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What to Look for in a Circular Saw

by Jonathan Logtenberg

If you’re looking to do a bit of DIY, a circular saw is a great addition to your tool set. With the right blade, you can cut anything from wood to steel so that you can complete the project of your dreams. Before you buy, it’s important to know what features you should be looking out for in a good circular saw. Understanding what’s out there and how to purchase an option to suit your needs is important to make sure that you get the right product. Luckily for you, Surf’n’Buy have all the information you need to get started so you can get out there and get building.


There are two kinds of power supply for a circular saw: corded and cordless. Corded circular saws are useful because they do not rely on a battery charge for their power and are usually much more powerful and cordless versions. This makes them more suitable for cutting tougher materials such as metals, or for longer cutting sessions. There is also a larger range of sizes in corded versions because they do a wider variety of jobs. The only drawback to these options is that they require a mains output and potentially extension cords, which can be a health and safety risk, so be aware of this.

Cordless versions are much more portable and handy to use in areas when a mains or cables may not be readily available. These options are not as strong but will still get the job done when you’re looking to cut wood and other materials. The main drawback of these versions is that the battery may drain rather quickly if you are using the circular saw for a particularly tough material, so a back up battery may be a good consideration.


Depending on what you are cutting, you will need a different level of motor in your circular saw. If you are using the circular saw mostly for wood or hobby work, you won’t need a particularly powerful model. However, professionals will need to ensure the circular saw will cut a large variety of materials to cover all situations. More expensive models will come with features to increase the durability of the motor, but maintenance is also key to keep your saw working for as long as possible. Make sure to consider the manufacturers recommendations on the circular saw, as they will alert you to the materials each product is better suited for.

Saw and Blade Settings

Almost every model will have settings to adjust the depth and angle of the saw for different purposes. These are usually locked into place to keep the saw from slipping and ruining your project. Before you get started, make sure to have a look at the settings you will most commonly need from your circular saw so as to get the right option. Some cheaper options don’t offer the feature to allow bevelling, but almost all will allow you to change the depth.


Durability comes from a number of different areas when it comes to a circular saw. The first is the motor. More expensive options are designed to require minimum maintenance in order to ensure durability, but cheaper models may need a little bit more. Moreover, higher powered motors will be more likely to last, especially if you are using the circular saw for particularly tough materials. The exterior of the circular saw is also an important consideration as metal casing will last much longer than plastic features as it is less prone to breaking.  This is especially useful when working on a busy site where things may fall on the saw and cause damage.


Sightlines allow you to cut a straighter line when moving the saw down a material. Generally, you will have to bend in order to see these, so some models make these sight lines much easier to see. If you have issues bending or you have slightly poorer eyesight, it is recommended to buy a circular saw with more obvious sight lines to keep your lines clear and straight. Comfortability is essential when using a circular saw as it will help you concentrate and stay safe when using a piece of heavy machinery.


Speaking of safety, something that you absolutely must consider when buying a circular saw are the safety features. The two most important are blade guards and blade breaks, with a cut out feature coming in third when purchasing a corded version. The blade guard forms a physical barrier between the blade and everything else so that you don’t risk getting anything damaged.

The blade guard covers the blade when it is not in use and slides back to allow the saw to cut. Once you are finished, it will slide back into place automatically so you don’t have to remember to replace it. This is important to ensure safe storage and transportation. A cut out feature ensures that, on the off chance you cut through a cable, there is no complete circuit formed which would electrocute the user. Instead, the circular saw simply cuts out immediately to keep people in the surrounding area safe.


The final thing to think about is accessories. Obvious safety accessories are proper gloves and goggles, but other options are things like different blades for different uses. Although a small consideration, take the time to look at the compatibility of the circular saw with other add ons.

Finding the right circular saw can open a world of DIY you never knew existed, but it is important that it fits your needs. There is no point in buying a circular saw which is far too expensive and does far more than you need it to.  However, if you don’t spend enough you may not get the features you need and will end up disappointed. We hope that this guide has helped you better understand what you need to look out for in a circular saw so that you find the right model for your next project.

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