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Circular Saw Buying Guide

Wayfair Guides
Whether you're building a shed or bookshelf, invest in a circular saw that will help you with carpentry work. Picking out the perfect circular saw will take time and research because it's important to figure out what type of saws are out there and which one best fits your needs. Here, we review the four most common types of circular saws.

Types of Circular Saws

 
1. Worn-Drive Saw

Blade Diameter: 6-1/2" to 8-1/2"
Power: 12 to 15 amps
Weight: About 13 to 15 Ibs

  • Considered a heavy-duty option, a worn-drive is a professional's favorite circular saw. Used to cut studs and plywood, this saw's motor is located parallel to the blade, delivering enough torque to cut through wet limber and concrete.
 
2. Sidewinder Saw

Blade Diameter: 5" to 10"+
Power: Corded and cordless models (Corded models: 8 to 15 amps)
Weight: About 6 to 10 lbs

  • Known as a traditional or in-line saw, a sidewinder saw is typically used on construction sites. With a motor perpendicular to the blade, the saw becomes much lighter, but sacrifices some power. For heavy-duty cutting, a sidewinder saw with helical gearing delivers an increase in torque, without weighing too much.
 
3. Cordless Saw

Blade Diameter: 5" to 7-1/4"
Power: 14.4V to 24V
Weight: About 7.5 to 10 Ibs

  • Easy to transport, a cordless saw is designed without a bulky extension cord or portable generator. Featuring a smaller blade size compared to a standard blade size (7-1/4"), reducing the material thickness it can cut. Though a cordless saw is convenient, it doesn't offer the same torque speed like a corded saw.
 
4. Trim Saw

Blade Diameter: 3-1/2" to 4-1/2"
Power: Corded and cordless models (Cordless models: 4 to 8 amps)
Weight: About 4 to 7 Ibs

  • A compact and light trim saw, a trim saw can be used for any type of project, from crafts, home improvement projects and carpentry work. This type of saw is designed with a much smaller blade (usually 3-1/2" to 4-1/2"), but works just like a standard circular saw. Due to its small size, this type of saw is commonly used for finishing work. 

Common Features


  • Bevel Capability: Allows one to tilt the base to make angled cuts. 
  • Dust Management: A dust blower that enhances visibility by removing dust from the cut line. 
  • Adjustable Handle: Offers multiple positions for enhanced comfort and control. 
  • Cushioned Handle: Creates a more comfortable experience for cutting.​
  • Work Light: A built-in light to improve visibility. 
  • Electric Brake: Stops the blade quickly when you release the trigger. A good safety feature and it will also help you quickly get ready for the next cut. 
  • Laser Line: On straight cuts, a built-in laser projects a line on your work piece for enhanced accuracy and efficiency. 
  • Easy-Change Blade System: Offers one-step blade changes, either with or without the use of a tool. 
  • Rip Fence: Offering better control, this feature improves accuracy and efficiency when cutting parallel to the edge of a work piece. 
  • Heavy-Duty Base: Cast-metal and reinforced-steel bases with ridges resist bending compared to flat aluminum or stamped-steel base options. 

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