
Today, there are different types of circular saws with different qualities and features, from different manufacturers. Choosing the right one for your type of project will depend on a few factors, like your budget, how precise it is, the weight, power/motor/gearing, the type of project you want to carry out with it and a few other features I’ve talked about below.
If you want to choose the right one for your projects, I’d advice that you go through this list carefully, including the buyer’s guide below the list, so you can know the different types available and make an informed decision.
Here are the 10 best circular saw we recommend based on our personal experience and extensive research.
Table of Contents
1. Milwaukee 2732-20 M18 Fuel Cordless Circular Saw
The Milwaukee 2732-20 is one of the few circular saws that comes with all the features you need to get your job done in the workshop and on the jobsite, especially on the jobsite since it’s cordless.
It comes equipped with a 24 tooth 7-1/4 inch blade like other similar units but it packs more power and speed producing 5800 RPM, allowing you to cut easily through hard boards.
Equipped with a 15 Amp brushless motor combined with Milkwaukee’s patented M18 Fuel REDLITHIUM high output HD12.0 batteries, the 2732-20 offers true power, performance and optimum runtime you need to tackle the toughest tasks on the jobsite.
Build quality is top notch because both the blade guard and baseplate are made of magnesium which is very strong and lightweight. It will withstand falls and rough jobsite conditions.
Whether you’re working on the jobsite or at home in your workshop, the built-in rafter hook will make storage a breeze.
It also features an electric brake for safety and protection when making cuts.
If you’re a construction worker or a woodworker that work with hard boards and lumber daily, and you need a circular saw to make your job easier, this is one of the best you can go for.
The only downside is that it’s a bit expensive especially for the average weekend warrior, so you can’t really go for this if you’re looking for a budget-friendly unit.
2. Dewalt DWE575SB Sidewinder Circular Saw
If worm drive saws are known for their beastly power and torque, sidewinders are known for being lightweight and being easier to manoeuvre. The Dewalt DWE575SB is one of the most compact and lightweight sidewinders out there right now. With a weight of only 8.8 lbs, tackling overhead tasks with it is certainly not going to be an issue for anyone.
Apart from being lightweight, the DWE575SB also got the power to cut through dense hard lumber with ease.
An anti-snag lower guard fitted with ball bearings ensures the lower guard moves fluidly as cut through lumber of varying thicknesses. The lower guard will never jam even will all those dust generated in your cuts, and it will always move freely or stay put depending on the thickness of the lumber you’re cutting.
One part of corded circular saws that usually suffers a lot during usage are the cords. They get pulled a lot and usually get damaged after some time, depending on the level of abuse. The Dewalt DWE575SB features a tough cord protection system that gives 3x strength to the cord and protects them against pull-outs and abuse of any kind.
What I like about it
Where it can be improved
3. Skilsaw SPT77WML-01 Worm Drive Circular Saw
When it comes to making circular saws, Skil makes some of the best ones. The Skilsaw SPT77WML-01 is a saw geared to power through hard lumber effortlessly just like the Dewalt worm drive saw I talked about above.
Apart from the saw handles which are rubberized, the whole saw comprising the shoe plate and the blade covers are all made of magnesium metal to make the saw as light as possible.
Even with all the gearing and power it boasts, the saw weighs just 11. 6 lbs. If you’ve used other worm drive saws before, you’ll know that this one is really lightweight, but it still got the same power.
A good depth adjustment lever ensures you can adjust the blade according to the thickness of the material you’re cutting.
Overall, whether you’re a seasoned carpenter or a simple homeowner looking for a premium quality saw to meet your needs, the Skilsaw SPT77WML-01 is a very good option to consider. It’s got the power, the precision and it’s made to withstand heavy duty use.
Related: The Best Skilsaw Circular Saws
What we like about it
Where it can be improved
4. Makita 5477NB Hypoid Saw
The Makita 5477NB hypoid saw is a variation of the popular worm drive circular saw. However instead of the common worm gearing, Makita fits the 5477NB with a hypoid gear which increases the contact surface between the gearing and thus results in the transmission of more torque to the blade.
