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Best Circular Saw Reviews for 2021
The best circular saw is a great addition to any workshop and earning its place with sheer versatility of cutting applications. Name one other tool that’s portable and can cut through such a wide range of materials with just a change of the cutting disc.
Metal, rock, wood, brick, steel, tiles, plastic and zombies all easy work for these powerful power tools.
You can use them in space constrained settings, use them overhead, make bevels, straight cuts, crosscuts, cut lumber & logs for firewood and much more.
One important consideration when you’re looking for one online is finding one that’s a good match to your work needs and you should ask yourself what will you be using it for the majority of the time.
You can match up the tools performance and features to your expectations by asking questions like which is the best circular saw for a specific application? For instance, cutting thick metals, rafters or light use like cutting tiles?
This guide will help you cut through the chaff with the best 10 handpicked circular saws looking at what work they are suited to and not suited to in some cases..
So strap in and enjoy this read. To make things easier, we have divided them into the best corded and best cordless models.
The best corded circular saw
Corded saws are preferred for their torque and unlimited run times. The caveat is that you’ll have to live with that cord which can limit your movement depending on the application.
If your ideal best circular saw is a corded one, read on to find which ones tick our checklist.
#1 – DEWALT 7-1/4-Inch – Best Corded Circular Saw
The DeWalt DWS535B is a powerful, yet compact (cliché we know) worm drive circular saw that’s designed to address some of the common gripes that woodworkers have with worm drive saws.
For starters, it weighs 13.8 lb. That’s lighter than most other worm drives we’ve used. Also, the moment you grip this, you’ll realize that DeWalt has worked on the center of gravity. It’s nicely balanced. Gives you a firm grip.
Let’s talk about the build quality and the performance.
Tough, but thoughtful
The construction is pretty much on par with the rest of DeWalt’s tools. Tough molded plastic casing, cast magnesium housing and the tough cord protection system that allows you to get away with the occasional tug-of-war, brain fog moment.
But it’s not just heft for the sake of it. A lot of thought has gone into the design to make it easier to use. For instance, the saw hook is 2 ¾ “wide, which works great if you are looking to hang it on LVL beams and rafters.
Secondly, the spindle lock is at the rear of the casing, keeping it away from the gear box. No messy oil leaks to deal with.
We also like the bevel adjustment and the depth of cutting adjustment knobs/levers. Overall, it’s a very easy machine to use.
#2 – Makita 5007Mg – Best Metal Cutting Circular Saw
The Makita 5007Mg is a top rated circular saw from the Japanese brand. It is lighter than the DeWalt, which makes it more appealing to the hobbyist.
As expected from Makita, the construction and the features are top notch, which will make this the best circular saw for the serious woodworker as well.
A delight to use
The secret of the lightweight design is Magnesium, which occupies the bulk of the casing and the components. The mandatory plastic parts, such as the handle have a textured finish for a secure grip.
It’s a very well balanced tool, irrespective of whether you are holding it over wood placed on the work desk, or in a more unconventional setting, such as overhead.
Large flip levers make it easy to make adjustments on the fly. Makita also adds two LED lights for use in low-light work spaces. One of the most underrated features is the built-in dust blower that ensures that saw dust doesn’t cover the line of cut.
#3 – SKILSAW Southpaw SPT67M8-01 – Best Left Handed Circular Saw
The Southpaw SPT67M8-01 is Skilsaw’s foray into the fast-growing market for blade-left saws. While we feel that this is more about personal preference than anything else, you could argue that the left inclination does enhance visibility.
It can be used by both left hand users and right hand users.
It’s definitely helpful when you are starting off with woodworking to get your cuts right. While that’s advertised as the big draw here, there’s a lot more to the SPT67M8-01 that more seasoned woodworkers would appreciate.
Magnesium keeps things light
The SPT67M8-01 is just 8.95 lb. It’s the best circular saw for people who struggle with heavy power tools. Club that with an ergonomic design, a handle with soft-grips and excellent weight balance, you have a tool that can be used anywhere for extended runs. Hand fatigue will be close to zilch.
