Circular Saw–7 Tips on Cutting Metal With A Circular Saw. Circular saw cutting depth

Tips and tricks for proper handling of cordless circular saws

When you’re building a new wooden deck, carport or other DIY project out of wood and you want to make clean, straight cuts through panels, beams or other pieces of wood, a portable circular saw is the tool for the job!

Of course, there are a few things you need to look out for when using your circular saw in order to work safely and ensure clean cuts without tear-out. In this post we offer some tips and tricks which you might find useful.

Circular saws and plunge cut saws – What’s the difference?

Circular saws and plunge saws are similar in appearance, but they are used in different ways and have different operating principles. Circular saws typically use a retracting guard design, where the saw blade is fixed in position and the protective guard retracts, or swings upwards, when the saw is held against the workpiece. With a plunge cut saw, the protective guard doesn’t move; instead the blade is “plunged” into the workpiece, covered by the housing.

Because of their different ways of working, the two types of hand-held circular saw are used in different ways. With a traditional circular saw, you align the saw at the edge of the piece of wood, switch it on, and then push it through the workpiece. A cut with a plunge saw, on the other hand, does not need to start at the edge, so it can be used to make cutouts in a slab, such as for a kitchen worktop. You simply position the plunge saw on the slab and switch it on, then plunge the blade into the workpiece where you want to start the cutout.

What is the correct way to use a handheld circular saw?

In order to achieve clean, precise and tear-free cuts in the wood, there are a couple of things you should pay attention to when working with a circular saw.

  • Blade and cutting depth: Before you start the job, you should find a suitable blade for the material and set your circular saw to the desired cutting depth. You will obtain the best cuts if you use the scale on the tool to set a cutting depth corresponding to the thickness of the material plus an extra 5 mm.
  • Position the tool correctly: Generally speaking, you should set the tool against the workpiece when it is switched off, and only start to push it through the material when the blade is fully up to speed. You then push your circular saw carefully through the material without applying too much pressure. This will help ensure you achieve a clean cut.
  • Long, straight cuts: A rip fence is very helpful when making straight cuts, sawing several strips of wood or cutting a piece to length. For precise cuts, however, you should always position it against a straight edge that you then guide the circular saw along. If you keep the rip fence setting, you can quickly cut several strips of wood of the same width.
  • Mitre cuts: For the perfect mitre cut, you first have to set the correct cutting angle on your circular saw. For Einhell saws, you can do this very easily in just a few steps without needing any additional tools. You can read off the exact cutting angle from the integrated scale.

Using a guide rail for clean cuts

One accessory that comes in handy for long, straight cuts is the guide rail. The best way to find out exactly how to mount and fix the guide rail is to refer to the instruction manual that came with the accessory. In any case, it is important to securely fasten the guide rail to the workpiece using screw clamps, and ensure it is as straight as the cut should be. Obviously, the workpiece should also be clamped in place.

Depending on the design of the circular saw, the cutting depth will also need to be adjusted, as the thickness of the rails should also be added to the thickness of the material, to ensure that the saw cuts all the way through the material. The hand-held circular saw is guided along the workpiece by the rails, while the rubber lips that surround the blade minimise tear-out and avoid fraying of the cut edge.

Proper care and protection of your portable circular saw

As this is one power tool you probably want to enjoy for as long as possible, you should protect you circular saw from damage. If you are using a circular saw with a cable, you should always run the cable to the nearest socket, making sure that you keep it as far away as possible from the saw’s blade, to ensure you don’t accidentally cut through the cable.

You should not carry on using a blade if it has become blunt or broken, or is missing teeth – you can only obtain precise cuts when you use a sharp blade! You should check the instruction manual beforehand to find out how to change the saw blade of your circular saw. In any case, you should disconnect the power from the circular saw, i.e. by removing the plug from the socket if it is current-bound, or by removing the battery for cordless models. You should also wear gloves when changing the saw blade to avoid injuring yourself.

Clean cuts can only be obtained when the circular saw’s blade is sharp. Dull blades should be replaced immediately.

Tips for safe handling of portable circular saws

You should always be careful when working with portable circular saws to avoid injury. One hazard that poses a high risk of injury is loose clothing that can become caught in the blade. Therefore, it is recommended to wear close-fitting clothing when working with cutting tools. To protect the eyes and airways from splinters and sawdust, you should also use protective eyewear and a dust mask if neccessary. Alternatively, you can attach a suitable vacuum cleaner or wet/dry shop vaccum to the circular saw’s extraction adapter, which will also help you see the workpiece more clearly and ensure a clean work area. Obviously, a circular saw produces a lot of noise. Ear defenders will protect your ears from exposure to excessive noise levels.

To protect yourself and your equipment, you should never make your own modifications to the tool, for example by removing the blade cover or retractable guard. Under certain circumstances, this can affect the operation of your circular saw or lead to injuries during use.

Circular Saw–7 Tips on Cutting Metal With A Circular Saw

Since the advent of saws, the circular saw has stood out as the first choice when cutting metals. Users have attributed this to many reasons, such as portability, ease of handling, and high efficiency. Advancements in technology introduced many other modifications to the design and use of circular saws. For these reasons, we consider it necessary to enlighten you on metal-cutting circular saws. We believe by doing this; then you can get the best out of your circular saw from start to finish.

Table of Contents

Fig 1: A new circular saw showing a metal blade.

Choose the right saw blade.

Metals have various properties, but those prominent for daily needs are mild steel, stainless steel, iron, and aluminum. Therefore, not just any saw blade can be used for cutting these types of metals.

Furthermore, these blades will also vary based on the thickness of the metal, strength, tooth design, the direction of cut, etc.

Blades vary for ferrous and non-ferrous metal cutting. Different grades of metal saw blades cater to a wide range of metals in the market.

HSS metal saw and Carbide-tipped metal blades are today’s two major categories of metal saw blades. Metals such as aluminum are known to be fragile, so cutting them requires special metal saw blades.

Metal saw blades with fewer/ lower teeth cut thicker metals, while thinner metals require blades with more teeth. This means that the saw blades appropriate for cutting iron rods would slightly differ from that of the iron sheet.

