There is a lot to be said about owning the right power tools. The right tools can get the job done, save you time, and make learning a new skill a lot simpler.
When buying a circular saw for your workshop, many beginners worry there is too much that they don’t know. Will it be hard to use? What kind of features should you look for? What kinds of features won’t you need as a beginner? All these questions can make choosing the perfect tool rather challenging.
What are the best circular saws for beginners? Circular saws are designed to cut sheet woods (like plywood) and make perfectly straight, and bevel (angled) cuts. While the basic design and functionalities for circular saws are similar across the board, there are more sophisticated ones for tough materials and special purposes.
If you’re a beginner and are looking for a circular saw for your workshop, you’ve got you covered. Let’s take a look at what you need to know when buying your first circular saw, and see our recommendations for the best circular saws for beginners.
Circular Saws – Buyer’s Guide
A circular saw makes quick and straight cuts across a board or along a length of a piece of wood. It can also be adjusted to make bevel cuts (cuts that are angled).
Most circular saws have the same basic components:
- A circular blade that rotates when you cut.
- A blade guard that can be retracted when you want to use the blade
- A base plate (or shoe) that glides against the material you’re cutting
- Depth and bevel adjustment functionalities to allow customization for each project.
Besides this basic component, there are actually quite a few variations when it comes to buying circular saws. Let’s take a look at them below.
Circular saws come in two basic designs: Sidewinder or Worm Drive. The sidewinder saw is designed for beginners, while the worm drive is designed for heavy-duty, specialist projects.
Sidewinders (also called inline saws) are compact, beginner-friendly circular saws that are designed to work with most basic projects. A shaft runs through the motor, which is located on the same axis as the blade to allow for an efficient cut.
On the other hand, worm drive saws have a helical motor that’s positioned at a right angle to the blade, with specialty gears that can create more torque, which makes it more suitable for heavy-duty work. Because of this, worm drives are usually bulkier than sidewinders
2. Power Supply
When it comes to power supply, you can get battery-operated (cordless) saws or corded saws.
Cordless circular saws are best used for cutting in areas that are difficult to reach using extension cords. While cordless tools can seem more convenient, they usually require more power to perform their tasks efficiently.
Some manufacturers sell cordless saws as ‘bare tools,’ which means they come with just the charged tool and not the charger for the battery. While the cost can seem lower upfront, we suggest you get the battery pack because the battery can run out very quickly.
In comparison, corded circular saws will last you longer and can handle the continuous cutting of various types of materials, such as wood, masonry, and steel.
You may need an extension cord on hand because it may not always be long enough for the task at hand. In addition, you should always be mindful of the power cord while cutting to avoid any accidents.
The blade is a key component of a circular saw. There are a few types of blades designed for different types of tasks. If you are looking to buy a different type of blade, make sure that it’s compatible with your saw model.
Here are some popular types of blades:
- High-speed steel blades: Very hard and sharp blades, designed for clean, efficient cuts.
- Carbide-tipped blades: Designed with carbide tips to stay sharp for longer. This type of blade is usually very expensive.
- Tile-cutting blades: Designed for cutting ceramics
- Masonry blades: Designed for cutting masonry materials such as concrete, brick, cinder block.
- Crosscut blades: Designed to make cuts across the wood grain
- Rip cut blades: Designed to make rip cuts
- Combination blades: Designed to make both crosscuts and rip cuts
4. Blade Diameter
The side of the blade is often used to identify the saw. The sizes can range from 6.5″ to 10.25″ – the bigger the blade, the more expensive the saw would be.
The bigger the circular saw, the deeper the cut. This is also referred to as the cutting depth, and it can affect how useful your circular saw will be.
- 6.5″ is the smallest size that you should go for if you are buying the saw for woodworking. The cutting depth for this size is 2.25″. Note that because this size is so small, you probably won’t be able to make angled cuts.
- 7.25″ is the most popular size and can offer a lot of features, with a cutting depth of 2.5″.
