In this guide we’ll look at the best budget circular saws.
We’ve compared motor, cutting depth, blade quality, and cost
to give you our top recommendations.
What Is The Best Budget Circular Saw for the UK Market?
More Detailed Budget Circular Saw Reviews
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Meterk MKSC02 500 W Circular Saw with 185 mm Blade Review
We consider the Meterk MKSC02 Circular Saw one of the best budget circular saws on the market.
Despite its low price this saw offers a very respectable amount of power thanks to its 1,500-Watt pure copper motor that delivers 4,700 rpm. This makes it one of the best circular saw under £50.
The saw features a built-in laser guide and depth gauge that ensures a high degree of accuracy with every cut you make. The saw can rotate 45 or 90 degrees allowing you to cut bevels and angled mitre cuts, and the angled guide attachment makes cutting bevels easy. The saw offers a maximum cutting depth of 65 mm at 90 degrees and 45 mm at 45 degrees.
The circular saw comes with two 180 mm blades – the 24-tooth blade for longer time wood cutting, and the 40-tooth blade for cutting tile, plywood and soft metal. There is also a double safety switch, dust port and a hex wrench for blade changing.
With all these features and competitive price tag we consider this to be one of the best value circular saws on the market.
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Hychika CS-190C 1500 W Electric Saw with 6 Adjustable Speeds and 190 mm Blade Review
The Hychika CS-190C Electric Circular Saw is another solid choice for best cheap circular saw. It features six variable speeds that range from 2,200 rpm to 4,700 rpm and provide excellent control for making tidy cuts. The lower speeds are best for cutting plasterboard or acrylic glass panels for instance, whilst the higher speeds are best for cutting materials such as wood and blockboard.
The saw comes with two 190 mm blades – a 24-tooth blade for standard coarser cuts into wood and a 40-tooth blade for more precise cuts into harder materials such as tile, softer wood or soft metal. The maximum cutting depths are 65 mm at 90 degrees and 45 mm at 45 degrees.
This product includes a laser guide to facilitate straight cuts and the fully adjustable depth gauge with 5 mm markers ensures you are cutting to the correct depth. The scale ruler also helps you make accurate measurements. The ergonomic slim grip provides ease and less fatigue for one-handed operation and the saw also includes a safety switch and aluminium guard.
With all these features and a current price of under £50 this versatile saw represents one of the best circular saws for the money.
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Teccpo TACS01P 1500 W Electric Circular Saw, 185 mm Blade Review
The Teccpo TACS01P Circular Saw is another good choice for best cheap circular saw that provides plenty of bang for your buck.
It too has a powerful 1,500-Watt copper motor and at 5,800 rpm this model produces a higher rev count than our other circular saw selections. The laser guide and depth gauge make it easy to create accurate and precise cuts every time. The 185 mm blade can be easily adjusted for bevel and angled cuts. This saw is capable of cutting depths of 63 mm at 90 degrees and 45 mm at 45 degrees. The cutting angle of the product can also be adjusted to a maximum angle of 45°, which should cater for all your bevelling needs.
The saw comes with two blades of 24 and 40 teeth for rougher cuts into wood and finer cut finishes into harder or more delicate materials such as aluminium or ceramics respectively. There is also a safety switch and dust port.
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VonHaus Multi-Purpose Circular Saw 1200W 185mm Blade Review
Another good but cheap circular saw is the VonHaus Multi-Purpose Circular Saw.
This saw comes with a 1,200-Watt motor that provides a no-load speed of 5,000 rpm.
The 36 tooth blade can slice through a wide array of materials, such as soft and hardwood, MDF and Perspex.
There is a maximum cutting depth of 65 mm at 90 degrees and 45 mm at 45 degrees. The saw blade can be tilted to 45 degrees and has multiple bevel and mitre angles. The depth gauge and guide ruler make this saw very easy to use, and the ergonomic soft grip handle ensures support and ease of control. There is also a dust extraction outlet and a built-in safety lock.
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Einhell TH-CS 1200/1 1200W Hand Held Circular Saw with 160mm Blade Review
The Einhell TC-CS Handheld Circular Saw is another budget circular saw that can compete with more expensive models. This circular saw has a lightweight frame, weighing just 3.85 kg. Yet despite its lightweight construction, this saw still comes with a respectable 1,200-Watt motor that can generate 5,000 rpm. The saw also features a depth gauge, parallel stop and dust extraction port.
The saw is fitted with a 160 mm 24 tooth carbide blade that allows you to can make cuts into wood, both with and across the grain.
The sawing depth of up to 55 mm at 90 degrees and 37 mm at 45 degrees, and tilt angle of the saw can all be adjusted without tools. The large, ergonomic handle also makes this comfortable to hold and positive to guide.
The saw also comes with a two year warranty.
What is a Circular Saw?
The circular saw is the one of the most versatile power tools on the market today and the most common type of power saw. Corded or cordless you have all the versatility you need to cut into almost all common materials.
With the right blade rip cuts (in the direction of the grain), cross cuts (against the grain), plunge cuts (lowering the blade directly into the middle of a section) and bevelled edges (cuts made at an angle) can all be made into wood, brick, stone, masonry, tiles and metal. And of course you can adjust the height, depth and angle of the cut.
Although the circular saw can be mounted to a workbench, portability is its greatest asset. You grip the handle and offer the blade up to the work piece in question, rather than with a table or band saw where you offer the work piece up to a blade that is fixed in position. This actually makes the circular saw safer to work with than the table or band saw because you have more control over the blade.
The circular saw’s motor and gears are usually positioned to the left of the vertical blade surface with the handle and grip sitting above the motor. This means that the weight of the tool is on the left and when in operation will sit above the larger part of the work piece that is fixed in position rather than above the offcut being removed. This arrangement allows for a great deal of control and also means that both hands are away from the blade.
Main Components / Features
We’ve already mentioned the circular saw’s motor and gears above, so let’s concentrate on the other main components of the circular saw.
This might sound obvious but the larger the blade, the deeper the cut! The maximum blade size a saw can accommodate will of course be determined by the size of the saw itself.
You can go from a hobby saw with a blade diameter of 3″ to an industrial saw with an 18″ blade that cuts through slabs of concrete! The most common blade size used in circular saws of the corded variety has a 7¼” diameter (185 mm) and this lets you cut through material over 3″ (75 mm) thick.
The blade capacity of cordless saws is usually slightly less at 6½” (165 mm) so your cutting depth is more in the region of 2½” (60 mm).
Blades come with or without teeth. In general blades with teeth are either made from High Speed Steel (HSS) (for general usage) or Tungsten Carbide Tipped (TCT) (designed to cut through harder woods). Carbide-tipped blades can last up to 10 times longer than steel ones.
For materials harder than wood there are specialist blades that use an abrasive cutting edge or a diamond rim instead of teeth. Some manufacturers, notably Evolution, produce a popular multipurpose “one-size fits all blade” that copes well with both wood and metals.
Also be aware that blades come in different thicknesses (kerf) and with different bore sizes. Thinner kerf blades are more expensive but are generally made from higher quality materials and produce more accurate results, Bore sizes are usually proportional to the blade diameter (e.g. 30 mm bore for a 255 mm blade, 20 mm bore for a 210 mm blade) but also vary in diameter from one manufacturer to another.
The general maxim for blades with teeth is the more teeth the smoother and slower the cut. When you purchase your saw it typically comes with a general purpose blade (often 24 tooth) that can be used for both rip and cross cuts in wood. However a “combination” blade is actually better for both of these cuts since its teeth combine one alternating larger tooth and (often) four smaller ones.
Blades with less teeth have deeper gullets for easier removal of waste material. Blades with more teeth tend to have them leaning alternately to left and right (called kerfed teeth). Dust particle and wood chips can accumulate between smaller teeth and one of the ideas behind kerfed teeth is to open up the small gaps between them and aid waste removal.
