Circular saws exist in a special place for woodworking projects, but it’s important to get the right one for your needs. Here are the best circular saw options currently on the market, as well as some additional information about buying and using them.
The Best Circular Saws
Here are the top circular saw options currently on the market. These circular saw reviews are divided by category, rather than being a list of best to worst.
DEWALT’s DCS391B is the best cordless circular saw currently available. The 5150 rpm motor is actually faster than many table saws, while lightweight magnesium provides additional durability at job sites. I also like the rubber over mold, which helps avoid shocks and keep this saw straight while you’re operating it.
Although this is the best small circular saw as a tool, it’s a battery-powered product where the battery and charger are sold separately. You’ll have to pay more if you want to get those at the same time, though it is compatible with some other DEWALT batteries if you already have those.
- Extremely affordable for a circular saw
- Can cost even less if you already have a battery
- One of the fastest motors on the market
- Suitable for cutting through most materials
- Does not include an Allen key or wrench for changing the blade
- May need an additional guide for precision work
HYCHIKA isn’t nearly as well-known as DEWALT, but their low-cost 7-1/4” circular saw has a lot of things I like. It comes with two saw blades (24 and 40 teeth), tools for changing the blades, and even a built-in laser guide. The aluminum guard is reasonably durable while also being lightweight, and a double safety switch provides added protection.
Overall, this is easily the best budget circular saw I’ve seen. The main drawback of this unit is that it’s not quite as powerful or durable as my top pick. The 4700 rpm motor isn’t bad, it’s just not quite as good as other options, and there have to be compromises somewhere to get the cost this low. It’s also one of the best corded circular saws, though the cord is a bit short.
- Numerous useful features at an impressively low price
- Surprisingly high build quality
- The laser guide is visible in most conditions and doesn’t interfere with work
- Weighs less than 10 pounds
- Won’t last as long as a more expensive unit
- The 10-foot power cord isn’t long enough for anything but the smallest shop
At 10-1/4”, the Makita HS0600 is significantly larger and more heavy-duty than most of the competition. It’s also more expensive than its competitors, closing in on the price of a lower-end table saw.
However, there are some perks to larger circular saws, including a hefty 15 amp motor with the ability to cut 4X lumber in a single pass as well as a larger cutting capacity than many other models. This means you can cut thicker lumber more easily.
Other useful features include a built-in blade change wrench and some adjustment knobs for added precision. Front and rear bevel supports provide more precision and accuracy when cutting at angles.
Overall, this is one of the best circular saw models currently available, although it’s larger than what most users need. For that reason, it may be more than you need unless you’re planning on heavy usage.
- Makita brand which is used on many professional job sites
- Cuts significantly deeper than most of its competitors
- Includes numerous precision-focused features for accurate cuts
- More durable than the cheaper options on this list
- Bevel cuts up to 50 degrees
- Comparatively heavy and harder for amateurs to use
- One of the more expensive circular saws
At just 6.95 lbs., the SKIL 5280-01 is one of the lightest saws currently on the market. Much of that comes from its choice of materials, which aren’t quite as durable as what other saws have but serve to keep the weight down. This matters, too. You’ll feel the difference between light and heavy circular saws after a few hours of work.
Despite its focus on being ultra-light, this product has a few other features I like. A built-in dust blower improves visibility by helping the cutting line stay free of sawdust, while an anti-snag guard helps reduce problems when making narrow cut-offs. The 5300 rpm motor is competitively fast, and best of all, this unit is cheap.
Like all low-cost saws, this won’t last as long as a high-quality model. However, it’s so affordable that you could buy several of them at once and still spend less than you would on a DEWALT, so it’s worth considering if you’re on a budget.
- It has several rare, user-friendly features like a dust blower
- Lightweight and easy for anyone to use
- Bevel cuts up to 51 degrees, which is better than other options on this list
- The single-beam laser helps guide cuts
- A guarded trigger reduces the chance of accidental starts
- Highly affordable
- Uses plastic, which is less durable than metal, to keep the weight down
- The laser may shake out of alignment during use, although you can adjust it back
- May not last as long for heavier users
Most circular saws have the blade on the right, so I decided to include a left-bladed option for the variety (and I’m left-handed so wanted to include you lefties our there). SKILSAW’s SPT67M8-01 has all-magnesium construction for durability, a dual-field motor that improves both cooling and tool life, and outstanding overall torque. At 10.6 lbs, it’s in the middle of the weight range for circular saws, which isn’t bad.
This is also a good option if you need to cut at angles. The SPT67M8-01 has a maximum bevel of 56 degrees, which is extremely high for a circular saw. At 7-1/4” for the blade, it’s relatively standard there. I wish they would have included a 40-tooth blade instead of a 24-tooth blade, but that’s just quibbling over what’s generally a good product.
- Rare left-bladed saw is more comfortable for some users
- Excellent power and speed
- Competitive mid-range pricing
- Light enough to use for multiple hours
- Requires lubrication during each brush change
- Doesn’t have as many safety features as other models
The DEWALT DCS391B is arguably the best product on this list because of its combination of affordable pricing, power, versatility, and the strong DEWALT brand reputation. Like most woodworking tools, it’s generally better to get a single high-quality product instead of constantly replacing a lower-quality one.
