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How to Buy a Circular Saw

Circular saws come in a variety of styles. Follow these steps to find the saw that's right for you.


  • Step 1: Make sure your saw has a shoe that adjusts and shifts to accommodate beveled cuts. Most circular saws feature knobs that you can turn to adjust the shoe.
  • Step 2: Consider how the saw feels in your hand. Shop around at hardware stores and handle different saws to test the balance, comfort, and maneuverability of different models. When you find a comfortable fit, you're ready to get started on your next project.
  • FACT: Amsterdam-based book designer Irma Bloom has employed the circular saw to sculpt the edges of pages in books.
  • Step 3: Examine the shoes on different styles. A cast iron shoe makes the saw heavier, but an aluminum shoe could dent or bend if the saw is dropped or falls on the ground.
  • Step 4: Consider the kind of blade you need. While most circular saws come with a 7 1/4-inch blade, blades are also available in sizes from 3 3/8 inches to 16 5/8 inches.
  • Step 5: Choose between an in-line, also called a worm drive saw, and a sidewinder saw. The motor on an in-line saw is in line with the blade, giving the saw more torque for heavier jobs. A sidewinder saw's motor sits alongside the blade, making for a lighter saw with more maneuverability.
  • Step 6: Consider the power of the saw. The projects for which you plan to use your saw determine how much power you need. The most common is 15-amp but, if you'll be using it only for light jobs, a 10- or 12-amp saw will work fine.
  • Step 7: Choose between a corded and cordless saw. Cordless saws may be more convenient, but they are more expensive. Corded saws are less convenient, but you don't have to worry about your battery running out and having to wait for a recharge in the middle of a project.

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