- 8.25″ offers a similar cutting depth to the 7.25″, but it can make deeper bevel cuts. However, there are fewer blade options available if you are opting for this size.
- 10.25″ are very big saws that are designed for professionals. These saws can have a cutting depth of 3.75″.
5. Power Rating
Different manufacturers have different terms to describe a circular saw’s power rating. Let’s take a look at each below.
- Amps Rating
‘Amp’ is actually short for ‘ampere,’ which is an electrical current measurement unit. The amp rating describes the current that the saw’s motor can handle without overheating and is usually applicable for corded saws. Corded circular saws have an amp rating.
As you can imagine, the higher the amp rating, the stronger the saw is, and the longer it can run without overheating. Circular saws with a lower amp rating are better suited for quick, infrequent tasks.
If you want to work on your projects frequently, it’s best to find a circular saw with an amps rating of at least 15.
- Amp Hours Rating
While the amps rating is mainly for corded saws, the equivalent for a cordless (battery-operated) saw would be the amp hour rating.
The amp hour rating tells you how many amps it can provide consistently when the saw runs for an hour when the battery’s fully charged. The bigger this number, the longer the charge, which means you can work for longer without having to charge the battery.
The Volts indicator is also used to indicate the potential charge of a battery pack. The volt rating indicates the energy that a batter pack can provide, which will affect the speed and torque of a compact, cordless circular saw.
The voltage of a battery also tells you how fast and how much torque it can provide for a circular saw, so you can keep that in mind when checking out the battery pack for a cordless saw.
6. Base Plate Material
The base plate is the rectangle surrounding the saw that actually touches the material you are cutting and guiding the saw across. The base plate (also called the shoe) is often made of cast metals (such as steel), aluminum, or magnesium.
Cast metals, such as cast steel, are the least expensive materials used for shoes. However, they are more susceptible to damage and can feel heavier compared to other materials.
Base plates made of aluminum are more durable and are lighter than those made from cast metals. However, this material can be more expensive than cast metals.
Magnesium is usually reserved for professional woodworkers, as it is quite expensive. However, you get what you pay for since this material is extremely smooth and very strong.
7. Bevel Capacity
A good circular saw doesn’t only make cuts at 90 degrees. It can also make bevel cuts at varying angles to help you create your designs.
To get the most out of your circular saw, you can check out the angles that your blade can be adjusted to, which will allow you to cut beveled edges in your various creations.
When checking the beveled angles, you should also check the cutting depth at various angles to see if it is suitable for your project – as the cutting depth can be different at an angle compared to a straight cut.
8. No-Load Speed
The speed at which the motor rotates will affect how much control you have over the saw when cutting.
Raw sawing power is produced at high RPMs (revolutions per minute), and you can check the no-load speed of your circular saw to see how high this number is. Depending on the saw, the RPM can range from 2,700 to 5,000+
9. Safety features
A good power tool needs to come with plenty of safety features, such as an electric brake. Having this feature is very handy if you’re trying to stop a blade that’s spinning at speeds of over 5,000 RPM.
Having safety features is essential if you are just learning the ropes. When buying your saw, you should also read the safety instructions carefully before getting to work.
10. Other Features
Besides these basic features, below are some nice-to-have features that can make sawing more efficient:
- How easy is it to change the saw blade: If you are working on different materials or different designs, how easy it is to change out the saw blade to suit your purpose can really save you a lot of time.
- How easy it is to adjust the saw to different angles and depths: Most saws have knobs and levers that can allow the adjustments to be quick and safe, so you should check out whether these are suitable for you.
- Guides: Some saws have guide rails or even laser guides that can make cutting straight lines easier.
Best Circular Saws For Beginners
What are the best circular saws for beginners? Having checked out the basic functionalities, a great circular saw for beginners would be a sidewinder with a 7.25″ or 8.25″ blade size with a decent amp rating.
For home use, you can easily work with a 13-15 amp rating, which will help you perform daily tasks without any issues. Depending on your preference, you can choose a corded or cordless machine.
