What is a Circular Saw Used for – Ultimate Guide for Beginners

The overall efficiency for DIY woodworking projects highly increases when you have a circular saw. If your projects mostly deal with cutting wood pieces or stocks, you should have this saw in your garage to work conveniently.

If this is the first time that you are about to use a saw or you are a beginner, it’s important for you to have a clear understanding regarding what is a circular saw used for. This article has pretty much all the information you will need to know about to help you decide which one to purchase.

Carpenter Using His Circular Saw.

What is a Circular Saw?

It’s a power-saw with a disc shaped toothed blade that cuts through wood pieces and other material when the blade rotates spontaneously. Apart from regular wood stocks, you can cut plastic, masonry, metals, and some other materials using circular saw. Different materials require different types of blade for cutting effectiveness and efficiency. A circular saw can get you rip-cuts, crosscuts, bevel cuts, and combination of all of them.

Depending on the type, circular saws can be hand-held or fixed to some machines. Although most saws are powered by electricity, some models are gasoline and hydraulic powered. An electrically powered circular saw will be more than enough for professional and DIY uses.

You have the option to go for either a corded or a cordless battery powered circular saw. Cordless ones provide relatively more power than the battery powered ones. But, if you need portability, battery-powered saws are the one to go for. However, the circular saw function of both the types is pretty much the same.

Types of Circular Saw

You will see different types of circular saw in the market. Each of the types has different characteristics to accomplish different woodcutting tasks. Note that I haven’t listed the types based on corded or cordless characteristics. Whether you are to get the best cordless circular saw or a corded one, you can pretty much find one among the types that I have mentioned below.

1. Sidewinder Circular Saw

This is one of the most popular circular saws. The motor is mounted on the right side of the saw. Due to its lightweight construction, professionals and enthusiasts love its portability. The blade rotates about 5500-6000 RPM to cut wood pieces as well as other materials.

2. Worm Drive Circular Saw

The motor in this circular saw is mounted on the back. Compared to other ones, the blade on this saw is relatively longer and thinner. Ideal for cutting wide boards and plunges, a worm drive saw is the first choice among professionals regarding these two woodworking projects.

3. Hypoid Circular Saw

A motor mounted at the rear end, these saws produce relatively more torque through the blade. For long wood pieces, professionals and DIYers use this type of saw in most cases.

4. Compact and Mini Circular Saw

As the title name says, these are compact and smaller sized saws. Ideal for carpentry and light-duty woodcutting projects among the enthusiasts.

5. Cold Circular Saw

These saws are used for cutting metals and similar stronger materials. Its large diameter of the blade as well as linear feed slow rotation is behind its pinpoint precision and delicate operation.

6. Abrasive Circular Saw

This is another saw that professionals use to cut through hard metals. Instead of a traditional toothed blade, the friction disc blade does all the cuttings on metal pieces. The edges are made of carbon nitride or diamond for convenient operation.

7. Cordwood Circular Saw

You will see this type of saw in most sawmills that is used to cut thick logs or slabs, large timber, etc.

8. Concrete Circular Saw

You probably guessed that this is the saw type for cutting solid materials such as concrete, asphalt, brick, stone, etc. A diamond saw blade is attached that does all cutting through operation on hard and solid materials.

What is a Circular Saw Used for

End of the day, a saw is a tool that cuts through woods. But, how is the circular saw different from the other saws? What makes it special to work using a circular saw?

Well, the most selling point of a circular saw is its portability. It allows the user to hold, and rip through woods with great control.

If your woodworking requires you to rip through woods, and this is something you cannot do using a table saw, a circular saw is the one you need. A straight cut with a circular saw is pretty much achievable without extra-ordinary sawing skills.

Also, these saws stand out quite well when it comes to achieving cross cuts on wood pieces. As you hold the saw, you can control the depth as well as how long the blade is going to cut through the pieces.

Among professionals, circular saws are also used for plunge cuts. Rest of the other saws doesn’t have such ability to start cutting from above the surface and lowering the cutting into the wood pieces.

Woodworking projects that require fancy bevel cuts with precision, you can use this saw for this purpose as well.

Even though professionals use miter saws to get miter cuts, if you are low in budget, a circular saw can be an ideal alternative to it.

Apart from these circular saw basics, experts can use the tool in many ways as well.


About Circular Saw Safety

Saws are dangerous and often lead to serious injuries. So, it’s essential that you maintain all safety procedures while using any saw, including the circular one. Here are some effective safety tips to handle and operate the saw.

  • Wear safety goggles or a good quality full face shield.
  • Consider wearing a quality respirator mask if the working environment has a lot of dust and debris flying.
  • Wear noise cancellation headset.
  • Check if the blade is able to rotate without any issue.
  • Make sure the retracting lower blade guard works well.
  • Be sure to cut through materials using a sharp blade to prevent slip.
  • Always set the blade depth when the tool isn’t plugged in.
  • Make sure the lowest tooth isn’t exposed more than 0.3m beneath the work piece.
  • Keep the working surface free of anything restrictive.
  • If you are left-handed, work more carefully as most circular saws are for right-handed use.


After knowing what is a circular saw used for, you will be able to determine whether you will need one for your woodworking projects or need another type of saw. If your projects require a circular saw, wisely choose the circular saw with great efficiency.