Home Depot Circular Saw Review + Buyer’s Guide

Circular saws are a great starter power tool. If I had just one saw for woodworking, it would be a circular saw. These saws are useful for cutting boards to length, breaking big sheets of plywood down, cutting angles, and even making grooves in lumber. Circular saws combine great flexibility with precision in cutting.

Circular saws can use different blades to cut different materials. Just by swapping out the blade on your circular saw, you can rough cut lumber, make fine cuts for finish carpentry, cut metal, and even cut concrete. Circular saw blades play a big part in making circular saws so versatile. For some more circular saw information, check out Circular Saws

Home Depot Circular Saw: Black and Decker 7 ¼ Inch Circular Saw with Laser

Black and Decker tools have a reputation as starter tools best for building a tool collection and learning the basics of carpentry. The 7 ¼ inch circular saw is no exception.

home depot circular saw

Things we like:

  • Affordable price. This is the least expensive saw reviewed. If you just have a small project, buying this saw might be more affordable than circular saw rental.
  • Lightest weight of any corded saw reviewed.
  • 13 amp motor provides plenty of cutting power.
  • Cuts lumber up to 2 ½ inches thick.

Things we don’t like:

  • The shoe is lightweight and subject to bending.
  • Some users report that the blade that comes with the saw doesn’t cut well and should be upgraded before you do any serious cutting.
  • Durability is questionable.

Home Depot Circular Saw: Skil 15-Amp 7 ¼ Inch Circular Saw

Skil created the first circular saw. They have been making these saws for so long that, in many places, “skilsaw” is used as a generic term for all circular saws. They are famous for heavy-duty worm drive circular saws (see below), but the lightweight 7 ¼ inch circular saw from Skil is also a great choice.

Things we like:

  • Powerful and trouble-free saw.
  • Cuts two-inch thick lumber easily.
  • Tracks straight on long cuts.
  • Dust blower keeps sawdust from obscuring cutting lines.

Things we don’t like:

  • As with the Black and Decker saw, the shoe is lightweight and can bend.
  • This is also an entry-level saw. It won’t stand up to years of daily use.

Home Depot Circular Saw: Ryobi 18V 5 ½ Inch Cordless Circular Saw

Ryobi power tools are made for DIYers to get good quality at an affordable price point. The Ryobi 5 ½ inch cordless circular saw is a good choice if you occasionally need to use a circular saw away from your shop.

home depot circular saw

Things we like:

  • Weighs only five pounds.
  • Cordless saw that can go anywhere.
  • Plenty of power despite cordless design.

Things we don’t like:

  • 5 ½ inch blade diameter limits cut depth to 2 inches or less.
  • Uses blades with a 10MM arbor, which can be hard to find.
  • Good for occasional use, but not an every-day cutter.
  • Purchasing additional batteries and chargers turn a budget saw into an expensive proposition.

Home Depot Circular Saw: DeWalt 7 ¼ Inch 20V Cordless Circular Saw with Brake

DeWalt makes power tools for contractors and others who need to use tools every day. DeWalt’s 7 ¼ inch cordless circular saw is made to go anywhere and cut anything. For the best DeWalt circular saw check out our guide, Best DeWalt Cordless Circular Saw: Our Top Picks.

home depot circular saw

Things we like:

  • Cordless saw with the power of a corded saw.
  • Cuts lumber up to 2 ½ inches thick.
  • Has a brake to stop the blade quickly. This is a nice safety feature that lets you move between cuts without having to wait on the blade to stop spinning.
  • DeWalt makes different sizes of 20V batteries, so you can optimize the saw for light weight or for longer battery life.

Thigs we don’t like:

  • Heavy for a battery powered saw.
  • As with all battery powered tools, buying extra battery packs is expensive.

Home Depot Circular Saw: Skil 15 Amp 10 ¼ Magnesium Worm Drive Circular Saw

The Skil 10 ¼ inch worm drive circular saw is the kind of tool that made Skil’s reputation. This is a heavy, expensive saw that will handle all the cutting you ever need.

home depot circular saw

Things we like:

  • Worm drive means the blade keeps spinning even in the toughest cuts.
  • 10 ¼ inch blade can cut material as thick as 3.68 inches
  • Durable saw that won’t wear out quickly.

Things we didn’t like:

  • This saw is very expensive.
  • It is also heavy. If you aren’t cutting 4×4 lumber on a regular basis, it’s a lot to tote around.

Circular Saw Basics

Circular saws got their name based on the circular blade used for cutting. Several types of saw use a circular blade, but the name always refers to a small portable saw that is held in the hand while cutting. Circular saws are the best hand-held saw for precise cutting. They aren’t as precise as miter saws or table saws, but circular saws offer lots more flexibility than the bigger saws.

There are two types of circular saws, sidewinders, and worm drive saws. Sidewinders have the motor next to the blade. These saws tend to be a little shorter and have a blade that spins faster. Because there isn’t much of a transmission, these saws are lighter than worm drive saws. Sidewinders also tend to be less expensive than worm drive saws.

Worm drives use a worm gear to spin the blade. These saws spin more slowly but have more torque. That means the blade will keep spinning even in the heaviest cuts. Worm drive saws are heavier and more expensive than sidewinders. They are a good choice for cutting thick material or hardwoods.

One important feature of all circular saws is the shoe plate. This is the plate that the saw rests on while cutting. The shoe plate is adjustable to control the depth of the cut. Many saws also have an adjustment for cutting bevels on the shoe plate. Bevel cuts are made with the blade at an angle other than perfectly vertical.

Cutting Straight Lines

When making cuts with a circular saw, the shoe can be used as a guide to keep the cut straight. Measure the offset distance from the blade to the side of the shoe. Clamp a straight edge such as a t-square or level to the work piece that distance from the line you want to cut. When you make the cut, you can butt the edge of the shoe against the straight edge to get a perfectly straight line.

Circular Saw Safety

When cutting with a circular saw, adjust the shoe plate so that the blade extends just a little bit lower than the thickness of what you are cutting. A quarter of an inch is enough. Adjusting the saw like this lets it cut more efficiently. It is also much safer for you. These saws spin at four or five thousand RPM…the less of the spinning blade is exposed to you, the better.

Always be aware of what is under the material you are cutting. Make sure that no one is holding the board along the cut line. If you are using a corded saw, keep an eye on the cord as well. Cut through the cord, and you will have to stop your woodworking to play electrician for a while.

Circular Saw Blades

Circular saws use a variety of different blade sizes, but each saw uses a specific size. Don’t use a different size blade in your saw. Blades come in numerous configurations for different purposes. Blades with fewer teeth are used for framing and ripping. These blades take out wood quickly but leave a rough surface. Blades for finish work have very fine teeth that leave a smoother surface. These blades cut slowly.

Specialty blades are also available. With the right blade, circular saws can be used to cut metal, concrete, and even tile. Know what you are going to cut and make sure to get the correct blade.

Which Circular Saw Is Right for You?

For most users, the Skil 7 ¼ inch circular saw is the best bet. It has plenty of power to slice through 2x lumber at a price that won’t break the bank. It is also a durable saw that will last a long time. If you need a lot of flexibility or will be working where power is limited, check out the DeWalt 20V 7 ¼ inch saw. It is a go-anywhere, cut-anything tool that is up to the biggest cutting tasks. If you’re specifically looking for a compact circular saw, check out Best Compact Circular Saw 2019.

About Russ Thompson

Hey I'm Russ and I have been a contractor for over 20 years. I know what the cost of having the right tools and materials for the job. My passion for woodworking and helping others by workshops in my wood shop. I have beginner classes all the way up expert trade classes. Check out my bio for more.

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