Angle Grinder vs. Circular Saw: Which One to Choose?

Angle Grinder vs. Circular Saw: Which One to Choose?

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When you are getting ready to do some woodworking or other home projects, you want to make sure that you have the right tool for the job at hand. Well, some jobs require an angler grinder or circular saw, but how do you know which of the two is more suitable for your project?

Before mistakenly using the wrong tool, you should learn what each of the two tools is meant to be used for and what the differences are between them.

So, keep reading to find out which of the tools – if either – is the right option for your task at hand.

Angle Grinders and Circular Saws: The Basics

Before we begin to talk about the main differences between these two tools, we should first take a look at what each option is and what it does.

What is an Angle Grinder?

Angle Grinder An angle grinder is a freehand tool that is made specifically for grinding and polishing materials. That said, it also has uses beyond that, so it’s an extremely versatile tool. It comes in both a corded and a cordless version and can be used with a variety of materials ranging from metals through concrete. In some rare circumstances, it is also used to carve and cut wood.

It is often called a disc grinder or side grinder since the blade lays flat like a disc, rather than up straight like a saw. To learn about other parts of this tool, check this article.

What is a Circular Saw?

Circular Saw A circular saw is a rotary tool that uses an abrasive or toothed disc to cut materials. The blade spins around an arbor and is used for cutting wood in straight lines. Depending on the blade you equip it with, you might also be able to cut other materials with the tool.

While not as popular as an angle grinder, the circular saw can still be found in most woodworking shops and on many jobsites as well.

Angle Grinder vs. Circular Saw: What Are the Differences?

Now that you know the basics, let’s jump into the differences between the two.

Straight Cuts

The circular saw is a design that is made for straight cuts and works extremely well in that area. This is something that the angle grinder is not meant for. The grinder is made for rough cuts, more than other types, and the circular saw can do that too, but it also is very precise when it comes to straight lines, which are often needed.


Typically, when you want to get a cutting job done quickly, especially with wood, you want to go with the circular saw. This is made for the job and comes with the speed and accuracy you are likely looking for. An angle grinder is meant for shaping and takes quite a while to get a cutting job done.

Angle Grinder in Use

Ease of Operation

When it comes to operating a circular saw or an angler grinder, it seems that both are easy for what they are intended, but come with some setup. So, the ease of operation when it comes to similar jobs is where they differ. The saw takes a bit more time to set up, though not long, and the angle grinder is pretty much ready to go.


The capabilities of both of these options are quite different. The circular saw is used for wood cutting and straight lines. The angle grinder can handle some cutting work too, but it is also suitable for grinding, sanding, and polishing among other things.

As such, the grinder has a lot more capabilities than the saw when it comes to the range of projects that it can do. It’s more versatile in other words.


Typically, an angle grinder is mainly used for metal, while circular saws are used for wood. So, the material that both of these options are made for are different. This doesn’t mean that the angle grinder can’t be used for wood – it can, but it is not used for cutting wood in the same way and is more often used for grinding, shaping, or sanding metals and concrete instead.

Circular Saw in Use

Angle of Blade

If you take a look at these two tools, you will see a difference in what the blade is parallel to. On a circular saw, the blade is perpendicular to the motor. On an angle grinder, the blade is parallel to the motor so that it is used sideways for grinding and sanding. This makes a big difference in what you can do with each tool and makes the look of the tool unique as well.

Mounted or Freehand

You will also find that the angle grinder is meant to be used freehand so you can move it in the angle that you need to sand or polish. This means it is not clamped down or fixed in a certain position.

With the circular saw, though they are typically handheld, they are more fixed and need to be placed in a steady position for cutting wood. They also come with a guard and fixed metal measuring tool on the left side of the blade to ensure that your lines are straight and the saw is resting on the material.

Which of the Two Should You Use?

Well, since both of these tools are normally used for different functions, you want to use the tool that works best for what you want to do. This means that if you are cutting slats of wood for a household project, then you will want to use the circular saw for the job. This will allow you to get straight lines and handle the job much easier since the saw is simple to use.

However, if you want to sand down a piece of wood, then you won’t be able to do this with a circular saw. Instead, you will need the proper head on an angle grinder to get the job done. Additionally, if you need to cut any metal materials, then you do not want to use your circular saw. This could cause the blade to break or chip and your cuts to be less precise.

So, use the angle grinder for cutting through metal when it is necessary and save your circular saw for your wood projects as they come up. You can also use your angle grinder when you want to shape materials like wood and concrete since the blade that is parallel to the motor can do the job well.

Grinding Metal


Deciding between using an angle grinder and a circular saw might seem like a tough decision when you don’t know what they are used for. But, with the differences laid out in this article, you can see that each works for certain types of jobs.

So, if you need to cut wood, then get the circular saw for the job. However, if you need to sand or polish a metal material, then the angle grinder should be your tool of choice.

How Do Angle Grinders and Circular Saws Compare with Other Tools?

See how angle grinders compare with: bench grinders | cut-off tools | die grinders | Dremels | oscillating multi-tools | polishers | reciprocating saws | sanders

See how circular saws compare with: bandsawshypoid sawsjigsawsjigsaws and reciprocating saws | miter saws | plunge saws | reciprocating saws | rotary saws | table saws | track saws