When getting clean cuts on wood, metal, plastic, or even concrete, circular saws are tough workhorses meant for the job. Due to their flexibility in making either straight or curved cuts, these powerful tools are a staple in most work garages.
So, are you looking for a circular saw that’s budget-friendly? You’re in luck! In this article, I’ll review some of the best circular saws under $100, along with their features, pros, and cons to help you make your purchase.
My top choice is the DeWalt DCS391B 6-1/2-Inch Cordless Circular Saw, which has a fairly good length that’s suitable for nearly all types of project. With a motor speed of 5,150 RPM, this tool has comfort and usability in mind thanks to its optimized rubber mold.
As for the bevel capacity, it goes up to 50-degrees so it’s ready for a variety of cutting projects. With its carbide-tipped blade and lightweight yet durable magnesium shoe, it’s a great starter circular saw without sacrificing power and quality.
The DCS391B is a sidewinder saw so it’s suitable for small to medium-scale projects and for those who don’t want a bulky tool. What’s more, it has an electric brake that stops almost instantly, making blade changes convenient and safe.
Since it is cordless, it’s great for home or backyard projects and mobility. It has a 2-1/8-inch depth of cut at 90-degrees (1-5/8 inches at 45-degrees) and it weighs 7 pounds. If you own any of DeWalt’s 20V MAX set of tools, it’s easy to interchange the batteries with this unit. The circular saw is backed by a 3-year warranty.
Things I Like About This Product: It has a fast blade brake for safety and convenience. The tool weight is just right for most home and DIY projects.
Things to Keep in Mind Before Buying This Product: It doesn’t include hex wrench storage for easy blade changing. It also doesn’t come with a laser guide.
The next tool in my list is the Skil 5280-01 Circular Saw with Laser Guide, which is great for working in low-light areas. With a length of 7-1/4 inches, it has a farther reach than my previous pick, making it ideal for much larger materials.
Its 15-amp motor has a speed of 5,300 RPM, making it powerful enough for most home and industrial projects. It has a bevel capacity of 51-degrees so that you’ll be able to make different cuts easily. I like the additional built-in dust blower that not only maintains cleanliness on your work table but also helps with the visibility of your cut line to avoid mistakes (and potential accidents).
Since the tool only weighs 6.95 pounds, it won’t be fatigue-inducing after a hard day’s work. This sidewinder saw has a 2-1/2 HP motor that’s sufficient for working with various types of lumber for deck building and home improvement.
There’s also a handy spindle lock, as well as an onboard wrench, to simplify blade changes on the go. It has a positive stop at 45-degrees for easy repetitive cutting as well.
Things I Like About This Product: This sidewinder circular saw is lightweight and easy to carry around. I like the onboard dust blower for safety, as well as the laser guide for accuracy.
Things to Keep in Mind Before Buying This Product: The included laser is not too visible in direct daylight so you’ll need to work in the shade. It also doesn’t have an electric brake.
If you want a smaller tool for minimal projects, the Black & Decker BDCCS20C 5-1/2-Inch Circular Saw is for you. You’ll have fewer frustrations with this circular saw thanks to its tool-less blade change. It will also provide you with a good amount of control thanks to its pivoting shoe design.
With two bevel adjustments at 45 and 90-degrees, you’ll have different cutting options for your next project. It also has a large amount of torque without sacrificing weight as it weighs in at around 7 pounds. Aside from requiring no tools to change the blade, it even has a depth of cut adjustment that’s also tool-less in design for convenience.
At 90-degrees, it has a maximum depth of cut of 1-15/16 inches (1-1/4 inches at 45 degrees) and it has a no-load speed of 4,800 RPM. This cordless circular saw will cut up to 50 times on a single charge with common lumber.
If you own any of the Black & Decker 20V MAX tools, their batteries are interchangeable with this saw. Aside from treated lumber, it will also work with polycarbonate sheets given you use the right blade for the job.
Things I Like About This Product: It’s lightweight at roughly 7 pounds, plus it has tool-less depth of cut adjustment and blade change systems for convenience.
Things to Keep in Mind Before Buying This Product: It doesn’t have a long reach with its blade size so it’s only suitable for small, light-duty tasks.
With 4,000 RPM of cutting speed, which is sufficient for most projects, the Porter-Cable PCC660B 6-1/2-Inch Cordless Circular Saw is a great choice for all-day work thanks to its contoured handle, especially if you have sweaty and shaky hands.
It has a depth of cut of 2-1/8 inches with its 6-1/2-inch carbide tooth blade. Since it only weighs 6.5 pounds, it won’t give you too much fatigue – perfect for long hours of cutting. What’s more, it has a bevel capacity of up to 50-degrees for various other cutting tasks.
