Best Circular Saws
Electric saws have done away with the need to work up a sweat in order to cut wood, and of the different types of electric saws found on the shelves of your local tool shop, handheld circular saws are the most popular.
If trying to choose between a sidewinder and a worm drive or between a corded and a cordless circular saw has left you feeling confused, then keep reading to find out what you should look for when you shop.
The Festool TS 55 Plunge Saw has the versatility and features needed to easily power through a variety of materials.
Price (RRP) $1,025.00
Accurately cuts a variety of materials
Simple to use
With the ability to make deep cuts in all types of timber and the inclusion of features for added safety and precision, the Bosch GKS 235 Professional is a handy unit to have in your workshop.
Latest review: Obviously not a saw for everyday trade work (although as a retired carpenter I can see it as a nice thing to have as a back-up), but for the DIYer who needs to get smallish jobs done quickly and
Latest review: I've been using this now for 3 years. It has help lay laminate flooring, bamboo flooring, a small tiling job and lots of small jobs in between. The saw hasn't missed a beat, it's nice and safe, and
Latest review: I got this a few months ago to use an online gift voucher I had. Now that I've been using it around the house I can say that it's an excellent little tool to have. You need to remember its size
Latest review: My saw is five years old. It has heaps of power. The blade has lasted well. The laser is easy to see and accurate. The saw is light. It is easy to adjust. It is slightly limited in depth of cut by
Latest review: genius invention - crazy portability with the precision cut of a table saw. This saw rocks, gets me out of trouble on site when it really counts. it saves driving back to the factory and recutting
Price (RRP) $865.00
Latest review: Bought this saw for $119 in August 2020 to rip some 45mm thick hardwood. Very impressed with how easily it ripped through the timber and how fast it was. The blade was at the right angle straight out
Latest review: These saws are big, heavy and powerful but thats why you buy one. Well not so much for the weight. These saws have remained a similar design for 30 years and its a well proven, simple and reliable
Latest review: This is an awesome saw. Loads of power and cuts 4x2 like butter. Operation is very straight forward, pretty much take out of the box, plug it in and start cutting. Mine was 100% accurate out of the
Latest review: Ive had one of these for years, they are powerful and useful. When i first got it i took a bit of a chance as they were fairly new on the market and only 3ah batteries were availble. Now there are
Latest review: Saw is super nice to use, eveything has been thourght of to make use easier and quicker with this saw. Great for cladding and decks. All the buttons are super nice to touch and easy to adjust the
Price (RRP) $599.00
Latest review: Good value product, battery lasts long enough to do decent days work.. design and feel of the saw fits well and is easy to use...not to
Latest review: Have owned it for about 4 years and used it for a number of applications. Easy to use depth adjustment. I like the weight I have used it in a number of roofs and you can appreciate having less mass
Latest review: I had to return this unit as the dust port was so loose it just fell out of the saw. Bunnings checked another unit for me and it had exactly the same issue. Bunnings suggested I should just wrap tape
Latest review: I'm just a DIY user, but I quickly grew past what this saw could do. The two major issues that hold it back for me are the blade cover getting stuck at the start of work, often needing to awkwardly
Latest review: Bought this mitre saw from Bunnings to make wooden garden beds. The assembly was very easy, the stand took longer than the saw itself. I was able to cut 45mm timber without any problem and the cut
Latest review: I needed a saw for a couple of jobs, and rather than buy a genny I picked up one of these battery powered ones and the big battery. Straight up I will say it's got a soft start, says that on the box,
Price (RRP) $89.99
What is a circular saw?
A circular saw is a power tool that uses a toothed blade spinning in a rapid, circular motion to produce precise, perfectly straight cuts in wood, such as MDF, plywood, and decking.
They’re most suited to cutting timber boards down to size, trimming decking, and making rough cuts from timber, although certain blades allow users to cut different materials.
Aside from the motor and blade, the main components of a circular saw are:
- A blade guard that covers the blade when you aren’t using the saw, which retracts to uncover the blade when it needs to be used.
- A foot plate that stabilises the saw against the work surface.
- A bevel adjustment that allows the foot plate to tilt in order to make bevel cuts.
- A depth adjustment to allow the user to cut through wood of different thicknesses.
There are two basic types of circular saws:
A sidewinder has a motor that sits on one side of the saw and a handle that is set above the blade. Sidewinders are the more common style because they’re generally considered to be the most suitable circular saw for home use - making them a great choice for any personal projects you want to do.
