In the race for precision, most woodworkers seem satisfied working with jigsaws and electric drills – both of which are quieter and easier to control – but find the best mini circular saws a challenge. With improvements in technology and techniques, circular saws can best most other instruments when it comes to accuracy and working a great deal of detail into your projects.
Aside from enabling the most perfect square cuts, mini circular saws (unlike their larger counterparts) bring improved controllability and safety. With a clever understanding of saw position, these mini marvels can be ideally supported on their ‘shoe’, or base plate. This way, you can avoid supporting the saw’s entire weight while waiting for the cut-away piece to drop. This, in itself, is a huge advantage with mini circular saws.
Flat cutting is all well and good, but if you are wondering what to do for vertical slicing, circular saws are still your best bet. Our carefully selected product recommendations below will attest to that. Also, the technique of ‘gang cutting’ is a professional favorite using which you can cut more than a single plywood piece while maintaining the same size throughout. This stack-clamp-cut method using a small circular saw makes all the difference to accuracy and aesthetic output.
Last update on 2017-09-23 PST - Details
Where ripping is concerned, our mini saw lineup comes designed with the latest rip guide attaches to the base plate. Applying the simple idea of clamping a long board and using it as a straightedge guide, you can ensure the smoothest straightest cuts possible.
Splintering is a common problem where circular saw woodworking is concerned. Hardwood-veneer plywood and costly hardwoods often exhibit this issue. Holding and working with minis can prove less stressful as compared to employing larger saws. The former reduces splintering by a much bigger margin that you might expect.
How To Choose The Best Mini Circular Saws
From contractors to carpenters, the use of mini circular saws has increased in the last few years. Be it their crosscutting and ripping precision or even their portability and force-strength, you have options to work with. Here are some of the key points to keep at the forefront of your thoughts while deciding on the best mini circular saw for your purposes.
A switch is a must-have feature, the one you need to hold before depressing the trigger. While moving the saw through the wood, the blade guard should move smoothly as well, springing back into position once the saw is moved away for a while. If your saw choice does not live up to these safety standards, you are probably risking a great deal.
2. Power – AC or Battery?
Battery-operated minis are trending, because they have controllable 4-inch blades, are maneuverable and light, and can perform ideal paneling and cutting work on a small scale. Sadly, however, they do not pack sufficient horsepower, which AC-operated minis can churn out. The former can handle a handful of 2x4 pieces but not a heavier workload; a major disadvantage for long-term woodworking projects. Our recommendation is that you choose an AC mini circular saw for main applications and hold on to a battery-powered one for touch-ups on the side.
3. Big or Small?
While blade size varies between different circular saw models, your aim is to choose the one with the most horsepower. The rpm of the blade will therefore determine the size of the saw you seek. To avoid binding, opt for saws that come packing at least 2 horsepower.
4. Extra Features
To stay on the relevant side of the fence, you need to focus on control and safety while approving any extra features. For instance, blade locks can grip the drive spindle in one position to enable quicker blade change times. Also, anti-locking clutches can be of great use, because they let the blade slip if it is caught in a bind so it can shield the drive mechanism and motor.
The saw cannot be ‘one size fits all’. Depth adjustments are crucial features to look out for when shopping for mini circular saws. If, for example, you have a saw with a 7¼-inch blade, you must be able to alter cutting depth in the range of 0 to 2-3/8 inches. Beveling is just as important, making a 0 to 45-degree bevel angle allowance another important feature to look for in your choice of saw. As control goes, holding these adjustments in place for a good amount of time can save you great losses. So, whether your control mechanisms come designed with levers or simply wing nuts, make sure they are tight enough to perform.
Top 5 Best Mini Circular Saws – Reviews
An ace with construction projects, this powerful saw is known for its precision and control.Depth can readily be adjusted, to say nothing of its excellence with plunge cutting techniques.
Ideal for both beginners as well as professionals, you can cut through most regular materials using the MasterMind 800344. There is no need for you to use water while cutting through tiles, the blade does a fine job by itself.
