Circular saws are very popular tools for do-it-yourselfers. They enable you to take on carpentry projects that you would normally have to pay a professional to do. And let’s face it – like all power tools – they are loud and powerful and can be a lot of fun to use.
The purpose of this article is to help you find the best circular saw for you and the type of projects you will be doing. I’m going to focus on corded, 7 ¼ inch circular saws. The idea here is to help you select a saw that will last you for decades and which you will enjoy using every time.
This article will cover two main areas:
So, let’s get started!
Two Main Types of Circular Saws
Circular saws are divided into two main types: worm drive saws and sidewinders.
The Worm Drive Circular Saw
The worm drive saw get its name from the fact that the motor transfers power to the blade by use of a worm gear. See the gear image to the right. This arrangement increases the torque or spinning force on the blade and gives the saw more cutting power. Given the right blade, a worm drive can cut through just about any material. They are also relatively heavy, weighing 14-16 pounds. Worm drives are generally used by professionals who do a lot of construction cutting.
Also included in this class is the hypoid drive saw. The hypoid saw is a form of worm drive that enables the saw to be a bit smaller and lighter than the traditional worm drive saw.
The Sidewinder Circular Saw
The sidewinder was designed to be lighter than its worm drive counterpart. It gets its power directly from the motor and weights from 10-12 pounds. The sidewinder is also less expensive and – because it is lighter – it is easier to handle and causes less user fatigue.
Which Type of Saw is Best for You?
The sidewinder will likely be the best circular saw for most people. Unless you are planning on doing a lot of construction and heavy duty cutting, you won’t need a worm drive. This is particularly true if the saw will be your first one. The sidewinders are lighter, less expensive and a good one can give you decades of service. You should plan to spend somewhere between $100 and $150. If you decide the worm gear is for you, plan to spend $150 to $200.