Regarding other functionalities, you can opt for the features that would suit your material and your project. Below are the most versatile, affordable, and easy-to-use options.
|1.||DEWALT Circular Saw With Battery Pack & Charger Kit||5,200 RPM|
|2.||Makita 7-1/4" Circular Saw||5,800 RPM|
|3.||SKIL 7-1/4 Inch Circular Saw||5,300 RPM|
|4.||Milwaukee Cordless Circular Saw||3,200 RPM|
|5.||CRAFTSMAN 7-1/4-Inch Circular Saw||5,500 RPM|
|6.||BOSCH CS10 7-1/4-Inch Circular Saw||5,600 RPM|
|7.||PORTER-CABLE 7-1/4-Inch Circular Saw||5,500 RPM|
|8.||Genesis Circular Saw||5,500 RPM|
|9.||BLACK+DECKER 7-1/4-Inch Circular Saw||5,300 RPM|
1. DEWALT Circular Saw With Battery Pack & Charger Kit
The DEWALT Circular Saw is a lightweight, yet powerful circular saw for beginners.
This cordless circular saw uses a strong 20-Volt battery to fuel a 5,200 RPM motor and maintains speed under load. The 7.25″ blade allows a cutting depth of 2 9/16″, and you can adjust the cutting angle up to 57-degrees for a beveled cut.
In addition, it features heavy-duty construction with a durable, high-grade steel shoe and a rubber comfort grip that delivers optimal balance, control, and user comfort, especially for those who are just starting to learn how to work with a circular saw.
With a powerful, accurate high torque motor and various convenient features, this saw gets the job done.
2. Makita 7-1/4″ Circular Saw
This Makita Circular Saw delivers power, performance, and durability with a 15 AMP Makita-built industrial motor that delivers 5,800 RPM for the most demanding applications.
This is a corded circular saw that can allow continuous sawing without having to worry about the battery running out.
This 7.25″ circular saw can be adjusted to various angles for beveled cuts, at 22.5º, and 45º and 56º and various cutting depths (2.5″ to 1 3/8″). The lower guard design improves performance when making bevel and narrow cuts.
You can create smooth and precise cuts through wood, metal, and more with this powerful circular saw. The large cutting capacity is ideal for a wide range of professional applications, yet it’s also the perfect starter saw that you can grow with.
3. SKIL 7-1/4 Inch Circular Saw
New to woodworking and looking for a circular saw that can keep up with you? This is the one to get.
The SB1500 SKIL Circular Saw is great for breaking down large sheets of plywood and other big jobs.
The powerful 15-amp motor can spin at 5,300 RPM to cut through 2″ dimensional lumber in a single pass and features a spindle lock for easy blade changes.
A 7.25-inch carbide-tipped blade is included, which ensures an optimal combination of power, accuracy, and ease of use. This saw also has a spindle lock for easy blade changes and a 51-degree bevel with a positive stop at 45-degrees for a wide variety of cuts.
Its durable steel base offers smooth functionality and increased stability. In addition, it also includes a dust blower, which helps keep your view clear of debris, as well as a safety lock/guarded trigger to minimize accidents while you’re working.
4. Milwaukee Cordless Circular Saw
The M18 Circular Saw from Milwaukee delivers the power of a 15A corded saw, cutting thick materials and ripping sheet goods in a single pass.
The unit comes with a high-performance 7.25″ carbide tipped blade, cutting at 3200 RPM. The onboard LED light ensures increased accuracy and visibility.
An integrated dust port allows for compatibility with most vac adapters, keeping the cut line free of debris. A magnesium shoe and upper guard provide increased durability, while an electric brake stops the blade after the trigger is released.
These are all highly convenient, and desirable features that you can expect in a dependable circular saw for all types of jobs, whether you are a beginner or a professional woodworker.
5. CRAFTSMAN 7-1/4-Inch Circular Saw
The CRAFTSMAN Circular Saw is a high-performing, lightweight saw made for the toughest jobs. This electric circular saw may be smaller in stature, but it isn’t lacking power and speed.
Featuring a high-performance 15 Amp motor that runs at 5,500 RPMs and an electric brake to stop cutting quickly, this compact saw delivers powerful results no matter the task.
The 7.25″ carbide-tipped blade can cut through stubborn materials with ease, while the magnesium shoe is durable and lightweight.
With easy-to-adjust beveling shoe pivots up to 55 degrees, you’ll be able to choose between 22.5 degrees and 45 degrees for a variety of angled cuts.
In addition, this saw also features a magnesium upper guard for added durability and an electric brake to stop cutting quickly. Coupled with convenient features such as a contoured over-molded handle, it’s a perfect tool to learn how to work with circular saws!
6. BOSCH CS10 7-1/4-Inch Circular Saw
The Bosch CS10 7-1/4 In. Circular saw with a soft grip handle features a powerful 15-Amp motor and advanced ergonomics. This tool delivers for the professional, combining power, weight, and performance.
Featuring a powerful motor delivering 5,600 RPM, this corded electric circular saw can create smooth cuts at 2 7/16 “depth.
The durable aluminum footplate helps ensure smooth, accurate cuts with exact depth cutting alignment. The base plate is machined from high-strength aluminum components for durability and straightness.
The 56-degree bevel capacity, along with positive detents at 22.5 and 45, gives you the ultimate cut capacity. This saw also features unobstructed cut-line visibility across the whole blade, as well as on-tool wrench storage for fast and easy blade changes.
7. PORTER-CABLE 7-1/4-Inch Circular Saw
PORTER CABLE’s 7-1/4 inch Circular Saw offers professional power and performance in a compact design. The 15 amp motor offers the power to deliver 5,500 RPM for proven performance.
This circular saw is built with a magnesium shoe that provides durability and upper and lower guards for added protection. It’s hard to believe that this circular saw only weighs 9 lbs for easier handling and less fatigue during longer jobs.
The saw also features quick bevel adjustments with detents at 22.5 and 45 degrees for versatility, along with a spindle lock for quick blade changes that are quite straightforward, especially for beginners.
Lightweight yet powerful, this Circular Saw is ideal for most ripping, crosscutting, and bevel cutting applications.
8. Genesis Circular Saw
The Genesis GCS130 circular saw is perfect for the beginning DIYer looking for a powerful tool that isn’t intimidating. With its high performance and easy-to-use features, this is the perfect saw to get you started on your home improvement projects.
This compact 7.25″ saw, with a 13A motor, can handle rip or cross cuts up to 2-7/16″ deep at 90 degrees and features an ergonomic handle designed for comfort and control in any position.
A 24T Carbide tipped blade is highly durable and up for any challenging job, and a spindle lock makes changing the blade quick and easy, while the ergonomic grip helps you maintain control when on the job.
While the 13A motor cannot compare to saws with higher amps ratings, if you are working on infrequent projects and just need something highly compact and convenient, then this circular saw is the one for you.
9. BLACK+DECKER 7-1/4-Inch Circular Saw
The Genesis GCS130 Circular Saw for Beginners is the perfect circular saw for any homeowner or do-it-yourselfer.
It comes equipped with a 13 amp motor which delivers speed and torque to power through 2.5″ lumber at 90°, and 1.75″ boards when cutting at 45°.
The 13 amp motor works well if you need something that is highly dependable for quick, infrequent jobs, but if you are looking for something with more power, you can also opt for a 15 amp option from the same brand.
Weighing in at a mere 9.7 pounds, this saw is easy to handle and won’t overexert your wrists. It delivers fast, efficient cuts, and its laser guide ensures accuracy as you cut pieces to size.
The bevel adjustment knob easily adjusts the blade up to 45°, while two-finger depth adjustment lets you adjust the blade’s depth to work with your project.
A spindle lock makes changing the blades quite simple, plus an included parallel guide helps you stay on track when cutting longboards.