Best Worm Drive Saw For the Money – Comparisons Reviews
While the standard or ‘sidewinder’ saw is what most people think of when they think of a circular saw, the worm drive saw is another handheld circular that’s a little larger and heavier, but delivers more power overall.
The internal gearing and location of the motor on a worm drive saw (behind the blade as opposed to on the side of it) allows them to deliver more torque directly to the sawblade, but the downside is that they’re heavier and more expensive than standard circular saws. a little less practical for the average DIY’er.
While most folks easily get by with their trusty, standard circular saw for most woodworking jobs, plenty of people out there prefer the extra power and balance (among other things) that a worm drive offers.
In this article, we’ve picked out a careful selection of the best worm drive saws based on a combination of performance, consumer feedback, price, and overall value.
You’ll see that these saws are a little more expensive than your typical sidewinder saw, but for the serious DIY’er looking to provide a major boost to his or her power tool collection, they’re a great investment.
Quick Look: Top Worm Drive Saw
Last update on 2023-05-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Product Summaries: Best Worm Drive Saw
Our #1 top pick for the best worm drive saw goes to the 7 ¼” Makita Magnesium. This is a lightweight, high-performing, contractor-grade saw that is exceptionally well-built and comfortable to use.
In terms of balance, comfort, and user-friendliness, the 15-amp SKILSAW 7 ¼” 77 is another great option that’s also a good value for the price.
SKILSAW has developed a reputation for being the go-to brand when it comes to circular saws, and this new magnesium ‘77’ model is advertised as the most lightweight worm drive on the market. definitely one the most comfortable, easy-to-use. and not to mention best performing. worm drives you’ll find.
And lastly, the 7 ¼” DeWALT DWS535 gets our nod for the most popular contractor-grade worm drive saw. It’s a bit more expensive than the Makita, but it is another pro-quality tool that’s truly built to last a lifetime.
And not to mention, the DWS535 is the most powerful (with 4,800 max RPM) of all of our top picks.
Reviews of the Best Worm Drive Saws
Makita 7 1/4″ 5377MG Magnesium Hypoid Saw
Last update on 2022-05-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Although functionality-wise these are worm drive saws, Makita markets them as hypoid saws because of the heat-treated hypoid steel gears that they use, as opposed to the bronze-alloy gears that are used in most other brand’s worm drives.
The hypoid gears, combined with Makita’s 100% oil bath gear coating, make this saw the most durable and maintenance-free on the market.
And, it doesn’t skimp on performance either. The powerful motor draws 15 amps and outputs a max RPM of 4,500, making it more than sufficient for just about any professional, contractor-grade jobs.
Also, the magnesium model is substantially lighter (about 13 lbs) than the standard Makita hypoid (although a bit more expensive), which is a big plus because worm drives are notorious for being heavy, bulky tools that can be difficult to handle for beginners.
One of the things people like most about this saw is the large, very well thought-out and well-placed rubberized levers, which make on-the-fly adjustments super quick and easy.
Things we liked
- The hypoid gearing and oil bath technology make it probably the most dependable and durable worm drive in the industry, with hardly any maintenance required
- Large, convenient adjustment levels
- Ultra quiet compared to other large worm drives
Things we didn’t like
- Does not come with a carrying/storage case
- No dust-collection port
- Starting torque is a little on the high end (can be tricky to do start/stop/start cutting)
Best User-Friendly Worm Drive Saw: 7 ¼” SKILSAW 77
Last update on 2022-08-11 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
A lot of professionals of a certain generation will tell you that when it comes to circular saws (both standard and worm drive), there’s only one brand they’ll consider: SKILSAW.
We suppose that’s only natural, given the brand invented the tool way back in the 1920’s (when they were the Michel Electric Handsaw Company).
Nevertheless, the SKILSAW 77 has more or less set the golden standard in terms of performance for other brands like DeWALT, Makita, and Milwaukee to follow.
Like the Makita, this saw draws 15 amps, and the magnesium frame makes it the lightest. and definitely on the most well-engineered and user-friendly. worm drive saws out there.
Things we liked
- The most lightweight worm drive on the market (11.6 lbs)
- Rock solid SKILSAW reputation
- Super deep 2 ⅜” depth of cut
Things we didn’t like
- A little more expensive than the Makita (when compared to the Makita sale price, at least)
- Made in China (used to be made in the U.S.)
Most Popular Contractor-Grade Worm Saw: DeWALT Magnesium 7 ¼” DWS535
Last update on 2022-05-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
In terms of brute strength and the ability to take an absolute beating, the DeWALT DWS535 worm drive is easily the best pick out there. Like we mentioned in the intro, if you were to somehow conduct a survey, we’d bet our bottom dollar this would be the most popular saw on professional job sites around the country.
It weighs just about the same as the Makita (13.8 lbs), but delivers just a tad more power with a max RPM of 4,800. This saw is a bit more bulky and not quite as user-friendly as the SKILSAW, so if you’ve never operated a worm drive circ saw before, it’ll likely take some getting used to.
Once you do get a feel for it, though, you’ll find that this thing is an absolute beast that’ll blow your sidewinder clear out of the water.
Things we liked
- Most powerful of our top 3 picks
- DeWALT’s solid 3-year warranty
- Can rip wet lumber just as well as it can cut through concrete
Things we didn’t like
- A bit more expensive than the SKILSAW
- Heavier, bulkier, and generally more difficult to operate than the other saws until you get the hang of it
Things to Consider When Shopping for the Best Worm Drive Saw
If you’re wondering why standard circular saws are so much more popular than worm drives, there’s essentially three main reasons:
- They’re cheaper
- They’re lighter, more convenient, and easier to operate
- They work great cordlessly (worm drives generally generate too much torque and power to run off a battery)
Also, one of the things that folks like best about worm drives is they say they’re much easier to visually follow your cut with the blade being on the left hand side, as opposed to the right (for right-handed people at least).
They also give you more reach with the blade being several inches in front of the motor and handle (as opposed to the side of the motor), so they’re much preferred over standard circular saws for cutting sheet goods.
And of course, the extra power they offer over sidewinders is the main reason that people choose to add them to their tool collection. they can do things that a standard circ saw simply can’t do, and are generally a lot more convenient than busting out the table saw.
Lastly, one final thing to keep in mind that we’ve already talked a bit about, is if you’ve never operated a worm drive before and if you’ve become accustomed to your standard sidewinder, make no mistake you’ll be in for a surprise the first time you use it.- they pack a serious torque-infused punch and can have some legitimate kickback.
That being said, then, one of the main things you want to consider when choosing the right one is usability. All three of the saws we selected deliver a similar amount of power and torque, and all three were selected at least in part due to their relative ‘user-friendliness’.
Just like with anything, you’ll get a feel for the saw and get the hang of it with practice, but it certainly helps when you’ve got a well thought-out, properly engineered tool under your hands.
Conclusion / Bottom Line
So all in all, our #1 recommendation for the best worm drive saw is, like we already mentioned, the Makita 7 ¼” Magnesium.
This saw isn’t quite as light as the SKILSAW, but its engineering, quietness. and not to mention its power. set it over the top as the best performing, best all-around worm drive in our book.
Best Worm Drive Saws – Buyers Guide
Surely, as a woodworker, I’m certain that we can agree that the easiest way to take on a woodworking project is by using a circular saw …a worm drive circular saw, to be exact. In comparison to other types of circular saws currently on the market, it is obvious that the worm drive saw is more substantial, more powerful, and yes, more expensive.
Regardless of who you may be, whether you’re trying to finish off a serious project at home or you’re using the circular saw for commercial work, the worm drive circular saw is one of the best power tools you can have. With the worm drive by your side, you will be able to get past any woodworking obstacle that gets in your way.
Of course, finding the best worm drive saws will require specific knowledge. You can’t just go out to the nearest store and buy a worm drive saw without doing any research because while worm drive saws are great, not all of them are created equal. It is important that you take time to do your research or you could end up regretting your purchase. If you buy a good worm drive saw, you’re not going to regret it because it is an investment that will pay itself off.
That right there is the main reason why I decided to write about the best worm drive saws on the market – because I understand that finding the best worm drive saws is hard to do in a world full of saws.
|SKILSAW SPT77WML-01 15-Amp 7-1/4-Inch Lightweight Worm Drive Circular Saw||Buy Now|
|Bosch 7-1/4-Inch Worm Drive Circular Saw CSW41||X||Buy Now|
|Milwaukee 6391-21 15 Amp 7-1/4-Inch Circular Saw with Blade on Left||X||Buy Now|
|Makita 5477NB 7-1/4″ Hypoid Saw||Buy Now|
Product and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on [relevant Amazon Site(s), as applicable] at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.
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The Best Worm Drive Saw on the Market
While I have labeled the Skilsaw SPT77WML the best worm drive saw for professionals, that doesn’t mean it’s not suitable for hobbyists as well. The professionals draw to this saw due to the smoothness, accuracy, and stability, while the DIYers enjoy the simplistic design and how easy it is to use. On top of all of that, the price is acceptable, making it one of the best budget-friendly professional saws.
The power nesting behind this saw is what makes it worth your investment. This saw is capable of delivering a good amount of rpm with its 15-amp motor and you don’t have to worry about it getting sluggish, even if you’re trying to cut through dense pieces of wood.
Dual Copper Windings
What’s interesting about the Skilsaw SPT77WML would be the motor. It has new technology referred to as dual copper windings. What this does is it decreases the temperature of the motor, helping it stay cool while in use. When it comes to taking on big projects for a prolonged period of time and you plan on having this saw run for hours on end, then this feature is going to come in handy for you.
