Types of Circular Saws│What Options Do You Have?

People who work with wood or smaller metal sheets understand the need for certain types of saws in their line of work. In woodworking, one of the most common saws that woodworkers use is the circular saw.

This saw is a common sight around job sites, and I don’t remember any worksite that I visited and missed this saw. Well, you may have missed it simply because you didn’t understand the wide range of circular saws that we have.

In this post, I will give you the types of circular saws that we have so that the next time you are at a job site, you can easily pick it out, but first:

What is the Circular Saw Used For?

In woodworking circular saws are hand-held but electric saws that have circular cutting saws. These saws are commonly designed for cutting through wood. However, they can sometimes come in handy when you want to cut other materials, including thin sheets of plates using different blades.

Types of Circular Saws

As we look through the types of circular saws that we have, you should understand that these types of saws don’t have specific positions for their blades. The blades can, therefore, either sit on the left or the right.

Depending on the position of the blade or the motor, we will either have a left-handed or a right-handed circular saw the design. Take a look at the circular saw types that we have and which you can choose from too.

Worm Drive Circular Saw

An alternative to the in-line circular saw is the conventional worm drive circular saw. This saw comes with a motor that’s mounted to the rear end of the saw. The motor is then connected on a linear path to the gears. This minimizes speed but maximizes torque.

As such, worm drive saws are more durable. The track saw and worm drive circular saw also share improved sightlines, which guarantee deeper saw cut with maximum accuracy.

Best for: Miter cuts, longer cuts, and plunge cuts.

Sidewinder Circular Saw

Also called the in-line circular saws, the sidewinder is small and portable. Thanks to the motor’s orientation. While the blade sits on the right side of the saw, the motor is “stuffed” on the left side.

This means that the motor of the saw will turn the shaft that rotates the cutting saw directly. This prevents the sidewinder from moving so many parts as it cuts through wood.

It is, therefore, energy-efficient and enables the sawing blade to turn faster. The in-line saw uses electric cords and or lithium-ion battery packs.

Best for: Rip cuts, soft lumber, overhead cuts, and plywood.

Hybrid Circular Saw

Hybrid circular saws are hardly known to many people. However, they also have their motor mounted behind the blade but are much shorter than the worm drive circular saws. Also known as the hypoid, this type of saw has one significant difference to the worm drive models.

It transmits its power to the cutting blade using the beveled gear technology. Its gears don’t intersect. More importantly, when in use, hypoid gears are enclosed and don’t require any form of oiling. They are also quieter than their worm drive counterparts.

Best for: Cutting wet or hard lumber

Chop Saws

Chop saws are circular saws that are used to cut materials that are often harder than wood. They are also called abrasive saws. The technology used by this saw to cut through hard materials is simple.

The saw eliminates teeth and uses toothless cutting blades instead. The cutting blade is flat and will, therefore, not bounce from on impact with the surface of the material that needs to be cut. They can be held by hand or fixed to a work top.

Best for: Any material that is harder than wood (asphalt, concrete, tiles, and pipe).You can check our buying guideline of best tile saw

Miter Saw

Miter saws use the circular saw blade. They are one of the most common applications of this same type of saw. The circular saw is specifically attached to a swinging arm. The arm can be easily raised or even brought down to a clamped on the work piece.

Miter saws are safer than the portable circular saw and are also easy to use. They are able to make a variety of cuts, including bevel cuts, miter cuts, compound cuts, and cross cuts.

Best for: Lots of lumber that require quick cutting

Concrete Circular Saw

The concrete circular saw is also known as the slab saw. They are another alternative for anyone who can’t find an abrasive circular saw. This type of circular saw is also used to cut through hard materials that have higher resistance.

However, unlike the abrasive saw, that completely forgoes the teeth, this one has a particular type of cutting teeth that’s specially arranged and made of industrial diamond. Their best trait is the ability of cutting and clearing dust at the same time.

It has one turnoff though, its blade will frequently get hot and must, therefore, be cooled down amid cutting breaks.

Best for: Concrete cutting

Table Saw

The table saw is a bigger version of the track saw. You cannot move it from one site to the next like you would a track saw. A table saw has a circular saw. The saw is mounted under a slot inside a table.

The track saw and worm drive circular saw work more or less the same. Except that on a table saw the material that you are cutting is what you will move. So you will hold the piece you are working on and pull it across the table on the saw.

Best for: Crosscutting and rip cuts

Metal Cutting Circular Saw

Metal is rigid. It is also harder to cut. A minor contact of a fast-paced saw blade with the metal will give out sparks. Metal cutting circular saws will protect you from the sparks and also the shards.

They are slower than circular saws for woodwork and are also quite smaller compared to the standard models.

Best for: Cutting all metals


In case you want a circular saw to use, any of these types of circular saws will make a good experience depending on your needs. However, you must make sure that you follow the user manual to the latter. Do not take shortcuts with any type of circular saw that you have chosen.

You Might Also Be Interested In:

Jigsaw Vs Circular Saw

10 Must Have Power Tools Everyone Should Have!

Last Updated on September 9, 2020 by Robert Patrick

Author Profile

Robert Patrick
Robert Patrick is the Chief Editor of Tools Adventure.He spent around 25 years in the construction and woodworking industry as a professional worker.Based on his experiences with the different type of tools; he is sharing his opinion about various tools so that a beginner can get started right away.Happy reading!