Best Circular Saws? A Comparison of Popular Saw Brands

Posted on Sep 15, 2020

Best Circular Saw

Saw selection: We selected the best 7-1 / 4-in models for this test. side saws of the most popular brands and compared them. With one exception, all saws have 15 amp motors and rotate at 5,200 to 6,200 RPMs. The prices of the saws range from about $ 60 to $ 150.

To test the saw, we gathered five employees with around 80 years of combined carpentry experience, gave them a large pile of wood, and proceeded to convert the planks into kindling. We cut, ripped, and then tried the ultimate torture test: 45 degrees by 45-degree compound angle across 2x10.

After comparing comfort, balance, function, and cutting ability, we selected a few saws that received Choice Awards for Best Overall Saw and Best Average Price.

Circular Saw Selection Overview

All of these saws worked well when fitted with the same 24-tooth carbide blade. In addition to the specific set of features you are looking for, one of the most important considerations when buying a saw is how it feels in your hands. Unfortunately, you don't have the luxury of having 13 saws lined up in a row as we do. But you can still visit two or three stores and find out which saws are most convenient for you. Despite the fact that the DeWalt saw has a straight handle with no added rubber or other enhancements, we all find it one of the most comfortable and balanced saws in the group. If you work in cold climates, also try saws with gloves. Some of them may not have enough space around the trigger for gloved hands.

:: Read More: What Is A Saw & What Is This For?


Aluminum or Magnesium Shoe

Steel shoes are common in cheaper saws, and there are several downsides. First, they can bend if you drop the saw. A bent shoe can cause the saw to cut poorly. Also, the curled edge of the steel shoe can be a problem if you are using a thin handpiece such as a square rafter for a saw guide. The saw can slide over the top of the bar and spoil the cut. We prefer aluminum or magnesium shoes with sharp, square edges. All the more expensive saws in this group have excellent shoes.


Additional Bevel Capacity

With the exception of Black & Decker, all of these saws cut bevels greater than 45 degrees. It is rare that such steep slopes have to be cut unless multiple hand-framed roofs have been built. But it's a cool feature. Many saws had pawls or stops for common angles such as 22-1 / 2 and 45 degrees. For some saws, these characteristics actually interfere with the normal bevel setting. But Makita has what we consider to be the perfect system. You can set a positive stop by turning the knob to 22-1 / 2 or 45 degrees. If not, there are no notches to interfere with the smooth operation of the tilt angle adjustment.


Easy Depth Adjustment

Changing the depth of cut on a circular saw requires loosening the lever and moving the foot up or down. In this group of saws, it is worth comparing two depth adjustment functions. First, some saws have what we call an "outer" lever; that is, the lever is located on the left side of the handle where it is more accessible. We like this feature. Also, although most saws have some scale of cut depth, Bosch, Craftsman, Makita, Ridgid, and Skil saws have unique easy-to-read scales. Bosch has taken it a step further and has included ratchets at common depth settings so you can quickly and easily go from 2x4 cuts to 1/2 inch cuts. plywood with the perfect blade depth.


Work Lights

If you are young and still have a low light vision, you may not be concerned about this feature. But we liked the work lights on the Craftsman, Makita, and Cobalt saws. The LEDs illuminated the cut area enough for us to easily follow the line even in low light.


Guide to Laser Cutting

We're not big fans of lasers. Craftsman and Ryobi saws contain lasers and we have experimented with using them as an aid in setting the saw and following the line. If you are not an experienced carpenter, this feature can be helpful. But we wouldn't take that into account when making our decision, considering that one person is superior to the other.


Built-in Blade Key

When it comes time to replace the saw blade, it is a good idea to have a wrench on hand. Black & Decker, DeWalt, Cobalt, Makita, Ridgid, Ryobi, and Skil saws have keys or Allen keys stored on the saw or attached to a string. We like saws that also allow you to use an Allen key to change the blade. Allen wrenches perform better by reducing the number of knuckle scrapes caused by a slipping blade wrench. With the exception of Black & Decker, all saws come with a spindle lock that prevents the motor shaft from turning when unscrewing the blade nut - a basic feature in our book.

Best overall: Makita 5007MG

Cost: $ 150. Weight: 10.3 lb.

When we tested the saws, we rated each one in several categories, including bevel and height adjustment, comfort, cut quality, and so on. This saw was an unbeatable winner. From the ingenious positioning of the bevel stop to the work light, the saw has all the features you could possibly need. The handle and levers are large and comfortable. The bevel pawls are excellent and the cut depth scale is easy to read. Of course, it is also the most expensive saw in the group. But if you can afford it, you can't go wrong with this saw.


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