The 8 Best Circular Saws for Beginners [Updated for 2021]

Last Updated on June 29, 2021 by Camille

Circular saws can be an intimidating tool to use, especially for beginners. But they are an incredibly valuable tool to have in your workshop because of their extreme versatility. It’s important to get a good circular saw, and it’s also important to get one designed for beginners to help you get used to the tool.

These saws all offer premium performance while also providing plenty of safety features to make them easier to use. That combination makes them a fantastic choice for beginners who are looking to get more out of the tools in their workshop.

Our review of these saws will go over all the pros and cons of each tool, it’s most important technical specs and the features that help it stand out most. Let’s get started.

Makita is a solid manufacturer with a reputation for creating powerful tools with good safety measures. This 7 ¼ inch circular saw is a good option thanks to it’s flexible but not overly large size along with lightweight and durable magnesium components.

Two LED lights built into the saw help provide solid illumination to make it easier to see what you’re cutting. It also makes it much easier to avoid injuries from accidentally standing too close to the saw since you’ll be able to see the full length of the blade.

A built-in dust blower also provides better visibility by clearing obstructions before they can become a problem. It’s a small but constant flow of air enough to clear most of the sawdust and even splinters of wood that break off while you’re using the saw.

The 15-amp motor is also a good choice for a saw this size. It’s got more than enough power and produces enough torque to handle most cutting jobs. It can handle cutting dimensional lumber, plyboard, particleboard, engineered lumber, and more. Of course, you will need to use the appropriate blade for each kind of lumber you intend to cut.

This design also uses a precision beveling system to make it easy to move between 0 and 45 degrees quickly. The mechanism is simple enough to use between cuts so that you can always use precisely at the angle you need.

Heat-treated gears and copper coils also work together to make this saw incredibly heat-resistant. That means less time spent being overheated and longer work times while using this saw. The heat resistance also means that the saw will perform better long-term and will last longer before needing repair or replacement.

Pros

Cons

Our Verdict

Makita has come out with another solid and highly functional design in this circular saw. The blade is large enough to be effective, without being too large for beginners, while other design features work to make it easier and safer to operate.

Our Rating

5/5

DeWalt is another manufacturer with a sterling reputation for creating durable and effective power tools for hobbyists and professionals alike. This circular saw meets our basic requirements for a good saw for beginners. It’s a reasonable size with a good motor behind it and solid safety features to make using the saw easier.

The electric braking system makes this design even safer to use than the average circular saw. The brake system stops the blade as soon as the trigger is released. Stopping the blade immediately can help prevent a wide range of workshop accidents. It’s also a fantastic mechanism for preventing accidents from getting worse since the brake operates faster than most human reaction times.

This model also comes with a good carbide-tipped blade that’s incredibly durable and longer lasting than most standard steel blades.

We also like the touch cord design. The cord is fully retractable and works well in most workshops. It’s also relatively long, which gives you more workspace. It’s also designed to retract quickly and without tangling to help the cord last longer.

Corded designs also tend to be more consistent overall. You don’t have to worry about the battery running out on your circular saw when you’re halfway through a project. However, that also means that they only work in places where you have a regular power outlet or a compatible generator. These saws aren’t a great option if you’re looking for something that will work on job sites that don’t have electrical hookups installed yet.

This model is also relatively lightweight at only 8.8lbs total weight. That makes this design incredibly maneuverable, perfect for detailed cuts and maneuvering in tight spaces.

An easy blade changeout mechanism makes it simple to keep your blade sharp, simply replace the blade when it begins to dull. This circular saw does require a blade change wrench (included with the saw) however, so you’ll need to make sure you’re keeping track of the wrench. Fortunately, if you do use it, it’s a replaceable component.

Pros

Cons

Our Verdict

DeWalt’s solid design and electric braking system have come together to make a particularly effective saw for beginners and experienced users. The lightweight design is a serious plus on a saw that performs as well as this one does, as is the carbide-tipped blade.

Our Rating

5/5

Skilsaw is known for producing incredible torque in their power tools, an important feature for a saw. This design uses their Worm Drive to great effect, getting more power into the blade and making for a significantly faster and more effective saw.

The worm drive combines with a 15-Amp motor system to make for a saw that is significantly more powerful than similarly designed saws. Normally that wouldn’t be enough to recommend this saw as a beginner tool, though it’s a serious plus for professionals. In this case, though, there are enough other benefits and safety features included with this saw to make it a good beginner option as well.

The anti-snag lower guard on the saw is a good feature to help prevent hitches and jumping when you’re sawing through lumber. It’s a good addition to make cutting through knots, burls, and other difficult sections of wood easier.

It works well with soft, hard, and engineered woods, assuming you have the right kind of blade. The torque is a little powerful for particleboard and plywood, but can be just as effective with the right blade and a little experience.

Ergonomic handles and a relatively lightweight design both combine to make this saw a lot easier for beginners to use. The handle helps absorb some of the impacts from sawing vibration, while also helping keep your hands and arms positioned for maximum efficiency while you’re working.

At just under 12 lbs. this design is easy to maneuver and work with. Its relatively compact design is good for smaller spaces and tricky work areas. It also has an easy to use beveling system that moves between 0-45 degrees with a positive stop for added safety.

The beveling system does go a touch farther than most though, with a maximum extension of 53 degrees.

However, this saw does need a little more maintenance than some of the other options on our list. The multi-tool blade change wrench also acts as the tool you’ll need for oiling as well as brush maintenance.

Pros

Cons

Our Verdict

The worm drive system brings a lot of power to the table, and this saw is efficiently designed to maximize its potential. The design is relatively lightweight, and ergonomic handles make it much easier and safer to use.

Our Rating

5/5

This Skilsaw circular saw has a lot of the same features as the previous saw, but it’s slightly more affordable and also slightly more limited in its design. The blade is the same size, however, which is important since it’s a good size for balance between usefulness and not being overly large or cumbersome.

This saw’s depth of cut system is particularly effective and helps you learn how to gauge the depth of your cut when you first start working with a circular saw.

This design features the two things that help make Skilsaw circular saws stand out, the 15 amp saw combined with a worm drive that helps maximize the power and torque behind the blade. The combination makes this saw a powerful ripping saw, while also maintaining the precision needed for detailed cuts and construction work.

It has the same anti-snag guard along the bottom of the blade, which makes it significantly safer to use. The corded design combined with heat resistance makes it incredibly easy to use as well. Its consistent performance is one of the best features for a workshop that runs through a lot of lumber.

The Skilsaw design also allows for safe beveling for up to 51-degree angles. The ergonomic handle makes the saw relatively easy to use, though it is a couple of pounds heavier than the other Skilsaw on our list at 14.2 pounds.

The extra weight doesn’t cause too many problems, but it does mean that you’ll probably need to take more frequent breaks as your arms grow fatigued.

Pros

Cons

Our Verdict

This saw might not be quite as advanced as the other Skilsaw design on our list, but that can actually be an advantage for beginners. Its design is efficient, easy to use, and doesn’t have a lot of extra features that can make the saw harder to use, which makes it a great starter circular saw. Efficient, easy to use, and well-designed.

Our Rating

5/5

Metabo’s HPT 7 ¼ inch blade saw is a good option if you’re looking for a complete package that’s easy to adjust while you’re working without being too complicated for most beginners to use.

This saw’s incredibly lightweight design, only 5 lbs. total, makes it simple to maneuver. This is a great saw for people who need to work in close quarters in a small workshop, and it’s a fantastic option if you’re looking for something that won’t tire your arms out after a long day of cutting.

Its design is easy to use, and its 15-amp motor provides plenty of power for a wide range of different kinds of lumber. It’s suitable for dimensional lumber, particleboard, and is a good choice for cutting framing materials.

The fully integrated dust blower is a good addition to the saw’s basic design since it helps keep your work area clean and helps prevent obstruction in your line of sight while you’re working.

The die-cast aluminum base is not only incredibly solid and durable, while still being relatively lightweight, it also provides clearly marked measurements to make precision cutting simpler. The non-slip handle also makes this saw easy to use in a wide variety of conditions, wet or dry.

At 9.5 lbs. this design is relatively lightweight, especially when you consider the power of the motor and the other design features that make it a more effective saw.

