Circular Saw Buying Guide And FAQ
Features To Look For In A Circular Saw
Type-The two types of circular saws you’ll find are worm drive and sidewinder, which we go into greater detail about below. Worm drives are not as powerful, but is better for plunge cuts. Sidewinders are more powerful and are available in either corded or cordless models.
Power-Your electric saw will be powerful, that much is obvious, but you need to find the best circular saw for your needs, which may not mean the most powerful. Small jobs or simple DIY won’t require too much power whereas professionals should look for something that’s at least 14 amps.
Weight-While your handheld circular saw will have weight to it, there are differently weighted option available. Lightweight saws are better for overhead sawing, but they may not be as powerful. Heavier saws will pack this necessary power, but could be harder to control, especially after a long day.
Blade Visibility-Blade visibility helps you make sure you’re making the right cuts in the right places. Sometimes, it depends on whether you are left- or right-handed and if this is an issue, you can look for ambidextrous saws which work perfectly in either hand.
Ergonomic Design-Holding an electric wood saw can get tiring on the hands, so an ergonomic design is a must. This reduces fatigue so you can continue to grip the handle with sufficient control and ensures you don’t make a mistake.
Precision-For the best project results, a precise cut is a must. When buying your saw, measure it up against something to check the notches are correct, otherwise you’ll end up with inaccurate cuts.
Depth & Bevel Adjustment-You’re likely to work with different thicknesses, so a saw with a wide range of depth adjustments is a must. Similarly, the bevel adjustment allows you to tackle different angles properly and safely.
Shoe – Baseplate-The shoe (or baseplate) keeps your saw steady against whatever you’re working on. This stabilizes the saw and prevents it from slipping, ensuring safe and satisfactory cuts.
Cordless vs Corded-Choosing between a cordless and corded circular saw will depend on what you need to use it for. Cordless saws offer better mobility and portability, but they aren’t as powerful and you must recharge the batteries. Likewise, the best corded circular saw options pack more power, but with the cord, you won’t have as much range with your movement.
Safety-Safety is always important with power tools. You can look for products with electric brakes to stop the motor if needed and also with guards that protect you from bits of material coming off. As with any construction work, always wear safety goggles to protect your eyes.
Blade Left vs Blade Right-This will depend on what hand you hold the saw with and remember it could hinder your visibility if you have the blade on the wrong side.
Dust Blower-Sawing creates a lot of dust, if you weren’t already aware, and a dust blower is an essential feature to have on your circular saw. Not only does it keep the area clear, it improves visibility by keeping the dust out of vision, ensuring better accuracy.
If you can find a circular saw with a vacuum adapter, you can direct the dust entirely away from your job to clear the area even better.
Electric Brake-We all know how hazardous construction jobs can be, and safety features such as an electric brake puts our minds at ease – even if only a little. The electric brake on your circular saw will be easy to access and immediately stop the motor should something go wrong.
We hope nothing goes wrong, obviously, but you can never predict when something bad will happen. If you’re even just a little concerned about safety when using your saw, find one with an electric brake.
Laser Guide-A circular saw with laser capabilities is awesome for achieving accuracy and precision like never before. While not all circular saws have this feature, those that do will eliminate the need to draw chalk lines, or just plain hope you’re staying in line.
Almost all saw jobs require precision, and with a laser guide, you’ll never need to worry about going off track again, which is great for peace of mind, and helping you relax. Not too much though, you’re still working with a saw.
LED Work Light-Kind of like laser guides but not really, the LED work light helps you see where you’re cutting. This increases your accuracy and precision and is also useful in low-light situations. It saves you using a torch and ensures better control over your cutting.
Types Of Circular Saws:
Worm Drive Circular Saw
A worm drive circular saw is where the motor is located and mounted on the back of the tool which makes it longer than other types. This set up provides more torque, but also reduces the revolutions per minute to a limit of around 4500.
This kind of saw is ideal for plunge cuts and when tackling wider boards, although it requires more maintenance than other saws, as you need to keep it sufficiently oiled.
Sidewinder Circular Saw
Also known as an in-line saw, the sidewinder circular saw is the most common model you’ll find. The motor is on the right side of the saw (usually), which allows it to rest on the workpiece and not the part you are sawing off. If you do a lot of overhead cutting, the sidewinder is a fantastic option, as it’s more lightweight.
Because the motor is in-line with the blade, it generates more speed that typically tops out at 6000RPM. With sidewinders, you have the option of going cordless, offering you greater mobility, and you also need not add oil.
Circular Saw FAQ
Q: How does a Circular saw work?
A: A circular saw uses a disc-shaped blade to cut quickly and efficiently through metal and wood (among other materials) along a flat surface. Additional features ensure safe usage and help you cut accurately.
Q: What cuts can Circular Saws make?
A: There are a variety of cuts you can make with a circular saw, and some are more straightforward than others. They include:
- Rip cut
- Non-through cut
- Bevel cut
- Plunge cut
If you’re a professional, you’re likely to encounter all these cuts during your work, but if you’re working around the house, you may only use a few.
Q: Will I need a specific saw blade for certain cuts?
A: Most of the time, yes you will. Besides your regular purpose blade that comes with the saw as default (although you’ll sometimes get other ones in the package) you can find blades for both rip cuts and crosscuts to make the job easier and more efficient.
You also must consider the demands of the cut, as smaller blades cannot cope with more intensive jobs, and you don’t want to risk breaking them.
Q: Can I sharpen my circular saw blade?
A: Like any sharp tool, circular saw blades will require sharpening after some time to ensure productivity, efficiency, and safety. If you think you can do this yourself, you can’t. Blade sharpening is not something you can do at home, and if your blades dull, seek a blade sharpening specialist to fix them.
Q: What size Circular Saw should I get?
A: The size you get should depend the jobs you need to complete. The larger the depth of the cut, the larger the saw you’ll need. Your standards blade diameter is 7-1/4-inches, which will handle the demands of most jobs in a single pass.
You may not need this blade, though, especially if you’re only planning on simple DIY work. If this is the case, you can look at smaller sized saws, which are more portable and lightweight. They also won’t take up much space in your toolbox.
If you’re a professional craftsman, we would recommend going for the largest saw available, as this will give you greater versatility to handle the demands of a variety of jobs.
Q: How long do Circular saw blades last?
A: Any decent tool is built to be durable, and circular saw blades are no different. However, they are not designed to last forever, and when you’re unable to sharpen the blade sufficiently, it’s time to accept you need to replace the blades altogether.
Carbide-tipped blades are more durable than steel blades, so if you want blades that will last longer from the off, look for circular saws which use those blades.
- How to Assemble the Perfect Tool Box – Popular Mechanics
- What Are the Types of Circular Saws? – Acme Tools
- Circular Saw Buying Guide – Lowe’s
- Circular Saw – DIYWiki