How to Choose a Circular Saw - a Toolstop Buying Guide

Share your comments, feedback and opinions on the circular saws in this guide and tell us your favourite in the comments section below.

REVISED and UPDATED for November 2013! Product descriptions and bonus demo videos are included below.

If you need to quickly make an accurate cut through a piece of wood, look no further than a circular saw.

For most of us, the idea of buying a circular sawstarts with one question; corded or cordless?

To find out which cordless circular saw is right for you, please refer to our "Guide to Buying a Cordless Circular Saw".

This buying guide has been put together to help you decide what the best circular saw on the market is for you.

In this guide we'll focus on corded circular saws. We'll cover:

Cutting Capacity, Cutting Depth and Bevels

Look out for the maximum cutting depth at 0°. That's how deep you'll be able to cut when the saw isn't being used to cut a bevel. Our guide below presents the maximum cut at 0° per saw, along with the maximum cut at a 45° bevel.

With regards to cutting bevels, if you're planning on cutting mitres with your saw, the ability to adjust the base plate to allow you to cut a bevel is essential. Look out for the amount of adjustment your saw offers you, typically 45° and 90°.

Blades are hugely important as your saw will only perform at its best if you've fitted the correct blade for the cut you're undertaking and you've set the blade at the correct depth for the cut. Please take some time to refer to our circular saw blade buying guide.

Speed and Control

The motor rating of your saw is important. Basically, the higher the number the better. Why? A 1500W motor will spin the saw blade faster, resulting in high RPM of the blade. The higher the RPM of the blade, the better the cut in terms of control.

So, more power equals more control and more control equals the ability to cut tougher materials. A more powerful motor also typically affords you the ability to run bigger blades on your circular saw.

Hence when choosing your circular saw, pay attention to the blade speed.

To Plunge or Not to Plunge?

Right off the bat, if your work day consists of plunge cut after plunge cut, please invest in a plunge saw. Click here for our guide to making plunge cuts.

However, if you find yourself having to perform the occasional plunge cut on the job site, then a circular saw can ably tackle this for you, as long as the circular saw doesn't have a riving knife, or the riving knife can be removed.

Therefore, when choosing your circular saw, look out for this feature if plunge cuts are on the menu for you.

Bear in mind, though, that a riving knife is a safety feature than helps prevent "kick back".

What Circular Saw Is Right For You?

Refer to our table below which will, at a glance, allow you to compare and contrast the various offering from Hitachi, Makita, Bosch and DeWalt.

Click the name of the saw to visit our website where you can learn more about the tool. And if we've got a video demo of it, you'll be able to see the saw in action.

If you've got any questions about circular saws, please get in touch with our experienced team by either calling 0800 107 8665 or emailing us. And be sure to leave a comment below.

And if you've found this guide helpful, share it with your friends using our "Share" buttons at the bottom of the page!

Key Specs:

  • Rated power input: 1.600 W
  • No-load speed: 5.900 rpm
  • Saw blade bore: 30,0 mm
  • Saw blade diameter: 190 mm
  • Cutting depth (90°): 65 mm
  • Cutting depth (45°): 48 mm

Key Benefits:

  • Variable speed ensures it's always the right speed for the material being cut
  • High cutting progress thanks to 1,800 Watt motor and constant electics
  • Exact compatibility with the Bosch FSN guide rail system and guide rails of other manufacturers
  • Beveled cuts on the guide rail without an adapter. One cutting edge no matter which bevel angle is set!

Key Specs:

  • Input wattage: 1,200w
  • No load speed: 4,900 rpm
  • Blade diameter: 190mm
  • Bore diameter: 30mm
  • Cutting capacity at 90°: 66 mm
  • Cutting capacity at 45°: 46 mm

Key Benefits:

  • Over 2" maximum depth of cut
  • Supplied with anti-kickback riving knife
  • Low noise and vibration for operator comfort
  • All ball bearing construction for prolonged service life
  • Rugged for general site use
  • Double insulated
  • One of the most popular saws in the UK and Ireland

Key Specs:

  • Power Input 1350 Watts
  • Power Output 850 Watts
  • No Load Speed 5500 rpm
  • Blade Diameter 184 mm
  • Blade Bore 16 mm
  • Bevel Capacity 48 °
  • Max. Depth of Cut at 90º 65 mm

Key Benefits:

  • Compact, Lightweight, Easy to use circular saw with 65mm depth of cut
  • High power 1350W motor gives increased cutting performance
  • Cutaway inner guard gives improved line of sight to cutting line
  • Dust blower clears dust and debris from cut line
  • Efficient dust extraction port to minimise airborne dust particles when connected to a dust extraction unit
  • Direct compatability with DEWALT AirLock system for easy, secure connection to extraction hose

Hitachi C7SB2 185mm Circular Saw

Hitachi C7SB2 185mm Circular Saw

Key Specs:

  • Power input: 1710W
  • No-load speed: 5800/min
  • Bore size: 30mm
  • Blade diameter: 185mm
  • Maximum cutting depth: 0°: 60mm, 45°: 47mm

Key Benefits:

  • Heavy duty aluminium base with scale
  • No riving knife means easier plunge cutting
  • Soft grip handle
  • Spindle lock for easy blade replacement
  • Unique 90° angle setting system ensures accuracy of 90° cuts
  • External brush caps for ease of maintenance
  • Easy access cutting depth adjustment
  • Easy access bevel lever

Draper 45809 (CS185K) Expert 185Mm 110V Circular Saw

Draper 45809 (CS185K) Expert 185Mm 110V Circular Saw

Key Specs:

  • Blade diameter: 185mm
  • Bore size: 20mm
  • Cutting capacity - 110V: at 90° 62mm - at 45° 49mm
  • Cutting capacity - 230V: at 90° 63mm - at 45° 47mm
  • Speed (no load): 5000r/min

Key Benefits:

  • Expert Quality
  • Laser cutting guide
  • Adjustable depth cutting
  • 0-45° bevel cutting
  • Cast aluminium base
  • Adjustable parallel guide fence
  • Dust extraction outlet
  • Soft grip handle

Evolution Rage 230mm TCT Multipurpose Circular Saw

Evolution Rage 230mm TCT Multipurpose Circular Saw

Key Specs:

  • Motor: 1750W
  • Maximum Box Section (3mm Wall 90°): 84mm
  • Maximum Box Section (3mm Wall 45°): 53mm
  • Maximum Cutting Thickness (Mild Steel Plate): 6mm
  • Maximum Cutting Thickness (Wood 90°): 84mm
  • Maximum Cutting Thickness (Wood 45°): 53mm
  • No Load Speed: 2700min-1

Key Benefits:

  • With a massive 84mm depth of cut and a powerful 1750w motor you'll be hard-pressed to push this remarkable circular to its limit
  • Featuring innovative RAGE® technology the RAGE230 will cut Steel, Aluminium and Wood (even wood with nails), using just one blade
  • Include 0-45° bevel tilt for added cutting versatility
  • Auto debris collection system
  • Easily cuts Steel, Aluminium and Wood (even wood with nails), using one blade
  • No coolant required when cutting Steel and virtually no sparks are produced

Metabo KS55FS Circular Saw

Key Specs:

  • Maximum cutting depth at 90°: 55 mm
  • Maximum cutting depth at 45°: 39 mm
  • Cutting depth adjustable: 0 - 54 mm
  • Saw blade diameter: 160 mm
  • No load speed: 5.600 rpm
  • Rated input power: 1200 W

Key Benefits:

  • Compact 1200 watt circular saw
  • 55mm depth of cut
  • Robust die cast aluminium guard housing and base plate compatible with guide rails without use of adaptors
  • Easy saw blade change thanks to a spindle lock

Makita 5008MG 8"/210mm Circular Saw

Makita 5008MG 8

Key Specs:

  • Max cut @ 0°: 75.5mm (3")
  • Max cut @ 45°: 57mm (2¼")
  • Max cut @ 50°: 51.5mm (2")
  • Blade diameter: 210mm
  • Bore diameter: 30mm
  • No load speed: 5,200rpm

Key Benefits:

  • Maximum Cutting Depth of 75.5mm (3")
  • Magnesium die cast base plate makes it very light but very strong and robust
  • Twin LED job light
  • Easy-to-read depth scale

If you've got any questions about the circular saw in this buying guide, or if you've got queries about the best circular saw for you, just ask us in the comments section below!


Susan Lonergan Forster on Sat, 26 Mar 2016 19:29:45 +0000 (Likes: 0 / Dislikes: 0

I am looking for a saw that can cut parquet flooring that has already been laid, so it must have an adjustable depth to exactly the depth of the wood. This is a job I plan on doing only the once, so don't want to spend too much. Which saw should I choose?

Bob Wiffen on Tue, 22 Mar 2016 17:08:26 +0000 (Likes: 0 / Dislikes: 0

Hi. I have a circular saw that has a motor that died. I had just bought a new
160mm Bosch blade so want a new saw that can use this blade. I notice many saws have a 165mm blade and not many have 160mm. Can I use a 160 blade in a 165 machine? I can't see why a slightly smaller diameter would matter?

Charlie on Wed, 02 Apr 2014 11:23:07 +0100 (Likes: 0 / Dislikes: 0

Riving knifes are such an important feature to have. I can't figure out why they are not included on more saws. Great article!

NickyB on Tue, 28 Jan 2014 10:09:17 +0000 (Likes: 1 / Dislikes: 0

Would love to know the weight of each saw- i am looking for light weight as I use mine to cut up pallets for a wood burning stove, and so am using it continuously for a hour at a time, and my arms can get pretty sore.

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