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Circular saws are a must-have for carpenters, homeowners, DIYers and handy professionals. They are among the most efficient cutting tools available in the market, and a great power tool for woodworking. With the proper blade, they can also cut bricks, ceramic, metal and plastic.
Circular saws come corded or cordless, depending on the power source. A corded circular saw’s power is measured by the number of amps it has, while a cordless circular saw is measured by the number of volts. The higher the amps or volts, the more cutting power.
What to Consider Before Buying a Circular Saw
There is a circular saw for everyone regardless of budget or experience, and everyone can find a circular saw that meets their expectations. Overall most circular saws are very similar in functionality and performance. However, there are several factors to consider before purchasing a brand-new circular saw. The most important ones are the power source, blade size, speed, weight and features.
- Wired Versus Wireless: Wired circular saws require a power outlet, so they are limited to a specific location unless you use a long extension cord. The wired circular saw’s electric power is measured in amps; the greater the number of amps, the more power you will have. Wireless circular saws are powered by a battery, giving you the flexibility to take your device anywhere. In terms of power capacity, take a look at the number of volts the tool has. Battery-powered circular saws’ power usually ranges from 18 to 24 volts. In terms of cutting capacity, these two circular saws are very similar.
- Blade Size: Circular saws are measured based on the blade size they use. They come in different sizes, including 7 1/4 inches, 6 1/2 inches and 4 inches. The most common size among pros and DIYers is a 7 1/4-inch circular saw.
- Speed: The speed in circular saws is measured as revolution per minute (RPM). The greater the RPM, the faster and smoother the cut. Most wired circular saws run at a speed of around 5,000 RPM. On the other hand, battery-powered ones run slightly less than their counterparts, but that shouldn’t be a deal-breaker.
- Weight: Depending on the size, circular saws weigh between 4 and 13 pounds. The factor that affects most of the weight in circular saws is the base plate. Most circular saw base plates are made of steel, aluminum or magnesium. Those made of steel are the heaviest; those made of magnesium are the lightest, but also the most expensive.
- Features: Circular saws have a lot in common when it comes to functional features, including a lever to adjust angles from zero degrees up to 55 or more and a blade depth adjuster. But many offer features that make the user experience more enjoyable and safer. Some of these features include a laser guide, LED light, electric stop, dust collector and built-in hooks.
SPY’s Picks for the Best Circular Saws
I worked in construction for several years doing everything from framing homes to installing moldings. Now, I’m a hardcore DIYer doing countless projects for my personal use and a variety of DIY and home improvement publications. Throughout my career, I have used many circular saws from all different brands, from the cheapest to the most expensive ones. In this round-up of the best circular saws, I’ll share my personal recommendations. Plus, here at SPY we never recommend something we wouldn’t buy ourselves.
There are many circular saws to choose from, and picking the right one for your needs can feel overwhelming. For your convenience, we have rounded up the best circular saws from the best brands to help get your next project moving.
1. Dewalt 7 1/4-inch Circular Saw
Dewalt builds some of the most reliable power tools on the market, and this powerful 15-amp corded circular saw is not an exception. This durable machine weighs under 9 pounds, has a built-in dust blower and comes with patented cord protection, making it more durable. In addition, it can bevel up to 57 degrees, has a depth-cutting capacity of 2 9/16 inches and includes an electric brake, which means the blade stops the moment you remove your finger from the trigger.
2. SKIL 15 Amp 7 1/4-Inch Circular Saw
SKIL is the pioneer of circular saws. Since its inception, the company has been delivering some of the most potent, reliable and precise circular saws on the market. This particular circular saw includes some of the most useful features — a laser beam to help get straight cuts, a safety lock and guarded trigger for your protection, and a dust blower for a mess-free job site, to mention a few. Plus, it has 15 amps of power, runs up to 5,300 RPM and comes with a blade and a tool bag.
3. Makita 15 Amp 7 1/4-Inch Corded Lightweight Circular Saw
BEST FOR PROS
Makita is one of my favorite brands, especially when it comes to framing. If you’re a framer or a carpenter, you know how important it is to have a powerful, reliable and low-maintenance circular saw. This Makita 7 1/4-inches circular saw comes with 15 amps of power and delivers 4,500 RPM, a magnesium element base plate, ca grip handle for extra comfort, a built-in fan, and a 10-foot power cord. Though it’s designed using magnesium, it is one of the heaviest circular saws on our list at 13.2 pounds.
4. Craftsman 7 1/4-Inch Circular Saw
The Craftsman 7 1/4-inch Circular Saw delivers up to 5,500 RPM, making beveling cuts up to 55 degrees a breeze, and, thanks to its Spindle Lock system, changing a blade is a smooth process. Plus, it’s affordable and relatively lightweight. You can’t go wrong with this circular saw — it’s a force with which to be reckoned.
5. Makita 18-Volt X2 LXT Circular Saw Kit
BEST CORDLESS KIT
When it comes to high-quality power tools and performance, Makita stands out. This cordless circular saw is built for efficiency thanks to its brushless motor. It runs up to 5,100 RPM, comes with an electric brake and will give you free rein to cut everywhere in your house. This top-rated kit includes a 7 1/4-inch circular saw, two fast-charging Lithium-Ion batteries, a dual charger and a carrying bag. Framers and carpenters love this beast.
6. Dewalt 6 1/2-Inch 20V MAX Circular Saw
Affordable, reliable and powerful, this Dewalt 20V MAX Circular Saw has become a favorite among homeowners and DIYers. It is comfortable and easy to use, provides up to 50 degrees of bevel capacity, delivers up to 5,150 RPM and runs with batteries (not included here). This is an ideal buy if you’re looking for a lightweight saw since it only weighs 7.1 pounds.
7. RYOBI ONE+ HP 18V Brushless Cordless Circular Saw
BEST FOR DIYERS
If you’re looking for a sleek circular saw that packs plenty of power, RYOBI is the way to go. RYOBI has become a favorite among homeowners and DIYers alike because of its affordable and reliable tools. The RYOBI cordless 7 1/4-inch circular saw has a sleek design, a powerful 18V brushless motor and a built-in LED light to provide more visibility. Plus, it delivers up to 4,300 RPM, will keep your workspace clean with its vacuum adapter and you’ll have great results for all of your home improvement projects. Note that the battery isn’t included with this circular saw.
8. Genesis 4.0 Amp 4 1/2-Inch Compact Circular Saw
BEST UNDER $50
Don’t let the price fool you — the corded Genesis Circular Saw is a beast that can cut through a piece of wood in no time. It delivers up to 3,500 RPM, weighs just 4.7 pounds, is easy to handle with one hand and has a vacuum adapter for a mess-free workstation. Most important, its blades provide enough depth to cut through a sheet of plywood and standard 2-inch thick wood.
9. Makita SH02R1 12V Cordless Circular Saw
BEST MINI CORDLESS SAW
Some of the best things come in small packages, and this cordless Makita circular saw lives up to that saying. This cordless mini saw is great for small cuts. It has a depth-cutting capacity of up to an inch, delivers up to 1,500 RPM and is comfortable and easy to use. Plus, it delivers bevel cuts of up to 45 degrees. This comfortable circular saw kit is calling your name.
10. Craftsman 7 1/4-Inch Circular Saw 13 Amp
BEST FOR FIRST-TIME BUYERS
If you are looking to buy your very first circular saw without taking a hit to your wallet, this Craftsman 13 Amp circular saw is for you. It’s powerful, with up to 5,300 RPM; compact at less than 10 pounds; and, most importantly, is affordable. Learn the ins and outs of woodcutting using this circular saw.