Moreover, it has an electric brake that almost instantly stops the blade from spinning for safety purposes. As a lithium-ion-powered cordless unit, this saw will accept any 6-1/2-inch blade with a 5/8-inch arbor. You can also use blades that are rated for up to 6,000 RPM for this circular saw.
I also recommend this circular saw for those who are still learning how to use the tool, such as woodworking students or if you’re new to the hobby. It is backed by a 3-year limited warranty.
Things I Like About This Product: This tool is very lightweight, which makes it suitable for all-day jobs while reducing fatigue. If you need to work in an awkward position then I recommend this circular saw.
Things to Keep in Mind Before Buying This Product: It doesn’t come with the battery and charger so you’ll need to purchase it separately. However, if you have any of Porter Cable’s 20V MAX system tools, this won’t be a problem.
If you own any of the 18V ONE+ series tools and would like to share batteries, the Ryobi One P505 5-1/2-Inch Cordless Circular Saw is for you. It has a bevel adjustment of up to 50-degrees and has a decent operating speed of 4,700 RPM.
I like the polyurethane blade guard that helps you get a clear view of your line of cut, which minimizes error. What’s more, it has a rubber mold on the handles for sufficient ergonomics, especially if you tend to have sweaty hands.
What I found interesting with this tool is the extra side handle, which helps with stability when handling the circular saw. This will help those who are working with stubborn or difficult materials. Furthermore, if you’re left-handed, you will love this circular saw because of that handle configuration.
Switching the blade out is also convenient thanks to the onboard wrench storage, which will save time. Furthermore, this cordless tool only weighs roughly 5 pounds so it’s a great tool to work with under difficult conditions without getting too easily tired.
Things I Like About This Product: This circular saw is lightweight and comes with an extra side handle that will help left-handed people. It also comes with onboard wrench storage for fast blade changes, as well as a blade guard for accuracy and safety.
Things to Keep in Mind Before Buying This Product: The shorter blade size is not suitable for bigger projects. You also need to buy the battery and charger separately.
Made with a 50-degree beveling shoe, the Craftsman CMCS500B Cordless Circular Saw is great for ripping and cross-cutting with its 6-1/2-inch blade. This tool will run at 4,200 RPM, making it suitable for most cutting applications.
It’s also part of Craftsman’s V20 cordless system so battery sharing won’t be a problem if you have their other tools. Setting the bevel is also convenient, as it doesn’t require tools. It has a cutting depth of 2-1/8 inches, which is on par with most of the similar circular saws I reviewed above.
Included with the circular saw are a hex wrench and a blade. The tool weighs 7.5 pounds, making it just right when it comes to a balance of power and weight. It has a contoured over-molded handle plus a compact design to help lessen user fatigue and make work in awkward places more convenient.
I also like the spindle lock, which helps with quick blade changes to reduce downtime on your work. To put your mind at ease, the manufacturer-backed this tool with a 3-year limited warranty against defects in material or workmanship.
Things I Like About This Product: It has a tool-less blade changing system and a strong electric brake for convenience, which will speed up your work productivity.
Things to Keep in Mind Before Buying This Product: The shoe guide needs to be adjusted further. If you prefer an aluminum blade guard, this isn’t the tool for you as this circular saw uses plastic.
If you are looking for a higher bevel capacity, why not try the Skilsaw SPT67WL-01 15 Amp Sidewinder Circular Saw? This tool has up to 56 degrees for its bevel capacity with a 45-degree stop. Powered by a 15-amp, dual-field motor, this saw stay running in tip-top condition even in warm weather conditions.
This circular saw comes with a 10-foot cord (great for preventing snag) and a weight of 8.6 pounds. Despite the slight addition in weight (compared to my picks above), it does have a better blade length at 7-1/4 inches, which has a max cutting capacity of 2-7/16 inches.
The shoe is made of magnesium, making it suitable for most industrial settings when it comes to durability. If you have some ripping projects coming up, this circular saw also comes with a 24-tooth blade for that.
I like its powerful 5,300-RPM speed, making it suitable for heavy-duty projects. It even has a built-in dust blower which not only manages your work table to keep it clean, but also keeps the cut line clear to avoid errors. This circular saw is backed by a 1-year warranty.
Things I Like About This Product: It has a long blade reach, a great 5,300-RPM speed, and a great depth of cut at up to 2-7/16 inches.
Things to Keep in Mind Before Buying This Product: The tool is a little on the heavy side when compared to the other circular saws mentioned above.
For those who need something for industrial purposes, you will love the Porter-Cable PCE300 Circular Saw with Heavy-Duty Steel Shoe. This circular saw has a 15-amp motor that has a speed of 5,500 RPM, making it suitable for bigger jobs. Weighing 9.5 pounds, it comes with an auxiliary handle for user comfort.
As with some of my other picks mentioned above, this tool also has a spindle lock for quick blade changes, as well as a convenient depth adjustment. What’s more, it has a 45-degree bevel adjustment for different cutting needs.
