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
- 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.
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.
- 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.
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
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.