- Sidewinders are suitable for home workshop projects.
- They’re relatively lightweight and more manoeuvrable than a worm drive.
- Sidewinders are cheaper than worm drives.
- The blade of a sidewinder spins faster than that of a worm drive.
- They have less torque than a worm- drives.
- They aren’t suited to heavy-duty work.
- The design of the tool that keeps the tool’s weight on the solid part of the timber rather than the cutoff means that it can be difficult to see the cutline.
A worm-drive saw is generally narrower and longer than a sidewinder and has a motor that’s in line with the blade at the rear of the tool. Because they’re the most powerful circular saw, they’re generally preferred by many construction workers.
- They’re suitable for heavy-duty work, such as framing and major renovation jobs.
- A worm-drive saw has more torque than a sidewinder.
- The tool’s design makes it easier to follow a cutline than with a sidewinder.
- Worm-drive saws have a narrow foot which lets users get into tighter spaces.
- The extra length of a worm drive extends the user’s reach and makes it useful for gang cutting wide timber stacks or long planks.
- Because they require a gear system to convert motor motion into blade spin, worm drives are heavier than sidewinders. This can make them more difficult to move around.
What should I look for in a circular saw?
There are some features found in some circular saws that you should keep in mind when browsing store shelves which can help improve the safety and ease of use of your tool.
- Laser guide: A laser guide projects a laser onto your work surface to help you cut accurately.
- Electric brakes: The flow of electricity on a saw with electric brakes reverse when the trigger is released, providing it with the friction needed to stop the rotating blade. This means it stops a lot quicker (even as little as two seconds) than saws without electric brakes - this feature has likely saved many a blade, work piece, or even finger.
- Spindle lock: A spindle lock stops the blade from rotating so that you can safely remove it - this makes changing the blade easier.
- Built-in light: A built-in light can help illuminate your work surface and make it easier to see what you’re doing.
- Dust extraction: A dust extractor that vacuums the sawdust produced from your work will reduce dust getting in the way of your cutting track and will also make the clean up a lot simpler.
Mains-powered circular saws are generally more powerful and better suited for sustained, tough work than cordless saws, however developments in battery technology are reducing this gap. A battery circular saw does have a limited run time, however can be a great option for workspaces where a power socket isn’t available.
Ease of use
Easy to use power tools are generally safer and more likely to let you achieve exactly what you set out to do. Look for circular saws with large, smooth-cornered lever locks and easy to grasp knobs that can be adjusted with one hand - this will make it quick and easy to change the bevel settings and cutting depth.
Your safest bet is to head to your local tool shop in person and test different models out for yourself, taking note of the grip, how the handle feels in your hand, and whether it’s the right weight for you and you’re comfortable with how visible the blade and different adjustment levers are.
Corded circular saws can range from anywhere from $60 to $1200 and upwards, while cordless models can set you back from $50 to around $740.
Choosing a blade
A decent blade is one of the most important tool accessories to invest in.
You can switch out the blade in your circular saw to suit different purposes - some blades can even cut through bricks and concrete. Getting the right blade for your project can help you work safely and efficiently.
When choosing a blade, you should consider the following:
Blade size: Check the manual of the circular saw you’re considering to buy to see which size diameter blade it’s compatible with. Diameters usually range from 160mm to 305mm.
Arbor size: The arbor is the shaft to which a blade mounts, and so the arbor hole is the hole in the centre of the blade. The size of the arbor hole will differ depending on the blade size, so check that it’s compatible with your saw. If your saw has a smaller arbor size than the blade you want to use, then you can buy reduction rings (or bushes) to fit on the blade.
Speed: Some blades, particularly those for cutting metal, have the maximum revolutions per minute it can achieve listed, so you should avoid using it with a saw that goes faster than this rate.
Specialty blades: While there are plenty of blades for general purpose that you can use, a specialty blade can be more efficient and can better help you achieve your desired result. They’re particularly useful when cutting materials like aluminium, laminate, or metal, as they have teeth that are specially designed for an easy cut for their intended surface.
Number of teeth: Simply put, the more teeth your blade has, the smoother your finish will be, and vice versa. If a blade is labelled as ‘framing’ or ‘ripping’, it will likely produce a rougher finish, and if it is labelled ‘trim’ or ‘finish’ then it indicates a smoother cut.
Thinking about what features are important to you and how you intend to use your circular saw will help you choose the right tool for you and your projects that helps you make safe, efficient cuts.