Types of Circular Saws

There are three main types of circular saws, and they are distinguished by the sawing mechanism that they use:

Worm Drive Circular Saws

The motor of a worm drive circular saw is located behind the blade. The motor works to turn a set of gears within the saw, which make the blade spin. Because of the location of the motor, the blade of a worm drive circular saw rotates slower than other types of circular saws, and also provides it with more torque. As a result, the worm drive circular saw cuts more effectively than other types of circular saws. They are ideal for big cutting jobs, such as cutting through a large pile of wood or through heavy stone. The downside of a worm drive circular saw is that it tends to be heavy, which can make them difficult to manage.

Sidewinder Circular Saw

The motor of a sidewinder circular saw is located on either the right or the left of the blade. The user holds the saw by the motor, so if you are going to choose a sidewinder saw, your hand orientation is important; if you are right handed, having the motor on the right will be easier for you, and if you are left hand dominated, having the motor on the left will be easier. Sidewinder saws are lighter and easier to handle than worm drive saws; however, they do not have the ability to handle cutting through heavy materials like a worm drive saw can.

Trim Circular Saw

If you plan on using a circular saw to do smaller tasks, like cutting thin pieces of wood, lighter stones or glass, a trim circular saw is a good choice for you. The blade of a trim circular saw is set into a table and the item that it being cut is slid across the table and into the blade. If you would like to have extra protection or added control, you can place the item you will be cutting into a vise.

Circular Saw Considerations

To make sure that your circular saw meets your specific needs and that it will deliver the results you expect, there are certain factors that you should take into consideration before making a purchase. By taking the following points into consideration, you will be better able to buy the right circular saw for you.

Your Use

How will you be using your circular saw? The way you intend to use this tool is one of the most important factors to take into consideration, as different circular saws are designed to perform different tasks. For example, if you are going to be using it to cut lighter, more delicate materials, such as thin pieces of wood or glass, a trim circular saw is a better option than a worm drive circular saw. On the other hand, if you are going to be doing heavy duty cutting, such as cutting through thick or larger piles of wood, a worm drive circular saw will be a better option.

The Size

The size of the circular saw is also important because it will impact the handling of the tool. Larger circular saws with heavier motors can be difficult to control, which may make them harder for beginners to handle, for example.

The Power Source

Circular saws can either be corded or cordless. Both offer specific advantages. For instance, if you plan on using your circular saw in locations where you won’t have easy access to an electrical outlet, such as outside, a cordless circular saw is a wise option; however, they aren’t as powerful as corded circular saws, which means that they don’t have the power that is needed for heavy duty cutting.

Corded circular saws feature a power cord that is plugged into an electric outlet, which powers the saw. Because they are powered by a direct source of power, corded circular saws are better suited for heavy duty jobs, such as cutting through steel, masonry and larger, thicker piece of wood. The main disadvantage of a corded circular saw is that you have to be near an electrical outlet to use it, which can limit the locations this saw can be used in.

The Price

Circular saws come in a wide range of prices. Generally, the larger and more powerful the saw is, and the more features it offers, the more expensive it will be. Make sure you know how much you are willing to spend before you start shopping so that you don’t overextend your budget.

Circular Saw Features

Circular saws can be outfitted with a variety of features. Depending on your intended use, these features may be beneficial and improve your experience, or they may be unnecessary, which means that you could end up spending more money on something that you don’t need.

To help you determine which features will benefit you and which ones aren’t really necessary, here’s a look at some of the most common circular saw features.


Circular saws offer different amps. The higher the amps, the more cutting power the circular saw will offer. Depending on your intended use, you may or may not need a lot of amps.

Blade Capacity

The capacity of the blade determines the maximum depth of the cut that the saw will be able to achieve. The larger the blade, the deeper it will be able to cut. The most diameter of a circular saw blade is 7 ¼ inches. A circular saw that has a blade capacity of 6 inches or more usually has the ability to make deep cuts; typically, they can cut through lumber that is 2 inches thick at a 45 degree angle with ease. It’s important to note that a saw that has a smaller blade capacity is lighter and easier to control; however, they have difficulty making deep cuts.


A circular saw that features a brake system reverses the flow of power in the motor of the saw when the trigger is released. By reversing the power, the momentum of the blade is quickly stopped. In fact, a circular saw that has a brake system can stop the blade in as little as two seconds.

Shaft Locks

A shaft lock works by immobilizing the shaft and the blade, which makes change the blade a much easier task.

Laser Guides

To make it easier to cut an item, some circular saws feature lasers. These lasers shine on the material you are cutting as you are cutting it. This makes it easier to see the location of the cuts you intend to make in the item, which thereby allows you to improve the accuracy of the cut.

Adjustable Angles

Also known as the bevel capacity because bevels refer to angled cuts, a circular saw that offers different adjustable angles will allow you to choose the angle at which you would like to cut an item; 90 degrees or 45 degrees, for example.

Variable Speeds

If you plan on using your circular saw to cut through different materials, look for one that features a variable speed setting. If you want to cut through a hard object, like slate or ceramic tile, you can set the saw to cut at a higher speed, and if you want to cut wood, you can slow the speed to make a clean cut.

Best Circular Saw Brands

There are several manufacturers that produce circular saws, which can make choosing the best one for your specific needs a difficult task. To help you find the best brands, we did extensive research and tested them ourselves, and we determined that the following manufacturers offer the best circular saws.


Founded in 1915, Matika is a Japanese-based company that manufactures various power tools, including circular saws. They offer a wide range of circular saws that boast several different features. Online reviews indicate that users are very pleased with Makita circular saws. When we tested them, we found that their saws are easy to use and truly deliver exceptional results.

Milwaukee Tool

Founded in 1924, Milwaukee Tool is a company that manufactures various power and handheld tools, including circular saws. We like the options that they offer and how simple their circular saws are to use. Based on the reviews, we found that people who use circular saws from Milwaukee Tool are very pleased with the products.

Porter Cable

This company began producing circular saws in 1909 and has been one of the most trusted manufacturers since that time. Though Porter Cable makes circular saws for both the DIY enthusiast and professional contractors, we found that the majority of the circular saws they make are designed specifically for professionals. With the ability to cut through various materials with ease, we really like how powerful Porter Cable’s circular saws are, and we think that you will, too.


A German company, Bosch was founded in 1886 and has been producing a wide range of power tools ever since. Their circular saws are used by both professionals and laymen, and they offer various features and exceptional power, which makes Bosch one of the most highly regarded circular saw manufacturers in the world.