Circular saws are one of the most important power tools any workshop can have. Drills are a given, and sanders are great additions once you’ve got the basics, but when it comes to practical tools, there’s nothing more time-saving, and effort-reducing than the not-so-humble circular saw.
The power and speed of circular saws have always been a necessary addition to any serious garage, but now, with advances in battery science, the best cordless circular saws outperform corded circular saws by a country mile.
So, let’s take a look at some of the best you can buy, and how to choose the right circular saw for you.
1. Makita 6-1/2" LXT Cordless Plunge Circular Saw
2. SKIL 10-1/4'' Cordless Worm Drive Skilsaw Circular Saw Kit
3. Dewalt Flexvolt Max 7-1/4" Cordless Circular Saw
4. SKIL 7-1/4" Cordless Worm Drive Skilsaw Circular Saw
5. SKIL PWR CORE 20 6-1/2'' Circular Saw Kit
6. Makita 3-3/8" Max CTX Cordless Circular Saw
7. FLEX 7 1/4" Circular Saw Stacked-Lithium Kit
8. Milwaukee M18 FUEL 7-1/4" Cordless Circular Saw
9. Dewalt 4-1/2" Cordless Circular Saw
Cordless Circular Saws Buyer’s Guide
What are Cordless Circular Saws?
Cordless circular saws are designed for cutting straight lines through multiple widths of timber and cutting down timber battens to size. Their blades are one-directional, with a constant cutting force which helps to draw the saw along the surface of your material.
Like any circular saw, they take a lot of effort out of sawing, but also require a great deal of control. For many, this just means practice, but for us, that means getting set up with the proper guides and clamps to ensure a crisp, precise line every time.
Cordless Circular Saws Vs Corded Circular Saws
Unlike corded circular saws, cordless circular saws reduce risk and increase portability. A few years ago, you would never have found a guide like this, dedicated to cordless circular saws without a link to more powerful corded alternatives.
However, with today's battery technology, not only is battery life longer, but the power output can actually exceed corded tools. While the best cordless circular saws are still pretty expensive, you can find some great budget options that can still keep up with corded models.
The big bonus is, and always will be, convenience. Because simply put, you can use cordless tools anywhere and everywhere making them ideal for trades and DIY users alike.
What to Look for When Buying a Cordless Circular Saw
As with any circular saw, there are a few basic things to look for when buying a cordless circular saw; blade size, cutting depth, power, and safety. But there’s also the much more important choice of the actual mechanism too.
So, below, we’ll look at some simple ways to distinguish the right cordless circular saw for you as well as look at the difference between worm drive, standard and plunge circle saws to make sure you get the best saw possible.
Essentially, the bigger the blade, the faster the cut. While it might seem obvious that blade size links to cutting depth, that’s not necessarily true.
For example, some 7-1/4” have adjustable depths, while others don’t. Equally, plunge saws have significantly better-cutting depths than their standard rivals with static cutting positions.
Smaller blades tend to spin slower though and suffer more from friction, with a higher contact ratio between the blade and the material, so if you’ve got space, go for a bigger blade.
Speed Vs Power
Speed and power are linked, but try to focus on the ratios between speed and power when choosing the best cordless circular saw. To simplify it, cheaper power tools might have a 60V battery, with a free spinning (or ‘no load speed’) of 6000 RPM.
This is great for thin timber, but compare it to a lower voltage circular saw, with just 20V, but an RPM of 5000. The ratio is significantly better, meaning the friction is far less likely to jam up or slow down the blade.
As a general guide, 60V is excessive, and anything under 18V is too low for a general-purpose tool. RPMs should be somewhere between 4500 and 5500 for reliable performance.
Right Vs Left-handed circular saws
This might seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how many users go for the default right-handed tools when there are purpose-made left-handed tools out there.
If you’re a leftie, keep an eye out for left-handed circle saws, which will make workshop life SO much easier.
Plunge Vs Fixed-depth circular saws
Plunge saws are excellent for cutting thicker materials or cutting lengths of timber to size without having to move the saw. Simply hold the saw in place and press down as the mechanism does the rest.
For longer, straight cuts, use a standard circular saw, with the blade depth firmly locked in place to just over the depth of the material.
Cordless Circular Saws Safety Guide
There are some pretty important safety features that come as standard with most cordless circular saws, like blade guards and automatic brakes.
Without the cable holding you back, there are significantly fewer risks when using cordless circular saws. However, it’s still important to follow basic workshop safety procedures:
- Wear comfortable, ventilated goggles
- Wear a dust mask (particularly when cutting timber)
- Stay behind the saw while cutting
- Remove any nails, screws or fittings from the materials
- Turn the power off completely after use
Best Cordless Circular Saw Reviews
Cordless Circular Saw Top Picks for 2023
Best Cordless Circular Saw - Our Top Pick
Plunge saws are almost always more expensive than their fixed depth counterparts, but this 36V plunge saw from Makita is a cordless powerhouse that still offers great value for money.
But we don’t just give the top spot away for value. The Makita 18V x2 (36V) LXT Cordless 6-1/2 in. Plunge Circular Saw is an outstanding tool, capable of pretty much anything you could possibly throw at it.
From quick cuts to properly aligned accurate woodwork, this Makita plunge saw is up to the challenge and will make it feel easy.
Premium Choice Cordless Circular Saw
SKIL saws might be out of the price range of most DIY buyers, but let’s face it, they’re worth the money. The manufacturing quality alone is worth the premium price, and there’s even beauty to their design.
I’ve always been a sucker for beauty when it is injected into functional design, and this 10-1/4” SKIL Cordless Worm Drive Skilsaw has it in bucket loads.
If you’re after the very, very, best cordless circular saw and are happy to pay a premium, then there’s no doubt in my mind that this is it.
Best Value Cordless Circular Saw
Power doesn’t always mean a hefty price tag, and the Dewalt Flexvolt Max 7-1/4" Cordless Circular Saw proves that more than any other circular saw we’ve seen.
Budget circular saws can seem like a risky purchase, but when those budget tools are designed and sold by brands we trust, it’s a win-win. Don’t try to save every possible penny to find affordable tools, because that’s just false economy stuff.
Be sensible, and choose tools like this, which are budget-friendly, but high performance. Yes, there are cheaper circular saws, but there are very few that can match up to the DeWalt for performance in this price range.
Cordless Circular Saws FAQs
Are cordless circular saws powerful enough?
Cordless circular saws are typically less powerful than corded saws. However, more recent products from Milwaukee, Makita, and SKIL have shown that battery-powered circular saws can actually have more power, higher RPMs, and better torque than corded alternatives.
If you’re still not convinced about the power of cordless, for more information on the best circular saws click here.
What is a brushless circular saw?
When buying a cordless circular saw, always choose one with a brushless motor. Brushless motors are more efficient than standard alternatives as brushes in the motor traditionally reduced power by creating friction within the motor.
This is particularly important with battery-operated tools, where brushless motors significantly improve their run time.
How long do circular saw batteries last?
Most circular saws have a battery life of around 12 hours in continuous use. Any battery claiming to last longer will have significant performance issues, so find a product with a reliable, powerful battery, and ideally, one with a fast charging battery kit to reduce downtime.
Do cordless circular saws burn wood?
A common problem with any circular saw, including cordless circular saws is burning along cuts. This is caused by heightened friction and is usually the result of one of two potential problems: dirty or blunt blades or, worse, a misaligned blade. Remove, clean, and re-secure your blade properly.
For more tools you may need in your workshop, see our product reviews and buying guides below:
Get the Best Cordless Circular Saw for Your Workshop and Sawing Needs
Cordless circular saws make woodwork a breeze, cutting down time as effectively as they cut down timber. If you’re starting a new project, renovating, or redesigning an outdoor kitchen, there is nothing quite like a powerful circular saw with the convenience of rechargeable batteries to increase productivity.
We’re pretty much sold on these cordless circular saws above, and won’t be gig back to corded any time soon.