The Best Circular Saw for 2017 – Complete Buying Guide & Reviews
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If we were buying a circular saw ourselves, we wouldn't hesitate to get the DeWalt DWE575SB. The stock blade is capable, the 15 amp motor is powerful and it comes with some thoughtful features like an integrated dust blower - all in a light, 8.8 lbs. package.
Look into any handy-man’s tool bag and you are sure to find a circular saw. It is easily one of the most essential tools for any project that requires the cutting of wood. From building decks to tree houses one thing is sure, your circular saw will be well utilized.
Our “Best Circular Saw Guide” will help you narrow down a few of the top models on the market.
Needless to say, there are literally hundreds of different options - for all budgets. In fact, look how many different circular saws are sold on Amazon at the time of this writing:
When beginning your search for the best circular saw for you, there is one thing you will notice right away…the distinctions between circular saws is kind of underwhelming. Sometimes you can find one circular saw and think “looks good to me”, and right next to it is another and it “looks good to you”, and they are fifty dollars apart from one another.
You stare and you read and you stare, and still, you can’t figure out (besides brand and color) what the difference between the two is.
Here I’ve attempted to find four circular saws in similar classes and price points that, at the same time, have distinct features from one another. The DeWalt DWE575SB has an electric brake.
The Hitachi C7ST has distinct styling, a powerful motor and low center of gravity. Bosch brings us theCS5 and its left-blade design that make’s the lives of all right-handers much easier. Porter-Cable essentially invented the motor technology used in most circular saws today, and in the PC15CSLK circular saw, you’ll find that a low price point still provides exceptional quality.
Quick Look: Top Circular Saws On Our List
Circular Saw Name
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It all comes down to what is important to you, the user. Based on the reviews of these four industry leading saws, you can make an educated decision that gives you the confidence to know, you’re purchasing the best circular saw for you.
DEWALT DWE575SB CIRCULAR SAW W/ELECTRIC BRAKE REVIEW
Dewalt dwe75sb ESTHETICS & DURABILITY
The DeWalt DWE575SB is designed for durability and ease of use. The lower guard is a ball bearing design that is very durable and guards against dust for smooth retraction. The shoe is made up of high grade stamped aluminum that provides a durable and accurate base for cutting. There is even a built-in dust blower that clears the sight line while cutting.
The DeWalt DWE575SB is an extremely light saw. At only 8.8 lbs it is easily one of the lightest saws in its class. Let’s be honest, if you are using a circular on a regular basis it can be tiring after a while. And what happens when you get tired? You start making mistakes. A mistake with even the best circular saw can not only affect your work, but can be dangerous as well.
DEWALT DWE575SB FUNCTION
Despite the DeWalt DWE575SB’s small size, it is a powerful little circular saw. This saw should have zero problems performing even the most demanding applications. It has a Max Watts Out of 1,950 and 5,100 RPM. If you don’t know what that means… It means it will be just fine for the job.
For you more experienced carpenters, you’ll be glad to hear the DeWalt DWE575SB features a 57 degree bevel capacity, with 22.5 and 45 degree detents, and a 2 9/16 inch depth of cut capacity. That’s best in its class by the way.
One of the best features of the DeWalt DWE575SB is the electric brake. Not many circular saws come with this feature and it is definitely a massive benefit. If you’ve ever used a circular saw you know the blade will spin for what seems like forever after you’ve let off the trigger.
Most of the time I would just press the blade against a scrap piece of wood to get it to stop. With the DeWalt DWE575SB, once you let off the trigger, the electric brake is activated and the blade stops. It’s pretty awesome actually! The electric brake design makes the DeWalt DWE575SB one of the best circular saws for safety.
The DeWalt circular saw comes with an 18t blade, which is fine for really rough cuts. I always upgrade a little and try to go with a 60t blade. The Diablo 60t blade is really nice and gives you much smoother cuts than the 18t that comes with the saw.
The DeWalt DWE575SB circular saw is very well balanced, which really helps when making awkward cuts or have a ton of material. This circular saw is also a very good balance between powerful and quiet. It has a lot of power but won’t leave you deaf after a long days work.
DEWALT DWE575SB NIT PICKING
I have read a few reviews of people talking about quality issues with certain parts. I chose not to mention specifics in my review because I haven’t had the same problems. As with any product, there will be quality control issues. DeWalt, for the most part, is known for its quality.
This DeWalt circular saw with electric brake is our top overall choice because it simply gets the job done. Besides that, the safety features make it a great saw for both beginner and advanced users.
HITACHI C7ST CIRCULAR SAW REVIEW
HITACHI C7ST ESTHETICS & DURABILITY
Hitachi is one of those brands people tend to overlook. In reality, people should be paying close attention to this relative newcomer to the power tool world. Hitachi was founded as an engineering conglomerate in the early 1900’s and is based out of Japan.
The company’s first product was Japan’s first 5-horsepower electric induction motor. Stands to reason you’re going to get a quality motor if nothing else. Yet, the truth is, Hitachi power tools are great quality and relatively inexpensive.
