What you need to know when choosing a circular saw

No handyman or handywoman’s life is complete without a circular saw to cut every type of small lumber the job calls for.

What you need to know when choosing a circular saw

No handyman or handywoman’s life is complete without a circular saw to cut every type of small lumber the job calls for. Circular saws are handheld devices that do just what it sounds like. You mount a circular saw blade into the machine, and the torque, determined by the horsepower of the machine, propels the blade in a circular motion to make a cut. A circular saw will also guide it to make sure your cut is straight, and a guard around the blade for safety. You should also always wear safety gloves, proper goggles or safety glasses and safety boots to protect yourself any time you use a circular saw, or a saw of any type, for that matter.

Types of circular saws

There are two common styles of circular saws to choose from. The first is the sidewinder, which is a compact design with the motor sitting alongside the blade. Because of their smaller design, these saws don’t have as much power as larger designs. They also aren’t built to last for an entire lifetime like other saws, so you should take this into account when evaluating which saw is right for you. If you plan to use the saw heavily over many years, a larger, more durable machine might be worth the initial upfront investment. Having said that, the sidewinder style can be very effective at most common jobs, and the compact size can make them easy to store and transport.

The larger design, with the motor behind the blade, is called a worm-drive saw. These saws have a lot more torque to power the saw, and can therefore get through some tougher jobs without heating up, like cutting through wet lumber or very dense types of wood. It’s important to be aware of this, as a saw that gets slowed down by a tough job can heat up, dulling the blade more quickly, causing less precise cuts, and even potentially endangering the user, as a slower, dull blade can cause the saw to kick back against your hand.

There are other designs available, like battery-powered saws, which are a bit bulkier due to the size of the battery, or smaller sidewinders, which smaller people can more easily and safely operate. You also have the option of getting a trim saw, which is a small circular saw for finishing work or panelling.

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