It’s the ideal saw for you if you always deal with dimensional and engineered lumber, like plywood, OSB, LVL and the rest. If you’re looking for a saw to build a deck, frame a building, roof a building or even build a hardwood floor that requires you to cut and use engineered lumber, then I’d advise you consider choosing the Makita 5477NB for the job.
What I like about it
Where it can be improved
To remedy this, don’t start the saw on your cut line. Start it away from it, then once the blade starts spinning, you can then slide it into the stock you’re cutting.
5. Bosch CSW41
The Bosch CSW41 is a tool built just to rip woods apart with great power and precision.
Just like all other Bosch tools I’ve seen, it’s made with parts that are precisely engineered to last. The whole gear housing and shoe plate is constructed with magnesium metal, which is not only tough, but also lightweight compared to other metals used for tool construction, and it’s also resistant to corrosion.
The worm gearing ensures the saw always have enough torque to rip through any wood easily and precisely just like a hot knife slices through butter.
It’s a jobsite saw ideal for cutting lumber used for framing, roofing, siding, deck building etc. It’s more than enough and capable to tackle all your home improvement or DIY projects if that’s what you want to use it for.
What we like about it
Where it can be improved
6. Dewalt DCS577B Cordless Worm Drive Circular Saw
The Dewalt DCS577B is a worm drive circular saw, but it’s quite different than the ones I’ve reviewed on this article.
Most of the worm drive saws out there are all left hand circulars saws, which makes it difficult for right hand users to see the cutting line when making a cut. This one however is a right hand worm drive saw. Which means the line of sight problem is solved for right hand users.
Apart from that, one more reason why this Dewalt DCS577B is special is because it’s cordless. It’s kind of hard to imagine that a powerful beastlike saw like this can run continuously on batteries successfully.
However, with Dewalts 60 Volts Flexvolts batteries, any tool can run on batteries these days. The DCS577B runs on Dewalts 60 Volts Flexvolts batteries, which you actually have to buy separately from the tool.
You’ll find this very useful whether you’re framer, general contractor, carpenter, a quality tool-loving homeowner looking for a top-of-the-line circular saw to get the job done.
What I like about it
Where it can be improved
7. Makita 5007MGA
The sidewinder circular saw that properly describes the words, strong, tough, powerful, lightweight and feature-rich is the Makita 5007MGA circular saw.
From a design perspective, you can quickly tell from the moment you unbox it that the Makita 5007MGA is well-constructed.
A lot can be said about any circular saw when you hold it in your hands for the first time. The way the handle feels, the clearance between the handle and the blade housing are all things to consider.
The Makita 5007MGA has a very good rubberized handles that allows you to grip the saw firmly with comfort. There’s also enough clearance between the saw rear handle and the blade case, which really makes it easy and comfortable for anyone no matter the size of your hand to hold the blade properly without your knuckles rubbing against the blade cover.
The ducting design of the blade housing also helps to blow away wood dust away from the cut line as you make your cuts.
What we like about it
Where it can be improved
8. WORX WX427L Compact Circular Saw
The WORX WX427L is a compact or mini circular saw you that has just one handle. That means you can operate and guide it through cuts with just one hand.
Because it’s so small, it’s also very lightweight, making the one-handed operation very easy for the user.
It’s a corded circular saw with a powerful brushless motor that delivers up to 4000 RPM, allowing you to cut through not only wood but other materials such as stone, bricks, aluminum sheets, ceramics, PVC and so on.
The WORX WX427L is capable of making plug cuts, straight 90 degree crosscuts and bevel cuts, with a crosscut depth capacity of 1-11/16 inches and a 45 degree bevel capacity of 1-1/8 inches.
It features a good dust port at the right hand side of the blade to which you can hook your vacuum so the dust get collected as you work.
Also featured is a laser light that lines up the cutting line, thus increasing visibility and accuracy.
Overall, the WORX WX427L is a very good multipurpose saw that can be equipped with 6 different types of blades you can use to make different types of cuts on different types of materials. It’s one saw you can use to do a lot on the job.