My favorite feature is the steel shoe, which provides amazing durability. If you’ve used other circular saws in the past that only have magnesium or aluminum shoes, this tool will serve as a great upgrade to those. Aside from this steel shoe, the circular saw also has upper and lower guards for protection to both the user and the tool.
Along with its 7-1/4-inch blade, it has a depth of cut of 2-1/2 inches at 90-degrees (1-7/8 inches at 45-degrees). This circular saw comes with an Allen wrench for easy blade changes. Porter-Cable backs their circular saw with a 3-year limited warranty.
Things I Like About This Product: I like the spindle lock for quick blade changes, as well as the steel shoe for durability.
Things to Keep in Mind Before Buying This Product: The tool is quite heavy compared with other circular saws, but this is usually a minor downside if you want a heavy-duty tool – especially with a steel shoe.
Yet another tool with a long blade on my list is the Bosch CS10 7-1/4-Inch Circular Saw. With a speed of 4,400 RPM, this circular saw has a cast magnesium footplate, which makes it lightweight without compromising durability.
Weighing 10.2 pounds, this circular saw will cut up to 2-7/16 inches at 90-degrees with its 15-amp motor. It also has adjustable depth and bevel levers for a multitude of repetitive tasks. For ergonomics, it has a textured soft grip.
It also has a lower guard that prevents material snagging, plus a 56-degree bevel capacity – great for a wide range of cutting projects. When you’re done, it comes with a saw hook for storage convenience. Blade changes are also a breeze thanks to the spindle lock.
The saw also has other convenient features, such as optimized sightlines for accuracy and a set of bevel levers to make the included dust blower more effective. Other note-worthy selling points of this circular saw include the heavy-duty 22-amp switch and the power cord that spans 10 feet to reduce the need for extensions.
Things I Like About This Product: It has a great depth of cut at 2-7/16 inches with its 7-1/4-inch blade, making it suitable for longer materials. It has a spindle lock for easy blade changes, as well as other convenient features (lower guard, saw hook, and a dust blower).
Things to Keep in Mind Before Buying This Product: At 10.2 pounds, this circular saw is quite heavy for extended usage.
The Methodology: What I Considered When Picking the Circular Saws Featured Above
So, how did I come up with the list of budget-friendly circular saws mentioned above? Here are some criteria that I based my judgment on (and you should, too):
1. Saw Length
Typical circular saws range from 6-1/2 to 7-1/4 inches but any length that’s suitable for your needs will do. For minimal tasks, I suggest getting a smaller circular saw first, especially if you won’t be using it for bigger pieces of wood (or other materials).
Some of the shortest yet usable circular saws on a budget are at 5-1/2 inches, which are okay for light-duty tasks and short DIY projects at home. However, if you need to cut longer pieces of lumber, you will need something like a 7-inch saw for that.
2. Power Source
Do you prefer corded or cordless circular saws? Each of them has its pros and cons depending on the situation. Corded circular saws are more suitable for stationary work while cordless saws are great for mobility.
Aside from that, many circular saws (and other cordless tools) on the market are now using lithium-ion instead of Ni-Cad batteries. That’s because lithium-ion batteries last longer so you’ll be able to make more cuts on a single charge. Not to mention lithium-ion has a special technology that removes the “memory effect” so you’ll less likely experience quick battery drains when you’re not using the tool.
3. Worm-Drive vs. Sidewinder
There are generally two types of circular saws: worm-drive and sidewinder. Each of them has a different design on where the saw blade is placed.
Worm-Drive Circular Saws
Worm-drive saws have the motor at the back so it has a farther reach, making them more suitable for longer materials. When it comes to weight, worm-drive circular saws are a little heavier but they have a good amount of torque. They are more suited to bigger jobs and tougher materials.
Worm-drive saws are the best choice if you have a stubborn piece of wood or if you have a longer material to work on. Usually, worm-drive saws have a longer blade (typically 7 inches or more).
Sidewinder Circular Saws
The sidewinder circular saw, as the name implies, keeps the motor on its side. Sidewinder saws are faster and will go up to 6,000 RPM or more, making them suitable for quickly finishing small tasks. The design of the motor also makes them suitable for those who want a lightweight tool.
If you need a simple tool that will cut through most types of wood and material, sidewinder circular saws usually do the job just fine. They might not provide a lot of power as compared to worm-drive saws but they are suitable even for small to medium-scale DIY jobs at home.
Having a comfortable handle is always a positive when it comes to any power tool – especially with circular saws. By having a rubber over-mold on the handle, you’ll get more power transfer and less fatigue when you work with the tool – perfect for long hours of cross-cutting or ripping.
