Locating the Best Circular Saw

Circular saws have been, and will always be, an essential part of any tradesman’s arsenal. Not only can you use the best circular saw to build anything around the house, from fences to docks and furniture, but it’s also suitable for bigger jobsite projects, making such a machine a must-have tool in any toolbox. But what is the best circular saw?

Choosing the best circular saw is no small feat, though, but don’t worry, as we’ve already done the heavy lifting and picked the top power tools in this category.

Without further ado, here are our picks for the best circular saw:

Best Circular Saw on the Market – Our Picks

Makita SP6000J1 6-1/2-Inch Plunge Circular Saw

Right off the bat is the SP6000J1 circular saw from Makita, the well-known Japanese manufacturer. As you’d expect, this saw does reflect the genius of Japanese engineering, with a 12-amp motor that features lightweight magnesium components to offer enough punch for any application without causing too much muscle fatigue. The engine can rotate the blade at a whopping 5,200 RPM, but the speed can be adjusted depending on the application at hand.

Besides boasting an excellent motor, the Makita SP6000J1 also has a bevel capacity of 1 to 48 degrees along with a cutting capacity of 1 9/16 at 45 degrees and 2 3/16 inches at- 90 degrees.

As you know, with great power comes great responsibility but far less precision, which is why most woodworkers prefer less powerful yet more accurate power tools for delicate tasks. Fortunately, that’s not an issue for the SP6000J1, as it offers the precision of a stationary table saw but at reduced size and weight points, courtesy of a built-in depth stop capable of producing a 1/16 inch preliminary cut. The saw also features electronic speed control, which contributes to making it more accurate as you can adjust the speed to your liking.

The Makita SP6000J1 nails both dust collection and safety as well, with an efficient dust collection system that guarantees a mess-less operation and an anti-tipping mechanism that protects the user from any harm.

All in all, the Makita SP6000J1 is a powerful, precise, and portable machine that’s also pretty affordable, making it one of the best circular saws you can get today.

Pros

  • Clean, consistent, and square cuts
  • Intuitive plunge mechanism
  • Efficient dust collection

Cons

  • Short power cord

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SKILSAW SPT77WML-01 Lightweight Circular Saw

Skilsaw is yet another well-known manufacturer that has been producing premium power tools of all kinds for decades now. Despite being cheaper than the Makita SP6000J1, The SPT77WML-01 circular saw from Skilsaw packs a more powerful 15-amp motor that can provide a no-load speed of 5,300 RPM, which will allow you to tackle any cut effortlessly

Just like Makita’s circular saw, this fine piece of machinery features magnesium components in the motor to keep the weight at bay, which explains why it weighs only 11.6 pounds in total. Add that to the worm drive nature of the engine, the effortlessness of adjustment, and the ergonomic, balanced design of the unit, and you’ve got yourself one of the best circular saws in terms of ease of use.

Thanks to the 53-degree bevel and 0-degree and 45-degree positive stops on the footplate, you can use this circular saw for different cuts on various materials, which is why we’re also labeling it as one of the best circular saws when it comes to versatility.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Powerful 15-amp motor
  • Easy adjustment to different cuts

Cons

  • The power cord is a bit short

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DEWALT DWE575SB Lightweight Circular Saw

No matter how long you’ve been using power tools for, you must have felt the majesty of DeWalt machines. The main perk of the DEWALT DWE575SB circular saw is its lightweight, as it’s one of the lightest tools in this category. If you work remotely often, that’s something you just can’t overlook.

The machine even comes with its own carrying bag, which, although not that big of a deal, is still quite nice. Actually, the bag is a big deal, as it’s made of durable material and features a helluva lot of organizational pockets, making it an excellent add-on to your circular saw.

This circular saw manages to be light and portable without sacrificing an ounce of power, as it sports an excellent 15-amp motor that will allow you to shear through any material like hot butter for up to 2 9/16 inches in depth at an impressive speed of 5,100 RPM.

For the weight and price, this machine offers plenty of torque. Durability is also taken care of as the unit, though made in China, features heavy-duty construction, which means that it’s going to last for years on end in your garage.

