Once upon a time, choosing the best circular saw simply meant choosing your favorite or most trusted brand. There are so many options right now that it can make your head spin. Wired or wireless? Sidewinder drive or worm gear drive? Left blade or right blade?
Whether you're looking for the best professional circular saw or an affordable option, we've got your back!
Before diving in, let's talk about power. Years ago, cordless circular saws were a poor performer and took a while to function before using 7 1/4 inch blades. Wireless models now outperform wired models. Between that and the convenience of not having a cord, they really are the best circular saws you can get. However, wired models are still much cheaper and definitely work. The point is that since we're talking the best of the best, we rely heavily on cordless power.
Table of contents
- best cordless circular saw
- best wire saw
- Best Worm Drive/Rear Handle Circular Saw
- best metal cutting circular saw
- best compact circular saw
- best mini circular saw
- The best circular saw for the money
- The Best Circular Saws for Beginners
- best circular saw blades
- Circular Saw Buying Guide: What We Look For
- Why You Can Trust Pro Tool Reviews
The best cordless circular saw overall
Metabo HPT MultiVolt Circular Saw
The Metabo HPT MultiVolt Circular Saw tops our list of the best cordless circular saws, ahead of the M18 Fuel 2732 from Milwaukee. It has extraordinary power and precision, even compared to DeWalt, Makita and Milwaukee.
It's also pretty light compared to its closest competitors. With a 4.0Ah battery, the total operating weight is only 9.7 lbs. Plus, it's the only cordless rattlesnake that comes with an AC adapter, giving you unlimited cord run time.
If there was a downside, it was that the main handle and front handle were a little too close together for some of our crew's tastes.
Want more wireless options? Check out our recommendations for the best cordless circular saws!
best wire saw overall
Metabo HPT RipMax Pro Series
The RipMax line of circular saws was introduced before Hitachi changed its name to the Metabo HPT. The C7UR and C7URM hit the market with some of the best cutting speeds our pros have seen in the field. At 6800 RPM, it passed our field tests with flying colors, and our framing team raved about its cutting speed.
Metabo HPT fits your needs well with the RipMax range. The C7UR is the base model and a bit hard to find. Amazon usually has some in stock, though. The CR7URM incorporates magnesium in its construction, which shaves off some weight. The CR7BUR is the top of the range and the addition of electric brakes makes it the top choice for professionals.
Best Worm Drive/Rear Handle Circular Saw
Flex 24V Brushless Rear Handle Circular Saw
The Flex and Milwaukee battled it out for the title of best worm drive/rear handle circular saw and they came very close. What pushes Flex to the top is its superior functionality. Both easily outperformed our top 15-amp corded models with impressive performance.
From a design standpoint, Flex puts together a complete package. The ergonomics are spot on, the shoe slides easily over the material, tracks well, and has a solid build. There's a lifetime warranty if you register your purchase before December 31, 2023, and the Flex is a very attractive option.
Price: $249.00 bare, $399.00 kit with 10.0Ah stacked lithium battery and charger
Want a wired model? We recommend the Skilsaw SPT77WML Lightweight Magnesium Worm Driver ($199.00 – $219.00).
Discover more cordless options in our best cordless worm drive and rear handle circular saws article!
Milwaukee M18 Fuel Metal Chopping Saw
Few tools get perfect marks from our dream team, but Milwaukee's corded 8-inch metal cutter does. So when Milwaukee came out with the M18 Fuel Edition we had high hopes and the saw delivered. Performance is smooth and powerful, and the design has been field-proven in wired versions. If you're looking for the best metal cutting circular saws, look no further than Milwaukee.
Price: $429.00 bare metal, $549.00 with 8.0Ah high output battery and charger
Want the wired version? Acme Tools is $399.
best compact circular saw
Flex 24V Brushless 6 1/2" Inline Circular Saw
It will take something special to unseat Makita's XSH03 as our favorite in the compact category. As the best compact circular saw, the Flex 6 1/2" inline model is without a doubt.
Beneath the in-line handle design, there is a belt drive that connects the brushless motor to the saw blade, giving it the cutting depth of a 7 1/4 inch saw even though it uses a 6 1/2 inch blade. Other than that, this model does the best job of satisfying the blade viewing preferences of left and right blade saws.
If you still need a nudge to pull the trigger, this saw comes with a lifetime warranty if you register your purchase before December 31, 2023.
Price: $249.00 with 5.0Ah battery and charger
Need a WIRED recommendation? For less than $50.00, it's hard to beat Ridgid's 6 1/2-inch Compact Magnesium Circular Saw!
Milwaukee M12 Fuel 5 3/8" Circular Saw 2530
If you want to get more compact than the 6 1/2 inch class, there are two distinct designs. One is to downsize a standard circular saw. Another option is a smaller blade and extended inline design. Between the two, we prefer the ergonomics and controls of the traditional form.
The Milwaukee M12 Fuel 2530 earns our spot as the best mini circular saw for its physical form, light weight (6.3 pounds with battery), and of course, performance. It uses an M12 battery for power, which is much lighter than anything you'll find on an M18 system, and still has the ability to cut 2x the material in a single pass.
Price: $159.00 bare, $249.00 kit with 4.0Ah battery and charger
Want an online mini circular saw? Skil's PWRCore 20 4 1/2-inch model is a great value at $129.00, which includes the chainsaw, battery, and charger.
The best circular saw for the money
Skilsaw SPT67WL/SPT67WM 15 Amp Light Duty Circular Saw
To get the best circular saw for the money, we rely on corded models and look for legitimate professional-grade options under $100. Compliant are Skilsaw's SPT67WL/SPT67WM. Available with Skilsaw or Diablo blades, these saws use magnesium to reduce overall weight without sacrificing strength. They have the power of a 15 amp motor that turns the blades at 5300 RPM. They're not as strong as the 77-series models, and don't include blade brakes, but for less than $100, you'll be hard-pressed to find a better priced one.
Want a cordless model? Get Skil's PWRCore 20 XP Circular Saw – This kit is $169.00 and includes everything you need to get started!
The Best Circular Saws for Beginners
Skilsaw SPT67WE-01 15 Amp Circular Saw
Just because you're a beginner doesn't mean you have to settle for cheaply built circulars. You don't have to break the bank to get a high-quality model, either. Sure, you might give up some high-end features and some functionality, but what started with something you thought you might only need a few times a year could turn into a weekly passion for the project.
The Skilsaw SPT67WE-01 is a 15-amp circular saw with the same motor and performance as our Best for the Money pick. The big difference is that this model doesn't use magnesium in the construction, so it's not as light. Still, at 10.3 pounds, it's not heavy.
There are cheaper circular saws you can get your hands on that will cut just fine. However, we think beginners can get a better experience with a little more budget.
best circular saw blades
Crescent NailSlicer Framing Blades
Circular saw blades are very competitive and there are a lot of really good options out there. Diablo, Makita, and Milwaukee all make the blades we use all the time. Our current favorite is Crescent's NailSlicer. These circular saw blades have extremely durable teeth that can take the beating of any nail you may come across on the job. We even cut the #5 rebar several times during the torture test (yes, there is a video). The best part is that you don't have to pay a premium—a 7 1/4-inch framing blade is only $10.
Best circular saw buying guide – what we look for
RPMs are useful, but they're not everything when you're cutting costs. You need torque to help the blade maintain speed through tough cuts. On the corded side, look for a 15 amp motor for best performance. However, wireless is not so easy to measure. In general, look for brushless motors for maximum performance.
Either way, going into the upper mid-to-high end of the price range usually gets you into higher performance levels
Some saws tend to turn slightly to the left or right when you are making long cuts. This could come from a damaged arbor, but most of the time we found it was the handle design that encouraged it. Even with a saw, once you realize this is a feature, you can usually slow down a bit and keep the blade on your line of cut.
Some guard designs may catch on the edge of the material or on shaving cuts where waste is pushed into the guard. The best circular saw guards slide easily over every cut you make.
Dust and chip removal
Circular saws produce a lot of sawdust and debris. Look for a model that cleans them well through the dust port in the lid (higher RPM helps). If you do a lot of work indoors, look for models that include a dust port adapter so you can easily attach your shop vac to it.
As you try out different circular saws, consider how you feel when you hold the main and front handles. Overmolding contributes to comfort and safety, and shape plays an important role. Also, think about how the handles feel together when you put your hands on the saw. Some may be too close or too far from each other for your comfort.
Weight is not a huge consideration for circular saws. Since you're cutting your material with the weight on the saw, it bears the brunt of it. However, lighter saws can be helpful, since you're carrying them back and forth to where you're cutting, and shifting the weight to your arms at the end of each cut.
price and value
Once you know what your budget for a circular saw is, check out what's available at that price point. For the best value, we recommend making best performance your highest priority. Ergonomics and functionality still come into play, as does the warranty. If you're shopping for a cordless model, consider other tools that use the same battery.
Wired or wireless?
A 15-amp corded circular saw has excellent power, and you can get a trusted professional brand for $100 or less. Many of these saws last a decade or more.
The main tradeoff is that you will need extension cords and power supplies.
There's no denying the convenience of a cordless round that's an easier way to cut. Most major brands now have wireless options that can match or exceed the performance of 15 amp corded models.
That only applies to the best cordless circular saws, though. Some compact and 12V chainsaws are well below the 15 amp performance level. There are also some DIY-focused brands that don't yet have as strong a presence in their portfolio.
There is also cost to consider. Add in the cost of batteries and chargers, and cordless tools are even more expensive. Batteries need to be replaced every 3 to 5 years and can be expensive. Corded models tend to be much less expensive, and higher-end models can cost less than regular cordless saws.
Left or right edge?
Whether you prefer a blade to the left or right of the motor, it comes down to more than just being left-handed or right-handed. And some that feel most natural to you. See if you can try both styles in store and decide which one is best for you. Read more about these considerations here.
Rattlesnake or Worm Drive?
Circular saw design preferences are surprisingly regional, with the west coast tending to use rear handle worm drives, while the east coast mostly uses sidewinder direct drives.
Worm drives tend to have a more in-line handle design and are heavier. The worm drive, named after the saw, produces more torque than the same motor in a direct drive. These saws almost always require you to punch out the diamond knockout on the blade to use its safer arbor, which has plenty of extra power.
Sidewinders are generally lighter and more compact in design than worm drives. Handles can be inline, but are often offset somewhat. With less torque than a worm drive, you don't need to remove the ejector from its round mandrel.
The most common blade sizes for circular saws are 6 1/2 inches and 7 1/4 inches. They are both capable of cutting 2x the material in a single pass, making them suitable for everyday use.
Larger blades require more power to keep the RPM high enough, so 6 1/2-inch saws are almost always less powerful than 7 1/4-inch models.
However, there are also several models with 10 1/4" blades that can cut 4 times as much material in one pass. There are even lumber makers with saw blades over 16 inches!
Getting smaller and more compact, you can find models with 5 3/8" blades and even 4 1/2" blades, like the DeWalt Atomic.
The trick to finding the best size circular saw blade for you is to check the maximum depth of cut at 90º and 45º. You can find it in the online specs or in the manual. As long as it can cut the depth you need, you are good to go.
If you're not sure where to start, look for something that can cut 2x the material. 2x size lumber is 1 1/2 inches thick. Most of the circular saw cuts our team makes are on 2x and boards. However, keep in mind that smaller saws are less powerful.
Why You Can Trust Pro Tool Reviews
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That's not us. We only recommend things we actually use, even if we don't earn a commission from them. It's all about providing you with sound recommendations and our honest opinions on each product.
We've been in business since 2008, covering tools, writing reviews and industry news coverage for the construction, automotive and lawn care industries. Our professional reviewers work in the industry and have the skills and experience to see if a tool will perform well in the field.
Every year, we introduce and review more than 250 individual products. Our teams will use hundreds of other tools at media events and trade shows throughout the year.
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