What Is A Circular Saw Used For? Our Guide On The Top Uses in 2021!

Last Updated On September 20, 2021 By Elliot

What Materials Can You Cut With A Circular Saw - are Some Easier To Cut?

Circular saws are a common electronically powered saw with a circular blade designed for cutting through a variety of materials including concrete, stone, wood, metal, tile, and several others.

Your saw’s ability and efficiency to cut through certain materials will depend on the power rating and saw quality. We recommend that you check with the manufacturer of a product and its abilities before you assume it can do what you need it to.

There are also different types of blades for different purposes. 

So if you plan to cut through a sheet of metal make sure that your blade is also designed for the task at hand. Attempting to cut through the wrong material with the blade can be ineffective, damaging to your machine, and even dangerous to you. 

Since a circular saw can cut through so many materials you will find that it is a popular tool for most construction workers and handymen. Its versatility is its strength. 

What Are The 2 Types Of Circular Saws?

There are many different types and models of circular saws but when it comes to function there are two main types. Worm drive and Sidewinder.

A worm drive saw is a saw that is optimized to increase the torque to the blade. Though often quieter than other types of saws, there are usually longer or larger. This is a heavy-duty version designed specifically for industrial use.

Sidewinder is sometimes also called an inline saw. This version is what most people own and what is frequently the most popular. Though lacking the industrial strength of its counterpart, it is lighter, easier to handle, and somewhat smaller.

You also have the option to have it corded or cordless and they both have different cutting modes. 

What Are The Different Cuts You Can Make With A Circular Saw?

Most people will tell you that a circular saw makes 2 types of cuts. Crosscuts and rip cuts. However, though this is true this can be elaborated upon. 

Depending on the work you need to accomplish you will have to make varying different types of cuts. If your machine cannot perform those specific cutting techniques effectively then it is not the machine you should be using. 

Thankfully the circular saw is a multitalented and well-rounded tool with many different applications. Below is a list of the main types of cutting techniques you can successfully use on a circular saw. Hopefully, this will help you to understand further its uses and functions.

  • Straight Cuts - That’s right, a circular saw cuts straight lines. The two different types of straight cuts are known as crosscuts and rip cuts.
  • Cross Cuts - This is where you cut straight across the grain of the wood. This is ideal for cutting down long planks to the length you need.
  • Rip Cuts - The opposite of crosscuts. This type of cut allows you to cut down the grain of the wood. If you had a long plank of wood a rip cut would usually make that plank thinner whilst maintaining the same length.
  • Plunge Cuts - If you are unable to start at the edge of your material you can start from anywhere in the middle and plunge your circular saw right down into it. For example, if you needed to cut out a window from a flat piece of plywood, a plunge cut would be the way to go.
  • Bevel Cuts - Usually the edge of a piece of wood is flat with a 90-degree angle that connects to the face or the wood. If you change that angle at all, it becomes a beveled cut. This can be used for aesthetics or functionality.
  • Miter Cuts - Similar to a bevel cut since it created an angle. But rather than making an angle on the edge of the wood, a miter cut angles the width of the board.

Which Is Better A Jigsaw Or A Circular Saw?

It really depends on what you’re going to use it for. Jigsaws are generally regarded as safer and better for more intricate work but the circular saw is a much more powerful machine and can cut through a lot of materials that a jigsaw cannot. 

A Jigsaw can be used for very detailed work with a lot of twists and turns. Complex cuts with straight or curved sections are where it really specializes. However, though some jigsaws are rated for wood and sheet metal, it lacks the necessary power to cut through the same materials that a Circular saw can.

Circular saws are absolute powerhouses. Very little can stop this beast of a machine. With a larger blade and a larger amount of power, this is a tool that can be used for almost anything. It is also noteworthy that the blades though more expensive last much longer. However, It is designed for simpler cuts and is not able to match the intricacy of a jigsaw.

Safety is a priority for both types of saw. However, accidents do happen. It is recognized by most workers that a jigsaw is somewhat safer than a circular saw. 

While injury can happen with either tool the danger is increased because of the size of the blade. Logically a large sword would be more deadly than a steak knife and so too the circular saw can be more deadly than a jigsaw.

Despite the pros and cons of both, more people seem to favor the circular saw over the jigsaw in the workplace due to its versatility. 

Can You Turn A Circular Saw Into A Table Saw?

Yes, it is possible, though it is not entirely recommendable. 

Knowing that a circular saw is such a versatile tool turning it into a table saw will limit some of its functions. However, if you no longer need a circular saw but instead want a table saw this adaption can be accomplished.

There are concerns with doing so, however. Whenever you try to replace a tool designed for a specific purpose with another tool, there are risks involved.

It is really also only possible if you have a deep engineering knowledge base as you are designing and making this homemade table saw yourself. If you do not have a good understanding of how to feasibly make it work then you are already looking at a disaster.

Much better is to buy the tool you need for the task you need. Just like you would not buy a screwdriver to knock in nails, neither should you ever buy a tool with the intent of modifying it for another purpose. 

Do You Really Need A Circular Saw?

The answer to this question really depends on you and the kind of work you are planning to do.

As with any large purchase, it is important to know if what you are buying is what you actually need. Though we cannot tell you directly if you should or should not buy one, we can guide you to the correct answer.

Unlike what many people think, you do not need to be a builder or a carpenter to need a circular saw. Many have found it useful for DIY projects and house maintenance. Though you should make sure you understand the safety guidelines before purchasing one. 

On the other hand, if your work involves the need for cutting heavy-duty materials or large amounts of wood then a circular saw is a must-have tool in your arsenal. A good idea though is to first check with your employer as most tools and machinery are often already available to use within their company or place of work.

Whether you are a homeowner or contractor, it is a good idea to examine the tasks you have to accomplish and any likely future tasks you are hoping to undertake. If you have large amounts of material that you need cut through then likely it would be a good idea to get a circular saw. 

If you are looking to do more decorative work and fancy cuts then the circular saw is not the tool you need. In this case, you should examine other possible tools for the job.

Carefully review the types of cuts you can perform with a circular saw as well as the materials that it can cut through. These are mentioned in this article for your benefit and you will be able to determine if a circular saw is really the saw you require.


I'm Elliot Higgins the Founder of multiple hardware stores around the UK. I love wood and wood working. Watching a fine piece of pine or cedar turn into a work of art is extremely satisfying. The one thing I love more than woodworking is the toys that we use! On HandyToolsHome.com; we bring you information and reviews on all kinds of tools.

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Last Updated On September 20, 2021

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