The only limitation it has is the small 4-1/2 inch blade which means you can’t really cut through really thick materials thicker than 1-1/2 inches.
9. Porter-Cable PCC660B Cordless Circular Saw
The ease of using a battery powered tool is further amplified with this Porter-Cable PCC660B cordless circular saw. It’s a combination of high performance and ingenuity in terms of design quality and tool material.
Precision and cut quality is top-notch for the Porter-Cable PCC660B even with the factory fitted blade that comes with it. Replace that with a top quality 60 tooth finish blade, then you can redefine precision with this tool.
If you’re tired of the extension cords, this Porter-Cable PCC660B is a good choice for you to go cordless.
What we like about it
Where it can be improved
10. Big Foot Tools SC-1025Su 10-1/4 Inch Worm Drive Saw
If you’re cutting post and beams all day, this is one of the best saw for the job. Most of the other saws reviewed and listed here have a blade size of 7-1/4 inches and a maximum depth of cut of 2-9/16 inches.
In contrast, this Big Foot Tools worm drive circular saw offers far more than that. It comes with a 10-1/4 sized blade and has a max cutting depth of 3-7/8 inches at 90 degrees.
That’s far more than the average circular saw. This one from Big Foot Tools is designed for cutting larger lumber pieces. If you want to cut 4×4 lumber and 2 time 2×4 in one pass, this is the saw you need.
This is a saw designed for cutting beams. You’ll find it very useful if you’re a framer or carpenter who works with these sizes of lumber on a daily basis.
It will not only make your job easier, it will make it faster and more efficient, because instead of making crosscuts twice or even 4 times, you can make it once with the large 10-1/4 blade, thus saving you much needed time.
Due to its size, the Big Foot Tools SC-1025SU is quite heavy, weight about 16.59 lbs. including the blade. However, I believe that’s the only downside, considering the purpose for which it’s built like that.
It cuts beams and posts in one pass.
This saw is very powerful. It cuts through any type of wood with ease.
Even though it’s very big, it’s a bit lighter that similar saws like the Skilsaw Sawsquatch
How to Choose the Best Circular Saw
Circular saws come in different types, designs and sizes. They are also manufactured by different power tool companies. The question is, how do you choose the right one for your project?
Well, first of all, let’s talk about the different types out there. Then we’ll talk about what you should look for when making your choice.
Types of Circular Saws
There are two types of circular saws. The worm drive and the sidewinder circular saw. The difference between the two types boils down to the gearing or how the motor is connected to the blade.
Worm Drive Circular Saws
With the worm drive circular saw, the motor sits just behind the blade and power is transmitted from the motor to the blade through the aid of a worm gear.
What you need to know about this type is that, they are heavy due to the worm gear transmission inside the saw. So, using this type may require some experience on your part.
To make sure that they are handled effectively, good worm drive saws are usually fitted with rafter hooks, so that you can easily store them safely and relieve your hand from tension and weight when they are not in use.
Where a worm drive circular saws shines is in the transmission of torque to the blade. They are more powerful, because the worm gear transmits more torque to the blade. Hence they are very efficient and excellent when it comes to cutting wet, dense, hard and even engineered lumber with ease.
That’s why they’re usually preferred by experience building framers and construction workers.
The position of the motor behind the blade also means that the handle will be situated behind the motor and far behind the blade. This handle position plus the weight of the blade also makes it possible for the user to handle kickbacks effectively.
This longer and narrow design also gives the user more reach when making long rip cuts.
Sidewinder Circular Saws
Sidewinder circular saws are also known as direct drive saws. If you read between the lines, the name sidewinder tells the whole story.
Here the motor is placed side-by-side with the blade, and power is directly transmitted to the blade with the aid of a spur gear. The blade is either on the right hand side of the motor or on the left hand side.
Unlike the worm drive saws, the sidewinders are weighs less, hence are easier to handle and maneuver all day.
It is usually the most common type of circular saw among beginner woodworkers and professionals alike.
Sidewinders has more blade speed in RPM compared to the worm drive circular saws, but they have less torque, less power. Like I said earlier, worm drive saws have more torque and are more powerful for handling tougher jobs, even though they have less speed in RPM.