It will, in turn, be completely different from that used to cut aluminum sheets or stainless steel. Depending on the thickness of the ferrous or non-ferrous metal as well. Use a metal blade of about 60-100 teeth for non-ferrous metals.

Ferrous metals would require a 30-80 teeth metal blade.

For example, you should consider using ten teeth per inch saw blade for sheet metals less than 1/6 inch thick. For materials up to 1/8-inch thickness, a 12-tooth-per-inch saw blade is perfect.

As the thickness of the metal increase, so should the tooth per inch of the metal saw blade reduce. Even though the carbide-tipped saw blades are more expensive, they make up for it with their exceptional durability.

Carbide-tipped saw blade have up to 10 times stronger than regular steel saw blades. Aside from this, they also give you a smooth and accurate cut.

In simple terms, choosing the right blade is as good as getting the job done already! The right blades should be powerful enough to cut through seamlessly and not get stuck in the workpiece.

Fig.2: Carbide-tipped metal saw blade.

Lubricate the saw blade for protection

Knowing fully well that any metal-cutting process generates substantial heat due to friction. This mThis prompts the necessity for a lubricant to reduce heat at the cutting interface.

It is common for metal-cutting circular saw blades to experience overheating if not properly lubricated. Lubrication does a lot of good to ease your cutting task by ensuring the following:

a.Reducing the risk of injury due to blade-grabbing workpieces.

b.Prolong the tips of the carbide-tipped saw blades by helping to dissipate heat.

c.Minimize possible friction between the saw blade and workpiece.

d.It also helps to wash debris off the surface of the workpiece.

You can lubricate using a special metal cutting lubricant, which does not, in any way, attack or harms the metal workpiece. Instead, it makes it luster and gives off a smooth and clean cut.

Finally, with a saw blade wax stick, you can intermittently apply the lubricant along the line of the cut.

Fig.3: Lubrication of metal blade while cutting.

Use appropriate blade depth.

The general rule is never to allow your blade to go ¼-inch (6mm) beyond the workpiece thickness. Regardless of your workpiece thickness, the blade must be pre-set ¼-inch plus its thickness.

The design of circular saws with the ability to adjust their blade depth has made them stand out among others.

Remember that you must have initially set the recommended depth before putting on your circular saw. Failure to set the depth to standard can lead to binding, kickbacks, and safety issues.

Generally, blades should barely stick beyond the workpiece thickness and cut more efficiently when properly set this way.

Be Mindful of the saw and blade’s speed.

The whole point of being mindful of speed is that you would want to use a blade within the limit of your circular saw. This act helps ensure that your circular saw and metal blade are always kept healthy.

Usually, 5000 revolutions per minute (rpm) at no load is the average speed at which metal can be cut using a circular saw.

Non-Ferrous metals such as aluminum, brass, and copper, the ideal speed is about 3000 to 6000 rpm. Ferrous metals such as pipes cast iron U-channels are cut at speeds of about 1800 to 3500 rpm.

Once you disregard this rule, your blades get overheated, your power circular saw runs idle, or you get badly injured. Often, manufacturers indicate the safe and maximum rpm of blades on their packaging.

Hence, for any combination of blade and saw, the blade’s rpm should remain greater, and the circular saw remains lower. With this, you are sure you cannot exceed the limit and keep working safely on your project.

Another perspective to choosing the right speed is that stability is sure when handling the circular saw at this speed.

Never force the blade through the workpiece; neither should you run too fast through your workpiece. Remember, slow and steady wins the race.

Fig. 4: Close-up image of the metal blade running at high speed.

Safely Install the blade on the power saw.

Just like table saws, the metal blades rest upon an arbor. However, due to the nature of the circular saw, one must pay attention to details, as mistakes could cost a fortune.

Unlike the table saw, circular saws could cause more damage if handled carelessly.

Ultimately, ensure all the nuts, bolts, and attachments align in the right place. Your ability to correctly assemble the blade remains pivotal to the success of your job.

You can check out your circular saw’s manual for more information.

Secure and Position the workpiece appropriately.

In using the circular saw, there is a need to properly position the workpiece and yourself. Positioning yourself is important as this puts you at absolute ease when working, and you can deliver a good cut. Asides from yourself, the placement of your workpiece is pertinent to the success of your cutting.

There is a dire need to properly secure the workpiece with clamps, vices, or fences as appropriate. Do not ever make the mistake of not doing this before any cutting operation.

Also, you would do yourself a lot of good by keeping to all procedures guiding pre-cutting operations and preparations.

You can keep both hands on the circular saw when cutting by obeying this rule.

Observe all safety tips

At all times and situations, safety remains key. Therefore, keeping all safety tips in mind when working is integral. Below are two major tips to ensure you work safely:

a.Watch out for metal chips

Never underestimate the havoc metal chips cause. They are sharp and can cut one’s skin, but they are also pretty hot when cutting is ongoing. In recent times, circular saws have chips collector attached to them.

Only purchase a circular saw that has this essential accessory. Warn bystanders around your work environment to tread carefully.

b.Wear all proper safety gears

For this reason, highlighted above, you need to cover your body properly with gloves and long sleeves. Wear safety glasses or face shields as well as hearing protection.

In your best interest, you must always carry out routine maintenance on your circular saw to keep it in shape. With this, you can avoid disappointment and always stay ready to work.

However, some advise that wearing a glove could do more harm than good. These people believe gloves could get stuck on the teeth during the operation and draw you in.

Fig. 5: Picture showing a man in safety gear while cutting metal.


It’s just not about having a circular saw for metal cutting; it is about using it effectively. We are confident that you have gained a lot. Endeavor always uses the specific circular saw and blade for the right task. In any case, if you find yourself still facing difficulties, do well to watch this video.

NCCuttintools remains positioned to provide you with guidance about appropriate cutting tools to suit your need at.friendly prices.

How to use a Circular Saw

A complete beginner’s guide on how to use a circular saw to make straight cuts safely and accurately and build successful projects.

A circular saw is one of the most common beginner power saws. It is a versatile and useful tool that can help you make accurate cuts and easily replace a table saw in many cases as long as you know exactly how to use it.

It was the second saw I bought after my miter saw, and it has become an essential part of my workshop.

