Best circular saw reviews 2018
Makita SP6000J1 Plunge Circular Saw with Guide RailThe very best circular saw
An innovative circular saw designed to deliver accurate, splinter-free cuts with minimum tear-out.
#1: Makita SP6000J1 Review
The Makita SP6000J1 is the best circular saw on the market, ideal for the professionals who want to achieve accurate cuts with minimum waste of material.
The plunge cut circular saw comes with a 55-inch guide rail developed for precision cutting of most materials.
A 12-amp motor delivers sufficient power to spin the blade up to 5,200 RPM, while the variable speed control allows you to optimize the output for optimal performance.
Another nice feature is the generous cutting capacity and the bevel capability which allows for precision cuts at 90°, 45°, and 22.5°.
Safe to operate even by the less experienced users, this circular saw also features a convenient built-in torque limiter and electric brake designed to prevent motor burnout and increase productivity.
Powerful and performing, the Makita SP6000J1 is the best circular saw in its class.
DEWALT DWE575SB Lightweight Circular SawMost value for money
A compact but powerful circular saw ideal for most users, contractors and DIYers alike.
#2: DEWALT DWE575SB Review
The DEWALT DWE575SB is a great circular saw designed with the professional woodworkers in mind, but affordable enough to appeal to the amateurs.
Powered by a 15-amp motor, the tool reaches speeds of 5,100 RPM, enough to rip through most materials.
Like our best-in-class pick, this circular saw features a 57° bevel capacity with positive stops at 22.5 and 45 degrees.
Perfect for most applications, the tool is lightweight, compact, and easy to maneuver.
Like the best-in-class, this circular saw also has an electric brake, while a great additional feature is the integrated dust blower that will help keep your workspace clean.
Coming with an all-purpose carbide-tipped blade, lightweight, yet powerful, the DEWALT DWE575SB brings the best value for money.
DEWALT DCS391B Cordless Circular SawBest cordless circular saw
Powerful circular saw ideal for job site applications that require limitless mobility.
#3: DEWALT DCS391B Review
The DEWALT DCS391B is the best cordless circular saw on the market, a tool designed to deliver high torque and a speed up to 5,250 RPM.
The circular saw is powered by an interchangeable 20V Max lithium-ion battery which is not included in the box, but you can use the battery kit of a compatible tool if you already own one.
Despite this minor drawback, this circular saw stands up to the expectations and is capable of cutting through most materials.
Like our best-value pick, it comes with a carbide-tipped blade and has a 50° bevel capacity with 45° positive stop.
Ideal for most cutting applications and ideal to use in your home workshop or on the job site, the DEWALT DCS391B is a great alternative if you need unrivaled mobility.
SKIL 5280-01 Circular SawBest cheap circular saw
Affordable and easy to use, this circular saw is ideal for the amateurs and beginners.
#4: SKIL 5280-01 Review
The SKIL 5280-01 gives an affordable alternative to the amateurs and beginners looking for reliability at a good price.
Similar to our best-value pick, this tool is powered by a 15-amp motor and reaches a maximum speed of 5,300 RPM.
Designed for performance, the circular saw comes with an incorporated laser-beam guide which will help you achieve more accurate cuts, while the 51° bevel with 45° positive stop allows for a variety of miter and angle cuts.
Like our best-value, this tool comes equipped with a 24-tooth carbide-tipped blade which is easy to change thanks to the spindle lock and on-tool wrench.
Powerful, affordable, and easy to use, the SKIL 5280-01 is a great budget pick.
1. Plunge vs. traditional circular saw
Contractors and amateurs looking for a circular saw can choose the most appropriate tool for their needs between plunge saws and traditional circular saws.
- Traditional circular saws: Have a basic design consisting of a retractable blade guard mounted over the blade. When operating the saw, the blade guard retracts, allowing the blade to slice through the material. However, you will always have to start the cut from an end of the material you are cutting, while the side fence installed on the tool is usually hard to use to achieve accurate cuts.
- Plunge circular saws: Have the blade enclosed within the machine, and therefore they have no retractable blade guard. This difference in the design allows plunging the blade into the material you are cutting at any point, and you’ll not have to start the cut at one end of the workpiece. The design difference also allows the blade to run along a guide rail designed to ensure the accuracy of the cut. With this type of circular saw, you’ll be able to achieve smooth, accurate cuts.
Which one do you need?
Plunge circular saws may provide smoother cuts than the conventional models, but they are also much more expensive. Both machines can be employed for the same applications, but if you’re mainly buying the tool for general household repairs or rough jobs, a conventional model could be a more convenient choice.
