Gone are the days when you had no choice but to manually cut wood – a circular saw does the job for you without exerting a lot of effort. These electric cutters are mostly used for deck building and sometimes even masonry and metal jobs, provided you have the right saw blade for them.
However, if you’re new to using circular saws, don’t fret – I’ve written a guide just for you! The circular saws below are beginner-friendly so do check them out, along with their specs, pros, and cons.
A mix of heavy-duty power and durability, the Makita 5007Mg Magnesium 7-1/4-Inch Circular Saw sports a large cutting capacity of 2-1/2 inches, which is typically bigger than most on the market (most are 2-3/8 inches). What I like most about this saw is the build, it has a magnesium shoe that keeps the tool safe and steady, even if you’re not used to handling a circular saw.
Oh, and did I mention that its powerful 15-amp motor has 5,800 RPM of speed? This means you will be able to complete your task in a shorter period of time. What’s more, it has two LED lights that serve as your cutting guide, so you don’t need to correct cutting mistakes (and waste valuable time). Disc change is easy due to the attached blade wrench – another time-saving feature.
Your workspace will also accumulate less debris thanks to the included blower in the unit. This tool has a bevel capacity of 56 degrees with 45-degree and 22.5-degree positive stops. Although it is 10.6 pounds, this stable circular saw is built for the toughest job site tasks. It is backed by a 1-year warranty from Makita.
For more information, read my full review of the Makita 5007MG circular saw. Also check my comparison of the different Makita 5007 Series saws here.
Things I Like About This Product: The magnesium shoe adds durability and stability while the 5,800-RPM speed helps get tasks done quickly. It also has guide LED lights for accuracy and large cutting capacity.
Things to Keep in Mind Before Buying This Product: The tool is a little on the heavy side if you need to transport it.
Another good option for beginners is the DeWalt DWE575SB 7-1/4-Inch Circular Saw with an Electric Brake. What’s an electric brake, you ask? Well, it’s a helpful feature that instantly stops the blade from spinning excessively after turning off the motor. It does two things: protect your tool’s mechanical parts from absolute wear-and-tear and reduce pauses between each cut for increased productivity.
Its 15-amp motor has a no-load speed of 5,200 RPM with 1,950-watt max watts. Since it is only 8.8 pounds, this tool is lightweight and ideal for beginners who don’t necessarily like to lug around a bulky tool. It has a 2.55-inch depth of cut at 90 degrees and two bevel stops of 22.5 and 45 degrees while having a bevel capacity of 57 degrees.
I like that this model also has a dust blower to keep you focused on the job and not on the debris flying around. When you buy the tool, it comes with a default 7-1/4-inch carbide-tipped blade at, instructions, and a bag for transport.
If you like this saw, make sure to read my full DWE575SB review too.
Things I Like About This Product: It has an electric brake, which stops the saw blade from excessively spinning. It reduces downtime and is also a safety measure not just for the operator, but also for the unit in the long run. This saw is also lightweight, a better choice for carrying around.
Things to Keep in Mind Before Buying This Product: The no-load speed is not as fast as most circular saws of the same class.
For the budget-conscious, the Skil 5280-01 15-Amp 7-1/4-Inch Circular Saw is a lightweight option, weighing only 6.95 pounds. This makes it perfect for those who only want to use it for light tasks. With a 5/8-inch arbor size and a 6-foot cord, this circular saw has 5,300 RPM for its no-load speed using the 15-amp motor.
I like that it has a spindle lock to make blade swapping a breeze. Since the blade is already carbide-tipped, it is already applicable for most wood materials and DIY jobs (except masonry and metal, of course). The unit also has a blower to simplify your dust management within your work area while the anti-snag lower guard allows easy narrow cut-offs to lessen snagging.
With a bevel capacity of 51 degrees and a positive stop at 45 degrees, it also has an onboard wrench which further improves and speeds up disc swapping. Accidental start-ups are also a thing of the past because of the installed guarded trigger on the unit.
If you like this saw, make sure to read my full Skil 5280-01 review too.
Things I Like About This Product: As it is only 6.95 pounds, it is lightweight and therefore easily portable. It also has an onboard wrench and a spindle lock to swap discs easily and save time.
Things to Keep in Mind Before Buying This Product: Compared to similar circular saws, the speed is not that high.
For a battery-operated unit, the Skil PWRCore 20 Brushless 20V 6-1/2 Inch Circular Saw is a decent choice for beginners because of its fast charging. Thanks to the Automatic PWR Jump, charging the unit is as fast as 5 minutes.
Aside from that, it has cooling material within its lithium battery to further conserve the remaining charge even during heavy-load operations. And since it is part of the 20V series from Skil, you can interchange its batteries with other similar tools. Blade swapping is also simple due to the spindle lock while the unit has an LED work light for better accuracy, even in dimly-lit garages and shops.
To improve productivity, it has an electric brake that stops the blade so you can continuously cut with minimal pauses. With a bevel capacity of 50 degrees, it has a digital brushless motor that reduces vibration to lessen user fatigue. Although the size of the wheel is 6-1/2 inches, this is a normal diameter for most cordless circular saws, anyway.
Things I Like About This Product: Charging the battery in only five minutes saves time and increases productivity. It has an electric brake that helps make repetitive cuts faster and it also has an LED light for improved work visibility.
Things to Keep in Mind Before Buying This Product: The dust collection system could be improved, especially when connecting to a system hose.
If you want easy blade swapping, try the Bosch CS10 7-1/4-Inch 15 Amp Circular Saw with its onboard wrench/tool storage and the spindle lock. The footplate or shoe of the circular saw is made with composite material (magnesium) for stability and durability. Moreover, the bevel and depth are both easily adjustable using levers.
With its 15-amp motor, it has a 2-7/16-inch cutting capacity at 90 degrees. Moreover, this unit has a 56-degree bevel capacity plus positive stops at 22.5 and 45 degrees. With a 24-tooth carbide blade, the tool weighs 10.2 pounds and has a blower for reducing workplace dust.
The soft grip handle adds comfort, allowing you to manage work fatigue for long hours of operation. Because the handle is textured, even gloved hands will feel comfortable when operating the machine. Since it has an unobstructed view of the cut line, you will make a more precise cut. It even has bevel louvers that improve its dust management.
For more information, read my full review of the Bosch CS10 circular saw.
Things I Like About This Product: It has a soft-grip handle that makes it ergonomic and easy for beginners to hold. Switching the blades is also done quickly thanks to the onboard tool storage and spindle lock.
Things to Keep in Mind Before Buying This Product: The 10.2-pound weight is not exactly pleasant for those who want a lightweight and easily portable circular saw.
Yet another battery-operated unit in my list is the Black&Decker BDCCS20C 5-1/2-Inch Cordless Circular Saw. This one has a smaller blade size and has fewer teeth (12) but is still made of carbide for easy and fast cutting. It allows you to adjust the bevel with 45-degree and 90-degree detents.
Because it is compact, it is a worth-trying power tool for those who are still learning how to master a circular saw. And because it is part of the 20V MAX system from the manufacturer, the battery is interchangeable between different Black&Decker tools in your garage arsenal, reducing the need to purchase another battery.
What makes a lithium-ion battery system better than other batteries is the no-memory effect. This means that the battery life will last longer even when the tool is in storage. The tool is backed by a 2-year limited warranty.
Things I Like About This Product: The compact design makes it easier to take with you anywhere and store when not needed. Having a lithium-ion battery system helps lessen the need to charge often and the battery can be interchanged with other 20V MAX tools from Black&Decker.
Things to Keep in Mind Before Buying This Product: The blade size/diameter is significantly smaller than others of the same kind (such as with most cordless circular saws that are often 6-1/2 inches in size).
If you need to work from different positions, the Milwaukee 6390-20 Tilt-Lok 15 Amp 7-1/4-Inch Circular Saw has a unique mechanism in which the handle is adjustable depending on your needs. The top handle allows for up to eight different positions so it is truly customizable for any awkward work conditions.
With a 15-amp 3.25-HP motor, this unit weighs 10.4 pounds, but is quite stable and powerful at 5,800 RPM for its speed. The line of sight is wide so you will easily see your material at a bigger scale for accuracy. It has a depth of cut of 2-7/16 inches at 90 degrees while having a 50-degree bevel capacity. With a 9-foot power cord, the tool is at 13-3/4 inches in length.
