A circular saw is one of the most versatile power tools available. But their bulky size and relative heft can somewhat limit their applications. For tight quarters, a smaller power tool is required.
That’s where the Dremel Saw Max and Dremel Ultra Saw enter the picture. As so-called “mini circular saws,” these compact power tools take the versatility and cutting power of a circular saw and scale it down into a small, lightweight package.
Although other models are available, Dremel is always a good place to start when it comes to buying new power tools for home DIY projects. Here’s how the Dremel Saw-Max and Dremel Ultra Saw stack up against each other.
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Quick Look: Compact Circular Saw
A mini circular saw, also known as a compact circular saw, isn’t as popular as other power tools. Although this tool is incredibly useful, it’s only recently started to become a staple of the tool kits of professionals and home DIYers alike.
Our quick guide will show you what you need to know about this innovative tool:
What is the Saw Max and Ultra Saw?
The Saw Max and Ultra Saw are two Dremel power tools that don’t really fall into a traditional power tool category. Although they’re technically compact circular saws, they’re really more of a combination between a full-size circular saw and a grinder.
They take many of the best qualities of a full-size circular saw and scale them down into a smaller, hand-held package. In fact, most mini circular saws (including the Saw Max and Ultra Saw) can be safely used with a single hand, even in very tight quarters.
According to Popular Mechanics, a miniature circular saw is one of the best power tools for cutting through concrete, steel, and other materials in addition to wood.
Benefits of a Mini Circular Saw
Compact circular saws have a few main benefits you should remember. These include:
- Small – The small size of this tool enables you to work in close quarters with ease.
- Lightweight – The light weight of this tool makes operating it one-handed (or two-handed).
- Versatile – It’s easy to switch out blades with most mini circular saws, further increasing their overall versatility.
Of course, like nay power tool, compact circular saws also have some disadvantages. These include:
- Not as Powerful – The mini version of this tool is not as powerful or durable as a full-scale circular saw.
Remember that even though mini circular saws are not as powerful as full-size circular saws, they are still very robust tools. Not only can they cut through wood with ease, but with the proper blade they will cut through concrete, steel, tile, siding, and other seriously tough materials.
This Old House states that there are some situations where a circular saw is better and some situations where a compact circular saw is better – if possible add both to your tool kit!
Miniature Circular Saw Buying Guide
There are a lot of compact circular saws on the market. Instead of rushing out and buying the first model you see, it’s much better to do your research first. Even a brief understanding of this tool will help you make a much better purchase.
Here are the factors you must keep in mind:
- Power – A stronger motor helps the machine cut through stronger materials.
- Controls – Multiple speeds increases versatility for different projects.
- Ease of Use – Although power is important, you don’t want a tool so powerful that it’s difficult to use.
- Durability – The best mini circular saws last for multiple years with heavy use.
- Blades – Look for a model with several different blades for cutting different materials.
Think about these factors while enjoying our showdown of the Dremel Saw Max versus the Dremel Ultra Saw below.
Compact Circular Saw Showdown
The Saw Max and Ultra Saw are two of the most exciting mini circular saws in the game today. Both manufactured by Dremel, you know right out of the gate that these two models boast the legendary performance, quality, and durability that the company has long been known for.
But what about the nitty-gritty? Here’s how the Dremel Saw Max and Dremel Ultra Saw stack up head to head.
Dremel Saw Max
The Dremel Saw Max, known as the SM20, is a versatile and easy to use tool. It’s small and lightweight (much more so than the Ultra Saw) for increased versatility and ease of use in all situations, especially those in close quarters.
Although the Saw Max has a 6-amp motor compared to the Ultra Saw’s 7.5-amp motor, it’s capable of cutting through almost all of the same materials. Other highlights include the tool’s dust extraction port, flush cutting application, worm driving gearing, and built-in safety features.
What We Like:
- Lightweight design
- Powerful 6-amp motor
- Flush cutting application
What We Don’t Like:
- Not as powerful as Ultra Saw
Dremel Ultra Saw
The Dremel Ultra Saw, also known as the US40, is a powerful and robust tool. It excels at cutting through thick, dense, strong materials thanks to its 7.5-amp motor. It has a very fast cutting speed so that you can rip through materials in a flash.
The Ultra Saw combines surface preparation and flush cuts into the same package to make this a 3-in-1 tool. Other highlights include the tool’s overall durability, adjustable depth guide, comfortable handle, and high-performance drivetrain.
What We Like:
- 3-in-1 design
- Powerful 7.5-amp motor
- Extremely durable
What We Don’t Like:
- Not as easy to use as Saw Max
Like the vast majority of Dremel’s products, both the Saw Max and Ultra Saw are fantastic power tools. You won’t go wrong with either option. Both are rugged and durable. And both are easy to use and versatile. That said, the Dremel Ultra Saw is the standout winner of this head-to-head matchup. It’s simply the burlier of the two.
Not only does it boast a more powerful motor and more effective cutting action, but it’s also more durable than its competitor. You can abuse the Ultra Saw on a daily basis and continue to expect top-notch performance for years on end.
Keeping that in mind, the overall power of the Ultra Saw does make it more difficult to use than the Saw Max. Although the Ultra Saw still has fantastic handling, the Saw Max is a half-pound lighter, much slimmer, and has a more comfortable handle.
That’s why the Dremel Saw Max edges out the Ultra Saw when it comes to home DIYers. The Ultra Saw is our top choice for pros while the more cost-effective Saw Max is the best bet for hobbyists.
Which saw will you choose? Tell us in the comments.