Overall, the DEWALT DWE575SB is light, sturdy, and high-performant, and it offers all the bells and whistles you’d need when tackling any kind of project, making it a solid candidate for the title of the best circular saw.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Excellent speed brake
  • Front-mounted dust blower

Cons

  • The dust control can be an issue

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Rockwell RK3440K Versacut Ultra-Compact Circular Saw

The Rockwell RK3440K fills a unique niche with its super compact design that allows it to be one of the best circular saws when it comes to portability. Not only that, but it’s also a solid mid-range power tool, making it an excellent choice to consider if you’re on a budget.

Even though it weighs less than four pounds, this compact model can cut through wood, tile, plastic, aluminum, and everything in between in a speedy and precise manner, all thanks to its powerful 4-amp motor that offers a no-load speed of 3,500 RPM. Granted, that may not seem like much compared to the rest of the products on our list, but it’s more than enough for most homeowners and DIYers.

Balancing power thanks to its motor and comfort thanks to its ergonomic design and slip grip handle, this saw manages to be the perfect companion for home projects, especially that it comes with a 120-inch power cord that makes moving the machine around a breeze. This circular saw even features a new laser guide up front, which is a luxurious add-on that’s rare to find even in more expensive models.

The cutting luxury doesn’t end there, as although this saw doesn’t have a dust collection system, which is the case for most units within this price range, it does have a dust extraction adapter, which keeps the cut line free of dust so that you can have better visibility.

Another thing that we really like in the Rockwell RK3440K is the great design of the shoe, which has a plastic cover so that you can use it on any kind of semi-finished surface without worrying about scratching it. The shoe also has markings that show where the cut will start and stop for typical blade depths; thus taking away all the guesswork and eliminating over cuts for the most part.

As you’d expect from a tool of this size, the maximum cut depth isn’t impressive, as it can go only for as far as 1 1/16 inches.

Pros

  • Ergonomic, compact design
  • Decent 4-amp motor
  • Long 120-inch cord

Cons

  • Maximum depth of cut of 1 1/16 inches

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PORTER-CABLE PCE310 Heavy-Duty Circular Saw

It’s tough to find a decent circular saw for under a hundred bucks, but the PORTER-CABLE PCE310 Heavy Duty Circular Saw accomplishes just that. Despite its low price tag, this model can work just fine for most applications thanks to its powerful, 15-amp motor that’s capable of spinning the blade at 5,500 RPM.

Blending that more-than-capable engine with nine pounds in weight and a 7 ¼-inch carbide tipped blade, the PORTER-CABLE circular saw provides excellent performance and sufficient power for any cutting task without being too cumbersome and tiring to use.

As for the cuts, this model can easily cut materials for up to 2 ½ inches in depth at 90 degrees and 1 7/8 inches at 45 degrees.

A unique feature at this price point is the perfect balance it offers along with the magnesium shoe and metal guards that reflect the tool’s durability (more on that in the buying guide). When skimping on your machines, it’s hard to expect a long lifespan, but that’s exactly what you’re going to get if you pick the PORTER-CABLE PCE310 as your best circular saw.

Unfortunately, no rid guide is included with this power saw. Furthermore, the fitting for the rip guide is not a standard size, which means that you’ll have to get a Porter Cable proprietary rip guide if you need one. Additionally, this circular saw doesn’t feature a dust collection system, but that’s to be expected considering the price point.

For the price, the PORTER-CABLE PCE310 is pretty light, solid, and reliable. If you’re a tradesman on a budget or simply need an affordable circular saw for your DIY projects, this unit can be the best circular saw for you, especially that it’s covered with a three-year warranty, which should give you some peace of mind when going with this saw.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Effective lower guard
  • 15 amps of power and 5,500 RPM of speed

Cons

  • No rip guide is included

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Choosing the Best Circular Saw – Buying Guide

Now that you’ve taken a look at our picks for the title of the best circular saw, it’s time for you to make your final choice and choose the next addition to your woodworking arsenal, which shouldn’t be that hard once you finish our buying guide.

Corded vs. Corded Circular Saws

Circular saws can be either corded or cordless. Which type you should choose depends on your own preferences and the kind of tasks and projects you tackle often.

Corded Circular Saws

If power and durability are what you’re after, a corded circular saw is the way to go. Of course, you’ll have to deal with the constant need for a power source and outlet, but if you tackle big projects often, that mustn’t be an issue.

One of the reasons corded models are more durable is the fact that they feature heavy-duty shoes, which is the part that runs alongside the material when you’re cutting it. As portability is the biggest selling point of cordless circular saw, they tend to have light materials, such as aluminum, to save on weight, which can result in a shorter lifespan.

