Which Circular Saw is Better to Choose

Bosch GKS 85 professional circular saw

Woodworking has always been and remains a very labor-intensive type of activity, and the appearance of a circular saw in the first half of the 20th century not only facilitated the cutting of wood, but also significantly increased labor productivity. As usual, after the invention of the cantilever woodworking machine, whose honor belongs to Raymond DeWolt, the principle was picked up by other equipment manufacturers who brought their own improvements. For example, Sullivan and Mitchell made a hand-held circular saw, A. Steele patented an integrated one, and A. Emmons patented a lateral blade drive. And finally do “Circular” The German company AEG succeeded in truly affordable for consumers, which began production of products designed for a 220 V household network. A modern circular saw is a fairly sophisticated device with a wide range of additional options, and there is nothing special to invent here. Manufacturers can only improve the quality of their products, bringing it closer to the quality of top models.

Which Circular Saw is Better to Choose

Work with a circular electric saw

The device of a modern circular saw is quite complicated in itself, since it combines high requirements for operational safety and no less high requirements for the accuracy of settings, which are quite numerous. Thus, it is categorically not recommended to carry out an independent repair of a circular saw because it is impossible to achieve factory accuracy of adjustments in artisanal conditions, and this can adversely affect accuracy, and most importantly, the safety of working with a tool.

A circular saw (it is also called a “circular” or “parquet”) is mainly used for the longitudinal cutting of wood and materials based on it, including plywood, particle board (particle board), fiber board (fiberboard), oriented particle board (OSB) boards and MDF. In addition, the circular saw copes with transverse cutting. However, when using special disks and changing settings, the unit can also be used for cutting laminate, sandwich panels, as well as various plastics (including plexiglass) and even slate. A circular saw can handle almost any sheet material, although there are limitations. Firstly, a circular saw can only saw in a straight line, which it holds perfectly. Secondly, a circular saw is not capable of sawing brick, concrete, plaster and other dense materials, although some models (for example, Makita 4101RH) are equipped with a diamond blade and a water supply system.

Circular saw for metal cutting

It is worth noting that a circular saw for cutting metal, in fact, is the most versatile device. If the unit is able to handle metal, then softer materials are all the more on its shoulder. In contrast to the usual angle grinders (angle grinder), or “grinders”, where an abrasive wheel is used, a metal saw blade uses a gear disk made of special tool steel. A machine such as the Makita 4131 easily cuts pipes, stainless steel, various profiles, not to mention sheet steel and non-ferrous metals and alloys. Compared with traditional “angle grinders”, this saw has many advantages, namely:

Circular saw for cutting makita metal

Performance is several times higher

  • The complexity is much less due to the presence of the sole
  • Less noise
  • No sparks and metal heating
  • High level of safety. The circle does not break, and is also almost completely hidden by a protective cover
  • High blade life, which means low cutting costs
  • No dust emission from abrasive
  • No burrs
  • Possibility of cutting “to bevel”
  • Circular saws for metal have long been successfully used in Western Europe and the United States, while in our country they appeared relatively recently. Naturally, domestic experts appreciated these devices. For example, the EVOLUTION 230 EXTREME circular saw can handle steel sheets up to 12 mm thick and steel profiles and pipes with wall thicknesses up to 4 mm. Naturally, wood and various polymeric materials are not a problem for her either.

    Submersible Circular Saw

    This type of circular saw is designed for the manufacture of grooves, crevices, gutters and other similar works. For example, it allows you to cut an opening in the countertop for installing the sink, because its design allows you to cut in anywhere, and not just from the edge of the material.

    Circular saw Saw AEG TS 55 E

    For example, the makita sp6000set model does not have a lower automatic cover, and the cutting disc is mounted above the base plate. When the unit starts, the circle lowers and cuts. The depth of cut is adjusted to the accuracy of a millimeter.

    Submersible circular provides rich opportunities for repairing floors, roofs and other works. Another feature of this type of saws is the ability to correctly cut multilayer and laminated materials. To avoid chips on the decorative coating, cutting is carried out in two passes. At the first pass, cutting is carried out to a shallow depth. Cutting can be carried out perpendicular to the plane of the material, and at a given angle.

    Cordless Saw

    With the development of battery manufacturing technology, circular saw models that do not require a network connection are increasingly competing with traditional network models.

    Makita hs300dwe cordless circular saw is a great choice

    Over, the scope of cordless saws is quite wide.

    Especially relevant is their use at altitude, for example, when installing or repairing a roof. The main problem of the battery saws was a short time of continuous operation, since the power consumption is quite high, which means that a large-capacity battery is needed, which affects the charging time. However, modern models (such as the Makita hs300dwe), equipped with two batteries, can provide continuous operation. 30 minutes are enough to fully charge the battery. If we take the technical characteristics, namely power and torque, then models such as Bosch GKS 36V-Li, which allows cutting up to 54 mm deep, are in no way inferior to traditional network models. And for the convenience of working with such an instrument, it has no equal.

