5 Best Circular Saw Reviews for 2016: Corded vs. Cordless

Searching for the best circular saw reviews for 2016? We’ve got you covered!

A circular saw is one tool you’re bound to find in the tool kit of any self-respecting handyman, construction worker and serious DIYers. This tool has a multitude of applications. That’s why it is super popular among those who work with wood and metal.

5 Best Circular Saw Review
5 Best Circular Saw Reviews

A circular saw is such a versatile tool. Many people who do a bit of wood or metal working have a circular saw around. This tool is indispensable if you’re building a deck, tree house and other construction around the house or site.

That said!

What type of circular saw should you buy? Should you get the Worm-drive, Sidewinder or Trim Circular Saw? How about cordless or corded circular saw?

Even more; what brand should you get?

So many beating questions!

Buying a circular saw can be a pretty daunting experience. The hours of internet research; and trying to determine which of two seemingly similar products is right for you will take its toll.

Don’t worry!

This best circular saw reviews, guides, comparison and ultimately our recommendation has been put together to help you make the best decision.

The table of content below would help you navigate easily – Use it, only if you are in hurry, else you will miss out on this incredible guide!

Let’s get started!

Why Buy a Circular Saw?

Why do you need a circular saw? Of what use will it be to you? Keep reading and you will find out.

Cost Effective

Owning a circular saw is more cost effective in the long run. If you’re a DIYer, it makes more sense to buy one than hire one every time you need to work with wood. As a professional, owning one is a big investment. It would bring you more money.

Flexible Use

A circular saw allows you to be much more flexible in wood working and other areas. Having one means you are not bound by time and can continue working on your project at your convenience. No need having to worry about incurring more charges if you return the tool late. You already own it.

Many Applications of Use

Whether you want to build a tree house, work on your deck or change that loose board in the stairs, the circular saw offers many areas where it can be used. It is a tool that you will utilize always.

How does a Circular Saw Work?

Before we go too far, you must be wondering how the circular saw performs its myriad of tasks. Here’s how:

Usually, the material you wish to cut with your saw is clamped down securely or held in a vice. Then you move your saw along it to make the cut. The teeth in the blade facilitate this process.

The blade is what cuts your material. It has teeth which are small jagged grooves that enable your blade to cut through any material. The teeth prevent chips of your material from binding to your blade by guiding it out of your work piece.

The motor is what powers the blade to enable it to work. The motor can be powered by electricity, batteries etc. The handle portion where you hold is also an important part of your circular saw. Without it, you won’t be able to handle your saw.

And this is just the basic working principle of your circular saw.

Types of Circular Saw

There are three kinds of circular saws:

Worm-drive Circular Saw

This has its motor mounted behind its blade. It has a strong and powerful motor that makes plunge cuts easy. This type of saw usually weighs between 13 to 15lbs. They are used for tough jobs and large projects. They require sawhorses as they can get heavy over prolonged period of time.

Sidewinder Circular Saw

This saw has it motor mounted either on the left-hand or right-hand side of the blade. When the blades are on the right, a left-handed person will find it easy to use as the view isn’t blocked.

The same goes for blades on the left and right-handed people. They typically weigh between 6 to 10 lbs. They are great for cutting plywood, wet lumber, studs, concrete etc.

Trim Circular Saw

This saw weighs very little, 4 to 7 lbs on the average. They are not very common but are worth mentioning here.

The most common types of saws on the market are the sidewinder and worm-drive circular saws.

Cordless vs. Corded Circular saw (Electric)

Cordless Circular Saw

These are circular saws that are battery powered. Their batteries are rechargeable. They typically have batteries that are rated at 18V or above. All battery powered circular saws come with a charger and charge time varies from 25 to 35 minutes.

The biggest advantage of a cordless circular saw is portability. You can work anywhere without being limited by the presence/absence of a power outlet. This allows you to work in more areas.

Electric or Corded Circular Saws

These circular saws have power cords and are powered by electricity. These kinds of circular saws are usually more suited for heavy duty work as they produce massive and stable amounts of torque without stopping.

The best thing about the corded circular saw is that you can work with it for long period of time without worrying about charging your battery. Also your saw won’t slow down as electricity is delivered continuously.

Brushed vs. Brushless Circular Saw

The brushed vs. brushless circular saw question arises? Which is better?

The internal components of your circular saw affect durability and performance. Hence, what they are made of and whether these components are in contact become very important.

