Last updated on March 29th, 2020 at 01:33 am
A circular saw is one of the most handy and popular woodworking tool among home owners, hobbyist and professional craftsmen.
It is one of the first tools you need to get for yourself if you really want to get involved in some DIY woodworking projects around your home.
This is because a circular saw is one of the most multipurpose saw you can ever get your hands on. You can simply get almost any kind of cut done with a circular saw.
From making simple crosscuts to making large rip cuts, and even making bevel cuts from 0 to 45 degrees, a good circular saw is all you need for a start.
Another area where circular saws come very handy is during overhead applications. For instance, maybe you’re roofing a building or something similar, and you want to saw off some wood at the top of the building or something.
You can’t do that with your table saw or compound miter saw because you can’t lift them over your head. What you need is a good lightweight circular saw. Very good for overhead application.
With that said, if you’re in the market right now, and you are looking for a good circular saw to add to your toolbox, then stick around and read on carefully because that is what this article is about.
In this article, I will be talking about the top 10 circular saws out there right now, what to look for and how to choose the best circular saw that will meet your needs.
But before that, here are our top picks from the 10 best circular saws reviewed in this article.
Our Top Picks
Top 10 Circular Saw Reviews
Now that you know the top 10 best circular saws from the above list, we’ll now look into them in detail, and see why each one makes this top 10 list.
1. Dewalt DWS535 Worm Drive Circular Saw
When it comes to circular saws, worm drive circular saws are favorites for many framers. They’re really powerful for crosscutting and ripping rough lumber because of the worm drive gear that transmits power to the blade. Which is one of the reason many people use them.
There are many worm drive circular saws out there, but the Dewalt DWS535 is my personal favorite. Like I said, if you’re a framer or you work with really hard dense lumber, you’re love it too, because it’s got the power to cut through some really tough lumber with precision.
It comes with a saw hook or hanger so you can hang it close to you when working with it.
If you only engage in simple DIY project at home, then I think this saw will last a lifetime for you provided it’s properly maintained and oiled regularly.
In terms of weight, it’s a little bit on the heavy side as compared to the other circular saws reviewed in this article. However, I would expect nothing less of a beastly circular saw like the Dewalt DWS535 circular saw.
What I like about it
It’s a powerful saw that can cut through any kind of wood no matter how hard and knotty the wood is. Combined with the power, the DWS535 also got the precision you’ll need for projects that require high precision. It’s not just a saw for making brute cuts, but also for precision cuts as well.
Apart from that, the saw is properly made. It’s something that will definitely last a very long time provided it’s not abused. The body and shoe is made of magnesium metal which is not only tough but durable as well.
You’ll also appreciate the quiet nature of this saw. It hums and runs really quiet like every worm gear drive should.
Where it can be improved
The main issue about the Dewalt DWS535 is that is heavy. It’s not a major issue because it’s actually what makes the saw what it is which is, an unstoppable saw for cutting and ripping through wood.
It’s a heavy saw, but I think you would actually come to love it once you figure out how to use the weight to your advantage.
Keep in mind, the gear case may not actually be oiled from the factory. So, try to oil it before using it, else the saw might get damage before you even get your money’s worth out of it.
2. Skilsaw SPT77WML Worm Drive Circular Saw
When it comes to making circular saws, Skil makes some of the best ones. Their worm drive circular saw which is the Skilsaw SPT77WML 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.
It’s one of the best saw you can use if you’re a framer looking for a saw to crosscut and rip framing lumber, without it bulging down due to less torque.
The saw is equipped with a 7-1/4 inch blade that can bevel up to an angle of 53 degrees and have positive stops at 0 degree and 45 degrees for ease of making common bevel cuts. Bevel calibrations for this particular saw is also very easy to read as it is clearly marked, unlike older skilsaws.
A good depth adjustment lever ensures you can adjust the saw blade according to the thickness of the material you’re cutting.
Overall, whether you’re a seasoned capital or a simple homeowner looking for a premium quality saw to meet your needs, the Skilsaw SPT77WML worm drive circular saw is good fit. It’s got the power, the precision and it’s made to withstand heavy duty use.
Related: The Best Skilsaw Circular Saws For Craftsmen And DIY Enthusiasts
What I like about it
Even though the saw is a worm drive saw which are generally known to be heavy, the Skilsaw SPT77WML defies that trait. It’s not as lightweight as a sidewinder circular saw, but it’s definitely lightweight compared to other saws in its class. You’d definitely appreciate the weight difference when you use it.
Where it can be improved
The power cord that comes with the saw is not as long as a circular saw power cord should be. One of the part that suffers a lot when using a circular saw is the power cord. If it’s not long enough, you stand the challenge of regular replacing it, because of the continuous jerking which normally plagues a short power cord.
If the saw power cord that comes with it is made a bit longer, it would definitely be an improvement to what it actually is right now.
Putting the power cord issue aside, I think the Skillsaw SPT77WML worm drive saw is definitely one of the best circular saws you can get your hands on, and every experienced woodworker would confirm that once they get their hands on it.
3. Makita 5477NB Hypoid Circular Saw
The Makita 5477NB hypoid circular saw is a close cousin of worm drive circular saws. However instead of the worm gear found in the worm drive circular saws, Makita fits the 5477NB with a hypoid gear which increases the contact surface between the gearing which in turn increases the power and torque of their circular saw.
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.
Apart from being powerful enough to cut through whatever wood you’re going to use, the Makita hypoid saw is also very easy to maintain.
It comes with a 24 teeth carbide tipped framing blade which cuts nicely and precisely through any kind of wood, even nail embedded wood.
A bevel capacity of 51.5 degrees with positive stops at 45 and 51 degrees respectively helps to ensure that you can make bevel cuts easily and precisely with the saw.
Your work becomes more efficient when you not only have a good saw, but you have the best saw in your hands when handling your woodworking project. The Makita 5477NB is not just a good saw, it’s one of the best circular saws out there. It’s a hypoid saw, geared for power and torque.
What I like about it
One thing I failed to mention above is that the 5477NB comes with a very long cord suited for jobsite use.
A not so long cord will get jerked a lot and get damaged in the long run. Since the Makita Hypoid circular saw comes with a long cord, there’s almost no chance for that.
So, apart from the obvious power that the Makita boasts, I like the fact that Makita was generous enough to equip the 5477NB with a long cord in order to keep the machine working without any problem.
There are many great features to be desired about the Makita 5477NB. If you decide to part with your cash for it, I’m sure you’ll find many things you like about this unique circular saw.
Where it can be improved
There is no smooth start for this one. The high torque of the saw works against it at startup when you pull the trigger.
The saw starts with a kick and can mess up the start of your cut line if you don’t hold it steadily.
To remedy this, don’t start the saw on your cut line. Start it away from it then one the blade starts spinning, you can then slide it into the stock you’re cutting.
This is not actually a big problem though. However, if Makita can make the saw start a little bit smoother, it would be a nice improvement.
4. Bosch CSW41 Worm Drive Circular Saw
The Bosch CSW41 is a tool built just to rip woods apart with great ferocity, power and precision. I call it “The Wood Ripper”. If you happen to purchase it, I think you’ll give it a name too.
Just like all the 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 like a hot knife slices through butter.
It’s quite heavy like other worm drive circular saws, but it’s got the power to back it up. It’s a saw meant for cutting heavy stock timber with ease. It’s equipped with a powerful 15 amp motor that produces a no load speed of 5300 rpm.
The Bosch CSW41 is a jobsite saw ideal 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.
It bevels up to 53 degrees for making bevel cuts. Making depth and bevel adjustments with the saw is very easy as well, with the depth and bevel adjustment levers it’s equipped with. Rubberized handles makes it easy to use the saw for a long time.
What I like about it
Just like the other worm drive saws, the standout feature of the Bosch CSW41 is the incredible power it boasts. It rips through wood as if the wood is not even there. I like the power. It’s quite a heavy circular saw, but it’s a ripper. It’s “The Wood Ripper”.
Where it can be improved
There’s very little to improve when it comes to Bosch CSW41 worm drive circular saw. The weight is certainly going to be a concern for many who are not used to worm drive saws. But once you get the hang of it, you’ll appreciate it for what it is.
5. Dewalt DCS577B Cordless Worm Drive Circular Saw
If I may, I would like to call the Dewalt DCS577B as a unicorn in the circular saw world because it special in many ways.
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 circular saw. Which means the line of sight problem is solved for right hand users.
Apart from that another reason why the Dewalt DCS577B is different from the above worm drive saws I’ve mentioned before is that it’s a cordless circular saw. It’s kind of hard to imagine that a powerful beastlike saw like this can run on batteries successfully.
However, with Dewalts 60 Volts Flexvolts batteries, any tool can run on batteries these days. The DCS577B cordless worm drive circular saw runs on Dewalts 60 Volts Flexvolts batteries, which is actually bought separate from the tool.
Like I said earlier, when it comes to cordless tools, especially powerful ones like this worm drive saw, the question or worry that usually goes through the mind of many people, mine included, is how long can the battery can last before it needs to recharge.
Well, for the Dewalt DCS577B, you don’t actually need to worry about the battery running down, because this thing can rock all day long provided the 60 Volts Flexvolt batteries are fully charged. So, worry not about the battery.
The thing that actually needs to worry are those woods that are going to be rip in pieces by this saw. Spinning at a speed of 5800 rpm, the Dewalt DCS577B blade rips through everything it comes in contact with easily. It’s a saw built to make the work of cutting through dense hard lumber very easy, and cord-free.
Whether, you’re framer, general contractor, carpenter, a quality tool loving home owner, whatever your job is, if you need a top quality cordless circular saw, the jury is in on this one. The Dewalt DCS577B cordless worm drive circular saw is the one that will rock your socks off, no questions asked.
The saw bevels up to 53 degrees and there are positive stops at 45 degree and 22.5 degree for ease of making your bevel cuts.
A built in electronic brake help stops the 7-1,4 inch carbide tipped blade once you release the trigger after a cut, which provides added safety while using the saw. While an integrated dust blower helps to blow off dust from the work, making sure the cut line is visible at all times.
What I like about it
What I like most about the Dewalt DCS577B is the fact that it’s cordless. If you get frustrated with circular saw cords, then you’ll like this one too.
Many a times, circular saw cords are either too short or even when they are long, usually get in the way sometimes when using them for work. The Dewalt DCS577B takes care of all that nonsense.
It’s cordless. Provided you have a fully charged 60 Volts Flexvolts battery, you’re fully equipped to rock with this baby throughout the day.
This is not some toy, so it’s nothing to mess around with. It’s a jobsite saw meant for continuous heavy duty work. If you need a high performance circular saw without all the mess created by electric cords, this is it.
Where it can be improved
The only thing you need to worry about for the Dewalt DCS577B is the weight. The bare tool is a little bit heavy on its own, plus the added weight of the battery, it becomes even heavier.
However, it’s nothing you can’t handle if you’re used to tools like this. The tool is capable of ripping through any lumber you through at it. Your job is just to direct it through the cut.
A rafter hook is also included to give your hands some rest when you’re not cutting with the saw.
Related: 10 Best Table Saws For Woodworking And DIY
6. Dewalt DWE575SB Sidewinder Circular Saw
If worm drive saws are known for their beastly power and torque, sidewinders are known for being lightweight. The Dewalt DWE575SB is one of the most compact and lightweight sidewinder circular saw out there right now. With a weight of only 8.8 lbs, tackling overhead tasks with the Dewalt DWE575SB is certainly not going to be an issue.
Apart from being lightweight, the DWE575SB also got the power to cut through dense hard lumber with ease. Equipped with a 15 amp blade which spins at 5100 rpm, it will cut through anything you got down for it.
The Dewalt DWE575SB comes packed with a lot of feature that makes it efficient, durable and easy to use.
It’s equipped with a dust blower to help clean off the work surface as you work on it by blowing off the dust generated during the cut, making the cut line visible throughout the cut.
For safety, an electronic brake is integrated to stop the blade from spinning 2 to 3 seconds after you let go of the saw trigger.
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.
As for cut capacity, the Dewalt DWE575SB affords you a bevel capacity of 57 degrees, and there are bevel stops at 45 and 22.5 degrees for making common bevel and miter cuts. For straight 90 degree cuts, it has a capacity of cutting lumber as thick as 2.55 inches.
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.
Related: 18 Most Useful Dewalt tools For Woodworking
What I like about it
The lightweight nature is one of the things among many I really like about the Dewalt DWE575SB circular saw. It’s not only lightweight but very portable. I failed to mention above that it comes with a bag for carrying it around if you need to.
Besides the fact that it’s lightweight and portable, I also like the other small but important features that makes the saw what it is.
Like the tough cord protection system employed to protect the saw cord from damage, the integrated dust blower, and the electronic brake are just some of these extra features you’ll come to enjoy when you get the DWE575SB circular saw.
