7 Reasons Your Circular Saw Keeps Stopping (and Solutions)

Reasons Your Circular Saw Keeps Stopping (and Solutions)

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When it comes to woodworking, one of the most useful tools that you could possibly use is a circular saw. In fact, it is one of the most versatile types of power saws out there. With that said, these saws are not without their problems.

One problem that you might find yourself dealing with is a circular saw that continuously stops working, or in other words, the blade starts and stops on its own, seemingly without an explanation. Well, there are actually many reasons why this might keep happening, so let’s figure out what those are, as well as the appropriate solution for each of the problems are.

1. An Unsupported Work Piece

One of the biggest and most common reasons why circular saws might stop in the middle of use is because the workpiece that you are trying to cut is not properly supported. If the workpiece that you are trying to cut is not properly supported, when you get through a certain amount of it with the saw, the workpiece itself may start to sag down on one end, and this will then put a lot of weight and pressure onto the saw blade.

In other words, the workpiece sags down and pinches the blade. Sometimes this might cause the blade to just slow down, sometimes it might cause a lot of heat and friction, thus burning the wood, or it may pinch the blade hard enough so that it stops totally.

The simple solution here is of course to make sure that your workpiece is always properly supported at both ends, and the heavier and longer the board in question, the more important this is. A half-cut board cannot sag down and pinch the blade if it is well supported at both ends.

2. The Battery Is (Nearly) Dead

Another common occurrence with circular saws, assuming that you have a battery-powered model, is that the battery has died on you. Now, some people think that a dead saw battery, or a nearly dead saw battery means that it won’t work or turn on at all.

While this is a definite possibility no doubt, it is also possible that the saw will work for a period of time with whatever charge is left in the battery, usually no more than a few minutes, and will then turn off, and then back on, over and over again. This is not unlike a phone or any other electronic device where the battery dies. If the device’s battery dies, and the device stays off for a bit, the battery may recover enough to turn on and function for a minute or two before it dies again.

If this is the case, the obvious solution here is to recharge the saw’s battery. However, if your battery is not holding a charge well, it may mean that the battery is old or damaged, and will therefore likely need to be replaced. Pro-tip, get yourself two batteries so you always have another on hand.

Circular Saw with Battery

3. Issues with the Power Cord and Other Wires

If you have a corded saw, then the issue may be with the power cord itself, or with other cables and wires. Of course, that power cord has many small wires on the inside that are covered by an outer shell. That outer shell wears down after time, and damage can occur to the interior, to the wires.

Moreover, if you aren’t too careful with your saw, and you often leave the cable tangled in a mess or even crushed under heavy objects, it could cause the interior wires to fray or even snap completely.

You might not see much from the outside because that outer shell is in the way, but that said, wire and power cable problems are common. If you notice that the saw seems to turn on or off depending on how you bend and twist the power cable, or depending on the position that you hold the saw at, then this is the likely cause.

If this is the issue, the solution here is to first inspect everything and to make sure that everything is properly connected, and if that is not enough, just replace the power cable or have someone replace it for you. Sure, you can technically repair broken power cords, but a basic knowledge of electrical systems and wiring is required for this. You don’t want to end up frying yourself, so it might be best to call in a professional for this issue.

Alternatively, you can just buy a new circular saw.

4. The Blade Isn’t Deep Enough

If your saw keeps stopping, the problem could be as simple as the saw blade not being set deep enough for the piece that you are attempting to cut. If the blade is not deep enough, or in other words, if it does not protrude far enough out of the saw to make it all the way through the piece being cut, it may very well cause the saw to stall right in the middle.

The simplest solution here is of course to just set your saw blade so that it protrudes out more. However, if your saw is only so large, this may not be possible, in which case you will just need a bigger saw.

Circular Saw Blade

5. You Aren’t Using the Right Blade for the Job

Another issue here could be that you are not using the right blade for the job at hand. For instance, using a wood blade to cut a piece of metal is not going to work well. Moreover, a blade designed for softwood is not going to work well for hardwood. We aren’t going to get too deep into it here, but this could very well be the cause of your saw stalling, and if it is, the simple solution is to just exchange your blade for the proper one.

To learn more about this, read my guide about circular saw blade types.

6. A Damaged or Warped Blade

One of the most common issues that can cause your circular saw to keep stopping is if the blade is damaged, cracked, or warped. If the blade is damaged in any way, no matter if it works or not, you need to get rid of it and get a new blade.

Using a damaged or warped blade is not safe in any way, shape, or form. If the teeth are damaged, they may get caught in the wood and cause the saw to stop, and if the blade is warped, it could get pinched in the workpiece. Either way, an old and damaged or warped blade needs to be replaced no matter what. After all, having a good blade of the right type is one of the most important things in circular saw safety.

7. A Loose or Damaged Arbor

If either the arbor or the clutch bolt that connects the rest of the saw to the blade is loose or damaged in any way, then this could also cause the saw to stop. If things are loose, just tighten them up. However, if any of these parts are damaged, they will need to be replaced.


As you can see, there are several issues that may cause your circular saw to keep stopping. For the most part, they are just common sense problems and solutions, so just take a minute to figure out what is going on with your saw, and then go from there.