Safety should always be something you look into and with this saw, the safety is decent. Looking at the blade guards, I see that they’re well-designed and they feel sturdy enough to be able to withstand kickbacks. I have seen people eliminate blade guards on saws because it allows them to get the job done faster. However, I personally do not believe you should do this, because you would be interfering with the safety of the saw and it can lead to fatalities. I understand that you may want to get your work done faster, but in the end, it is better to be safe than sorry.
The Design of the Saw
The design of this saw is fairly standard as there aren’t any type of components that will give you the wow factor, but that’s okay because it’s still built like a beast. The materials that are used in production, however, are amazing. The main component used is magnesium. Now, if you’re not familiar with magnesium, it’s known for its lightweight and sturdiness. In other words, this machine is pretty resistant and reliable. With that said, you won’t have to worry about this saw leaving you stranded slap dab in the middle of a project.
Since the handgrip is rubberized and partially cushioned, it is fairly comfortable to use. The rubber coating on the handle helps eliminate a large amount of the vibrations, but you should still wear a nice pair of work gloves with it.
With the cut-ready system, you will be able to fine-tune the machine, without experiencing any form of downtime. This will also help you be able to make accurate depth measurements as well as quick adjustments. Thanks to the anti-snag guard, operating this machine is smooth.
- 15-Amp Motor
- Decent Safety
- Solid Construction
- Light in Weight
- The dual copper winding feature makes it so that the motor doesn’t overheat
The SPT77WML is worth your money and is suitable for both DIY enthusiasts and professionals alike. Due to the price-to-quality ratio being so good, this worm saw is one of the best in this category, even more so if you’re working with a strict budget. If you’re out to find precision, then this power tool is suitable for you. Versatility may not be its strongest suite, but it’s able to work through a variety of projects without having any issues.
The Best Worm Drive Saw for DIYers
Bosch is the type of company you’d go to when you’re looking for control, stability, comfort, and ease of use. This is a popular brand that has been selling power tools as well as car accessories for as long as I can remember. If you’re reading this right now, then you’re probably trying to find the best worm drive saw, and with that in mind, if you’re a DIYer, I’d recommend the Bosch CSW41 due to the fact that it’s a long-lasting saw, and it has a large number of features that will come in handy during your woodworking projects.
Time and time again, I’ve witnessed friends and family members go out and buy the most expensive power tool they can find – they’re under the impression that you “get what you pay for,” and in all actuality, just because a power tool has an expensive price tag on it, this doesn’t mean it’s going to be the best. In other words, what I’m saying is that just because it is expensive, this doesn’t determine if it’s worth it.
Is the Bosch CSW41 worth the price? Would it be a suitable power tool for you? Continue reading to find out …
If you have owned a Bosch power tool of any type, then the design may seem familiar to you. You can count on the materials that are used in production – they are sturdy and reliable. The magnesium components make it so that you can put even more trust into this power tool – it’s much better than those made of steel or aluminum. There’s an on-board wrench that is multifunctional – it will come in handy when changing blades. The wrench is universal and is capable of fitting all the screws on this saw, so you can use it for both changing the blade out and adjusting the blade.
Safety first! In this case, the safety is okay. Since the hand grip is coated with a fine layer of rubber, there isn’t a whole lot of vibrations, but this doesn’t mean there are no vibrations. I recommend wearing a nice pair of work gloves while using this saw in order to reduce the chances of that annoying numbness feeling and fatigue.
Is this Bosch saw powerful enough? Well, it has a 15 amp motor, so I’d say it’s powerful enough for those DIY projects you have around the house. When you are using this saw, you’ll see just how smooth and powerful the motor really is. The Bosch CSW41 worm drive saw is capable of cutting through practically any type of wood you may be working with without giving you any issues.
The Bosch CSW41 weighs 13.2 pounds, which isn’t all that bad. It’s just the right amount of weight, so you won’t feel exhausted after using it for a couple of minutes. Mind you, I have seen saws that are 25 pounds, so this is like a breath of fresh air.
I personally like the small handle on this worm drive saw. On the main handle, it has a nice rubber grip, but the auxiliary handle is actually made of durable plastic. The blade lock is on the oil fill port, making it even easier to lock.
On the depth adjustment slide, you’ll notice that there are marketing on it – those are markings of common cuts. For example, let’s say that you need to cut a sheet of plywood that is ½ inches. You would set the depth adjustment to 1/2 inches and the saw will automatically adjust to the correct depth for you.
You can always change out the blade, but you probably won’t mind the saw it comes with. This particular saw comes with a thin kerf carbide blade that has 24 teeth.
On the saw, in the table, there’s a blade wrench. The blade wrench can be used to remove the diamond knockout on the blades, adjust the miter nut as well as the depth nut, and open the cap to the motor brushes. This blade wrench comes in handy, and the fact that it’s not lost somewhere in the bottom of a toolbox, it’s even better.
When cutting roof rafters and angles, I’ve had certain saws get hung up. However, this is not the case with the Bosch.
The base plate is made from magnesium, which is definitely a good thing. With magnesium, you don’t have to worry about the saw getting warped like those steel ones do.
Now, let me talk about the user manual for a second. Mind you, it’s a good user manual, I’m not saying anything like that. However, there are some inconsistencies in the manual.
If you choose the CSW41 I just told you about, and you’re a DIYer, then you won’t regret it. As long as you maintain the saw and keep it in good condition, it shouldn’t have any problems for many years to come. Just make sure you keep the blade tightened, because a blade that is not tight is one of the main reasons behind accidents. I believe the best thing about this saw would be the accessibility. Many people buy it because of the affordable price tag. Point blank, if you’re looking for a reliable and smooth saw, check this model out, because it might just be suitable for you.
Well Known Worm Drive Saw
Those that are familiar with circular saws have probably heard about the Milwaukee 6391-21 once or twice. This is a high-quality and dependable saw, which is why so many people draw to it like a moth to a lantern. I could always just recommend this saw because I know it’s good, but just because others like it, doesn’t mean you’re going to like it. To be fair, I believe you should first take a look at the saw and see what all it has to offer, then you can decide whether or not it’ll be a suitable choice for you.
Light in Weight
Starting out, if you’re trying to find a saw that isn’t going to tire you out while you’re out in your woodshop, then the Milwaukee 6391-21 can be at the top of your list. Overall, this saw weighs 10.4 pounds, but don’t let that weight fool you, because you’re still going to get a whole lot of power out of this saw.
Power, Comfort and Control
Power, check – comfort, check – control, check. The Milwaukee 6391 worm drive saw has it all. The 15 amp motor is capable of delivering a total of 5800 RPM, making it easy for you to cut through the toughest pieces of lumbar, and that even includes wood that is wet.
Blade on the Left Side
Putting in work with the new DeWalt worm-drive circular saw. This thing is a BEAST! #scavetta_renos
This saw has a blade that is mounted on the left side, making it so that you can use your right hand with the main handle. This type of design makes it so that there is more visibility while you’re cutting and can see the cut line as well as the other side.
If you’re looking for consistent performance and power all day, then you’re not going to do good with battery power. The 9 foot power cord is great for woodworkers in shops.
As far as the bevel goes, it allows a 50-degree rotation, making the saw suitable for a variety of wood cutting projects.
There’s an exclusive feature that you are going to find in some Milwaukee saws and that would be the Tilt-Lok feature. With this feature, you will be able to adjust the handle to the position that is the most comfortable for you.
The saw comes with a 7-1/4 inches blade diameter. This type of blade combined with this saw makes it possible for you to cut through the thickest wood you have in your workshop.
The overall design of the saw is ergonomic. The handle especially makes this saw ergonomic, since it has a soft grip. It features a total of eight positions that you can adjust it to. Both the rear and front handles have a soft cushioned material on them, so when you’re holding it, it’ll feel comfortable, and is easy to grip.
- Exclusive Tilt Lok feature
- High torque
- Rear and front handles that provide a soft grip
- Comes with a storage case
- Double insulated constructions
You won’t have laser sight
Overall, the Milwaukee 6391-21 saw is easy to use and convenient. This is a well-made circular saw that can last for many years to come, as long as you take care of it. This is a powerful tool that would be great for woodworking projects and might just be the best solution for you.
Best Worm Drive Saw for Professional Use
If you plan on getting a new worm drive saw, then you may want to take a look at the Makita 5477NB. If you need a tool that can live up to the test of time, then this is a pretty convincing saw. What I really like about this saw would be the engine – it’s 14-amps, making it so that it will be able to cut through almost any type of lumber, even lumber that is wet.
This worm drive saw will definitely offer the stability you need in order to get through your work day. Stability combines with precision is great, so it’s great to use, whether you’re an expert of a beginning in the woodworking field.
This saw actually uses a gear system, which isn’t like the other circular saws on the market. The gear system here is definitely unique, to say the least. The gearing system is hypoid. This is a heat-treated gear system that offers better surface contact than the traditional worm drive gears.
Yes, these types of circular saws use oiled gears, but while the worm-drive doesn’t have permanent oil, this type does. The gears have been closed shut in an oil bath, which means you won’t need to change the oil on the gears, making the saw maintenance free.
This saw has a 2300 MWO motor. The 15 amp motor is located behind the blade and it can deliver up to 3400 RPM. For quick and easy brush changes, you will have external access to the carbon brushes.
It is capable of beveling to 51.5 degrees and it even has a nice auto-stop feature that can stop the bevel at 51.5 degrees and 45 degrees. You have a maximum cut of 2-3/8” depth at 90 degrees. For easy adjustments, there are larger levers.