For specialist wood cuts 16 tooth blades are better for coarser rip cuts in timber whilst 40 tooth blades provide a finer finish and are more suited for cross-cutting. Some blades come with well over 100 teeth to minimise the chance of splintering. These are typically used by furniture makers for making the finest cuts into harder woods or by carpenters, joiners or construction workers for cutting plywood, particle board or MDF. But they can also be used for cutting plastic, acrylic, laminate and aluminium.
We then have a selection of blades that use a cutting edge instead of teeth to cut into material that is harder than wood.
Coarser masonry blades are used to cut into brick, concrete pavers, natural stone, soft rock such as limestone, and roof tiles. Finer masonry blades are more suitable for concrete and harder rocks like granite and marble. Ceramic tiles can also be cut by finer masonry blades but there are blades made specifically for tile cutting and these tend to be diamond-rimmed.
Diamond-rimmed blades are used to cut the hardest materials and there are different grades of coarse through fine.
The coarsest diamond blades (often called “segmented” because their edge is crenulated) are used to cut rock and stone. You would usually douse the cut with water to dissipate the heat when using a segmented blade. Medium grade diamond blades have serrated edges and they are used to cut brick and concrete.
The finest diamond blades are “continuous rim” (ie they have no serrations or indentations) and are typically used to cut slates. These blades can also be used wet. Finally there are specialist metal cutting blades designed to cut, wait for it, metals! Sheet metal, copper and brass can all be cut using a metal blade. A metal blade contain slots to dissipate heat.
It goes without saying but always choose the right blade for the task in hand. Avoid this advice at your peril since not only will your results be less than perfect but also you could compromise your own safety. Also note that the circular saw is definitely not designed to cut logs or trees – that’s what chainsaws are for.
The saw guard (blade cover) sits over the top and front of the saw to protect it from damage and prevent it from causing any harm to you! It also stops waste material flying everywhere. It comprises a fixed piece that sits over the top of the blade and a floating component over the bottom of the blade that retracts automatically when performing a cut but springs back into place when the cut is completed. The floating part has a handle that you can use to temporarily lift the cover when making plunge or bevelled cuts.
The circular saw’s two handles give you maximum control over the saw, by being located to the rear and above the saw’s heaviest component, its motor. Manufacturers go to great lengths to ensure their ergonomic designs provide maximum levels of comfort and stability. The power switch is usually set into the rear handle.
Base plate (sometimes called shoe)
The metal base plate is set in the middle of the saw below the fulcrum of the blade and surrounds the blade on both sides. It serves several purposes.
Firstly it is designed to protect the blade from damage if you happen to drop the saw. The plate is usually made from aluminium but more expensive models have a heavier steel, magnesium or cast metal plate with strengthened ribs.
Secondly having the base plate resting on a flat surface ensures the saw remains steady throughout the cutting process. Protruding from the edge of the base plate is a guide or ripping fence that can be offered up to the edge of the material and this ensures an accurate square cut. The base plate also contains a calibrated rule to mark off against for exact lengths of cut, and 2 notches at the front to align the saw to the cutting line.
A depth adjustment lever situated behind the motor raises or lowers the base plate parallel to the horizontal to expose more or less of the blade and hence determine the depth of cut. Located in front of the motor is another lever that acts in conjunction with a dial or protractor and allows the base plate to be tilted to any angle for making bevelled cuts. You can also quickly lock the base plate into one of several preset angles.
These days electric brakes are commonplace on more expensive circular saws and it is a safety feature you should consider before making a purchase. Hitting the trigger of a saw with an electric brake causes the electric current to reverse and the blade to come to a halt in around 2 seconds. Without an electric brake the blade would continue to spin for at least another 10 seconds. That 10 seconds could save an awful lot of damage!
Most circular saws come with a dust ejector that diverts dust away from the work area and your face when you are operating the saw. They also have dust collection ports that you can hook up to a vacuum cleaner hose.
Safety Precautions and Using The Saw
The best circular saw is an incredibly versatile power tool. It can also be very dangerous if you do not take into account basic safety precautions. In this section we’ll review the strategies and techniques you need to know to stay safe, both you personally and when using the saw.
