How (and When) to Change a Circular Saw Blade

How (and When) to Change a Circular Saw Blade

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When it comes to different types of saws, the circular saw is often seen as one of the most useful and versatile of all. Their blade can be made out of a variety of materials, and they all have their specific uses. That said, no matter how good a circular saw’s blade is, sooner or later, it will wear out, which means that it will eventually need to be replaced.

Today, we’re going to teach you how to change a circular saw blade, as well as how to recognize the signs that it is time to do so.

When Should You Change the Blade on Your Circular Saw?

Before we talk about how to change the blade on your circular saw, let’s first discuss when it needs to be changed. After all, replacing circular saw blades before their time is up is nothing more than a waste of money. Here are the main signs that your circular saw blade needs replacing:

  • If sawing is taking much longer than it used to, and you see that there are more smoke and heat being produced, then it is most definitely time to replace your blade
  • If you can hear the motor making funny noises, and if your circular saw seems to be getting very hot, it could be a sign that the blade has seen better days, and that the motor has to work way too hard to power the blade through the wood
  • If you see that the blade is rusted or corroded, then it is time for a replacement
  • Any sort of damage to your circular saw blade, whether chipped teeth or large cracks, will warrant a replacement, this is also the case if the blade is warped or bent in any way

Circular Saw Blade

How to Change a Circular Saw Blade

Changing the blade on a circular saw is not particularly hard, but it does need to be done right, especially if you plan on keeping all ten of your fingers once the task has been completed. Check out our guide below for a step-by-step process on how to get the job done.

Step 1: Disconnect the Power Source

You never want to perform any sort of maintenance on a power tool when it is still connected to power, because in the worst-case scenario, it could turn on while you are performing maintenance, and end up causing serious injury. If you have an electric circular saw, make sure that it is unplugged, and if you have a battery-powered model, remove the battery pack.

Step 2: Stop the Blade from Turning

Not only do you need to disconnect the saw from its power source before you begin working on it, but you also want to ensure that the blade cannot move. For most modern circular saws, this means hitting the arbor lock. The arbor is the piece that spins, the piece to which the blade is attached to. If the arbor cannot spin, neither can the blade.

So, hit that arbor lock to prevent the blade from spinning as you perform the blade replacement. If you happen to have a circular saw that does not have an arbor, lock, you will want to jam the blade down into a wooden surface, fairly hard, so that it can no longer move.

One way or another, you need to stop that blade from moving before you continue with this task.

Step 3: Remove the Blade Guard

On either the left or the right side of the circular saw, where the blade guard is attached, you should see a small wing nut. This wing nut holds the blade guard in place. You need to remove the blade guard before you can get to the arbor nut to remove the old blade.

Turn the wing nut counter-clockwise to loosen and remove it. After the wingnut has been loosened and removed, you can then turn back and remove the blade guard.

Step 4: Loosen and Remove the Arbor Bolt and the Blade

Now comes the time to actually remove the old blade from the circular saw. Get a wrench, the right one for the arbor bolt that your circular saw has (you should get a blade wrench with your saw, but if not, then a regular adjustable wrench should do fine).

With your blade wrench, turn the arbor bolt clockwise. Yes, this is counter-intuitive, because the general rule of thumb is “lefty loosey, righty tighty,” but the arbor bolt on a circular saw has reverse threads which are specifically designed to prevent the arbor bolt from loosening on its own as the saw is in use.

Remove the arbor bolt, and then slip the retaining washer off the shaft and the blade. Now, use both hands to firmly grasp the saw blade, while doing your best to avoid those sharp teeth, and pull it off the shaft. If the blade is stuck on there, try wiggling it back and forth a bit to pull it off.

Step 5: Attach the New Blade

The majority of the work for this process has now been completed. Now you need to choose the new blade that you want to equip your circular saw with. Once you have chosen the right blade, gently slip it back onto the shaft. On a side note, make sure that the teeth of the blade are facing forward and down. Don’t put your new blade on backward!

Once the blade has been placed on the shaft, replace the retaining washer that you removed in the previous step. With the washer in place, put the arbor bolt back into place. Using your blade wrench, turn the arbor bolt in a counter-clockwise direction until it has been sufficiently tightened. The blade should now be secured in place.

Step 6: Secure the Blade Guard and Disengage the Arbor Lock

The final step here is to put the blade guard back in place. Take the blade guard and make sure that the holes are aligned, so you can insert the securing pin into place. Then, put the wingnut back on and tighten it. The blade guard should now be secured in place. All you have to do now is to disengage the arbor lock so the blade can spin again.

There you have it, you have just replaced the blade on your circular saw.

Skilsaw, Black & Decker, Milwaukee, and Other Brands: Are There Any Differences?

For the most part, the process for changing the blade on a circular saw is going to be the same across various brands. Now, some saws may have a quick-release function for the blade, but this has nothing to do with brand names.

Can Circular Saw Blades Be Sharpened?

If your saw blade is made out of steel or is carbide-tipped, then yes, it can be sharpened. However, circular saw blades are very difficult to sharpen, and they require specific tools too. It’s much easier to totally ruin a saw blade by sharpening it wrong than it is to do it right. In all reality, if you want your saw blade sharpened, you will require professional service.


As you can see, replacing a circular saw blade can be done in just a few minutes and a few short steps. Follow our instructions, choose the right blade, and get back to work!

Before changing your blade, you might also want to learn about whether or not you can use smaller/larger blades than your circular saw came with.