Which Are the Best Compact Circular Saws? – Mechanopedia’s Top Picks

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While regular circular saws are fantastic tools and a must-have for any DIYer, you might find yourself needing a lighter, more compact option that offers more flexibility. This is why you should probably invest in the best small circular saw.

As you might already know, regular-sized circular saws can be a bit heavy and get harder to control as you use them due to their weight wearing you down if you utilize them for long periods at a time. This is yet another reason to start thinking about getting a compact circular saw.

With that said, looking for the best compact circular saw can be a difficult task as there are numerous options to choose from, each one claiming to be better than the last by offering different features and accessories.

Don’t be discouraged, though. We’ve done a fair bit of our own research and came up with a list of the best compact circular saws that you can get your hands on. We’ve gone ahead and reviewed them to give you the full picture so you can pick the best compact circular saw for your needs.

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The Best Compact Circular Saw – Our Picks

#1 – Rockwell RK3441K Mini Circular Saw

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When it comes to the overall best compact circular saw you could get your hands on, there’s no other one than Rockwell’s RK3441K model. This fantastic circular saw has an ergonomic design that is unrivaled. It’s also quite versatile, allowing you to use it for extending periods without feeling any discomfort or strain.

The grip is designed in a way to feel comfortable and give the user as much control as possible, ensuring maximum accuracy. Consequently, the results that it provides are some of, if not, the best that you can get with a compact circular saw. This saw also comes with a safety feature in the form of a lock-off switch.

Additionally, this saw is built to last thanks to its inner metal liner and outer guard that make it resistant to wear and tear, and other outside factors.

When it comes to the features of this saw, it has a laser guide which further increases its accuracy on top of the very ergonomic design. You can’t get a more accurate saw than this one no matter how hard you look. On top of that, it features an adjustable blade that facilitates making angled cuts. You can also use it at a 90-degree angle if you want to do rip cuts or plunge cuts.

Two minor things slightly bothered us. The first one is the fact that this saw wasn’t designed to be ambidextrous. That means that left-handed users might find it difficult to operate without engaging the switch. And second, you might find that the blade will bind up if you use it on in complex projects.

What we like about it

This is easily the best compact circular saw on the market and for a good reason. It’s the most accurate saw thanks to the laser guide technology. Its ergonomic design also implicitly helps with accuracy. And of course, it also has a lock-off switch for your safety.

#2 – Rockwell RK3440K Compact Circular Saw

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Coming up in second place is the RK3440K which isn’t surprising seeing that the RK3441K is the best compact circular saw you can get your hands on. Naturally, it shares a lot of similarities with the RK3441K such as its ergonomic design and high build quality.

Even though it is rather compact, having a 4-inch blade, it’s surprisingly efficient, being able to cut 2-inch or even thicker wood. It also has a unique feature as it comes with three different blades which allow it to cut through a wide variety of materials such as ceramic tiles, sheet metal, aluminum and a lot of other materials.

Not unlike the RK3441K, this model also features a laser cutting guide which works admirably. With that said, the guide will only run using a battery which doesn’t last for long which is quite disappointing since it’s pretty much the only thing keeping keep from being the best compact circular saw on this list.

The safety features can also be obnoxious at times. This is also very compact so you might find it a bit difficult to operate if you have large hands.

What we like about it

Just like the RK3441K, this compact circular saw has a lot of great things. One of its strongest suits is versatility and the fact that it includes three different blades. Not unlike the best compact circular saw on this list, this one includes a laser cutting guide and is also safe to use.

#3 – Worx Worxsaw WX429L Mini Skill Saw

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If you’re running a low budget and are looking for something with great value, then this is a great compact circular saw. The Worx Worxsaw WX429L is truly worth every penny. It’s a reliable compact circular saw that is very lightweight and easy to control.

If you have small hands, then this saw is definitely for you as it’s one of the most compact saws out there. However, don’t think that this saw is not powerful or useful as it works great for a wide variety of woodworking applications.

One of the unique features of this saw is the fact that it has a left-sided blade. This means that you’ll be able to better see the blade and the material you’re cutting. This is great as it allows you to be more accurate. With that said, this design is not particularly great for left-handed users.

What we noticed about this saw is that it isn’t great for anything but small projects. This becomes clearer when you try to use it for long cuts as it becomes a bit sluggish. It’s also worth noting that this saw will give left-handed users some trouble due to its design.

What we like about it

There’s a lot to like about this saw which is why we put it among the best compact circular saws out there. Aside from the fact that it has excellent value, its left-sided blade design makes it stand out from the rest of the competition. Additionally, it has an adjustable depth lever which can come in handy when you’re looking for added flexibility.

#4 – Dremel SM20-03 Mini Circular Saw

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This compact circular saw will undoubtedly leave you with a good first impression as it comes in a high-quality case that is nicely put together. On top of that, it comes with numerous different saw blades along with a couple of Allen wrenches. This is also a very compact saw, allowing the user to operate it with one hand efficiently.

When it comes to its performance, it can be used to make straight, flush, or plunge cuts that are ¾ inches deeps. With this saw, you can cut wood as well as sheet metal, tile, drywall, and a wide variety of other materials. This impressive versatility is mainly due to it being one of the most potent compact circular saws you can get thanks to its 6-amp motor. That is primarily what has earned it a spot on the list of the best small circular saws.

Lastly, this model also features a lock-on button if you plan on using it for extended periods, which is neat. The only thing that we didn’t like about this model is that it tends to use a lot of abrasive blades in some cases.

What we like about it

One of the things that stood out to us is the exceptional quality of this saw. Not only is it built from high-quality materials, but it also has a very potent and surprisingly quiet motor. Add on top of that the fact that it’s one of the most versatile saws out there and you’ve got yourself one of the best compact circular saws out there.

#5 – Genesis GCS545C Mini Circular-Saw

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The only reason we decided to include this alongside some of the best compact circular saws is to show you what a bad compact circular saw looks and functions, so you don’t make the mistake of buying such a bad product.

For each good feature, this product has a plethora of problems that immediately nullify any good thing about it. For example, even though it’s rather easy to use and has a decently powerful motor, it comes with low-quality blades and is only viable in small jobs. Additionally, while it features an ergonomic grip and is meant to stay comfortable even after prolonged use, its heavyweight eventually beats those features out, making it a rather uncomfortable tool for extended use.

What we like about it

To give this product some credit, it does have some nice features such as bevel control, an adjustable depth gauge as well as a vacuum adapter that keeps the cutting line clear throughout the cutting operation.

On the other hand, this is a very heavy saw which is ridiculous, seeing how this is supposed to be a compact and lightweight circular saw. Its blades are also shoddily built, and the saw itself is only built for small applications.

Choosing the Best Compact Circular Saw – Mechanopedia’s Buying Guide

If you’re looking to buy a compact circular saw, then you have to know what to look for. There are a lot of options on the market, each one boasting about its numerous features. While this can be overwhelming, being able to spot the differences between a good compact circular saw and a bad one will dramatically facilitate the task of buying the best compact circular saw for your specific case.

Speaking of personal circumstance and preference, you’ll notice that your choice will be very dependent on your use cases, budget, and what you need to use the saw for, so you need to go to the market knowing exactly what you need and what you don’t need so you don’t get immediately overwhelmed.

With that said, there are also some invariable factors. Durability, for example, will always be a good thing.

Corded Vs. Cordless

Whether you should go with a cordless or corded compact circular saw, it’s mostly a matter of budget. Cordless tools tend to be more convenient than their corded counterpart, so if you have some money to spare, you’re better off with a cordless compact circular saw.

However, this is more about the convenience that it is about sawing performance. If you happen to have a power outlet close to where you’ll be working with the saw, then it won’t matter as much if it’s corded or cordless.

To sum up, cordless saws are more convenient and portable, but you have to watch out for battery life and also spend more money.

Saw Power

Power is the pillar feature of power tools. No matter which machine you’re getting, be it a compact circular saw, cordless impact wrench, contractor table saw, 12-inch miter saw, or even cordless pole saw, you should always consider how powerful the motor of the device is.

A saw’s power will give you an idea of how fast it is at cutting different materials. While compact circular saws are not as powerful as their regular counterpart, there are still some differences in power between small saws.

Compact saw motors can range from being 3 amps which are the weakest to 6 amps which are the strongest. This is why you should have an idea of which materials you’ll be cutting so you make the optimal choice.

The Saw Blades

The majority of compact circular saws feature their own carbide-tipped blade. With that said, the blades that the saw comes with are only good as a starting point. They will allow you to perform small cutting jobs with ease but with struggle with anything remotely complicated or big. This is why you’re probably going to need to invest in some better blades eventually. But how do you choose the best blades?

The answer is quite simple. If you want to make clean cuts, then it’s best to go with a blade that has more teeth. Additionally, you also need to take into account the size of the blade as it influences the depth at which the saw can cut. Note that a 4-inch circular saw will require standard-sized blades.

Ergonomics

While it might prove difficult to tell which saw is more comfortable, a close examination can be enough to seal the deal. This is why we recommend avoiding buying these saws online as looks can be deceiving. If there’s a local tool store near you, then you’d be better off checking it out as you’ll be able to examine the saws from a close distance and get a better feel for the saw.

Cut Depth

The majority of compact circular saws are capable of cutting at least 1 inch deep. With that said, some saws can go beyond this limit. Some saws even have a cutting depth of 2 inches.

Extra Factors

In addition to the factors mentioned above, there are a couple of minor things that you should take into account. For instance, you should buy a saw that allows you to replace blades easily. You’ll also want a compact saw with a laser cutting guide. These are imperative if you’re going to be as accurate as possible. A similar feature to this is a LED light that does the same thing.

Lastly, it’s recommended that you get a saw that comes with a carrying case, but this isn’t necessary.

Picking the Best Compact Circular Saw – Frequently Asked Questions

Does the size of my hands also factor in which compact saw to buy?

We mentioned before in our reviews that some saws might be hard to operate for people with large hands. With that said, you should always test the saws before you make a decision. Get a feel for the tool and make sure it’s comfortable

Does the power of the saw only influence the cutting speed?

While the power of the saw mainly influences how fast you’re able to cut through various materials, it also implicitly makes a difference in how clean your cuts are. However, it isn’t a major difference. If you want cleaner cuts, opt for blades with more teeth.

How light should a compact circular saw be?

This tends to vary from user to user. Some users might begin to experience strain way earlier than others that use a saw with the same weight. However, to give you some reference, some saws can measure 4 pounds while others can weigh 6 pounds. You might find heavier saws, but to figure out which one is more comfortable, you’ll have to try them out for yourself.

Final Thoughts

Now that you’ve read this article, it’s up to you to determine the best compact circular saw for you. There are numerous factors to consider, but it’s imperative to go in knowing exactly what you need so you don’t end up buying a saw that won’t meet your expectations.

References:

  • http://www.asktooltalk.com/articles/toolhistory/divide.php
  • https://www.safetyculture.com.au/safe-work-method-statements-swms/circular-saw-swms-10049-5/
  • Our own experience