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Best Circular Saw Reviews and Buyer’s Guide

In the growing world of power tools, circular saws are pretty high on the list of must-have things both for DIY-ers and professionals. Whether you’re looking to build furniture, cut some roofing beams, or make frames, you won’t be able to do it properly without a quality circular saw. Take a moment and check our reviews out if you’re in the process of finding a suitable saw for your future projects.

Categories to Choose from

Hitachi C10FCE2

Sidewinder or In-Line

This type is the most common one on the market due to its light weight and compactness. The blades attach directly to the motor’s drive shaft which results in smooth and efficient operation. When it comes to versatility, the In-Line saws are probably the most versatile ones within these few categories.

DEWALT DCS361M1

Worm drive

These saws are the most powerful of them all. The worm gear translates the power from the motor to the blade more effectively than a sidewinder type. Sheer power is the middle name of worm drive saws; they can cut through anything without breaking a sweat. However, when it comes to smaller cuts, they are quite awkward to handle due to their cumbersome design.

DEWALT DWS779

Hypoid

Hypoid saws work on a pretty simple principle known as (spiral) bevel gears. They are more efficient than the worm drive types due to the different concept of gears, oil management, and heat dissipation. These saws are quieter and stronger, but the micro sliding across the gear teeth results in a slight loss of mechanical efficiency.

Top Rated Circular Saws from Each Category

Makita 5007MG


Our Rating: 4.6

This high-powered Makita saw is packed with useful features that are designed to alleviate the hassle known as cutting dense wood. Due to its power, good balance, and lightweight design you won’t have an issue with cuts being as clean as possible. As you may know, clean cuts are the thing that makes or breaks a particular model.

As far as the design goes, it’s quite conventional. Furthermore, this model features positive bevel stops so that you can cut various angles without too much effort. The 15-amp motor delivers up to 5800 RPM and guarantees durability and efficiency. If you’re a woodworking enthusiast, then you’re probably aware of Makita’s quality and endurance of their machines. The accuracy is on a satisfactory level, especially because of the two integrated LED lights that are designed to help you calibrate the cut line.

The cutting capacity is okay, but not particularly impressive. The bevel capacity is 0-56 degrees, with positive stops at 22.5 and 45 degrees. It goes to show that while we can call it a versatile machine, there is still room for improvement, especially with the bevel stops. On the other hand, the included ruler makes up for the shortcomings regarding the overall (lack of) accuracy. Speaking of shortcomings, the biggest one according to many people is the absence of dust control. In other words, many people are complaining about getting hit with sawdust in the face, and it’s not a pleasant experience.

When it comes to advantages, there are many of them. The most obvious one is build quality, especially if you think about the affordability of this unit. It’s made of durable and reliable materials meaning you don’t have to worry about sudden malfunctions. Apart from the build quality, the versatility also stands out as a great advantage thanks to the bevel stops, LED lights, and smoothness of operation. The machine is quite easy to set up and use, even if you’re not an experienced individual. Make sure that you read the user manual regardless of your previous experience with these machines because while most of them work on the same principle, some don’t. The Makita 5007MG is a worthy investment both for professionals and enthusiasts.

DEWALT DWS535
  • Design
  • Functionality
  • Price

DEWALT DWS535


Our Rating: 4.7

The magnesium construction of this particular model provides optimal handling to the user regardless of their expertise. As you can assume, the Dewalt DWS535 is very easy to use, lightweight, and most importantly – powerful enough for a vast array of applications.

Dewalt is a well-respected brand among the power tools enthusiasts, and they have been manufacturing quality tools for years. Needless to say, this particular model isn’t any different when it comes to the overall quality, precision, and cost efficiency. The motor spins the blade at around 4800 RPM while in the no-load regime. It goes to show how powerful this blade is, even under no load whatsoever. The spindle lock on the top of the model allows you to change the blade within minutes thus drastically reducing downtimes.

When it comes to useful features, there are quite a lot of them. For example, the Toughcord system protects the cord four times better than any other and allows you to use the machine safely without thinking about potential hazards regarding electricity. As far as the safety goes, it’s okay but far from impressive. One cannot say it’s not a safe product, but there is always room for some improvements. For example, we would love to see a transparent blade guard on this unit instead of a plain metal one. On the other hand, it’s more of a personal preference instead of being a safety issue.

One of the things many people like is the balance of this unit. Even though some might not comprehend the importance of balance, you can rest assured that it’s quite crucial, especially if smaller cuts are in question. Therefore, small cuts are a piece of cake for this model. The other great thing is the sheer power coming from this unit. If you’re looking for a saw that’s able to cut through anything like a hot knife through butter, the DWS535 might be a good choice. The price is okay, but nothing out of the ordinary. It is an affordable piece of equipment, there’s no question about that, but it’s not an all-around unit.

DEWALT DWS535


Our Rating: 4.7

The magnesium construction of this particular model provides optimal handling to the user regardless of their expertise. As you can assume, the Dewalt DWS535 is very easy to use, lightweight, and most importantly – powerful enough for a vast array of applications.

Dewalt is a well-respected brand among the power tools enthusiasts, and they have been manufacturing quality tools for years. Needless to say, this particular model isn’t any different when it comes to the overall quality, precision, and cost efficiency. The motor spins the blade at around 4800 RPM while in the no-load regime. It goes to show how powerful this blade is, even under no load whatsoever. The spindle lock on the top of the model allows you to change the blade within minutes thus drastically reducing downtimes.

When it comes to useful features, there are quite a lot of them. For example, the Toughcord system protects the cord four times better than any other and allows you to use the machine safely without thinking about potential hazards regarding electricity. As far as the safety goes, it’s okay but far from impressive. One cannot say it’s not a safe product, but there is always room for some improvements. For example, we would love to see a transparent blade guard on this unit instead of a plain metal one. On the other hand, it’s more of a personal preference instead of being a safety issue.

One of the things many people like is the balance of this unit. Even though some might not comprehend the importance of balance, you can rest assured that it’s quite crucial, especially if smaller cuts are in question. Therefore, small cuts are a piece of cake for this model. The other great thing is the sheer power coming from this unit. If you’re looking for a saw that’s able to cut through anything like a hot knife through butter, the DWS535 might be a good choice. The price is okay, but nothing out of the ordinary. It is an affordable piece of equipment, there’s no question about that, but it’s not an all-around unit.

DEWALT DWS535
  • Design
  • Functionality
  • Price

Makita 5377MG


Our Rating: 4.5

Once more, Makita thrives in power, accuracy, and compactness. The 5377MG model is quite similar to the 5007MG with some noticeable differences. The first and most noticeable difference is the design. However, the features stayed more or less the same. As far as the build quality goes, Makita never ceases to amaze its customers with the high-end quality for an affordable price.

The powerful 15-amp motor spins the blade at 4500 RPM with the help of an innovative technology called compressed winding. It’s a pretty straightforward principle and yet quite effective. It allows the size of the machine to stay the same while delivering heavy-duty performance. The hypoid gears are known for their durability, and they don’t prematurely wear out, which is quite important, especially for the professionals. Longevity is one of the main advantages of the 5377MG model.

Hypoid units require constant lubrication which can sometimes be a burden for people who are in a hurry. However, thanks to the oil bath technology, this particular model stays lubricated at all times during operation meaning you don’t have to think about oil whatsoever. The levers on the unit are rubberized which helps a lot during operation. Therefore, instead of utilizing sharp and rugged levers, you have the option of using the more comfortable rubberized ones.

On the other hand, the hand grip isn’t cushioned or rubberized which can be regarded as a downside. Even though the machine doesn’t vibrate as much as one would expect, the lack of cushions is still noticeable and sometimes even annoying, especially during prolonged use. Luckily, you can solve this issue by using work gloves.

There aren’t many downsides, but the most obvious one is the lack of sawdust control. You will stumble upon this problem a lot with these machines because most manufacturers didn’t foresee any dust-control in their units whatsoever. It may be an issue sometimes, but it’s usually tolerable. A major upside of this model is its light weight. With only 10 pounds of weight, this particular model stands out as one of the lightest Makita’s units. The price is great; in fact, it’s one of the most affordable circular saws from this particular category.