Even trimming tasks (example: slicing off a small portion of a laminated kitchen counter top) is easy and precise with this mini circular saw. As little as 1 inch can be cut away from the counter’s edge without you breaking a sweat. This is especially useful when you have items and appliances in the house that get in each other’s way, if only you could trim away small sections to give them some leg room.
An outstanding tool for mold-removal projects following floods. You can smoothly extricate wall and floor coverings without breaking the good wood beneath the top layer that is affected by mold.
While the laser guide can, in certain angles, be hidden by the blade guard, following a self-made chalk line resolves this problem and ensures precision work. You can indeed perform cuts to make room for power outlets.
Both right- and left-handed users can benefit from the MasterMind 800344’s design. However, the blade itself is left-mounted, meaning your sightline is restricted to that side.
- The motor churns out a nice 2800 rpm horsepower, which is as strong as it is reliable.
- Comes equipped with a vacuum hose adapter.
- Can handle variegated materials, not just hardwood and plywood. It can cut through 7/8-inch materials;3/8-inch for tiles.
- Weighs 9.2 pounds.
- You can perform exquisitely straight cuts thanks to the laser guide add-on.
- LED lighting improves visibility in dim-lit conditions.
- Capable of positioning in three different angles, the handle is also versatile and ergonomic.
- Comes designed with cutting depth locking lever and release lever for the blade guard.
- The dust ejection chute is designed to maintain a clean workspace. Positioned on the blade’s right side, the vacuum system reduces dust accumulation on the worktable by a large margin.
- Wide material handling range.
- Ideal horsepower.
- AC powered.
- No need to use both hands. Simply relieve the safety lever before starting the cut.
- Can perform mold removals and fix squeaks. Can also perform tiny trims.
- Heavier than some mini circular saws.
- Exact 3-inch blades are difficult to find.
- Blade is hidden under protective shield, making it tricky to see the laser guide while cutting.
- No replacement blade for metal and ceramic, only available for wood.
Ideally small and neat, the Makita SH01ZW is as lightweight as it is reliable on the cutting table.Being battery powered can be something of a disadvantage, as opposed to stronger (better horsepower) AC-powered models.The 12-volt lithium-ion battery can churn out only 1400 rpm horsepower.
In the range of 0 to 45 degrees, the base can be tilted to perform outstanding beveling cuts.Similarly, the cutting depth is remarkable – at 90 degrees, it handles a 1-inch cutting depth and at 45 degrees it manages a 5/8-inch cutting depth.
The reduced horsepower has seriously affected torque ratings, making the saw tricky to handle with thick woodworking projects. In fact, saw-stepping techniques seem to be seriously hindered with the Makita SH01ZW.
On a positive note, performing straight cuts in tight spaces is no bother for this mini. If your projects do not absolutely require the use of a large saw, this small wonder can work marvels for you. Its ultra-light design comes from the fact that most of its body is made of plastic with metal going only into the base plate, motor, housing, and gear.
The handle is designed in such a way that accessing the saw is sure to remind seasoned woodworkers of jigsaws. It lacks a mount to attach a shop vacuum to, and dust mitigation is not all too impressive.
The saw is designed to cut upwards, meaning reduced tear-out at the bottom of the work piece but quite the opposite on the upper edge.
- It weighs only 3.3 pounds.
- Blade measures 3-3/8 inches.
- Simplified usage: at 90 degrees, it has a 1-inch cutting depth and at 45degrees it can manage a 5/8-inch cutting depth.
- The SH01ZW comes designed with a soft grip handle for easy and comfortable usage.
- The blower maintains a clean workspace around the immediate environs of the blade.
- The base can be tilted for ideal beveling.
- Works excellence on plywood (including ¾-inch pieces).
- Silent performance compared to other saw models.
- Lightweight; 3.3 pounds only.
- Versatile cutting depth.
- Tilt-capable base for beveling 0-45 degrees.
