Getting The Job Done Right
The Best Circular Saws of 2020- Buyer's Guide
By: Darion Robinson
If you’re from using a table saw, a circular saw would be a godsend especially if you needed more mobility around your workshop or even outside. Apart from offering you mobility within your workshop, they are also classified as corded or cordless. As you guessed it, cordless circular saws push mobility even further since they don’t require you to be physically close to a power outlet. This can be really convenient, especially if the wood or metal that you need to cut is in an area where access to electric power isn’t easy. Since you should choose circular saws based on needs, we outline seven of the best circular saws that you should consider in case you need to buy one.
Guide to Choosing the Best Circular Saw
As it is one of the most versatile tools that you can have in your workshop, it makes sense to go for the best of the circular saws you can get. However, if you are new to circular saws, this can become somewhat of a challenge as you would have hundreds of saws to choose from. If you lack insight on circular saws, then any would be just fine for you, but that’s far from the truth. Here are some of the considerations you should make when selecting a circular saw.
Dust Collection Port
Circular saws can generate a lot of dust in minutes as they slice through the material you are cutting. You’d definitely not want any of that dust to end up in your lungs. As such, you should always look for a circular saw that blows dust away from you and into a dust collection system.
If you’re going to be using this tool for long durations, then it is essential that you go for one that is ergonomic. For instance, if you are left-handed, it is much better to get the left-handed circular saw variant that would be more comfortable in your hands than the regular ones.
Ease of Changing Blades
Some circular saw owners have noted that there are particular circular saws that are far easier to deal with when it comes to changing blades. In addition to being keen on the ease of changing blades, the size of the saw will also determine how the saw is secured and consequently the ease of changing them. It is also worth noting that larger blades give deeper cuts.
Useful Tools for The Circular Saw
You might not necessarily need them, but they would surely go a long way in making your work easier.
This is a triangular-shaped metallic device that is used to aid you to get straight and square cuts. It equally doubles as a short ruler.
It’s a bar that usually attaches to the base of the saw and extends to the edge of the board on the other side as well. It is mostly used to ensure your cuts are parallel to the existing edge of the board.
Today, circular saw manufacturers have really put safety into consideration when it comes to the design of the circular saw. However, safety is still important. Here are some safety tips:
- Always wear safety equipment like safety goggles and hearing protection before using a circular saw
- Never use a defective saw even if you deem it functional to do a single task
- Always use sharp blades. They are a lot safer and make work easy
- Always use safe depth of cuttings. The blade should not extend 1/8 of an inch under the board you’re cutting
- Always keep live cords away from your workplace
- Ensure there are no obstructions in the stock as these obstructions can damage your circular saw
- Always unplug your circular saw when you are not using it
Top 6 Circular Saw Reviews
On the surface, the DEWALT DCS391B seems like just any other circular saw. Sturdy body, rubber grips, and an aluminum body are quite common when you are looking for any saw. However, not every circular saw will be so generous to offer you a powerful 460 MWO motor that can deliver 5,250 RPM of sheer power.
In addition, while the rubber grips are common as well, the DEWALT DCS391B goes the extra mile as it comes with optimized overmolded comfort grips which as you can tell redefine the meaning of comfort. Its shoe is also made of high strength and super lightweight magnesium. You’d definitely want your saw to be this light if you will be using it in you workshop often. Apart from being easy on you, light circular saws usually provide better jobsite durability. The 0-50 degree bevel capacity on this saw equally allows you to make difficult to pull bevel cuts for a wide range of applications.
If you’re looking for something that will last, then you’re likely to love the DEWALT DCS391B because of its durable construction. As mentioned earlier, this circular saw uses a superior-grade aluminum shoe. Other than making the saw light, it also ensures that the tool remains intact in addition to giving you the quality cuts that you needed it for.
Getting precision cuts can be extremely difficult if you don’t have a firm grip on the circular saw. A firm grip doesn’t come easy if you have a bulky saw. As it weighs a mere 2 pounds, the DEWALT DCS391B is one of the lightest circular saws around that will give you the least arm fatigue. You can thus undertake longer cutting jobs.
This circular saw comes with an electric brake which is super helpful in preventing accidents. Once you release your hands off its trigger, the power to the saw is immediately cut off. This means there will be little to no accidents if you maintain caution.
The overmolded rubber provides great comfort while you grip the saw. Apart from that though, it also increases the saw’s balance.
- It is lightweight and very durable for its category
- It provides a long-term cut accuracy
- It has a capable and powerful motor that helps it achieve precise cuts
- It runs on battery and can thus be unreliable in some situations as some users have reported experiencing issues with it
The SKIL 5280-01 is yours to grab if you happen to be an experienced user in need of a powerful saw that packs plenty of standard and pro features. This saw comes with a 15-amp motor that delivers 2.5HP which is just enough to give you the performance needed to cut through sheets with ease.
Other than giving you the power you need, SKIL also focused on ensuring you make precise cuts as well. That is why you get a single-beam laser guide when you get the SKIL 5280-01, and this can greatly improve your accuracy when using this tool. The integrated dust blower, on the other hand, helps in preventing dust from blocking your line of cut. Compared to the DeWalt DCS391B, this saw is slightly heavier (8.7 pounds). However, with all the features it offers, it is unfair to judge the saw just because of this one shortcoming.
