Circular saws are one of the most common power tools in use today. With the appropriate blade, circular saws are capable of cutting wood, steel, masonry, and ceramic tile.
Circular saw sizes are usually classified by the diameter of their blades. Sizes range from 3 to 16 inches, but 5 3/8 to 7 1/4 inches are the most common. There are also many options available on circular saws. Choose your saw based on your specific needs.
When choosing your saw, you'll have two basic designs to choose from:
These are traditional circular saws. The motor housing sits perpendicular to the blade. A shaft runs directly from the motor to drive the blade. In-line saws are well suited to most circular saw applications and are the most common.
These have their motor housings positioned parallel with the saw blade. The motor uses gears to increase the torque transferred to the blade, which makes the saw well suited for heavy-duty use.
Where and how you use your circular saw will effect the power supply you need. Two types are available:
These are convenient when working in areas where extension cords are difficult to use. And, since they are smaller than most corded saws, they work well in confined spaces. Cordless saws are best suited to cutting wood and wood products, due to the limitations of their batteries. They can cut tough materials, but the extra power needed for those applications drains batteries quickly. Cordless saws range in size from 5 3/8" to 6 1/2".
These don't depend on batteries for power and are better suited for tough cutting jobs like masonry, steel and continuous woodcutting. Corded saws are available in many sizes, but the most common is 7 1/4".
Once you've decided on the design and power source, compare the features:
The most important part of the saw is the blade. Different blades are available for different applications. Here are a few common blades and their uses: