Want a quick answer? We believe that Milwaukee 6470-21 is the best 10 1/4″ circular saw you can get. Read on to find out why.
When I was a kid I would visit my grandfather in his shop. No matter what project he was working on, his circular saw was always used. This versatile tool was one of my first purchases when I started in woodworking.
The best 10 1/4 inch circular saw designs offer features for better cuts and safer operation.
Top-Rated 10 1/4″ circular Saws compared
What You Should Know About 10 1/4 Inch Circular Saws
I remember being intimidated by the circular saw’s large spinning blade when I was a kid. Years later, as a beginning woodworker, I was unsure if buying a circular saw was beyond my skill and pocketbook. Thankfully, I can tell you now that these tools are easy to use, won’t break the bank, and can be safe to use when handled properly.
Is it right for you?
The stand out feature on the 10 1/4 inch saw is that it can cut wood that is over 3.5 inches thick. That is a big difference in the shop or in the field. A 7.25-inch blade can get through a 2 x 4 with one pass but might need a second cut to get through lumber just a bit thicker, for example.
You will find that cutting and drilling are two of the jobs that you will be performing all of the time in your woodworking shop. A circular saw will allow you to cut timber and break down plywood for any DIY home project, woodworking project, jig, as well as carpentry work on the job. You can even cut through materials other than wood if you install the appropriate blade (and it fits your saw’s arbor).
Why not buy a miter saw or table saw?
If you are just starting out on your woodworking journey, or if you are experienced but might be building up your first woodworking shop, a circular saw will be the most economical choice when compared with either a miter or table saw. There are a variety of saw sizes out there and the 10 1/4 inch models are meant for big cuts.
The stand out feature for a circular, when compared to the other two designs, is that it is portable. You can take the saw to the work instead of having to take the work to the saw. This allows you to use it to make cuts on wood that can not be moved and you can operate the circular saw in spaces that a miter or table setup would not fit.
Unlike a circular saw, even the best miter saw will be limited to a cutting width based on the reach of its swing arm. That makes it a poor choice for rip cuts or dimensioning sheet goods.
A table saw will be limited to the size of material that you can safely hold on the table while you cut. This can be an issue for even the largest table saw when it comes to big furniture or wide wood panels. A big 10 1/4 inch saw will make taking on those larger items easier.
If there is one thing that both a miter saw and a table saw can do, it would be to cut very straight. Circular saws do an adequate job for carpentry work, but even the best 10 1/4 inch designs will drift a bit. That will be an issue for most woodworkers who need accuracy when building things like furniture.
A homemade or purchased saw guide can help, but the best long cuts that are completely straight are made with a track saw. If you find that you make lots of rip cuts then a good track saw might be a better option. However, most beginning and intermediate projects will be served by a circular saw just fine.
Also, keep in mind that big blade on the 10 1/4 inch circular saw. It can inflict serious damage if not handled properly.
Finally, remember that the size of these saws will make them weigh more due to larger blades and motors. That can make them a bit harder to control and it will wear you out sooner than a 7.25-inch circular saw would.
Things To Keep In Mind
- Motor size – Look for 14 amps if not more;
- Sidewinder vs worm gear – Sidewinders will give you more RPMs and worm gear more torque;
- Weight – 10 1/4 inch models are heavier, so any reduction to weight is appreciated;
- Cutline visibility – The clearer the path between your eyes and the contact point, the better your cut will be;
- Safety add-ons – Things like electric brakes make the tool safer to use.
Best 10 1/4″ Circular Saw Reviews
- Power Tools and Accessories
- Country of manufacture: China
- Manufacturer: Milwaukee
This product uses a simple design that should be easy for you to use. The lack of frills might be just what a new woodworker needs with this size of a circular saw.
- It generates 5,200 RPMs. That should be plenty of spin for any blade you put into the saw;
- It has a long power cord. The cord is 12-foot in length and is double-insulated for more protection;
- It comes with a steel case. That is great protection for the saw in your vehicle or for anything in your shop.
- A lack of features for experienced users. A problem with simple designs is that once you are used to this 10 1/4 inch circular saw, you could be shopping for another product with more bells and whistles;
- It has an aluminum shoe. This plate is made this way to keep weight down, but I suspect it is not as sturdy as magnesium would be.
- 14 AMP motor delivers enough power to cut beams and timber
- Large cutting and bevel capacity (3-3/4'' at 90° and 2-3/4'' at 45°)
- Electric brake for maximum productivity
The precision gearing Makita provides here means that there is less waste with power transfer. That same gearing allows the blade to run smoothly through the cut.
- Three handles on the saw. You have a handle on the back for control as well as a handle on the top and to the side. This gives more options for controlling the saw;
- This product includes an electric brake. That provides quick blade stopping after the trigger is released, a bonus for safety and productivity;
- It has a well-balanced body, even with the more flat design that houses the precision gears.
- The AMP rating is on 14. This is a bit underwhelming for this price point, especially when this is a sidewinder that will not deliver extra torque through the cut like a worm gear would;
- A higher price point for what you get. There are features that should have been added to this particular model that could have justified the price point more.
- ELECTRONIC BRAKES will stop your blade quickly when you’re finished with your cut. You won’t need to waste time waiting around for the blade to slow down, so you can get back to work quickly
- SOFT GRIP HANDLE provides maximum comfort so you can work with precision in slippery environments
- BEVEL AND DEPTH ADJUSTMENT: You can adjust the depth up to 1 1/2" and the bevel up to 45 degrees, giving you a huge degree of versatility in your cuts
This product uses a worm drive to transfer power from the motor to the blade. It will provide more torque than the other 15 amp motor saws can with a sidewinder design.
- This product uses a dual field design for the 15 amp motor. This should help it to run smoothly as well as cool for longer periods of time;
- A longer lip on the lower blade guard. This provides maximum protection while also keeping small pieces from flying around with the blade;
- You will appreciate more versatility with the 51-degree bevel adjustments.
- The added torque makes for harder control in a thick wood. You will have to keep an extra grip on the saw in thick timbers as the torque will plow into the fibers without delay;
- You need a wide hands-position. The top handle is spaced farther than other designs, which could be a bit awkward if you have shorter arms.
- Delivers the trusted performance of the Makita 5007F 7-1/4" circular saw with the capacity to cut 4x lumber in a single pass
- Powerful 15 amp motor delivers 4, 300 RPM with power to cut beams, engineered lumber, and timber
- Well balanced design at 16-1/2" long and weighing only 15.2 pounds For increased operator comfort
This second entry from Makita comes at a much lower price point than the previous model reviewed. So much so that you could add a couple of high-quality blades to this purchase.
- It has a larger motor than the Makita 1504. A 15 amp motor drives this saw, giving it plenty of power for cuts;
- It is fairly lightweight. This product comes in at only 15.2 pounds;
- It provides bevel support at both the front and rear of the saw. This design should provide extra rigidity with beveled cuts.
- It includes a rip fence guide that could be improved on. The design lacks rear support;
- The markings on the bevel scale are not colored. This can be an issue if your need to make adjustments in a low-light situation.
Cutting The List Down
Simply put, the Milwaukee 6470-21 is the best 10 1/4 circular saw on the list. It is simple to learn and operate, which is great for novice woodworkers or those a bit intimidated by the circular saw’s blade.
It provides plenty of power at 15 amps, and the 5,200 RPMs will work for almost all blades you might use. An electric brake and double insulated cord add to safety as you cut bevels ranging up to 60-degrees.
You won’t break the bank at this mid-range price point and that should make it a serious consideration for anyone looking to use a circular saw to cut big lumber!