Not everyone needs a full-sized circular saw. But for home projects a small circular saw is efficient and will streamline your projects. A small circular saw is easier to carry around, more compact, and lighter. We have reviewed some of the best on the market to help you decide which one may work well for your projects.
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1. What Is a Small Circular Saw?
A small circular saw is about 50% lighter than a regular saw. It is designed to be operated with one hand and delivers the same results as a regular saw. The advantages are that it is great for vertical and overhead cutting. These are some things you should look for when buying a saw.
Look at the Blades
Most saws come with their own carbine-tipped blades which are fine for cutting wood and small projects but not for heavier tasks. The factory blade may not be able to cut through concrete, tile, or metal. There may be a need to upgrade your blade. If you want a cleaner cut, get one with more teeth. Pay attention to the size—the bigger it is, the more depth it has. A 4-inch blade is standard.
Check Out the Ergonomics
Most saws will look similar, but until you fit one in your hands, you won’t know if it is comfortable for you. The saw you buy should fit comfortably and be lightweight. A heavy saw will strain your muscles and prevent you from working for very long. Before you buy, it is also important to make sure you are comfortable with the adjustment features.
Cord or Cordless
If you have it in your budget, go for cordless as it will be more convenient. There isn’t much difference in performance between corded and cordless. If your workstation has a power outlet close to where you work there is probably no need for cordless. But a cordless saw will be more durable and powerful and most professionals use them. With a cordless unit, there is no worry about the cord and they are easy to carry around.
Pay attention to how much power the saw has as it will determine how quickly you can cut through things. Compact saws aren’t as powerful as larger ones. On average they are 3 – 5 amps. But there are also saws that come in 6 amps. Knowing what you will use it for will determine how much power you will need.
Most compact saws will cut to a depth of one inch. There are higher-end models that will go up to two inches. Do you need angled cuts? If you do, get one that can do bevel cuts.
Easy blade replacement is another important feature to look for. If you plan to use your saw frequently, you will need to change the blade at some point. Another thing to look for is a laser cutting guide. It shows straight lines in the material you are cutting to allow for accuracy. Another great feature is an LED light which will give you better visibility and accuracy. A carrying case isn’t a necessity, but it sure is convenient!
2. What Does a Small Circular Saw Do?
Small circular saws are great for cutting wood. The blade is thinner than a normal saw, nearly half the width. This reduces strain on the tool and it will rotate at a higher speed. You will be able to work faster because of the efficiency of the design.
Circular Saw Safety
Always wear safety glasses. Never hold the material you are cutting across your legs or in your hand. Secure it to a stable platform or workbench. It’s important to support your work to minimize your project moving away from you due to loss of control or blade binding.
Use the correct shape and size of arbor holes with your blades. If your mounting hardware and blades don’t match, the saw will not be safe to use. If you don’t use the correct shape and size your saw will operate erratically giving you a bad cut, vibration, and loss of control.
Never use incorrect or damaged fastening bolts or blade washers to hold the blade. These are specifically designed for your saw and for the safety of operating it. If you lose these items, get a replacement from your authorized supplier.
If proper precautions are taken you can control kickback. Make sure you have a good grip on the saw and place your arm behind and over the saw to resist kickback. Stand on either side of the saw but not in line with it. Keep the hand not operating the saw away from the travel path.
When the saw is in motion, don’t attempt to pull it back or remove it from the material as it may cause kickback. If you want to correct a binding blade or interrupt a cut release the trigger. Wait until the blade stops moving and then remove it.
3. How Does a Small Circular Saw Work?
A small circular saw has a slim grip handle with a safety trigger to protect you. The handle design is comfortable and enhances your control and grip allowing one-handed operation. Small circular saws are either corded or battery-driven. When getting a corded model note the length of the cord.
Tips for Using a Circular Saw
The small circular saw blade is perfect for cutting plastics and woods. A variety of blades are available to suit your task. When cutting along the length of the grain the blade will follow the grain which will force you away from your cutting line. Use a straight edge guide or rip fence to improve your accuracy and reduce the risk of the blade binding. Less than a full tooth of the blade should be visible below your work material. Adjust the cutting depth to the thickness of each project you work on.
4. Where Can You Buy a Small Circular Saw?
You can buy a small circular saw at most hardware stores, home improvement stores, online, and through the links we have provided in our reviews below.
How We Reviewed
The following products were reviewed based on the following parameters: features, pros & cons, price, where to buy, and warranty. We came up with this list after investing time and effort into researching different models of this product. The result is an unbiased “best of” list.
Overall Price Range of a Small Circular Saw and Similar Products
The price range of this product is $50 to $260. Each one of the small circular saws has its own strengths. A higher priced model may give you more features than a lower priced model.
What We Reviewed
- Rockwell RK3441K 4-1/2-Inch Compact Circular Saw
- Tacklife CSK77AC Mini Circular Saw
- Makita SH01ZW 3-3/8-Inch Circular Saw
- Worx Worxsaw WX429L Compact Circular-Saw
- Genesis GCS545C Compact Circular-Saw
- MasterMind 800344 Compact 3-Inch Circular Saw
- VonHaus 3-3/8-Inch Compact Handheld Circular Plunge Saw
- Dremel SM20-03 Mini & Compact Skilsaw
Rockwell RK3441K 4-1/2-Inch Compact Circular Saw
- [MORE MANEUVERABILITY] All the functionality of a full-size circular saw but in a compact design that’s easier to use,...
- [REAR MOTOR] For a more balanced feel. With the motor in the handle, you control much of the weight of the saw with just...
- [EASY DEPTH SETTING] The readily accessible adjustment lever lets you change the cut on the fly, and the bevel...
This compact model offers a 4.4-inch blade. It weighs 5 pounds and is 15.3 x 4.2 x 5.1 inches with a 10-foot cord. The 5-amp electric motor is a powerful 3,500 RPM. It has a left-handed blade design with a slim, inline grip.
This product can be found on Amazon for around $84 – $95.
- Comes with or without the blade
- Arbor-lock button allows easy blade changes
- Built-in dust port to hook up with a shop vacuum
- 3-year manufacturer’s warranty
- Laser guide feature
- Broke first day of using
- Bolt snapped off that holds blade in place
Tacklife CSK77AC Mini Circular Saw
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Laser-guided with a scale ruler makes cutting a straight line easier. Efficient and powerful, this small circular saw delivers 4,500 RPM to cut through flooring, plastics, metal, wood, and tile. Comes with six blades, a guide fence slot, a dust extraction catheter, and an Allen wrench.
This product can be found on Amazon for around $89.
- 4.5 pounds
- Left-handed blade design
- 15 x 3.3 x 5.5 inches
- 24-month warranty
- Not portable
- Cutting depth is only 1-1/8 inches
Makita SH01ZW 3-3/8-Inch Circular Saw
- Up to 70 Cuts of 1/2" x 12" Plywood Per Charge
- Makita-built motor delivers 1,400 RPM for faster cutting
- 3-3/8" blade delivers a maximum cutting depth of 1" for a wide range of cutting applications
The Makita delivers 1,400 RPM for faster cutting with a 3 3/8 inch blade for a maximum cutting depth of one inch. It has a tilting base for bevel cuts and will cut drywall, melamine, particleboard, pegboard, MDF, and plywood. In addition, it comes with a rubberized soft grip handle. The ergonomic shape fits easily in your hand. This saw is ideal for general contractors, cabinet installers, electricians, remodelers, repairmen, and maintenance professionals.
This product can be found on Amazon for around $65.
- 3.3 pounds
- Built-in dust blower
- 3-year limited warranty
- Uses only Makita batteries and chargers that aren’t included
Worx Worxsaw WX429L Compact Circular-Saw
- [SMALL FOR A REASON] Quick, more efficient cuts and you can take it with you when you don’t want to lug a big saw...
- [EZ-SET DEPTH GAUGE] The lever lets you go from 0-45 degree bevel settings with quick adjustment
- [MADE FOR LUMBER] Excellent depth-of-cut for slicing up to 2" stock lumber. Cut 2x4s in a single pass. It also cuts...
This powerful small circular saw is perfect for those DIY projects and your workshop. Make precise cuts with the parallel guide attachment. Delivers 3,500 RPM cutting power. The depth gauge is easy to set. This saw can cut through a 2-inch piece of material.
This product can be found on Amazon for around $52.
- 5.3 pounds
- Left-sided blade design offers great visibility
- 15.1 x 4.2 x 5.8 inches
- Wouldn’t make more than 1/2-inch cuts before seizing up
- Has a left bias when cutting
Genesis GCS545C Compact Circular-Saw
- Add the powerful, compact, and lightweight control grip 4-1/2 in. Compact circular saw to your tool set today!
- Powerful - 5. 8 amp motor and 3500 RPM uses triple‐gear reduction for maximum torque | Cut through 2x material with...
- Convenient - quickly cuts through all 2x material with included tungsten-carbide-tipped blade | with 4-1/2” blades,...
This small circular saw offers a triple reduction gearbox. It delivers all the power needed for projects. It easily cuts through doubled materials in one pass. An optional HSS blade will cut through aluminum and copper. The ergonomic design fits comfortably in your hand and the versatility works well with subfloor and drywall. Optional 48-inch rip cutting track system. Comes with a 24T carbide-tipped blade.
This product can be found on Amazon for around $50.
- 96-inch cord length
- 6 pounds
- 5.8 amp motor
- Portable dust port and vacuum adapter
- Blade is not 90 degrees from platform
- Bolt snapped off that holds blade
MasterMind 800344 Compact 3-Inch Circular Saw
- Three-position ergonomic handle
- Precision-cuts most building materials up 7/8 inch and tile up to 3/8 inch
- LED and laser light
The MasterMind small circular saw offers 2,800 RPM for a variety of applications such as carpentry, tile work, finishing, electrical, plumbing, and flooring. It’s lightweight and has a 3-position adjustable ergonomic designed handle for optimal comfort. It offers adjustable depth control and a laser light for better accuracy. It also includes 1 carbide-tipped blade, 2 hex wrenches, 2 non-scratch base covers, and an edge guide.
This product can be found on Amazon for around $260.
- 9.2 pounds
- LED for better visibility
- 5-year warranty
- Hard to find replacement blades
- Not easy to operate
VonHaus 3-3/8-Inch Compact Handheld Circular Plunge Saw
The versatile, slim design allows for maneuverability and, this saw can cut a variety of materials of different textures and thicknesses. It offers adjustable depth of up to an inch. This small circular saw has a 4.8 amp motor and is lightweight enough to use with one hand.
This product can be found on Amazon for around $90.
- 7.65 pounds
- 19.9 x 9.8 x 7.4 inches
- 4,000 RPM
- Cord length 6.6 feet
- Not a miter saw, but a cross saw; miter box not included
- It stopped cutting in a forward direction after using for a year
Dremel SM20-03 Mini & Compact Skilsaw
- The product is Dremel Saw-Max Kit
- Easy to use
- The product is manufactured in United States
The Dremel’s compact, ergonomic design allows for one-handed control. Make straight cuts through materials such as masonry, tile, metal, plastic, and wood. You can do flushing, plunging, and straight cutting with its two cutting wheel positions. The powerful 6 amp motor easily cuts through your projects. The line of sight and adjustable depth control allows you to see what you are cutting and give you control and precision. Comes with the SM500 plastic and wood carbide wheel and the SM510 metal cut-off wheel.
This product can be found on Amazon for around $81 – $118.
- Available in 4 configurations: Saw-Max Tool Kit, Saw-Max Tool Kit with Case, Saw-Max Cutting Kit, or Saw-Max Sm840 Miter Cutting Guide
- Worm drive gearing
- Dust extraction port
- Upon using for the first time smoke poured out it and it became very hot
- Bulky design, difficult to operate
One the best models we reviewed is the Rockwell 3441K for its versatility and comfort. The best bang for your buck is the Worx Worxsaw. But it all depends on what you will use the saw for and your budget. There are good features for each of the products we’ve reviewed, so you can’t go wrong with any of them.
Last update on 2021-06-19 at 18:26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API