What is the Best Lightweight Circular Saw?

Whether a professional or an experienced do-it-yourselfer, a circular quickly becomes a necessary part of your toolkit. However, cutting wood all day is hard enough work without having to make it harder with unnecessary weight.

To alleviate this problem, makers of circular saws have been finding innovative ways of cutting down on the profile and weight without sacrificing quality. However, that has made figuring out which is the best lightweight circular saw difficult.

With a range of qualities and features that are similar to their larger, more powerful cousins, navigating the lightweight circular saw market requires careful attention. That is why we have put together a comprehensive buyer’s guide and a list of the best lightweight circular saws.

Features of Lightweight Circular Saws

1

Power

This is one of the top factors when selecting a circular saw. If the point of the saw is to cut, you better make sure it can do so well. There are two main variables associated with the saw exclusively that determine the cutting power: amps and rpms.

Amps determine the amount of electricity the motor is capable of pushing. The more amps, generally the more cutting power generated.

Keep in mind, different motors make use of the power differently based on their mechanism and design. As such, different saw with the same amps will often provide different cutting experiences.

This brings us to rotations per minute, or rpms. This factor is the number of times the blade spins without a load. Again, the more rpms, the better the cutting power.

2

Ease of Use

This is a secondary factor, but still high enough on the list that it warrants serious attention. If you use your circular saw all the time, the frustration of a difficult to use tool only mounts as the job progresses.

The position and ease of holding down the trigger while cutting is arguably the most important factor in ease of use. The number and type of safety locks are also relevant as having to hold down one or more safety locks while cutting can be cumbersome.

However, this quality spans a couple scenarios and is not limited strictly to use during the cutting action. The ease of maintenance also factors heavily.

If your job requires you to cut through dense materials all day, you will quickly chew through your blade. A quick, easy blade change can make a huge difference between a saw you love and one you loathe.

3

Safety Features

After power, this is the most important factor when choosing any power tool, let alone a circular saw. For a circular saw, which can leads to dismemberment or death, it is vital.

One of the most common safety features found on circular saws is an electric brake. This stops the blade’s rotation the second after you release the trigger.

Another safety feature, this one found on pretty much every circular saw, is the blade guard. However, what distinguishes the quality of the blade guard is the material. A lesser blade guard will be constructed of plastic rather than metal.

4

Comfort

A powerful circular saw does no good if its design prevents comfortable use and slows down the job. While not necessarily on the primary factors, the comfort of the saw in your hand over extended periods of time is definitely a top secondary concern.

As we are covering lightweight circular saws, it should come as no surprise that the weight of the saw heavily impacts its comfort during use. However, this should be taken as a green light to simply purchase the lightest saw available.

Other factors also play an important part in the comfort level and can help mitigate some of the discomfort a heavier saw may cause. This is usually achieved by the handle’s design.

The main handles most comfortable to hold for extended times are ergonomically designed. Moreover, the trigger will be positioned for easy use without too many safety locks.

The most comfortable saws will often include an over handle. Aside from the fact that this provides more control during the cutting action, it also allows you to distribute the weight across both hands.

5

Extra Features

There are a slew of features that different tool makers may include, but some are more beneficial than others. The most useful features involve guides that show you how deep you are cutting as well as a line of sight.

Features like LED lights and laser guides, while useful, are often unnecessary. Proficient users often do not need these features except in rare circumstances.

Other extras like an on-board wrench to make changing blades easier is, again, nice but not necessary.

what is the best worm drive circular saw

The Best Lightweight Circular Saw

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

  • 15 Amps
  • 5,800 RPM's
  • 10.1 pounds
  • Maximum bevel is 56 degrees
  • Maximum depth of cut is 2 1/2" at 90 degrees
  • Maximum depth of cut is 1 3/4" at 45 degrees
  • 15 Amps
  • 5,600 RPM's
  • 10.2 pounds
  • Maximum bevel cut is 56 degrees
  • Maximum depth of cut is 2 7/16" at 90 degrees
  • Maximum depth of cut is 1 7/8" at 45 degrees
  • 15 Amps
  • 5,300 RPM's
  • 6.95 pounds
  • Maximum bevel cut is 51 degrees
  • Maximum depth of cut is 2 7/16" at 90 degrees
  • Maximum depth of cut is 1 15/16" at 45 degrees
  • 13 Amps
  • 5,300 RPM's
  • 7 pounds
  • Maximum bevel is 57 degrees
  • Maximum depth of cut is 2 9/16" at 90 degrees
  • Maximum depth of cut is 1 7/8" at 45 degrees
  • 15 Amps
  • 5,200 RPM's
  • 8.8 pounds
  • Maximum bevel cut of 57 degrees
  • Maximum depth of cut is 2 9/16" at 90 degrees
  • Maximum depth of cut is 1 7/8" at 45 degrees