If you’re familiar with other Makita tools, then you’ll be familiar with this design, because almost all Makita power tools has the similar looking design. However, you’re still going to get features that are unique and different. Thanks to the combination of plastic and rubber, this model right here has decent ergonomics. Ergonomic features are one of those things that people look for, especially in power saws. Both handgrips have been rubberized – the more rubber, the better because rubber helps decrease vibration while you’re using it. While using this saw, you will feel a reliable and solid grip.
As far as the build quality runs, it is pretty good. The unit has both plastic and metal components on it and the gears are heat-treated, which means they’re going to last for many years, which we’re sure is something you want to hear. The thing I like the most about the gears on this power tool would be the fact that they don’t require any type of maintenance.
When it comes to safety, there aren’t really any spectacular safety feature, but you can rest with the satisfaction that the manufacturer made this unit as safe as they possibly can, but you need to follow the rules when using it. Don’t go removing the blade guards on it (this is something I have seen people do) and don’t alter any of the safety feature.
Changing the Blade
When you’re changing the blade, you will have access to a blade wrench that is on the saw. There’s a push button spindle lock, making it fast and easy to change the blade. When you push the button, it will prevent the shaft from turning.
Reinforced Power Cord
In order to make sure the saw is capable of taking on daily jobsite abuse, the manufacturer has equipped this saw with a good reinforced power cord. The power cord measures 10 feet in length, which should be enough to be able to get the job done – if it’s not, you can always use a heavy-duty power cord. Also take note that the aluminum base plate isn’t going to rust.
To give you an idea of the weight of the saw, it weighs about 15 pounds. Mind you, 15 pounds may be a pain to life, but the cuts are easier to make.
The Makita 5477NB is a good power tool that is quite affordable and efficient. When it comes to investing money in tools that don’t have a heavy price tag nesting behind it, people have a tendency to be a little on the reluctant side, but you can rest assured that this isn’t some cheap copy that you would find in a budget store. If you’re looking for top of the line build quality, then this is a suitable saw for you.
Features You Should Look for in Worm Drive Saws
Like I said in the beginning, before you go out there and put your hard earned money into a saw, it is important that you familiarize yourself with the different saws and their working principles. As soon as you gain an understanding of how they work, you will be able to do your research and know exactly what’s being talked about. That is one of the reasons why I wrote this guide for you – to give you an idea of the terminology and to introduce you to some pretty good saws that I found.
Features to Consider
You need to go for a power saw that has been proven to be reliable and is able to last for many years to come. When checking for reliability, you want to take a look at the type of materials that were used to make the saw. The materials should be sturdy so that they won’t bend or wear. As you’re checking for the materials, have a look at the weight – the weight helps indicate the level of accuracy.
Most of the worm drive saws have a motor that is located in the read. These are usually the more powerful. Where the motor is positioned is going to help you determine the stability. Most models will feature a 15-amp motor that is capable of delivering at least 4000 RPM. This is a good enough amount of power for both DIYers and professionals.
Cutting Line Visibility
When you’re using the saw, you’re going to want to see the cutting line – how visible is the cutting line? Those saws that aren’t designed well will make it so that you miss the mark you’re trying to cut because it’s hard to see. This will make getting accurate results feel as if it’s almost impossible, and it will also make it more dangerous to use the saw. So, when you’re choosing the saw, look into the cutting line visibility.
The Housing of the Saw
What is the saw housed in? This will help you determine how well it is going to hold up after you use it for a long time and it will also be a good indicator of how heavy the saw is. The best type of housing would be the type that is made of magnesium due to the fact that it is light in weight and strong – magnesium is actually better than steel housing. Just make sure you stay away from the cheaper versions that use plastic as housing because this type of housing isn’t going to last long.
In terms of beveling, a wider range would be best because this will give you the opportunity to cut in a variety of ways.
Changing the Blades
When you first get the saw, the blade may be amazing, but the more you use it, the more the blade is going to become dull and eventually it’s going to need to be changed out with a new blade. How often you have to change out the blade is going to depend on how much you use the saw. If you’re just using it for DIY projects around the house every now and then, then needing to use a tool to change the blade shouldn’t be that big of a deal. On another note, if you will be using the saw almost every day for an extended amount of time, or if you’re cutting dense woods, you’ll need to change the blade out more often. Some of the saws have it so that there’s a lock that you can open up to get the blade out and quickly change it, making it so that you don’t need a tool.
Maximum Cutting Depth
This is going to depend on the types of projects you take on and how often you do those projects. If you’re just cutting a little bit of wood, then this isn’t going to matter. However, if you plan on working with it every day and you plan on taking on thicker pieces of wood, the maximum cutting depth is definitely something you’re going to want to pay attention to. When looking at saws, have a look at how deep the wood can be cut.S
If you’re not careful, you could end up sawing off a finger, or something else. It has been shown that more debilitating injuries occur from using these types of saws than any other power tool or woodworking machine. When it comes to a woodworker using handheld power tools, the circular saw takes the reward for being the most dangerous one. This is why I highly recommend you making sure safety is at the top of your list on the jobsite and in your woodshop.