Where it can be improved
The electronic brake is supposed to stop the blade from spinning 2 to 3 seconds after the trigger switch is released. It happens that this does not happen all the time. Sometimes it does, sometimes it takes a bit longer than 3 seconds before the blade finally stops.
If the electronic brake can be made to respond all the time, and stop the spinning blade consistently in the time specified, then it would really be a good improvement.
Nonetheless, the Dewalt DWE575SB circular saw is a top-class circular saw even if it does not come with an electronic brake. It’s got good precision, it’s powerful and it’s built to last.
7. Makita 5007MGA Sidewinder Circular Saw
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 open the case housing the tool that the Makita 5007MGA is definitely well thought by the engineers before any production was started.
The saw is easy to use and it’s definitely going to last for a very long time, because all the metal parts of the saw are built with the tough and lightweight magnesium metal.
A 15 amp industrial motor is the powerhouse that spins the blade at a whooping speed of 5800 rpm. With power like this, the cuts you make are nothing but silky smooth all the time.
This is a saw that’s geared toward high performance. It has a maximum bevel capacity of 56 degrees, and has positive stops at 45 and 22.5 degrees respectively for ease of getting to common bevel angles.
There’s no room for play with this saw because the shoe plate is made of thick cast magnesium metal which really holds its own as you cross-cut or rip through the material you’re working on.
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 look out for.
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 people with big hands to hold the blade properly without their knuckles rubbing against the blade case.
An electric brake ensures safety as you use the saw by stopping the blade within 3 seconds of releasing the trigger. 2 bright LED lights also helps to illuminate the cut line as you cut through your material.
The ducting design of the blade housing also helps to blow away wood dust away from the cut line as you make your cuts.
Like I said earlier, the Makita 5007MGA is a feature-rich circular saw. Some of the other features you’ll find out yourself as you use the saw
What I like about it
There’re many useful features I like about the Makita 5007MGA. The electric brake, the LED lights, and the tough magnesium body are all useful features of the saw.
However, what I’d like to point out is the ergonomic design of the saw. If you look at the saw, you’ll see that it was actually designed with a lot of thought put into ease of use and comfort.
The handle is rubberized for easy grip and comfort, the depth and bevel adjustment levers are large and rubberized for ease of adjustment, the markings are very clear and visible, there’s a LED light to light up your work piece in case you can’t see the line clearly, there is enough space between the blade and the blade casing so that you can easily see the blade from both side when making a cut, I could go on.
It’s very clear from a user’s perspective that Makita wants users to be very comfortable when using the 5007MGA.
Whether it’s dimensional lumber, particle boards, OSB, engineered lumber, whatever you’re trying to work with, the Makita 5007MGA will not fall short of your expectations. It’s really one of the best circular saws anyone can afford right now.
Where it can be improved
From my point of view, I think everything about the Makita 5007MGA is spot on. However, I can’t say the same thing about the case that came with it.
The case is very solid, but there’s not enough space for the long wire that comes with the saw. You have to try to fold the wire into a small coil for the case to accommodate it properly.
8. Skil 5280-01 Sidewinder Circular Saw
Though it can handle the demands of a jobsite to some extent, the Skil 5280-01 sidewinder circular saw is especially crafted for home owners, hobbyist and DIYers who are looking to get more done, in the form of home repairs, making DIY stuff, even building some real large projects at home.
Its lightweight nature ensures that you can use it for a long time without getting tired of holding it. At just 8.7 lbs, it’s one of the most lightweight circular saws you’ll ever find.
Apart from being lightweight, the Skil 5280-01 is equipped with other useful features that makes it easy to use, especially for homeowners who don’t have a lot of experience with power tools like this.
One of those features is the single beam laser line that projects a laser line just a couple of feet across the cut line to guide and help users to make quick and accurate cuts easily.
A 15 amp motor spins the saw blade up to 5300 rpm to help power through cuts easily. The motor is powerful enough with the blade that comes with it. But you can still get more out of the saw in terms of precision and cut quality by replacing the blade that comes with it with a better finish blade.
The Skil 5280-01 has a maximum bevel capacity of 51 degrees, and it has a bevel stop at 45 degree for ease of making common bevel cuts.
The skil circular saw also comes equipped with a dust blower that helps keeps the cut line clear and free from dust generated during cutting.
What I like about it
In its class, there’s no circular saw that’s more lightweight that the Skil 5280-01. This certainly makes it easy to use for a long time, especially for those new to using power tools.
