Best circular saw brands
How to buy a circular saw
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How to buy a circular saw
Want to cut straight lines quickly and efficiently? A circular saw could be just what you need – read on find out about the key features to look for.
Circular saws are heavy-duty power tools generally designed for cutting wood - for flooring or furniture, for example. They can also be used on metal, plastic and even brick.
They are more powerful than jigsaws but are limited to straight lines - although most have an adjustable base plate to make angled cuts. The size of the blades can vary between 150mm and 185mm in diameter.
Prices for circular saws start at around £30, increasing up to about £400. Read on to find out more about the key features to consider, then go to our best and worst circular saw brands page to find out which brands are rated top for factors such as value for money, reliability and build quality.
Key features explained
Circular saw blades
Circular saws and their blades come in many different sizes. Their capacity to cut is dictated by the size of the blade, and most are 184mm in diameter.
Saw blades come with different teeth settings for cutting along or across the grain of wood. The more teeth the blade has, the finer the cut. Tungsten carbide tipped (TCT) blades tend to last longer and cut faster than standard steel ones.
Blades can be expensive, so sometimes it's cheaper (although much more wasteful) to buy a new circular saw rather than a replacement blade, particularly on less-expensive models.
A rip guide is a metal guide that boosts your saw's accuracy. It's worth having if you think the work you'll be doing will need a high degree of control and precision.
Circular saws are pretty powerful machines. Their power comes from both the size of the motor and how fast the blade spins, which is measured in revolutions per minute (RPM). The greater the RPM, the greater the power and the smoother the cut. The power of most circular saws starts at around 1000w and goes up to 1500w.
This lets you change the depth of the cut by adjusting the height of the saw body from the base plate. It's particularly useful for cutting through materials of varying thickness.
This is similar to a rip guide, and helps you make accurate cuts a set distance from an edge. This is attached to the base plate and comes as standard on most circular saws.
Adjustable base plate
If you want to make angled cuts, you'll need an adjustable base plate that tilts to a set angle. This will enable it to be angled between zero and 45 degrees, and you'll also be able to adjust the cutting depth.
Circular saws with soft, non-slip handles will give you greater control.
Circular saws can create large clouds of dust. Look for one with a dust bag or a vacuum cleaner connection to limit the mess.
Laser circular saw
Need a guide to help you cut in a straight line? Many circular saws have a laser to shine a small beam onto the work surface for you to follow. These don't work in bright sunlight, though, and can be obscured by dust. Some experts consider them a bit of a gimmick.
A safety switch or lock-off button will give you peace of mind and prevent your saw starting up accidentally. A soft start switch sets the blade moving at a slower speed, so the first cut is more controlled.
Circular saw brands to consider
Key brands include B&Q, Black & Decker, Bosch, DeWalt, Makita, Ryobi, and Wickes. Find out which brands were voted best and worst circular saw brands according to our survey of hundreds of owners.