The Safety Gear
Starting out, whenever you are using a power tool, you need to make sure you are wearing the appropriate safety gear. This includes hearing protection, safety glasses, and clothing that is appropriate.
At times, the blade guard on the saw can be aggravating and there may be times when you think about removing it or altering it …don’t. The blade guard is there for your safety and if you were to remove it, it is going to leave the blade exposed.
When you’re using a circular saw, the blade will need to be free of pitch and kept sharp. When you work with a blade that is dull, there are more chances of a kick back, but a sharp blade is going to cut through the wood faster and give a cleaner cut.
The type of saw you choose is fully up to you, but I just introduced you to the best worm drive saws currently on the market. If you choose a worm drive saw from this list, whether it’s the Skilsaw, the Makita, or any of the others, you can rest with the satisfaction of knowing you made the right choice. Just make sure you keep the features you need in mind when you’re out shopping for the best saw, and when you’re working with the saw, please make sure you follow the safety procedures.
Worm Drive Saw vs Circular Saw – Which One You Really Need?
The question of should we buy a worm drive saw or a circular saw is a little misleading as worm drive saws are a kind of circular saw. The real question is whether a worm drive saw, or a sidewinder saw is the right kind of circular saw to purchase. Let’s look at the differences between the two.
What is the difference between a sidewinder saw and a worm drive saw?
The difference comes down to the position of the blade and the motor in relation to each other. This determines the amount of torque the motor can deliver to the blade.
A worm drive saw will have greater torque, but the added drive mechanism also adds to the manufacturing cost of the tool, making it higher priced than a sidewinder saw.
This type of circular saw was developed by Skilsaw to meet the needs of workers in need of more cutting power.
A sidewinder – or direct drive – circular saw generally has less cutting power but operates at a higher RPM. The extra speed can make up for the power deficit when cutting lighter materials. Simpler design means better price too.
Initially, worm drive saws were all corded models but with the latest generations of batteries you will find some cordless models too. While they have consistently outperformed sidewinder saws for a long time the difference in power is shrinking and a quality sidewinder saw can now be on par with many worm-drive models.
They still have their differences in design though and choosing between the two types often come down to the environment the saw is used in and to personal preference in operating position.
Worm drive saw pros and cons
In worm drive saws, the blade sits in front of the motor and is driven by a threaded worm mechanism allowing for greater power delivery. Due to this construction, worm drive circular saws tend to be heavier with a narrower, longer profile although this is not always the case.
This comes handy while working in confined spaces and extends the users reach but also requires more strength to operate.
They are typically blade-left design, great for longer rip cuts but need more handling experience to maneuver precisely.
Worm drives will cut through tougher materials such as hard wood but have less speed and can cost significantly more than sidewinder models. Buy them when you are working with challenging or thicker materials and power is what you need.
Sidewinder saw pros and cons
A sidewinder circular saw has a much simpler operating mechanism as the blade is directly connected to the motor. This allows for higher RPM, less power consumption and higher working speed while cutting lighter materials. Most portable circular saws will be sidewinders.
Often featuring a blade-right design, they perform best for cross cuts and cutting plywood and softer woods.
SkilSaw Worm Drive: Tool Review
Since a direct drive saw has the blade sitting at the side of the motor, these tools tend to be wider, more compact pieces. Due to the shorter distance between the blade and the motor, they are easier to control and operate for extended cutting jobs. Sidewinder saws will be more budget friendly too while delivering more than enough performance to handle most projects.
How to choose?
Professionals and hobbyists working with challenging materials such as driftwood and other dry, hard woods will find a worm drive saw easier to work with.
They can also be a good choice for heavy-duty construction use. Remodelers, often working in confined spaces favor worm drive saws too. The tradeoff is the higher price point but if budget is not a concern, worm drive saws will be a good investment for other projects too.
A good sidewinder circular saw is more than capable of handling the vast majority of cutting jobs. If you are a beginner or a DIYer working with anything other than hard wood, a sidewinder saw is the way to go. They will often be the right choice even for professionals working with easier materials.
Some of our favorite worm drive and sidewinder saws right now:
Worm Drive Saw Vs. Circular Saw (What Saw Should You Choose?)
It’s easy to think that worm drive saws and direct-drive circular saws serve similar purposes. They’re both versatile, portable tools that aren’t hard to pick up and start working. But each saw has its own specialties and specific purposes.
There are a few ways to differentiate between worm drive saws and circular saws. Visually, they appear to be similar, but their power, size, maneuverability, price, and ergonomics all set them apart.
The engine is the most significant difference between worm drive and direct-drive circular saws. The worm drive engine puts out more torque but is heavier and located at the back of the saw. On the other hand, a direct-drive circular saw’s engine is more compact and built to produce high rotations per minute (RPMs) rather than torque.
Torque vs. RPMs
Worm drive engines are built to produce high torque, while direct-drive engines spin at higher RPMs. These distinct designs produce wide differences in what the saws can cut, how people like to use them, and the saw’s durability.
