Best Circular saw 2020 • 7 Circular saws Reviews
A powered cutting tool, a circular saw uses a disc to split apart a variety of materials. Our team's review offers insights drawn from the best reviews on the Internet.
Circular saw Leaderboard 2020
What is a circular saw?
You can find them with various power ratings, modes of operation and in numerous sizes. The best ones are highly reliable although you may need to change the cutting blade once in a while after you have reviewed its sharpness.
How does a circular saw work?
Unlike a conventional saw, which uses a back and forth motion to operate, a circular saw makes use of rotational force. Because the teeth of a circular saw are arranged in a circle, the blade simply needs a rotational motor to spin it around. Once the blade of the circular saw is up to speed spinning, it can be introduced to the material it will cut. Some circular saws are held in a fixed position on a workbench, maybe clamped in a vice, which means that the material to be cut is passed over the cutting blade.
Handheld circular saws, on the other hand, function in the opposite way with the material they are cutting being held secure while the tool itself can move.
The best circular saws of this type will often have tungsten carbide tipped teeth. Other options for the best performance include high speed steel blades. In some cases, industrial diamonds are also added are also added to the best blades which helps circular saws to cut through the most durable of materials, such as granite.
The advantages and applications of circular saws
One of the chief advantages of the best circular saws is that they operate in a highly efficient manner. When a review of a circular saw is made in comparison with a tenon saw, for example, it is simple to see that one requires lots of energy to be used up stopping and starting as it is move back and forth. On the other hand, a circular saw only cuts in one direction without stopping. As such, it is free from many of the inefficiencies that have an effect so many other types of saw.
Furthermore, because a circular saw only operates in one direction, it is often best at cutting without potential jams from occurring. Saw technologies that rely on back and forth motions can get stuck when they change direction quite easily. Unlike hand saws, all the best circular saws have an external power source which means that even handheld ones do a lot of the work for you as they cut through their material.
A panel saw is another type of circular saw that tends to be used in manufacturing facilities to cut boards to precise lengths. You can often find the best models being used in DIY stores to cut MDF and plywood panels to specific dimensions for customers, for example. There again, pendulum saws are often used for cutting into ice sheets. These, too, are a type of circular saw. Finally, other than handheld circular saws, you can also find table saws being used in many fabrication centres and workshops around the world. These are fixed-position circular saws which are usually best for cutting up timber accurately and, consequently, tend to be favoured by cabinet makers.
What types of circular saw are there?
The most common type of circular saw you can buy is a handheld one. The best ones offer a combination of cutting power along with a lightweight feel that makes them flexible in the way in which you can use them. Too heavy and they become tiresome to operate, especially when you are on site. Lighter ones are best for prolonged usage but you often have to compromise a little on power.
The majority of handheld circular saws are powered via mains electricity. Some of the best or, at least, most powerful ones are powered with petrol, however, much like chainsaws.
When it comes to a table circular saw, the power source is less of an issue because this does not have to be held or carried around. The material that is to be cut is moved instead of the saw itself in this case. As such, you can obtain table circular saws which are both electrically and petrol powered. Furthermore, some of the best models also have a hydraulic motor which supplies their power.
Many buyers of circular saws will review the market and decide that the best one for them is a multi-purpose tool. This is especially the case because one of the main plus points of circular saws is that you can change the blade depending on the sort of material you need to cut through.
The Big Circular Saw Buyer’s Guide
Like other power tools, circular saws ought to be free from basic defects when they are sold. That said, there are a number of important safety features to look out for and review on any circular saw you are considering purchasing. What are the best ones your model ought to have?
- A depth adjustment control that is well away from the cutting blade.
- A base plate should be present on handheld models that prevent fingers from slipping through to the blade.
- Two handles which allow operators to retain full control as they move their circular saw over the material it is cutting.
- A safety switch which must be pushed down before the power on the device can be engaged.
- A retracting blade guard which is usually spring loaded that prevent the blade from cutting into any material other than the intended area.
- A dust port which means that the unit can be hooked up to a bad or n external vacuum device that clears away dust.
In addition to reviewing these basic safety features in order to make sure that they all function properly, buyers of circular saws need to make sure that they test for any potential weak points in their product’s design. You should consult the owner’s manual to review the following key factors and operational limitations.
- The maximum number of revolutions per minute the circular saw is capable of producing.
- The direction of spin that blades are set to turn, according to their teeth’s orientation.
- The blade diameter or diameters that the product is able to accommodate. Handheld ones can be anything from 110 mm to almost twice that size.
- The arbour hole size which also impacts on the sort of blades that can be fitted the saw in question. These tend to vary between 10 and 30 mm depending on the unit.
Once reviewed for safety, you can progress. However, with a brand new blade, it is still often best to check the incision you will make ends up being straight by testing it on a scrap piece of wood or metal.
Another key safety measure that all circular saw owners ought to review is to make sure that their product’s safety guard retracts fully before returning to their initial position. The best ones will cover up all of the blade when the saw is not in use to protect it and to prevent accidental injuries. Only the best are capable of opening and closing seamlessly and without friction as you use the tool to cut through material. Crucially, this should always be the case no matter how low or high the base plate has been set to. You may need to adjust this to cut through wider items. If so, then it is best to check the safety guard still operates properly after you have reset the base plate, otherwise known as the shoe by some manufacturers.
In common with other power tools, you should make sure that the unit will cut out in the event of an operational problem. Some of the best electrical circular saws around will cut out if they experience a short circuit. If the model you have purchased does not have this feature built in, then make sure you only use yours in conjunction with a circuit breaker. Those which are petrol powered should only have a relatively small tank so that the risk of a fire is minimised.
Finally, remember that testing your circular saw after you have purchased it still means taking care. Although this is advisable so that you can return a defective product while it is still within its warranty period, you should ensure that no damage is caused to the unit from your own misuse.
Results and Experiences From Consumer Tests
A number of reviews are conducted into the current crop of circular saws on the market in the UK over the course of an average year.
In recent reviews, no particular manufacturer has dominated the market although certain individual products have been found to be more effective than others, for example, Makita’s corded HS7601J/2 circular saw which was found to be among the best in several reviews. Many praised its build quality and its ability to produce accurate cuts time and again. The product’s aluminium base plate, in particular, was found to be easy to operate when conducting plunge cuts.
In similar reviews, Evolution’s Rage 1B circular saw was found to be one of the best options around for occasional users. With an all-round ability to cut effectively and a three-year warranty, the Rage 1B was designed by Evolution for DIY enthusiasts rather than professionals largely due to its 1,200 Watt motor.
That said, the unit comes with a coarse, general purpose blade which may be all you will ever need if you won’t be using it every week. This product compares well with another popular one among UK review sites, the DeWalt DWE560K-GB which is also light and easy to handle. That said, this particular circular saw is designed with professionals in mind much more.
If you are looking for value, then the Black and Decker CS1015 has come out on top in some reviews after hours and hours of testing. Although it packs a lot of punch for the initial outlay, this is a relatively basic model with no laser guidance system and no spindle lock to rely on. However, it does the basics very well according to those who have reviewed all of its functions.
In the same review, the Bosch CS5 was found to be a very effective circular saw with lots of power to spare. In fact, this one was tested and found to produce a blade speed of up to 6,200 RPMs. Nevertheless, it tends to blow dust backwards which is not ideal for maintaining the direction of a cut that needs to be highly accurate. In the interests of fairness, voth the CS5 and the CS1016 were tested under the same conditions, cutting through two by four plywood by hand, before they were reviewed.
Circular Saw Brands
There are plenty of different tool making brands that produce circular saws. Although no single brand could be said to be the best, a brief review of each of them should be conducted before choosing a single product. Bear in mind that many of these brands offer multiple circular saw products within their range and that new products for review become available all the time. What follows is, therefore, a review of the various brands and their key differentiators rather than a guide to which particular product is best.
- Black and Decker
Guide to Circular Saws
The development of the circular saws over time
Although they originally began being used as stationary tools in sawmills, circular saws were developed into handheld general tools in the twentieth century.
The first known one was being used by a shipbuilder in the 1770s in Southampton. In the nineteenth century, very large ones were being used for the first time in the United States for industrial purposes.
However, it was not until the miniaturisation of electric motors in the 1960s and 1970s that allowed manufacturers to start producing them as portable power tools. As any review of twenty-first century circular saws will indicate, the most recent developments in the best of these products has come down to improvements in battery technology which has allowed for more and more effective cordless models.