Pros

Cons

Our Verdict

This saw’s simple features make it easy to use and incredibly effective, it’s a good fit for beginners and for professionals who are looking for a simple saw that can handle a lot of bulk cutting work. Its motor is designed to provide a lot of power, but without burning the wood you’re working with.

Our Rating

5/5

Craftsman’s tools have a reputation for being some of the most durable options available, which can be a huge advantage for beginners who are looking for a saw that will grow with them. This design is meant to last and can serve as a real workhorse in any workshop, which means that you’ll still have use for this saw even when you can’t be considered a beginner any longer.

The 15-tooth blade that comes with this saw is also a good middle ground. It’s effective and relatively easy to use without burning or damaging your lumber. The 15-tooth design also isn’t too aggressive, so you’ll get effective and precision cuts without risking losing control from an overly aggressive blade.

This saw also features a tool-free simple beveling system up to 55 degrees. Since you won’t need to grab any tools before you start working, this design makes changing the angle you’re cutting at much easier.

You’ll also get both a top and bottom guard on the saw to help prevent jamming and dancing while you’re cutting. The guards keep both the saw and the lumber steady, making them the perfect safety addition for a beginner.

Craftsman also offers a good 3-year warranty on the saw, motor, and parts. The warranty is a good addition to an already effective saw.

Pros

Cons

Our Verdict

This circular system is a good choice for people who are looking for a durable design that’s effective and long-lasting. The 3-year warranty gives you a lot of assurance that you’ll get your money’s worth out of the saw, and it’s enough of a workhorse to earn a place in professional workshops as well as beginner toolsets.

Our Rating

5/5

This set is probably one of the most complete designs for a beginner circular saw out there. It comes with 6 blades, each with a slightly different design and blade type to allow for cutting different kinds of materials easily.

Including those blades also makes it simple to test this saw without having to make any further investment in it first.

The laser guide system is a good option for beginners since it gives you greater assurance that you’re cutting exactly where you intend to. It also increases overall visibility, which helps to reduce the chances of an accident while you’re working.

This saw also comes with a double protection switch. Basically, the saw has a safety switch that must be in the on position to work. The trigger won’t work properly when the switch isn’t engaged, which gives you another protection against workshop accidents. It’s not foolproof, but it’s an important addition for crowded workspaces and busy workshops.

The easy to use depth adjustment system on this saw also helps improve your precision, letting you cut exactly as deep as you need to and no further. The simple adjustment is one of the things that makes this design so effective for beginners.

Tacklife has also included a fully copper motor with this saw, which is both a more efficient design and significantly more durable compared to other kinds of motor.

Pros

Cons

Our Verdict

This saw might look a little different from other circular saws, but it offers many of the same advantages and is an effective design for beginners. The metal grip allows for greater precision and security while you’re working, while the laser guide helps you see exactly where you’re cutting and makes adjustments easy.

Our Rating

5/5

Skil’s saw design uses an efficient AC power supply that’s very effective for ensuring you have consistent power the whole time you’re working. The power supply is also more consistent, even through power blinks and other electrical current problems. It won’t keep working during an outage, but it’ll work through almost anything else.

This saw comes with a carbide-tipped blade. The blade is a good general design, but you’ll still need to invest in some specialty blades at some point.

The real standout feature of this saw is that it’s the second lightest design on our list. At 6.5 lbs. total weight this saw is incredibly easy to use for longer periods of time and more extended cutting. Its lighter design is also good for small spaces, though it can mean that the saw is a little more prone to overheating if you’re ripping through a lot of hardwood and lumber quickly.

The anti-snag lower guard on this saw is also particularly effective for beginners since it helps hold the saw steady, even when you’re making trickier small cuts. Combine that with a circular saw dust collection system to keep sawdust out of your way and you have a very steady combination. The laser beam guide helps make sure you’re cutting exactly where you need to.

The biggest downside of this design is that the power cord is only 6ft long. That limits your range quite a bit and can make it more difficult to maneuver the saw unless you’re working right next to a power outlet.

Pros

Cons

Our Verdict

This saw’s design is incredibly effective and easy to use overall, but it does have a few limitations that may not work well in all workshops, most importantly the shorter 6ft power cord. However, its safety features and consistent energy supply make it a solid choice for beginners.

