I spent years being unaware of how much labor and time the best mini circular saw features could save me. These power tools are meant to be easy to use and are often targeted towards DIY hobbyists and casual woodworkers. The problem, however, is that the market is flooded with products that promise you a lot of things that you simply cannot verify.
This buyer’s guide will take a closer look at the benefits and features of the best small circular saw designs. I will then review six of the best handheld circular saw models available so that you can make a side by side comparison. Finally, I will give you my selection from that list and explain why I feel that particular product stands out when compared to the rest.
The compact circular saws we will look at include:
Table of Contents
Choosing The Best Compact Circular Saw
These power tools use abrasive discs or circular blades to cut a variety of materials. Like other circular saw designs, power from the motor is transferred to the blade or disc that creates chips in the material as it rotates.
Standard size for circular saw blades is 7.25-inches, with general use models ranging from the 6.25-inch designs up to 8.25-inches on the upper general use range. The best mini circular saw designs are less than 6.25-inches and can offer you distinct advantages, or disadvantages, depending upon the task at hand.
Why buy a small circular saw?
My late grandfather used his standard 7.25-inch circular saw or his table saw for most cuts. He also taught me that finding the right tool for the job can save a craftsman both time and money.
I discovered the trim saw (another name for these compact power tools) while shopping at a local store. Curiosity got the better of me and the rest, as they say, is history! The absolute advantage this tool has is its size, which allows you to:
These features will appeal to casual woodworkers, homeowners who work on DIY improvement projects, and those just starting to work with power tools. Features like this will be less important to serious woodworkers or professionals, but it does not mean that these compact circular saws will not be found in their shops or on the job site.
The advantage of size can also present some disadvantages as well, such as:
The above-mentioned limitations will make these power tools less used in commercial manufacturing and construction settings. They can be found in the tool kits of professionals who need a specialty cutter, however, as they are quicker then most hand-powered tools while being almost as mobile.
Good first choice for beginners?
If you are just starting out with woodworking, a smaller circular saw might appeal to you. The best compact circular saw models will provide you with features that are found on standard designs. A smaller power tool can be easier to control and will not wear you down easily.
You will need to keep in mind the projects you plan on building. If you are going to work on wood paneling and construction timbers with a two-inch thickness (think 2 x 4 or 2 x 8), a small circular saw should work fine. Large projects with thicker lumber may not be ideal for these saws, forcing you to consider a more standard circular saw size.
Finally, think about safety. The larger blades on standard saws may intimidate you, and they can be dangerous.
Smaller blades might provide you with more confidence, but you don’t want to be cavalier and become careless as compact blades can still cause serious injuries. These tools can be operated with one hand, which can present more danger than a larger saw that requires two-handed operation.
Using mini Circular Saws
These compact saws are great for making clean and straight crosscuts or rip cuts. You can cut through a variety of materials, based on the type of disc or blade that you install in your power tool.
There are many tricks that can make operating any hand-held circular saw, including compact models, easier. Some things you should keep in mind:
- Blade settings – Set your blade depth before you cut and make sure it is not too deep;
- Supporting material – Provide proper support as you cut, but allow the cutoff to fall freely;
- Use a guide – Your hand can help along an edge, or you can clamp a guide for the saw to follow.
- Start over – These tools cut straight, so start over if your cut line wanders off the mark;
Things to consider
Best Small Circular Saw Reviews
Makita SH02R1 Cordless Circular Saw Kit
- Makita-built motor delivers 1,500 RPM for faster cutting
- 3-3/8" blade delivers a maximum cutting depth of 1" for a wide range of cutting applications
- Adjustable cutting depth from 1" at 90Degree and 5/8" at 45Degree
Makita offers a complete kit with your purchase, including multiple batteries. It comes with a protective case that can store the saw, batteries, as well as the charger. That makes it convenient to haul around and also gives much-needed protection in the shop or back of your work vehicle.
DEWALT DCS571B Atomic Brushless Cordless Saw
- Brushless motor allows you to cut up to 339 linear feet of 3/4 in. Osb using DCB205 battery (sold separately)
- Removable auxiliary handle for increased control
- Hang hook for increased convenience
DeWALT is a known brand name in power tools, and this cordless circular saw represents the company’s foray into the compact circular saw market. They are known for great customer support that ranges from excellent documentation to service shops across North America. The extended warranty offered on this model is one of the better coverage plans on the market.