Here, we are diving deep into how to use a circular saw for the best results.

What is a circular saw?

A circular saw is a power saw that cuts material using a round blade. The sharp blade spins around an arbor axis, and you push the saw through the material you want to cut. You can cut various materials using it and make straight cuts, bevel cuts, crosscuts, and rip cuts.

Circular saws are available as corded or cordless. They are handheld and portable, making them great to use in any area of your workshop without needing a special workspace specifically dedicated to their use.

Circular saws come in various sizes, and the size is determined by the blade size, with 7 ¼″ being the most common size. A 7 ¼-inch circular saw can cut a maximum depth of about 2 ½ inches.

If you wonder if a miter saw or circular saw is right for you, I have a full comparison of a miter saw vs. a circular saw for you.

⚙️ Uses

A circular saw is used to make straight, accurate cuts in plywood and crosscuts in lumber. It can also make beveled cuts. It is especially a great tool to help cut down large sheets of plywood.

What types of material can you cut with a Circular Saw?

A circular saw is not just great for cutting lumber or plywood. With the right blade, it can cut almost any material. Plastic, fiberglass, concrete, asphalt, brick, stone, metal, and tile are a few examples.

Types of cuts you can make with a circular saw –

  • Crosscut – Cuts across the grain of wood.
  • Rip cut – Cuts along the grain of the wood.
  • Miter cut – An angle cut on the face of the board.
  • Bevel cuts – Cuts that are made with the saw blade angled.
  • Compound miter cuts – Cuts that are miter and bevel combined
  • Plunge cuts – Cuts in the middle of a piece of a material where the saw blade plunges into an interior part of the material.

Types of circular saws

Circular saws are available as a left blade or right blade. There are three basic types of circular saws.

Compact circular saws – These have blades smaller than 5″ diameter, and the handle extends behind the saw. They are more expensive than regular circular saws but are extremely portable and can be used to make quick cuts, tight spaces, and small demolitions. With the right blade, they are powerful enough to cut through various materials.

Sidewinder – The motor for these circular saws is mounted on one side, making it more compact. These tend to be lightweight. These are probably the more commonly available saws.

Worm drive saws – The difference between the worm drive circular saw and the sidewinder saw is how the motor and gears are arranged. The motor is to the back of the saw and uses lower speeds, but the gears can transfer a higher torque.

Track saws – A track saw is basically a circular saw that runs on a dedicated track and helps make straight and accurate cuts. These are typically more expensive than circular saws but worth it if you often cut down large sheet goods.


It is important to get to know your circular saw before using it. Here are the various parts of the saw. They may look slightly different or maybe at slightly different locations depending on the brand of your saw, but their function remains the same.

  • On/Off Trigger The on/off switch turns the power to the saw on and the trigger makes it run. Once you let off the trigger the saw blade slows and stops. Be sure to turn off the switch when not in use.
  • Handle and HandholdThe handle and handhold together are used to guide the circular saw while in use. The handle is used by the dominant hand to push the saw while the other hand holds the handhold guiding the saw through the cut.
  • Cord/BatteryThe cord on a corded saw or battery on a cordless saw is located at the back of the circular saw and provides the power to the saw.
  • Bevel AdjustmentThe bevel adjustment allows you to set the angle you will be cutting. It is usually located at the front of the circular saw and off to one side and varies from 0-degrees to 45-degrees.
  • Depth AdjustmentThe depth adjustment allows you to set the depth of cut for the saw. This depends on the size of the saw you are using.
  • BladeA circular saw blade is a round metal blade with teeth. You can get sharp blades with different numbers of teeth depending on the material you are cutting. In general, as the number of teeth goes up, the cleaner the cut. I usually use a 40-tooth blade for most of my cuts.
  • Blade CoverThe blade cover encloses the blade and protects you from injury. It is made up of two parts – the top permanent cover and the bottom retractable blade cover. The top blade cover is not just great for safety, it also keeps debris from flying back at you as you cut. The bottom retractable cover is also extremely important for safety. It is spring-loaded and moves out of the way as you make your cut. Once the cut is complete and you remove the saw from the material, the cover goes back in place and covers the blade as it comes to a complete stop.
  • Gaurd LeverThe guard lever controls the retractable blade cover. You can use it to help see the markings on your materials as well as get the saw started with cutting.
  • Base Plate or ShoeThe plate, or shoe, allows you to rest the saw on your material to keep it level and steady. The plate surrounds the blade on both sides. It also has markings and notches helping you guide the saw as you cut.


You should follow safety tips and guidelines when operating a circular saw to prevent serious injury, as with any power tool.

  • Wear safety glasses, hearing protection, and a respirator/ dust mask.
  • Make sure there are no loose clothing or jewelry hanging and long hair tied up.
  • Unplug your circular saw when not in use.
  • Make sure you are using a sharp blade and that it is attached securely.
  • Check material for any imperfections that may be obstructive to cutting. For example, you don’t want any screws or nails in the wood board.
  • Keep the power cord out of the way of the blade and behind you as you cut.
  • Use a straight edge guide. This will help you not just get a straight cut line, but will keep the blade from binding and will prevent kickback.
  • Hold the circular saw correctly using the handle and the handhold. This helps not just get better cut results but makes sure your hands are away from the blade.


Below is the full video all about the circular saw – so you can watch how it is used.


You will need to do a few things to set up your circular saw before using it. Proper setup will ensure you don’t waste any material.

Be sure to keep the saw unplugged or remove the battery while getting it set up.

  • Measure and mark a line for the cut on your material. You will need the line marked to follow unless you use an exterior guide to rest the saw against as you make your cuts – something I recommend 100%.
  • Determine the best blade to use and attach it to the saw by securing it with the bolt clamp. The blade choice depends on the material you are cutting and what type of cut finish you are looking for.
  • Measure the thickness of the material and set the blade depth to ⅛ inch below the depth of the material.
  • Set or check the angle of the blade for your cut using the bevel adjustment.
  • Make sure that the material is supported as close to the cut line as possible. This is very important for a good quality cut and to prevent kickback. You can use a sheet of foam insulation. I use 4×4 boards. You could also use 2x4s stacked up.
  • Set up a straight edge guide for the saw. about that below.
  • Plug in the saw or pop in the battery and you’re ready to make your cuts.

