Want a quick answer? We believe that DEWALT DWS535B is the best worm drive circular saw you can buy. Read on to find out why.
There are times when your ambition outmatches your tools when it comes to woodworking. With cutting tools, it usually comes down to a lack of power.
A worm drive circular saw can help add the torque you need to get the job done quickly and efficiently. Let’s take a closer look at these saws and review five of the best worm drive saw models out there.
Things To Look For in a good worm drive saw
A circular saw that uses a worm drive will take some getting used to for some, but there are features that you can look for that should make this power tool your favorite to use.
This design will weigh more, to begin with, so finding a balance between adequate protection and lighter materials should be considered. Magnesium is a popular choice here.
Your top choices here should include a base plate that can be adjusted for a multitude of angles. If the system has positive stops you can quickly move to, all the better.
Make sure that the saw feels comfortable as you hold it. Handle position is important, as you want to maintain your grip comfortably and still control the saw. Added features that improve grip or reduce vibrations as the circular saw runs can be worth the extra money when comparing worm drive saws.
Blade changes that require extra tools can be a hassle, especially if they get lost or you forget them. Look for a saw that requires a minimal amount of tools for blade changes to keep things simple and quick.
The 5 Best Worm Drive Circular Saws:
1. Top Pick: DEWALT DWS535B
- DEWALT 7 1/4 circular saw has lightweight magnesium and aluminum construction including durable magnesium foot plate
- Extra wide sawhook of the corded circular saw accepts materials up to 2-3/4-inch (70mm0
- TOUGHCORD Cord Protection System of the compact circular saw has 4 times better cord jerk protection
DeWALT is known for its added features and this product includes an electric brake that stops the blade quickly once the trigger is released. This provides you with a safer power tool that will also keep you working more quickly.
- DeWALT provides excellent customer support. From clear instructions to a three-year limited warranty, this company stands behind the saw and the customer with good tech support and service departments;
- It makes use of a tough cord protection system. That includes extra support at the base of the saw as well as shielding that helps to protect it from nicks and other minor damage;
- An over-sized secondary handle provides users with a larger area to place their second hand during operation. It has a nice angle so that your hand will grip it in a natural position that is not out of place as you cut.
- It still weighs 13.8 pounds. This is a bit surprising when you consider that DeWALT also used aluminum in the construction along with magnesium;
- You will have to lubricate this item before you use it. This could be an inconvenience for those looking to make cuts straight from the box.
2. Lightest Worm Drive Saw: SKILSAW SPT77WML-01
- Lightest magnesium construction reduces user fatigue for less down time
- Cut-ready depth of cut system helps with quick, accurate depth measurements
- 53° bevel allows users to complete a wider variety of cuts
I like that the design of this product is simple, meaning that it should be easy for most people to use right out of the box. This includes the cut-ready depth of the cutting system that helps make repeatable cuts quickly, something that can be appreciated with larger jobs.
- There is an extension built into the snag guard that really helps keep smaller chips and parts from flying into the shielding. That will improve safety and keep smaller pieces from becoming damaged as they are cut off of the board you are working on;
- You can still achieve a maximum RPM rating of 5,300 under no load, thanks to the 15 amp motor;
- It has a base plate that can adjust up to 53-degrees. This should give operators plenty of versatility when making bevel cuts.
- SKILSAW seemed to have skimped a bit on the handle coating. This saw’s handle is only partially covered with the rubberized material made for comfort;
- Blade changes and oiling will require tools. Part of the simple design trade-off is that you will need wrenches to perform these tasks.
3. Best Overall: Milwaukee 6477-20
- The product is easy to use
- The product is durable
- The product is manufactured in China
A stand-out feature on this circular saw is the shoe. It is made from composite materials that should allow it to last a long time. That material can provide a stable face that will not warp under standard use as well.
- A five-year warranty from the manufacturer. This represents one of the longest coverage guarantees in the market and should help to promote customer confidence;
- There is an oil site glass on the motor. This small feature makes it easy to quickly check the level of lubrication to make sure that your gears stay covered at all times;
- The fan exhaust is positioned to offer some cut path clearance. It may not be the best dust removal design, but it does help keep sawdust from blocking you from seeing the blade where it makes contact with the wood.
- It is a bit heavier than other worm drive saw systems. You will notice this if you have to use the saw all day long on the job or in the shop;
- It comes at a higher price point. This price tag is a bit surprising, considering that there are not many extra features built into the design of this circular saw.
4. Least Expensive: Makita 5377MG Hypoid Saw
- Magnesium components create a lightweight saw (13.2 lbs.) that is well balanced and job site tough
- Oil bath technology is created with a built-in fan and sealed gear housing to ensure 100% oil surface coating for less maintenance
- Large cutting capacity (2-3/8" at 90°) with positive stops at 22.5°, 45° and 51.5°
This has a familiar worm drive housing design, but the gear system in this product is different. It uses a hypoid gear built from steel. It is heat-treated and will provide you with a longer lifespan on the gears due to this design.