The laser guide is also a very useful feature which makes the Skil 5280-01 one of the most coveted circular saws. In fact, it’s the only circular saw with a laser guide in this top 10 circular saws list.
The laser guide is really a nice feature to have. It keeps you cutting straight and true even if you’re not an expert.
Where it can be improved
The steel shoe plate of the saw is not the strongest of metal that can withstand the demands of a busy jobsite or tool abuse. The shoe can get bent if it falls down really hard. Though for the price, I didn’t expect it to be made of magnesium.
However, it’s a saw that will stand the test of time for the average home owner. Don’t drop it or let it drop down from a high point. Obviously, if you take good care of your tools, they’ll take care of you too.
The Skil 5280-01 circular saw is powerful circular saw with a lot of good features. It’s even a steal for the price it’s under right now. However, with a slightly stronger shoe plate, the quality and appeal of the saw would definitely improve.
9. Dewalt DCS391B Cordless Circular Saw
The ease of using a battery powered tool is further amplified with the new Dewalt DCS391B cordless circular saw. It’s a combination of high performance and ingenuity in terms of design quality and tool material.
Battery powered tools tend to be heavy due to the combination of the tool weight and the weight of the battery, but this one is not, because it’s made with magnesium which is a very nice choice of tough and lightweight metal for any power tool.
Precision and cut quality is top-notch for the Dewalt DCS391B 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.
Without cords, people usually worry about batteries drainage for cordless tools, but keep that out of your mind for the Dewalt DCS391B. With Dewalts 4 Ah or 5 Ah Flexvolt batteries, you can saw, saw and saw again all day with the DCS391B.
You also don’t have to worry about power, because the Dewalt DCS391B is equipped with a 5250 rpm motor to ensure no wood stands a chance against the saw. Good rubberized handles ensures maximum comfort as you use the tool.
If you’re tired of the extension cords, the Dewalt DCS391B is a good choice for you to go cordless right now, while also having the peace of mind that corded tool brings. The catch is, it’s a left hand circular saw. So, right handed users would need some time getting used to it.
What I like about it
The Dewalt DCS391B circular saw gives you the chance to experience everything that a corded tool offers without worry about extension cords. You can absolutely work in the middle of nowhere with it, provided you use the right batteries, which are the 4 Ah and the 5 Ah batteries.
The fact that you don’t have to worry about cords any more is actually the most attractive thing about the Dewalt DCS391B.
Where it can be improved
The batteries that come with it are 1.3 Ah batteries which usually don’t last very long. You have to upgrade batteries to the 4 Ah or 5 Ah batteries to get decent run time for the too.
10. Bosch CCS180B Cordless Circular Saw
The Bosch CCS180B concludes this list of the best circular saws. Being the last on the least does not mean it’s the worst. Remember, we’re talking about the top 10 best circular saws out there, and one of them must take the number 10 position.
It’s a cordless circular saw just like the Dewalt DCS391B. Both of them have a blade size of 6-1/2 inches, making them the most portable circular saw in this list.
A saw like this is really very good when you have to saw something in a position that’s difficult to reach. It’s portable and it’s cordless, so you can take it with you anywhere even difficult positions especially when you’re roofing.
It has a bevel capacity of 50 degrees and can cut to a depth of 2 inches when making 90 degree cuts.
An electronic brake ensures the blade stops within seconds after releasing the trigger, for obvious safety reasons. The blade case and shoe plate are built with heavy gauge aluminum metal to ensure that the saw is strong and able to withstand heavy duty use.
As common with cordless circular saws, the Bosch CCS180B is a left hand circular saw. So, you have to hold the main handle with your left hand, and the auxiliary handle with your right in order to hold the saw properly. This may take some getting used to, but you’ll quickly get the hang of it.
The Bosch CCS180B is not a saw designed for continuous heavy duty use in a demanding jobsite, but it’s can simply be seen as a saw for making DIY projects at home which does not require a lot of runtime, unless you have extra batteries to swap when one battery runs down.
If you engage in simple repairs and handyman services, then it’s your perfect fit for you as well. It’s also a good backup saw for cutting in hard to reach or tight spots when engaging in construction projects like roofing and framing. Whatever your job is, you’ll never know how much you need this saw until you finally get it.
What I like about it
It does not come with batteries, but if you already have any of Bosch’s 18 volt tools, then you already have the battery to run it.
