For making a range of quick, straight cuts with a minimum of fuss, it’s hard to beat a good circular saw. They are ideal for rip cuts, cross cuts and plunge cuts – as well as several others – and for anyone who works a lot with wood, they are an indispensable tool.
However, probably the biggest problem when buying a circular saw is choosing the best option to meet your needs. There are so many possibilities to choose from, so to help you, here, we give you our top picks for best circular saw.
Our Top Pick
This full-sized but extremely lightweight circular saw from Skil with a right-sided blade and a laser guidance system is simple to use, reliable and consistently gives excellent results.
It is a corded model that generates 5,300 RPM, giving you the ability to tackle a broad range of cutting jobs. The spindle lock system also makes it quick and easy to switch blades whenever required.
Overall, this is a great piece of kit that also represents excellent value for money. A recommended option for anyone looking for something in this category and an obvious choice for our top pick.
Here are the main points you should look at when choosing the best circular saw for your needs.
Corded or Cordless Circular Saw?
One of the first decisions you need to make is whether to opt for a corded saw or a cordless one, and both have advantages and disadvantages.
Corded saws tend to be more powerful and are often bigger, giving you more cutting capacity. You don’t need to worry about the battery running out since they run off mains power – but this means your mobility is limited and you have to be careful the cord doesn’t get in the way.
Battery power gives you more mobility, but these models are often smaller and less powerful. If you only have one battery, you will also have to stop working to recharge if it runs out before you finish the job.
Both have advantages and disadvantages, so it’s really just a case of working out which factors are more important to you.
Left Handed vs. right handed Circular Saw
In the world of circular saws, there is something of a debate over whether having the blade on theright-hand side or the left-hand side is better – and this has nothing to do with whether you are right- or left-handed.
The traditional version has the blade on the right side. This means you have to lean over the saw the see what you are cutting, and you have to support the weight of the saw since it is mostly resting on the waste edge.
However, these saws are marginally safer since your hands don’t need to cross the blade.
Saws with the blade on the left allow you to see the cut more easily since the blade is on the same side as you. They are more stable because they rest on the part you plan to keep, not the waste edge.
However, there is slightly more risk – although not much – since your hands have to cross the blade to grip the saw. Also, they blow sawdust toward you rather than away.
In the end, which one you choose comes down to personal preference – it depends on what you are used to using and what you feel most comfortable with.
Here’s a video that explains the issues in more detail.
Standard full-sized blades measure 7 ¼”. They give you the biggest cutting capacity and depth, allowing you to work on plywood, 2x4s and much more. Being the most common type, it is also easier to find replacement blades for full-sized saws.
Smaller versions are available too. Saws with smaller blades are lighter and easier to handle – but sacrifice some of their cutting capacity.
Choose a saw that is the right size for the jobs you need to work on.
Cutting depth and ease of adjustment
How deep a saw can cut is important since it allows you to deal with bigger jobs. With full-sized saws, anything up to around 3” depth when cutting at a 90° angle is possible.
Also, take note of how easy it is to adjust. It is important not to set the blade deeper than it needs to be since this will cause the saw to labor and become inefficient. A quick-adjust system will allow you to make changes without slowing your workflow.
Pay attention to what the components of the saw are made of. Many are now made of magnesium, giving you a good balance of weight vs durability. However, sometimes heavier materials are preferable since they are more resistant to damage.
Check out what the major parts are made of and decide whether you prefer lighter materials that might be damaged more easily but help to reduce weight or heavier materials that are more resistant.
The Best Circular Saw on the Market 2020
1. SKIL 5280-01 Circular Saw With Single Beam Laser Guide (Our Top Recommended)
This right-bladed, corded circular saw from Skil features a standard 7 ¼” blade and weighs in at only 6.95lbs, making it a lightweight tool that is easy to use. It features a 15amp motor that provides 5,300 RPM, giving you plenty of cutting capacity for almost any kind of job.
It has a maximum cutting depth of 2 3/8”, the arbor is 5/8” and the cord is 6’ long, giving you plenty of reaches.
The 24-tooth blade is carbide-tipped, and the saw incorporates a spindle lock system, making it quick and easy to change the blade when necessary. It can cut a bevel at an angle of up to 51°, slightly more than most other models can offer.
This saw has some useful practical additions, too. For example, it has a laser guidance system that helps you make the most perfect, accurate cut every time – and there’s also an onboard dust blower that helps keep the work surface clear so you can see what you’re doing.