Top Lightweight Circular Saw Reviews

Makita 5007MG Magnesium 7 1/4 Inch Circular Saw

makita magnesium circular saw

Quality

Price

Our Rating

In the lightweight circular saw market, Makita is a man among boys. It does so many things equal or superior to its competitors, the few flaws are more than made up for.

First, the good: the Makita is the most powerful saw on our list. The 15 amp motor pushes the blade a blurring 5,800 rpms. This is part due to the efficiency and manufacturing of the motor which is made primarily out of magnesium and is heat treated to withstand the rigors of tough jobs.

Moreover, while not the best on the list the bevel capacity for both maximum degree and depth of cut are near the top. Moreover, the positive bevel stops of 22.5 degree and 45 degrees provides excellent versatility.

Be forewarned, you need to be an experienced professional to get the most out of this saw. It's rather heavy for the lightweight class and may strain occasional users.

Moreover, while the handle is a revelation with an ergonomic design and great over handle, the levers are placed awkwardly compared to other models and making adjustments will slow you down.

Finally, the Makita is the most expensive item on our list by a good enough chunk of change that it may become a factor. However, if you're a professional in search of the most powerful circular saw in the lightweight class, this may be the saw for you.

Pros

  • The most RPM's with 5,800
  • Tied for the second bevel capacity at 56 degrees
  • Uses mostly magnesium for the relevant components

Cons

  • 10.1 pounds is heavy for a "lightweight"
  • The most expensive saw on our list
  • Not the easiest to use

lightweight circular saw reviews

Quality

Price

Our Rating

Like Makita, Bosch is a trusted name in the professional power tool market. However, its position as number 2 on our list should not be surprising as it is regularly second to Makita or Milwaukee products.

That does not mean the Bosch is a poor choice, but it will present some limitations when compared to the Makita. The glaring difference between the two should be cutting power.

While 200 rpms may not seem like big of a difference, when you are cutting some of the denser materials, it will make its presence known. That being said, 5,600 rpms is generally more than adequate for the wealth of materials professionals are likely to encounter on the job site.

Unfortunately, the Bosch really loses points in the comfort department. Whereas Makita sought to alleviate some of the problems caused by its heavy weight, the Bosch falls short.

Both saws are similarly heavy with the Bosch being just .1 pounds heavier at a total of 10.2 pounds. However, the Bosch’s handle is far less ergonomically designed which can lead to hand cramps and other forms of muscle fatigue if used for extended periods of time. This effect if only compounded by an over handle that is oddly designed and not at all standard.

Still, the Bosch provides some advantages over the Makita as is especially appropriate for professionals who are still learning the trade. This can be evidenced by a line of sight to the blade that is unmatched on our list.

Pros

  • Allows the best line of sight to the blade
  • 5,600 RPM's is the second highest on our list
  • A bevel capacity of 56 degrees ties for the second most

Cons

  • 10.2 pounds is the heaviest "lightweight"
  • The handle isn't as ergonomic as you'd like for the weight
  • Just under 2 1/2" 90 degree maximum cutting depth

the lightest circular saw

Quality

Price

Our Rating

Skil is a brand with a bit of a hit-or-miss reputation. It regularly underperforms against the more trusted brands and in this instance, it follows that trend.

The cutting power of the Skil is just a hair better than that of the DeWalt with a 15 amp motor that spins the blade at 5,300 rpms. While this is not terrible, it will require you to take longer with your cuts. If you are on a professional job site with dozens of rips on relatively dense materials, that can make the process a frustrating nightmare.

However, one area where the Skil does shine is in its depth of bevel cuts. This is important, because it can be difficult to gauge how deep the cut will be beforehand. Unfortunately, this additional depth is undercut by the maximum bevel capacity which is only 51 degrees. While this is better than the absolute bare necessity of 45 degrees, it is still a bit off the 56-57 degree expectation for a professional circular saw.

While the Skil could see limited use on a professional job site, it seems as though it is a top-quality consumer tool. It is the lightest saw on our list coming in at under 7 pounds. Moreover, the handle is a bit slim while the over handle is fairly large compared to other professional products. This suggests the users may not have as large of hands and desire more control due to a lack of experience.

Pros

  • Provides the deepest bevel cut
  • It's the lightest saw on our list
  • Comes with its own carry bag

Cons

  • The bevel capacity is a bit low
  • 5,300 RPM's could be better
  • Just under 2 1/2" maximum cutting depth at 90 degrees

black & decker lightweight circular saw

Quality

Price

Our Rating

Black and Decker is a consumer grade brand of power tools. If you are a professional or looking for a professional grade circular saw, then we suggest you move along.

This fact should be readily apparent by the Black and Decker’s cutting power. While it does spin at 100 rpms faster than our final entry, for a total of 5,300 rpms, its motor can only push 13 amps.

When you combine the weakest motor with the second fewest rpms, you get a circular saw that is severely limited in cutting power compared to the other entries on this list. Ultimately, you will be forced to make slower cuts and will have even more difficulty with dense materials than the DeWalt.

In a bit of a mixed bag, the comfort level of the Black and Decker runs hot and cold. As the second lightest saw on our list, coming in at 7 pounds, it seems a bit odd that the handle was not better designed. Aside from the fact that it is blocky, the handle is also rather small.

This suggests that the Black and Decker BDECS300C isn't only intended for consumer use exclusively, but sees women as a primary consumer. While that isn't a negative thing in and of itself, it does mean that men with large hands will find using the Black and Decker a bit awkward.

Pros

  • Is the cheapest product on our list
  • A great value for a weekend warrior
  • The second lightest saw on our list

Cons

  • The bevel capacity sits at the floor of acceptable
  • 5,300 RPM's isn't great
  • 13 amps may create cutting power issues

best lightweight skil saw

Quality

Price

Our Rating

DeWalt is usually a reliable company that has built a strong reputation in the world of power tools. That is why it is such a surprise to see them so far down on this list. However, their position is well-earned.

The main flaw with the DeWalt is its cutting power. While is does provide 15 amps of power from the motor, the blade only spins at a paltry 5200 rpms. Even the Black & Decker, exclusively a consumer grade product, provides more rpms than that--though it does provide fewer amps so the cutting power is still not quite up to the DeWalt’s level.

However, if you are working with relatively standard materials and do not have to worry about cutting through dense Balsa wood for the entire day, the DeWalt should serve adequately--even if you have to take more time for each cut.

Still, to compensate for this modest lack of cutting power, the DeWalt does at least goose some of the other qualities to keep it in the running. It features the deepest 90 degree cut of 2 9/16” which allows you to clear materials even if they are a bit uneven.

Moreover, the DeWalt also sports the largest bevel capacity, though it is only by a single degree. Still, with 22.5 degree and 45 degree bevel locking positions, this puts it just above the Makita’s bevel capabilities.

Pros

  • Provides the deepest 90 degree cut
  • Allows the largest bevel capacity at 57 degrees
  • Has the smallest profile of any saw on our list

Cons

  • Provides the fewest RPM's
  • A bit pricey for its cutting power
  • Difficult to change the blade

What is the Best Lightweight Circular Saw to Buy?

Makita is a powerhouse. Time in and time out, they produce the best tools--regardless of whether you are a professional or weekend warrior.

The 5007MG continues this trend by producing a lightweight circular saw that spins at a blistering 5,800 rpms. While the Bosch can match this power and is just slightly lighter, it simply does not provide the same degree of comfort or ease of use.

While a bit pricey, the Makita also includes a wide range of features to assist in not only providing an effective tool, but one that allows your job to run as smoothly and quickly as possible.

Suitable for anything from simple 2x4 rips to the back-breaking labor of framing, the Makita’s motor is designed to chew through any job you can throw at it and come back for more.

With few flaws and many areas that lead the pack, our favorite is the Makita 5007MG for the best lightweight 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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