Choosing the Best Circular Saw – Advice Guide

The best circular saw is an essential power tool for woodworking, whether doing projects in the home, or professional carpentry. They are used for a variety of tasks such as cutting natural wood, plywood, MDF, even tile or steel – and can even be used to cut curved shapes. They can also be used to cut slots or trench cuts (dados). The circular saw contains a toothed metal disc that spins at high speed, and as such can be extremely dangerous in the untrained hand. You are advised not to purchase or work with a circular saw if you are inexperienced in how to use one. So which type of circular saw is going to be best for your needs? And which is going to fit nicely into your price range.

Check out our interactive tables and the advice that follows for all the information you will need in order to pick the best circular saw for your needs.

There are two decisions you will first need to make when choosing your circular saw:

  1. Corded or Cordless?
  2. Worm Drive or Sidewinder?

Circular Saw Comparison Guide and Key

  • Saw Brand and Name / Model (click for more info or to purchase)
  • Saw picture
  • Type of Circular Saw – Worm Drive or Sidewinder
  • Diameter of saw blade
  • Speed of drill / driver
  • Voltage of Circular Saw
  • Weight of Circular Saw
  • Prices – based on most recent information from Amazon, but like any prices, these can fluctuate due to availability and special promotions.
  • Rating – the rating from Amazon.com customers, showing general satisfaction with their purchase. Anything above 4.5 is generally regarded as excellent, and scores are influenced by factors other that product quality, such as value and delivery experience.

Best Circular Saw – Cordless

Cordless Circular SawTypeBlade Diameter (inches)Speed (rpm)Volts Weight (lb)Price ($)Amazon Rating
DEWALT Bare-Tool DC390B 6-1/2-Inch 18-Volt Cordless Circular Saw

Click here for DeWalt DC390B Review
Worm Drive6-1/23700186.389.994.5
Bare-Tool Bosch 1671B 36-Volt Circular Saw (Tool Only, No Battery)

Click here for Bosch 1671B Review
Sidewinder6-1/240003610.4195.025
Makita Bare-Tool BSS611Z 18-Volt LXT Lithium-Ion Cordless 6-1/2-Inch Circular SawClick here for Makita BSS611Z ReviewWorm Drive6-1/23700186.997.554.4
DEWALT DCS391B 20-Volt MAX Li-Ion Circular Saw, Tool OnlyClick here for DCS391B ReviewWorm Drive6-1/23700207.0139.994.4
PORTER-CABLE Bare-Tool PC18CSL 18-Volt Cordless 6-1/2-Inch Circular-Saw with Laser Guide (Tool Only, No Battery)Click here for Porter-Cable PC18CSL ReviewSidewinder6-1/23700186.647.995
Bosch Bare-Tool CCS180B 18-Volt Lithium-Ion 6-1/2-Inch Lithium-Ion Circular SawClick here for Bosch CCS180B ReviewSidewinder6-1/23900186.6159.994.3

Best Circular Saw – Corded

Corded Circular SawTypeBlade Diameter (inches)Speed (rpm)AmpsWeight (lb)Price ($)Amazon Rating
DEWALT DWS535 7 1/4-Inch Worm Drive Circular SawClick here for DeWalt DWS535 ReviewWorm Drive7-1/448001513.8169.004.7
DEWALT DWE575 7-1/4-Inch Lightweight Circular SawClick here for DeWalt DWE575 ReviewSidewinder7-1/45200158.8107.994.9
Milwaukee 6394-21 15 Amp 7-1/4-Inch Circular SawClick here for Milwaukee 6394-21 ReviewSidewinder7-1/458001510.6272.184.5
Makita 5007MG Magnesium 7-1/4-Inch Circular SawClick here for Makita 5007MG ReviewSidewinder7-1/458001510.6149.004.4
Makita 5477NB 15 Amp 7-1/4-Inch Hypoid SawClick here for Makita 5477NB ReviewWorm Drive7-1/445001514.3119.004.6
Bosch 1677MD 15 Amp 7-1/4-Inch Wormdrive Construction Saw with Direct ConnectClick here for Bosch 1677MD ReviewWorm Drive7-1/444001514.0183.004.5

 

What Type of Circular Saw Do I Need?

Cordless circular saws are lighter and smaller than corded saws, so they are useful where there is little room to manoeuvre, and for light work. Corded models tend to be much more powerful (up to seven times in some cases) and have a bigger blade, so this is the choice to make if you have a few tough jobs to get done.

The circular saw can be a sidewinder or a worm drive. Worm drive saws are a favourite amongst professional woodworkers. The blade is to the left of the saw, offering a clear view of the cut (for right-handed users). They are heavy, and will cut through wet timber or concrete, with the rear mounted handle offering good control. The motor is parallel to the blade which offers increased torque, but at the expense of some speed.

The sidewinder saw is usually the preferred choice in the home. The blade is on the right side of the saw, with the handle set over the blade. They are faster than the worm drive saw, due to the motor being perpendicular to the blade. This reduces the power but increases the speed. The sidewinder is also the lighter of the two, so is easy to work with over a long period of time. These days ‘mirror’ versions of saws are often made (for left and right-handed people). With the cordless models, there is also more overlap with the two types of drill in terms of functionality, so you are advised to look through reviews and specifications to get a real idea of each particular saw.

So Which is the Best Circular Saw?

‘Which is the best circular saw?’ is one question, but the more important question is definitely ‘Which is the best cordless drill for me?’ Below I have listed my favourite from each category (one cordless and one corded), and said a little bit about why I like them, but be sure to make your own mind up based on your needs, and your price range. Check with the comparison tables above, and check out our more extensive list of product reviews.

Best Cordless Circular Saw – Bosch 1671B 36-Volt

bosch 1671b big

Click here for Bosch 1671B Review!

The Bosch 1671B is what you should reach for if you need a cordless saw. You’ll find the 36 volts give you almost as much power as a corded drill, but with the bonus of being able to take anywhere. And the batteries last a long time, and work at at a high level for a good time (this is often the case with Bosch batteries). The good battery and high voltage, when paired with this very thin carbide blade means you can whiz through lumber effortlessly. It will last you a long time and stay in as good a condition year after year, with regular use. Uniquely, it is the only saw in this class that has hook, which you might find makes a real difference if you use it for a few hours. Click here for full product review and buying details!

Best Corded Circular Saw – DEWALT DWS535 7 1/4″

DEWALT DWS535 big

Click here for DeWalt DWS535 Review!

For all the jobs near a power outlet, you should go to a trusty DEWALT DWS535 – this girl will never let you down. It’s powerful, heavy, reliable and will cut through anything you wanna throw at it, even concrete or wet lumber. It’s well designed to protect itself if you are in the habit of dropping it accidently (as I seem to be). It has a flat, solid footplate so you can use it for subtle jobs. The blade guard never gets caught on anything, and it has a fantastic rafter hook. Despite all this, its also relatively light so you can work with it all day. I can’t think of much you couldn’t get done with this excellent saw, and I highly recommend you check it out. Full product details here.