Safety – You!
In order to ensure your own safety make sure you are kitted out appropriately. Wear suitable work clothes or overalls and remove / tuck in / tie back anything loose, including your hair if necessary! Wear safety glasses, goggles or a face mask to protect your eyes from flying debris. Circular saws are noisy – wear ear defenders to protect your ears. Wear a mask to avoid inhaling dust particles.
Get organised and check out your immediate surroundings. Clear away anything not related to the job in hand, particularly from the floor area that might cause you to trip up or lose your balance. If you are making a blind (plunge) cut use a metal detecting accessory to check for hidden wires or pipes. If you are using a corded circular saw make sure the cable is long enough and use an extension lead if necessary to allow it to trail well away from the saw. Gather your saw, accessories and work pieces for cutting.
Check Over The Saw
If you have not already done so read the instruction manual thoroughly!
On corded saws check the cable is tightly gripped by the plug and there are no cracks visible. On cordless saws check the battery is fully charged and held tightly in place.
Turn your attention to the blade and make sure it is securely fixed and correct for the application, in terms of size, speed (speed is denoted on the blade itself and should be always be greater than the saw’s no-load RPM) and work piece being cut. The blade must not be damaged in any way (warped, chipped teeth etc) and needs to be as clean and sharp as possible in order to reduce the amount of heat, friction and the chance of kickback – sharper blades can cut their way out of a potential bind situation.
The saw guard is next. Unplug the saw or remove the battery and make sure the lower guard can move freely and the spring / pivoting mechanism that retracts the guard is not impeded in any way.
Check The Work piece is Suitable For Cutting
A couple of common sense tips – ensure your work piece is not too small that it cannot be adequately secured. The base plate should also be able to rest on it comfortably. Finally the work piece should preferably be dry and not warped or knotty. And if you are using a wood cutting blade make sure any rogue nails or suchlike are removed first.
Set The Blade Depth / Height
When you begin cutting the blade should protrude no more than 6-8 mm (approx ¼”) through the bottom of your work piece (assuming you intend to cut completely through it as opposed to cutting out a channel for instance). This is to ensure minimal blade surface area is exposed if things were to go wrong or kickback occurs. If you do need to adjust its depth with the depth control lever make sure the power cable is unplugged or the battery disconnected.
Secure Your Work piece
It is best to position your work piece so the better surface is facing downwards. A circular saw cuts cleaner at the bottom and can cause splintering on the top surface, particularly if you are making cross cuts. Of course this doesn’t matter too much if you happen to be making cuts in rougher wood.
Never hold the work piece while you cut it! It needs to be secured by its “keep” side with the waste side free to fall when the cut is completed. If the waste side is not free to fall the blade will bind and the saw will kickback. However if the waste piece is more than a thin strip it will still need something to support its weight otherwise splintering will occur towards the end of the cut as the waste piece falls away.
Clamping the keep side to the side of a workbench or one or two sawhorses is the best ways of keeping your job secure. (If you are using two sawhorses the cut should be made outside the pair, not between them).
Measure & Mark Up
Measure the cut line with a tape measure and a straight and/or square edge and mark it in pencil. Make the line prominent (dark and thick) enough so that it doesn’t get ‘lost’ under any stray dust. The waste side of the cut should include the complete width of your cut line.
Align The Work piece
For shorter rip cuts position and secure the saw’s rip fence and offer up your work piece to it. For longer cuts replace the fence with the factory edge of a long piece of ¾” plywood as the rip fence will not be long enough. For cross cuts use a speed square as the fence.
Circular saws are designed for right-handers and waste material is ejected from the left hand side of the saw so if you are left handed beware! The motor sits to the left of the blade, the weight of the saw is therefore to the left, you need to support the saw from its left hand side and the keep side of the work piece needs to be positioned to the left. So you are standing slightly towards the back and left of the saw as you make the cut.