And yes, you can use it on the floor. See how you can use a circular saw without a table.

⚙️ How to use

A circular saw is fairly easy to operate, but always be sure to read the manual to get to know your saw well.

Make practice cuts on a scrap piece of wood while you learn before attempting a project.

  • Place the plate of the circular saw on the edge of your material near the cut line and align the 0 notch with the cut line. The space in the notch is for the kerf of the blade. Be sure to account for it in your cut. Learn more about kerf here.
  • Press the trigger to bring the blade up to full speed before beginning your cut.
  • Keeping the plate firmly on the surface of your material, ease the circular saw forward towards your cut line keeping the trigger engaged.
  • The retractable blade gaurd should lift automatically, if it doesn’t and gets stuck (which can happen with thin material), lift it slightly using the guard lever to start the cut. You can let go of the lever as soon as the cut is underway.
  • Without pushing with too much force, guide the circular saw along the cut line. Let the saw do the work to keep from burning up the motor.
  • Once the cut is complete, let go of the trigger. The circular saw will slowly come to a stop. The retractable cover will close automatically making it possible put the saw down while it stops.

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Cutting straight lines

You can try your best to cut a straight line using just your circular saw, but most of the time, the saw will stray from the drawn line. It is just part of being human. Trying to correct it will inevitably bind up the saw, and not only will you waste material, but it can also be dangerous due to kickback.

To prevent this from happening and to get a straight cut, you should use a guide that the side of the circular saw plate rests against.

  • A straight edge – Any known straight edge like a level, a yard stick or the factory edge of plywood works. You can simple clamp it to guide the baseplate against it.
  • A speed square – it is great for shorter cuts like cutting dimensional lumber. Basically, you can only cut material that have a width equal to or smaller than the speed square.
  • Homemade jigs – These are fairly easy to make and can be made using scrap plywood boards. Here is an example.
  • Circular saw cutting jigs – You can purchase saw guides made specifically for cutting with a circular saw. Some of my favorites are a Rip-Cut, the straight edge guide, and the portable cross-cut station.

⚙️ Cutting plywood

Using a circular saw is the easiest way to cut down the large sheet goods to the size you need or make them more manageable to use on a table saw.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when cutting plywood with a circular saw.

  • Make sure you have a sharp blade with lots of teeth. The more teeth your blade has the smoother the cut will be.
  • Always cut your plywood with the good side down. A circular saw makes it’s cut on the upward rotation of the blade meaning it cuts from the bottom up. As it exits the top, the most tear out happens. By cutting with the finished side down you keep the top of the board free from tear outs and jagged edges.
  • Be sure to use a guide to keep your cuts straight
  • Set the depth of your blade so that the lowest tooth on the blade is no more than an ⅛ an inch below your plywood board.
  • Support both sides of the cut as close to the cut line as possible to make sure the blade doesn’t bind or use a sheet of foam insulation to suport the entire sheet.

⚙️Cutting dimensional boards

Cutting dimensional boards is pretty straightforward with the help of a speed square long enough to cover the width of the board.

  • Clamp the board to the worksurface with the part you want to cut off hanging out. If you are cutting off a small piece – upto 6″-8″, you can support the other side of the cut with your hand. But if you are cutting in the middle of a long board, you want to support both sides of the cut line just like you would with a sheet of plywood.
  • Set up the speed square with the T-edge against the long edge giving you a perpendicular guide to cut along.
  • Make the cut!

Corded vs. Cordless

One of the most common questions I get is – are cordless circular saws worth it? Using a cordless circular saw has its advantages and disadvantages. Whether it’s worth it to have is really a personal choice.

Both corded and cordless circular saws are portable and can be used anywhere.

Having a cord means being plugged into an unlimited power supply, but cords can also be limiting and can get in the way.

Cordless saws depend on the amount of charge a battery holds, and as the battery starts to run low, the saws can lose power. Of course, cordless saws are easy to store by simply removing the battery without winding back the cord.

Circular saws are fairly straightforward to use once you understand how to set them up and use them safely. They make cutting down your boards quick and easy.

Now that you know all about the circular saw, you can build lots of projects.

❓Why does it kickback?

The main reason for the circular saw to kickback is the blade binding. This happens for two reasons.

  • Not cutting in a straight line. If you are freehanding the cut or your guide isn’t well clamped, you can deviate slightly from the straight line. When the front of the blade is not in line with the back of the blade, the blade siezes up or binds causing the blade to come to a stop. This is why ALWAYS use a straight edge guide.
  • Not supporting the material well. If the two sides of the cut line are not supported, as you get to the end of the cut, the two sides will begin to collapse on each other, causing the blade to pinch and the saw to kick back. This will also splinter the material at the end of the cut. This is why you want to support the material with either a sheet of foam insulation or boards perpendicular to the cut line.

A circular saw is fairly simple to use and once you get to know it, you can make many types of cuts and projects.

I have even used it to make half-lap cuts for my DIY Hammock stand.

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Home » Latest Tool Reviews » Head-To-Head » Best Cordless 6-1/2 Circular Saw

Best Cordless 6-1/2 Circular Saw

Commonly referred to as a “Trim Saw” the 6-1/2″ cordless circular saw is useful for more than just cutting trim. Most 6-1/2″ saws have a blade-left design which many trim carpenters feel offers a better line of sight, ensuring accurate cutting. They’re the same tool as their 7-1/4-inch big sister, just in a smaller, more lightweight package.

The Tool Box Buzz Crew recently examined eight 6-1/2″ cordless circular saws from seven major brands and devised a series of well-planned tests (along with some sweet custom jigs) to determine which was the best cordless 6-1/2″ circular saw.

This article will provide you with a thorough overview of the performance of the industry’s top 6-1/2″ cordless circular saws! We used 6-1/2′′ blade diameters, 18V to 36V equipment, and single battery packs in our tests. We’ll recognize best-in-class winners, reveal endurance testing results, and name the crew’s coveted best overall winner!

