Circular saws are one of the most popular DIY tools in use today.
A lot of their popularity comes from their versatility. By which I mean that with the right blade, a circular saw can cut wood, steel, tile and even masonry.
Here are five things to consider when buying the best circular saw for you or as a gift.
The power of a circular saw is expressed as amps (for corded saw) or volts (for cordless saws).
Technically, how many amps/volts a saw uses doesn’t tell you how much power the saw actually has. However, without independently testing each saw, it’s the best indicator there is.
So my suggestion is to look for a corded saw that has a 15 amp motor. Or look for a cordless saw that takes 18v or 20v max batteries (18V and 20V max are basically the same).
What you are looking for is a saw that will have enough power to cut without bogging down. And a 15 amp or 18v/20v max saw will have more than enough power for almost any DIY project.
The most common size of blade for a circular saw is 7 1/4 inches. These blades are can cut up to 3 inches deep, which is more than enough for most DIY projects that need a circular saw.
The other great thing about 7 1/4 inch blades is that you can buy them almost anywhere that sells tools (Check out our review of the best circular saw blades if you need help picking the right blade.)
Now, you can find saws with smaller or larger blades. But in my experience, they are best suited for specialist tasks.
So unless you absolutely need a saw with a specialist size blade – pick a saw that uses 7 1/4 inch blades.
The difference in weight between a budget circular saw and high-end saw is about two pounds.
To some people, that’s not a lot and to others that can be a huge difference.
My advice would be that you should definitely look for a lighter saw if you think that you’ll have a problem using a heavier saw safely. Circular saws can be dangerous so if a lighter saw helps reduce the chance of an accident – it’s a good investment.
And you should take weight into account when buying a saw if you think that you’ll be using the saw a lot. Two pounds isn’t much when you’re fresh and full of energy. But if you’ve been using your saw all day, those extra two pounds can feel like twenty!
Another way to help reduce the chance of accidents is to buy a saw with an electric brake.
Electric brakes slow down the blade by reversing the flow of electricity in the saw motor when you release the trigger. And the sooner that the blade stops spinning, the safer you are.
A beveled cut is any cut you make that is less that 90 degrees. The bigger the bevel angle that a circular saw has, the wider range of cuts it can make.
I’d look for a saw that has a bevel angle of 50 degrees or more. That’s going to give you enough flexibility to finish most DIY projects easily and quickly.
Need suggestions for which saw to buy?
If you’re ready to buy a saw and need some suggestions, check out our review of the best circular saws.