A top-notch circular saw has a powerful blade that cuts through wood, making it a reliable workhorse for DIY home projects. It is a must-have in the workshop of any woodworker, although it is also useful for a variety of DIY projects. Deane Biermeier, a licensed carpenter and contractor and member of The Spruce's Home Improvement Review Board, advises, "Circular saws are a serious DIYers best friend. Consider how often you'll use it, though. If you only expect to need the saw once or twice a year, there's no need for all the bells and whistles. But if you'll be using your saw regularly, it's worth it to spring for a more professional model."
We researched the best circular saws available online, evaluating power, accuracy, durability, and ease of use. Our best overall pick, the SKILSAW SPT67WL-01 Circular Saw, is lightweight, has precision beveling adjustment, and is powered by a reliable 15-amp motor.
Here are the best circular saws.
SKILSAW SPT67WL-01 Circular Saw
Weighs only 8.6 pounds
10-foot power cord
Some complaints that depth adjustment isn't easy to set
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 your having to worry about running out of power with a battery. However, don't think that the light weight of this saw makes it a lightweight when it comes to power, accuracy, or versatility. Its 15-amp motor is designed to remain cool, even when work sessions go long, and can spin the blade up to 5,300 rpms. This is a great choice not only for DIYers, but also for professionals who do a lot of framing or other construction work.
The saw comes with a standard 7 1/4-inch blade that you can tilt up to 56 degrees for a beveled cut through soft, hard, or engineered wood. The till locks at a 45-degree angle, which speeds up common cuts. And the depth-of-cut system lets you easily set the saw for a variety of common depths, including 1/4 ply, 1/2 ply, 3/4 ply and 2x boards. The integrated dust blower keeps your line of cut clearly visible and helps maintain the accuracy you are looking for.
Price at time of publish: $99
Power: 15 amp | Blade Size: 7 1/4 inch | Max. RPM: 5,300 | Max. Cutting Depth: 2 7/16 inches | Blade Side: Right
Skil 5180-01 Circular Saw
Spindle lock for easy blade changes
Excellent for DIY or occasional projects
Few complaints that safety trigger is awkwardly placed
Conventional circular saws can quickly get up there in price if you're looking for the latest and greatest, but for people with the occasional weekend or DIY project, there's no need for an expensive professional saw. 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 of pounds lighter than the other top picks, which makes it easier to use on long projects. And with the standard 7 1/4-inch blade, this saw will easily handle the typical 2 x 4's 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. And with a top speed of 5,300 rpm and a maximum cutting depth of 2 3/8-inches with the saw at a 90-degree angle, you won't give up performance for value. It can also cut bevels at an angle of up to 51 degrees.
Price at time of publish: $57
Power: 14 amp | Blade Size: 7 1/4 inch | Max. RPM: 5,300 | Max. Cutting Depth: 2 3/8 inches | Blade Side: Right
BLACK+DECKER BDECS300C Circular Saw with Laser
Laser guide for accuracy
Easy blade changes
Enough power for most DIY projects
Cord is only 6 feet long
Included blade is not of the highest quality
A laser guide can give you a clear and visible reference point when making long cuts that need to be completely straight, by providing a clear, easy-to-see line for you to follow. The BLACK+DECKER BDECS300C’s built-in laser makes it a breeze to accurately straight-cut typical 2x boards, rip-cut plywood, and make miter or bevel cuts on typical 2x boards. At a 90-degree angle, you can make cuts up to a 2.5-inch depth, and when cutting bevels at up to 45 degrees, your maximum cutting depth is 1.9 inches.
The 13-amp motor is not the most powerful on the market but is more than adequate for most DIY or home uses. When it’s time for a blade change, the spindle lock means no struggles. Plus, at only 7 pounds, the saw is light enough for easy portability and maneuvering, and it’s extremely reasonably priced.
If you often work with long boards, this is the saw to keep your cuts straight and true from beginning to end.
