Best Circular Saw For Woodworking

If you work with wood a lot, you know how important a circular saw can be to your project. As one of the most common power tools in use today, the circular saw is a must have for any woodworking shop.

All you need is the right blade and you can use a circular saw to power through wood, masonry, steel and ceramic tile. Here are a few things to look for in the best circular saw for woodworking and a few reviews to help you start your search.

Uses of Circular Saws for Woodworking

There are several uses for circular saw including making fast, straight cuts across a piece of wood, otherwise known as crosscuts, or along the length of a board, also known as rip cuts. You can also set up your circular saw to make bevel cuts.

The following are the standard features that will help you in deciding what is the best circular saw for woodworking.

Features on a Circular Saw

Standard Features

  • Blade Guard – A blade guard is used to cover the blade when you are not using the saw and it retracts to expose the blade so you can use it when the saw is on.
  • Shoe or Foot Plate – A shoe or foot plate helps to keep the saw steady against the piece of wood you are working on.
  • Depth Adjustment – A depth adjustment lets you work on pieces of wood with different thicknesses.
  • Bevel Adjustment – A bevel adjustment allows you to tilt the foot plate in relation to the blade to make bevel cuts

Basic Circular Saw Designs

Classified by their blade diameter, circular saw sizes most commonly range from 5 1/2 to 7 1/4 inches. Circular saw come with a range of options, so it is important to make sure you choose a saw that fits your specific needs.

There are two basic circular saw designs to choose from...

  • The sidewinder or inline saw is what is considered a traditional circular saw. You will find the motor located on the same axis as the blade with a shaft that will run straight from the motor to drive the blade. A sidewinder saw is the most common type of circular saw, and it is more compact and lightweight than the worm drive saw, plus it is best-suited to most circular saw projects.
  • A worm drive saw has their motors set at a right angle to the saw blade and the motor increases the torque that is transferred to the blade with gears. The worm drive saw works great for heavy-duty job applications, plus they are longer and quieter than the sidewinder saws are.

Power Sources

There are two types of circular saw power sources...

  • Cordless circular saws are extremely convenient, especially when you are working in spaces where it is difficult to use extension cords. Also, cordless circular saws tend to be smaller, so they work in confined spaces that are otherwise difficult to get to. Their batteries are limited, so they work best when you use them to cut wood, although they can cut tougher material, the extra power just uses up their batteries quickly. Typically, cordless saws will range in size from 5 3/8 to 6 1/2 inches.
  • Since corded circular saws are dependent on their batteries for their power, they work better for cutting through tough jobs like steel, masonry, and continuous woodcutting. You can find corded saws in several different sizes, but they are most commonly found in the 7 1/4 inch size. Also, most corded circular saws need a suitable extension cord.

Optional Features

  • Amps – amps measure the power on corded saws while volts measure the power on cordless saws measure power. The higher the amps and volts mean that you have more cutting power.
  • Blade capacity – this determines how deep a cut the saw can make. The deeper the cut you want to make, the larger the blade you will need. The 7 ¼ inch blade is the most common blade diameter. Saws with blade capacity of more than 6 inches can cut through more through 2-inch dimensional lumber in one pass at a 45-degree angle. If you use a 5 3/8-inch saw, you can cut through 2-inch dimensional lumber at 90 degrees in one pass, but you will need two passes at 45 degrees. Remember that saws with a smaller blade capacity will weigh less and they are easier to control.
  • Electric brakes – this reverses the electrical flow in the motor when you release the trigger which stops the momentum of the blade quickly. Some electric brakes will stop the saw blade in as little as two seconds which is a lot faster than a saw that doesn’t have this feature.
  • Spindle or shaft locks – this makes it simple to change out the saw blade. When the shaft lock immobilizes the blade and shaft, you can easily switch out the blade.
  • Bevel capacity – this lets you know the maximum bevel cut that the saw can make.
  • Bevel stops – these are presets that allow you to make quick adjustments for bevel cuts.
  • Laser guides – these are handy lights that help to improve your cutting accuracy by guiding the work piece with a beam of light.
what is the best circular saw for woodworking

The Best Circular Saw for Woodworking

Here's a brief summary of the best woodworking circular saws on the market today. We'll follow up with detailed circular saws for woodworking reviews to make your decision easier.