However, while I like the DEWALT the best, I’m also fond of the SKIL 5280-01 as an alternative. It’s light, easy for anyone to use, and very affordable. If you’re doing smaller projects and will only be using the saw occasionally, this may be the right saw for you.
Circular Saw Buying Guide
Here are some things to keep in mind when you’re buying a circular saw.
What Is A Circular Saw?
Circular saws are handheld tools you can use to cut wood. They generally consist of a circular cutting blade, a motor, a safety guard, a wood guide, and occasionally extra parts or features. These are usually the smallest types of motorized saws, approximately half the size of a miter saw and significantly smaller than a cabinet-style table saw.
Most circular saws weigh 15 pounds or less. Unlike larger saws, where being heavy is a useful trait because it provides stability, circular saws generally aim to be as light as possible so you can manually control them.
Circular Saws vs. Table Saws
When it comes to power, durability, and overall cutting accuracy, there’s no question which saw type is superior: table saws have more of every category. Even the best circular saw can’t compete with a high-quality table saw on those features. However, large table saws and drop-down miter saws aren’t always the best choice for a project.
Circular saws have more portability than any other type of electric woodworking saws. You can use them on boards that are already nailed in place, carry them into tight areas, and use them pretty much anywhere you can reach (safely of course!).
These saws are also more affordable than most other types of woodworking saws, which makes them an ideal choice for buyers on a budget. However, their small size does have the drawback of not cutting as straight as a fixed blade.
In short, circular saws have both positive and negative aspects that can affect your project. Whether or not this tool is appropriate for you depends on what you’re trying to do with it. Many people have both a circular saw and a table saw, so remember that you’re not limited to just one type. They perform genuinely different jobs, so it’s okay to have multiple tools as long as your budget permits.
Tools Tend To Be Right-Handed. What If I’m Left-Handed?
Don’t worry if you’re left-handed like 10% of the world (and me). Circular saws come in both left-handed and right-handed variants, and some can be used with either hand. You can learn to use right-handed tools like I did or buy left-handed versions. Using the correct hand is essential for the safe and proper use of a circular saw, so make sure you check this before you buy any of them.
How Safe Are Circular Saws?
Like all saws, circular saws are dangerous when used incorrectly. However, most circular saws have an extremely long cover that minimizes the amount of space the blade can cut. This makes circular saws generally safer than similar products like table saws. The best rated circular saws on the market often have additional safety features to protect you while you’re using them.
Also, always follow these guidelines when using a circular saw. Even the best cordless circular saws and battery-powered circular saws can’t protect you from misuse.
Should I Get A Corded (Electric) Saw Or A Battery-Powered Saw?
Either corded or cordless works. Circular saws generally don’t have the same power as table saws, so they do better with batteries than their full-size counterparts. Here are the positives and negatives of the options.
Corded circular saws have a limited range and need extension cords if you’re working too far away from a plug. This makes them harder to use in some areas, especially if the closest plug isn’t anywhere near you. However, since they have a constant supply of power, you can use them essentially without limit as long as they don’t overheat. If you do get a corded saw, check out our guidlelines for picking the right extension cord.
Battery-powered circular saws don’t have the same limit on range, but they do have a limit on time. You can lessen this time limit by having multiple batteries and charging some while using the others, but it’s still a limit. Also, battery-powered circular saws can fit into some areas where the existence of a power cord blocks other saws from being useful.
On a related note, batteries keep getting better and better lasting longer and longer with plenty of power for most home projects. Many manufacturers offer whole tools lines that are powered by the same types of batteries. So if you do go with a battery powered chainsaw consider picking one manufacturer for several of your tools.
Both options work fine, so make your decision on corded vs. battery by looking at where and when you want to use these saws. If you want to maximize portability, get a battery. If you want to maximize usage time, get a cord. If the difference doesn’t matter to you, feel free to focus on other qualities, and don’t worry about the power source.
What Should I Look For When Buying A Circular Saw?
Here are the main features to look for when buying a circular saw:
- Accurate Cutline Markers: Cutline markers show where your saw will actually cut. Since you’re usually not looking at the blade directly, accurate markers are the only way to be sure your cut is good.
- Smooth Guard Retraction: Guards exist to protect you and the saw blade. Smooth retraction means the system is functioning properly. If you have to force it, it could jam or break during a job, and that’s a problem.
- Power: A saw’s power determines the speed it can cut at and the durability of the materials it can cut through. Stronger motors are fundamentally better, but you don’t always need a top-quality motor for household projects. When in doubt, air on the side of a stronger motor. It’s better to have too much power than too little.
- Price: There’s a wide price range from well under a hundred dollars for budget models up to several hundred dollars for pro quality models. You just need to buy what you really need though. Pro quality might be overkill for normal home use.
- Cutting Capacity: Different circular saws have different cutting capacity, meaning how much wood they can cut through. If you’re cutting thicker lumber this is important.