In a brushed circular saw, the individual components of the motor are in contact. This leads to friction which causes wear and tear of those components. This friction makes them less durable.

The brushless circular saw is the opposite of the brushed variety. The individual parts of the motor are NOT in contact. This is usually achieved with ball bearing or other methods. Brushless circular saws tend to last longer as friction is greatly reduced.

Most Popular Brands of Corded and Cordless Circular Saw

So which brands have got the best circular saws?

Choosing a brand for your circular saw can be daunting as all brands out there claim to be the “best”. We can absolutely tell you that the following brands deliver on quality:

Bosch Circular Saw: When it comes to the manufacture of circular saws, this German company is one of the best. They have been in business since 1886. The Bosch GKS 85 Professional circular saw is one of their most popular products.

Makita Circular Saw: This American company has been making quality circular saws for over a century. Makita BSS611Z circular saw is a favourite product of many customers.

Dewalt Circular Saw: For over 90 years, DeWalt has been at the forefront of innovation in the circular saw and other power tool manufacturing business. DWE575 is one of their top products from their circular saw range.

Milwaukee Circular Saw: When it comes to innovation and quality circular saws, Milwaukee is one brand anyone can trust. They have been in the business for over 85 years. One of their fast selling products is the M18 Fuel circular saw.

Choosing the best Circular Saw – What you should know!

Before we head straight up into the review – you should consider the following factors before buying a circular saw

Power

This determines how much output you’d get out of your circular saw. Circular saws typically have motors that are rated in amps. The secret to getting more torque out of your circular saw is to go for saws that have lower speeds (RPM).

Comfort:

Most circular saws look the same. But they are different. The weight of your saw affects its feel and balance. Saws that are lightweight will not cause fatigue during prolonged use. Also, saws that have cushioned handles are great

Blade Size:

The size of the blade of your circular saw is important. Most saws are categorized according to blade size. The most common is the 7-1/4 inch blade. This blade size will cut through almost any substance. It can cut materials that above 3 inches thick.

Type of Circular saw:

This is particularly important if you’re left handed. Worm-drive saws have their blades located on the left, making it visible to right-handed people. Meanwhile sidewinder saws can either be mounted on the left or right, thus not limiting the view for left- and right-handed people.

Durability:

The durability of your circular saw depends on what it is made of. Saws with brushless motors tend to last longer than those without. Circular saws with magnesium gear housing last longer. This is because magnesium gear housing protects the motor without adding more weight to the saw. Also, go for saws with heavy duty base (reinforced steel and cast metal), so they don’t bend during use.

Purpose:

Most saws come with carbide-tipped all-purpose wood cutting blade. You have to consider what you’d be using the saw for. If you’re planning on working with metals, plastic or concrete, you may have to buy a special blade or simply go for saws that come exclusively for those material e.g. metal cutting circular saws.

Bevel Capability:

This is an important factor to consider. If you’re going to be making angled cuts, bevel capability is one feature your saw must have. Be sure to keep an eye out for saws with the capability to make bevel cuts.

Safety:

One safety feature we believe should be the absolute standard on all circular saws is the electronic brake. An electronic brake stops your saw immediately. It helps prevent damage to your work as well as to your person.

Cutting Guide:

A cutting guide of some kind is a necessity on a circular saw. Some brands come with a laser guide, others come with rip fences. No matter which it comes with, a cutting guide is necessary to help you make more accurate cuts.

Comparison of the 5 best Circular Saw

Ok, here is a comparison of the 5 best circular saws we are going to review below

 Makita XSH03ZMilwaukee 2730-21Dewalt DCS391BMakita 5007MGARockwell RK3440K
Voltage181820120120
RPM50005000525058003500
Blade Size6-1/2 inches6-1/2 inches6-1/2 inches7-1/4 inches3-3/8 inches
Saw TypeCordlessCordlessCordlessCordedCorded
Bevel Angle50505056None
Motor TypeBrushlessBrushlessBrushedBrushedBrushed
Weight lbs7.386.310.13.4
WrenchYesYesYesYesYes
Arbor size5/8 inches5/8 inches5/8 inches5/8 inches3/8 inches
Perpendicular Cutting Depth2-1/4"2-3/16"2-1/4"2-1/2"1-1/16"
Work LightYesYesNoneYesNone
Warranty3 years5 years3 years1 year2 years

Finally, our 5 best circular saws out of the 15 we tested. This would hopefully help you narrow down your search:

Quick Review of the FIVE best Circular Saws – Corded and Cordless

 1, Makita XSH03Z Circular Saw Review

Makita XSH03Z Best Circular Saw Review

Opening up our best circular saw reviews is the Makita XSH03Z. This is one quality saw from the Makita brand. Here’s what we love about it.