For the DIYers out there, the Skil 5680-02 Circular Saw was designed with you in mind. It provides you with a wide range of cuts, and it has a Laser Cutline Guide that guarantees a precise cut, plus it features a new safety lock and guarded trigger, a power-on indicator, and an anti-snag lower guard.

When you want both torque and power, the Porter Cable PC15TCS Heavy Duty Circular Saw will help you get through those really tough jobs. It may be lightweight to give you better handling and lessen fatigue, but it will give you precise cuts with a large range of applications to use it with.

Featuring a rear pivot point, the DeWalt DW364K Circular Saw allows you to make depth of cut adjustments with your hands remaining behind it. It is also very versatile with a 50-degree beveling capacity that will work on many different projects.

Now, when you want durability the Makita 5007MGA Magnesium Circular Saw has that in spades. The Makita Magnesium Circular Saw is constructed with durable magnesium parts, and it features a powerful Makita-built 15 AMP industrial motor. It also has a larger cutting capacity than its competitors, with the ability to cut a piece of wood that is 2 1/2 inches at 90 degrees and a maximum bevel capacity of 56 degrees.

The professional quality Bosch CS5 Circular Saw is also a great value conscious purchase allowing you to focus on your core needs. It is lightweight with 15 amps of power and a left blade design that gives you a clear line of sight. It is also very versatile with an extended 0 – 56-degree bevel cut capacity, plus it comes with a spindle lock and on-board blade wrench storage for fast and easy blade changes.

Top Circular Saw for Woodworking Reviews

Skil 5680-02 15 Amp 7 1/4 Inch Skilsaw Circular Saw With Laser

circular saw for woodworking reviews

Quality

Price

Our Rating

The latest SKILSAW was designed with DIYers in mind, and it is the upgraded version of the SKIL 5680-02 circular saw. The SKIL 5680-02 offers a 51 Degree bevel that has a positive stop at 45 Degree to give you better accuracy and a wider range of cuts. The Laser Cutline Guide guarantees a precise cut, plus the wider foot plates gives you added stability while you are cutting allow you to get the project done right.

The SKIL 5680-02 also has new safety features including a safety lock and guarded trigger, a power-on indicator, and an anti-snag lower guard. This easy to use circular saw includes all the features that over 85 years of engineering experience can give a DIYer to make their projects successful.

Pros

  • Makes great cuts, easy to keep straight lines
  • Ergonomic and comes with a handy laser guide
  • Blades are easy to instal

Cons

  • Doesn't come with a spindle lock
  • Doesn't work well with thinner, high tooth count blades

circular saw reviews fine woodworking

Quality

Price

Our Rating

You can get through the toughest jobs with the Porter-Cable PC15TCS and its heavy-duty 15 amp motor that provides both torque and power. This lightweight saw only weight 11.3 pounds which lessen your fatigue level and gives you better user handling.

The 45-degree bevel capacity gives you a great range of projects that you can complete, and the stamped steel shoe has an optimal line of sight that gives you precise cuts and strong construction. The spindle lock feature lets you make easy big changes with just one wrench, and the kerf cut indicator will align the blade with the indicator to give you precise cut lines.

Pros

  • Nicely made, well balanced
  • Great for finishing work
  • Cuts straight and true every times

Cons

  • Doesn't angle at 90 degrees
  • Blade that comes with it isn't high quality

dewalt circular saw

Quality

Price

Our Rating

Featuring a specially designed rear pivoting point, the Dewalt DW364K is a heavy-duty circular saw has a 15 amp motor with a heavy-gauge aluminum alloy base that will give your saw a long life and durability on the harshest jobs site.

The rear pivot allows a depth of cut adjustment so that your hands can actually remain behind the tool for all depth of cuts. It also features a 50-degree beveling capacity that makes it versatile for tons of different projects.

