Circular Saws – All You Need to Know
A circular saw is an extremely useful tool for professional contractors and for hobby woodworkers as well. However, if you’re new to the world of circular saws, all the options and different features might seem overwhelming. To help you out, we’ve gathered all the necessary information you need to make the right decision when it comes to buying the best circular saw for your needs.
Let’s get to it.
What are circular saws?
First, let start with the basics.
In its most basic form, a circular saw is a round steel blade, lined with sharp teeth, used to cut different materials while spinning around an arbor. Above the blade, there are different guards to protect your hand from touching the blade, and a handle with an on/off switch to guide the circular saw along your workpiece.
In addition, circular saws have a height, depth, and a bevel adjustment that you can use to set the circular saw to perform better on whichever material you’re cutting. Also, there’s the foot plate, also known as the shoe, used to steady the saw against your workpiece.
Circular saws have become popular since Skilsaw first made them portable back in 1924. With them, you can cut a wide range of materials, from plastic and wood to steel, masonry, and ceramic tiles – you just need to choose the right blade depending on the material, but more on that later.
A circular saw can be used to make straight cuts, rip cuts, and even bevel cuts. As you can see, it’s a very versatile tool that will make an easy job out of any project you need to undertake. It will adapt flawlessly from small DIY jobs to large-scale construction projects.
Now that you know what a circular saw is, let’s get down to the specifics.
Circular saw types
There are two different circular saw types to choose from, sidewinder and worm drive.
Sidewinder Circular Saw
Sidewinder, also known as the inline circular saw is the most commonly used type of circular saws. Their motor is mounted to the left of the blade, allowing them to remain small and portable. They don’t feature many moving parts, so they are very energy-efficient. Sidewinder saws, like the Dewalt circular saw, are mostly used for rip cuts, vertical cuts, and for cutting plywood and soft lumber.
You can check out the DCS391 Dewalt circular saw, the best selling sidewinder circular saw on Amazon to get a sense of what a high-quality sidewinder saw looks like and what it can do.
- Doesn’t need oil
- Fast blade
- Less power
Worm Drive Circular Saw
Worm drive saws have been introduced by Skilsaw, the company that revolutionized the world of circular saws. A worm drive saw differs from sidewinder saws in that their motor is actually behind the blade, allowing for more torque. Thanks to the motor being behind the blade, the whole saw is much thinner and the sightlines are much better.
To see how a worm drive saw looks and what features it has, check out one of the most popular worm drive saws on Amazon, manufactured by Skilsaw themselves.
- Increased torque
- Better sightlines
- Require oil for maintenance
Cordless Circular Saws vs. Corded
Circular saws can be further divided by their power source, into cordless and corded.
Cordless saws are much smaller and perfect for spaces where you can’t use extension cords. Even though they can cut other materials, they are best suited for cutting wood since their power comes from a battery and harder materials will drain the battery more quickly.
The Ryobi circular saw is the perfect example of a high-quality cordless saw, and it’s the highest-selling cordless Ryobi circular saw on Amazon for a reason. Check it out to see what are the features to look for if you’re after a cordless option.
Corded circular saws, on the other hand, don’t depend on batteries and you can use them for cutting tougher materials like steel and masonry.
Circular Saw Blade types
No matter what type of saw you use, the materials you can cut ultimately depend on the blade. Blades differentiate by their teeth and their diameter.
Number of teeth
The more teeth the saw blade has, the more precise your cuts will be. However, more teeth also equal less speed.
The gullet is the space between each tooth on the blade. This determines how much chips/sawdust will be removed from the cut.
Most circular saw blades are 7 ¼”, but there are many other sizes. The diameter affects the depth of the cut.
Now that you know what to look for in a blade, let’s see what the 3 most common blades are used for.
- Ripping blades – designed for cutting along the grain of the wood, they usually have 14-24 teeth and a deep gullet. Good for making fast, rough cuts.
- Crosscutting blade – used for cutting against the grain of the wood, and have more teeth and a shallower gullet than a ripping blade. They are slower but produce a cleaner cut.
- Plywood blade – these blades have much more teeth, 40 or more, used to prevent splintering of the wood.
Circular Saw Conclusion
As you can see, circular saws are just as complex as they are simple. But don’t let all those features, types, and combinations intimidate you. Instead, view them as countless options for your circular saw with which you can undertake any type of project.
There you go, everything you need to understand circular saws. Check out our reviews for specific information.