The XSH03Z is a cordless circular saw rated at 18V. It can reach speeds of up to 5,000 RPM. Talk about amazing torque to handle working on your patio, deck, garage bench etc.

It comes with a carbide-tipped blade of 6-1/2 inch. The 24t blade on the Makita XSH03Z has a cutting capacity of 2-1/4 inches at 90 degrees. It can make angle (bevel) cuts up to 50 degrees.

Blade break is one safety feature we definitely love on the XSH03Z. The blade is mounted on the left-hand side. This makes it very easy for right-handed people to use.

Weighing just 7.3 lbs with battery, the Makita XSH03Z is very light weight. Its brushless motor means this saw would be super durable. Its work light and blower are extra touches we like. The work light actually lights up well in dark corners.

A battery gauge is a nice feature to have on the Makita XSH03Z. Another feature we really love is the automatic speed change. The saw automatically adjusts its speed to suit whatever task you’re performing.

We really enjoyed using this tool. But we didn’t like how hard it was to see the angle adjustment indicator on the Makita XSH03Z. We ended up measuring by hand.

Other than this tiny flaw, the Makita XSH03Z is a great circular saw. It delivers on great torque output, efficiency and durability. If you’re a contractor or a serious DIYer, this saw is one that is equal to any task you might take on.

Buy Makita XSH03Z from Amazon

2, Milwaukee 2730-21 M18 Fuel Circular Saw Review

Milwaukee 2730-21 M18 Fuel Best Circular Saw Review

Milwaukee 2730-21 is the second saw on our best circular saw review list. This is one saw you’re going to love almost as much as we do.

Milwaukee 2730-21 is a cordless circular saw rated at 18V. It has a maximum speed of 5,000 RPM. It’s got plenty of power to tackle any carpentry task you can dream up.

This saw comes with a 6-1/2 inch blade. The maximum bevel capacity of the Milwaukee 2730-21 is 50 degrees. The arbour size on the 2730-21 is 5/8 inches.

A blade wrench is also included with the accessories that come with the 2730-21. This makes it easy to swap blades depending on the material you’re working on. A carrying case is one addition we really love.

Milwaukee 2730-21 weighs just 8 lbs. It is very light and feels well balanced during use. A fuel gauge and an LED work light are additional features that make this saw awesome.

Milwaukee isn’t joking about the durability of this particular saw. In addition to the brushless motor, the saw guard and shoe are made of cast magnesium. Magnesium is one of the most durable metals out there.

The two batteries on this tool are out of this world. Each last about 4 hours. Talk about enough energy to finish up work anywhere.

We spent hours playing with the Milwaukee 2730-21. And we still didn’t find anything wrong with it. This circular saw is great for carpenters, contractors and DIYers passionate about efficiency and getting enough power to work for long periods. Passing it up would be a mistake.

Buy Milwaukee 2730-21 from Amazon

3, DeWalt DCS391B Circular Saw Review

DeWalt DCS391B Best Circular Saw Review

Coming in third on our best circular saw review list is a quality product from the DeWalt brand. The DCS391B is one circular saw that’s giving other saws on our list a run for their money.

DeWalt DCS391B is a cordless circular saw rated at 20V. It has a maximum speed of 5,250 RPM. This circular saw has enough power to handle any panelling, framing or moulding task you’ve got.

The DCS391B comes with a carbide-tipped blade of 6-1/2 inches. It can handle angle cuts of up to 50 degrees. The blade on the DeWalt DCS391B can make perpendicular cuts of 2-1/4 inches.

Arbour size on the DCS391B is 5/8 inches. An Allen wrench for easy blade removal is included. The cut depth and tilt adjustment knobs are solid and lock really well during use.

DeWalt DCS391B weighs 6.3 lbs. It is light enough to be comfortable when working on a ladder. The saw shoe is made of magnesium. It’s guaranteed to last for years.

One feature we loved on the DeWalt DCS391B is the blade break. When you’re using the saw and you take your hand off the trigger, the blade stops spinning within seconds. It’s a really great safety feature!

DeWalt DCS391B is one saw we really enjoyed testing out. We really hate the plastic blade guard on the saw. It catches on thin material like Luan boards. It was such a hassle to constantly reduce the blade depth.

