Affiliate Disclosure: We may be compensated if you purchase through links on our website. Our Reviews Team is committed to delivering honest, objective, and independent reviews on home products and services.
From cross-cutting 2x4s to ripping plywood, circular saws use high-powered blades to make various cuts. Although circular saws are often considered woodworking tools, many models can be outfitted with specialized blades to cut masonry, metal, and laminate flooring.
Our team examined some of today’s best circular saws to help you find a circular saw for your DIY projects. Here are our top recommendations.
Top 9 Circular Saws
- Best Overall: Makita 5007 Magnesium Circular Saw
- Most Portable: DEWALT 20-Volt Circular Saw
- Best for Long Cuts: SKILSAW Worm-Drive Circular Saw
- Best Value: CRAFTSMAN 15-Amp Circular Saw
- Most Efficient: Milwaukee 2830-20 Circular Saw
- Most User-Friendly: SKILSAW 5280-01 Circular Saw
- Best Kit: Makita SH02R1 Cordless Circular Saw Kit
- Best Heavy-Duty: SKILSAW SAWSQUATCH Worm-Drive Circular Saw
- Most Comfortable: Ryobi One P505 18-Volt Circular Saw
Compare Top Circular Saws
|Makita 5007 Magnesium Circular Saw
|DEWALT 20-Volt Circular Saw
|SKILSAW Worm-Drive Circular Saw
|CRAFTSMAN 15-Amp Circular Saw
|Milwaukee 2830-20 Circular Saw
|SKILSAW 5280-01 Circular Saw
|Makita SH02R1 Cordless Circular Saw Kit
|SKILSAW SAWSQUATCH Worm-Drive Circular Saw
|Ryobi One P505 18-Volt Circular Saw
Best for Long Cuts
Buying Guide to Circular Saws
Before purchasing a circular saw, consider its blade compatibility and safety features, among other factors.
Battery-Powered vs. Corded
Circular saws come in either corded or battery-powered models. Corded circular saws like the Makita 5007 use electricity to power the blades and deliver accurate cuts. While corded models typically generate higher speeds than their battery-powered counterparts, their reliance on extension cords makes them less portable.
Battery-powered circular saws are known for their lightweight design and mobility. While many battery-operated models lack the cutting power seen in their corded counterparts, some models, like the DEWALT 20-Volt Circular Saw, have efficient brushless motors that adapt to individual workloads to extend the life of their batteries.
Blade Size and Type
A circular saw’s blade size is calculated by measuring its diameter in inches. Most circular saws like the SKILSAW 5280-01 Circular Saw With Laser Guide use 7 ¼-inch blades, though some models like the compact Makita SH02R1 12-Volt Max CXT Cordless Circular Saw Kit use smaller blades. The blade size of a circular saw influences its cutting depth, meaning larger blades can cut through thicker materials.
Along with a blade’s size, the blade type also influences a circular saw’s performance. For example, most of the circular saws in this review come with wood-cutting edges with low teeth per inch (TPI). However, if you want to cut metal or other fragile materials, you can purchase blades with a higher TPI that delivers a more polished finish.
Some circular saws adjust to make cuts at various angles, referred to as beveled cuts. Most circular saws with bevel adjustments can tilt between 0 and 55 degrees. Some models even come with indented marks, known as positive stops, that let users lock into popular bevel cuts for easy adjustments. For example, the CRAFTSMAN 15-Amp Circular Saw has positive stops at 22.5 and 45 degrees.
A circular saw’s speed refers to how fast it can spin its blade and cut through the material. Most circular saws have speeds between 5,200 and 5,500 revolutions per minute, though some models, like the Makita 5007 Magnesium Circular Saw, offer speeds up to 5,800 RPM. While a saw’s available RPMs indicate how fast a cut can be made, they don’t impact how thick of a material the saw can cut.
Most circular saws come with safety features that help you operate the tool. One of the most common safety features is a brake stop, which halts the rotation of the blade once the trigger is released, preventing damage to the workpiece or power cord and injury to the operator. Another common safety feature is a guarded trigger, which requires you to hold down a safety button before activating the trigger.
Frequently Asked Questions About Circular Saws
What are circular saws used for?
A circular saw is an essential DIY tool that uses a moving blade to make straight, accurate cuts. While circular saws are traditionally used to cut 2x4s, plywood, and other lumber, they can be outfitted with different blades to cut masonry, metal, and other materials.
What’s the difference between a circular saw and a miter saw?
While both a circular saw and a miter saw use a sharp, rotating blade to cut lumber and other materials, their difference in design impacts how they’re used. For example, circular saws are handheld tools used to make quick cuts, making them ideal for cutting 2x4s or plywood. Miter saws are stationary tools that make precise, angled cuts using a movable arm, useful for cutting decorative pieces like crown molding or baseboards.
Why does my circular saw get stuck?
If your blade is binding to its cutting material, the problem could be your cutting angle or blade. Ensure your blade is straight, sharp, and secure before using your circular saw.
Are circular saws dangerous?
While a circular saw can cause injury, there are a few measures you can take to ensure you safely use the tool:
- Wear eye and ear protection.
- Wear a dust mask if you’re cutting material that produces a significant amount of dust and debris.
- Don’t wear loose clothing or other accessories that could get caught in the tool’s blade.
- When operating the circular saw, use two hands for maximum control.
- Wait for the blade to stop before setting the circular saw down.
How We Selected the Best Circular Saws
To provide our readers with the best recommendations possible, we rely on several key sources of information to help guide our selection process.
Initial Research: Our research process began by generating a list of saws with a significant number of verified buyer reviews and an average customer review rating of 4–5 stars. We looked at positive and negative reviews alike, focusing on information from both satisfied and critical buyers.
Expert Insights: Through our years of experience, we’ve learned that listening to what others have to say is key to building accurate, well-rounded articles. To complement our in-house expertise, our team looked at reviews and videos from trusted publications and independent testers, spoke with subject matter experts, and drew insights from reader contributions.
Final Product Selection: We then began fine-tuning our list by replacing older models with the latest versions and eliminating any discontinued models. From there, we pared the list down further by comparing each model’s feature set and selecting the best-in-class options for various buyers, budgets, and scenarios.
Why You Can Trust Us
This Old House has empowered homeowners and DIYers for more than four decades with top-notch home improvement advice in the form of television programs, print media, and digital content.
Our team focuses on creating in-depth product and service review content. To date, we’ve published numerous tool reviews, from cordless drills and impact drivers to tape measures and laser levels.
Once we conclude our research, we craft a comprehensive, user-friendly article of recommended products and additional information to help our readers make the right purchase.
Questions or Comments?
To share feedback or ask a question about this article, send a note to our Reviews Team at firstname.lastname@example.org.