Best Circular Saw 2020 – Buyer’s Guide

Circular saws allow you to cut a range of materials efficiently and precisely. This is a key item in almost every workstation, whether for trade or domestic use. Our experts have gone out and reviewed the best circular saws in the UK market.

If you are in the market for saws to round out your tool collection, be sure to also check out our reviews of the best mitre saws, and best scroll saws.

Let’s get right to it!

The Best Circular Saws – Our Top Picks

IMAGE PRODUCT DETAILS
Makita HS7601J Circular Saw with MakPac Carry Case
  • Type: Corded
  • Laser: No
  • Wattage: 1200
  • RPM: 5200
  • Depth of cut: 66 mm at 90° and 46 mm at 45°
  • Blade: TCT
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Evolution Power Tools F165CCSL Circular Saw
  • Type: Corded
  • Laser: No
  • Wattage: 1200
  • RPM 3700 RPM
  • Depth of cut: 53 mm at 90° and 34 mm at 45°
  • Blade TCT
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Bosch Professional GKS 18V-57 Cordless Circular Saw
  • Type: Cordless
  • Laser: Yes (LED guide light)
  • Wattage: cc 90 (with 5Ah battery)
  • RPM: 3400
  • Depth of cut: 57 mm at 90° and 39 mm at 45°
  • Blade: TCT
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Best Circular Saws

Makita HS7601J Circular Saw with MakPac Carry Case

If you’re looking to pay “DIY” prices, rather than “pro” prices, then this is the best circular saw on the UK market.

It’s advertised as being for wood and it certainly glides through even the thickest pieces easily and smoothly. This may be because this circular saw has a TCT (tungsten-carbide tipped) saw blade. These are generally used for cutting metal.

The ergonomic soft-grip handle makes this circular saw very comfortable to use. It’s also light and well-balanced.

While the oversized box is definitely excess packaging, it does make it very easy to move the circular saw in and out. It also means that the box stacks with other Makita boxes. This is probably why it’s so big.

Specifications

  • Type: Corded
  • Laser: No
  • Wattage: 1200
  • RPM: 5200
  • Depth of cut: 66 mm at 90° and 46 mm at 45°
  • Blade: TCT

We like

  • About as quiet as a circular saw can be (87 dB A)
  • Good depth of cut
  • Easy to adjust cut
  • Decent cord length
  • Practical storage box

We dislike

  • Box is rather too large for the product
  • Slot to hold the Allen key doesn’t hold it firmly
  • Would have been nice if the offset measurements had been engraved on the base plate

Final Verdict

The best circular saw in the UK for a very affordable price.

Evolution Power Tools F165CCSL Circular Saw

This is probably the best mini circular saw on the UK market. At just 165mm in length (and in a reasonably-sized box), it’s easy to stash away for occasional use. It’s also tough enough to stand up to some fairly hard work. Obviously, that’s going to take its toll on your blade, so it’s good that the blade is easy to change.

The plastic guides and knobs look and feel a bit flimsy, but there’s a three-year guarantee so presumably, they’re tougher than they appear. If not, the manufacturer will deal with it. The handle is comfortable to grip and makes the circular saw easy to guide.

Cutting feels like a bit more of an effort than with the Makita. That’s the difference between 5200RPM and 3700 RPM. Having said that, it isn’t difficult, it’s just not as comfortable. It’s also a bit of a pain that the cord length is only 1M. Admittedly, it’s easy enough to plug it into an extension cable, but a bit of extra length would have been nice.

Specifications

  • Type: Corded
  • Laser: No
  • Wattage: 1200
  • RPM 3700 RPM
  • Depth of cut: 53 mm at 90° and 34 mm at 45°
  • Blade TCT

We like

  • Cuts both metal and wood
  • Ergonomic handle
  • Channelled airflow helps to clear debris

We dislike

  • 1M cable
  • Guides and knobs look on the flimsy side
  • Cutting can feel a bit heavy

Final Verdict

This is our favorite for the best mini circular saw on the UK market.

Bosch Professional GKS 18V-57 Cordless Circular Saw

Bosch is one of the biggest and best names in tools. This is not the biggest, but probably the best cordless circular saw on the UK market. In short, it’s about as good as a cordless circular saw can be. This means that the question of whether or not you like it depends essentially on the question of whether or not you buy into cordless power tools in general and cordless circular saws in particular.

With cordless tools, you’re swapping power for flexibility. How much power depends on the capability of the battery you use. Batteries are extra and if you plan on using this cordless saw a lot, you’ll probably want a spare set and a fast charger. That way you can be using one set while the other is charging.

The batteries for cordless tools have become something of a sticking point for some people. Basically, if you’re prepared to buy into one brand, then you can use your batteries for all your tools. If you’re not, then you’ll need to buy batteries and chargers for each different brand. In addition to the cost, this also eats up your storage space.

All that said, however, this cordless circular saw does a very good job and the standard battery lasts well. Obviously, it’s not for serious building work, but it’s fine for heavier-duty DIY and very convenient for lighter work.

Specifications

  • Type: Cordless
  • Laser: Yes (LED guide light)
  • Wattage: cc 90 (with 5Ah battery)
  • RPM: 3400
  • Depth of cut: 57 mm at 90° and 39 mm at 45°
  • Blade: TCT

We like

  • Decent amount of power for a cordless saw
  • Batteries last well
  • Very comfortable to use

We dislike

  • Batteries are extra
  • Plastic blade guard

Final Verdict

This is not the biggest, but probably the best cordless circular saw on the UK market.

HYCHIKA CS-190C Electric Saw

This is the best budget circular saw on the UK market. Just take the headline specifications with a pinch of salt.

Going by the headline specifications, you’d think this budget circular saw was as powerful as the Makita and with more functionality. It’s not. In fact, it’s only slightly more powerful than a hand saw. It is, however, a whole lot easier and more comfortable to use than a hand saw. 

This means that it’s a great choice for people who want a decent, basic, budget circular saw to use occasionally for light jobs such as regular household DIY.

The saw is both comfortable and intuitive to use. This is just as well given that the instruction manual is basic, to put it mildly. One notable omission is that it doesn’t explain how to fit the batteries for the laser light. 

You could probably figure this out, but for completeness, there’s a bit at the side with “LASER” stamped on it. The laser activation button is at the top and the laser itself is at the bottom. In between, there is a screw. Take this out, remove the cover and you’ll see where the batteries go.

One final point to note is that this circular saw is designed to be used with a vacuum cleaner (or sawdust extraction unit). If you don’t use one of these, the sawdust is blown back towards the unit. This is at best uncomfortable and at worst unsafe. You can, however, deal with this issue by taping over the outlet.

Specifications

  • Type: Corded
  • Laser: Yes
  • Wattage: 1500
  • RPM: 4700
  • Depth of cut: 65 mm at 90° and 45 mm at 45°
  • Blade: TCT

We like

  • Budget-friendly price
  • Laser guide
  • Decent cable length

We dislike

  • The instruction manual
  • Sawdust is blown back over the user

Final Verdict

This is the best budget circular saw on the UK market.

VonHaus Cordless Circular Saw

VonHaus is another well-known tool brand and there really is a lot to like about this cordless circular saw itself. It has the sort of build-quality you’d expect from VonHaus. It’s both easy and comfortable to use and, unlike the Bosch, it comes with a battery.

The problem is that the included battery is an uninspiring 3AH. Multiply that by the 20V and you get just 60 Watts plus moderate battery life. It’s hard to give exact figures for how long the battery lasts since it depends on what you’re doing.

What’s more, you may struggle to find extra batteries sold on their own and if you do they will probably be just 3Ah ones. In other words, at best you’ll get the same battery again.

On the other hand, if you just want an affordable, light, comfortable cordless circular saw for basic work, this could be a very good choice. For example, if you regularly go and buy wood and just want a quick way to trim the pieces to size before putting them in your boot, then this cordless circular saw could be ideal.

Specifications

  • Type: Cordless
  • Laser: No
  • Wattage: cc 60 (with 3Ah battery)
  • RPM: 3800
  • Depth of cut: 54 mm at 90° and 40 mm at 45°
  • Blade: TCT

We like

  • Robust motor
  • Fast charging
  • Comfortable to use

We dislike

  • The included battery is only 3Ah

Final Verdict

If you want an affordable, and comfortable cordless circular saw for basic work, this could be a very good choice.

Circular Saw Buying Guide

Here are the answers to some common questions about circular saws.

What is a circular saw?

A circular saw is just a saw with a circular blade. They are usually powered rather than manual. With the right blade, a circular saw can be used to cut through a wide range of materials. In fact, the very best circular saw blades can even cut cast iron. This is, however, very unusual, especially in the DIY market.

Most circular saws are used for cutting wood for DIY projects. That said, even some DIY-focussed circular saws can cut through metal. This makes it possible for them to cut through wood with nails in it.

How to use a circular saw?

Here is a quick guide to how to use a circular saw.

Position your material appropriately.

If you’re cutting wood, put the veneer side face down. This is because circular saws generally splinter wood as the blade goes in but cut cleanly on the bottom.

If necessary, mark your wood for cutting, a pencil is usually the easiest option.

Put your wood on an appropriate surface. Ideally, this means on a saw table or between two sawhorses. You may have to improvise to some extent, e.g. using two chairs, but never use a circular saw directly on a regular table or bench or the floor. The chances are you’ll damage both the surface and the saw blade (and maybe yourself).

Even if you’re using a circular saw with a laser (or LED guide light), it can be a good idea to mark your wood with a pencil as well. Lasers and guide lights can be hard to see if the ambient light is very bright.

Set the blade to the right cutting depth.

This is usually done with a central lever but check the manual. The blade should be at most 0.6CM lower than your material. Less is better. If you overshoot the material by too much you risk making ragged cuts and damaging the teeth of your saw blade.

If necessary, set the correct angle for your blade. Most circular saws work between 45° and 90°.

Power on the saw.

Be prepared for some kickback. Let the saw work its way up to its full speed before you start to cut.

Cut as slowly as you like.

The more slowly you cut, the cleaner your cuts are likely to be. Remember, your aim is to cut cleanly, smoothly and accurately. Speed is a minor issue.

After each cut, stop the saw completely and then set up your next cut.

This is partly about safety and partly about protecting your saw blade. Modern saw blades are generally made of steel and steel is affected by heat. The more you cut, the more friction your saw blade experiences and the hotter it gets. Letting it cool down between cuts essentially gives it a chance to rest and recuperate and start fresh for the next cut.

If you are using a corded circular saw, unplug it completely when you have finished cutting. In fact, ideally, unplug it completely even if you are just taking a break.

When you’re finished cutting clean your saw blade and store it appropriately

At the end of each cutting session, give your saw blade a quick wipe over with solvent and a brush down. Periodically, give it a proper deep clean. This is often best done when you’re sharpening it.

Keep safety in mind at all times.

Wear goggles and consider wearing gloves. Keep anything loose away from the saw. This includes your hair and clothes. Always keep your fingers well clear of the blade, even when the saw is switched off. You may accidentally trigger it. If you need to change the blade, keep the saw unplugged or remove the battery completely.

Think about your working location. If you’re working outdoors, are you confident it will stay dry? Regardless of where you’re working is there enough light and plenty of clear space for you to move? Is it a quiet place or have you advised other people to keep clear (unless they’re actually helping)? Have you removed pets from the area? If you have a corded circular saw, how are you keeping the cord safe?

How to sharpen a circular saw blade?

Over time, your saw blade will become duller. As it becomes duller it will cut less effectively. There are two key signs that this is happening. Firstly, the motor in your circular saw will need to work harder and hence will make more noise. Secondly, your cuts will become more ragged. If you spot either or both of these, then it’s time to take a look at your saw blade.

Is your saw blade worth sharpening?

Before you start thinking about how to sharpen a circular saw blade, it’s probably worth asking if it’s worth the effort of sharpening. If you’ve bought one of the best circular saws then the answer is probably yes.

The best circular saws tend to come with the best blades, so they are worth the effort of maintaining. This includes the best mini circular saws and the best cordless circular saws. If, on the other hand, you’ve bought a budget circular saw, then you might be better to change the saw blade for a decent one and then keep it sharpened.

With all that said, here’s a step-by-step guide on how to sharpen a circular saw blade.

Remove the blade

Do this when the circular saw is unplugged/has the battery totally removed. Make sure the blade is cool enough to handle safely. Ideally, wear gloves.

Your instruction manual should tell you how to remove the blade. If it doesn’t (or you don’t have it), then you’re probably looking for a blade-release lever. Alternatively, you may need to take out a screw.

Clean the blade

You should be doing this regularly anyway, but since you’re going to be sharpening it, now is a good time to give it a proper deep clean. Use a cleaner designed for this purpose and follow the instructions. This will get rid of the dirt without damaging the TCT coating on most blades.

Once your cleaner has done its work, use a plastic or nylon brush to get rid of any remaining grime, especially between the teeth.

Rinse the blade with water and dry it thoroughly (to prevent rust).

You might want to try a test cut to see if your circular saw now cuts easily and cleanly again. If, not, then carry on with the sharpening procedure.

Put the blade in a vice

To be clear, you want your blade to be upright. Essentially, you want it to be in the same position as it is when it’s in your circular saw. Mark the top part (12 o’clock) on the blade.

File each of the teeth

Go around the blade, filing the cutting edge of each tooth. Assuming you’re taking care of your blade, you’ll only need three or four strokes per tooth. You might want to mark the teeth as you’re going around. This will ensure that you file all of them. When you’ve completed one side, turn the blade around and repeat the exercise on the other side.

Put the blade back in the saw

Storing your saw blade the right way is very important. The safest option is just to keep it in the saw. This has the bonus of convenience. If you can’t do that, then hang the blade by its hole. Keep weight off and avoid having it rubbing up against hard surfaces.

Pro tip

Consider sending your blade off to a professional sharpener every so often. For example, every fifth time your blade needs sharpening, send it away. That way, if you do make any mistakes, a pro can pick them up and fix them.

Cordless circular saw vs corded circular saw?

If you’re planning on cutting metal, that includes wood with nails in it, then a corded circular saw is, presently, the only way to go. If, however, you’re really only planning on cutting wood, especially new wood (i.e. shop-bought wood), then you can choose between a cordless circular saw and a corded circular saw. Here’s how they stack up.

FeatureCordless circular sawsCorded circular saws
PortabilityClear winner, you can use them literally anywhere.You need an electric outlet nearby.
SafetyThere’s more to safety than just the absence of a cord, but not having a cord does remove a tripping hazard.Corded saws are very safe, you do, however, have to be aware that the cord is a potential tripping hazard.
PowerThe best cordless circular saw has cc 90 watts and 3400 RPMThis is a clear win for corded circular saws. The best corded circular saw has 1200 watts and 5200 RPM.
WeightAdding in the battery makes cordless circular saws heavier than corded circular saws, even though they have less power.The absence of a battery makes corded circular saws lighter.
PriceCordless circular saws are more expensive than corded circular saws due to the need for a battery. What’s more, if you use the saw for extended periods, you’ll probably want an extra battery pack.Corded circular saws are more affordable because they don’t need a battery.

Does a circular saw need a table?

You should never use your circular saw on a regular table.  You should use it on a saw table or between two sawhorses.  In reality, it’s feasible to improvise a bit.

For example, if you take a cordless drill to a shop so you can cut wood to fit in your car, then you might just use the lid of your boot to hold it in place, preferably with a weight on top  You would not, however, put the wood on top of your boot.  That would probably result in damage to both your car and your saw (and maybe yourself).

Conclusion

Hand saws still have their place but if you regularly cut wood then a circular saw will make your life a whole lot easier.  There are budget circular saws for occasional use.  If, however, you’re planning on using your circular saw a lot, then it’s best to invest in a more premium one.  Cordless circular saws are good options for lighter work.  Corded circular saws can cope with more demanding jobs.