Other than this, the DeWalt DCS391B is a great circular saw. If mobility, awesome output and accuracy are what you want, then this circular saw is for you. It would make a perfect addition to the tool kit of any contractor, professional re-modeller and carpenter out there. 

Buy Dewalt DCS391B from Amazon

4, Makita 5007MGA Circular Saw Review

Makita 5007MGA Best Circular Saw Review

Makita brand is known for making the best circular saws out there. Makita 5007MGA is number four on our list, and it doesn’t disappoint.

Makita 5007MGA is a corded circular saw with a 15 amp motor rated at 120V. It has a speed of 5,800 RPM. This is enough speed to handle panelling, working on floors, roofs and walls.

The 5007MGA comes with a carbide-tipped right-side mounted blade of 7-1/4 inches. It has a maximum bevel capacity of 56 degrees. This saw makes cuts of 2-1/2 inches at 90 degrees.

In addition to its 24t blade, Makita 5007MGA comes with a hex blade wrench. This feature makes it easy to swap blades. It has an arbour size of 5/8 inches.

Weighing 10.1 lbs, the Makita 5007MGA is not as light as the other saws on this list. It has an 8-foot long power cord. A rip fence and a carrying case are other accessories that accompany this saw.

One of the features we all agreed we loved on the Makita 5007MGA is the electric brake. It stops the blade in 3 seconds flat. Believe me, we timed it. The two LED work lights are a nice touch.

Another bonus is the magnesium coated components which are super-durable. We love that you can just change blades and start working on masonry or metal with this saw. Its versatility is so awesome!

The only complaint you’d hear from us about this saw is the carrying case. It can only fit one extra blade. We wish it had more space for more. Also, the motor on this saw isn’t brushless.

Makita 5007MGA is an excellent circular saw. Durable, compact and has enough power for many cutting tasks. Any contractor, carpenter, professional remodeller and DIYer who wants a saw for all tasks and materials should definitely buy the Makita 5007MGA. 

Buy Makita 5007MGA from Amazon

5, Rockwell RK3440K Circular Saw Review

Rockwell RK3440K Circular Saw Review1

Last on our best circular saw review list is the Rockwell RK3440K. Just because it’s the last doesn’t mean it’s the least.

Rockwell RK3440K is corded saw with a 4 amp motor rated at 120V. It can reach speeds of up to 3,500 RPM. This is enough to handle cutting through tiles, PVC, wood, sheet metal etc.

The RK3440K comes with a variety of blades. A carbide tipped 24t blade for cutting wood, a 44t HSS blade for aluminium and PVC, and a diamond blade for ceramic and cement. All the blades are 3-3/8 inches.

Rockwell RK3440K has a depth cut of 1-1/6 inches. It comes with an Allen wrench for easy change of blades. A laser guide indication takes this saw to the next level.

Weighing just 3.4 lbs, the Rockwell RK3440K is the lightest saw we tested. The balance was really great even though the saw is light. For how small it is, this saw is a power beast.

This circular saw also comes with a straight edge cutting guide. A dust extraction router to keep the dust away from your line of cut is included. The depth adjustment on this here saw is easy to use.

Rockwell RK3440K is a personal favourite. Really wish it had some bevel capacity. That would have elevated this saw to another level.

Also, we hate how the laser guide becomes really faint in bright areas. Even after changing batteries, it was still faint in daylight. A brighter laser guide would have been wonderful.

All in all, the Rockwell RK3440K is a good saw. Contractors, carpenters and DIYers who work with different surfaces regularly should absolutely go for this saw. It already saves you money on extra blades. 

Buy Rockwell RK3440K from Amazon

Conclusion

You’ve made it to the end of our reviews. We hope you had enough fun learning about circular saws as we did testing and writing about them.

We’re sure you’re off now to go buy one of the best circular saws above for yourself.

Still confused?

Here are a few recommendations to help:

  • If you’re in the market for the best budget or valued cordless circular saw, then the Milwaukee 2730-21 is definitely the saw to get. It’s got enough accessories to make it a wise investment.
  • Looking for the best corded circular saw, buy the Makita 5007MGA. Solid feel, a ton of torque and a strong power cord that can withstand being stressed!
  • If we ever wanted to buy the best cordless circular saw out there, our choice would definitely be the Makita XSH03Z. It is made to last, lightweight and has good power and torque!

Still have questions, drop us a comment and we’d get back to you.

 

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