The Best Compact Circular Saw Buying Guide

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:
  • 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.

  • Ease of Use:
  • 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.

  • Safety Interlock:
  • 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.

  • Power Supply:
  • 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.

  • Depth of Cut:
  • 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.

  • 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.

best mini circular saw

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

VonHaus 4.5 Amp 3 3/8 Inch Compact Handheld Circular Plunge Saw

mini circular saws

Quality

Price

Our Rating

The VonHaus compact circular saw is a bit of a mixed bag. Numerous customers have had the saw DOA, either returning it for a replacement of simply buying a different brand altogether. Moreover, the dual safeties, which must be engaged simultaneously while in use, coupled with the fairly heavy weight for a compact circular saw make this product difficult to use.

On the other hand, if you get a saw without any issues, it is fairly powerful for rips and can cut through a wide variety of materials. With a decent cutting depth and waterproof cording, you can also take this saw around pipes without worry.

Features include the following:​

  • Straight and cross cutting guide
  • Comes with a carrying case
  • Solid 4.5 Amp, 500W saw motor
  • 3 3/8" blade diameter
  • Dust port attachment

Pros

  • 4,000 RPMs with no load
  • Good cutting action for its appropriate uses
  • Waterproof cording for bathroom jobs

Cons

  • Heavier than expected
  • Poor visibility of blade when in use
  • Not good for plunge cutting

best compact circular saw for the money

Quality

Price

Our Rating

The MasterMind compact circular saw is strictly for DIY jobs that do not need too much power. In that realm, this saw works like a dream. Ask it to do more, and you are in for trouble.

Still, it does allow you cut a variety of different materials--assuming they are not too dense. However, for the weekend warrior, this tool comes with a variety of ancillary features that make using it easier than some of the other products on this list.

The fact that it offers both an LED spotlight and a laser guide helps make up for the fact that you cannot actually watch the blade. Its cutting action for plunge cuts definitely keeps it in the running for at-home projects. The sturdy carrying case and dust port attachment are just icing on the cake.

Features include the following:​

  • Dust port attachment
  • Sturdy carrying case
  • Laser guide LED spot light
  • 110V, 2.8 Amp motor
  • 3" blade diameter

Pros

  • Sturdy housing
  • Reliable cutting action
  • Solid plunge cutter

Cons

  • 2,800 RPMs without load
  • Lack of direct blade visibility while in use
  • A little on the heavy side

worxsaw compact circular saw

Quality

Price

Our Rating

The WORX compact circular saw is a decent compact circular saw that does all of the things you want it to do well, while not doing anything of them superiorly. As such, you will want to temper your expectations with this tool. That being said, if you used properly, you can do a wide variety of jobs without having to worry about it standing up to the pressure of the workload.

The handle is well-designed and allows hours of work without your hand cramping up. Moreover, the blade allows a wider variety of brands and specifications than some of the other brands on this list. With a single safety trigger and the ability to use either left or right handed, this saw can be passed from user to user without issue.

Features include the following:​

  • Vacuum attachment
  • Parallel cut guide
  • 120V, 4 Amp motor
  • 0-45 degree bevel capacity
  • 4 1/2" blade diameter

Pros

  • Only 6 pounds
  • Ambidextrous design
  • 3,500 RPMs without a load

Cons

  • Most of it is plastic, except for the footing
  • Doesn't cut as deep
  • A bit large

compact circular saw reviews

Quality

Price

Our Rating

The Genesis mini saw is the first product on this list without a major caveat. While you still need to use to saw in a deliberate fashion, it will generally perform admirably regardless the job. This is in a large part due to the powerful motor, which is able to produce solid torque even though it only spins at 3500 rpms.

However, it is the quality of the tool’s construction that has it so high on the list. Using mostly aluminum and steel for the functional features, the Genesis feels durable and provides a fairly stable cutting action. The only real issue comes from the foot occasionally get caught during the cut, but this can be avoided with careful cutting technique

Features include the following:​

  • Powerful 120V, 5.8 Amp motor
  • 4 1/2" blade diameter
  • Mostly metal construction
  • Ergonomic grip design
  • Vacuum attachment
  • Included rip guide

Pros

  • Metal blade guard
  • Reliably built motor and gear box
  • Comes with carbide tip steel blades

Cons

  • Not great for plunge cutting
  • Occasionally gets caught and kicks back while cutting
  • Not the easiest to use with one hand

rockwell rk3400k

Quality

Price

Our Rating

Rockwell tops the list for our compact circular saws. It is not the most powerful, but its combination of excellent cutting action and numerous additional features make it the best value. It is also able to cut more materials right out of the box than any other on the list thanks to the 3 different saw blades included.

Maintaining its deserved reputation, the Rockwell is durable even under long use with heavy jobs. While it is not truly suited for professional work, it is an excellent addition to any professional’s repertoire if they need a circular saw in tight spaces.

Features include the following:

  • A feather light 3.4 pounds
  • Solid 120V, 4 Amp motor
  • 3 3/8" blade diameter
  • Laser guide
  • 3 different blade types included
  • Plunge cutter indicator
  • Vacuum adapter

Pros

  • Great hand grip and easy to use
  • Powerful enough to cut through hardwoods
  • 1 1/16 maximum depth cut

Cons

  • The guide doesn't match up to the quality of the rest of the tool
  • May kickback if you don't maintain a good grip
  • Laser needs recalibration

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.


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!

Leave a Reply 0 comments