6-1/2″ Cordless Circular Saw Testing Format

Our crew tested a total of eight saws in seven key categories in this test. Our 6-1/2″ Cordless Circular Saw Head-2-Head format, was similar to our 7-1/4″ Circular Saw Head-2-Head. Each of the criteria was ranked separately, and the combined test results were utilized to determine the overall Best 6-1/2″ Cordless Circular Saw.

  • Accuracy / Line of Sight– The saws’ precision and line of sight were compared, as well as their ability to follow a cut line.
  • Performance [Power / Speed Test]-We looked at cutting speed through 3/4″ plywood as an indicator of saw motor performance.
  • Features– An overall comparison of features and specifications.
  • Weight – bare tool weight only
  • Noise – We measured the tool under no load and at identical cutting load conditions with a decibel meter.
  • Price– When it comes to deciding which saw is best for a user, price is always a consideration. At the time of writing, we’ve given the current retail cost for each of the saws “as-tested.” We didn’t consider pricing in our total score because we examined a variety of saw grades.
  • Best Value –This category winner often strikes a chord with most people because it not only performs well in testing but also feels good on the wallet.

Cordless 6-1/2″ Circular Saw Specifications

Here is the list of specifications for all the Cordless 6-1/2″ Circular Saws the Tool Box Buzz Pro team tested in this Head-2-Head:

Bosch – Model: CCS180B

  • Volts: 18V
  • Load Speed: 3,900 RPMS
  • Max Cut Depth at 90°: 2″
  • Max Cut Depth at 45°: 19/16″
  • Bevel Capacity: 50°
  • Weight: 6.7 LBS
  • Bare Tool Price: 114.80
  • Mfg Link: Bosch CCS180B

DeWALT – Model: DCS565B

  • Volts: 20V
  • No Load Speed: 4,950 RPMS
  • Max Cut Depth at 90°: 2-1/8″
  • Max Cut Depth at 45°: 1-5/8″
  • Bevel Capacity: 50°
  • Weight: 8.0 LBS
  • Bare Tool Price: 149.00
  • Mfg Link: DeWALT DCS565B

Makita – Model: XSH03Z

  • Volts: 18V
  • No Load Speed: 5,000 RPMS
  • Max Cut Depth at 90°: 2-1/4″
  • Max Cut Depth at 45°: 1-5/8″
  • Bevel Capacity: 50°
  • Weight: 6.7 LBS
  • Bare Tool Price: 179.00
  • Mfg Link: Makita XSH03Z

Metabo – Model: KS 18 LTX 57

  • Volts: 18V
  • No Load Speed: 4,600 RPMS
  • Max Cut Depth at 90°: 2-1/4″
  • Max Cut Depth at 45°: 1-11/16″
  • Bevel Capacity: 50°
  • Weight: 6.2 LBS
  • Bare Tool Price: 199.99
  • Mfg Link: Metabo KS 18 LTX 57

Metabo – Model: KS 18 LTX 66

  • Volts: 18V
  • No Load Speed: 4,800 RPMS
  • Max Cut Depth at 90°: 2-19/32″
  • Max Cut Depth at 45°: 1-11/16″
  • Bevel Capacity: 46°
  • Weight: 7.7 LBS
  • Bare Tool Price: 349.99
  • Mfg Link: Metabo KS 18 LTX 66

Metabo HPT – Model: C18DBALQ4

  • Volts: 36V
  • No Load Speed: 4,100 RPMS
  • Max Cut Depth at 90°: 2-19/32″
  • Max Cut Depth at 45°: 1-13/16″
  • Bevel Capacity: 50°
  • Weight: 6.08 LBS
  • Bare Tool Price: 139.00
  • Mfg Link: Metabo HPT C18DBALQ4

Milwaukee – Model: 2730-20

  • Volts: 18V
  • No Load Speed: 5,000 RPMS
  • Max Cut Depth at 90°: 2-1/8″
  • Max Cut Depth at 45°: 1-5/8″”
  • Bevel Capacity: 50°
  • Weight: 6.8 LBS
  • Bare Tool Price: 217.00
  • Mfg Link: Milwaukee 2730-20

Ridgid – Model: R8656B

  • Volts: 18V
  • No Load Speed: 5,000 RPMS
  • Max Cut Depth at 90°: 2-1/4″
  • Max Cut Depth at 45°: 1-5/8″
  • Bevel Capacity: 50°
  • Weight: 5.4 LBS
  • Bare Tool Price: 149.00
  • Mfg Link: Ridgid R8565B

Milwaukee Saw Blades – Model 48-40-0622

All circular saws were equipped with task-specific, brand new Milwaukee 6-1/2″ 40 tooth Fine Finish blades, model 48-40-0622, prior to testing. This shifted the FOCUS away from the blades and more towards the tools. By removing an external testing variable, the use of uniform blades throughout the testing helped to maintain uniformity. Milwaukee blades are popular among the crew because they cut extremely well, are priced just right, and are reliable.

circular, tips, cutting, metal

Milwaukee circular saw blades provide long life, improved precision, and cooler cuts in wood cutting applications. These blades are made with application-specific Cobalt Infused Tungsten Carbide blades to improve cutting life and keep tip sharpness.

Their blades contain Laser Cut Vibration Slots to reduce wobbling and warping. An Anti-Friction Coating protects the blades against corrosion and gumming.

Accuracy Testing / Line of Sight Winner – Makita

These smaller saws were once commonly referred to as trim saws. So we were looking for good accuracy out of the box on these tools. For our accuracy test, we asked one experienced user to use every saw to cut plywood with a straight edge guide, and to rank the tools based on their performance. The saws were also checked at their 90-degree and 45-degree bevel settings for accuracy.

We purposefully had a single operator execute this test as multiple users might have slightly different techniques, and therefore results, as compared to a single operator. We also tested the accuracy of the scales and kerf slots in the baseplate of the saw. If they are sufficiently accurate these scales and notches can be used to line up framing cuts without need of marking lines before making cuts and can be a tremendous time saver!

