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Circular saws are useful for cutting lumber, plywood, posts or even metal. You can make beveled cuts as on a compound miter saw, and with the addition of guide rails, it's possible to make long straight cuts that would otherwise require a table saw. (ConsumerSearch has separate reports on miter saws and table saws.)

We found the best circular saw reviews at Tools of the Trade Online, Popular Mechanics and Fine Homebuilding - all based on excellent comparison tests. Popular Mechanics covers several budget models priced for occasional homeowner use, but oddly enough, doesn't pay much attention to safety issues. This is surprising, since the Consumer Product Safety Commission finds that most power tool accidents involving blades occur to homeowners and hobbyists. Most budget circular saws lack blade brakes, but expert reviews recommend these as an important safety feature.

Woodworking and construction publications, including Fine Homebuilding, the Journal of Light Construction and Tools of the Trade Online do cover safety issues thoroughly. Tools of the Trade also provides excellent comparison tests of eight lithium-ion-powered cordless circular saws. These batteries offer quite a few advantages over the NiCd and NiMH batteries that power most cordless power tools. For example, lithium-ion batteries maintain their charge better during storage, meaning you'll be less likely to find a drained battery in your cordless saw.

We're noticing some improvements in budget circular saws, since nearly all now come with carbide-tipped blades. However, the tests at Popular Mechanics show that the least expensive circular saws make it much harder to make accurate cuts or to follow a long cutting line, even with a guide rail. So, for hobby woodworking or do-it-yourself construction projects, it will be less frustrating to invest a bit more in a better circular saw. Reviews recommend consumer-brand circular saws - models priced below about $130 - only for occasional rough cuts where precision doesn't matter, and where the user is paying extra attention to safety. The most recent review at Tools of the Trade Online, for example, finds that it's too easy to accidentally start both the Firestorm FS1500CSL (*est. $70) and the Worx WT431K (*Est. $120).

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WORX WT431K Revolver BladeRunner 15 Amp 7-1/4-Inch Circular Saw
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from Amazon.com
New: $244.20   
Average Customer Review:  

Circular Saws Runners Up:

Milwaukee 6390-21 *Est. $135

5 picks by top review sites.

Milwaukee V28 0730-22 *Est. $400

3 picks by top review sites.

Bosch 1677M *Est. $220

3 picks by top review sites.

Porter-Cable 423MAG *Est. $140

3 picks by top review sites.

DeWalt DW369CSK *Est. $130

3 picks by top review sites.

Porter-Cable 324MAG *Est. $140

2 picks by top review sites.

Festool TS 55 EQ *Est. $475

2 picks by top review sites.

Bosch CS20 *Est. $135

2 picks by top review sites.

DeWalt DC390K *Est. $220

2 picks by top review sites.

Skil MAG SHD77M *Est. $205

2 picks by top review sites.

Makita 5007MG *Est. $135

2 picks by top review sites.

Ridgid R3203 Fuego *Est. $120

2 picks by top review sites.

Makita 5007FK *Est. $100

2 picks by top review sites.

Hitachi C7SB2 *Est. $100

2 picks by top review sites.

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Milwaukee 6390-21 7-1/4-Inch 15-Amp Tilt-Lok Circular Saw
Buy from Amazon.com
from Amazon.com
New: $260.00 $146.63   
In Stock.
Average Customer Review:  
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Milwaukee 0730-22 V28 Lithium Ion 6-1/2-Inch Cordless Circular Saw
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from Amazon.com
New: $794.00 $501.95   
Average Customer Review:  
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Bosch 1677M 7-1/4-Inch 120-Volt Wormdrive Saw
Buy from Amazon.com
from Amazon.com
New: $386.00 $222.06   
In Stock.
Average Customer Review:  
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DEWALT DW369CSK 7-1/4-Inch Lightweight Circular Saw with High Strength Base
Buy from Amazon.com
from Amazon.com
New: $254.71   
Average Customer Review:  
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PORTER-CABLE 324MAG 15 Amp 7-1/4-Inch Circular Saw with Blade Right
Buy from Amazon.com
from Amazon.com
New: $250.88   
Average Customer Review:  
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Bosch CS20 15 Amp 7-1/4-Inch Circular Saw with Direct Connect
Buy from Amazon.com
from Amazon.com
New: $248.00   
Average Customer Review:  
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DEWALT DC390K 18-Volt Ni-Cad 6-1/2-Inch Cordless Circular Saw Kit
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from Amazon.com
New: $391.20   
In Stock.
Average Customer Review:  
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SKIL SHD77M 15 Amp 7-1/4-Inch Mag Worm Drive SKILSAW Circular Saw
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from Amazon.com
New: $360.21 $179.00   
In Stock.
Average Customer Review:  
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Makita 5007MG Magnesium 7-1/4-Inch Circular Saw
Buy from Amazon.com
from Amazon.com
New: $260.00   
In Stock.
Average Customer Review:  
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Ridgid R3203 Saw, Fuego Circular 6 1/2-Inch
Buy from Amazon.com
from Amazon.com
New: $223.40 $139.95   
In Stock.
Average Customer Review:  
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Makita 5007FK 15 amp 7-1/4-inch Circular Saw with LED Light
Buy from Amazon.com
from Amazon.com
New: $220.00   
Average Customer Review:  
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Hitachi C7SB2 15 Amp 7-1/4-Inch Circular Saw
Buy from Amazon.com
from Amazon.com
New: $180.44   
In Stock.
Average Customer Review:  

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