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Top 14 Circular Saw Reviews

By: Amy Livingston on February 14, 2018

In this report

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Circular Saws: Ratings of Sources

Danny Chadwick, Dec. 20, 2017

A team of reviewers at Top Ten Reviews puts eight circular saws through a battery of tests for accuracy, power, and ease of use. They cut 2-by-4s and plywood at multiple angles and depths, measured noise levels, and checked to see what options each manufacturer offers for customer support. Each tool gets separate scores for design, cutting features, power features, and support, as well as a write-up that summarizes pros and cons.

Doug Mahoney, April 2015

A carpenter with 15 years of experience tests eight 6 ½-inch, 18-volt cordless circular saws from seven top brands. He measures how long they take to make ten crosscuts through a 2x12 and how many linear feet they can cut from a from a sheet of 3⁄4-inch plywood before running out of juice, then uses them around the shop to evaluate their features and ease of use. The article is available only to site subscribers.

Richard Romanski, Jan. 17, 2017

Reviewers at Popular Mechanics test the five lightest circular saws on the market, including models from Craftsman, Rigid, Skilsaw, Makita, and DeWalt. They put each saw through its paces – ripping, crosscutting, beveling, and cutting compound miters – and rate it on a five-star scale. They also provide a brief summary of their likes and dislikes, though there's little detail and no direct comparison between saws.

Editors of Family Handyman, 2018

Editors at Family Handyman put a dozen cordless circular saws to the test, ranging from a 12-volt Milwaukee with a 5-3/8" blade to a 36-volt, 7-1/4" Makita. They track cutting speed and run time while crosscutting a 2-by-8 and ripping 3/4-inch fir plywood, then tilt each saw to 45 degrees to crosscut bevels on 2-by10s. Each saw gets a brief write-up summarizing its pros and cons, and a table compares their specs.

Michael Springer, Dec. 14, 2012

Michael Springer tests eight cordless circular saws (including one that's now discontinued) for power, runtime, and accuracy. He times how long each blade takes to get through a 4-foot "test blank" 1-3/8 inches thick at top speed, counts the number of cuts it takes to wear out each saw's battery, and checks the accuracy of their cut-line markers with a framing square. You must register with the site to read the article, but that's free.

Chris Marshall, June 1, 2013

Chris Marshall puts five 18-volt, 6-1⁄2-inch cordless circular saws to the test, cutting sheets of plywood to strips and making repeated crosscuts on hard, resinous pine 2×12s. Tested saws include "professional quality" models from Bosch, DeWalt, Hitachi, Makita, and Milwaukee. Each saw gets a write-up a few paragraphs long covering performance, charging time, rundown time, and features. One of the five tested saws is now discontinued.

Editors of Family Handyman, Not dated

Five Family Handyman staffers with about 80 years of combined carpentry experience test 13 7-1/4-in. sidewinder saws from popular brands, ripping and crosscutting boards and making 45-degree by 45-degree compound angle cuts in a 2x10. Testers also evaluate comfort, balance, and features before naming their two Editors' Choice picks: Best Overall and Best Mid-Priced Saw. The article also provides useful advice on what to look for in a saw.

Michael Springer, Jan. 19, 2012

In this review, Michael Springer puts 14 sidewinder circular saws through a series of tests to evaluate power, cutline accuracy, and the effectiveness of the blade guards. He also sizes up build quality, features, and ease of use. He then names his top pick and his best value pick, plus five others "worth considering." However, two of his top picks are discontinued. The article is only available to paid subscribers.

Contributors to Amazon, As of February 2018

Amazon lists more than 650 items in its "power circular saws" category, including sidewinder, cordless, and worm-drive saws. More than 250 models have at least some user feedback, and about a dozen receive high overall ratings from 150 users or more. A few of the top-rated models here are compact saws with blades less than 5 inches in diameter, which we don't cover in this report.

Contributors to Home Depot, As of February 2018

There are over 150 corded and cordless circular saws available on Home Depot's website, spanning major brands such as DeWalt, Milwaukee, Makita, Ridgid, and SKIL. However, only about half a dozen receive strong feedback -- at least 4.5 stars out of 5 overall -- from more than 100 users. The site provides separate ratings for quality and value for each saw, as well as the percentage of owners that would recommend it.

Roy Berendsohn, Sep. 13, 2012

Roy Berendsohn describes cordless circular saws as "smaller, quieter, and less intimidating than their corded counterparts," making them ideal for home repairs and smaller building jobs. In this review, testers run 12 18-volt cordless circular saws through 3/4-inch plywood to see how many linear feet they can rip on a single charge. Each saw gets a 1- to 5-star rating and a brief write-up summarizing likes and dislikes. Two of the top-rated saws are discontinued.

Contributors to Lowe's, As of February 2018

The selection of circular saws at Lowe's includes about 50 different models from brands such as DeWalt, Hitachi, Porter-Cable, and SKIL. Most of these saws receive at least one or two reviews from users, but only a handful have overall ratings of 4.5 stars or better from at least 50 users. Individual reviews are fairly short and can be sorted by date, rating, or relevance.

Tim Uhler, July 1, 2011

Tim Uhler recommends inline circular saws (worm drive or hypoid) as "more durable and less likely to bog down" than sidewinders. For this review, he tests six 7.25-inch saws from different manufacturers -- Bosch, DeWalt, Makita, Milwaukee, Ridgid, and SKIL -- by using them in his framing business. Then he evaluates each saw based on power, features, and ease of use. Once again, registration (free) is required to read the article.

Contributors to Sears, As of February 2018

Sears offers more than 300 corded and 100 cordless circular saws for sale. However, the vast majority most of these have no user reviews, and hardly any have accumulated enough reviews to make the average ratings significant. Still, this is the best site to find reviews of Craftsman circular saws.

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