Circular saw facts
Due to the fact that circular saw blades are thin, they are best for creating an narrow kerf, or cutting section on the material they are working on. This means that very accurate cuts can be made.
In addition, a thin blade means they are best when working on a valuable item where you don’t want a lot of wastage. When a circular saw can be set to cut into a material from an angle that is not perpendicular, it is called a mitre saw.
All types of circular saw cutting blades are known to leave a residue of small burrs. It is often best, therefore, to rub them away with a file or some abrasive material, such as sandpaper.
Making a circular saw yourself
Safety instructions when dealing with circular saws
Make sure that your power cord is kept away from the cutting blade of your saw. Accidentally cutting through it can result in a shock. Make sure it won’t get caught up around your feet when using it either. For cordless models, it is best to make sure that your battery pack is fully charged so that the saw performs at its best when you are operating it. Several cordless circular saw models offer users the chance to review the remaining power level with a display but this is by no means universal.
Another good safety tip is to ensure that sections of cutaway material can fall away to one side after they have been cut. As such, it is best to use one on a workbench or a similar raised platform. Keep your workpiece clamped or in a vice so that it is secured firmly and does not slip as you use a handheld circular saw.
Even if you have a waste pipe connected to a bag or a vacuum cleaner, it is a good idea to wear a face mask so that you don’t breath in any of the dust from the sawing. Equally, wearing safety goggles is best to avoid shards from flying into your eyes. Finally, don’t set the blade too deep which means you need to apply a lot of force. Instead, it is best to make an initial incision to cut part way through and then lower the blade for a subsequent pass. This means the saw is less liable to kick back at you when operating it.
How to set up a circular saw correctly in 4 steps
10 tips for the care and maintenance of a circular saw
Useful accessories for circular saws
The best accessories to have in your toolkit for circular saws is a range of different blades for various jobs. Framing blades are good for everyday use such as rough carpentry jobs but you might want a thin kerf blade if you are cutting into a precious material, such as tropical hardwood, for example. Turbo rim blades, often fitted with diamonds, are excellent for tough cutting jobs, such as concrete or stone.
For safety, goggles, gloves and a dust mask are also best to have available. In addition, you may need to keep your workpiece secured in a manner that a conventional vice cannot cope with so additional devices, like G or C-clamps can be beneficial. For table saws, kill switches can be a big advantage. Lastly, spare dust bags are best if you are going to use a handheld circular saw all day long.
Alternatives to using a circular saw
Cutting in a straight line with a power tool can also be done with a jigsaw. However, many people find they do not offer them the same level of control.
An alternative tool to a table saw would be a band saw although, once more, these don’t necessarily produce the same, straight-line results that a circular blade will do. If you are worried about the potential for a kick back from such a powerful hand tool, then it is best to opt for a hand saw instead.
Can a circular saw cut a tile?
It is possible to do this. Operate your saw with a slow speed and apply gentle pressure after the tile has been scored.
Why choose a circular saw?
Why does a circular saw kick back?
The powerful motor of a circular saw can kick back if the blade is pinched when it is cutting. Therefore, this type of saw is inappropriate for felling trees and so on.
How are circular saw blades made?
Circular saw blades are factory made these days and sometime laser cut for precision teeth. The shape of the teeth differs depending on the material it is designed to cut through.
Are circular saw blades universal?
No they sometimes have different apertures so not all of them fit with all models of circular saw. You need to check compatibility.
Which circular saw blade is best for MDF?
Any circular saw blade that is designed to cut through wood will be fine for sawing through MDF.
Where was the circular saw invented?
Although the earliest recorded use of one was in England, many scholars believe this technology was originally developed by carpenters in Germany in the 18th century.
Where to rent a circular saw?
There are hire places all of the UK which provide temporary access to a range of power tools. Given they are becoming more and more affordable, buying one is often preferable.
What circular saw blade should you buy?
This depends on the job you need it for. If you don’t have a specific material you need to cut through, then opt for a general purpose blade instead.
Can circular saw blades be sharpened?
Yes. Use a file to sharpen your blade’s teeth. Clamp you blade in a vice while you do this so you can work on it safely.