When I talk to people, more often than not, I hear a lot of skepticism concerning the Hitachi brand. Admittedly, I was skeptical myself when I bought my dad a Hitachi nailer for Father’s Day about 8 years ago. He loved it then and still uses it today. Suffice it to say, I am no longer a skeptic.
The Hitachi C7ST is certainly not an exception to the good track record and quality I have experienced with their tools. The C7ST will offer you a powerful 15-amp motor boasting up to 6,000 RPM. You won’t find much you can’t do with the Hitachi C7ST circular saw.
Hitachi tools have a tendency to be a little more stylized than their competitors. As we all know, style alone won’t make this the best circular saw on the market.
But, their signature green color is hard to miss, and just like the DeWalt yellow, it’s never a bad thing to establish oneself with style. But, don’t let the cool colors and style fool you.
The Hitachi C7ST is very well made. At 9.5 lbs the Hitachi C7ST is lightweight and still very strong and durable. The base is one solid piece made out of steel and aluminum and offers east to read side scales for more accurate measurements.
The price point of the Hitachi C7ST is pretty remarkable for the level of quality you receive. There isn't much it can't do, and because it is lightweight it can really be used by just about anyone.
HITACHI C7ST FUNCTION
The saw comes with a 24 tooth blade that is ideal for rough cuts. If you’re looking for a more fine and finished edge you should upgrade to a 60 tooth blade or higher. If you stay right around 60t you can still get fast cuts but with a smoother finish.The Hitachi C7ST circular saw will not only give you precise 90 degree cuts, but bevels ranging from 0-45 degrees with most materials. Although, much of the DIY crowd will be using their circular for standard cuts, the more comfortable you get and skill you obtain, it’s nice to know this saw can accommodate your growth. The low center of gravity and blade guard also help keep your hands safe while delivering accurate cuts.
A lot of circular saws are beginning to integrate dust blowers that clear your line of sight as you cut. The Hitachi C7ST is no exception and is thought to be one of the best in its class. For ease of use, the C7ST also incorporates a dust chute to expel dust and chips, a soft grip handle reducing vibration, and a single handed bevel adjustment. These features are meant to increase comfort and functionality.
As previously discussed, Hitachi has been making motors since the early 1900’s. So, it is no secret that when you buy a Hitachi C7ST circular saw, you are buying a workhorse. When you have a big job and are working for hours and hours, you can rely on the fact that the C7ST is up to the task. Overheating does not seem to be in the Hitachi vocabulary.
The price point on the Hitachi C7ST is on the low end. Of course, you can find cheaper circular saws but let’s be honest, you’re buying a cheaper circular saw. With the Hitachi C7ST you are getting a great, reliable circular saw for a great price.
HITACHI C7ST NIT PICKING
I’ve heard a few people complain that the locking levers can be difficult to release. However, I kind of like the fact that when I lock the lever down, it’s not going to break free on its own. This saw come with a nice hard case but it might take a few minutes to figure out how it fits. Not much to complain about with the Hitachi C7ST is a very good thing.
Circular Saw Name
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BOSCH CS5 LEFT-BLADE CIRCULAR SAW REVIEW
BOSCH CS5 ESTHETICS & DURABILITY
The Bosch CS5 is a lightweight saw with robust power at 15 amps and 6,200 RPM. I have a friend that uses this saw every day. Let’s call him Eric. Eric builds decks for a living and has seriously put the Bosch CS5 circular saw through the proverbial ringer.
Eric has had the Bosch CS5 for about a year now and has boasted that this little monster will cut through anything. He frequently uses the Bosch CS5 to cut through hard woods like Grappa and wet pressure-treated 2x’s.
I’d say you have quite a durable little saw here.
The Bosch CS5 has an anti-snag lower guard which allows you to continue cutting without having to advance the guard, which is a pretty nice feature for seamless transitions. Another cool feature is the on-board blade wrench and a tool-free spindle lock. No more walking back to your bag to find the wrench here.
The Bosch CS5 circular saw is a mid-range priced saw. However, for a left-blade designed saw it is actually quite affordable. Generally, a left-blade design means you can add around $50 or so to the price. Bosch has kept its price relatively affordable though.
BOSCH CS5 FUNCTION
According to a variety of surveys only about 15% of people are left-handed. According to one study left-handers live on average approximately 9 years fewer than right-handers.
Why these useless facts?
Because the Bosch CS5 circular saw is a left- blade saw. This doesn’t mean they are catering to the 15% of left-handers out there.
In contrast, it means they are going with the odds and have designed a saw that makes it easier for righties. Bold move if I say so myself. What does this mean exactly?
Well, if you’ve ever used a circular saw (and are right-handed) you well know it is very difficult to see what you’re cutting. With Bosch’s left-blade design you don’t have to wait until the cut is through to see if you did it right.
You will see what you’re cutting as you cut it making this a serious contender in the best circular saw for righties.
