Buying Guides: Types of Circular Saws and Their Uses
If you are a handyman, a circular saw is a tool that you must have at your disposal. This very powerful tool uses a circular blade that allows you to cut materials such as metal, wood, plastic, and masonry. With so many circular saws on the market, there are a few factors one should consider when buying a circular saw.
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Factors to consider when buying a circular saw
Circular saws come in different sizes and they all perform differently to each other depending on the tasks. Before buying a circular saw, know exactly what it will be used for. If you have a very big project, purchasing a large saw is highly advised. If the duties you are about to perform are light, small saws should get the job done easily. Take circular saws that have a 10 ¼ inch blade for example, these tools are not meant for light work because they have greater depth when they cut materials.
Saw depth and cutting capacity
The cutting depth is how deep the saw will go into the material or object you are cutting. Usually the larger sizes can cut greater depth while the smaller sizes can cut smaller depth.
Usually, the cutting capacity depends on the power used in the saw and the specific blade used for cutting. Even so, specific models have improved capacity to cut materials. For example, Makita XSH06PT 18V x2 LXT 7-1/4” has improved cutting capacity than the Milwaukee M18 FUEL 7-1/4” circular saw.
- Saw driving power
Driving power is something that one has to consider as well when it comes to buying a circular saw. For those who are undertaking large projects, buying a saw that has a very high-power capacity is advised. For instance, Makita XSH06PT1 18V x2 LXT 7-1/4” uses 36V battery power while the Milwaukee M18 FUEL 7-1/4” uses 18V battery power to run the tool. The result is that Makita has higher efficiency and run time than the Milwaukee.
- The control and speed of the circular saw
Circular saws have a motor rating which one must consider before buying the tool. Saw with a higher motor rating are the ones you should prioritize because a 1500w motor, for example, will spin the blade faster. This gives you a very high RPM (REVOLUTIONS PER MINUTE) when the blade rotates. If you have a tool with a very high RPM (REVOLUTIONS PER MINUTE), you will have faster cuts. On the other hand, if you have a tool with a very high torque (especially the Worm drive saws) you will have better control and finish.
- No-load speed
The overall speed that a circular saw’s motor rotates the blades determines the level of control one has on the tool when they are using it. No-load speed is what indicates just how powerful a circular saw is and the more RPM (REVOLUTIONS PER MINUTE) a tool has, the better it performs. No-load speed is something that varies from tool to tool, however, the majority of circular saws on the market have an RPM of between 2.700 – 5,000
- Look at the bevel capacity
A great circular saw will not only make simple cuts at a 90-degree angle, but it will also be able to make bevel cuts from different angles up to 55 degrees or higher. You can check the angels of your cuts by using an adjustable base place. When purchasing a circular saw, always makes sure that it has a bevel function because this will help you massively when cutting wood or metal. Check what the maximum bevel angle is as well as the maximum cutting depth which in most saws is 45 degrees.
- Safety features of the saw
Power tools when not handled carefully or in the wrong hands can be very dangerous and this applies to circular saws. There are a few models sold on the market that comes with amazing safety features to ensure the user is protected. Take the electric brake that many have as an example. This feature stops the spinning blades very quickly which in some cases can prevent industry and save a person’s life. Another safety feature worth looking out for is what is known as the blade guard. This is what keeps the blade covered when it is not in use preventing injuries from happening.
Types of Circular saws
- Cold saws: These saws fall under the metal cutting saw family because they use toothy blades. It is these blades which make them perfect for cutting debris of any kind, in other words, they are multipurpose tools.
- Abrasive saws: These are also called chop saws and these are designed to cut hard materials. These materials include tiles, ceramic, metal, concrete, and porcelain.
- Cordless vs corded saws: When it comes to power, it is hard to set the two apart, however, there is one thing that cordless saws can do that corded one can’t. Cordless saws can be used in small spaces that many saws on the market have problems accessing because they have a cord.
- Concrete saw: Also known as the Slab or road saw, this tool is perfect for cutting solid materials including things like bricks, tiles, concrete and asphalt. There are two versions of this saw to choose from, a chop-saw model and a handheld model.
- Sidewinder saw: Also known as the in-line circular saw is very light model compared to the rest on this list especially the worm drive saw which is its direct competitor. The sidewinder saw performs almost in similar speed (or slightly faster) to its counterpart and also it is much lighter and comes with better price. This is why many people in America like this tool.
- Worm drive circular saw: This is also another very popular circular saw and is a direct rival of the sidewinder saw. While the sidewinder saw is probably little bit faster and lighter, the worm drive saw is however very versatile and gives more accurate cut with greater torque.
- Metal cutting circular saws: Metal cutting circular saws do exactly what it says on the tin which is cut metal. The way that the blade is designed makes it fit for purpose because cutting metal is more rigorous and is very different from cutting wood. You have to deal with things like sparks as well as shards flying all over the place. Their wonderful design collects debris and shards easily meaning you do not have to worry about any metal build-up.
- Biscuit joiner: This is a very popular woodworking tool which allows you to join two pieces of wood together without leaving any marks.
- Brushcutter: Also known as the clearing or brush saw, this tool helps you clear out weeds in your garden especially the most stubborn ones. To get better results, one can purchase blades, trimmer headers, and various other attachments.