Cordless Circular Saws

If you’re one to work in remote locations (where you don’t have access to a power outlet) most of the time, you ought to get a cordless circular saw, as cordless models are easier to carry around as they’re lighter in weight and smaller in size compared to corded units. That comes with a catch though, as cordless circular saws are also a bit less powerful, but that shouldn’t come as a surprise as that’s the case for any cordless power tool.

Right-Handed vs. Left Handed Models

As the names indicate, right-handed circular saws have their handle on the right side of the blade, while left-handed models come with their handles attached to the left.

Which one to pick, you ask?

Well, it depends on which hand is your dominant one, so, again, this is an aspect that depends on your own personal preferences.

What to Look For

Power

Power is the pillar of power tools (duh!), which is why you need to give it special attention when looking for the best circular saw. Your chosen unit should feature a powerful motor capable of providing enough speed for the blade to cut through any material you frequently use in your projects. Of course, if you only need the best circular saw for small, DIY tasks around the house, you needn’t shell out wads of cash to get more power, as heavy-duty models can really set you back a pretty penny.

Size and Weigh

Using circular saws all day long can wear on you. That’s why you need to find a unit that suits your health and physical capacity. There’s a world of difference between pushing an eight-pound saw and one weighing more than ten pounds, especially if you cut different materials for hours on end. You also need to make sure that the best circular saw is well-balanced, as that contributes to the ease of use and efficiency of the machine as well.

Power Source

As mentioned above, circular saws can be either corded or cordless, and choosing the right model for your toolbox will depend on your personal preferences. Corded models are a tad more powerful, but they can be a pain in the neck when it comes to portability.

Cordless circular saws, on the other hand, are easier to move around, but you may need to sacrifice some motor power, though battery technology has been advancing significantly over the past decade, and we may start seeing some pretty powerful circular saws that operate on batteries soon.

Build Quality

The build quality of a circular saw can be evaluated on different levels, but the component that genuinely reflects the durability of such a machine is the base plate.

Why?

Because the base plate is the component that tends to break more often than all other parts. In other words, if a circular saw’s base plate is made of a heavy-duty, super durable material, such as fiber-reinforced plastic, it means that the manufacturer cares about the durability of the machine. On the other hand, if the base plate is made of aluminum or stainless steel, it means that the durability wasn’t really a priority when the saw was designed.

Blade

The blade is an integral component of any power saw, and it’s the one that’s going to determine through which material you can cut smoothly. When it comes to the blade, there are three aspects that you must consider to pick the best circular saw: blade size, blade material, and blade adjustability.

Starting with the size, it’s essential to note that there is no “perfect size.” As with power, the best blade size for your circular saw will depend on the kind of projects you tackle often. Most full-sized, stationary circular saws feature a 7 ¼ – inch blade, while portable saws tend to come with 4 ½-inch or 6 ½- inch blades.

You should also keep in mind that the performance of the blade will also depend on the motor of the saw. The same blade can perform differently depending on the horsepower of the engine, so try to balance these features when looking for the best circular saw.

The blade size goes hand in hand with the adjustability when it comes to cutting performance. Most units, especially cordless ones, will allow you to set the depth of cut to around 2 ½ inches, while some full-sized models may go for as deep as 2 3/8 inches and 3 inches. Although going with a saw that allows for such depth of cut may seem tempting, since you can easily shear through plywood or stacked 2x4s if you want, it’s actually more than what most people need.

When looking for the best circular saw, keep in mind that saw blades lose their maximum depth when they’re set at an angle that’s not 90 degrees. Furthermore, the farther you get from 90 degrees, the more depth the blade loses.

As for the blade material, most models come with blades that are tungsten carbide tipped affairs, making them ideal for cutting wood.

Extra Features

Some circular saws come with extra features that can come in handy, such as laser sights, front LED lights, vacuum blowers, low battery indicators for cordless models, etc. Depending on your needs and projects, some extra features may come in handy from time to time.

Verdict

Circular saws are an essential part of any woodworking arsenal, which is why you need to take your time to pick the ideal model for you. As mentioned again and again in this article, choosing the best circular saw boils down to your own needs and the kind of projects you tackle more often.

Good luck finding your best circular saw, fellow woodworker!

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