Our Rating

5/5
best-circular-saw-for-beginners

Beginner Circular Saw Buyer’s Guide

If you want to pick a great circular saw you need to think not only about the features of the saw you’re considering but also the features that matter most to you. Picking a good saw means picking the saw that will work with your skill level and the other tools in your workshop to let you do what you need to.

This buying guide will help you decide on which features are most important and give you a good grasp of what you’re getting when you decide on a saw.

Motor Power

The motor is one of the most important components of your saw. The motor determines the RPM of your blade, which has a huge impact on its performance regardless of the kind of material you’re cutting through or the design of the blade.

Even for a beginner saw you don’t want to use a lower-powered motor because you can run into performance issues that make the saw harder to use, not easier.

We recommend going no lower than a 15 Amp motor, which happens to be the motor design for every saw on our list. More powerful than that can be a little too aggressive for beginner circular saws, but less powerful motors will struggle to cut through standard materials.

Corded or Cordless

This is one of the most common debates for beginners, do you want a corded saw that has more consistent power or a cordless one that’s more portable?

When it comes to circular saws, corded models are much more common. Cordless versions tend to be more expensive because they need to have a relatively advanced and high-powered battery. They also have a shorter running time since they are likely to run out of battery long before a standard circular saw will overheat and need a break.

Overall, corded options tend to be a better choice thanks to their more affordable design and their consistency.

However, if you need to have a portable option or a circular saw that can work where there aren’t any electrical outlets, you’ll want to invest the extra money to get a good cordless saw.

Stationary or Portable

There are two things people think about when they are considering whether a saw is portable or not, it’s the power supply and its shape and size.

All of the circular saws on this list are relatively easy to take from place to place, which makes them good portable options that don’t need to be mounted to be effective.

However, these saws are also all corded saws, which means that you’ll need to work close to an outlet. If you want greater portability, you’ll need to get a battery-powered saw.

Safety Features

Safety should be your most important concern when you’re buying a new power tool, and circular saws are no exception. In fact, circular saws for beginners should have more safety features than your average saw because they are a relatively dangerous kind of saw to work with.

The most important safety features are catch guards on the bottom of the saw. They help prevent the saw from kicking up and causing problems while you’re working. Guards on the top of the saw also help prevent kickback and unsteadiness.

Other than blade guards you should consider whether you want a saw with a two-step trigger system or a safety switch to prevent accidentally starting the blade.

Electric brakes can’t stop a blade instantly, but they do stop it significantly faster than it would take to turn off without one. Getting a saw with an electric brake can help make accidents less significant and frequent, while also making your saw easier to use

Handle Design

Handles provide a lot of security on a circular saw, and it’s important to make sure you have one that gives you a good grip and provides a lot of control.

Look for ergonomic designs that are comfortable to hold and that also have at least two grip points to provide greater stability.

User Friendliness

This is a hard thing to determine looking at product specs and even professional reviews. The best way to see if a circular saw is user friendly is to look at user reviews from people who’ve purchased the saw. You can also look for user videos or product demonstrations to see how easily the saw can be handled.

This is also somewhat a matter of personal preference. If you can, try holding and moving several different circular saws before you buy one. Ideally, test the saw on some lumber, but that’s less of a requirement than holding and moving the saw to see if it’s comfortable.

Blade Design

Blades are temporary parts of your saw since you’ll replace them as they dull over time, but it’s still important to make sure you’re getting a good blade and that your saw is compatible with good blades.

Blade Change Mechanism

Toolless blade change mechanisms are uncommon in circular saws because the blade needs to be held particularly securely. However, one-handed change mechanisms are more common.

There are lots of different designs available, so look for details like 1 hand blade replacement with an included blade wrench to make sure you’re getting a good version.

The Takeaway

Overall, of all the saws on this list, we’d have to recommend the Makita 5007Mg Magnesium 7-1/4-Inch Circular Saw as the best option for beginners. It’s combination of effective design and safety features are the best balanced for new craftsmen, and its manufacturer has a reputation for building effective and long-lasting tools.

It’s lightweight design and easy blade replacement system both work together to make the circular saw easy to use and incredibly effective.

Paul King

I have an unhealthy obsession with contracting and renovation. I’ve been a contractor for over 15 years and I love tackling challenging projects to make them look amazing.