The Verdict: Sidewinder circular saw VS worm drive circular saw | which is best?
Actually, no one is better than the other. It really depends on your choice and personal preferences when it comes to choosing between a worm drive saw and a sidewinder circular saw.
For long rip cuts through engineered lumber, one might opt for a worm drive saw because of the power and weight assisted cut that the worm drive circular saw provides.
On the other hand, when looking for a saw that can be easily maneuvered, especially for overhead applications, another person might go for a direct drive saw because it is lighter. So, he will not feel tired when raising the saw up for overhead work.
So, none of them is better than the other.
Just go with the one that you’re comfortable with, and feels better and balanced in your hands.
If you’re hung up on the decision between the two, you can purchase both and see how it goes. Having both of them in your toolbox will give you more options in your power tools.
You’ll have the chance to experience the power and smooth cutting of the worm drive saw, while also experiencing the easier maneuverability of the direct drive circular saw.
Generally, direct drive saws are usually cheaper than worm drive saws. You can get a direct drive saw for less than 50 bucks. They usually range between 40 to 200 bucks.
On the other hand, worm drive saws usually sell above 100 bucks. They range between 100 and 300 bucks.
Whether you’re going for a worm drive circular saw or a direct drive, note that cheaper is not better. So, invest your money in a better quality tool that will last for a long time, and still be in good condition when you are ready to hand it down to someone else.
Some good worm drive saws you can check out include the Skilsaw SPT77WML, the Dewalt DWS535 and the Makita 5477NB.
While some good sidewinders you can choose from include the Dewalt DWE575SB, the Makita 5007MG and the Skil 5280-01.
Features To Look For When Choosing A Circular Saw
Whatever your choice of saw type is, whether worm drive or sidewinder, there are certain features you need to put into careful consideration when choosing circular saws in general.
Considering these factors will ensure that you get the best for your money’s worth.
Obviously, power is a big deciding factor when it comes to tools like this. Without good muscle, a tool is not even qualified to be called a power tool in the first place.
So, when shopping for a circular saw, make sure to check the specs carefully. Check the amps rating. Make sure it’s up to 15 amps. Check the RPM (revolutions per minute) also.
Check all these, to ensure that the one you get has enough torque to slice through the materials you want to cut with it.
Without being told, it is very obvious that weight matters a lot when it comes to handheld tools. For a circular saw, it is not different.
Even though the cutting power comes from the saw itself, you still have to lift the saw from where you store it, and push it through the wood you are sawing. And it requires power from your hand to be able to handle the weight of the saw.
Too much weight, means you’re going to tire out pretty quickly. So, try to compare the weight of the saws, and see which one you can carry easily with one hand without breaking a sweat, especially if you are a lady.
This is where you have to decide whether you go for a worm drive circular saw or a sidewinder circular saw. Because generally, worm drive saws are heavier than sidewinders, but they also have more power.
So, the decision it’s up to you. The point is, pick a saw that is not going to wear you down.
When using a circular saw, it is important that you can see the blade when making a cut, so that you can easily direct the saw along your mark.
This is where the decision or debate between right hand VS left hand circular saws comes in. You may ask, what’s the difference between the two?
A right hand circular saw is a saw that has the saw blade on the right hand side of the motor when you hold the main handle with your right hand, and the auxiliary handle with your left hand. No hands or arms cross over each other in this position for a righty.
On the other hand, a left hand circular saw is a saw that has the saw blade on the left hand side of the motor when you hold the main handle of the saw with your right hand, and the auxiliary handle with your left hand. In this position, your left hand will cross over the blade when holding the auxiliary handle, which is less than ideal.
However, this position affords you greater visibility of the blade. When holding a left handed saw, you have more view of the blade and cutline, and you can see where you are cutting better.
Ideally, right handed saws are for righties, and left handed saws are for lefties. This is because, for a righty, when holding a right handed saw, you can easily hold the saw steadily with your right hand, and the auxiliary handle with your left hand, with no arms crossing over each other. The saw is more balanced this way.