This DeWalt circular saw also features a two-second electric brake to safely stop the blade when you are done using it, and lightweight but high strength aluminum shoes. It comes with a heavy-duty kit box for safely transporting your saw, plus a 24-tooth carbide blade and a wrench for easy blade change.

Pros

  • Well made, heavy and durable
  • Great built in safety features
  • High quality and powerful

Cons

  • Has a little bit of kickback
  • Does get bogged down slightly when cutting thick wood

makita magnesium circular saw

Quality

Price

Our Rating

If you are looking for a highly durable circular saw, the Makita Magnesium Circular Saw is constructed with durable magnesium parts with a powerful Makita-built 15 AMP industrial motor. The Makita Magnesium Circular gives you durability, power, balance and it is easy to use, making it one of the more distinguished circular saws you will find on the market.

With a larger cutting capacity than its competitors, the Makita Magnesium Circular Saw can cut a piece of wood that is 2 1/2 inches at 90 degrees, plus it has a maximum bevel capacity of 56 degrees with positive stops at both 22.5 degrees and 45 degrees to make changes quick and easy. It also features an electric brake that will stop the blade quickly giving you maximum productivity.

Weighing only 10.1 pounds, the Makita Magnesium Circular Saw is tough enough for any job site, plus it is well-balanced with a larger clearance between the blade case and rear handle to give you a better grip, especially if you are wearing gloves. It also features a larger space between the housing and blade for a better view of the measurement scale and blade. Additional lighting is provided by twin L.E.D. lights and an internal ducting system will blow dust away from the cut line as you work.

Thanks to the ergonomic hand grips of this saw, its ease of use lessen operator fatigue, plus the rubberized levers help to give you fast, one-handed adjustments that will make your work more efficient. There are also special Makita heat vents that are placed strategically to lessen heat while increasing your saw’s performance, plus there is a conveniently attached blade wrench that will make blade changing fast and quick.

Pros

  • Lightweight, but very powerful
  • Nice hard case that'll hold your extra blades
  • Smooth and accurate

Cons

  • Blade changing could be a better process
  • Depth adjustment is not very smooth

bosch circular saw for woodworking

Quality

Price

Our Rating

For the professional that is also value conscious, the Bosch CS5 circular saw allows you to focus on your core needs. This is a lightweight saw that gives you 15 amps of power that provides 6,200 RPM’s to help you power right through dense material.

The left blade design gives you a clear line of sight when you are working, and there is no need to advance the guard with the anti-snag lower guard, even when you are making bevel cuts.

This Bosch woodworking saw has an extended 0 – 56-degree bevel cut capacity that increases its versatility, while the spindle lock lets you make fast and easy blade changes. With the locking lever, the blade won’t start to rotate when you are tightening or loosening the blade stud when you are in the middle of the blade change. The on-board blade wrench storage makes sure the tool is always there when you need it.

Pros

  • The hand brake is a great feature that you'll use a lot
  • Heavy, stable, and powerful
  • Cutting depth and cutting angles are easy to set up

Cons

  • Doesn't have a safety switch
  • Blows dust all over your body

What is the Best Circular Saw for Woodwoking to Buy?

Our favorite of the Best Circular Saw for Woodworking Roundup is the Makita 5007MGA Magnesium Circular Saw. Not only is it constructed with durable magnesium parts and is equipped with a powerful Makita-built 15 AMP industrial motor, but it has a larger cutting capacity than its competitors.

The Makita Magnesium Circular Saw can cut a piece of wood that is 2 1/2 inches at 90 degrees, plus it has a maximum bevel capacity of 56 degrees with positive stops at both 22.5 degrees and 45 degrees to make changes quick and easy. It only weighs 10.1 pounds making it a great option for the job site, plus it has an ergonomic hand grip that lessens operator fatigue.

Our favorite best circular saw for woodworking for the money is the Makita Magnesium Circular Saw.


About the Author

Founder of Woodworking Fuel, proud father of two, happily married to a wonderful wife, and passionate about woodworking for a fulfilling hobby!

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