You wouldn’t be the proficient woodworker you are without the use of a cutting-edge circular saw. Whether you are a professional and a full-time woodworker or a part-time woodworking hobbyist, your toolkit is incomplete without a saw. The big question, however, is, can you afford the best circular there is? Yes, you can. Contrary to popular beliefs and market research or experiences, the best budget circular saw is out there, and you don’t have to break the bank.
Noting that the circular saw is an essential handy tool for cutting wood and other materials, you may assume that you need the most expensive saw, but in reality, you don’t. All you need is a powerful, highly functional circular saw. Luckily, there are many sick saws on the market.
But, before we get into our picks for the best cheap circular saw for building a tree house or a deck, let’s explore the features and factors you should consider in your search.
Best Budget Circular Saw – Reviews
1. SKIL 5280-01 15-Amp 7-1/4-Inch Circular Saw with Single Beam Laser Guide
This SKIL circular chainsaw offers a high level of woodworking efficiency and also provide(s) much-needed rest to your elbow. Its efficiency comes from the 15-amp motor that provides more power and a higher level of performance than its predecessor, SKIL 5680. The motor runs at 5300RPM.
The efficiency of the circular saw further stems from the use of single-beam laser directed technology. The laser beam cuts straight and accurately making your woodwork professional. The laser-guided single beam is integrated to a dust blower which keeps the cut lines free of sawdust. With that, you see the outcome of the sawing and rectify any mistakes in time.
To reduce extra weight and to reduce fatigue, the circular saw underwent design changes that resulted in weight reduction. As a result, it is 15 percent lighter than SKIL 5680.
This saw is versatile and reliable for every man or woman using it. It has a depth of cut at 2-3/8inches, a blade diameter of 7¼ inches, and a 51-degree bevel, as well as positive stops at 45 degrees. With this saw, you will have a wider range of angle, and you will also make miter cuts.
Besides the weight reduction, the use of this saw gets easier as you can change the blades without any difficulties. To change the blades, just use the spindle lock plus the on-tool wrench. It comes with a carrying bag for storage and portability. Included with the saw is a 24-tooth carbide blade.
The indicator light signals you when the saw is ready for work. Your safety when using this laser sharp circular saw comes from the guarded trigger which reduces accidental startups.
· The use of a stainless steel blade makes it durable and non-corrosive.
· It is lighter than the SKIL 5680 by 15 percent.
· It cuts fast, straight, and the dust blower makes cutting easy
· It is easy to use, and it has a sturdy feel.
· The carrying case isn’t the best
· It lacks a dust collector
2. Ryobi P504G One+ 18 V Lithium-Ion Cordless 5 1/2 Inch Circular Saw
The use of a circular saw is the best and the easiest way for you to make long cuts across 2x4s or plywood. In the circular saws market, this appliance by Ryobi is among the best. To be specific, you will need this saw when sawing in a place with limited access to power – it is cordless.
As part of the One+ family, Ryobi P504G is compatible with most Ryobi’s 18v lithium ion batteries. In case of an issue, you can use any of the batteries to get the work done. You can also use the old batteries if the ones that come with the saw lose their power storage capacity.
The use of this saw is easy and the replacement of the blade not complex. For blade replacement, you have the onboard wrench that allows you to swap out the blades easily. It comes with instructions on a manual that are easy to follow.
Fine-tuning: you can adjust your bevel up to 50 degrees and the depth range from 0 to 1-9/16inches using the knobs conveniently located on the saw. These knobs on either side affect the depth plus the beveling and allow you to go as deep as 50 degrees.
It also features a width of cut scale with a scale measuring up to 4 inches on the right of the blade and an inch on the left. This scaling is useful when making rip cuts or straight cross cuts.
While woodworking sounds like the most uncomfortable activity or hobby, this Ryobi P504G makes it a smooth and comfortable activity thanks to the ergonomic grip offered by the saw. The handle has a notched rubber over-mold which increases friction and your control of the saw, especially in slippery conditions. The overgrip makes holding and cutting at awkward angles possible.
Besides the saw, you also get a carbide-tipped blade though you can pick out any 5½ inch blade as it is likely compatible with the saw. You cannot go wrong with this saw for professional use.
· It is lightweight, small, and efficient
· It is easily adjustable
· It cuts fast and well
· It is affordable
· It may not meet all, your needs
3. SKIL 5180-01 14-Amp, 7-1/4-Inch Circular Saw
This SKIL 5180 is a handy circular saw that makes all DIY and professional woodworking works easy. It is a powerful device with a 14-amp motor for enhanced power and high-performance. Its performance is higher than that of the SKIL 5480 circular saw. Its efficiency is increased by the 20-tooth carbide blade which means you can start working once you get it out of the packaging box.
In comparison to SKIL 5480’s weight, this SKIL 5180 saw is 15 percent lighter. This means a significant level of weight reduction and little fatigue when using this saw. It weighs a mere 7.2lbs hence more comfort and ease of handling.
It is highly functional with a 51-degree bevel and a positive stop at about 45 degrees. Its cutting capacity is higher than that of a SKIL 5480. The saw’s depth of cut is at 2 3/8 inches and the blade measures 7¼ inches. It has an improved dust blower which keeps the line of cut free from sawdust.
Changing the sawing blades is made easier by the on-tool wrench tool with a spindle lock. The ON power indicator lets you know when the saw is powered for the job. The guarded trigger minimizes accidental start-up of the device.
· It’s solid/ sturdy construction makes it long lasting and worth the money.
· It works well, and it is easy to use.
· It is safe to use
· It feels heavy
4. Hitachi C7ST 15-Amp 7-1/4-Inch Circular Saw
As one of the most powerful circular saws with no-load high speeds of 6000RPM, this saw is ideal for use in professional settings. It has sufficient power to rip through tiles, granite, marbles, and brick among other materials.
The strength and the power of this saw come from the sturdy construction using aluminum and steel as well the powerful 15-amp motor.
The ability to cut through tough materials and surfaces arises from the saw’s24-tooth, carbide tipped 7¼ inch blade. The blade has a 1 7/8 inch depth of cut available at 45 degrees as well as a 2-7/16inch depth of cut at a 90-degree angle.
The saw has a one-piece base with easy to read side and front scales. The scales make sure that your cuts are accurately measured.
This Hitachi C7STcircular saw doesn’t only make accurate 90-degree cuts but also makes clean bevels from between zero and 45 degrees.
Unlike other circular saws, this saw comes with a blade guard which protects your hands when making angled cuts. With the low center of gravity keeping the saw close to the workpiece, you are assured of clean and accurate cuts.
This saw also boasts of features such as an integrated dust blower which creates a clear line of sight and a dust chute that expels the sawdust, debris, and chips.
For extra comfort and reduced vibrations, this circular saw has a soft grip handle. There also is a single-handed bevel adjustment as well as the depth of the cut lever. As a professional circular saw, it weighs only 9.2lbs. This weight and the design of the saw offer the saw’s advanced maneuverability.
Though it costs more than other circular saws reviewed, it comes with a 5-year warranty. If you have used circular saws before, then you know that Hitachi is a brand you can trust.
· Sturdily designed to withstand the test of time
· It is powerful and multifunctional
· Easy to use
· Best value for money
· Has a five-year warranty
· It feels a little underpowered for tough jobs
5. PORTER-CABLE PCC660B 20V Max Lithium Bare 6-1/2-Inch Circular Saw
If you are looking for a powerful, comfortable and easy-to-use circular saw for your DIY projects, then you should consider getting this saw. It is powerful, and it delivers high speeds of 4000RPMs. At this speed, you can use it for any form of aggressive cutting.
Its beveling shoe pivots upwards up to 50 degrees, and you can use it effortlessly for non-traditional cutting applications. It features a 6½ inch carbide tooth blade delivering a 2 1/8 cutting capacity for different cutting applications.
For comfort when in use, the saw comes with a contoured over-molded handle that offers a strong non-slip grip. The molding also helps in reducing fatigue when cutting with the saw. To reduce fatigue further, the circular saw weighs a mere 6.5lbs. It is one of the lightest circular saws.
This PORTER-CABLE PCC660B is one of the 20V Max systems which is a high-performance cordless circular saw platform.
· It is lightweight and a girl’s best friend
· It has a long battery life
· It is easy to use and comfortable to handle
· It is affordable
· It has excellent balance and an auto-break
· The instructions manual isn’t easy to follow through
· It isn’t laser-guided
Who Needs a Circular Saw?
Basically, anyone serious about woodworking projects needs a circular saw. Whether you do it as a hobby or professionally, you should have a circular saw.
The saws slice through any wood within a short time regardless of the condition of the wood or the density. A circular saw carves through soaking wet pieces of timber or even timber with many knots. Because of their functionality and versatility, you need a circular saw throughout your construction process.
So, if you are looking for a sawing solution for your heavy-cutting needs, you should consider getting a dedicated saw and blade to meet your needs.
You can also find a circular saw capable of cutting metal.
How to choose the best cheap circular saw and what to look for
To buy a circular saw for use in construction and building, conduit cutting, trunking and cutting through light aluminum, you need to consider the following:
Types and designs
There are different types and designs of circular saws among them the Sidewinder and the Worm Drive.
There also are corded and cordless circular saws.
Sidewinder and Worm Drive Circular Saws
These two are differentiated from the position of the motor, the blade and how the motor gets to transfer power to the gears.
The Sidewinder circular saw
This saw is lighter than the worm drive making it ideal for use when doing a lot of cutting. The blade of this saw sits alongside the blade, and it uses a spur gear for torque and power transfer. It is more compact, and it has a relative speed of 6000RPMs. The torque is less than the worm drive’s.