It has an anti-snag lower guard to ensure smooth operation and also boasts a guarded trigger that minimizes the risk of the saw starting by accident.
There’s not much to dislike about this saw, but if we have to find some negatives, we might say that the steel base plate is a weak point since it can be damaged more easily than sturdier materials.
Also, it lacks an electric brake, a useful safety feature. Instead, you simply have to wait a few moments for the blade to stop spinning.
Other than these minor issues, this is a decent tool that sells for a very reasonable price, making it great value for money.
Although it isn’t a top-end model, it offers all the performance and power you need for home use or even some more intense applications. If you are looking for a reliable and powerful tool that won’t cost you a fortune, this model from Skil is well worth checking out.
What We Like
Lightweight model – weighs only 6.95lbs
Laser guided cutting – helps give you perfect accuracy
Spindle lock – allows you to change the blade quickly and easily
Dust blower – helps keep your work area clear to increase visibility
Budget-friendly price point – an affordable option
What We Don’t Like
Steel base plate – can be damaged more easily than other materials
No electric brake – would have been a good safety addition
This is a corded right-bladed worm drive saw from Skilsaw with a 15amp motor and a full-sized 7 ¼”, 24-toothed, carbide-tipped blade. It is an efficient tool that boasts a range of useful features.
It can cut a bevel with a maximum angle of 53°, which is more than most other models are capable of matching. At 90°, it has a maximum cut depth of 2 3/8”, and it also features a Cut-Ready system that allows you to quickly and accurately measure the depth of the cut.
It features magnesium construction, making it a lightweight tool – the result is reduced fatigue when using it, even for longer periods. It weighs in at only 11.6lbs, a weight the manufacturer claims makes it the lightest worm drive circular saw on the market.
It also incorporates an anti-snag lower guard that serves to protect the blade while eliminating the possibility of snagging.
Another great inclusion is the dual copper windings. This increases the surface area, which in turn helps keep the motor cooler than on other models.
There are a couple of small issues to mention with this saw, however. Although the magnesium construction is intended to keep weight down to a minimum, the magnesium plate is more vulnerable to being damaged than if it were made of a tougher material.
Another problem is the fact that it only accepts replacement blades with a special diamond-shaped hole. This means the majority of blades with round holes are not compatible with this saw, which could make finding new blades a problem.
One other slight issue is that the back handle is a little small. This could be a problem for those with larger hands, but otherwise, this is not a deal-breaker.
Overall, though, this is a reliable tool that performs well and gets the job done. If you are on the lookout for a reasonably priced worm drive circular saw that represents great value for money, this model should certainly be on your list of possibilities.
What We Like
Cuts a 53°bevel – a wider angle than most saws can match
Dual copper windings – greater surface area helps keep the motor cool
Lightweight tool – magnesium construction reduces weight and therefore fatigue
Cut-Ready system – allows you to measure the depth quickly and accurately
Anti-snag lower guard – protects the blade and eliminates snagging
What We Don’t Like
Magnesium plate can get damaged – bends more easily than other materials
Doesn’t accept most regular replacement blades – due to diamond-shaped hole
Makita is a company that has a reputation for making functional and reliable power tools, and this corded circular saw with 7 ¼” blade is no exception.
It incorporates mostly magnesium components, helping to keep the weight down – it weighs in at only 10.6lbs, making it light enough to use comfortably, even when working for longer periods. It is also a very well-balanced tool.
It is powered by a 15amp Makita-made engine that allows it to achieve 5,800 RPM, giving you plenty of cutting capacity.
It has the ability to cut a bevel at an angle of 56° – with positive stops at 22.5° and 45°. When making a straight 90° cut, it has a maximum depth of 2 ½”, again, giving you enhanced cutting capacity.
Some of the other useful features we appreciate include the built-in LED lights that illuminate your work, helping ensure you can cut with the utmost precision. It also has an onboard dust blower that helps keep your work area clear – again, allowing you to achieve greater accuracy.
Something else we like is the large rubberized levers that make it easy to adjust the saw, even when using only one hand.
There’s not much we don’t like about this saw, but one problem we’ve identified is that the blade guard doesn’t always ride up the way it should, especially when cutting at an angle. However, once you get used to using the saw, this becomes less of a problem.
Also, we thought this saw could have benefited from additional features like laser guidance and especially an electric brake. Their absence doesn’t make this a bad saw, but if they had been included, it could have been even better.