Adding to its list of conveniences is the soft-grip handle, which reduces fatigue at the end of each operation, especially for sweaty hands and even while wearing gloves. To make it more durable for long-term use, it uses helical steel gears and a 22-amp switch.
For more information, read my full review of the Milwaukee 6390-20 circular saw.
Things I Like About This Product: The handle can be adjusted in many ways to meet your needs for comfort. Also, the soft-grip handle will help in reducing worker fatigue.
Things to Keep in Mind Before Buying This Product: Unfortunately, the unit isn’t lightweight, rather it weighs 10.4 pounds.
If you prefer a motor with fewer vibrations, the Milwaukee MLW263120 M18 Brushless 7-1/4-Inch Circular Saw is for you. At 5,000 RPM on its no-load speed, this tool uses REDLINK electronics and any REDLITHIUM XC5.0 battery. The special electronics help to prevent overloading and over-charging of the tool. Since it is only nine pounds, it is in the middle range of heavy and lightweight for a circular saw.
Because there’s a rafter hook, storing this tool is hassle-free, plus there is also an integrated dust port for debris management. The upper and lower guards are made of magnesium which adds to the tool’s durability. There is even an LED work light to make it easier to monitor your quality of work.
The electric brake speeds up consistent cuts and also reduces the wear-and-tear of the tool’s mechanical system. Due to having a cut depth of 2-1/2 inches, it is one of the biggest in its class. Since it is only 7.5 pounds, it doesn’t take a lot of effort to carry it around.
Things I Like About This Product: The circular saw is lightweight so it’s easy to take to the job site without tiring you out, while the magnesium materials add durability.
Things to Keep in Mind Before Buying This Product: The speed is only at 5,000 RPM as compared to those that are higher, but this is not an issue if you only want to use it for lightweight jobs.
The Methodology: What I Considered When Picking the Beginner Circular Saws Featured Above
So how did I pick the beginner circular saws mentioned above? Here’s why I chose them (and how you should, too):
Ease of Use
For a beginner’s tool, a circular saw should be easy to use. Features to look for include guides and a work light to attain accuracy. Changing the disc for beginners can be an intimidating experience so it will help if they have a circular saw that has an on-board tool and a spindle lock to simplify the process. After all, swapping discs is important in attaining different cutting finishes and for working with various materials.
If you’re new to using power tools, you may tire from trying to position a circular saw, since it is typically heavy. However, a good weight range to consider is between six and eight pounds, especially if you are not used to heavyweight tools. Nonetheless, if the circular saw is going to stay at the workstation, then a heavier weight may not be considered a con for you.
A magnesium and composite footplate or shoe adds durability to any circular saw and also improves its stability. Ensuring that a circular saw stays stable throughout the cutting process reduces the risk of accidents and not-so-straight cuts.
This refers to the no-load speed of the circular saw’s blade in RPM (rotations per minute). Common circular saws are around 5,300 to 5,800 RPM and the only difference is that faster cutting speed means more productivity and less wasted time.
An electric brake’s main job is to speed up work by almost instantly stopping the wheel from spinning when the motor stops. This allows you to make successive cuts without a lot of lengthy pauses (on having to wait for the disc to stop) in between.
If you want all-around durability and high-speed versatility from a corded unit, the Makita 5007Mg Magnesium 7-1/4-Inch Circular Saw is a good choice for beginners. However, for making successive cuts without pauses, the DeWalt DWE575SB 7-1/4-Inch Circular Saw with Electric Brake is a decent candidate for you.
For those with a minimal budget, the Skil 5280-01 Circular Saw is a good, lightweight choice. Another not-so-heavy tool to consider is the Milwaukee MLW263120 M18 Brushless 7-1/4-Inch Circular Saw.
On the other hand, if you want to go cordless, consider the Skil PWRCore 20 Brushless 20V 6-1/2 Inch Circular Saw and the Black & Decker BDCCS20C 5-1/2-Inch Cordless Circular Saw. For ease of handling, the Bosch CS10 7-1/4-Inch 15 Amp Circular Saw has quick blade changes and a soft grip, while the Milwaukee 6390-20 Circular Saw has a multi-position handle.