    What to look for when choosing

    Perhaps the main parameter of the circular saw is the diameter of the cutting disk, since it is he who ultimately determines the cutting depth, according to which the models are conditionally divided into classes. As the diameter of the disk increases, the motor power grows, and the design becomes more complicated due to the fact that it is necessary to provide the necessary torque to maintain speed within certain limits with increasing load. The stabilization system is also complicated, which provides a low level of noise, vibration, runout and prevents jamming of the disk in the workpiece. All this leads to an increase in weight, dimensions and, accordingly, the cost of the unit. On the other hand, with such a saw it is possible to saw more massive workpieces.

    As for the classification, which is rather arbitrary, it depends on the diameter of the cutting wheel, but is still determined by the maximum depth of cut that the circular is capable of making. This parameter is always indicated in the technical data sheet of the product, both for saws perpendicular and for saws of a beveled cut. So, circular saws can be divided into the following classes:

    • 40-50 mm. For working with sheet materials. Household
    • 50-65 mm. The most common class, suitable for most jobs
    • 65-140 mm. Professional models

    Which Circular Saw is Better to Choose

    As was said, the classification is very arbitrary. For example, one of the leading manufacturers of professional equipment, the Japanese company Makita, has its own classification, but does not produce models of the “light” class at all. It is worth noting that Makita brand circulars are a kind of standard in this (and not only) type of power tool. Thus, when choosing a model for personal use, one should be guided by the need, namely the thickness and type of material with which to work. An important factor of choice will be the maneuverability of the tool, which is higher, the less power and, accordingly, weight. For comparison, the Makita 5103R model with a disk diameter of 270 mm and an engine power of 2100 W has a mass of 9.4 kg and is capable of cutting to a depth of 100 mm, and the INTERSKOL DP-165/1200 model with a disk diameter of 165 mm and an engine power of 1200 W weighs 4.5 kg and is capable of cutting to a depth of 55 mm. When choosing, it should be borne in mind that in order to cut a thick workpiece, it is possible to cut from two sides, since it is not at all necessary for the cutting disk to pass through the material.

    Professional Powerful Circular Makita 5103R

    It is also customary to classify circular saws by power. A more powerful engine will ensure stability in operation, will allow you to work continuously longer, which means faster cutting of the material. Naturally, the power and diameter of the cutting disc are directly dependent, so the division into classes by power is also quite arbitrary, namely:

    • Models up to 800 W can be attributed to household
    • Models from 800 to 1200 W are universal
    • Models with a power of more than 1200 watts are considered professional.

    The next selection criterion can be considered the speed (frequency) of rotation of the disk. To some extent, the cleanliness of the cut (the absence of chips) depends on the speed of rotation, but it is also affected by the type of disc, namely the shape and size of the teeth. It is also worth considering that the higher the speed, the lower the value of the torque developed by the unit. And finally, the speed affects the degree of heating of the workpiece, so for some plastics high-speed models are not suitable. The edges of the workpiece just start to melt. Thus, you should pay attention to models with the same tooling diameter and choose the rotation speed that best matches the nature of the work. On the other hand, there are models with adjustable disk rotation speed, but they will accordingly be more expensive.

    Electronic protection systems

    First of all, it is worth mentioning the so-called “constant electronics”, which monitors the maintenance of a constant disk speed as the load increases or decreases. For example, the DeWalt DWS520K model has a special sensor that monitors the shaft speed and controls the power output. Thus, a constant speed is achieved, and jamming of the disk in the workpiece is virtually eliminated. All this positively affects the quality of the cut. Of course, in order to maintain the rotation speed with increasing load, the unit must have a certain power reserve, which is implemented in middle and high class models. Some models (for example, Metabo KSE 68 Plus) are equipped with an idle speed preset system, which may be necessary when sawing various materials. At the same time, it will be the predefined frequency that will stabilize. However, many models without this option are also equipped with constant electronics.

    As you know, the starting current of the electric motor is many times higher than the working one, which can lead to an overload of the mains. To prevent this phenomenon, many saw models are equipped with a soft start system. An additional positive factor in the presence of such a system is the reduction of the load on the mechanical part of the unit at start-up, the absence of a jerk and shock loads, which increases the durability of the unit and the comfort of working with it. An example is the Fiolent PD 3-70E model.

    Another useful option is to protect the tool from overloads. This may be excessive zeal of the operator, which exerts excessive force on the circular, or a sharp voltage drop in the network. At the same time, the protection system will automatically turn off the power, which will avoid the failure of the unit and save the owner money for its repair.

    Finally, “advanced” models can be equipped with an electrodynamic brake. This system stops the disk rotation almost instantly after the operator releases the power button, which avoids injuries and protects the machine and workpiece from damage.

    Advanced mechanics

    One of the most unpleasant phenomena when working with a circular tool is jamming of the disk in the workpiece. This can lead to engine failure, as well as to a reverse impact. The so-called slip clutch is designed to cope with this problem. If the disk sticks “tightly”, the clutch will free the motor shaft and allow it to rotate further in order to avoid burnout windings. This is a very reliable system, so it works only when needed.