As with most circular saws, the Bosch CS5 comes with a 24 tooth carbide blade. Again, this blade is sufficient for rough cuts but will not work for the harder woods mentioned above. For harder wood you really need to invest in a higher end blade like a 60t Diablo or Freud.
Also, keep in mind, because of the left-blade design the 24t Bosch blade that comes with the saw is installed with the logo facing outward. Any other brand you purchase will most like need to be installed with the logo facing inward.
I was intrigued by the Left-blade design on this saw. With as much sawdust that any circular saw kicks up, I know the importance of a clear line of sight for both safety and accuracy. The Bosch CS5 has a 'gentle' start, a plus for fatigued wrists, and the 15 amp motor runs much quieter than my old 12 amp.
When making cross-cuts using a speed square, the advantage of the left-blade design becomes apparent--since the blade is closer to the square, all important clamping can be done closer to the cut line without getting in the way..."
Home Depot Reviewer
BOSCH CS5 NIT PICKING
There is one flaw to the left-blade design on the Bosch CS5. Granted, it is a huge benefit to be able to see your cut all the way through. However, because the Bosch CS5 doesn’t come with an integrated dust chute, much of the sawdust is propelled toward the user.
At the same time, most would agree, the left-blade design is worth the inevitable dusty shirt. It kind of goes without saying…this saw isn’t for lefties. Also, the Bosch CS5 doesn’t have the safety switch that most saws in its class have (the little button you have to depress before the trigger). This can be a safety concern if you’re not careful.
The Bosch CS5 has plenty of power for just about any job you throw at it. However, you might want to look at upgrading the stock blade depending on your needs. Either way, there is still quite a bit to like about it.
PORTER-CABLE PC15CSLK CIRCULAR SAW REVIEW
PORTER-CABLE PC15CSLK ESTHETICS & DURABILITY
Porter-Cable has an interesting history. They first came on the scene (or more accurately a garage) in 1906 as a tool and machining company. Not long after they were at the forefront of ground breaking engineering in the handheld power tool world.
In fact, Porter-Cable introduced the first portable belt sander in 1926. Relevantly, they also were the first to introduce the helical-gear circular saw in 1926, which is still the most widely used design today. In the 60’s Porter-Cable was bought by Rockwell who disbanded the name and sold low-quality power tools.
Hence, the reason you could find Porter-Cable power tools for about 20 years. However, in the 80’s they were acquired by Pentair Inc. who brought back not only the Porter-Cable name, but the quality as well.
The Porter-Cable PC15CSLK circular saw is a beast of a machine. Capable of producing around 5,000 RPM and 15 amps The Porter-Cable PC15CSLK is ready for just about any cutting job around the house. The durable design and heavy-duty, ball bearing motor construction will ensure this circular saw is around for the long haul.
You’re not going to find a lot of frills with the Porter-Cable PC15CSLK circular saw. It is a simple and reliable machine built to get the job done. It isn’t a pretty saw and in fact it looks quite industrial. However, none of those things matter if it doesn’t get the job done.
The price point on the Porter-Cable PC15CSLK is fairly low, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t getting a reliable machine. You will be hard pressed to find negative feedback from someone who has put the Porter-Cable PC15CSLK through its paces.
PORTER-CABLE PC15CSLK FUNCTION
The Porter-Cable PC15CSLK has a wide-range of uses and can bevel edges between 0 and 45 degrees. It is also easy to adjust the depth with the spindle lock feature that allows you to use only one wrench. Unlike other circular saws the Porter-Cable PC15CSLK has a secondary handle instead of just a knob for added stability. The soft-grip handles greatly decrease vibration as well.
If you’re looking for accurate cuts look no further. The Porter-Cable PC15CSLK circular saw has an integrated laser guide that aligns the blade to the cut line. This really helps with right-handed users that are unable to see what they are cutting until it’s too late.
For even more accuracy, the Porter-Cable PC15CSLK has kerf indicators that align the blade to the indicator.
One of the best features of the Porter-Cable PC15CSLK isn’t even the saw itself. It’s the heavy-duty bag it comes with. In most cases you don’t get anything with your saw other than a blade and a wrench.
The bag with this saw is both big and durable enough to last as long as the saw itself. As with most saws, the Porter-Cable PC15CSLK comes with a 24 tooth carbide blade that will need to be upgraded to a higher tooth if you’re looking for cleaner cuts.
PORTER-CABLE PC15CSLK NIT PICKING
A lot of reviews on the Porter-Cable PC15CSLK circular saw refer to the weight of the saw as a negative. However, this saw is only about 9.1 lbs. It’s actually lighter than the Bosch and relatively average. Besides, many who work with circular saws on a regular basis feel the weight adds to the stability.
Looking For a Compact Circular Saw Instead?
We've compiled a similar guide to compact circular saws, which can actually replace smaller standard circular saws for many jobs. If you're interested, click here to see our buying guide.
STILL NOT SURE?
We’ve went pretty in-depth on our top choices for circular saws, but what if you still aren’t sure? My suggestion is to check out the highest rated circular saws by thousands of verified buyers:
Circular Saw Name
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