Tool School: Circular Saw 101

milwaukee circular saw review

It’s the first of a new month which means it’s time for another round of Tool School! Today we’re tackling a tool that a lot of you requested – the circular saw! As always, I’ll be talking about this tool on Instagram, and then posing all of the fine details here! Ready to get started?

Circular Saw 101

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To help organize my thoughts and all things circular saw, I’m splitting this post into some frequently asked questions. So, here goes nothing!

1. What Is A Circular Saw?

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A circular saw is a hand-held, electric-powered saw designed for cutting material such as wood or metal (this varies based on the type of blade you use in your saw).

2. What Features Does A Circular Saw Have?

Just like a miter saw (which we spoke about last time), a circular saw can make cross cuts, rip cuts, and bevel cuts. It has a bevel lock that can be loosened so the saw can cut at angles other than 90 degrees. This is particularly helpful for projects that are too large to be cut with your miter saw (or sometimes even too large/ heavy to be cut with a table saw too).

Here’s a great diagram from The Home Depot about the anatomy of a circular saw!

3. What Types Of Projects Do You Use A Circular Saw For?

Circular saws are great for many types of projects! I personally love to use them to break down large sheet goods (like plywood) into manageable pieces that can then be assembled in my shop or cut down even more on my table saw (here I’m using my circular saw with a rip cut jig).

If you don’t have a rip-cut jig but want to make straight cuts, you can also use the scrap wood straight edge trick, where you clamp a straight piece of wood to your workpiece and cut (you can see this in action on my Instagram stories).

Circular saws can also be used as an alternate to miter saws as well! I like to use them on job sites to cut my lumber using a speed square. You can see me do that in action on my DIY Floating Desk project.

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Another type of project that is great for a circular saw is any project that requires the edge of a piece to be squared up (like my live edge river table project)! You can cut/square up the “live” or “crooked” edge of a piece before making any other cuts.

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I also like to swap out the wood blade for a metal cutting blade occasionally and cut steel for my welding projects (like my bookshelf) as well!

cutting metal with circular saw

4. Circular Saw Safety


While circular saws are a great tool for many projects, there are a few key things to remember when using a circular saw.

– Always unplug the saw or remove its battery when changing blades and when not in use.

– Always start the motor on the saw before it touches the material.

– Don’t force the cut! Let the saw cut at its own speed.

– Wear safety goggles to protect your eyes.

– Never place your hands near the blade (unless changing it out with the power off/battery removed).

5. What Circular Saw Should I Buy?

While I can’t tell you exactly which miter saw is right for you, I can recommend a few that I’ve tried!

Best Entry Level Saw: If you’re looking for a great entry-level saw with a low price tag, I recommend the RYOBI Circular Saw Combo Kit with 2 Batteries.

Best Value: If you’re one step up from an entry level saw, I’d recommend trying the RIDGID Brushless Circular Saw with Battery. It’s a good mid-range saw that will last a while!

Best All-Around Saw: If you’re looking for all of the bells and whistles of a circular saw but are craving a built-in track (also called a track saw), I’d recommend the saw I use most, a Festool Track Saw.

I really hope you guys found this Intro to Circular Saws post helpful! Make sure to Pin It for later if you’re looking to find this post again!

In the meantime, make sure to follow along on Instagram for the next round of Tool School next month!

Until then, friends… Happy DIY’ing!

Sam Raimondi

Sam is a full time psychologist and part time content creator from Long Island, New York.



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