One of the things you will like with the SKIL 5280-01 is that you can use it for almost everything you can imagine in your workshop. With its 51-degree bevel, you can use it to cut various wood sizes. Cutting steels and metals is also easy. You only need to remember to pick the right saw for a particular job.
Most saws have the 15-amp motor, and for lots of good reasons. A powerful motor means that you can use the saw for heavy-duty work without having to worry about how long you would be spending in the workshop. Power is something the SKIL 5280-01 does not lack, and this will definitely increase your productivity.
The saw also comes with a very easy to use safety button that prevents accidental start-ups of any kind. This is a helpful feature if you’ve set-up your workshop near your home or somewhere where other people can gain access to it.
You get a sturdy zippered carrying bag when you get the SKIL 5280-01. You can use this to store necessary tools for a job.
Just like the DeWalt DCS391B, you also get laser alignment on the SKIL 5280-01. It comes in handy when you need to check whether the blade is lined up correctly before you make your cut.
- The laser is helpful when you need to ensure that the blade is correctly aligned to your piece
- This saw is lighter than most others in the market
- It has an integrated dust blower that ensures visibility on the line of cut
- It lacks an electric brake that can stop the saw once you let go of the trigger
- The thumb safety switch is placed in an awkward position
- The steel base can bend if the saw is dropped
Circular saws are everywhere, but if you are in search of something portable, durable, precise, and powerful, then you might be looking for the Makita SP6000J. This machine is ideal for both the workshop and the jobsite usage because of several reasons. For one, it packs a 12-amp motor which complements its lightweight design as well as its durability.
As the Makita SP6000J is made from lightweight magnesium components, you can tell that the focus on this circular saw was mainly to design a super lightweight saw that is equally powerful. Its precision cutting system, for example, is capable of providing truly splinter-free cuts regardless of the material you throw at it. This is due to its bevel capability of 1-48 degrees and an impressive cutting capacity of 2-3/16 inches at 90 degrees and 1-9/16 inches at 45 degrees. Hardly do you get all these in one saw, but the Makita SP6000J has plenty to offer.
As mentioned earlier, the Makita SP6000J has a bevel capability of 1-48 degrees with positive stops being at the 22.5th degree and the 45th degree. What this does is that it enables you to be wild with your experimentations so that in future you could widen potential cuts.
For a saw of its size, offering splinter-free cuts is actually a big deal because the Makita SP6000J isn’t what most woodworkers would call powerful. However, the fact that it offers nearly perfect and splinter-free cuts is something worth praising it for.
Close to Wall Cutting
Precision and quality cuts are further heightened with the Makita SP6000J’s close to wall cutting feature. Its 11/16-inch close to wall cutting ideally means that you are free to make challenging cuts such as plunge cuts, practice cuts, and guide cuts. In addition, since its depth stop is built-in, you are able to pull off quality preliminary cuts before you cut the entire material
For a circular saw, its dust collection is a little bit impressive. Less dust means a cleaner working space and thus more productivity.
It has a plunge release lever which gives you adequate comfort while using the saw
- It can cut a wide variety of materials in your workshop thanks to its 12-amp motor
- It is accurate and precise at the same time as it offers splinter free cuts
- It is a variable speed circular saw with a speed control dial ranging from 2000-5200 RPM
- It has a large cutting depth at both the 45 degree and 90-degree angle
- It cannot make repeatable cuts
- It does not handle pieces narrower than the guide track well
Many woodworkers would consider the Bosch CS5 if they were in search of an all-round saw that was capable of delivering performance and reliability at the same time. It has a solid build quality which is also super light than other saws from popular brands. It weighs a mere 10 pounds.
This may be a few pounds heavier than a saw like the SKIL 5280-01, but the CS5 wins in so many other aspects such that 10 pounds is super light. Performance-wise, the CS5 doesn’t fail too as it comes with a 15-amp motor and it can deliver a whopping 6200 RPM which is really helpful if you need precise cuts. Other than power and build quality, the saw comes with an anti-snag lower guard which allows you to make your cuts without necessarily needing to advance it. All these make it ideal for withstanding even the toughest job site environments.
The CS5 can run at a speed of 6,200 RPM which is phenomenal by several standards. As it is powered with a 15-amp motor, you can expect it to deliver top notch performance with ease. This is especially true if you use the saw with an equally high-quality blade as this will enable you to do compound miters and finger rips like the pro you are.
Portability is one of the greatest things you can want in a circular saw. Apart from being comfortable while holding it in your hands, it is far easier to transport it from worksite to worksite without any issues. For a contractor, this is great as he/she will be less fatigued while carrying the saw to the worksite and using it too.
Depth of Cut
The saw was designed to assist you bevel up to 56 degrees which is really generous. However, its depth of cut varies depending on the angle you choose. You get a maximum of 2-7/16 inches at the 90-degree angle and 1-7/8 inches at the 45-degree angle. For the best cuts though, it is best to hold the saw at the 90-degree mark.
