How to Choose the Best Circular Saw for the Job

Do you want to add a powerful and versatile circular saw to your tool box? Struggling to choose the best circular saw for you? The SGS buyers guide is here to help.

Circular saws have been a staple in every serious DIY or carpenter’s toolbox for many years. These powerful, portable tools are essential for making simple, quick cuts in numerous materials - but knowing exactly what to look out for when you’re in the market for a new saw, can be time consuming and confusing. Have a look through our handy circular saw buyers’ guide for some power tool shopping tips and inspiration.

Why buy a circular saw?

Ambitious DIY projects require serious power tools, and nothing says serious quite like a circular saw. Trades people and home users alike will find times when a hand saw, or even a jigsaw, just won’t cut it, and that’s when we look to the trusty circular saw. You won’t need a circular saw if you’re building a birdhouse or only cutting the occasional wooden board, but for those larger woodcutting projects like remodelling the home or building furniture, there really is no better alternative.

If you need to be able to cut through wood like it’s butter then you’re looking at the right tool. With the right circular saw you can make quick and accurate rip cuts, cross cuts and even bevel cuts, time after time.

What to look out for when buying a circular saw

As with many power tools, there's a lots of features and statistics banded about online - it's sometimes hard to work out what the actual important information is. We've narrowed down all the lingo and selling features into four easy to spot categories, so you'll be able to work out exactly what you should be looking out for when buying a circular saw.

Cutting capacity & cutting depth

Simply speaking, the greater the cutting capacity of your saw, the thicker the wood  you'll be able to handle, and the more tasks you’ll be able to complete. To find the cutting capacity of a circular saw you need to look out for the maximum cut at 90° (without a bevel) - this will range from anywhere between 35mm and 70mm.

No-load speed

The speed your power tool’s motor rotates the saw blade will dictate how much control you’ll have over your tool when in use. Free-load-speed is a great indicator of raw sawing power, so the higher the revolutions per minute (RPM), the better! The free-load-speed will vary vastly from saw to saw, but typically you’ll see an RPM anywhere between 2,700 to 5,000+ RPM.

Bevel capacity

A good circular saw doesn’t just make simple cuts at 90°. A modern power saw will be able to make simple bevel cuts at varying angles of up to a maximum of around 55°. This is done via the use of an adjustable base plate. Always check to see if the circular saw you’re looking at has a bevel function, and if so, what it’s maximum bevel angle is and the maximum cutting depth at 45°.

Safety features

All power tools can be dangerous, but if you want to keep all your fingers it’s definitely worth picking a saw with some decent safety features. An electric brake is a handy addition to a circular saw. The ability to stop a blade quickly (especially one spinning at 5000 RPM+) can be a life saver. An electric brake is the fastest way to bring your tool to a complete stop.

Professional or DIY?

The biggest question you must ask yourself when shopping for a circular saw is, what will i be using it for? All the research in the world cannot prepare you for the frustration of trying to use a DIY grade saw every day for long continuous hours and watching it fail to keep up.

DIY grade tool are not only durable, but they are powerful and built to last. That doesn't mean however, that they can withstand the long hours and heavy operation of a professional environment. For light DIY work and occasional weekend projects a DIY grade saw is ideal, whist if you're looking for something to be used more frequently check out our professional range.


Ryobi ONE+ RWSL1801M 18V 150mm Cordless Circular Saw

The powerful Ryobi 18V ONE+ circular saw has an impressive 45mm maximum cutting depth at 90° and a useful 50° bevel capacity. This tool is perfect for the avid DIY user, in and around the home. Expect simple blade changing with the spindle lock and high performance cutting courtesy of an ultra thin TCT blade specifically designed for reducing power drain and high performance applications.

All the added extras you'd expect from Ryobi; the built in laser for enhanced cut accuracy gives you the ability to cut true time after time. The ergonomically designed GripZone mouldings on the handle make for a very comfortable and accurate tool.


Milwaukee HD18CS-0 18V Circular Saw

The Milwaukee HD18CS-0 Circular Saw is ideal for a range of applications from plumbing, electrical, framing, carpentry and finishing. The high performance ensures the most durability in a cordless saw. Alongside this is the powerful 3,500 RPM motor which cuts through tough materials with ease such as LVL headers.

An easy-to-read aircraft aluminium shoe provides a light weight durable shoe and greater accuracy in rip cuts. The blade is protected from drops with the magnesium upper and lower guards. Superior comfort and balance for easy and controlled cuts is achieved with the soft-grip ergonomic handle.

Milwaukee M18FCS66-C Fuel 184mm Circular Saw with Bag

The Milwaukee M18FCS66-C Circular Saw generates power to cut faster and gives users up to 750 cuts per charge. This tool is perfect for carpenters, re-modellers and general contractors. 
The powerstate Brushless Motor provides 5,800 RPM and higher speeds under load for corded cutting performance. Milwaukee's patterned redlink plus intelligence ensures maximum performance and protection from overload, overheating and over discharge.

All magnesium guards and shoe delivers extreme durability for job site conditions. A built-in rafter hook offers quick and easy storage. Whilst an electric brake stops the blade quickly after the trigger is released for maximum safety.

Makita DHS680Z 18V Brushless Circular Saw 165mm

The DHS680Z Circular Saw from Makita provides high no load speed of 5000rpm thank to its highly efficient brushless motor. This powerful saw boasts a 165mm diameter blade producing a max cut at 90° of 57mm, max cut at 45° of 41mm and a max cut at 50° of 37mm. With it's built in battery state indicator, which uses 3 LED lights to illuminate the amount of battery charge you have left, you'll never be caught out mid job again with loss of battery.

This model is equipped with automatic speed control to ensure optimum performance is delivered when under load. That allows to increase or reduce the speed of the saw making sure that it only uses the right amount of energy when required. This ensures optimum operation, so you get the most out of your saw, blade and battery.

Milwaukee M18CCS55-0 18V 165mm Fuel Circular Saw & Free Blade

The Milwaukee M18CCS55-0 Circular Saw has 50° bevel capacity with magnesium upper and lower guards which provide the you incredible durability for impact resistance. Maximum durability is achieved with the circular saw with the magnesium shoe, which also helps to reduce the weight of the saw. Safety is key with an integrated dust blower which keeps the cut line clear whilst hang hooks allow for safe storage of the tool.

This saw uses a powerstate™ motor which gives the you up to 2x more cuts per charge and 3x longer motor life. Redlink plus™ intelligence system gives the tool the most advanced digital overload protection in the market for the tool and battery. A 165mm blade is also included with the circular saw.

Still need help?

Our in house experts are always on hand for buying advice and to provide bespoke care, regardless of the application.

Call SGS on 01332 576 850 or fill out our contact form today.

Call SGS on 01332 576 850 or fill out our contact form today. For all the purchasing advice and support you need.