Circular saws are a type of power tool used for easily cutting through materials with a great level of precision. They can be used to cut a variety of materials, including plastic, metal, wood and masonry.
Circular saws are used for making straight cuts and most models come with a guide to help you achieve the straightest cut possible. They are generally designed to be easy to use and there are now many great models available for domestic use.
If you’re in the market for a circular saw then it’s essential to know what the most important features to look for are. There are many stats that are used to market circular saws but not all of them are equally important.
Last update on 2021-03-08 / All Pricing & Imagery from Amazon Product Advertising API
We’ve compared some of the best circular saws currently on the market and evaluated them on only the most important criteria, including depth of cut, load speed, weight, size and ease of use.
A compact yet powerful model that’s suitable for most needs
Our best pick is the Makita 1900mm Circular Saw with MakPak Carry Case. The Makita is not only very easy-to-use but it’s also extremely capable – cutting a perfect line when used with both bevel and straight guides.
It comes with a 1,2000 motor and has a long and well-insulated power cord making it very practical for most DIY uses. It has no load speed and 5200RPM – making it capable of cutting most types of materials.
The ergonomic soft-grip of the handles made it very comfortable and easy to operate and although it’s somewhat heavy, we didn’t find it to be unwieldy at all.
The Makita comes in a MakPak carry case, which is very generously sized. The case is easily big enough to keep your saw in when not in use without struggling to get the cable in there as can often be the case with other models. It also comes with one circular saw blade.
- Solidly built and very easy to use without sacrificing performance
- Cuts a very straight line, whether used freehand or with guides
- Changing the blade is a straightforward process even for those without experience
- The included carry case is very large, which isn’t ideal for everyone
- At 7.19KG it is on the heavier side compared to a lot of the circular saws we tested
A great value saw that’s lightweight and gets the job done
Cost: Price not available
Our value pick is the VonHaus multi-purpose saw. With no-load speed, a 65mm cutting depth and a dust extraction facility – it offers excellent value for money and is suitable for most jobs around the home.
The 185mm TCT tip blade is capable of cutting at a depth of 65mm and the saw is suitable for use with a variety of materials, including Perspex, hardwood and MDF. In addition to making regular cuts, the VonHaus saw also gives you the ability to make a variety of bevel and mitre cuts
Changing blades is very simple with the VonHaus and doesn’t require the use of a spindle wrench, as is often the case with other circular saws.
It has no load speed and 5000RPM, making it a very capable machine for its price range. It also comes with a built-in safety lock so you don’t have to worry about activating it by accident.
You get a 2 year’s manufacturer’s warranty included as standard.
- A good dust extraction facility – excellent for keeping your work area clean
- Lightweight design and easy to control
- The included instructions are easy to understand making it suitable for first-time buyers
- The guide is a bit flimsy compared to more expensive models
- Might have a problem with thicker woods
A feature-packed saw that’s capable and very reasonably priced
The Tacklife1500W Electric Saw comes with some generous features for its price range, including a laser guide, aluminium guard and a dust extraction system. You also get two blades included with the Tacklife saw – a 24 teeth and 40 teeth blade.
The lower price of the Tacklife means it might not be capable of the same perfectly straight cuts as more expensive models but it’s still a reliable machine that’s able to perform a range of bevel and mitre cuts.
We found the integrated laser guide to be useful and the 3-meter power cable makes it practical for use and easy enough to store.
- A good feature set for the price range
- The non-slip rubber handle makes it very easy and comfortable to use
- The dust extraction system works well
- The laser guide can be a little weak and difficult to see depending on the light conditions
- Doesn’t provide as straight of a cut as some more expensive models
A powerful and reasonably priced model
The Meterk circular saw, just like the Tacklife – comes with a laser guide system for straight cutting and 2 blades, again like the Tacklife – a 24 teeth blade and a 40 teeth blade.
The 2 included blades mean you’re able to cut both fine woods and plastics as well as rough-cut wood. We found the laser guide to be accurate and helpful with achieving straight cuts but the Meterk also has a manual guide if you prefer to use one.
Although this would fall under the category of a budget circular saw, it’s still powerful enough for most tasks, with 1500W and 4700RPM. The design of the Meterk also makes it very comfortable and easy to use – with comfortable grip handles and a double safety switch.