Anti-snag Lower Guard
You also get an anti-snag lower guard with the Bosch CS5, and it helps you make cuts without needing to advance the lower guard.
Left Blade Design
The Bosch CS5 was designed in such a way that you get a good sight of the object and the lines so that you can make precise cuts. Right-handed woodworkers love this saw too.
- It packs a powerful motor with a relatively fast RPM
- Its design is useful to left-handed people
- You can make quick and easy spindle lock changes on this circular saw
- It lacks a tool bag unlike with other brands
- There’s no safety on the trigger
- It lacks a dust chute
- There have been complaints about the saw’s baseplate. Users found it flimsy
If a bunch of your colleagues have Hitachi circular saws and you were thinking of getting one too, the Hitachi C18DGLP4 would be a good choice. Why? You ask. Well, it’s because this saw can work with Hitachi lithium ion 18V batteries in the slide style category.
This means you wouldn’t have to worry a lot about compatibility issues especially when you run out of battery and you had some limited options. It is also an ideal tool for tackling some of the toughest cutting tasks you can throw at it. Its built-in spotlight increases your visibility on the cut line so that you can make accurate cuts. In addition to that, it is worth mentioning that this saw features a left-side blade position. This means you will be able to clearly see the cut line. On the other hand, it has an electric brake which improves its overall safety.
The Hitachi C18DGLP4 is a well-designed saw that not only focuses on visual appeal, but comfort at the same time. Its soft grip handle is comfortable to the hands, enabling you work for longer hours. The built-in LED spotlight allows you to make great cuts since it increases visibility of the cut line as well.
This saw can generate a no-load speed of up to 4,500 RPM which is sufficient enough to get you through many of the tasks in your workshop that would require a circular saw. It might not be the most powerful saw on the list, but relative to its price, it is quite powerful if you are purchasing on a budget.
It comes with a blade guard which provides additional safety for you. The less accessible the blade is to you while the saw is in operation, the safer you are as there would be minimal contact in case of an accident. The Hitachi C18DGLP4 also features a fan-cooled motor which keeps it working within its expected limits and this increases its overall run time. It thus allows you to use it for longer on a single charge.
As it is lightweight, you can easily maneuver with the tool around your workshop or even when transporting it to a different worksite. This makes it ideal for use by contractors who get called to different worksites on a regular basis.
- It is an easy to use saw and great for first timers
- It comes with a spotlight which allows for easy and precise cuts through the cut line
- It packs a powerful motor that can help with a wide variety of tasks
- It comes with a soft rubber grip for better control while handling the machine
- The left side blade position on the saw makes it super easy to achieve different kinds of cuts
- It comes with a lifetime warranty
- The built-in LED light increases visibility and allows you to make precise and accurate cuts
- It is lightweight and thus easy to transport
- It does not come with a battery charger and a carrying case
- It draws a lot of energy from the batteries
The Ryobi P506 is a circular saw that focuses on power, portability, and accuracy more than anything else. It comes with a 4,700 RPM motor which can cut through most materials easily. You also get a laser guide which projects a red beam directly in front so that you can clearly see where the cut will be made on your material.
In addition, the rubberized overgrip on the Ryobi P506 provides the comfort needed to hold the tool in just about any weather condition. An extra handle also exists to enable you guide the saw in a smoother position.
Power and Speed
You can get up to 4,700 RPM from the Ryobi P506. This translates to a 40% increase in performance and a 35% increase in cutting capacity when you compare the Ryobi P506 to some of the other circular saws in the P501 series.
Laser Guided Cuts
It seems cool and fancy on paper, but in reality, it’s one of the best tools you could ever ask for in a circular saw. For amateurs, a laser guide is more than ideal. The forward-facing laser always lets you know where the blade will run through so that you can make more precise cuts.
Two pounds is super lightweight when it comes to circular saws, and it makes the saw ideal for light tasks but challenging for heavier tasks. However, as it is light, you can easily transport it from workshop to workshop.
The Ryobi P506 is compatible with a wide variety of battery types, and this is a huge bonus in case you might need replacement batteries in the future. Most people frown upon battery powered saws simply because of battery compatibility, but that will be less of an issue with the Ryobi P506.
- It is lightweight and compact in size when compared to other popular saws
- It has a long time run per individual charge
- It features laser-guided cuts for precision cuts
- It comes with a three-year warranty
- It has been tipped with carbide to help prevent corrosion and also reduce the wear and tear
- Finding a compatible battery for the saw is very easy
- It does not come with a battery
- It is only ideal for light jobs and not for the heavier tasks
- Its high RPM output may impact battery life
All in all, circular saws are far easier to handle compared to table saws. That is why you should always invest in a good saw in case you might need its service for years to come. While we have only reviewed six good circular saws, there exist many more out there that are perfect for you depending on what you needed them for in the first place. Your choice might be dependent on any factor ranging from the types of cuts you make to how the saw handles dust collection so that your workplace remains neat throughout. However, if power, weight, speed, battery, and safety were some of the features that mattered, then any of the six saws can work for you.
By Darion Robinson
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