Circular saws may be a must have power tool in any construction worker’s belt, but plenty of jobs around the house require a similar tool without the need for such a sizable investment. That is where the compact circular saw comes in.
Small enough for anyone use with one hand, the compact circular saw provides all the cutting power you need without having to invest in a professional power tool.
Unfortunately, it can be difficult to figure out which is best among a wide range of seemingly equitable options, which is why we have put together a buyer’s and list of the best compact circular saws to guide you through the process.
Best Compact Circular Saw Buying Guide
Compact Circular Saw Buying Tips
Compact Circular Saw Features
- Raw Power:
- Ease of Use:
- Safety Interlock:
- Power Supply:
- Depth of Cut:
- Blade Replacement:
This factor is two-fold: the actual process of replacing a dull or warped blade and the availability of replacement blades in the first place. For the first part, you should not place a priority on this factor unless you are using the saw in a professional setting. If you are at home, taking the time to replace a blade is, at most, an inconvenience.
The latter consideration is more important. If a saw requires a specific, non-standard blade, it'll likely cost more to replace and be more difficult to find in the first place. Be wary if that's the case.
This is the most important factor to consider when purchasing a compact circular saw. Since the design necessitates a smaller motor, the saw itself will often not be as powerful as the larger circular saws designed for professional workloads. This feature will determine how thick and dense the wood you cut can be as well as how quickly you can cut in general.
Unfortunately, a simple readout of amps and volts, while helpful, do not necessarily tell the entire story. Generally, you can expect mini saws that push more amps to be more powerful, but the way the motor turns that power into torque will truly determine how strong the cutting power of the blade is.
A big part of the draw of a compact circular saw is the ability for weekend warriors to use it around the house for a variety of smaller chores without having to pay a professional. Of course, this approach is completely pointless if using the compact circular saw is so difficult or cumbersome that it does not seem worth the trouble just to save a few hundred dollars.
Moreover, the sheer physical limitations of the buyer, like the size and strength of their hands, will play an important factor in whether or not the tool is comfortable to use. Some compact circular saws have numerous safety locks that must all be engaged simultaneously to turn on. For someone with low hand strength or small hands, this can make using the saw with one hand nearly impossible.
While it may make using the tool a bit more difficult, multiple safety switches can be life-saving measures depending on the circumstances. In this regard, you'll have to determine what you value more: the extra protection of multiple safety features or the ability to use the tool easily.
If you find it difficult to settle on an appropriate middle ground, try to find a compact circular saw with a smaller profile, so you can accommodate both features.
Where the raw power generally and the torque more specifically largely determine the ability of the saw to cut, the power supply will play an important role as well. Corded saws are able to draw on more power with a constant feed from an outlet, but can be a bit more troublesome to use.
However, cordless saws, while easier to use, often have much lower limits on the raw power of the saw and have to be recharged after a few hours of use. Generally, it is better to opt for the corded version unless you'll only use the saw infrequently and on small cuts.
This factor will determine which jobs are ultimately beyond the ability of your saw to complete. However, even saws whose depth is technically able to cut through the material may struggle if the motor’s ability to generate torque does not keep up.
Regardless, your saw should be able to cut up to a depth of 1”, anything less than that will severely limit the number of jobs the tool is suited for--even around the house. Keep in mind that mini circular saws cutting its maximum depth may struggle to do so cleanly or accurately.
If the saw has no bevel capability, you should probably skip it unless straight ripping or plunging is all you need it for.
The Best Mini Circular Saw
Here's a brief summary of the best mini circular saw on the market today. We'll follow up with detailed top compact circular saws reviews to make your decision easier.
- Solid 4.5 Amp, 500W circular saw motor
- 3 3/8 inches blade diameter
- 4,000 RPMs with no load
- Not the must durable
- Heaviest on the list
- 110V, 2.8 Amp motor
- 3 inch blade diameter
- 2,800 RPMs without load
- Maximum 7/8" depth
- Not easy to find replacement blades
- 120V, 4 Amp motor
- 0 to 45 degree bevel capacity
- 4 1/2" blade diameter
- Light at 6 pounds
- Ambidextrous design
- Most of the casing and guards are plastic
- 120V, 5.8 Amp motor
- 4 1/2" blade diameter
- Mostly metal construction
- Reliably built motor and gearbox
- Included rip guide
- Sub-par plunge cutter
- May kickback due to power
- A feather-light 3.4 pounds
- Solid, 120V, 4 Amp motor
- 3 3/8" blade diameter
- Laser guide
- 3 different blade types included
- May kickback without a firm grip
- Laser needs regular recalibration
Top Compact Circular Saw Reviews
What is the Best Compact Circular Saw to Buy?
Rockwell RK3440K Versacut circular saw is known for producing solid performance, and is our favorite compact circular saw in our review. While it's not the most powerful saw on our list, it is powerful enough to the jobs you would expect from a compact circular saw.
However, it is easily the lightest saw and one of the easiest to use--regardless your hand size. Add the laser sight, 3 different types of saw blade for different material, and a host of other features not always found standard on compact circular saws, and you have a tool that is ready for more jobs than you can throw at it.
We've ranked the Rockwell the best compact circular saw to buy.