WORX WORXSAW WX429L
- Cut 2x4's in a single pass with an easily maneuverable compact saw that weighs 50% less than a traditional 7-1/4" circular saw
- Thin blade makes for less tool strain, resulting in full size circular saw cutting speed and performance.Blade Size 4.5 inches. No-Load Speed 3500/rpm
- Easy-set depth gauge lever and 0-45-degree bevel settings for quick adjustments. The WORXSAW is substantial enough to cut through nominal 2 inch lumber, yet light enough for the DIY'er to easily and...
This compact circular saw from WORX will be great for beginners who have a small budget. Its 4.5-inch blade will rip and crosscut softwoods without bogging down. I had to add this compact circular saw to our list just due to the sheer volume of positive reviews it has on Amazon.
- Compact but powerful 5-amp electric motor, matching performance of full-size saws at 3,500 rpm
- At only 5 lbs., is 50% lighter than conventional 7-1/4” circular saws, cuts through 2x4s in a single pass
- Left-handed blade design provides remarkable cut-line visibility
Rockwell has designed a compact product that is lightweight, coming in at about five pounds. That is a consideration that will be noticed if you use this saw over an extended period of time as you should not feel as fatigued as you would with a standard 7.25-inch circular saw.
- ➤METAL HANDLE & LASER DESIGN: Comes with a unique metal handle, which helps to reduce fatigue for one-hand working, offering stronger clamping force to make the cutting more stable. Easy and quick...
- ➤POWERFUL MOTOR & 6 BLADES: Features a 5. 8 Amps copper motor to deliver full-size performance at 3, 500 rpm, making cut wood, plastics, plaster board, PVC pipe, tile with ease. 6 Blades: 2x24T...
- ➤FLEXIBLE 90° & 45° BEVEL CUTTING: Easy-set depth scaled gauge lever allows the cutting depth up to 1-11/16 inches(42. 9mm) at 90°; The bevel capacity at 45° is 1-3/8 inches (34. 9mm), you can...
A stand out feature on this mini circular saw is the handle design, which TACKLIFE has obviously spent considerable effort in making. While it may feel a bit large for those with small hands, this contact point is shaped to provide users with a natural hold. It also has elements that provide a solid grip a well as cushioning.
Rockwell RK3440K Versacut Ultra-Compact Saw
- Powerful, 4.0 amp, multi-functional, ultra-compact circular saw
- Cuts wide variety of materials such as tile, wood, sheet metal, plastics, flooring, and more. No-Load Speed- 3,500 rpm
- Ergonomic design with slim grip handle improves comfort and enhances grip and control – guide with just one hand!
This second entry from Rockwell makes the list for its ultra-compact design. This product weighs only four pounds and has a profile small enough to fit into tight spaces or to be used easily overhead. Those features make it a good choice for DIY projects or construction areas that are awkward to access with larger circular saws.
HYCHIKA MS-85C Mini Circular Saw
- 【DURABLE AND POWERFUL MOTOR】: Featured with a 4 Amps copper motor, the compact circular saw can reach a high cutting speed of 4500RPM to cut tile, wood, plastics, plaster board, PVC with ease....
- 【3 BLADES AND COMPACT】: Comes with 1x30T HW for wood cuts/ 1x36T HS for metal cuts/ 1pcs grit diamond blade for tile cuts, small size and weight also make it a good addition to your toolkit, great...
- 【PRECISE AND ADJUSTABLE CUTTING DEPTH】: With the laser guide, the mini circular saw keeps the cutting on a straight line. Also the parallel guide attachment allows you to make a precise and quick...
This compact design by HYCHIKA is an option that is budget-friendly. It is limited in depth of cut due to the 3 3/8-inch blade, but it can generate up 4,500 RPMs with its motor. If you are looking for an entry-level saw to work on panels or lumber that is an inch or less in thickness, this power tool might be a good choice.
Less Footprint And More Cut
All six products reviewed above are capable of making clean cuts, and they present features that will match up to most woodworker’s needs. With that being said, I do prefer the Makita SH02R1 Cordless Circular Saw Kit and feel it represents the best mini circular saw reviewed here.
To start off with, it is a cordless design. Most users looking at compact circular saws are looking at portability and ease of use in tight places. Battery-powered models offer you that, and this saw has a sleek profile that will not get in the way.
A 3 3/8-inch blade might sound too small, but the projects most beginning and intermediate woodworkers are working on will use paneling or lumber that is an inch or less in thickness.
It can make bevel cuts, something that ultra-compact models are not always designed to do. There is a nice balance to the saw, an added bonus to a cordless model that installs the battery in the handle base.
Finally, you get a three-year limited warranty on a cordless product with a friendly price point. These benefits, when taken together, make this a compact circular saw that should meet your basic woodworking needs!