Test The Saw
Test the on-off switch and the power supply. Turn the saw on, depress the trigger, wait for the blade to reach full speed, hold the saw up, look along the blade and check it rotates true to the vertical, then release the trigger. Releasing the trigger should invoke the electric brake (assuming one is fitted) and the blade should come to rest in around 2 seconds. Hopefully all is good and you’re ready to go. If the saw doesn’t work for any reason and you have covered basic troubleshooting, get it inspected and repaired by a professional or better still replace it!
Align The Saw!
Offer up the front of the base plate to the work piece and position the cut line between the two notches at the front of the base plate. The blade should be aligned to the waste side of the cut line.
Hit The Trigger!
Hold the saw firmly in both hands, with one to the rear for activating the trigger and one on the front handle. Depress the trigger, wait for the blade to reach full speed, ensure the base plate sits firmly on the work piece and tightly against the fence or guide, then feed the saw slowly into the cut. Let the inertia of the blade help you through the cut.
Do not force the saw, overreach, or attempt to change its direction. Walk forward as you make the cut, following the marked line and keeping the side of the base plate tight against the guide and its base firmly on the work piece at all times. If you are using a corded saw make sure the power cable trails loosely behind you.
The saw guard should be in an elevated position as the cut progresses and fall back when it’s complete. Sometimes when making a plunge cut or when bevel cutting and the base plate has been adjusted over 45 degrees, the guard can catch the edge of the work piece, so you have to lift the guard before you start the cut. Watch the waste piece fall away, have the saw clear the board and the guard spring back then release the trigger.
If during any of this process the blade binds or you anticipate any kickback release the trigger immediately, wait for the blade to stop and take corrective action.
Disconnect the saw, shake off loose debris, let it cool and give it a good wipe down. It is good practice to remove the blade and clean it separately. Then store the saw and blade away.
Circular Saw Buying Advice
Corded or Cordless?
Buying corded or cordless is usually the biggest decision you have to make. The best cordless saws are much more versatile and have pretty much caught up with corded in terms of power and durability, but they are more expensive. Plus you need to pay for a charger and at least 2 batteries that have to be kept fully charged to keep you up and running through a working day.
No problem with power supply if corded of course, assuming you are always going to be near the power source, but make sure the power lead is of decent length (although you can also use an extension lead). If you do go cordless try and purchase from a manufacturer that produces a range of cordless power tools that can all share the same battery, and that will go some way to justifying the extra cost.
These days it is rare to here of a circular saw that is actually under-powered. Corded saws run at around 15 Amps and cordless 18 Volts, and both produce no-load speeds of around 5,000 rpm, more than adequate for most day to day tasks. People might say a saw is under-powered but that will be because they are using the wrong blade / material combination.
The more powerful the saw the larger and heavier it will be. Cordless saws with higher capacity batteries also weigh more. And the heavier the saw the more difficult it is to operate and the greater the likelihood of an accident. In general the saw shouldn’t exceed 5 kg (including battery if cordless) in weight, but this would easily cover most general purpose circular saws on the market.
We’ve already discussed blades in detail above. The saw is already supplied with a general purpose blade (usually 7¼” diameter (185 mm) or 6½” (165 mm)) and you will only ever need to change it when it loses its sharpness or you require a special purpose blade. If and when you do decide to change it make sure it is fit for purpose and don’t compromise on quality or price. Carbide blades are the better option.
You need to feel totally in control of your saw so it should always feel comfortable and balanced in your hands with well placed handles. Handle grips should be contoured and non-slip.
Nice to Have Features
Some more important nice to have features include an electric brake, a laser guide, a lock off lever (so the saw cannot be switched on by accident), an efficient dust extraction mechanism, a brushless motor (if you can afford one) and a long warranty – 2 years is good, 3 years is even better!
As with most power tools paying more will get you better quality, produce a better end result and last you longer. But you need to marry that up against other obvious practicalities such as your budget and how often you will actually use your circular saw. And that of course depends on your confidence level in doing jobs yourself or paying a professional to do them. The greater your confidence the greater the payback! Best of luck!