- Comes with a lot of features for its price range, including a laser guide and a dust extraction system
- Set also includes 2 blades making it perfect for different types of projects
- The laser and manual guides make it very easy to cut straight lines
- Changing the blade can be somewhat awkward compared to other models
- The guard quality leaves a lot to be desired
Accurate and versatile saw that’s suitable for most uses
The Evolution 1600W saw is part of the company’s R range of saws that come with a range of improved features over previous models. These include a more ergonomic design, higher torque motor, improved cutting capabilities and an electronic brake.
We found the Evolution to be very capable when cutting different types of materials, including wood, plastic and metal. Achieving smooth and accurate cuts was very easy thanks to the thin blade. The downside to the thin blade, however, is that it does seem like it would wear quite easily after heavy use.
Another thing the Evolution saw has going for it is that when cutting mild steel, it doesn’t produce heat or burrs and produces very few sparks. It is also very powerful and accurate with a 1600W high-torque motor.
The Evolution comes in 2 models – a 110 V which is suitable for site use, and a 230 V model for domestic use.
The build quality is good and although it’s not comparable to a Makita, it feels sturdy enough for the most part. The exception to this would be the cast base, which when compared to a pressed steel base, feels like it would be quite easy to damage if the saw were dropped.
- Lightweight and easy to use
- Very reasonably priced for its feature set and build quality
- Very easy to achieve smooth and precise cuts
- The cast base could quite easily be damaged and cracked if you were to drop the saw
- The included blade is quite thin making it more likely to wear after continual use
How To Use A Circular Saw
If you haven’t used a circular saw before then the good news is that they’re not particularly difficult to use – in fact, they’re designed to be easy to use even for those with little-to-no experience. That being said – it is important to be aware of what steps to take if you want to achieve the best results and be safe.
Note: Circular saws are generally used for making straight cuts. If you need to make more complex cuts then you’ll need to use a different type of saw, such as a jigsaw.
The first thing to do is prepare your materials and ensure that your saw is set up properly with the correct blade. The type of blade you’ll need to use will depend on the job you’re tackling but most circular saws come with a blade that’s suitable for the majority of uses you’d need.
Circular saws will vary in terms of their features and the type of blade they use so you’ll want to familiarise yourself with your particular model before you use it for the first time.
In order to achieve a proper cut, you’ll need to select the cutting depth before using the circular saw. The cutting depth you require will depend on the thickness of the material you’re cutting. For example, if you need to cut a piece of wood that’s 1 inch thick then you’ll want to select a cutting depth of around 1.25 inches to ensure the best cut.
As far as operating the saw itself goes – you’ll want to grip it by the front and rear handles and use the trigger on the rear handle to start the blade moving. Once you’ve activated the blade, you should then push forward slowly and smoothly to ensure the most accurate and straight cut possible.
It’s important to ensure that the material you’re cutting is supported properly but there aren’t any obstructions underneath it that the blade could get caught on. We recommend that you use a saw table or two sawhorses when you’re cutting materials using a circular saw.
For the cut to be as straight as possible you’ll want to mark the material you’re working on with a ruler and pen/pencil prior to cutting. Once you’ve marked the material you should double-check it to ensure you have the straightest line possible since this will be your guide.
Although using a circular saw is quite straightforward, it’s extremely important that you take the right safety precautions when using one.
The two most essential pieces of safety equipment you’ll need to operate a circular saw are safety gloves and protective eyewear. In addition to this, you might also consider wearing ear muffs (particularly if you’re going to be sawing for an extended period of time) and possibly a dust mask if your saw doesn’t have a dust extraction system.
As well as having the right safety equipment you should also ensure that you’re not wearing anything too baggy since it’s easy for sleeves or cords from a hoodie to get caught up in the saw. If you have long hair, then you should make sure it’s tied back when using the saw too.
When operating the saw, you should always keep both hands on it and ensure that once you’ve finished cutting the material, release the trigger and let the blade come to a complete stop before inspecting your work.
After you’ve finished using the saw you should make sure the blade guard is locked into the down position. You should then unplug it and wrap the cable around the handle of the saw until you next need to use it.
When using a circular saw, always be sure that you’re in a well-lit and well-ventilated area. Make sure there are no young children or pets around and that you’re 100% focused on the task at hand.
You should also take safety into consideration when looking to purchase a new circular saw. All circular saws will have a built-in safety system to ensure that the blade cannot be activated by accident and that the machine cannot come open on its own.
Although all saws have a safety system, they’re not all equal and some are much safer than others so always be sure to read up on the specs of any particular saw you’re considering.
Chris loves the outdoors and exploring nature. He is a freelance writer and has written extensively on subjects including travel, DIY and gardening.