10 Best Circular Saw Reviews Of 2021 [Buyer’s Guide]

10 best circular saws

Last updated on March 10th, 2021 at 01:38 pm

A circular saw is one of the most handy and popular woodworking tool among homeowners, hobbyist and professional craftsmen today.

It is one of the first power 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 you can make almost any kind of cut with it.

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 it come very handy is during overhead applications. For instance, if you’re roofing or framing a building or something similar, and you want to saw off some wood at the top of the building, 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. It’s the ideal saw you need for overhead applications like that.

We’ve reviewed and listed the 10 best circular saws, and from our personal experience, we’ve reveal what to look for and how to choose one that will not disappoint you during your projects.

Our Top Picks

Skilsaw SPT77WML

Value Pick

skilsaw spt77wml worm drive circular saw
  • Worm Drive
  • 7-1/4 Inch Blade
  • Weighs 11.6 lbs.

Makita 5007MGA​

Editor’s Pick

Makita 5007MGA circular saw
  • Sidewinder
  • 7-1/4 Inch Blade​
  • Weighs 10.6 lbs.​

Skil 5280-01​

Budget Pick

Skil 5280-01 sidewinder circular saw
  • Sidewinder
  • 7-1/4 Inch Blade
  • Weighs 8.7 lbs.​

Top 10 Circular Saw Reviews

The following is our review of the 10 best circular saws, with very specific details on what makes each one different from the other. We’ve covered every feature so you can choose the one that suits the type of project you plan to carry out with it.

1. Dewalt DWS535B Circular Saw

There are many worm drive circular saws out there, but the Dewalt DWS535B is definitely one of the best. Like I said, if you’re a framer or you work with really hard dense lumber, you’re going to love it too, because it’s got the power to cut through some really tough lumber with precision.

It comes with a rafter hook or hanger so you can hang it close to you on the job.

If you only engage in simple DIY project at home, a worm drive circular saw might not be the best fit for you, because you can use a simple cheaper sidewinder-style saw instead. But you can still get one of these it’s what you prefer.

Dewalt DWS535B

In terms of weight, it’s a little bit on the heavy side as compared to the other ones reviewed in this article. However, I would expect nothing less of a saw of this quality.

Related: How To Make Straight Cuts With A Circular Saw

Pros

  • Very powerful worm drive saw
  • Made with durable and lightweight magnesium metal
  • Worm gear makes it run really quiet
  • Produces high precision cuts

Cons

  • It’s quite heavy.

Related: Reviews Of The 10 Best Scroll Saws Of 2020

2. 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.

Skilsaw SPT77WML-01

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 For Craftsmen And DIY Enthusiasts

What we like about it

  • It’s quite lightweight for a worm-drive circular saw.
  • Sturdy build. Ideal for tough jobsite projects like framing.
  • Has lots of torque to power through any cut.
  • Easy to setup and use.

Where it can be improved

  • It comes with a short power cord.

3. 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.

makita 5477nb hypoid circular saw

What I like about it

  • Features a very long cord suitable for jobsite use.
  • Hypoid gearing produces more torque.
  • Ideal for working with dimensional and engineered lumber.
  • Blade change is very easy as it’s equipped with a push button spindle lock.
  • Base plate is rust resistant.
  • Very quality build. You’ll surely complete many projects with this one.

Where it can be improved

  • No smooth gradual start. It starts with a kick. Can mess up the start of your cut line if not held steady enough.

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.

4. 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.

bosch csw41

What we like about it

  • Boasts incredible power to cut through different types of wood.
  • Build quality is top-notch.
  • Easy to use and adjust.
  • It has a large cutting capacity

Where it can be improved

  • The weight of the saw is the only cause for concern.

Related: Top 10 Best Reciprocating Saws | How To Choose A Reciprocating Saw

5. Dewalt DCS577B Cordless Worm Drive Circular Saw

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

  • It’s cordless, which makes it very portable.
  • ideal for jobsite use
  • It’s a right hand worm drive saw. Provides a good line of sight for right hand users.
  • High quality build.
  • Features a rafter hook for easy handling when not in use.

Where it can be improved

  • Battery plus tool makes it quite heavy to handle.

Related: 10 Best Table Saws For Woodworking And DIY

6. Dewalt DWE575SB Sidewinder Circular Saw

Dewalt DWE575SB

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.

Related: 18 Most Useful Dewalt tools For Woodworking

What I like about it

  • Very lightweight
  • Tough cord protection keeps the electric cord from damage.
  • Highly durable construction.
  • Ideal for overhead tasks.

Where it can be improved

  • Electronic brake doesn’t function all the time.

7. Makita 5007MGA

Makita 5007MGA 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.

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 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

  • A very ergonomic design for user comfort.
  • Equipped with LED lights that illuminates the cut line.
  • Cuts through any type of lumber within the stated blade capacity.
  • Make precision cuts with ease.
  • Quality magnesium components.

Where it can be improved

  • The saw is solid, but the case is very small, and hardly accomodates the electric cord.

8. Skil 5280-01

Skil 5280-01 sidewinder

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.

It’s lightweight and loaded with important features like a single beam laser and a dust blower that makes it very easy to make accurate cuts with it.

What we like about it

  • It’s budget friendly
  • Very lightweight and easy to use.
  • Features a laser guide to increase accuracy.
  • Ideal for hobby and DIY projects.

Where it can be improved

  • Features a mediocre baseplate. It can get bent if you mistakenly drop it.

9. Porter-Cable PCC660B Cordless Circular Saw

porter-cable pcc660b circular saw
  • 2-1/8 ft of cutting capacity
  • 50 degrees bevel capacity
  • 6-1/2 inch carbide toothed blade
  • 20V Max cordless system
  • Motor spins at 4000 rpm
  • It weigh 6.5 lbs.

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

  • It’s cordless, which makes it very portable.
  • No need for extension cords.
  • Best for DIY projects
  • Very budget-friendly.

Where it can be improved

  • It comes with a mediocre blade. Upgrade to a better blade for better results.

10. Bosch CCS180B Cordless Circular Saw

Bosch CCS180B cordless circular saw
  • It a no-load speed of 3900 rpm
  • Features a 6-1/2 inch blade
  • An electronic brake stops the blade quickly after cuts.
  • Cuts over 2 inch thick materials at 90 degrees
  • It weighs 6.6 lbs.

As common with cordless circular saws, the Bosch CCS180B is a left-handed. So, you get a better view of the cut line when you hold the main handle with your right hand.

The saw is very easy to use and adjust, with easy to read bevel and depth adjustment gauges.

Whether you engage in simple repairs, handyman services or even if you carry out tough jobsite projects like framing of buildings, you’re going to find many uses for this Bosch CCS180B.

What we like about it

  • Works with any Bosch 18V batteries.
  • Very portable.
  • Highly accurate. Try upgrading to a better blade for better results.
  • It’s really well-built.
  • Easy to operate.
  • Very powerful for a cordless circular saw.

Where it can be improved

  • The plastic lower blade guard could get damaged as time goes on.

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 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 shopping for one.

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.

Power

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.

Weight

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.

Blade Visibility

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

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 saw. And levers for controlling the blade guard too.

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 pull out.

Shoe – Baseplate

No matter how careful you are, you might drop your saw accidentally, 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 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.

Blade Change

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

Safety

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.

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