The Best Compact Circular Saw 2017 [Top 5 Brands Picked]

By Walter J. Farrell | LIVING

Over the course of one month and after roughly spending over 21 hours of product testing, research, and crowdsourcing, we were able to conceptualize that among all of the Compact Circular Saws we tested and reviewed, the WORX WORXSAW WX429L Compact Circular Saw stood out as the best among the rest. We love that it is an ambidextrous tool that’s suitable for left handed and right handed users. Its size is fairly small so it’s a great tool for both men and women. It packs a lot of power with its 120V, 3500 RPM, and 4amp motor. Cutting through ¾ inch of wood will feel like a breeze when using this powerful mini saw.

Is your full size circular saw weighing you down and causing a lot of strain on your arms?

Do most of your wood work require out of position cuts?

If so, then it’s high time that you consider buying a compact circular saw to help you with projects that demand the utmost in control and maneuverability.

Compact circular saws are uniquely designed to be light-weight and provide performance as good as full size circular saws.

But out of all the compact circular saws out there, which one tops the list? 

We know you’re a busy person and that spending too much time looking for the best will most likely impact your work.

So we took the time to scour through as many compact circular saws we were able to get our hands on, and tested them to know which ones were the best in quality and which ones were not.

This article will give you a list of our top 5 compact circular saws based on careful deliberation and hours of product testing and research.

Ready?

Then let’s begin.

Best Compact Circular Saws 2017

Product NamePower SourceWeightDimensions 
Rockwell RK3441K Compact Circular Saw (Most Popular)AC5 lbs.18.2 x 4.2 x 6.9 in
The Genesis GCS545C Compact Circular SawCorded - Electric6 lbs.16 x 4.2 x 8 in
WORX WORXSAW WX429L Compact Circular Saw AC6 lbs.15.1 x 4.2 x 5.8 in
Dremel US40-01 Ultra-SawAC6.8 lbs.16 x 7.5 x 5.2 in
Makita SH01W 12V max Lithium-Ion Cordless Circular Saw Kit2 Lithium ion batteries required3.3 lbs.7.8 x 7.4 x 6.7 in

How Do Compact Circular Saws Work?

Compact circular saws are mini power-saws that are electric-powered, lightweight and have a flat, circular blade that can cut an assortment of materials like stone, wood, plastic, and metal.

These are small machines that propel a circular toothed blade that is attached to a spindle.

These mini saws have on and off switches on their handles and are also equipped with plastic or metal guards to prevent any unwanted injuries from the spinning blade.

It is a very handy tool because of its portability and precision in cutting materials. Many people prefer using compact circular saws because they are more efficient and convenient than manually using a handsaw. 


"What To Consider Before Buying a Compact Circular Saw?"

If you’re a DIY enthusiast and love to tinker about in your home workshop, we’re sure that you would want to choose a product that will last you about 10 – 15 years. And that’s what we’re here for. We have listed a few important criteria to consider before buying your first compact circular saw

1. Blades

When you finally buy your very own compact circular saw, it will most likely come with a carbide-tipped wood cutting circular blade.

Now this might be the only blade you’ll ever need but if you’re planning to cut materials other than wood, then you might want to know that there are different types of blades available for cutting other materials such as concrete, tile, and metal.

If your work requires cleaner cuts, it’s best to choose a blade with more teeth.

2. Ergonomics

Circular saws may look alike from a distance but each one will feel different. If you want to find the best fit for your hands, then it’s best if you go to your local tool supplier and test the saws yourself.

The handle should fit your hand comfortably so that you won’t have any problems when doing your work. Also consider the saw’s weight as it might strain your muscles long before you are finished. Make sure that you are able to see the blade and are comfortable with its adjustment components.

3. Corded or Cordless

If you have money to burn, then cordless circular saws are the best ones for you. Another thing to consider, though, is there’s not much difference between the two.

When you’re rarely far from an outlet whenever using your circular saw, and have extension cords handy, then buying a cordless type isn’t all that necessary.

But if you insist on going for the cordless circular saws, rest assured that they have been manufactured with improvements in durability and power that many professionals actually prefer using them. 


How We Assessed and Evaluated These Products

Best Compact Circular Saw 2

We thoroughly swept through 20 different Tools and Equipment sections in 20 different stores to see what brands were widely available to customers and carefully recorded their individual specifications and prices. We were able to record about 30 different types of compact circular saws.

We then scoured the internet to see how the products were reviewed by satisfied and dissatisfied customers. We also went to www.cozzy.org and www.thesawguy.com to determine which compact circular saw products were highly rated among other product review sites.

We established common buying criteria like safety, interchangeability of the blades, price, accuracy in cutting, portability, warranty, and weight.

After establishing the criteria we methodically scored the 30 circular saws on our list based on the criteria established. We also made sure to exclude products that had mostly negative consumer feedbacks and then grouped the products with their respective scores and arranged them in ascending order.

No matter where we looked, the options seemed to be endless.

But through our extensive search we have narrowed the list down to 5 products by also seeking reference from readers and close friends. 

The hands on testing was the fun part albeit dangerous. We made sure we were able to test cut all 5 of the shortlisted products on materials like plastic, wood, tile, concrete, and metal before determining which ones stood out the most.

So worry not, you’re in good hands. We have highlighted our top 5 picks among 30 contenders and they won’t disappoint!


Our Top Picks

The first one that made it to our top 5 is the Rockwell RK3441K Compact Circular Saw. As we assessed its performance, we confirmed that it’s lightweight enough to carry comfortably around. Its 5 lbs. weight and cutting depth of 1-11/16" at 90° justifies its product description. It’s a great alternative to a full size circular saw.

Although, it could be better with a laser guide- its overall performance will not disappoint. Our hands on testing has proven that it packs enough power to cut through 2”x4”’s easily.

Its adjustable guide fence has really impressed us because it proved to be true to its name. It is handy enough to make quick and secure fence adjustments.

We encountered a problem when our left-handed associates were trying it. It was rather difficult for them to hold in on the safety switch while trying to use the saw left-handed.

We also tried to use it during unconventional situations like removing a material from wood in such a way that we had to expose the blade by turning the saw over and then carefully angling the wood towards the blade to create a free-hand router type result. And this saw did not fail.

This compact circular saw has proven itself to have extra flexibility to adapt to unconventional situations and that earned a lot of points in our book. 

What We Liked

  • Flexible enough to adapt to unconventional cutting 
  • Competes with full sized saws with its 3500 RPM and 5amp motor
  • Has an adjustable blade for angled cuts and can be used at a 90° for rip cuts and plunge cuts

What We Didn't Like

  • Some people have stated that the bolt holding the blade in place snapped in two while using their saws
  • exclamation-triangle
    Not appropriate for cutting thicker than 3”x4” materials
  • exclamation-triangle
    Does not have its own holder or carrying case

The second on our list is the Genesis GCS545C Compact Circular Saw. Testing this saw made us extremely happy as it cut through 2”x6” wooden boards with minimal effort.

We gave it a lot of points for being well designed. Its grip is rubberized and the handle narrows down smoothly fitting all of the hands who tested it. Its design has made it a perfect tool for one-handed use.

The visibility of the blade made it easy for us to get a good view of our cutting lines. We even did some repair jobs using this tool. We managed to find out that this tool can easily cut 2”x4”’s and 2”x8”’s.

On some occasions, though, we chanced upon the blade guard getting stuck- dangerously exposing the spinning blade.

But its overall quality does make it a worthy contender among others on our list. 

What We Liked

  • Has bevel control and adjustable depth gauge. 
  • Includes a vacuum adapter that keeps your cutting line clear
  • plus
    3500 RPM and 5.8 amp motor

What We Didn't Like

  • exclamation-triangle
    With its die cast aluminum case, it’s a little on the heavy side weighing 6 lbs.
  • exclamation-triangle
    Others have reported that it runs intermittently after a few cuts

3. WORX WORXSAW Compact Circular Saw – Editor’s Choice

On evaluating the WORX WORXSAW Compact Circular Saw, it has not let us down. That’s why this power tool made it into our list.

We tried it on ¾ inch plywood and we were quite impressed. It made clean cuts and had minimal tear out. The safety and power switch is strategically well placed so we had no trouble using it efficiently with one hand – that was also one factor that gave it a lot of points.

We also cross-examined it on granite since we heard it also worked great on that type of material. We had a piece of 1” granite slab in stock so we used it to test this saw. True to their word, the saw worked great on stone cutting. It did get a little over heated before finishing an entire piece so we had to let it cool down before finishing. We have managed to find out that you can use water to keep the blade cool and minimize the dust.

After that rigorous drill, we proceeded to cut more 2”x4” wood and the WORX WORXSAW Compact Circular Saw still did its job with minimal effort. Remarkable! 

What We Liked

  • Will let you cut up to a 45 degree angle 
  • plus
    Its vacuum port is handy especially when you want to minimize mess indoors
  • plus
    Cuts through ¾ inch plywood like a breeze

What We Didn't Like

  • Pushing it too hard will cause overheating
  • exclamation-triangle
    Rip fence is made up of flimsy plastic material that flexes

Now this is a power tool that our left-handed associates appreciated. The handle is vertically secured right in the center that it doesn’t matter if you’re right handed or left handed.

Adjusting the cutting depth is made easy with its lock tab. But you need to take note that its maximum depth is exactly ¾ of an inch. And going for exactly ¾ of an inch may be stretching things too far. We tried cutting ½ inch plywood and it worked with minimal effort. We took it up a notch and tried ¾ inch plywood but the blade fell short of cutting all the way through.

Plunge cuts are also effortlessly obtained with its spring loaded bottom. We found that this power tool is easy to control especially when cutting through a vertical surface.

We also used it for trimming fence boards and cutting metal closet shelving and it did its job without any drawbacks. It’s a great power tool small enough to handle and maneuver and very convenient. 

What We Liked

  • Easy to cut on vertical surfaces
  • plus
    Handle is vertically attached in the center- good for both left and right handed users
  • Has a cast alloy shoe made for heavy duty purposes

What We Didn't Like

  • Can only use blades of the same brand
  • exclamation-triangle
    Maximum cutting depth ¾ inch
  • exclamation-triangle
    Tool overheats using wood flush cutting blades and carbide tooth blades.

The lightest candidate we have is the Makita SH01W 12V max Lithium-Ion Cordless Circular Saw Kit. This battery powered mini saw has a cutting depth of 1 inch when used at a 90 degree angle. We found that the depth can increase up to 5 – 8 inches when inclined at a 45 degree angle.

Its blade may pack fewer revolutions per minute than the other contenders but it does not lessen its quality. We tried and tested it, and it still cut like a champ.

It worked seamlessly when we tried cutting off pieces of attached wood siding up on the roof- very convenient when going for jobs that situates you in dangerous and tight places.

We were also able to use it on rotten fascia and it packed a lot of power for such a small tool. We were very pleased with its performance.

It comes with two batteries. We figured out that it would last longer if you recharge one while using the other when you have a good amount of cutting to do.

We also found that it is quite handy for people who frequently use wood stoves. We tried it to cut boards for kindling wood and it cut like a dream with minimal effort.

What We Liked

  • Comes with its own carrying case 
  • Runs on batteries. Perfect for using it on tight or high places.
  • Light-weight. It only weighs 3.3 lbs.

What We Didn't Like

  • Some people have reported that the batteries are difficult to remove 
  • exclamation-triangle
    It has 1400 RPM- considerably lesser RPM than our other candidates
  • exclamation-triangle
    Not quite as heavy duty as others.


Our Recommendations:

Editor's Pick: WORX WORXSAW WX429L Compact Circular Saw

After a few hours of careful deliberation, we have decided amongst ourselves that if we were to buy a compact circular saw, we’d go for the WORX WORXSAW WX429L Compact Circular Saw.

This saw is not only great for overhead projects in tight spaces, it is well built and robust. 

With its ambidextrous form and 0 – 45 degree bevel aptitude, this saw is top of the line. We’ve spent hours testing this power tool and it didn’t make our hands cramp up.

Another feature we love about this mini saw is that the blade’s versatility. We are able to choose from a wide variety of specifications and brands than other compact saws on our list. 

Runners Up: Rockwell RK3441K Compact Circular Saw
& Makita SH01W 12V max Lithium-Ion Cordless Circular Saw Kit

The Rockwell RK3441K Compact Circular Saw came in close as many prefer to use it due to its reliable brand name. Boasting its 5amps and 3500 RPM power, it’s the best alternative if you have reservations on the WORXSAW WX429L.

This mini power Makita SH01W 12V max Lithium-Ion Cordless Circular Saw Kit is great if you have small hands and need to cut a few things on rooftops and the like. Although it’s not as enduring compared to others in our list but it does pack a lot of power for such a tiny device. Using it won’t strain your arms too much and its size and portability will amaze you.

Follow

About the Author

Walter J. Farrell is an accountant who is very passionate about sharing his knowledge on high tech gadgets. He started AuthorityAdviser to help people know more about the products that are currently a hit in the market.

Leave a Comment:

Leave a Comment: