Over the course of one month and after spending over 21 hours of product testing, research, and crowdsourcing, we determined the WORX WORXSAW WX429L stood out as the best compact circular saw we tested. We love that it’s an ambidextrous tool suitable for both left 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. You’ll cut through a ¾ inch of wood like a breeze with this tool in your hands.

Compact circular saws are uniquely designed to be light-weight and provide performance as good as full-size circular saws. If you’re a DIY enthusiast and love to tinker about in your home workshop you might be considering buying a compact circular saw to help with projects that demand the most control and maneuverability. 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 found as many compact circular saws and mini saws as we could find and tested a handful to find the best. This article gives you our top 5 compact circular saws picks.

 

Best Compact Circular Saws in 2018

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 SawAC6 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 Does the Compact Circular Saw 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. These are small machines that propel a circular toothed blade that is attached to a spindle.

These compact circular saws have on and off switches on their handles and are 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. Many people prefer using compact circular saws due to their efficiency and convenience compared to a traditional circular saw.

 

What To Consider Before Buying a Compact Circular Saw?

We have listed a few important criteria to consider before buying your first compact circular saw.

1. Blades

A compact circular saw will most likely come with a carbide-tipped wood cutting circular blade. This type of blade is suitable if you’re only planning to cut wood. However, you’ll need different types of blades if you’ll be 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. We considered the importance of 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

There’s not much difference between the two when you’re rarely far from an outlet and/or have extension cords handy. Cordless circular saws are known to be pricier than the corded-types. 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

The team swept through the tool and equipment sections in 10 different stores to see what brands were widely available to customers. We found reviews (by satisfied and dissatisfied customers) on the internet to see how the products held up for others. Finally, we established common buying criteria like safety, interchangeability of the blades, price, accuracy in cutting, portability, warranty, and weight.

After establishing the criteria we 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.

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

1.  Rockwell RK3441K Compact Circular Saw – Most Popular

Click on the image to view the product on Amazon

The first one that made it to our top 5 is the Rockwell RK3441K Compact Circular Saw.

We confirmed during testing that it’s lightweight enough to carry around comfortably. It’s 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. It could be better with a laser guide, but its overall performance will not disappoint. Our hands-on testing has proven that it packs enough power to easily cut through 2″x4″s.

Its adjustable guide fence has really impressed us. It’s handy enough to make quick and secure fence adjustments.

But we encountered problems 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, and this saw did not fail. This compact circular saw has proven itself to have extra flexibility to adapt to these unconventional situations which 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
  • Not appropriate for cutting thicker than 3”x4” materials
  • Does not have its own holder or carrying case

2. The Genesis GCS545C Compact Circular Saw

Click on the image to view the product on Amazon

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
  • 3500 RPM and 5.8 amp motor

What We Didn’t Like

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

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

Click on the image to view the product on Amazon

On evaluating the WORX WORXSAW Compact Circular Saw, it has not let us down.

We were very impressed when we started on a ¾ inch plywood. It made clean cuts and had minimal tear out. The safety and power switch is strategically placed so we had no trouble using it efficiently with one hand. We also tried using it on granite since we heard it 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 overheated before finishing an entire piece so we had to let it cool down before finishing. We later learned 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 
  • Its vacuum port is handy especially when you want to minimize mess indoors
  • Cuts through ¾ inch plywood like a breeze

What We Didn’t Like

  • Pushing it too hard will cause overheating
  • The rip fence is made of a flimsy, plastic material

4. Dremel US40-01 Ultra-Saw

Click on the image to view the product on Amazon

Our left-handed associates definitely appreciated this is compact circular saw. The handle is vertically secured right in the center that it doesn’t matter if you’re right handed or left handed. The lock tab makes it easy to adjust the cutting depth. 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. You can make plunge cuts without much effort due to 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
  • Handle makes it easy to use 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
  • Maximum cutting depth ¾ inch
  • Tool overheats using wood flush cutting blades and carbide tooth blades.

5. Makita SH01W 12V max Lithium-Ion Cordless Circular Saw Kit – 1st Runner Up

Makita SH02R1 12V Max CXT Lithium-Ion Cordless Circular Saw Kit

Click on the image to view the product on Amazon

The lightest candidate we have is the Makita SH01W 12V max Lithium-Ion Cordless Circular Saw Kit.

This battery powered compact circular 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 doesn’t decrease quality.

It worked seamlessly when we tried cutting off pieces of attached wood siding up on the roof – very convenient when going for jobs that situate you in dangerous and tight places. We were also able to use it on a rotten fascia, and it packed a lot of power for such a small tool.

It comes with two batteries which is convenient so that you can recharge one while using the other when you have lots of work. We also found that it is quite handy for people who frequently use wood stoves. It cut boards for kindling wood 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 3.5 lbs.

What We Didn’t Like

  • Some people have reported that the batteries are difficult to remove 
  • It has 1400 RPM – considerably less RPM than other products
  • 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.

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. It packs a lot of power for such a tiny device, although it’s not quite as durable as others on the list. Using it won’t strain your arms too much and its size and portability will amaze you.

Share: