Circular Saws

Find the best circular saw to complete a variety of projects

All About Tape  Buying Guide

Circular saws are among the most versatile and widely used saws. They allow crosscuts, ripping, beveling and plunge cuts in addition to cutting materials ranging from paneling to framing timbers to cement.

This guide will help you choose which type of circular saw is best for your projects.

Safety: Always wear eye and hand protection when using circular saws.

Saw Type

The two main saw designs are worm drive and sidewinder, and many designs are available as corded or cordless.

Saw Type Specifications Application


  • Blade diameter: 5” to 7 ¼”
  • Power: 14.4-24 V
  • 7.5-10 lbs.
  • Portable with high-voltage battery for extended cutting power
  • Offers less torque than corded saws
  • Typically smaller blade diameter, reducing material thickness you can cut
  • Ideal for light- to medium-duty home and professional use

Sidewinder (aka traditional or in-line)

  • Blade diameter: 5” to 10”-plus
  • Power: 8-15 amps for corded models
  • 6-10 lbs.
  • Most popular saw for homeowners and on construction sites
  • Right- or left-mounted blade options
  • Pick the side that will provide the most clear view based on if the user is right- or left-handed
  • Lighter than worm-drive saws
  • Ideal for light- to heavy-duty home and professional use

Tip: If you plan to use your circular saw for heavy-duty cutting but don't want the extra weight of a worm-drive saw, sidewinders with helical gearing deliver increased torque.



  • Blade diameter: 3 ½” to 4 ½”
  • Power: 4-8 amps for corded models
  • 4-7 lbs.
  • Circular saws with a particularly small blade diameter
  • Compact and light, easy portability and maneuverability with reduced fatigue
  • Ideal for jobs requiring shallower cuts, such as finish carpentry work and other applications that involve thinner materials


  • Blade diameter: 6 ½” to 8 ½”
  • Power: 12-15 amps for corded models
  • 13-15 lbs.
  • Designed to cut studs and plywood smoothly
  • Powers through difficult materials, such as wet lumber and concrete
  • Ideal for carpentry and extremely demanding home and professional use
  • Motor is parallel to blade and provides increased torque; rear-mounted handle enhances steering control
  • Heavier weight and diminished speed


Look for saws that include features that will make your jobs easier, such as beveling capability, depth control and laser lines.

  • Bevel 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.
  • Depth control: The depth of cut is largely determined by the diameter of the blade. Check depth-of-cut specifications at 90 and 45-degrees to determine what blade diameter you need for the various thickness of materials that you work with.
  • Visibility: 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.
  • 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.
  • Rip fence: Improves accuracy and efficiency when cutting parallel to the edge of the work piece. Longer fences, or guides, offer better control.
  • Heavy-duty base: Look for a base that can survive a fall. Cast-metal and reinforced-steel bases with ridges resist bending better than flat aluminum or stamped-steel bases, though they can add weight.
  • Magnesium housing: Protects the motor, extending tool life without adding a lot of weight to the saw.
  • Dust management: A dust blower removes dust from the cut line, enhancing visibility, and a dust port allows you to connect the saw to a shop vacuum or dust bag to collect sawdust as you cut.
  • Laser line: A built-in laser projects a line on your work piece for enhanced accuracy and efficiency on straight cuts.
  • Work light: A built-in work light improves visibility in low-light situations without the need to drag out or rig up a separate light fixture.
  • Rafter hook: Models with a built-in hook offer quick, out-of-the-way storage between cuts and projects.