Finding the Best Circular Saw – Buying Guide

If you’re planning on purchasing a circular saw, there are some things you should pay attention to in order to get the best deal possible. A lot of people don’t know what to look for and consequently end up with a unit that either doesn’t do what they thought it would or is overpriced. Both scenarios are pretty bad, especially if you’re on a limited budget. Take a look at this guide, and you’ll get a much better idea of what to look for in these machines.

Different Types of Circular Saws

Sidewinder or In-Line


This type of circular saws uses a motor with spur gears. Because of the nature of these gears, the motor has to be in line with the spinning blade – hence the in-line in its name. What this means is that the blades spin quite fast, somewhere around 6000 RPM. What makes these saws desirable is the position of the motor because it makes the unit compact and lightweight.

sidewinder

The blade is usually on the right side, while the weight is on the left side. Thanks to this design, the weight of the tool is on the board instead of being above the cut. However, the downside of this is the fact that it’s hard to see the cutline while you’re making the cut. As far as the safety goes, this type is one of the safer ones because both hands usually stay sufficiently far away from the blade.

The biggest advantages in comparison to other types are compactness and lack of weight. The ease of use is also an element to think about because in-line models are usually the easiest to operate and don’t require much experience. When it comes to the pricing, there are many different scenarios. In other words, you can find a cheap one, but it won’t fulfill your expectations. However, the high-quality ones are quite affordable and accessible to people who are on a tight budget. Therefore, even though you might not have a lot of money to spend, you can still find a decent unit with a couple of helpful and much-needed features.

Worm drive


The worm drive machines have the blade on the left side, leaving the majority of the weight on the right side. This particular design alters the way the blade is installed meaning it’s not the same principle that’s found in other types. The main advantage of this design is that you can see the cut as you’re making it, but it can be hard to get used to it if you’re transferring from sidewinder types.

A lot of people who use worm drive machines usually take advantage of the unit’s weight by cutting wood in handheld position. The length of these machines also helps with cutting wide stacks of dense lumber. Furthermore, plunge cuts are much easier with these than with in-line types.

The worm drive power transfer method makes these units one of the most powerful within this category. Thanks to the lack of auxiliary mechanical parts, the worm drive system is able to deliver impressive amounts of power and RPM thus cutting through the wood of any density without any hassle whatsoever. The only things these machines struggle with are the smaller cuts. In other words, if you’re looking to achieve extraordinary precision with small cuts by using a worm drive machine, we have some bad news for you – it’s not going to meet your expectations.

The models from this category tend to be a bit more expensive than the in-line ones, but it’s not a massive difference by any means. It all comes down to what you want to do with it and whether it’s the right tool for a particular application.

worm drive

Hypoid


The main difference between worm drive and hypoid units is in the gears. The hypoid type utilizes gears that are conical shaped while the worm drive uses worm-shaped gears. It may not sound comprehensive, but the differences are quite subtle and small.

The main advantage of these models is the torque. The fact that the motor is parallel with the blade means that it’s transferring power directly to the blade thus lowering the RPM and increasing the torque. An increased torque is also a great benefit of the stronger gear assembly.

hypoid

When it comes to the application versatility, hypoid machines do well. These machines have a longer length due to the orientation of the motor which results in an increased cut length and a different feel due to the position of the handle.

A slight downside of hypoid types is the weight increase in comparison to other ones. These weigh a few pounds more than any other type, but the weight can be used to your advantage, especially if you’re used to cutting with a lumber resting on a foot.

The blade is positioned on the left side of the unit, which might be a problem to some people who are used to using the standard ones. However, it’s a pretty minor difference; therefore, you should get used to it quite quickly. What’s good about hypoid saws is that they usually don’t require manual lubrication at all. Makita is one of the well-known manufacturers of these, and their gear contains oil that doesn’t require frequent maintenance, especially if you’re not a professional. These units aren’t the easiest to use, but learning how to use them shouldn’t be an issue for most people, especially the ones with previous experience. As far as the prices go, you can expect a slight increase in comparison to standard models.

Thing to Consider When Choosing the Best Product

Before you opt to buy a particular model, it would be a good idea if you would take a moment and conduct research about its capabilities and efficiency. Apart from that, there are plenty of other elements you should consider before deciding to invest quite a lot of money in a single power tool. Therefore, in order to avoid unpleasant scenarios such as overpaying a mediocre model, take a minute and read this guide. It is designed to help you make an important decision based on the specifications and prior knowledge about these tools. If you don’t have any knowledge about these machines, we strongly recommend reading this article.

The type

The first thing you need to determine is what type suits you the most, which usually depends on the nature of your job. For example, if you’re looking for a decent machine without too many auxiliary features, go with the sidewinder type. That way, you’ll save some money and purchase an easy-to-use unit. On the other hand, if you’re more into professional applications, make sure to invest in a trustworthy product that’s capable of coping with the pressure. The key is in balancing the power of these tools. In simpler words, it’s not recommended that you buy an overpowered machine, but you’ll definitely struggle with the underpowered ones.

Bevels, capacity, angles

Cutting capacity and depth are crucial. Look for the saws that have 0 degrees of maximum cutting depth. Furthermore, the max bevel cut should be at least 45 degrees, especially if you’re planning on cutting miters and angles. For more demanding angles, you should get a miter saw; the circular ones simply won’t do the job well. The blade quality is something many people oversee and neglect. However, it’s a huge mistake because the quality dictates efficiency and performance. In other words, if you install a cheap blade, don’t expect a miraculous performance – it won’t happen.

Speed and control

Even though many people don’t care about max RPM, it’s quite an important number. The math behind this is pretty simple – the more RPM, the more power, that’s it. Naturally, the more power you have in the blade, the cleaner the cuts are. Also, more power equals more control. Therefore, you can cut through tougher and dense materials due to the increased control over the machine.

Important Features to Look for

power

Power

While most people consider this feature somewhat irrelevant, it’s actually pretty important, especially if you’re a professional. Even though there aren’t many power deviations on the market, the difference between a 10-amp and 15-amp motor are massive. However, people who occasionally use these tools probably don’t need more than 10-12 amperes for standard wood cutting. On the other hand, the professionals do need quite a bit of power if they want to reduce downtime and increase their productivity. The standard amperage for particularly powerful models is around 15 amps.

ease of use

Ease of use

Most of these machines look quite similar to each other. However, there are some crucial differences that you need to care about. The burden here is that you can’t really do it online. Instead, the perfect thing would be to pay a visit to a hardware shop and look at the varieties in person. That way you can pinpoint the exact thing you want instead of guessing based on online reviews and descriptions.

If you can’t visit a hardware shop in person, make sure to look for the easy-to-use models online. Professionals already know what to do when it comes to choosing the right unit for their projects.

design

Design and build quality

Even though the design is solely a matter of personal preferences, there are some things you should avoid. For example, if you find a model with a lot of plastic parts, there’s a good chance that it’s prone to vibrate a lot. Some manufacturers alleviate the vibration problem by putting cushions and buffers over the plastic parts. It usually works fine, but there are some shortcomings such as tearing and wear.

As far as the build quality goes, there’s not much to talk about because you’ll probably be able to recognize a poorly-built unit right away. Aim for the ones that contain as many metal parts as possible. Truth be told, it’s not much different from hard plastic, but it’s still more reliable.

the price

The price

Although this isn’t a feature per se, it’s quite important. We cannot give you a lot of tips when it comes to the price, but one thing we can say is – avoid buying cheap models. It’s never a good idea, even if you cannot invest more money than you have in your pockets. Cheap tools usually break quickly, but the more important thing is that they are a serious safety hazard due to the lack of safety mechanisms.

Circular Saw Injury Prevention – Safety First


In a study that was conducted several years ago, the CPSC found that over 50000 people were treated in the US for injuries associated with different types of saws. Naturally, the most common injuries involved deep cuts, nerve damage, and even losing fingers. In order to prevent these things from happening to you, there are some things you should pay attention to when operating a circular saw.

Keep your eyes on the saw


A worrying number of people lose focus while operating a power tool. The reasons are usually other people, conversation, or even music. The most important thing is not to lose focus while you’re cutting a piece of wood because it can lead to severe consequences. While it’s not forbidden to listen to music or talk with other people while you’re working, it’s recommended that you don’t do it while the saw is working under full load. The ones who sacrifice a few minutes or conversation can rest assured that nothing bad will happen. However, the ones that don’t are gambling with their lives.

Keep your hands off the saw at all times


You’ll often hear something along the lines of “Oh, it’s okay, the saw is turned off.” Needless to say, that sentence usually leads to cuts, nerve damage, and a vast array of other unpleasant conditions. Do not clean the scraps off the table with bare hands! Instead, use a stick or a broom to clean the work space, even if you turned the unit off. The only situation in which you can be certain nothing will happen is when the unit is plugged out of the socket. While it’s plugged in, there’s always a possibility of something going wrong.

bosch warm drive

Dress accordingly


Loose clothing and jewelry are quite dangerous, even though they don’t seem like it. There’s always a chance of loose clothing tangling up and getting caught up under the blade. As you may assume, the consequences are horrible. Rings and bracelets are as dangerous as loose clothing, if not more. Take your jewelry off and dress accordingly!

Use appropriate blades


Many people cut all sorts of stuff with a single blade, which is potentially a life-threatening hazard. The reason is simple – not all blades are designed to work with all materials. For example, if you try cutting aluminum with a blade that’s foreseen for woodwork, the chances of kickback are enormous. As you may know, kickback is something to avoid because it can cause serious damage. Also, avoid dull blades because they are a number one cause for a kickback.

Always plug the unit out of the socket when adjusting


As we already said, the safest way to handle a saw and make adjustments is when it’s plugged out of the socket. Even if your saw stalls and requires a restart, make sure to plug it out. Some models feature a restart button that can be used while the unit is still turned on, but we recommend plugging it out regardless.

makita

Clamping


While clamping isn’t necessarily needed for processing wood, it’s a different story with metal parts or sheets. If you’re cutting metal, always make sure to clamp it first. It doesn’t matter whether you clamp it on the table or something else, the most important thing is the fact that it is clamped. The reason for this is quite obvious – you don’t want stuff to move around the table while you’re coming in with a razor-sharp blade spinning at 6000 RPM.

Regular maintenance


Even though many of the modern models don’t require much maintenance, it’s always a good idea to at least clean the machine and eliminate residue. You don’t have to take the whole thing apart, but it’s recommended that you at least take off the parts that aren’t mechanically crucial. For example, unscrewing the blade guard and cleaning it with an old rag takes only a couple of minutes but is quite useful.

Things like clogged ports or dirty mechanisms need to be treated before it’s too late. If you’re not comfortable with taking the machine apart, pay a visit to a professional, and they will do it in a matter of minutes. It might cost a couple of dollars, but it’s well-worth the money. The things you can do is surface cleaning, re-lubing old parts, and so on. It may not seem as effective as the other tips, but rest assured it plays a significant role both in safety and life of your machine.

The conclusion


If you’re looking for a new power tool, take a moment and check our reviews out. We’ve covered a couple of models that we think are worth checking out. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a professional or an enthusiast, you should be able to find something of interest. Every single one of the models we decided to review offers affordability, quality, and precision. Truth be told, those three elements are usually the most important ones when it comes to choosing the right unit for yourself.

If you’re an absolute beginner, make sure to read our supporting articles regarding the general safety and precautionary measures. It’s always better to sacrifice a few minutes and read the rules instead of skipping it and risking severe injuries. As far as we are concerned, the units we reviewed are all worthy investments. It all comes down to your personal preferences and professional needs. Try finding a suitable type for your projects, and you can rest assured that these work as advertised.

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