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MfgrMakitaMetaboMetaboMilwaukeeBoschMetabo HPTRigidDeWALT
Model Accuracy Rank
XSH03T 1 1
KS 18 LTX 57 2 2
KS 18 LTX 66 2 2
2730 2 2
CCS180-B14A 3 5
C18DBALQ4 4 6
R8656B 4 6
DCS565P1 5 8

For the accuracy category each of the circular saws was ranked on accuracy in the following areas:

  • Scale/slot accuracy
  • Bevel accuracy when set to 45 degrees.
  • Cross-cut accuracy when set to 90 degrees (how perpendicular the cut is to the surface)
  • Line of Sight

Accuracy Testing – Makita XSH03T

The Makita had spot-on bevel and square cuts as well as good sightlines and very accurate baseplate kerfs that allowed precise placement of a cut without even needing to see the blade. The scale at the front of the saw was also adjustable! Allowing correction to any issues that may come up in the future with that accuracy.

Both Metabo Saws and Milwaukee tied for 2nd place.

The Metabo LTX 57 cut perfect bevel and square cuts. The Metabo LTX 66 saw had an accurate kerf guide and made good square cuts. The bevel cuts were slightly off but the stop is adjustable so this can be corrected.

The Milwaukee has accurate kerf guides and had accurate square and bevel cuts. The Milwaukee would have tied for first but there is no 45-degree stop on the bevel adjustment, so getting a good 45-degree bevel cut requires some extra attention from the user.

The Milwaukee was powerful and smooth cutting, line of sight is out standing but searching for a 45degree bevel is a pain ~ SCOTT

The Bosch came in third and had kerf notches that were slightly offset from the actual cut. It also lacked a 45-degree stop on the bevel setting. These two factors bumped it down to the third-place spot.

Site Line / Base Plate

No matter how well a tool feels in your hand or how long the run-time is, if you can’t see what you’re doing, you can’t expect great results. At a minimum, you’ll probably be pulling your hair out when getting ready to make a money cut.

Best Line of Sight

Nothing will kill your productivity and confidence like swapping from sight-line to blade, or vice-versa, to see if you can actually have your blade on the cut line. At worst you’ll have to deal with subpar cuts that you can’t redo, which for a lot of us, is tough to live with. So in this assessment, we FOCUS on how well users can see the blade during operation from both the blade and motor side.

The order below is how the saws ranked with the line of sight. Bosch had the best line of sight followed by DeWALT and Milwaukee.

Performance Testing (Power/Speed)

The blade, its width, rotational speed, number/shape of teeth, the motor’s torque, and horizontal force applied all influence how quickly a circular saw can cut through a given material.

The saw motor will encounter resistance as the blade passes through the material, requiring more torque and power to keep the blade spinning at its optimal speed.

The saw blade rotational speed will slow as a blade edge dulls or too much horizontal force is exerted. When a saw is working too hard, a seasoned operator can typically tell and knows when to reduce the amount of force applied during a cut. A more powerful saw will be able to counteract these resistances better and ultimately be able to remove more material and cut faster.

The TBB crew needed to minimize as many cutting variables as possible to test the power and, ultimately, the speed of these saws. We did this by using the same type of blade on all of the saws, using consistent 3/4″ AC grade plywood as our cutting material, and eliminating the human horizontal pushing component by using a drop weight pulley system and a low friction rig.

For cutting and tracking consistency, each saw was mounted on a Kreg Accu-cut sled. An 8-foot section of 3/4″ plywood was indexed underneath the Accu-cut track system, producing an 8-foot rip of 3/4″ plywood. An 8-pound weight was attached to a line that was hooked to the Accu-cut sled and fed through a series of low friction pullies.

Three cuts through the material were delivered to each saw, and the time of all three cuts was averaged and compared. Micro-switches controlled the start and stop times of each cut, eliminating human error while using a portable stopwatch.

The track system was cleaned of all sawdust and debris after each cut, and lubricated with silicone spray before its first run to ensure a smooth, low-friction cut.

The result of this test was that the more powerful saws were able to maintain the blade’s rotational speed, cutting through the plywood faster. The test allowed us to stress the saws in a non-abusive manner, allowing us to rate them individually and identify which saw was the most powerful.

Performance Testing (Power/Speed) – Winner RIDGID

One of the most common, if not THE most common materials on a construction site is plywood. So for our Power/Speed test, we used our Accu-cut jig to test each tool’s cutting speed through 3/4″ plywood. Three runs were performed for each tool and their times were averaged.

The fastest saw was the RIDGID cutting a little over a foot a second, with an average cutting speed of 9.6 seconds. This saw cut effortlessly and it was clear that the recent improvements to the saw increased its cutting power.

A close second place went to the Metabo 57 saw with an average cut time of 9.8 seconds, and the Metabo 66 saw came in third place with an average 10-second cut. The team was impressed with both Metabo saws, more on that later.

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MfgrRigidMetaboMetaboMetabo HPTMakitaDeWALTBoschMilwaukee
Model Run1 Run2 Run3 Run Ave Rank
R8656B 9.75 9.42 9.6 9.6 1
KS 18 LTX 57 9.93 10 9.5 9.8 2
KS 18 LTX 66 8.5 10.75 10.7 10.0 3
C18DBALQ4 11.8 11.9 11.2 11.6 4
XSH03T 12.31 12.49 12.3 12.4 5
DCS565P1 14.2 13.69 14 14.0 6
CCS180-B14A 16.58 15.84 15 15.8 7
2730 16.28 17.71 17 17.0 8

I love the weight and compact size of the Metabo HPT – decent power too! ~ Scott

Best Cordless 6-1/2-inch Circular Saw Features – Winner Metabo 57

Comparing tool features from different brands is never easy, but the truth is in the particulars, thus a feature comparison is required. On a scale of one to five, the complete team used all of the tools in a range of cutting configurations and tests to rate six different features on these saws. [On a scale of 1 to 5, 1 being the best]

Saw Features considered

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MfgrMetaboMetaboMakitaDeWALTMetabo HPTMilwaukeeBoschRigid
Model Blade Chg Bevel Adj Depth Adj Trigger Totals Rank
KS 18 LTX 57 2 1 3 2 8 1
KS 18 LTX 66 1 2 3 2 8 1
XSH03T 5 3 1 1 10 2
DCS565P1 4 4 2 3 13 3
C18DBALQ4 2 5 5 1 13 3
2730 3 3 2 5 13 3
CCS180-B14A 5 3 2 4 14 4
R8656B 3 3 5 3 14 4

Blade Change Winner – Metabo 66

Quality cuts depend on the accuracy and the proper blade for your application. Changing a saw blade should be simple, safe, and easy. We swapped out the blades on nine saws, and while there were no clear standouts, a few major distinctions emerged during our tests, allowing us to determine the best-in-class winners.

