9 Different Types of Circular Saws

If you have a right circular saw, then you have a good amount of raw power to cut through anything from metal to dense hardwood and wet lumber.

Depending on the projects you have planned and the wood you want to use, there are different circular saws that are good for the job. Make sure to consider which can provide the most accurate cuts while delivering the most power to cut through the material. And, always consider which saw is the safest.

Here are some reviews of different types of a circular saw and a few tips when you are working with them.

9 Types of Circular Saws

1. Worm Drive Circular Saws

One of the most conventional circular saws that are purchased is the worm drive circular saw. Providing more power and durability than a sidewinder circular saw, the worm drive saw features large gear teeth and can carry a more massive load.

As far as the motor, it is found in the rear with a set of gears that are situated at 45-degree angles from where power then heads for the blade. This can help to lessen the blade’s speed, but at the same time, increases its force.

Typically, worm drive saws are popular in the Midwest and West, especially among professionals. You can use this type of saw for many different projects.

When you have a blade on the left side of a saw, it gives you a more precise line of sight when you make right-handed cuts. They also come with rigid motor housings that stop the blade from wobbling, which will give you a more accurate cut.

The blade position on a worm drive saw is also different from the sidewinder. The blade is found on the saw’s left side; however, the saw’s weight is located on the right. A worm drive saw gives you excellent sightlines, better accuracy, and more power.

2. Sidewinder (In-Line) Circular Saws

Also known as an in-line saw, a sidewinder circular saw features a spur gear. This means that the motor and the blade are set parallel to each other.

When comparing a sidewinder circular saw to a worm drive saw, it’s a lot faster, but also lightweight and compact. You will find the blade located on the machine’s right side and the saw’s weight on the left.

Sidewinder saws are used more often in the Eastern area of the country. One of the reasons this saw is so compact is because the motor is mounted on the saw’s side. This allows the engine to rest on a solid part of the saw and not the cutoff portion. Since the sidewinder usually weighs less than other circular saws types, it is ideal when you need to cut overhead.

On a sidewinder circular saw, the motor is lined up with the blade allowing it to have more speed, often up to 6,000 RPM. Since the motor is on the side of the saw, it doesn’t require extra gears, plus it is also often called a direct drive saw for this reason. And not having gears also helps to give you more speed.

And, fewer gears mean that the saw runs more efficiently since it doesn’t have the same power transfer other saws have. It can generate a high RPM from the direct type of drive that can create tons of speed.

A sidewinder circular saw is great for small projects that won’t require tons of wood to be chopped up. They are lightweight, which also makes them great for awkward angles. Basically, you will get the same type of cuts that a worm drive will give you, just with more speed.

3. Hypoid Circular Saws

Often mistaken for worm drive saws, a hypoid circular saw also has a motor located behind the blade. The difference lies in the totally different gearbox and transmission. Using a hypoid gear, this saw has a gear with a spiral angle that has an axis that is not in-line with the axis that is found on the meshing gear.

With the hypoid design, you get better efficiency, power, and blade contact along with less noise and a smaller motor size. And, in comparison to the worm drive saws, a hypoid saw has a sealed motor system that you don’t have to add the oil too.

There are a few similarities between a hypoid and worm drive saw that include higher torque, especially in comparison to a sidewinder, which makes it suitable for cutting wet or dense wood. And they both come with blades on the motor’s left side, which provides a good sightline for cutting. Plus, they are both heavier than the sidewinder.

A hypoid saw is also pretty user-friendly, and maintenance is pretty convenient since the sealed motor doesn’t require oil changes. They also come with hardened steel gears that make them ideal for tough and rough cuts.

Hypoid saws are also pretty versatile and can be used for many different purposes. You can use it to cut 2 by 4s, hardwood, and plywood as well as sturdy woods.

You also get a lot more power with a hypoid saw than a worm drive saw, which can make them a little harder to handle since you are dealing with more power. This is due to the higher level of power transfer that contributes to more contact with the gears.

4. Abrasive Saws

Also called a chop saw, an abrasive saw allows you to cut hard materials like ceramic, porcelain, and stone. Not everyone considers it to be a saw since the disc doesn’t have teeth when cutting materials. This composite friction disc can cut through material well, but it will wear out fast.

With an abrasive saw, you can purchase abrasive blades made of either cubic boron nitride or diamond. These last longer and don’t create any dangerous debris when you use them.

You will find different types of abrasive saws, including table top saws that feature clamps and are used to cut metal and tiles. There are also freehand saws that can cut pipe, asphalt, and concrete.

There is unique positioning of the main components on an abrasive saw where the motor and handle are located near the operator, and the blade is positioned on end.

Creating heat in the blade and cutting material, abrasive saws can cause both the material and blade to expand, making cuts a little complicated. And, it can cause the blades to wear out faster as well as use more energy.

5. Biscuit Joiners

This next type of circular saw blade is a joiner that uses a circular saw blade that can create a crescent-shaped hole, also known as the mouth. A biscuit joiner is a standard woodworking tool that is used to join together two wood pieces without leaving any noticeable marks like visible joiner or nail hole. When you use this tool, you can pull off T-joints, corners, butts, miters, and edges.

With the circular saw blade, you can use a biscuit joiner that can cut out holes that are the correct size when joining two pieces of wood that are on opposite sides. After that, the oval-shaped wooden biscuit gets a coat of glue and then placed into the opposite holes before the two wood boards are clamped together to bond. Once the wet glue expands the biscuit, it will further improve the board.

In a biscuit joiner, there is a spring-loaded blade in the body of the machine, which is retracted when it is in its normal position. As the operator aligns the machine, they use firm pressure pushing the body of the machine forward against the base plate to create the cut. Once the cut is made, the waste material blows out of the slot on the base plate’s right side.

Since the slots are a little longer than the biscuits, you can slide the panels sideways after you assemble the joint and the glue sets. Since the machine doesn’t require jigs or accuracy to make a perfect joint, this machine is really easy to use.

You can alter the depth of the cut with an adjustable stop and also rotate the small base 90 degrees. A biscuit joiner comes with accessories that let you adjust the offset on the blade’s base when working on thinner or thicker materials.

6. Carbide Circular Saws

Featuring saw teeth made with cemented carbide and carbide saws are used to cut rigid and hard materials. You will find that there are several different types of carbide saws, but the horizontal slide is the most common. This type of saw features a saw blade that is mounted onto the spindle of the gearbox and is usually used as a billet saw.

Other types of carbide saws include the vertical slide that can be used as layer saws, which cut multiple bars or tubes at the same time. This type of saw works by entering the material vertically to make numerous cuts.

You can get a carbide saws as a pivot saw that is typically used to cut small tubes. They are used to cut small tubes and profiles and can also be used as billet or layer saws. This saw also enters the material vertically in an arch-shaped method, and the force contains a closed loop.

The vertical saws are both the stiffest and most expensive saws, but they require less space than the others. They are also harder to service and control the chip flow.

A horizontal slide is more substantial than the others, which allows it to maintain the same amount of stiffness as the pivot and vertical slide. It has a downward chip flow that allows for better control, plus it is the most cost-efficient. They also require less floor space and parts.

7. Concrete Circular Saws / Grinders

Also called a slab or road saw, a concrete saw is a type of circular saw that can cut any kind of solid material. This includes brick, tile, asphalt, and, of course, concrete. This saw comes in either a chop-saw model or a handheld version.

A concrete saw can have an electric, hydraulic, pressurized, or gasoline engine. Most commonly, they will use a diamond saw blade since they make cutting solid materials like concrete easier.

When choosing the type of blade and the features you need, make sure you consider the kind of material you plan to cut. Also, consider whether you will be cutting with water or dry, which can cause breaks resulting in injuries for either you or someone standing nearby.

Other considerations include how fast you need to cut the material and the power output of your particular saw. Power output also determines the type of impact the blade receives, which will tell you if you need to make the concentration lower or higher.

8. Flip-over Saws

A combination of two great saws, the flip over saw has the ability to be a table saw and a miter saw. This saw was designed to be multifunctional and space-saving that can breeze through individual projects. You will get tons of work out of this machine since there isn’t a whole lot that a flip over saw isn’t able to do, including cut framing lumber or large sheets of plywood.

With the miter saw function, you can make accurate crosscuts at a specific angle. You use the same circular saw that is mounted onto a dedicated miter saw. With the table saw function, you can use it for any task that you would otherwise use that woodworking tool for.

On the table saw, you find the circular saw blade is placed so that it sticks out through the table’s top and uses an electric motor of the table and is driven by an electric motor. It is designed to transport and hold material that you are cutting. Both of these saw types are used by professionals to save space and time, particularly if they travel from worksite to worksite.

You don’t need a lot for this saw to work well except for a debris-free work area that is level. You just want to make sure the saw is plugged in correctly and sits firmly in place while also wearing the correct protective equipment.

This is a long-lasting and robust saw, even after cutting solid materials and any impact that environmental factors at various job sites can have on it. If you use a flip-over saw for projects or hobbies at home, it could last the rest of your life.

It is easy to switch the flip-over saw from table mode to miter mode and then fasten it down for safety. You may have a hard time cutting large pieces with this saw that you could otherwise do with a miter or table saw.

9. Metal Cutting Circular Saws

A metal cutting circular saw is an excellent choice for hobbyists or professionals. There is a definite benefit when you use a saw that was created specifically to cut metal. When you cut metal, you will find it more difficult than if you were chopping wood since you have to deal with spark and metal shards that can damage your blades.

Some metal cutting saws have a unique design that deflects or collects potentially dangerous shards. They are typically sealed off better to prevent a buildup of metal debris.

You may find that a metal cutting circular saw is slower than a regular circular saw pushing out lower RPMS somewhere around 3,900 instead of 5,000 or more, as a regular circular saw. The blade’s circumference is also a lot different.

The blade circumference on a circular saw is also a lot smaller, plus it spins the blade a lot slower as well. You will often find a collection bin on a metal cutting saw to stop metal chips from going inside the machine.

Depending on the metal, you will need different blade types. If you are cutting lead, copper, aluminium, or brass, you will need a carbide-tipped blade since they last up to 10 times longer than a typical blade.

The thickness of the metal will determine the blade’s pitch and design you need to choose. Typically, you will want a high tooth count when cutting thin metal and a low tooth count when cutting thicker metals.

How to Choose a Circular Saw

Corded VS Cordless Saw

This is one of the more important considerations you have when choosing a saw. Each has its advantages and disadvantages, but it really comes down to how you plan to use it and what power sources you are near.

With a cordless saw, you can make cuts in places that are hard to access. And many of the new cordless saw models feature more power, less weight, and feature battery packs that last longer. You can pretty much take it anywhere and not have to worry about having a power source nearby.

If you do have a nearby power source, a corded saw can give you more power than a cordless saw, and they usually weigh less since you don’t have the battery pack. That’s also another plus, and you don’t have to worry about your battery dying. Your power is consistent without zero dips in performance, and you can use larger blades.

Left-handed Circular Saw

When you use a left-handed saw, you will have more visibility when it comes to your cutting line. However, your hand will have to cross the blade, which is rather dangerous. On a right-handed saw, you will find the blade on the right, so you don’t have to cross your hands over. Plus, the base of the saw sits above the material you are cutting and, when you make small cuts, the cut-off will fall to the right.

When using a left-handed saw, someone that is right-handed will need their left hand to cross the blade to grip the auxiliary handle, which is not a safe situation. Since the saw blade is aligned between your arms, when you hold the piece of wood with your left hand, you may come in contact with the blade accidentally. This is a less likely situation with the right-handed saw.

While users have different views of the left-handed saws, it isn’t recommended for right-handed users to use a left-handed corded saw as there is too much opportunity of accidentally cutting the cord.

Circular Saw Size (16 & 12- inch Circular Saws)

With a circular saw, you have several blade types to choose from. They come in different sizes and are constructed of many types of materials. It will depend on whether you are cutting steel or wood when you determine the size and type of saw blade you will need.

Basically, the larger the blade size, the deeper the cut you can make. Keep in mind that smaller blades not only weigh less, but they are easier to control.

The most common blade size 7 ¼-inches. If you have a saw that comes with a blade capacity of 5-inches or larger, you can cut a 2-inch piece of lumber in just one pass at 90 degrees or two passes at 45 degrees.

Tips To Using and Troubleshooting Of Circular Saws

While operating a circular saw is a fairly basic skill, it is still very important to do so safely. Depending on the project and type of circular saw, it can be pretty dangerous if you aren’t careful. Here are a few tips that will help to make sure you use a circular saw correctly and safely.

Right Blade

Always use the correct blade depth for your project and check the setting before you cut. Before you start, unplug your saw and hold the material along the saw’s edge to ensure you are getting the right depth. Also, review the instruction manual for your saw to make sure you adjust the blade correctly.

It can actually be pretty dangerous if you have the wrong blade depth due to how much exposure the blade will have. This is especially trying if the blade is too deep since it can cause a kickback or even other issues.

Also, remember that there are several types of blades for a circular saw and that each of them is created for cutting different materials. Make sure the module you are using is right for both your saw and the material you are cutting.

Use a sawhorse

To ensure that your piece of wood is supported on each side, always use a sawhorse. The sawhorse makes sure it is spread out evenly with enough overhand that the cut piece can fall away. Do not prop the part intended to be cut off, or you can cause the wood to buckle and the blade to bind, which can cause a severe kickback.

You can avoid splintering by making sure that the wood is supported correctly. However, plywood is different and needs to be supported continuously to ensure that it won’t fall.

Blade Guard

A blade guard is a vital safety feature on a circular saw that covers it keeping it safe. Usually, as you push down a saw onto a piece of wood, the blade guard automatically retracts. After you are finished with your cut, the blade guard will spring back into its original position.

Always make sure that you check the blade guard to ensure that it is working right before you even plug in the saw. Remember that the blade guard is crucial since the blade on a circular saw will take time to stop once you have made a cut entirely.

Safety is always a significant consideration when using a circular saw. That’s why it’s essential to ensure you are working with the right type of circular saw and are using the correct blade. A circular saw is a great tool to have in your workshop. With all the different types on the market, you shouldn’t have a problem finding the right one you need for your upcoming project.

Well, now you have known about different types of chainsaws. Here we tried to give you an overview of most of the products available in the market and discussed little pros and cons about them. The choice is always up to you. You can decide what to buy and what fits with your job the most. In fact, I also have suggestions about how to choose. After all these, if you still feel confused about what you buy, you can ask us in the comment section. We will be happy to hear from you.

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