- Carbine saws: This saw is an absolute machine because it is capable of cutting rigid and hard materials. What makes it cuts these materials easily is the cemented carbide its teeth are made out of.
Recommended Best Circular Saws for Woodworking
In the market today, people are spoiled for choice when it comes to circular saws because there are so many of them being sold. Choosing the right model for the task at hand can be very tricky because they all have different features they bring to the table. This article will look at 3 of the best circular saws for woodworking that we have tested for professional uses.
Before going into detail on the three circular saws, it is important to look at how they compare with one another with the help of a table.
Milwaukee M18 FUEL 7-1/4” Circular Saw
Milwaukee M18 FUEL 7-1/4” Circular Saw is a mid-range cordless model that has already managed to pick up lots of reputation from both professional and DIY woodworkers.
Milwaukee claims that one full charge of 18V Li-Ion battery can cut on average 300 pieces of wood. In my test however I found it can cut nearly 260 pieces of wood (2×4 in).
It uses a brushless motor that is much more power/battery efficient and produces less heat. The battery takes 1.5 hours to recharge fully.
The build quality is very robust (it can withstand fall shocks even when falls from 15 feet height). The blade guard and shoe are made from magnesium alloy for enhanced durability and reduced weight.
- Built-in LED light (for low light situations)
- Has an electric brake
- Brushless motor
- Rafter hook
- Magnesium shoe and guard
- Cutline blower and dust port attachment is added
- Blade Size: 7 ¼”
- Weight: 9 Ibs
- No Load Speed: 5800 RPM
- Super lightweight and easy to carry around
- Faster cutting speed
- Amazing ergonomics
- Has an LED light in case one wants to work in the dark
- Has a rafter hook
- Very durable product and easy to use
- Comes with a three-year warranty
- There are no major drawbacks
Makita XSH06PT 18V LXT Cordless Circular Saw
Makita XSH06PT 18V X2 LXT Brushless Cordless Circular Saw Kit has been hailed across the board.
The advanced model uses innovative battery technology to power up and maximize its performance. It also uses a brushless motor that produces less heat and consumes less power.
Makita announces the advanced battery technology will give you over 610 cuts per charge. In our test we found it performs almost 545 cross-cuts (2×4 in).
The circular saw also has an automatic speed changer. This mechanism allows you to adjust the cutting speed and the torque during cut without having to stop.
The braking system is electric. It responds fast and will bring the steel blade to an instant stop. I can confidently recommend this tool because it outperforms the other contenders almost every way
- 0 -56-degree bevel capacity with positive stops at 22.5 degrees, 45 degrees, and 56 degrees
- It has an electric brake
- Has a built-in tether notch
- Large 2-⅝ inch cutting capacity at 90 degrees
- Delivers up to 610 cross-cuts per charge in 2 x 4 SPF using two LXT batteries
- The built-in motor delivers 6,000 RPM
- Powered by two LXT batteries
- X2 LXT technology that delivers 610 crosscuts per charge
- Automatic speed change technology
- Brushless motors eliminate any carbon brushes
- A very durable tool that outperforms many models on the market
- Provides smooth cutting action because of the power it has
- Very easy product to handle because it is not heavy
- The 4 Lithium-ion batteries provide extended cutting sessions
- Has a removable dust port
- Cordless meaning one does not have to worry about batteries
- A very compact and versatile tool that can be used on a variety of objects
- It uses two 18V batteries
Dewalt DCS577X1 FLEXVOLT Worm Style Saw
Anyone is planning to do a lot of sawing should look no further than the Dewalt DCS577X1 FLEXVOLT 60V MAX 7-1/4” Worm Style Saw. It is truly an amazing tool that it uses much high power torque to give effortless smooth finish in any woodworking.
It has a left-sided blade and a handle at the rear. It is equipped with an efficient dust blower which enhances clarity when cutting.
It has an electric brake that stops the blades when you release the trigger, has a maximum of 60 volts and can be used to cut everything from plywood, hardwoods, flooring and dimensional lumber. If you are a concrete former, a framer, carpenter or contractor, this tool is certainly up your alley and will not let you down at all.
- It has a rafter hook which can be used to hang the tool
- Has a bevel capacity of 53 degrees with stops at 22.5 degrees and 45 degrees
- Has an electronic brake that stops the blade immediately after the trigger is released
- Has an integrated dust blower that enables the person using it to have a clear line of sight when cutting
- An efficient brushless motor
- High magnesium shoe
- Offers users a speed of 5800 RPM
- 19 inches in height
- Max watts out of 2400W
- Comes with a three-year warranty
- Offers 53 degrees bevel capacity that has a positivity stops at 22.5 degrees and 45 degrees
- The blade diameter is 7 ¼ inches
- Provides users cutting at 90 degrees with 2-7/17 inches cutting depth
- Suitable for small and large projects
- At only 10 pounds, this tool is very light
- Has a rafter hooker which allows you to hang the tool
- Can run for a long time and has an electric brake
- The sawdust is known to kick out on the left side
- It is known to cut visibility for left-handed users
Everyone from professionals and DIYers will have different things they are looking for in a circular saw and the three saws in this article are unique in their own right.