- Comparatively silent performance.
- Highly portable; cordless (battery-powered).
- Great for working in tight spaces.
- Remarkable edge quality.
- No blade deflection while performing perpendicular cuts.
- It is battery-powered, meaning significantly less horsepower (specifically 1400 rpm) as compared to other mini circular saw models.
- Motor lacks torque, hence the thin blade.
- More tear-out chances as compared to other saws.
- Slow speed during saw-stepping(i.e., running the saw backwards to perform a clean cut on thin wood).
Lauded for its brilliant power output, namely a 3700 rpm high torque motor, the Black & Decker BDCCS20B is a masterpiece among mini circular saws. It is one of few battery-operated (20-volt) models that can dole out this much horsepower.
Additionally, its 90- and 45-degree cutting depths are an amazing 1.625 and 1.375 inches respectively. This means you can work with a plethora of materials (including ½-, ¼-, and ¾-inch plywood, but it is not great with hardwoods), and you can do so for longer hours in a day; depending on battery capacity, of course. This feature is probably possible due to the saw’s compact design.
It can work well in medium to large spaces. The BDCCS20B weighs about 6 pounds, a reasonable margin for a saw of its efficiency and precision. Its tool-free depth of cut design ensures simple adjustments to depth.
Ripping work is another check on this saw’s list. You can rip sheet goods down to size in a small workspace using this Black & Decker mini. While it lacks extra features compared to other similar models on the market, this mini circular saw comes with a surprising 2-year warranty; rare among similar models.
Lack of extension cords improves portability and multi-tasking potential with this mini. There have been reports that the blade stalls at times, at which point binding could become a major concern.
- Outstanding 3700 rpm horsepower.
- At 90 degrees, it has a 1.625-inch cutting depth and at 45 degrees it can manage a 1.375-inch cutting depth.
- Medium weight margin; total of 6 pounds.
- Easy depth adjustments thanks to tool-free depth of cut design.
- Simplified bevel adjustments from 45 to 90 degrees.
- 5½-inch main cutting blade.
- Works well with metal roofing material.
- Ripping and trimming tasks come out quite well under the BDCCS20B.
- Superb horsepower.
- Speedy depth adjustments.
- Reliable blade.
- Bevel adjustments from 45 to 90 degrees.
- Does not bind or reduce speed while working.
- Portable and easy to store.
- Blade replacing has proven tricky but here is a technique that works: press and hold the spindle lock button at the top of the blade guard. This way the metal clamp washer assembly will not turn with the blade bolt.
- Reported cutting-off issues after a few months of use.
- Guide markings are unreliable. You will need to set depth adjustment all the way down to cut through 2x4 plywood.
- Battery needs to be bought separately, does not come with the main purchase package.
- Not recommended for use on high-end hardwoods.
- Need both hands to operate safety switch and then start the trigger; slight inconvenience.
A 5 amp motor capable of running the blade at 3500 rpm is no small feature on this mini circular saw.Powered by AC current means it can run for longer periods of time as compared to lesser battery-powered pieces. To offer an example, the Rockwell RK3441K can power smoothly through 2x4s in a single pass.
At 90 degrees, it has a welcome cutting depth of 1-1/16 inches while at 45 degrees it can go through 1.125 inches. Though the 4-inch blade is narrow and small, it comes equipped to work with a wide variety of cutting and trimming tasks. In fact, a full-size counterpart can meet the same workload with slightly more wear on its motor (!).
The shape of the handle and its grip improves controllability and safety. In fact, you can perform hassle-free overhead cuts due to this design. At only 5 pounds, it is remarkably lightweight, much more so than traditional 7¼-inch circular saws.
Not only is the cut-line visible throughout your task, you can also shape and detail to your heart’s content thanks to the ergonomic handle grip. On the drive’s left side, you will find the blade (left-oriented).
If you happen to experience a slowing down in the motor’s rpm, reduce the feed. This model has proven to work well even after a few months. The easy fence adjustment features make it quite handy for amateurs and professionals alike.