Price at time of publish: $48
Power: 13 amp | Blade Size: 7 1/4 inch | Max. RPM: 5,300 | Max. Cutting Depth: 2 1/2 inches | Blade Side: Right
Best for DIYers
Worx WorxSaw WX429L Compact Circular Saw
Perfect for lightweight projects
Portable and easy to maneuver
Weighs only 4.4 pounds
Not for heavy-duty or big jobs
Somewhat slow when cutting thick materials
If you want a versatile, lightweight circular saw that slices through 2x lumber, metal, plastic, and tile without difficulty, is small enough to be easy to maneuver in tight spots but still powerful enough to handle just about any common DIY project, and is reasonably priced to boot, then it's hard to go wrong with the WorxSaw. This compact, corded tool has a 4 1/2-inch blade, a 4-amp motor, and a top speed of 3,500 rpm. It can bevel up to 45 degrees, and thanks to the left-sided blade, you have a clear line of vision while you cut.
It only takes one hand to hold this light circular saw. It weighs only 4.4 pounds and has a comfortable grip with the depth-control lever conveniently located to make adjustments very easy. It includes a parallel guide to help you make perfectly straight cuts, which can sometimes be tricky with compact saws. It can also make plunge cuts up to 1 11/16-inch deep. While this isn't the tool for very heavy-duty cutting of large materials, it's an excellent choice for general use and DIY projects.
Price at time of publish: $69
Power: 4 amp | Blade Size: 4-1/2 inch | Max. RPM: 3,500 | Max. Cutting Depth: 1 11/16 inches | Blade Side: Left
Makita SP6000J1 Plunge Saw With Guide Rail
Bevel adjusts from -1 to 48 degrees
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—this means that unlike most circular saws, which can only begin a cut from the edge of the material, you can "plunge" the blade into the material from any point—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 material you're cutting.
Price at time of publish: $774
Power: 12 amp | Blade Size: 6 1/2 inch | Max. RPM: 5,200 | Max. Cutting Depth: 2 3/16 inches | Blade Side: Right
SKILSAW SPT77WML-0 Circular Saw
Magnesium construction for durability
Accurate adjustments of cutting depth
Weighs less than 12 pounds
Professionals often place more rigorous demands on their circular saws than the average DIYer, and so their tools need to stand up to the typical types of abuse that jobsites can 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-thick 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 lighter metals and plastics, this saw's overall build will survive more abuse than cheaper options. SKILSAW's Cut-Ready system is also handy if you need to make quick and accurate cuts of various depths.
Price at time of publish: $199
Power: 15 amp | Blade Size: 7 1/4 inch | Max. RPM: 5,300 | Max. Cutting Depth: 2 3/8 inches | Blade Side: Left
Makita SH02R1 Cordless Circular Saw
Light and portable
Good for lightweight tasks
Fits into tight spots
Slow compared to corded saws
Not for heavy-duty projects
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, MDF, 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. You get two batteries, a charger, and a sturdy plastic carrying case that lets you easily tote your saw to your jobsite.
Price at time of publish: $149
Power: 12 volts | Blade Size: 3 3/8 inch | Max. RPM: 1,500 | Max. Cutting Depth: 1 inch | Blade Side: Right
Genesis GCS445SE Compact Circular Saw
Adapter for use with shop vacuum
A few complaints of inaccuracy
Not for heavy-duty projects
Not every sawing job calls for the maximum in size and muscle. A compact circular saw has many advantages over the standard size. It’s easier to maneuver a compact saw in a tight space, and typically, these saws are lighter in weight, making them easier on your hands when working for extended periods. The Genesis GCS445SE Compact Circular Saw is one of the most versatile compact saws available today. With a 4.0-amp motor rated for up to 3,500 rpm, it packs a powerful punch in a body that is half the weight of many larger circular saws; it’s just 4.7 pounds. Plus, it’s designed for one-handed use. But the features don’t stop there.
For messy projects, this saw has a built-in dust port and vacuum adapter to keep the cutting area free of debris. The included tungsten carbide tipped blade is strong enough to cut through any 2x wooden board as well as similar materials, whether cutting straight, rip, or bevel. To use other kinds of blades, all you have to do is remove the existing blade, and pop in the other.
Price at time of publish: $44
Power: 4 amp | Blade Size: 4 1/2 inch | Max. RPM: 3,500 | Max. Cutting Depth: 1 1/16 inches | Blade Side: Left
Best for Beginners
DEWALT DCS391B 20V MAX Circular Saw
If you are new to woodworking in general or circular saws in particular, then you want a solid, reliable tool that isn't too difficult to use and isn't too expensive. Luckily, the DEWALT DCS391B fits the bill. This cordless circular saw runs off a 20-volt battery—note that you will need to purchase that separately if you don't already own one—and has a 6-1/2-inch blade. Its top speed is 5,150 rpm, and it has a maximum cutting depth of 2 1/8-inches at 90 degrees. It can bevel up to 50 degrees for angled cuts, and when at a 45-degree angle, you'll still have a cutting depth of 1 5/8-inches.
The molded handle of the saw is comfortable and secure within your grip, making it easier to keep your cuts straight and true. The blade is oriented to provide the best possible line of vision while you work, further helping you to stay accurate. And should there be a problem, the saw has a brake that immediately stops the blade when you release the trigger.
Price at time of publish: $110
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 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, 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
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 or 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.
Corded circular saws have motors rated in amps. A 15-amp motor is the standard for a circular saw that is capable of handling most DIY tasks. There are inexpensive 10-amp or 12-amp tools available, but those are generally only suited to lightweight tasks.
Cordless circular saws today have lithium-ion batteries, usually 18-volt. You’ll also find more powerful 20-volt models, which are good choices if you use your saw for very lengthy work sessions or deal with thick or heavy materials.
The most common size of blade for a circular saw is 7 1/4 inches. This is the best size for most DIYers and can tackle materials more than 3 inches in thickness. You’ll also find circular saws with 6 1/2-inch blades—these are for lightweight jobs—and 8 1/4-inch blades for more heavy-duty use. There are also circular saws with small blades, often around 4 1/2 inches, that are mostly used for cutting panel or other thin materials.
How do you change a circular saw blade?
To change a dull or damaged blade, or switch to a different blade, first, and most importantly, unplug the saw if it’s corded, or remove the battery if it’s cordless. You want to be absolutely sure that the saw will remain off while you change the blade. Lift the plastic blade guard to expose the blade, and depress the lock if it has one. With the wrench that is usually included with the saw, loosen the arbor nut that holds the blade in place. Turn your wrench in the opposite direction the blade spins, which is clockwise, and carefully remove the old blade.
Clean any accumulated dust or sawdust from the upper and lower guards with a cloth. Inspect your new blade for an arrow indicating the direction of rotation. Install the blade in a counter-clockwise direction. Depending on the brand of blade, that might mean with the writing facing towards you, or facing away from you. Slide the new blade into place, and use the saw wrench to tighten the arbor nut. The nut should be tight enough to hold the blade securely in place but not so tight that you won’t be able to remove it next time you need to remove the blade. Lower the blade guard back into position, and unlock the blade when you’re ready to use the saw.
How do you cut straight with a circular saw?
If you’re an experienced circular saw user, and you aren’t cutting the full length of a large board, you can generally maintain a straight line by marking the cut line with a pencil, using a tape measure or other straightedge to make sure it's straight, and then cutting carefully along the pencil line.
If you are new to using a power saw, or don’t want to take a chance on veering out of line, use some sort of guide. There are numerous guides available; most are a rail or metal bracket that you clamp or screw to the board before starting to cut. You can also achieve the same effect by clamping another board to the board you’ll be cutting, aligning the guide board along the desired cut line, and then making the cut using the clamped board as your guide rail.
Can a circular saw cut concrete?
You can use your circular saw to cut concrete using a diamond blade. These blades—which are made specifically for cutting concrete, masonry, and pavers—replace your standard circular saw blade.
Why Trust The Spruce?
This article is edited and updated by Michelle Ullman, the tool expert for The Spruce. She has extensive experience not only in writing about all things related to the home but also in carrying out various DIY projects, including landscaping, painting, flooring, wallpapering, furniture makeovers, and simple repairs.
For this roundup, Ullman considered dozens of circular saws, evaluating each for basic features, extras, and customer feedback, as well as input from Deane Biermeier, a licensed carpenter and contractor and member of The Spruce's Home Improvement Review Board.