    A rather familiar mechanical element of protection against spontaneous or accidental switching on is an additional button that must be pressed simultaneously with the main one. In many tools, this button is used to lock the main switch in the working position. However, in the case of a circular saw, this method is not used. The power must always be turned off when the switch is released.

    From time to time you have to replace the blade. To do this, fix the shaft and unscrew the fixing nut. Some models (Bosch GKS 65 CE Professional) are equipped with a shaft locking mechanism in any position. Also, the shaft can be fixed in one position or not fixed at all. In the latter case, to replace the disk, you must use two keys, one of which needs to hold the shaft.

    One of the most important parts of a circular saw is a base plate. It always contains various regulatory mechanisms and fastening elements for additional auxiliary parts. The base plate can be made of stamped steel of sufficient thickness or by casting, usually based on aluminum alloys. It is believed that a professional unit is always equipped with a cast base plate, however, some models (Bosch GKS 65 CE Professional) are equipped with a stamped plate.

    Changing the angle of cut is carried out by changing the angle of inclination of the base plate relative to the disk. By default, the plate is perpendicular to the disk, and if necessary, it can be set at a fixed angle. 30 °, 45 °. There are models that allow a larger slope angle of the plate. Up to 55 °. The base plate also contains elements for adjusting the depth of cut. The main requirement for a depth adjustment system is the accuracy and reliability of the fixation. Equally important is the ease of making the necessary changes. For a professional activity, time plays an important role.

    Harvesting boards with a circular saw

    A good circular saw allows installation in a stationary position. A kind of machine comes out. Naturally, the heavier and more massive the unit, the more relevant such functionality will be, although many lightweight models also provide for such an opportunity.

    Ensuring straightness of cutting is of great importance. This can be achieved both by regular means (most saws are equipped with an emphasis to ensure parallelism to the edge of the material), and by additional equipment, which is purchased separately. However, it is often necessary to make a cut along the marking. To control the line in front of the base plate, a special opening is made. However, there are more modern solutions. For example, in the EVOLUTION 180 EXTREME device, a special laser pointer is installed, which is enough to combine with the marking line.

    Due to the increased danger of working with a circular saw, it is mandatory to be equipped with an automatic casing, which moves at the beginning of work, and after cutting is completed, it automatically returns to its original, closed position under the influence of a spring. To avoid jamming of the blade during operation, any saw is equipped with a proppant knife, which prevents the already cut material from squeezing the blade.

    Ergonomic features of circular saws

    Despite the fact that the circular saw is designed to facilitate the processing of wood and other materials, the process remains quite time-consuming. Therefore, the ergonomics of the unit when choosing is of paramount importance. And here, special attention should be paid to the shape and location of the handles. Naturally, everyone should choose a tool in accordance with their own tastes, habits and physical data. That is why there is a fairly wide variety of shapes and arrangements of device controls. Particular attention is usually paid to the shape of the front handle. It can be straight, perpendicular to the plane of the material being cut or mushroom-shaped. The second option seems to be preferable, since it gives more degrees of freedom. However, there are those who prefer the first option. Some manufacturers produce models for lefties. If we talk about the material of the pens, then rubberized ones have proven themselves best. They allow you to control the instrument in the best way.

    Special overlay for adjusting the width

    When choosing a tool, you should consider several options, hold in your hands to feel their weight and balance. This is especially important for those who have to work a lot “on the spot”. In this case, the convenience of the tool is especially important. An important feature of a particular model is the visibility of the cutting place, depending on the design, it can vary significantly. When working with a saw, effective blowing of the cutting place should be organized to remove sawdust. Some models are equipped with a nozzle for attaching a vacuum cleaner and a bag for collecting sawdust. A special container may be provided for this.

    Separately, you should pay attention to the location of the power cable, which can be cut through inadvertently. Most preferably, the rear arrangement is with a long and stiff entry sleeve. As for the length of the cord, it is better if it is long (3-4 m). During operation, the carrying block can create tangible interference.

    The saw motor has parts that are subject to periodic replacement. Brushes. You should choose models that provide quick access to brushes. In this case, you can replace them yourself. Otherwise, you may need to contact the service center, and this is an additional cost of time and money.

    Hand Circular Saw

    If you intend to use the circular periodically for small jobs, you should pay attention to the “hobby” class tool, which is in the range of many well-known brands (for example, Bosch PKS 55 A or BlackDecker CD601). The operating mode of these models requires a 15-minute break after 15 minutes of continuous operation, and such a saw should work no more than 4 hours a day. But the cost will be much lower, and the warranty will be even longer than for a professional tool (2-3 years against 1 year for the “pro”). It is worth noting that a professional tool because of heavy use often often serves a shorter period than a household one so if the price is not the main thing.

    As for brands that have proven themselves to be the best, then for household needs you should pay attention to the products of Black companiesDecker, Skil, Bosch (green) and the were reasonable. If it is to be used in professional activities, then out of competition are the models of Japanese companies Makita and Hitachi, as well as blue Bosch.