This is ideal if you are right-handed and you are working overhead. It is also easy to handle.
The Worm Drive
This circular saw has the position of the motor at the rear. It uses two gears located at right angles to each other. The gears spin the blade. Its average speed is 4500RPMs, but it has a higher torque that then sidewinder’s.
The rear location of the motor means that the saw is heavier and longer – this means that you will get tires super-fast. The blade is on the left side of the saw.
This is ideal for plunge cuts, renovation works or framing.
Between the Sidewinder and the Worm drive, the sidewinder is a better choice for DIYs and the worm drive for professional use.
Cordless and corded circular saws
The decision to use a corded or a cordless saw depends on where you intend to use the saw. If moving all over the place, then you need a cordless saw. You will have to charge the battery severally.
On the other hand, if you will be working from one part of the garage a corded saw will do fine. You also need to keep in mind that you will need to get an extension cable or a lead for the corded saw because the cord that comes with the saw is often too small. You should, however, note that a corded circular saw is preferable for heavy projects.
Because of these differences, the cordless circular saw is a favorite for many people. The only downside is that the cordless saws cost more. They are flexible though and perfect for small projects.
Power and Speed
To determine the amount of power the saw offers, you should check the voltage for a cordless saw and amperes for a corded circular saw. A high voltage and ampere reading indicate more power. However, you also need to pay attention to the amount of torque delivered to the blade. The torque determines the exact cutting power of the blade.
You also need to consider the motor’s rating because when the rating is high, then it means that the motor is fast and powerful hence a higher RPM. At a higher RPM, the blade is spinning fast making it easier to cut through the timber.
While 15-amp saws are the most common, you will be fine using a 12 or a 10-amp circular saw.
When looking for the best budget circular saw, you should consider the size of the blade as it determines what the saw can do. In your search, you will come across 6.25, 6.5, 7.25, 8, 8.25, 8.5, 10, 12, and 14-inch blades. One of the most popular blades among woodworkers is the 7.25 blade which is also called the 7¼inch blade.
The blade size matters a lot in a circular saw as it is the feature that determines the depth of the cut you can make. With a bigger blade, you can make deeper cuts.
To cut through a 2inch thick piece of timber, then any saw with a blade above 6 inches is ideal. However, to cut through 4-inch thick timber at an angle, you have to get a 12 or a 14-inch blade.
To ensure that you have the right blade meeting all your needs consider the thickest timber you’ll need to cut through. The 7¼inch saw handles more than 90 percent of all jobs.
You also need to consider blade changing while keeping in mind that a saw with a shaft lock or a spindle is easier to change.
The cutting depth
Other than the size of the blade, you also need to consider your ability to adjust the angle and the depth of the blade – yes, a lot depends on the blade. For most saws, the adjustment is made possible with the use of levers or knobs. It is much easier to use levers than it is to use knobs. When making the depth and the angular adjustments, you should make sure that the base edge remains parallel with the blade to prevent it from veering off from the straight edge.
Before adjusting, ensure that the blade’s base plate is at zero degrees cutting depth. In most cases, the allowable adjustment is between 45 and 90 degrees.
Being the best in woodworking means understanding how all the parts of the circular saw work. You also need to make sure that you protect the saw because, however careful you are, you will drop the saw more than a few times. When a circular saw falls, it doesn’t bounce, so the shoe gets damaged.
For this reason, you need to consider the material that makes the shoe. You can either have cast iron or aluminum shoes. Cast iron is heavier and sturdier than aluminum. But, the final decision lies in your preference as you have to make a trade-off between weight and durability of the shoe.
What else can the saw do?
This is a matter of versatility as well as the cutting style of the saw. The saw should be able to make certain cuts and meet all your woodwork needs. The best circular saw makes basic cuts, angled and beveled cuts.
If you circular saw takes extra seconds for the blade to stop running after releasing the trigger, then that means that it doesn’t have a braking system. With a brake, the saw stops almost immediately. Other than stopping in time, the brake is important for your safety.
Laser guided beams
Not all circular saws have laser guided beams, but for the ones that have the beams, then it means that you will make neat, beautiful and accurate cuts.
Adjustability of handles
Though this isn’t an essential feature, it is an excellent addition for comfort and also eases use. Other than the adjustability, the ergonomics is important. The handle should fit in your hand comfortably, and it should have a balanced fit for your weight. You also need to be comfortable with the blade’s visibility.
How To Choose
Best Cheap Circular Saw – Conclusion
The best budget circular saw is easy and comfortable to use as it comes with a blade that makes cutting easy. Changing the blades is easy, and you can change the cutting depths as you desire. From this review, our favorite circular saw is the SKIL 5280-01 with a 15-Amp power capacity and a blade width of 7¼ inches. What makes it stand out from the others is the single beam laser guide which makes for accurate cuts. The saw also has an integrated dust blower, and it is safe. It is also lightweight.