Help & advice: Buying guide to circular saws
Buying guide to circular saws
Circular saws are the cutting edge choice when you want to slice quickly and accurately through wood, brick and even concrete. Here's how to find the best.
Homebase's range of circular saws are a cut above the rest.
Do you struggle to cut a straight line? A circular saw will help you do the job perfectly. And sometimes a circular saw's cut is so clean you don't even need to plane. Sounds like a sharp investment...
A circular saw is a heavy-duty tool brilliant for quick, accurate, straight cutting of any type of wood. It glides through it in seconds. But it's especially good on heavy-duty timber and sheet materials. In fact, you can fit your saw with an assortment of blades that rip through everything - from nail-embedded wood to bricks and even concrete blocks.
Circular saws come in various sizes. Their cutting capacity is directly related to the blade diameter - most commonly 184mm. All circular saws have a maximum cutting depth, which depends on the angle that's being cut.
Your circular saw won't need much in the way of accessories, but having a rip guide is a wise idea. This metal attachment boosts the accuracy and flexibility of your saw. Always handy! So if the model you're planning to buy doesn't come with a rip guide, we reckon it's worth you buying one.
You can judge how powerful your circular saw is by the strength of its motor and how many RPM (revolutions per minute) the blade spins round at. The motor power of corded circular saws ranges from about 500w to 1500w. So the higher the wattage, the more RPM you get. The greater the RPM, the greater the power and control. Larger, more powerful models offer bigger blades and a greater maximum depth of cut - up to about 65mm.
With this feature it's really easy to alter depth of cut very precisely. You simply change the height of the saw body relative to the base plate. This is handy when you're cutting through materials of varying thickness, such as floorboard tongues.
A parallel guide attached to the base plate is useful for making accurate straight cuts at a set distance from an edge. This feature comes as standard on most circular saws.
Adjustable base plate
Making angled cuts? An adjustable base plate is really the business as you can tilt it to make those angled incisions (or 'bevels'). And the ability to saw at 90 degree and 45 degree angles is essential if you're cutting mitres. If you want to make a broader range of mitres, you can get a cutting facility of 0 to 45 degrees.
Front and rear handles give you a good, secure grip for comfortable, controlled cutting. Look out for circular saws with soft, non-slip handles.
Like a tidy workspace? Choose a circular saw with a dust bag or the ability to connect to a vacuum cleaner so you can clear up as you go.
Obvious, maybe, but you need the right blade for the job. Saw blades come with different teeth settings, for cutting along or across the grain. The more teeth the blade has the finer the cut. Tungsten carbide tipped (TCT) blades last longer and cut faster than standard steel ones. And they're especially good on hardwood. Use abrasive cutting discs for tackling metal and masonry.
Laser circular saw
Many models now feature a laser generator that shines a small laser beam onto the work surface to give direction when you're sawing in a straight line.
Most saws have a safety switch or lock off button to stop them starting up accidentally. When you're ready to go, a soft start switch sets the blade moving at a slower speed so the initial cut is easier to make. During use a blade guard shields the blade. It's a good idea to use an RCD plug-in safety adapter with any electric saw.