I like the fact that it’s portable. It’s a saw you can take with you anywhere for any type of work. One battery will not last the whole day, but if you have up to two Bosch 3 Ah batteries to swap whenever one is down, you’re get a lot done with this work buddy.
Where it can be improved
The blade lower guard is made of plastic. This really doesn’t seem right to me. I feel it may not be able to stand the test of time. A better solid metal material would definitely be a good improvement.
In terms of performance and accuracy however, the Bosch CCS180B is definitely among the best circular saws.
How to Choose the Best Circular Saw
Circular saws come in different designs, types and sizes. They are also manufactured by different power tool companies. The question is, how do you choose the best circular saw?
Well, first of all, let’s talk about the different types of circular saws out there. Then we’ll talk about what you should look for when shopping for a circular saw.
Types of Circular Saw
There are two types of circular saws. The worm drive circular saw and the sidewinder circular saw. The difference between the two types boils down to how the motor is connected to the saw blade.
Worm Drive Circular Saw
With the worm drive circular saw, the motor sits just behind the saw blade and power is transmitted from the motor to the saw blade through the aid of a worm gear.
What you need to know about this kind of circular saws is that, they are heavy due to the worm gear transmission inside the saw. For this reason, working with them for a long time can be tiring and result in fatigue on the part of the user.
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 power and torque. 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.
The position of the saw 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 resist and handle kickbacks effectively without resulting in any injury.
This longer and narrow design also gives the user more reach when making long rip cuts.
Sidewinder Circular Saw
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 circular 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.
Factors to consider when choosing a circular saw
Whatever your choice of saw type is, whether worm drive or sidewinder, there are still some factors you need to put into careful consideration when choosing circular saws in general.
Considering these factors when shopping for a circular saw will ensure that you get the best saw for your money’s worth.
Obviously, power is a big deciding factor when it comes to power tools. 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), make sure it’s up to 4500 and above.
Check all these, to ensure that the circular saw you get has enough muscle and enough spinning power to slice through the toughest of woods as if it’s not even there.
The circular saw needs to glide through the wood gracefully like an experienced ice skater glides through ice.
When you have such a saw, then you can boldly claim that you have a circular saw. If not, I don’t think you should.
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 a right hand circular saw VS left hand circular saw comes in. You may ask, what is a right hand circular saw and what is a left hand one?
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 is for righties, and left handed saws is 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 clearly. You have to turn your head a little to actually see the blade.
That to me should not really be a problem, because circular saws are 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 to see the blade, which is dangerous.
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. When you hold the handle, you need to feel that you are holding something in your hand.
So, make sure the handles are large, if possible over-sized, especially for people with big hands.
Precision is also 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 saw blades. A 50 dollar saw with a very good top quality samurai blade can best a 200 dollar saw with a crappy blade.
So, ensure you get a decent blade to go with your saw to get those straight neat cuts you so desire. Most saws don’t come with good blades.
So, after ordering your saw and testing it, if you think it’s not cutting precisely, then you should consider buying a top quality blade.
Note that there are different blades for cutting different materials. Wood, concrete, metal all have their own separate blade.
Note that when it comes to saw blades, the more the blade 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 saw. And levers for controlling the blade guard too.
The levers should be big enough so that adjustments can be made easily. Small levers makes it hard to make depth and bevel adjustments.
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 pull out.
Shoe – Baseplate
No matter how careful you are, you are going to drop your circular saw, sometimes from a considerable height, and it will fall to the ground.
The part that usually gets affected most times when these falls occur is the shoe or baseplate of the saw.
The baseplate or shoe is that rectangle-like base of the saw that sits on the wood and helps to guide the saw 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 your saw. Even applying too much pressure on the saw can bend it.
So, choose a circular saw with a cast magnesium or aluminum baseplate.
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 for that material.
Hence, it is important that swapping or changing the blade of your circular saw is as easy as possible.
So, check for circular saws with a spindle lock button for easy blade swap
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 that is made to ensure your safety 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 circular saw manufacturers include an electronic brake that stops the blade within seconds as soon as the saw trigger is released.
Dewalt and Makita are good example of such manufacturers. They included electronic breaks in the Dewalt DWE575SB, Makita 5007MGA, Dewalt DCS570B cordless circular saw and the Makita 5008MGA circular.
So, good job Dewalt and Makita!
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 a circular saw.