A selling point for a circular saw is if it has an additional handle. This allows left-handed users to work with the saw comfortably just like right-handed people could. One example, the Porter-Cable PCE300 Circular Saw with Heavy-Duty Steel Shoe, has an auxiliary handle that will help simplify your work and lessen user fatigue.
One more usability feature that I like to see on most circular saws is the dust blower. This helps clear out the material debris so you can see the cut line and ensure precision and safety. Not all circular saws have dust blowers so it’s a great feature to have, as you don’t have to manually wipe the debris off the material to make a clean cut.
I also like circular saws with a laser guide, which further adds accuracy and convenience. Usually, laser guides and dust blowers go hand-in-hand when it comes to usability and accuracy. The Skil 5280-01 Circular Saw with Laser Guide is suitable for low-light work areas due to that special feature.
A saw hook is always useful so you’ll be able to easily hang the tool when not in use instead of having it lying around (and causing potential hazards). If you want a circular saw with that feature, the Bosch CS10 7-1/4-Inch Circular Saw is a great choice.
5. Depth Stops and Bevels
Most circular saws have positive stops, which make it easier for you to return to your previous setting, allowing for repeated cuts and better productivity. Typically, positive stops are at 45-degrees, with the circular saws I reviewed above each having about 1 to 2 positive stops.
If you need to work with different kinds of cuts, you’ll also need to consider the bevel capacity, which is typically around 50 to 53-degrees. The highest in the market is around 56-degrees, such as with the Skilsaw SPT67WL-01 15 Amp Sidewinder Circular Saw. This allows you to make different kinds of bevel cuts as needed.
6. Electric Brake
An electric brake makes blade changes easy because it almost instantly stops the blade so you’ll get less downtime for blade swapping. Not all circular saws have electric brakes and not all of them work at the same speed.
Aside from speeding up blade changes and maintenance, it’s also a safety feature since we know how dangerous a moving blade is! Consider getting a circular saw with an electric brake for those aforementioned reasons.
7. Blade Change
Having a convenient blade changing system will help increase your productivity, especially if you are working with different types of materials, which require different blades (e.x. 18-tooth, 24-tooth, etc.) for your circular saw.
A spindle lock will help with faster blade changes. Moreover, having onboard storage for the wrench makes blade changes convenient. And, as mentioned above, blade changes can also be simplified with an electric brake.
8. Cutting Depth
The typical depth of cut for most circular saws is around 2-3/8 inches. It’s up to you if you want a longer cutting depth, but if you usually work with a longer material, I suggest the Skilsaw SPT67WL-01 15 Amp Sidewinder Circular Saw, which has a depth of cut at 2-7/16 inches using its 7-1/4-inch blade.
Magnesium shoes are a pretty common feature found on circular saws. However, if you want something of heavy-duty quality, I recommend the Porter-Cable PCE300 Circular Saw with Heavy-Duty Steel Shoe. This saw comes equipped with a steel shoe, maximizing its durability. Do, however, note that steel shoe circular saws are heavier than those with magnesium or aluminum.
Typically, 15-amp motors are the best choice for a budget-friendly circular saw. This amount of power will allow you to finish DIY jobs, as well as make small to medium-scale projects a reality.
Brushless motors are also a positive, but it’s rare to find circular saws under $100 with such. Instead, there are tools such as the Skilsaw SPT67WL-01 15 Amp Sidewinder Circular Saw, which has a stay-cool motor that allows you to work just fine even in warm weather.
A good budget-friendly circular saw should be around 5 to 7 pounds. However, if you want a tool that has higher durability, you’d have to sacrifice weight for it. Two examples are the Porter-Cable PCE300 Circular Saw with Heavy-Duty Steel Shoe and the Bosch CS10 7-1/4-Inch Circular Saw. They are both heavy-duty candidates in my list that aren’t very lightweight but are suitable for tough industrial work.
Overall, my top choice is the DeWalt DCS391B 6-1/2-Inch Cordless Circular Saw, which has a fast blade brake for safety and a just-right tool weight. I also like the Skil 5280-01 Circular Saw with Laser Guide, which is perfect for low-light work areas and great if you need a dust blower.
For those who need a convenient blade changing system, I recommend the Black & Decker BDCCS20C 5-1/2-Inch Circular Saw and the Craftsman CMCS500B Cordless Circular Saw with their tool-less blade changing mechanism.
If you are looking for a lightweight tool, you’ll find the Porter-Cable PCC660B 6-1/2-Inch Cordless Circular Saw. For durability and industrial work, you will find the Porter-Cable PCE300 Circular Saw with Heavy-Duty Steel Shoe and the Bosch CS10 7-1/4-Inch Circular Saw to be great choices.
Left-handed people will love the Ryobi One P505 5-1/2-Inch Cordless Circular Saw due to its extra side handle. Last, but not least, if you want a longer depth of cut, the Skilsaw SPT67WL-01 15 Amp Sidewinder Circular Saw is for you.