To summarise, this is a circular saw that will appeal to the kind of person who always demands high quality and great value for money – and someone who prefers to buy tools from an established and well-regarded company. If that sounds like you, this saw should be of interest.
What We Like
Magnesium components – for reduced weight and enhanced balance
Built-in LED lights – illuminates work for increased accuracy
5,800 RPM – delivered by a powerful Makita-built 15amp motor
Bevel-cutting capacity of 56°– wider angle than most of the competition
Large rubberized levers – for easy one-handed adjustment
What We Don’t Like
Blade guard doesn’t operate smoothly – sometimes doesn’t ride up properly
No electric brake or laser guidance – two features that would improve this saw
4. BLACK+DECKER 20V MAX Cordless Circular Saw (BDCCS20C)
If you are looking for a user-friendly circular saw for light-duty home use, this model from Black+Decker could be an obvious pick.
It is a battery powered saw, meaning you don’t have to worry about working with a cord in the way, and it features a high-torque 5 ½” blade that is perfect for smaller home projects. With this saw, the blade is positioned on the left for a better view of what you’re working on.
It can cut at an angle of anything from 90° to 45°, allowing you to cut bevels with accuracy. It offers very respectable battery life, allowing you to continue working for longer between charges – and it also offers decent levels of power for a smaller tool.
This tool is part of the Black+Decker Max range, which means if you already have other tools from the same collection, the batteries will be cross-compatible, allowing you to work for even longer.
One positive we like is the tool-free adjustment of the cutting depth that makes it even easier to use. You can quickly adjust the depth with no fuss before continuing with your work.
Another big plus is the low price tag. Black+Decker is a well-known brand, and the low cost of this unit means you can get your hands on a quality circular saw without spending large amounts of money.
However, one slight negative to bear in mind is that this saw is designed for light-duty jobs only. If you are looking for something that will allow you to cut tougher materials, this is probably not the tool you are looking for.
Another slight disadvantage is that the battery takes up to four hours to charge fully – although as we said, this is less of an issue if you already have other batteries from tools in the same collection.
Overall, this is a very handy tool to have around the house for everyday light use. If this is the kind of application you need it for, then this saw could be ideal.
What We Like
Lightweight and easy to use – very user-friendly
Good battery life – allows you to work for a respectable amount of time
Good power for a small unit – allows you to tackle smaller jobs with ease
Tool-free depth adjustment – makes changing the depth even easier
Very affordable price – represents great value for money
What We Don’t Like
Only suitable for light-duty jobs – will struggle if you attempt anything bigger
Battery takes a while to charge – up to four hours for a full charge
5. DEWALT DCS391B 20-Volt MAX Li-Ion Circular Saw (Tool Only)
This battery-powered circular saw from DeWalt is part of the company’s ever-expanding 20-volt range, which means you might already have other compatible batteries at home. This saw is a left-bladed model, giving you a better view of what you are cutting.
The powerful motor produces 5,250 RPM, giving you plenty of cutting capacity for a range of applications. Being cordless, it gives you the advantage of mobility as well as not having to work with a cord getting in the way of what you are doing.
At the same time, the battery lasts a good amount of time for each charge, allowing you to keep working for longer.
One of the best things about this saw is that it is compact and lightweight. It incorporates a 6 ½” carbide tipped blade that holds its sharpness well, and furthermore, the magnesium shoe helps reduce the weight – this saw weighs in at only 8lbs.
We also like the ergonomic design. It features an over-molded rubber grip for comfort, and overall, it is a very well-balanced tool that is easy to control.
Another good feature we appreciate is the saw brake that quickly stops the saw spinning when you finish the cut. This is a good safety feature and also means you save valuable seconds each time you stop working.
Finally, this saw sells at a very reasonable price point, making it great value for a high-quality piece of kit.
On the downside, the plastic guard seems to be a little flimsy. It is one of the only components of this tool that seems less rugged. Also, the battery takes some time to charge – but this is mitigated if you own several of the batteries already.
Note that this is the tool-only version – if you need a battery and charger, this saw can be bought as part of a kit that includes them too.
This is another highly recommended saw from a top brand. If you are looking for something for the light to medium work, this could be a great pick. However, if you need more power for heavier-duty work, there could be better options to consider.