To add to this, the bevel is generous at 56-degrees. Most circular saws at this price point offer between 45-54-degrees at best. Woodworkers who do not own a table saw might want to take this into consideration.
#4 – Metabo HPT C7UR – Great for Woodworking
The Metabo HPT C7UR boasts of an impressive feature list. It has a 15-amp motor that delivers a no-load speed of 6800 RPM. To add to this, there’s a very generous bevel capacity of 0-55-degrees.
Metabo’s (formerly Hitachi) power tools are known for the build quality and this one, comes at a very affordable price point to boot.
Powerful saw for framing
The HPT C7UR can make short work of OSB, 2×4’s, LVL, plywood and most other material, including hardwood. It’s lighter than worm drives for sure.
But it’s also not as heavy as many sidewinder saws that we’ve used either. It’s a perfect middle ground. You can use this for hours without too much hand fatigue.
The ergonomic design (slim handle closer to the blade) makes it easy to maneuver for more demanding applications.
The saw powers to life with a soft start (no jerks) and cuts smoothly. You get a great grip on the stock with that stamped aluminum base, which features reinforced ribbing.
#5 – Black + Decker BDECS300C – Best Budget Circular Saw
The Black & Decker BDECS300C is universally known as the cheapest, big-brand circular saw that one can buy. That’s not too far off from the truth. We are yet to find a big brand model that’s cheaper.
However, we feel that the word ‘cheap’ undermines the tool. This is a very efficient saw that works great for a variety of light duty woodworking tasks.
A breeze to use
The Black and Decker BDECS300C features a plastic-metal composite casing. It’s more plastic, less metal. But that’s expected at this price point. More importantly, it’s very durable and sturdy. The handles give you a great grip.
The balance is perfectly weighted and the guard doesn’t seem flimsy at all.
It weighs just 7 lb., which is aimed at the beginner woodworker. But we know a lot of people who would readily swap some power for a lighter weight tool. This fits the bill perfectly.
The controls are all relatively easy to use, including the bevel adjustments. It’s just 0-45⁰ degrees though.
Best cordless circular saws
Every woodworker out there craves for the best cordless saw, as long as it doesn’t cut corners with power and/or battery longevity.
Taking these minimum requirements into account, we have curated a list of the top 5 options in the market in 2021.
#1 – DeWalt DCS570B – Best Cordless Circular Saw
Our #1 pick is the DeWalt DCS570B, a very powerful 7 1/4″ circular saw that bridges the gap between a corded and a cordless unit. It’s compact, it plows through a variety of stock and you do not have to bother about a cord getting snagged somewhere.
Take it outdoors or hop job sites with it. It just makes life simpler.
Generous bevel and cutting depth
The DCS570B comes with a generous bevel capacity of 0-57⁰. Most circular saws at this price point can swivel to 45-degrees at best. To add to this, the cutting depth is 2 5/16″, which allows you to finish your tasks in fewer passes.
Making adjustments to the bevel and the cutting depth on-the-fly is effortless. There are two positive stops at the commonly used bevels. There are locks which hold the blade in place securely as well.
We like the emphasis on accuracy with the railed and indented scales. An innate benefit of this is that a layer or two of sawdust won’t hinder with the visibility.
#2 – Milwaukee M18 Circular Saw – Best Multi Function Circular Saw
With the M18, Milwaukee steps one-step closer to creating a worm-drive quality cordless circular saw. Its light, packs a punch with its performance and is extremely accurate.
The battery is identical to the one in the DeWalt. But the Milwaukee chugs on for a wee bit longer, even while dealing with heavy, dense stock.
Lightweight and ergonomic
The M18 is an ergonomically designed saw. The casing is molded plastic. But there’s ample magnesium components including the upper and lower guards, which reduce weight.
Talking about weight, this weighs just 9 lb. with the battery inserted.
This makes it one of the lightest weight circular saws in this list. Add to that the comfortable handle and the lack of cords, and you have a very versatile power tool that you can use for as long as the work demands.
Under the hood, you have Milwaukee’s proprietary brushless motor that delivers ample torque for demanding applications. The top speed is an impressive 5,000 RPM.
#3 – Makita XSR01PT – Best Battery Circular Saw
The Makita XSR01PT works like a worm drive. But it isn’t one. It’s not a sidewinder either considering that it has a helical design, with the gears positioned at a unique 45-degree angle.
Call it what you want to, this lefty packs a punch with its power and performance. There’s torque, the accuracy is top notch and it comes with two onboard batteries.
So you spend more time on the job rather than swapping batteries.
Balanced, stable circular saw
At 12.67 lb., the Makita XSR01PT is at that confusing cusp of heavy and light. It’s not as heavy as corded worm drives. But it’s heavier than most cordless options.
However, do keep in mind that you get an additional onboard battery. So the weight is a minor tradeoff for more runtime.
The saw is built like a rock. The casing is a blend of magnesium and aluminum, with some molded plastic components. It’s easy to hold and stays stable during operation.
#4 – Bosch CCS180-B15 – Great Hand Held Circular Saw
The CCS180-B15 is one of two cordless saws on offer from Bosch. This is a very basic saw, which does not come with the bells and whistles of its younger, newer brethren.
Having said that, it’s powerful enough to match some corded sidewinders that we’ve tried. There’s a lot of torque and the cutting speed is decent enough to get your tasks done.
6 ½” Lefty that’s built like a rock
The CCS180-B15 features a left-oriented 6 ½” blade. It has a maximum cutting depth of 2” at 90-degrees and 1 ½” at 45 and 50 degrees.
The bevel capacity is 50°, which is acceptable, but not special. However, we know a lot of woodworkers who prefer using table saws for bevels and miters. So this might not be a huge problem.
What bothers us slightly more is the fact that there are no positive stops for frequently used applications.
Coming to the construction, this is one of the sturdiest circular saws that we’ve seen. All the important components of the casing, like the blade guard are made of metal.
#5 – Milwaukee M18 Fuel Circular Saw – Contractor Grade
What do you do when you have to cut through tough materials, like metal or dense hardwood materials that would make a conventional circular saws quiver in fear? You get the Milwaukee M18 Fuel.
This is a monster cordless saw that’s designed for special applications that demand brute force.
It generates tons of power and it doesn’t buckle under the pressure even with extended runs.
Light enough for overhead tasks
The M18 is designed for overhead applications. We specify this because the tool weighs just 5.9 lb. without the battery.
It features an ergonomic handle and has a very compact form factor that does not induce fatigue even if you are perched on a ladder and cutting a steel U-beam overhead.
There’s an LED light on board for a clear line of cut in dimly lit environments and there’s an extra-large cut guide, which ensures accuracy as well.
Two other features that deserve a mention are the chip collection system, which is phenomenal, and the blade brake which halts the saw in an instant.
The complete best circular saw FAQ
Most potential buyers are torn between the best circular saw and a table saw. Then there are some who own a table saw already but would like to add a circular saw to their workshop.
Irrespective of your predicament, this brief FAQ aims to clear these doubts, and also provide answers to some of the common doubts that buyers have.
Which is the best circular saw for beginners?
Ideally, you need a saw that’s not too fancy or pricey. But one that ticks off most of the basic boxes in a checklist.
Look for a saw that’s reasonably powerful, compact, lightweight, that provides an accurate cut and has all the basic safety features. A metal blade guard, a trigger safety lock and an electric brake are non-negotiable.
A powerful motor will ensure that the nasty kickback is avoided, even if you accidentally go overboard with the use. An onboard dust blower will provide you with a clear line of cut, while positive stops on the bevel will make it simpler to use.
You can choose between a corded and a cordless one depending on the intended applications. Corded works best for prolonged runs, while cordless gives you the flexibility to work outdoors.
Which is the best circular saw for woodworking?
Guess what? You are in luck. We have 10 best circular saws, all perfectly suited for woodworking. You can take your pick. Jokes apart, there are no special feature sets that make one best circular saw better over the other, for woodworkers.
Depending on what you are comfortable spending, you can choose between a basic sidewinder, or opt for more torque with a worm drive. Do you handle a lot of wet lumber or dense hardwood? Go for a worm drive like the DeWalt DWS535B.
But if you work mainly with LVL, plywood and 2×4’s, even a quality sidewinder like the Metabo HPT C7UR will be a great pick.
Which is the best compact circular saw?
If you are looking for the most compact circular saw in this list, it is the Bosch CCS180-B15. It has a 6 ½” blade as compared to most others, which have a 7 ¼” blade. It weighs only 6.6 lb. and measures 13.4” x 8.9”, which is very maneuverable.
Are cordless circular saws any good?
That’s a tricky question. Here’s a plausible explanation. The line between a cordless and a corded saw has been steadily blurring.
Some of the new cordless models produce as much torque as their corded counterparts. The runtimes have been consistently improving as well.
But unless you hop job sites or work outdoors, where a cord can limit movement, it might be overkill. Why deal with the hassles of frequent battery recharges when you can just buy a corded one and work freely?
In the end, it all boils down to your specific requirements from the best circular saw.
The best circular saw buyers guide
If all the identical specs and some of the technical jargon sounds overhwleming to you, then here’s a brief buyers guide that shows you what factors to consider while you shop for the best circular saws.
The Design – There are two types of circular saws.
This is the more common design, in which, the motor that powers the saw is located along the same axis as the cutting blade. The blade is connected to the motor by a shaft and that’s what drives it.
Sidewinders have the size and weight advantage. Also, they are often unfairly maligned for being a weaker choice. In reality, most sidewinders have enough power to tackle most common tasks.
These have the motor positioned parallel to the blade. It can be either on the right or the left depending on the blade orientation. The motor is geared and this delivers more torque to the blade. In a nutshell, worm drive saws can generate more power, are quitter and run longer without getting overheated.
Corded and cordless – There’s enough written and spoken about this all over the internet. Here are our two cents. Corded tools are no longer superior to cordless ones. Their torques and power outputs are identical. Both varieties can function for 5-6-hours on-the-trot as well. So choose wisely.
Power – The rule of thumb is that the more the cutting power, the easier it will be for you to handle a wider range of materials.
Corded saws generally have 15-amp motors with the RPM under load ranging from 3000-6000. Cordless models are generally powered by 18V to 20V batteries.
The latter is a standard feature in most DeWalt saws and can generate a wee bit more power than the 18V ones.
Blade Capacity – The blade capacity will determine the cutting depth. Larger blades can cut deeper. Most of the best circular saws feature 7 ¼” blades, while there are a few which feature an 8” one.
The cutting depth on these saws range from 2 5/16 of an inch to almost 3”. If you are looking to clear a lot of material, the extra cutting depth will help you get the job done in fewer passes.
Bevel capacity and positive stops – Most budget priced circular saws will have a bevel capacity of 45-50 degrees.
There are a few which have generous bevel capacities that can extend to 57-degrees. Unless you are looking to make bevel cuts or miters with the circular saw, we don’t think that the bevel capacity is as critical as it is sometimes made out to be.
If you do intend to use this, then look for positive stops at 22 ½” and 45-degrees, as these are the most commonly used bevels.
That’s it folks. We hope that you enjoyed reading our recommendations for the best circular saw.
Each one of the 10 circular saws we’ve reviewed here are versatile and well suited for a variety of applications.
Irrespective of whether you are a hobbyist or a professional contractor, we are sure that you’ll find a saw that’s a fit for your needs.
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