2. What to use a circular saw for?
In general, you can use both a circular and a plunge saw for:
- Woodworking, including cutting plywood and framing materials;
- Cutting plastic and metals;
- Cutting tiles and masonry materials.
Circular saws are typically used for smaller-scale applications. Large projects may require the use of a more powerful machine, such as a table saw or cabinet table saw. Also, keep in mind that all circular saws, plunge or conventional, are designed for rip cutting. For accurate crosscuts, you’ll need either a miter saw or a chop saw, depending on the material.
3. Types of traditional circular saws
There are three types of conventional saws, sidewinder, worm drive, and hypoid.
- Sidewinder saws: Are the most popular and owe their name to the fact that the motor is placed on the side of the saw. These models can reach high speeds and are the most compact, portable, and easier to maneuver, but they are typically not powerful enough to make very deep cuts.
- Worm drive saws: Have the motor mounted at the back of the tool, a design feature that makes this type of saw longer and narrower than the sidewinder. This design increases the power but compromises on speed, while the motor also needs constant maintenance. However, this type of circular saw can be used to make plunge cuts.
- Hypoid saws: Are similar in design with the worm drive but use a different transmission and a spiral bevel gear which improves the tool’s efficiency and power while reducing the size of the motor. These saws are typically used for cutting long wood pieces or damp wood.
4. Circular saw power
Like most power tools, circular saws are powered either by alternating current drawn from a wall outlet or power generator, or by a battery.
- Corded circular saws: Are powered by motors between 12 and 15 amperes and run on 120V AC. Higher amperage means a higher output power, which ultimately means the tool is capable of producing a higher torque.
- Cordless circular saws: Are typically powered by lithium-ion batteries. The best circular saws in this class come with interchangeable 20V batteries which are compatible with other power tools in the system, including miter saws, cordless drills, hammer drills, or reciprocating saws.
5. Cutting capacity and speed
The cutting capacity of a circular saw is determined by the size of the blade. Most cordless circular saws come with 6-1/2 inches (16.5 cm) blades, whereas most corded circular saws come with 7-1/4 inches (18.4 cm) blades, although there are some exceptions.
All blades with a diameter over 6 inches (15.25 cm) can cut through 2-inch (5 cm) dimensional lumber in a single pass.
Circular saw speed
Most circular saws have maximum cutting speeds between 5,000 and 5,500 revolutions per minute (RPM), and some of the best circular saws come with variable speed control dials which allows you to match the speed to the application for optimized tool control.
6. Best circular saw blades
The most important thing when choosing the blade is to check whether the maximum supported speed matches the speed of your tool, especially if your circular saw works at one speed.
The blades have this information printed on them, and you must never use a blade rated as safe at a lower speed on a machine spinning faster. This could cause the blade to break or lose its teeth, resulting in an injury or even potentially life-threatening hazard.
Circular saw blade types
Like most saws, circular saws are compatible with a variety of blades designed to rip through various materials. The most popular options include:
- High-speed steel (HSS) blades: Are the most common blades used on circular saws. They are more durable than the conventional steel blades and comprise a variety of models of rip cutting, crosscutting, and combination blades for wood, metal, and plastics.
- Carbide-tipped blades: Are similar to the HSS, but their teeth are tipped with tungsten or titanium carbide, a strong material which stays sharp for longer. The carbide-tipped blades also come in a variety of all-purpose or specific models but are more expensive than the high-speed steel or steel blades.
- Diamond-coated blades: Are the toughest blades designed to rip through hard materials including tiles and masonry. Although many dry diamond-coated blades can be used with circular saws for tile cutting, we recommend using a specific tile saw or tile cutter for this purpose, because a wet saw cuts ceramic tiles more accurately.
7. Other features to consider
The best circular saws also come with a few additional features designed to make the operation safer or easier.
- Spindle lock: Allows you to change the blade easier by immobilizing the tool’s shaft.
- Electric brake: A safety feature designed to stop the blade almost instantly when the trigger is released. To do this, the brake reverses the current inside the circuit, stopping the blade’s momentum.
- Overload protection: Stops the machine in case of overload, prolonging the motor’s lifespan and reducing the associated hazards.
- Laser guide: Helps you track the path of the blade to achieve more accurate cuts.
- Safety switch: A safety switch on the trigger prevents the blade from spinning if the trigger is pressed accidentally.
- Bevel capacity: Most circular saws have bevel cut capacity. Look for a tool with positive stops at the desired degrees (typically 22.5 and 45°) to improve the accuracy.