- The housing, motor, and handle are designed with balance in mind. This makes the saw easier to use, especially if you are sawing multiple cuts throughout the day;
- Makita have used large levers and knobs for control components. This should make it easier to make adjustments as you work;
- A nice rubber grip and well-placed trigger make the control handle comfortable. It should fit well for most people’s hand size and help prevent cramps or fatigue from extended use.
- This saw jumps to full power on startup. That initial thrust of power can cause a cut to get away from you if you are not prepared for it;
- This product lacks a dust port. That may not be a deal-breaker for some, but keeping your shop and cutting surface clean as you work is important.
5. Notable Mention: Bosch CSW41
- LIGHTWEIGHT: The Bosch CSW41 Circular Saw provides better comfort and control. The tool’s magnesium construction delivers a lighter weight saw to reduce user fatigue and increase productivity
- ACCURACY: Featuring a worm drive design, the CSW41 offers increased accuracy and precision. The left side blade design provides unmatched clarity of cut line
- TORQUE: The saw delivers 5,300 no-load rpm but weights only 13.2 lbs. The powerful 15-amp motor provides torque for a variety of applications, matched with worm drive gearing
The magnesium housing and other design features keep the weight of this saw down to 13.2 pounds. That makes this worm drive circular saw easier to handle, especially for users who might struggle with heavy power tools that need to be used over and over during the day.
- An onboard wrench is included here. That helps to prevent the wrench from being misplaced and keeps it on the saw at all times for faster maintenance;
- Ruber comfort grips are placed on both handles. That added padding keeps vibrations from transmitting through the blade into your hands as the blade cuts through all types of wood;
- An automatic lubrication system is built into the saw. This keeps the gears covered at all times and means less downtime for your saw.
- Cheaper parts are used in some control features. This may require you to double-check settings to make sure they are secure before you cut.
- A built-in saw hook seems useless in most situations. Bosch could have added more safety features instead of including a hook to keep the saw out of the way when not in use.
Who Needs A Worm Drive Saw?
The major reason to consider this style of a circular saw is the added torque that they produce. A high reduction ratio can be achieved between the worm gear and the wheel it is acting upon. What that means for you is more power with reduced speed on the blade.
If your projects consist of thick timbers or lumber made from hardwoods, you will notice the difference between a worm drive and a sidewinder circular saw. A worm drive saw will not have to work as hard to make the cut. The nice thing is, this type of saw will cut through thinner boards or panels just as well as a sidewinder circular saw would.
Who does not need one of these?
If you are a casual DIY homeowner who rarely does woodworking projects, you can most likely get away with a sidewinder circular saw, which is usually cheaper to purchase. Also, if your woodworking consists of very small projects made from thin boards or panels, you can make your cuts with a sidewinder as well.
If you are a casual DIY enthusiast, check out our best circular saw and best compact circular saw guides.
Other Worm style Saw Advantages
The design allows you to reach into tighter spaces since the motor is behind the blade. That can be nice if you need to make cuts in tight areas that require you to bring the saw to the cut.
You will have a bit more reach with a worm gear saw also, since the handle is farther back with this type of design. That extra reach will be most noticed as you make longer crosscuts across panels as you will not have to reach as far with your arms near the far side of the panel.
If you are a right-handed user, you will be pleasantly surprised to find that these circular saws have the blade mounted on the left side of the housing. That allows you to see the cut line easier than with a sidewinder model which has the circular saw blade attached to the right side.
Another consideration is the lifespan of the gears in the saw. A worm style setup can last up to four times longer than a direct drive (sidewinder design) gear system. This could keep your circular saw going years longer than the other design, especially if you do a lot of cutting.
Finally, the design often makes for a more rigid body. That will help reduce blade wobble and give you a smaller kerf through the wood as it is being cut.
Are there disadvantages to consider?
Weight. Simply put, these circular saws weigh more than a sidewinder design will. It will be noticed when you make cuts all day long.
Also, they are longer and this can make them less easy to control for those new to using a circular saw with a worm drive. This could be intimidating for a person already concerned about using a circular saw.
Lastly, a worm drive product will cost you more at the store than a sidewinder circular saw will. This could be a major consideration for those who are on a tight budget for their workshop.
Which One Makes The Cut?
I found that each product had something that allowed it to excel in particular areas. With that being said, the DEWALT DWS535B represents the best worm drive saw on the list.
First off, the build is solid and is lighter than some models we have looked at here. That will make it easier to control and keep you from getting worn out, but it is fair to say this isn’t the lightest saw on the list.
DeWALT helps to compensate with a larger secondary handle that provides a great purchase for your other hand as you cut. A tough cord design helps to protect your power into the saw more so than other items looked at here.
DeWALT offers you some of the best customer support in the market, and you will appreciate that no matter what your skill level is. Finally, this is a DeWALT product that is priced competitively when compared to the other saws reviewed, something that does not always happen when comparing DeWALT products to others.
A saw is only as good as the blade it houses. Make sure to equip your worm drive saw with the best circular saw blade available.