The circular saw is the carpenter's all-around tool, and is among the most versatile and widely used of all saws. Circular saws can be used for crosscuts, bevel cuts and ripping such materials as plywood, hardwood and softwood. Although they are commonly designed with a wood-cutting blade, they can also be fitted with blades to cut masonry, metal or plastic.
Circular Saw Guide
Types of Circular Saws
The two main types of circular saws are worm-drive and sidewinder. You also have the option of corded or cordless models, as well as trim saws. Keep in mind what materials you plan to cut, and how much power, performance and convenience you want when evaluating which type of circular saw is right for you.
Corded vs. Cordless
Cordless circular saws offer easy portability, eliminating the need to haul around bulky extension cords or portable generators, an important factor if you travel regularly between jobsites. They also weigh considerably less than most corded models, but may have a smaller blade diameter than the standard corded size of 7-1/4", reducing the material thickness you can cut, and will have to be charged occasionally. Corded models, on the other hand, generally provide more torque and offer unlimited run times.
Circular Saw Blades
Circular saw blades come in a variety of sizes and can be designed for a number of different applications, from cutting wood to cement, to crosscutting blades and general-purpose blades. Choosing the right blade for each job will not only help improve your results, but workplace efficiency as well. Therefore, always look for blades that are designed for the material you intend to cut.
Blade diameters typically start at 3-3/8", with the most common size being 7-1/4". Generally, blades with more teeth will yield a cleaner cut, while blades with fewer teeth will deliver faster cuts, but rougher edges. Circular saw blades are typically constructed of steel or carbide-tipped steel. Consider the benefits of each:
Steel: Steel blades are a more economical choice, but require frequent sharpening to extend their lifespan. The teeth can dull quickly, so they might be better suited for occasional use.
Carbide-tipped: Carbide-tipped blades are extremely durable, with their long life often compensating for their higher price tag. For masonry and metal applications, look for an abrasive wheel or diamond blade.
||Bevelling capability allows you to tilt the base to make angled cuts. Look for tool-less adjustment and positive stops for improved efficiency and accuracy when adjusting for common angles.
||A clear view of the cut line is critical. If you are right-handed, but prefer a saw with a blade to the right of the motor, look for a notch in the upper blade guard to enhance visibility.
||An electric brake stops the blade quickly when you release the trigger, enhancing safety and helping you get ready for the next cut more quickly.
|Easy-change Blade System
||Some saws offer one-step blade changes, either with or without the use of a tool. This is especially important to minimize downtime if you switch blades frequently.
|Magnesium Housing||Magnesium housing protects the motor, extending tool life without adding a lot of weight to the circular saw.
|Dust Blower||A dust blower removes dust from the cut line, enhancing visibility, and a dust port allows connection to a shop vacuum or dust bag to collect sawdust as you cut.