The same thing goes for a left handed saw.
Like I’ve said earlier, the downside in using your hand type of saw is that, you’re not able to see the blade or cut line clearly enough. You have to turn your head a little to actually see the blade.
That to me should not be a big problem, because circular saws can be quite dangerous if not handled properly. So it is better to hold the saw in a very steady and balanced way, than to compromise balance because you want a better view of the cut line.
Furthermore, in most quality circular saw, there is a crevice or window between the saw auxiliary handle and the blade that allows you to clearly see the blade line from the top position.
So, there is no need for you to get a left handed sidewinder when you’re a righty.
The exception to this are worm drive saws which are mostly left handed.
Balance – Ergonomic Design
If you’re buying from a local store, this feature is easy to check. You need to hold your saw and feel how balance it is in your hand.
Just like a good samurai sword, your circular saw needs to be like something made exactly for your hand. The more balanced a saw is in your hands, the more easily you can maneuver the saw to do what you want.
Most likely though, you’ll be ordering your saw online. So, what you should check for are saws with rubber grip handles.
From looking at the saw pictures online, you can see that most of these saws have their handles fitted with black soft rubber. This rubber fitting is really good because it provides more grip between your hand and the saw handle.
The size of the handle is also very important. Small handles are not recommended. So, make sure the handles are large, if possible over-sized, especially for people with big hands.
Precision is key when dealing with circular saws. It is important that your saw be able to cut straight and square all the time.
To ensure this, you need to have good blades. A 50 dollar saw with a very good top quality blade can best a 200 dollar saw with a crappy blade.
So, after ordering your saw and testing it, if you think it’s not cutting precisely enough, consider buying a top quality blade.
Note that when it comes to saw blades, the more the teeth, the smoother and finer the cuts will be.
So, get the right blade in order to get more out of your circular saw.
Depth and Bevel Adjustments
Circular saws comes with levers for adjusting the depth and bevel of the blade.
The levers should be big enough so that adjustments can be made easily. Small levers can be hard to reach, and therefore difficult to make depth adjustments with them.
Additionally, the depth and bevel scale should also be easy to read. So check that the depth and bevel scales are either engraved or casted on the saw, not attached to it with a sticker which can easily come off.
Shoe – Baseplate
No matter how careful you are, you might drop the saw accidentally, sometimes from a considerable height, and it will fall and make impact with the ground.
The part that usually gets affected most is the shoe or baseplate.
The baseplate or shoe is that rectangle-like base that sits on the wood and helps to guide the blade along the wood as a cut is being made.
So, you need to make sure that you pick a circular saw that has a strong and solid shoe in order not to bend out of shape when you mistakenly drop your saw.
Some baseplate are made with stamped aluminum, while others are made with cast magnesium or aluminum.
As you may have guessed, the case aluminum or magnesium are very hard and strong. Therefore, they don’t bend easily.
On the other hand, the stamped aluminum bends easily when you mistakenly drop it. Even applying too much pressure on it can bend it.
So, check the the material of the baseplate and ensure it won’t bend on you.
Your circular saw blade will get dull, or you may want to cut another kind of material with the saw. Then you have to change to the blade to a blade suitable fo rthat material.
That’s why it’s important that swapping or changing the blade of your saw is as easy as possible.
A spindle lock is one feature that makes blade change very easy.
Related: 11 Essential Circular Saw Safety Tips You Need To Know
Any power tool can be very dangerous if not handled carefully. Worse still, it can even become more dangerous if the parts are not working as they’re supposed to work.
The circular saw part primarily made for safe using of the saw is the blade guard. So make sure that your blade guard is in place and is working properly before using any circular saw.
Additionally, some manufacturers include an electronic brake that stops the blade within seconds as soon as the saw trigger is released.
The Dewalt and Makita listed above are good examples. There are electronic breaks in the Dewalt DWE575SB, Makita 5007MGA, Dewalt DCS570B, Makita 5008MGA.
It is not compulsory that a circular saw come with an electronic break. However, it’s just one safety feature you can check out too when buying one.