The 7 Best Circular Saws of 2021

If you do a lot of carpentry, you need this tool

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Our Top Picks
"This lightweight but powerful saw has all the features you need to chew through a wide range of materials quickly and easily."
"This budget-priced saw easily handles the typical 2x4s and plywood that most small projects rely on."
"The laser guide lets you make perfectly straight cuts even along long boards."
"It might not weigh much, and the blade is not long, but this saw has what it takes for many lightweight DIY tasks."
"When precision counts, you need the guidance of rails to keep your saw moving perfectly straight, even on long boards and other large materials."
"By avoiding the use of cheap metals and plastics, this saw's overall build will survive more abuse than cheaper options."
Best Cordless:
Makita SH02R1 at Amazon
"Cut the cord and carry this lightweight tool wherever you need to saw through a wide range of materials."

From thick boards to thin panel, a circular saw, with its spinning, toothed blade, makes it easy to cut through wood either with the grain or across it. These versatile power tools are a must for any DIYer who does a lot of woodwork, including framing a deck, furniture building, or even building a doghouse. There are both battery-powered and corded circular saws; battery-powered are more portable, but corded tend to have more power. Which you choose depends on your project and how often you plan to use it.

Here, the best circular saws on the market:

Best Overall: SKILSAW SPT67WL-01 Circular Saw

Skilsaw SPT67WL-01

Billed as one of the lightest Pro circular saws on the market, the SPT67WL-01 is only 8.6 pounds. While working on all-day projects, you will easily notice the difference a lightweight saw can make. A 10-foot power cord will extend your range without having to worry about running out of power with a battery.

The saw comes with a standard 7-1/4-inch blade that you can tilt up to 56 degrees for a beveled cut. The till locks at a 45-degree angle, which speeds up common cuts. If heat is a concern, the Dual-Field motor will allow the saw to continue running longer while staying cooler.

Best Budget: Skil 5180-01 Circular Saw

Conventional circular saws can quickly get up there in price if you're looking for the latest and greatest. For people with the occasional weekend or DIY project, most expensive saws won't be the right fit. The SKIL 5180-01 is an excellent budget option since it will give you reliable cutting power and durability at an affordable price. At just 7.2 pounds, it is a couple pounds lighter than the other top picks. With the standard 7-1/4-inch blade, this saw will easily handle the typical 2 x 4s and plywood that most small projects rely on.

For the price, this saw is also a good match for dusty worksites. With the built in dust blower, you will be able to keep the cutting area clear of the small types of debris that can ruin the 14-amp motor.

Best Laser Guided: DEWALT DWE575SB Circular Saw

Some circular saw features are meant to make basic cuts quicker and more accurate. A laser guide is one of the most useful features for doing just this. It can give you a clear and visible reference guide while making long cuts that need to be completely straight. The Dewalt DWE575SB comes with one of the best laser guides around. In combination with a durable stamped aluminum shoe to provide a smooth base, this saw can keep a cut straight over the length of many feet and yards when cutting long pieces of plywood.

This saw also includes a couple of extra features in case you are worried about making the perfect cut. Since it uses a power cord, it comes with a patented protection system that is three times more durable than a standard cord. This will protect against accidental cord pullouts if you reach the length of the cord. The integrated dust blower will also keep your sight line of the laser guide clear and free as you make long cuts. Put together, this saw is all about going straight and long whenever you need.

Best Lightweight: Rockwell RK3440K Versacut Circular Saw

Anyone looking for the most mobile and ergonomic compact saw design should look at the Rockwell RK3440K Versacut. With a streamlined, light design, the Versacut is small enough to be controlled with just one hand. At around 4 inches, the blade will still be enough for cutting wood two or more inches thick.

For people looking for flexibility in a saw, the Versacut is designed to cut a wide variety of materials including woods, plastics, ceramic tiles, and even some metals like aluminum and sheet metal. At just 4 pounds, it is also one of the lightest options on the market. This makes it perfect for working around the home, yard, or professional job site where you need to cut many things in different locations in a single day.

 

Best Rail-Guided: Makita SP6000J1 Circular Saw

If you need the maximum degree of precision possible, the only thing for you to even consider is a rail guided circular saw. While laser guides are good for making accurate cuts, nothing can compare to the solid guiding line of the rail. The Makita SP6000J1 stands out among circular saws since it will give you this level of precision without being tied down like a tablesaw. With a 55-inch guide rail, this saw can also make long and repeated cuts while maintaining the same level of precision.

The 6-1/2-inch plunge blade and 12-amp motor are enough to handle most types of common cuts found on residential and commercial projects. If you think you will be cutting different types of material and thicknesses in one setting, the variable speed control dial will also help you match the speed of the blade to the thing you're cutting.

Best Professional: SKILSAW SPT77WML-0 Circular Saw

Professionals usually have different demands in their circular saws compared to weekend warriors and DIYers. Professional circular saws need to stand up to the typical types of abuse most job sites can easily throw at them. For people wanting the absolute best in durability and cutting power, the Skilsaw SPT77WML-0 is the only option to consider. With the standard 7-1/4-inch cutting blade, it can cut up to 2-3/8-inch pieces of wood without flinching. The blade can also tilt up to 53 degrees with 0 and 45-degree locks.

One thing that sets this saw apart from other options is the magnesium-based construction. By avoiding the use of cheap metals and plastics, this saw's overall build will survive more abuse than cheaper options. Skil's Cut-Ready system is also handy if you need to make quick and accurate cuts of various depths.

Best Cordless: Makita SH02R1 Cordless Circular Saw

While corded circular saws undeniably win for the most power, there are times that portability is key. For those times, you’ll appreciate that not only does the Makita SH02R1 cut the cord, drawing power instead from the included 12-volt lithium-ion battery, but it still maintains a very impressive amount of power, delivering 1,500 rpm to slice quickly through plywood, MFD, pegboard, drywall, melamine, particleboard, and other lightweight materials. The saw itself weighs only 3.5 pounds, so it won’t weigh you down on the jobsite.

The 3-3/8-inch blade has a maximum cutting depth of 1 inch at 90 degrees, and 5/8-inch at 45 degrees. A tilting base lets you make bevel cuts from 0 to 45 degrees.

Final Verdict

It doesn’t weigh too much, it’s very versatile, and its motor runs cool while putting out impressive power. That’s why the Skilsaw SPT67WL-01 (available at Walmart) wins our top spot as the best all-around circular saw. But if you need maximum portability, you’ll appreciate the battery-powered Makita SH02R1 (available at Amazon), which has enough oomph for most basic cutting tasks, and lets you work wherever you need to be.

What to Look for in a Circular Saw

Style Circular saws are available in either a worm-drive or sidewinder style. Worm-drive saws have the motor mounted behind the blade (which sits on the left) and usually offer excellent visibility for right-handed users. Sidewinder (also known as direct drive) saws have the motor mounted next to the blade (which is often on the right). While this can offer more control of the saw, it also can put the saw slightly-off balance, since the motor side will be heavier.

Corded vs. cordless Cordless circular saws offer freedom and flexibility to cut anything, anywhere—which is especially great for an outdoor job site. But cordless models also generally have more limited power and their runtime is limited by battery life. On the other hand, a corded saw will usually give you more cutting power and can run as long as it’s plugged into an electrical outlet.

Guide system Can your eyes and hands work together to cut a straight line? If you need extra help keeping your blade on track, a guide can help. Some circular saws have laser guides that beam a path along your cutting surface, while others are on a rail system that keeps the blade moving straight.

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