- 5 amp motor with 3500 rpm horsepower.
- Weighs only 5 pounds.
- Has cutting depth of 1-1/16 inches at 90 degrees and 1.125 inches at 45 degrees.
- 4½-inch blade with less kerf than conventional 7¼-inch blades.
- Blade is positioned on the drive’s left side.
- Portable and can be powered up for long hours.
- Has improved features in relation to 7¼-inch circular saws.
- Great for crafting-based projects and renovations that require an eye for detail.
- Brilliant 3500 rpm.
- Surprisingly little motor wear as compared to large-size blades on similar models.
- Can go through 2x4s with ease.
- Great handle design for long-term work.
- Good with overhead cutting jobs.
- Clear to see cut-line.
- Reduced motor strain.
- Less complicated trigger pull as compared to other mini circular saws in the same league.
- Secure fence adjustments.
- The blade-securing bolt has been reported to fall off when working with 5/8-inch cdx plywood.
- Not an ideal grip for those with small hands (i.e., less than the average 8-9 glove size).
- Does not work well on hardwoods.
This is our most recommended pick of the mini circular saw lineup. The professional-grade motor churns out 3500 rpm at 4 amps. Stalling and bogging down are insignificant issues with this piece. It can work marvels on siding, steel tubing, hardwood, and concrete; to name a few materials.
Ensuring visibility and cutting precision is a top-mounted laser. You can rest easy about making straight cuts with this saw. Serving as an indicator for plunge cutting methods, you can use the laser to figure out start and end points beforehand.
The handle is supremely ergonomic, making handling (you can guide it using just one hand) and control a cinch with the Rockwell RK3440K. Weighing in at 4 pounds, this powerhouse of a saw is outstandingly light.
As cutting depths go, the 3.4-inch diameter blade handles 1.15 inches at 90 degrees and you can certainly perform plunge cuts (top-notch safety thanks to a pivoting metal guard) up to 1-1/16 inches. The depth control lever can be locked, and improves accuracy and handling rate.
An excellent dust extraction adapter makes sure that your cut line trajectory and immediate workspace surroundings are clean. Its very design is streamlined to improve speed and accuracy.
The spring-loaded base plate blade guard adds to RK3440K’s safety quotient. An adjustable depth gauge also adds to this advantage. You therefore gain mobility and accuracy.
Owing to the motor being behind the blade than on top, the pressure required to press down on the plate is inadequate. This shifts the saw’s center of gravity to behind the blade. You will notice this anomaly while cutting thin or small materials. You can resolve this by changing the plate but the blade will then be more exposed, and therefore less safe.
- Amazing 3500 rpm 4-amp motor.
- Great with varied materials; metal, concrete, wood, and several others.
- Top-mounted laser.
- Only 4 pounds; ultra-light.
- 3.4-inch diameter blade.
- Spring-loaded base plate blade guard.
- Material range: sheet metal, flooring, tiles, wood, plastics, etc.
- Depth gauge can be adjusted.
- Ergonomic handle.
- Laser enhances precision for cutting and trimming tasks.
- Very lightweight.
- Has a reliable depth control lever.
- Pivoting metal guard for improved safety.
- Effective dust extraction adapter.
- Lock-off switch to prevent unplanned starts.
- Great for use in tight spaces.
- Not enough pressure to depress the plate.
- Unreliable center of gravity, especially when working with small or thin materials.
- Using the laser eats through battery life.
Mini circular saws are portable and ergonomic, and encourage multi-tasking and detailed craftsmanship. With enough horsepower and control, you can enjoy working with several different types of materials to craft, cut, trim, and/or shape to your heart’s desire.
Make sure you match the circular saw to the exact type of work you plan to do. After all, these minis are rather specific power tools. They are designed to work with select wood, metal, and plastic materials. Your choice will need to depend on where you are working, how often you move around, and how long you plan on sweating over your prize project.