The blade change evaluation yielded nothing noteworthy. The wrench’s onboard storage and how fast and easily the arbor locked for blade changes were the significant differentiators. There were a few things worthy of nothing during the blade change evaluation.

The Metabo LTX 66 was the easiest saw to change the blade. Part of that reason was that it does not have a base plate on the blade side due to the fact that the saw is track compatible. Additionally, it has a guard retraction lever, located near the arbor lock that can both be actuated with one hand, to assist in blade change. The crew felt this was a great design feature!

The Bosch was difficult to change the blade due to very tight tolerances between the blade and the retractable guard. The blade actually scraped while inserting. The Makita does not have an onboard wrench for blade changing which can have you looking for a hex key when needing to change the blade.

The Metabo saws both had the most locking detents [12 detents] compared to the DeWALT which only had two. All other saws fell in the 4-12 range.

Bevel Winner – Metabo 57

If our crew is setting a circular saw bevel to 22.5, 45, or more degrees as a remodeling carpenter, the scale is probably good enough. Typically if we are making a cut that required a “dead on” bevel, you would see us reaching for the miter saw, table saw, or a track saw. That said, we’d preferably like to use a saw with a precise bevel scale that isn’t a struggle to set. A circular saw is a rough-cutting saw that prioritizes speed. The major performance indicator for this category is a bevel scale that allows users to quickly select and check common bevel values.

Six out of the eight saws bevel to 50° with the exception of the Metabo 66 saw which bevels to 46° and the Metabo HPT which bevels to 45°.

All of the saws with the exception of the Bosch, Milwaukee, and Metabo use a lever-style lock. The Bosch bevel lock lever has a plastic wing nut with a coarse thread, and a lot of play that the team felt could easily come loose and be lost. The Milwaukee and Metabo saws had noticeably much better design bevel levers.

WOW – the Metabo 66 is my FAV saw so far, its truly in its own category, the blade retraction lever is sweet, rotating and locking dust chute and track compatible ~ Ethan

The DeWALT had the stiffest bevel adjustment during our test. We understand that this may take some time to “loosen up.” The Metabo LTX 57 has a ball detent at 45-degrees, will max out at 50-degrees, and has dual bevel locks. The Crew favored Milwaukee because of its easy-to-read scale and had nice detent action.

circular, tips, cutting, metal

Blade Depth Adjustment – Winner Makita

Our crew decided that adjusting the depth was best left to a quick check on the workpiece to see where the blade extends beyond the material to be cut. Still, there’s much to be said about a gauge that can set the depth of the saw fast and accurately. The scale was straightforward to see in this area, but the tools frequently failed to appropriately show where on the scale the saw was set. This made determining the best in class in both categories a breeze.

In the specifications section above, you can find what each saw cutting depth is at 90° as well as 45°. All of the saws except Ridgid, Metabo HPT, and Metabo 66, have a depth adjustment lever on the motor side of the saw. Of those three the Metabo 66 has a larger, easier accessed lever. The Metabo HPT and Ridgid have an in-line [straight] lever, located between saw guard and handle, that the team did not like.

The Metabo KTX 57 has a super smooth bevel action, with a cam-lock style lever that works really well. DeWALT, Bosch, and Milwaukee all have outboard levers, and decent action but the scales could be better. The Makita saw has a silicone lever, a high contrast scale, with large numbering, and is easy to read. We also thought the action is decent.

Trigger | Grip – Winner – Tie with Makita and Metabo HPT

There must be enough friction between the user’s hand and the handle for a circular saw to have a decent grip. When the user’s hand is sweaty, this is even more critical. The grips on all of the saws were non-slip, non-conductive, and compressible.

We considered frequent motions of the index finger when running the circular saw when looking at tool triggers. This movement, we can all agree, should be pleasant. In contrast to pinch points between the trigger and housing, which can be painful or generate hot spots, a longer trigger allows two or three fingers to engage and may lessen discomfort.

This DeWALT saw doesn’t have a trigger pinch point like its bigger sister! Scott

We unanimously liked Metabo LTX 57 with its rubber over-mold on the trigger, making it the nicest trigger. The Makita and Metabo HPT had the best grip trigger combo.

They both have excellent oversold, a well-shaped, comfortable grip, and rounded trigger edges. The Milwaukee snap-action trigger was not a favorite among some of the team, but regular users commented that they don’t notice it.

Stand Out Features

There were a few aspects that stood out as having an impact on performance and safety. It was noted that the DeWALT, Makita Milwaukee, and the Ridgid all have rafter hooks. The Metabo KS 18 LTX 66 was the only track-compatible saw giving it the only standout feature to note in this category.

The Metabo HPT saw is a multi-volt saw that has a corded adapter allowing you to plug in and cut all day. This saw also takes the cutting depth winner cutting 2-19/32″ at 90°.

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MfgrRigidMetabo HPTMakitaMetaboDeWALTMilwaukeeBoschMetabo
Model Weight (lb) Rank
R8656B 5.9 1
C18DBALQ4 6.0 2
XSH03T 6.2 3
KS 18 LTX 57 6.3 4
DCS565P1 6.5 5
2730 6.8 6
CCS180-B14A 7.0 7
KS 18 LTX 66 7.8 8

Weight – Winner RIDGID

Weight and balance are two words you head tradespeople speak about when first picking up a tool and trying it out. The lightest tool of the group was the RIDGID at 5.9 lbs, followed by the Metabo HPT at 6lbs and the Makita at 6.2 lbs.

The Makita saw cuts fast, it’s light and comfortable in the hand, and the adjustments are easy! ~ Jeremy

Noise – Winner Milwaukee

OSHA allows 8 hours of exposure for noise levels up to 90 decibels, but the exposure limits drop rapidly at 95 decibels and higher. Hearing protection should be worn at all times when using circular saws because they are extremely loud.

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MfgrMilwaukeeMetabo HPTMakitaMetaboMetaboBoschDeWALTRigid
Model Noise Rank
2730 95.0 1
C18DBALQ4 95.5 2
XSH03T 97.3 3
KS 18 LTX 57 97.8 4
KS 18 LTX 66 99.7 5
CCS180-B14A 100.3 6
DCS565P1 100.5 7
R8656B 103.6 8

We used a noise meter to measure the saw’s dB level in a no-load situation at a set distance nearly the same as a user’s ear spacing to test these saws consistently. The crucial point is that the saws were compared against each other in a consistent manner, despite the fact that decibel measurements are relative to any setting. We evaluated these saws in a no-load capacity; nevertheless, when the saws are loaded, the noise level increases and the cutting material dictates the noise level.

The quietest saw was Milwaukee at 95.0 dB with the Metabo HPT close behind is art at 95.5 dB. All of these saws require hearing protection.

Man, this Milwaukee is smooth and quiet. I like the line of sight and solid rafter hook. Wishing that the bevel scale has positive detents. ~ Jeff D

Price – Winner Bosch

The price of a tool can sometimes be the deciding factor in whether or not to buy it. We can all agree that price is an important factor to consider when buying tools, especially for those of you who are just getting started in the trades. We also understand that most contractors are brand loyalists who will prefer to stick with their current battery platform rather than branch out and build a new line of cordless tools.

The bulk of these saws may be found at your local big box stores, and almost all of them can be found online at ACME Tools. We’ve included the bare tool pricing (at the time of publishing this article).

The Bosch handle angle is perfect if ripping sheet stock – it is angled in-line with your arm, not upwards, liker the other saws. ~ Jeremy

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MfgrBoschMetabo HPTRigidDeWALTMakitaMetaboMilwaukeeMetabo
Model Bare Tool Price Rank
CCS180-B14A 119 1
C18DBALQ4 124 2
R8656B 149 3
DCS565P1 151 4
XSH03T 179 5
KS 18 LTX 57 200 6
2730 217 7
KS 18 LTX 66 350 8

The lowest-priced saw was the Bosch, model CCS180B, costing 114.80. Coming in second was the Metabo HPT at 139.00, and third place was a tie going to DeWALT and Ridgid at 149.00.

The Metabo KS 18 LTX 66 was the most expensive saw at the time of writing this article. The price of this saw is 349.00. It can be found on the ACME Tools. This saw has outstanding design features; such as a track-compatible base plate and excellent ergonomics, and really nice blade guard lever, which contributes to its high cost.

Overall Best in Class 6-1/2″ Cordless Circular Saw – Metabo KS 18LTX 57

When naming the overall best in class saw we consider all categories assessed with endurance, design, and value leading our decision. Ultimately we select a tool that performs exceptionally well in its primary function, delivers high-quality features that enhanced performance, and does so at a fair price.

The intangibles often contribute to a tie-breaker in any given category, but because the overall best in class is a combination of so many individual assessments our selections are usually very objective given the results of the head-to-head.

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MfgrMetaboRigidMakitaMetabo HPTMetaboDeWALTMilwaukeeBosch
Model Performance Weight Accuracy Features Totals Rank
KS 18 LTX 57 2 4 2 1 9 1
R8656B 1 1 4 4 10 2
XSH03T 5 3 1 2 11 3
C18DBALQ4 4 2 4 3 13 4
KS 18 LTX 66 3 8 2 1 14 5
DCS565P1 6 5 5 3 19 6
2730 8 6 2 3 19 6
CCS180-B14A 7 7 3 4 21 7

The Metabo KS 18LTX 57 performed consistently in all the categories that mattered. It scored a perfect score in features, and came in second in performance and accuracy, weight was the only category that hurt the Metabo. The Metabo took first place with 9-points.

The RIDGID came in a close second with 10-points. RIGID took the top spot in performance and weight. It slipped in accuracy and features but came in for a solid number two placement. It delivered a powerful cutting performance in a lightweight and compact package.

Third place went to the Makita saw. Makita is always a solid competitor and this saw is no different. Makita to the top spot in our accuracy assessment, second in features, and third in weight. It suffered in performance and was underpowered when compared to the other saws.

My thoughts on the Makita: Smooth, good power, excellent adjustments, well engineered, and the user experience is just plain excellent! ~ ROB

Best Value Saw – Winner RIDGID

This category winner often resonates more with people because it highlights the saw that performed well, and costs less. In some ways it’s a more important category than the top spot, crowned king of 6.,5″ saws.

This is typically the saw that performs well in our testing and is priced right. In this case, RIDGID crushed the testing and still is priced right at 149.00.

The RIDGID has a great ratio of power to size weight. With a brushless motor delivering 5000 RPMs, this unit has the speed and torque needed for making fast accurate cuts. The compact design and magnesium guard make this the lightest weight 6-1/2” Pro circular saw in the industry.

If this saw doesn’t win the BEST saw, then it better wins the “Best Value.” The weight to power ratio rocks, it has a great line of sight – it’s just a nice saw! ~ ROB


We attempt to offer you the most thorough information possible in each of our Head-2-Head testings. Our team of Pro contractors put a significant amount of time and attention into our Best 6-1/2′′ Circular Saw Head-to-Head analysis in order to provide you with the most thorough data available.

These tests and evaluations are complex and time-consuming, and because we are not a professional tool testing laboratory, we are limited with time on the tools and scope of testing. Our team simply does not have the resources to test these saws for extended periods of time in order to assess their durability, and we cannot potentially examine every application for which they could be used.

You have complete control over what information you want or don’t want! If you don’t like a category we scored, simply remove it from the matrix and reorder them. We also recognize that many tradespeople have invested a large amount of money in a battery platform and that sticking with that brand is a major factor. Our goal was to arm you with the knowledge you’d need to make your own decisions and boy did we have a blast doing it!

Thank you for following along with this Head-2-Head article and if you have a moment, please check out our other Head-to-Head Tests.

circular, tips, cutting, metal
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