Circular saws are used on construction job sites all the time and in many different situations. But for those of you not on a construction job site every day you might be wondering, what is a circular saw? Let me answer that!
Short and Simple Definition
Let’s make it really clear: A circular saw is a handheld power tool that spins a blade with teeth around really fast to help you cut materials. For you visual learners, the picture at the top of this article is a picture of a circular saw being used. Remember seeing one of these?
Oh, The Things We Can Cut!
I’ve seen people use circular saws to cut just about every type of material. Are they designed for cutting EVERYTHING? Ask that cast iron pipe that’s now cut in half!
Actually, most circular saws are only supposed to be used for wood with an occasional metal thrown in. If someone plans on cutting a lot of metal with their saw, the manufacturers would prefer you buy a circular saw designed just for metal.
For the average user though, we would recommend purchasing a standard a circular saw designed for wood. Then if you need to cut metal simply switch out the blade for a blade designed for metal.
Most saw blade manufacturers will list what type of materials their blade cuts through the best. Like I said, unless you plan on cutting a lot of metal, we would recommend getting a standard circular saw and then just switching out the blades according to the materials you’re cutting.
What Circular Saws Are Good At
Circular saws are good at being handy. They are are used a lot in small framing jobs, cutting sub floor, and smaller jobs where setting up a chop saw just isn’t worth it. The cordless circular saws usually carry enough power and are light weight. This makes it easy to carry around and keep in your garage.
The other thing circular saws are good at is cutting OSB or subfloor. It can go places a chop saw just can’t reach. Our crews have a circular saw in all of their vehicles if that tells you how often we use them.
(If you find yourself needing to make a lot of cuts all at once, you might need some backup batteries or look into getting a corded saw. Even with the cord, they are still handy!)
What Circular Saws Are BAD At
The downside of circular saws is that their cuts can be crooked. Obviously, we advise you mark out your cut line with a framing square and then follow the cut as best as possible but there will still be human error. The circular saws can also be a little slower than a chop saw if you’re cutting a lot of boards. That’s why for large framing jobs and where the cuts have to be precise (like trim), you won’t want to use a circular saw. Instead you’ll want a chop saw.
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