What We Like
Lightweight and easy to handle – weighs only 8lbs
Good battery life – will allow you to get plenty of work done
Ergonomic design – comfortable grip and well-balanced
Cuts at up to a 50° – allows you to cut a range of bevels
Good amount of power – motor delivers 5,250 RPM
What We Don’t Like
Takes some time to recharge – can be an issue if you have only one battery
Plastic guard not heavy-duty – one aspect that feels like inferior quality
For anyone who needs a highly versatile mini circular saw, this unit from Tacklife should be of interest. It is a corded saw with the blade on the left, and it’s packed with a range of useful features.
It comes supplied with a set of six blades – two of each type – and can be used for all kinds of applications, including cutting wood, soft metal, tiles, plaster and more. The 5.8amp engine delivers 3,500 RPM, giving you plenty of power and cutting capacity for a wide range of jobs.
It can cut from 90° to 45° and features an easy-set depth gauge, making adjustments fast and hassle-free. The maximum cutting depth at 90° is 1 1/16” while at 45° it is 1 3/8”.
We particularly like the ergonomic design of this tool. It is ideal for one-handed use, and it is light enough and comfortable enough that user fatigue is reduced to a minimum. It also includes a detachable metal handle that increases comfort as well as precision.
Another useful feature is the laser guidance system that allows you to cut lines with great confidence and accuracy. Since the blade is positioned on the left side of the tool, you also have the best view of what you are working on.
We also like the tough aluminum alloy blade guard that is designed to increase safety and also increase the lifespan of the saw.
To throw in a couple of negatives, we could complain that this saw has not been designed with left-handers in mind. Due to the position of the safety switch – an otherwise welcome safety feature – it is not easy for left-handed people to operate.
Another gripe is that the blades are not a standard size, so you might find it difficult to find replacements when the initial six blades supplied come to the end of their lives.
This is a great value tool that should be of interest to anyone who needs a smaller circular saw for a range of applications. If you require a full-sized model, however, this is obviously not the right option for you.
What We Like
Laser guidance system – for increased accuracy
Includes six blades – can be used for many different applications
Ideal for one-handed use – designed to reduce fatigue
Easy-set depth gauge – makes it simple and fast to adjust
Metal blade guard – for increased safety
What We Don’t Like
Difficult to use left-handed – due to the awkwardly-positioned safety button
This mini circular saw from TECCPO is a versatile and practical tool to have around the home that will allow you to deal with a whole range of cutting work.
It comes supplied with three different blades, a 24-tooth tungsten carbide-tipped blade for wood, a 44-tooth high-speed steel blade for plastics and soft metals and a grit diamond blade for cutting tile.
It is a left-bladed model that allows you to see clearly what you are cutting, and we like that it offers you the possibility to connect directly to a vacuum, so all the sawdust or other debris is sucked away directly, keeping your work area clean.
It incorporates a laser guidance system, meaning you can easily cut straight lines with increased confidence and precision. At only 5.25lbs, it is lightweight and no problem to manage, also adding the ease of use and cutting accuracy.
It features a comfortable and ergonomically-designed soft rubber handle that is ideal for one-handed use. There is also a double safety switch that minimizes the risk of it starting up accidentally – a valuable safety feature.
The depth can be adjusted quickly and easily, and the saw can be used to cut at maximum depths of 1 1/16” for wood, 5/16” for tile and 1/8” for metal.
The drawbacks with this tool are relatively few, but there are still one or two. For example, the depth control is made of plastic and could be one of the first parts to break after the saw has seen some use.
Also, since it is a mini circular saw, it is only intended for smaller cutting jobs – if you want something for more intensive, heavy-duty cutting, you would be better off considering a full-size circular saw.
All in all, this is another great option, and with such a low price tag, you can hardly go wrong. If you need a versatile saw for a range of jobs in and around the home, this is another saw that should be on your list of possibilities.
What We Like
Extremely lightweight and portable – weighs only 5.25lbs
Laser guidance system – helps cut with increased accuracy
Vacuum adapter – can hook up to a vacuum to suck away sawdust
Multiple applications – can be used for wood, aluminum, plastic, tile and more
Very low price – excellent value at this price point
What We Don’t Like
Depth control made of plastic – seems like inferior quality
Not suitable for larger jobs – but ideal for smaller cutting work
The most important thing to remember is that there is no “best circular saw”, just the one that is most adapted to your requirements – although some are clearly better than others.
There are many factors to consider – including size, cord vs battery, left or right blade and so on – so if all the options are making you feel a little confused, any of the models in our review would be a great place to start looking.