Economical and portable; these are the two adjectives that can be used to describe circular saws best. These invaluable woodworking tools can be used to make all kinds of cuts. From long rip cuts to miter and even beveled cuts.
It is for this reason that no woodworker wants to be without one. However, it is worth noting that circular saws come in a variety of subcategories, each with its cons and pros. That being said, let’s take a closer look at the main types of circular saws available.
11 types of circular saw
1.Corded Circular saws
In general, all circular saws fall within two main categories, cordless and corded. Corded circular saws are electric-powered and have to be plugged into a power source using a power cord, hence the name. In most cases, corded circular saws offer more power than cordless saws.
- Power cord for connecting to a power source
- High blade RPM
- Magnesium shoe plate
- Corded circular saws tend to be more powerful than cordless models
- Most corded saws feature a 7.5-inch blade which is capable of cutting larger materials
- No need to purchase additional parts such as a battery
- They have limited portability and reach since they have to be used near an electric power source at all times.
Corded circular saws are ideal for heavy-duty cutting. Since they do not require a battery, they have a longer run time than cordless models. As such, they are suitable for contractors handling the cutting of many materials.
2.Cordless circular saws
Cordless circular saws, on the other hand, are powered by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery. This makes them popular for home use. They are usually portable and weigh less than their corded counterparts. They also tend to be smaller.
- Lightweight construction
- Rechargeable lithium-ion battery
- Typically have smaller blades
- Due to them being cordless they are highly portable and can be used virtually anywhere
- Since they are small, they are ideal for cutting in tight places
- Given than they typically have smaller blades, they tend to be safer
- The run time of cordless saws is limited to the battery power and thus can not run for long periods compared to corded models
Since these saws are portable and smaller, these saws are suitable for DIYers as well as contractors working in areas where an electrical socket is not readily available.
3.Sidewinder circular saws
These are the circular saws that come to many people’s minds when they think of circular saws. Sidewinder circular saws are perhaps the most popular. They feature a motor mounted on the left side of the blade. And tend to be more compact than other types of saws.
- Motor mounted on the left side of the blade
- Typically have a higher blade RPM speed
- Gears placed at 90 degrees angle
- Due to the position of the motor and blade, they are more energy-efficient
- These saws are usually more portable than other types
- Typically do not need oil changes
- They generally produce less power than some other types of circular saws
These types of circular saws are ideal for making rip cuts and cutting soft lumber. They are also perfect for both vertical and overhead cuts.
4.Worm Drive Saws
Unlike sidewinder saws, worm drive saws have the motor mounted behind the blade. This results in reduced blade speed but increased torque. Also, these saws tend to be thinner and deeper, which improves blade visibility when cutting.
- Reduced RPM blade speed
- Increased torque
- Motor positioned at the back of the blade
- Offers more torque and thus increased power
- It is easier to see the blade when cutting
- Improved transfer of power
- These saws are usually heavier
These saws are ideal for making longer crosscuts as well as plunge cuts and miter cuts
5.Hypoid circular saw
It is common for people to mistake hypoid circular saws for worm drive saws. While the two saws are somewhat similar, they have some differences. Similar to worm drive saws, the motor of a hypoid saw is located behind the blade. However, unlike worm drive saws, they do not require oiling.
- Closed gear system
- 90 degrees angle gear placement
- Increased torque but reduced blade speed
- Hypoid saws offer more power than sidewinder saws
- These saws do not need to be oiled, which makes maintenance easy
- These saws typically have a quieter operation than others
- Hypoid circular saws are typically heavier than others
Due to their increased torque, they are suitable for cutting hard or wet lumber. They are also suitable for heavy-duty tasks
6.Abrasive circular saws
These saws differ from other types of circular saws in that they feature a toothless blade. Instead, these saws use blades with a flat surface. Due to the unique blades, they are used to cut materials that are harder than wood.
- Flat toothless blade
- Diamond or cubic boron nitride blade edges
- Increased heat due to friction
- They offer great control
- Can cut through materials harder than wood
- They are available in different configurations
- The blades of these saws produce a lot of heat as a result of friction
As mentioned, these types of saws are used for cutting materials harder than wood. These include pipes, tiles, and metals.
Miter saws can also be classified as circular saws. They are basically a circular saw attached to a radial arm. This attachment allows for the raising and lowering of the arm onto a cramped work area. They function much like paper cutters but for woodworkers.
- A swinging radial arm
- Ability to make angled cuts
- Circular blade
- Miter saws can make many different types of cuts compared to a standard circular saw
- They are easier to use compared to other saws
- These saws are also safer to use
- Miter saws tend to be more expensive compared to other types of circular saws
These types of saws are suitable for cutting many pieces of lumber. They are also ideal for making bevel and angled cuts.
8.Concrete Circular Saws/ Grinders
Also known as concrete circular saws, grinders are used for the same function as abrasive circular saws. But unlike their abrasive counterparts, they feature a different kind of blade. The teeth on these saws are made from industrial diamonds and are designed for cutting materials harder than wood.
- Industrial diamond-tipped teeth
- Larger blades
- Bulky size and weight
- These saws can cut through harder materials
- Are usually more powerful than most circular saws
- Can use a variety of fuels
- These saws are usually quite expensive compared to other types
Mainly, these saws are used for cutting concrete and metals and are thus used mainly by masons
- Large surface area for pushing materials towards saw blade
- Fence for ensuring precise straight cuts
- Circular blade mounted under the workbench or table
- Generally, table saws are easy to use
- The large table means you can cut larger pieces of material
- These saws are ideal for making crosscuts and rip cuts
- Table saws are large and bulky and thus not portable
10.Metal circular saws
While you can use virtually any kind of saw to cut through metal, if you have the right blade, some are designed specifically for cutting metal. These saws typically have smaller blades and cut at a slower speed to reduce the chances of sparks generated from metal on metal contact.
- Smaller blades
- Reduced blade speed
- Compact design
- These saws can cut through any type of metal
- There is no chance of sparks being produced from metal on metal contact
- Are safer for cutting metals
- They have smaller blades and are slower and thus take more time to cut through materials
These types of saws are used primarily for cutting metals of all kinds
Cordwood saws are perhaps the largest types of circular saws on the market. They are usually used for cutting large pieces of wood into smaller firewood. They have large blades and are usually mounted to a tractor
- Large 20-36 diameter blades
- A hardened frame
- Larger and bulkier frame
- Can cut large pieces or slabs of timber into smaller pieces
- Can be attached to a tractor for improved portability
- These saws can handle many different pieces of lumber
- These saws are large and bulky and have largely been replaced by chainsaws
These saws are used to cut large slabs of timber into smaller pieces.