Torque is the amount of force the saw’s blades can apply to the material you’re cutting. In terms of woodworking, torque matters because it affects the kind of cut the blade makes and the materials it can cut.
First, high-torque saws will be able to cut tougher materials. Some beginning woodworkers think that their powerful saws will be able to cut whatever they want, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Instead, only high-torque motors are suitable for very dense wood, such as burls or lumber with many knots
Having a high torque also makes the saw’s cuts cleaner. Saws with little power make a mess when they cut through wood, especially the toughest types. But adding torque means that the blade can separate the wood more quickly and with greater force, which results in a cleaner cut and a smoother edge.
A fast engine also has its advantages. Many people find that they can cut more quickly with a high-RPM blade. A high RPM can also be the sign of a quality saw with a reliable, high-performing motor.
The differences between torque and speed could help you decide whether you want to use a worm drive saw or a circular saw. If you want a fast cut and don’t plan on cutting especially tough materials, a circular saw should be fine. But you might want to invest in a worm drive if your project needs to have extremely clean edges or is made of materials that are very difficult to cut.
Worm-drive and circular saws are both highly portable tools. It’s one of the most appealing things about them–taking these saws to a job site or just moving them across the shop is no trouble at all. That said, there are still significant differences between the two.
The worm drive saw’s extra torque comes at a price: weight. A worm drive engine weighs significantly more than a circular saw’s. That can make it more difficult to move the saw around and position it precisely where you want. Instead, you may have trouble getting the saw where you need it, depending on your own strength
Worms drive saws are also larger. The position of the worm drive motor behind the saw extends the handle and makes the overall saw more bulky.
Circular saws, being highly lightweight, portable, and small, do not have this issue. They can be put up on almost any surface, and their mobility allows you to carry them wherever your project takes you.
Portability is a significant benefit, particularly for woodworkers who operate mostly outside or do not have space for a permanent shop location. In this aspect, the circular saw is difficult to beat, although the worm drive saw is also one of the most portable power tools you’ll find in a woodshop.
Worm drive saws are usually much more expensive than circular saws. Their powerful motors are expensive to produce, although the difference isn’t as large as the one between circular saws and other, larger tools.
A typical circular saw costs between 50 and 100, whereas worm drive saws cost between 150 and 200. This is what serious enthusiasts and even many professionals spend for saws, although it does not necessarily cover the entire range of probable expenses.
A high-end worm drive saw can cost up to 350, whereas a circular saw will cost you no more than 200. Meanwhile, a low-cost circular saw may be purchased for as little as 20, but the cheapest worm drive saw still costs over 100.
In virtually every case, a worm drive saw will be more costly than a circular saw. This makes circular saws more readily available to amateurs and pros just starting out.
Maneuverability and Ergonomics
Both circular saws and worm drive saws are highly maneuverable. They’re prized because it’s easy to take them around a job site and get work done wherever it is. You can cut lumber on a sawhorse, leaning against a wall, or even plunge cut into a standing wall.
Of course, weight affects maneuverability similarly to portability. The heavier worm drive saw may be more difficult to maneuver around than its direct-drive counterpart. But weight can actually work to our advantage too. Many people find that the heavier worm drive saw is easier to maneuver in certain situations, when its weight can act as a stabilizer.
A worm drive saw’s weight can also help you cut quickly without additional effort if you’re cutting on a downhill slope. This type of maneuver can actually be more difficult with a standard circular saw, so the worm drive’s weight doesn’t always make it more difficult to work with.
The worm drive’s weight can also make it easier to drop in certain situations. Saws without built-in support are always at risk of dropping through wood it cuts through, but this risk can be greater with heavier tools.
Worm drive saws’ longer handles make them more maneuverable as well. While circular saws are typically as compact as possible, worm drive saws feature a handle that’s farther away from the blade. This can extend your reach as you cut, and give you options for greater maneuverability as you become more used to the saw’s ergonomics.
That’s not to say that the circular saw’s light weight is a disadvantage. It makes the saw much easier to move from place to place around the job site, and its compact frame means that it is more maneuverable in tight spaces.
The location of the saw’s blade also makes significant ergonomic differences for woodworkers. Most worm drives have the blade on the left side, which makes it easier for right-handed users to see the line where the blade is going to cut. Conversely, direct drive saws have their blades on the right side, which makes it easier for left-handed users to see the cut line.
Types of Cuts
Because you can move them around freely, circular saws and worm drive saws can make cuts of almost any kind, from almost any angle. This becomes especially easy when you buy attachments and accessories for your circular saw and worm drive saw.
A crosscut is a cut across the grain of a piece of wood. It’s considered one of the most basic types of cut, and it’s the first one that many amateur woodworkers learn to make.
Crosscuts with a circular saw are simple. They aren’t always the cleanest crosscuts, but they’re quick and easy, and circular saws can frequently handle crosscuts with at least 3″ of depth. While the crosscut is not the circular saw’s strong suit, it does an admirable job.
Worm saws’ longer handles can make it easier to do crosscuts on very wide pieces of wood like sheets. Otherwise, crosscuts with worm saws are very similar to those with circular saws. Some people prefer circular saws because there isn’t a noticeable performance between the two with doing this cut, but the preference is personal.
Worm Drive Saw vs. Circular Saw – What’s the Difference?
If you are looking for a circular saw, you may be wondering whether to buy a regular version or a worm drive model, but what’s the difference? What makes a worm drive saw different from a regular circular saw and which one is best for your needs?
If you have wondered about these or any similar question, we have all the answers you need. Here, we look at the question of worm drive saw vs circular saw to help you understand the difference and aid you in choosing the right version for you.
If you want a preview of some of the things we’re going to be talking about, check out this video first.
Before we jump into the main question, let’s clear up a small matter of terminology first.
Very often, people talk about circular saws as opposed to worm drive saws – but this is actually incorrect and misleading.
In fact, worm drive saws are a type of circular saw – so when considering this debate, what we really need to compare is worm drive saws and the other type of circular saw known as sidewinders.
For the rest of this discussion, then, the question we will be discussing is worm drive saws vs circular saws – so let’s have a look at that now.
What’s the difference between a worm drive saw and a sidewinder?
The main difference between these two types of saw lies in the positioning of the motor relative to the blade and how the motor transfers its power to make the blade spin.
Worm drive saws are the older type of saw and are so named because they incorporate a ‘worm drive’ to turn the blade.
What this means is that the motor is located at the back of the saw and the blade is at the front. The motor transfers its power to the blade via a threaded worm drive down the shaft which turns gears set at a 90° angle to each other, causing the blade to spin.
A sidewinder is different. In a sidewinder, the motor is located next to the blade – or by the side of it, hence the name – meaning the motor turns the blade directly with no need for gears.
There are some other differences too. Worm drive saws usually have the blade on the left side while sidewinders usually (but not always) have the circular saw blade on the right side.
Worm drive saws are generally also a lot heavier than sidewinder saws.
Now let’s have a look at the relative advantages and disadvantages of each type.
What are the advantages of a worm drive?
The main advantage of worm drive saws is that they provide more torque. This means they are a better choice for tougher cutting jobs like cutting knotty wood. They usually run in the range of around 4,500 RPM.
Since the blade is on the left, when used by a right-handed person, they also offer a clear view of the cutting line, allowing you to see exactly what you are doing.
Worm blade saws can be used easily with one hand by experienced operators, and they are also good for making plunge cuts.
Are there any disadvantages to worm drive saws?
On the downside, worm drive saws are usually heavier than their sidewinder counterparts, making them more difficult to manage. They also require you to add lubrication oil to ensure the saw continues to run smoothly.
What are the advantages of a sidewinder?
Sidewinders don’t rely on gears to turn the blade, meaning they are more efficient and have faster-spinning blades that can reach up to around 6,000 RPM as a result.
Since there are no gears, they are also lighter and more compact, making them easier to handle. Because they are lighter, they are also more suitable if you need to work overhead rather than on a table or other flat surface.
Additionally, they usually sell for less, often around half the price of a worm drive saw of similar quality.
Are there any disadvantages to sidewinders?
Sidewinders generally provide less torque than worm drive models, meaning they perform less well on tougher cutting jobs.
The blade is generally located on the right, which means a right-handed user would need to lean over the saw to have a good view of the cutting line – however, some people would argue they are marginally safer than worm drive saws because neither hand needs to cross the blade.
Having said that, sidewinders also exist that have a blade on the left – but the debate over left-bladed vs right-bladed saws is one for another time.
Worm Drive Saw vs Circular Saw – Which one is best?
The fact is, it’s impossible to say whether a worm drive saw or a sidewinder is best – they are both useful, versatile tools and both have their uses.
For example, if you need a saw for tougher jobs, the higher torque of a worm drive saw might give it the edge whereas for working overhead, a sidewinder is probably preferable due to the lower weight.
Some of it comes down to personal preference – some people would rather opt for a blade-left worm drive over a blade-right sidewinder, but this is just a matter of personal preference and what you’re used to working with.
Geography can even play a role – in certain areas of the West and Midwest, worm drive saws are more prevalent whereas, in the East, people generally prefer to use sidewinders. This is simply a question of what the people in those areas traditionally use.
Unless you have a specific requirement that would make a worm drive or a sidewinder more suitable (like cutting knotty wood, as mentioned before), the best answer is to try both out and choose the one you feel most comfortable with.
Both invaluable items in the woodcutting toolkit
Both worm drive saws and sidewinders are invaluable tools that will allow you to cut through wood, metal and more with ease and precision. If you were wondering which one to choose, with this guide, you should now have a better idea of which is the best option for you.
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