Wooden Pallet Projects is now Upcycle This DIY That. New name but the same great content!
This post includes affiliate links. If you decide to make a purchase through my link, I might get a small commission for it at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting Upcycle This DIY That!
If you’re on the hunt for the best compact circular saw then you’re in the right place.
Thanks to many hours of research and experts’ consultations I put together this comprehensive article about the best compact circular saw models available on the market. No more confusion about which saw to choose for your next project.
Besides jigsaws, compact circular saws are the least intimidating of all saws. They come really handy for small jobs around the house or when working with pallets or any other small projects. There is a lot of choice on the market, but it’s important to look for a tool that can easily deal with pallet planks or 2x4s.
YOU MAY ALSO BE INTERESTED IN:
Best Cordless Jigsaw Models 2021
Best Jigsaw Models 2021
How to Use a Jigsaw
How to Cut Curves Using a Jigsaw
How to Use a Jigsaw to Cut a Straight Line
Best Curve Cutting Jigsaw Blades
Best Saw For Cutting Shapes Out Of Wood
In a rush? Then I recommend checking the models below that may suit your needs best. Or read along for full reviews you’ll find below.
Best Compact Circular Saw in 2020
Let’s have a closer look at the best compact circular saw models that are available on the market. If you’re not sure what to look for check this buying guide for more information
Best Overall – DEWALT DCS571B compact circular saw
If you are fed up with dragging your 7 1/2 inch circular saw everywhere, and you need something more portable and compact, then this Dewalt mini circular saw is definitely the one to go with.
It has excellent features at a professional level. And if you don’t own any cordless tools from the Dewalt brand, you have to consider the extra budget for the batteries and a charger. Is it with the money? Let’s have a close look
It’s a cordless saw with a brushless motor powered by a 20V max battery, which provides a no-load speed 4500 RPM comparable with corded saws that are bigger in size. It’s a lot more(around 1000RPM) than every other compact saw in this article. You get a lot of power and, at the same time, more maneuverability to get into places that bigger saws simply can’t fit.
The ergonomic grip and a great balance, as well as the auxiliary handle, provide excellent control and make it comfortable to use.
The dust port allows for attaching it to a shop vac, so you get a clean-cut line. The hang hook will let you hang it in cases when you can’t put it down like working on a roof or ladder.
The saw has several safety features like an electronic brake that stops the blade quickly. A blade guard same as in full-size saws that retracts as the cut is made. And a safety lock button that has to be pressed at the same time as the trigger.
This saw is solidly built, easy to control, and accurate. It’s on a heavy side, but this adds stability and doesn’t make it difficult to use with one hand.
Because it is a cordless tool, it’s more portable, and a lot more projects can be completed that otherwise would require an extension cord. You can easily rip some fence panels or rough cut 2x lumber and all thicknesses of plywood and MDF as well as 1 1/2 oak boards. Since it’s a beast, it can eat up the battery quite quickly, so I’d invest in bigger batteries.
The bevel adjustment and the cut depth adjustment are both tool-less, and you can easily change them using levers at the front and side of the tool. The bevel goes up to 45 º each way, and the max cut depth is 1-1/8″ 28mm at 45º and 1-11/16″ 43mm (45º) at 90º.
Hooking up even a small shop van gives you fast, super clean cuts with very little dust on 1x 2x lumber. It performs a bit worse on sheet ripping. But the visibility of the cut is excellent anyway.
The included blades cut smoothly, and replacements are available in local stores. But just in case you have difficulties in finding them there, here are some links to a good variety of blades that should suit your needs.
- PORTER-CABLE 4-1/2″ Plywood Cutting Blade 120-Tooth
- Pack Of 4 Assorted 60T HSS Metal/24T TCT Wood/Diamond 4-1/2-Inch Circular Saw Blades
- Rockwell 4-1/2-Inch 60T Circular Saw Blade
- Worx WA5085 24T TCT Blade, 4 1/2″ Inch
- TECCPO Carbide Tipped Circular Saw Blades
Not much to say here. There are several small complaints that users reported, like missing LED light, no laser, and the necessity of an Allen key to change the blade( which is pretty much standard for mini circular saws). Not deal-breakers, in my opinion.
The need to operate the safety and the trigger at the same time can be a bit awkward for some users. Still, if you check the rest of the reviews, this is a standard feature in nearly all of the models regardless of the brand. Some people find it challenging to use, and I’m sure it takes time to get used to it.
The dust collection- while great, the dust port can slide off the smooth metal port while cutting, because of vibrations after some time.
Overall great little saw for small quick jobs both on a DIY and professional level. And while the price might be a deal-breaker for homeowners/DIY-ers, if you’re already an owner of a DeWalt cordless tool system, this would be a great addition to your collection.
Best Value for Money –
TACKLIFE TCS115A Circular Saw
This model from Tacklife offers many great features and has an attractive price. It’s a great alternative if you don’t want to invest in the cordless saw like DeWalt DCS571B. Still powerful enough for most projects and come switch a selection of blades, a rip fence, and additional detachable handle. If you want to know more, check the review below.
You get a 5.8 Amp motor, which produces 3500 RPM. This will provide enough power for various cutting tasks like light duty around the house jobs, decking, flooring, 2x lumber, or even concrete with chicken wire with the right blade for the job.
The additional auxiliary handle, similar to the DeWalt DCS571B, gives you extra control and reduces fatigue. But unlike the DeWalt’s, it’s detachable and without any extra tools needed. So if the handle was going in the way, you could simply remove it.
It feels heavy, well made, and very ergonomic.
This mini circular saw is compact and not as intimidating as the bigger models. It fits nicely, even in small hands, and the left-sided blade design gives you excellent cut-line visibility. It also has a laser for tracking the cutting line, which the DeWalt DCS571B model lacks.
You can easily hook it up to the shop vac using the dust port located on the side using a vacuum attachment, which is 1 ¼ inch female. This is a hose for a shop vac that should fit in case you have some trouble with finding one: Superior Pump 99624 Universal Discharge Hose Kit, 24-Feet.
This saw tracks well and is really easy to maneuver. The smaller foot makes it easier to work with small projects, but this has one con, which I’ll mention later on.
It’s a very versatile compact saw, and a good assortment of cheap blades are available. It comes with 6 blades already. Should you need to use it for cutting wood, tiles, or soft metal, you get 2 blades for each application. However, I’d recommend investing in good quality blades like Diablo to make sure the saw will tackle any job thrown its way without bogging down.
The design works well with right-handed as well as left-handed users. Still, the safety button use is a bit awkward, especially for left-handed and short-fingered people. I’d say if you have very tiny hands, this type of saw would be challenging to use. If that’s the case, I’d check out the B&D mini circular saw, which is held from above, or the Works WX531L cordless saw, which has a very slim handle.
I must also mention very helpful customer service. In the case of this tool, breaking or malfunctioning the response is relatively quick, and usually, replacement sent without bigger problems.
A handful of cons in this case. Firstly, the laser is battery powered. If you happen to leave it on, it will drain the batteries, which are one of these round flat ones (LR44), so not convenient if you haven’t got spare ones on hand. Not a biggie, but it’d be simpler if it was powered from the mains.
The next one is the safety button. But as I mentioned before, it looks like nearly every single compact circular saw has it designed the same way. And there are a number of people who don’t like it and/or can’t use the saw because of it. In my opinion, it’s a matter of personal preference and probably the size of your palms.
While the size of the shoe is beneficial in some applications, the shoe itself is stamped, which can make it feel a bit flimsy and flexible. It would definitely be undesired for precise cuts as you want a solid that doesn’t bend while cutting.
And the last one is the dust adapter shape. The 90 deg angle shape is too tight, making the hose run too close along with the tool’s body and in the way. The solution would be to change it to 45 deg. If you can find an adaptor like that, it would solve the problem.
Overall it is one of the best compact saw models for DIY and craft jobs. You get a lot of bang for your buck in terms of power and features—a great option for beginners who feel intimidated by its bigger cousins.
GALAX PRO GP766V Mini Circular Saw
This compact circular saw is the cheapest one on my list. While it’s not a professional-grade tool, it has a lot of features the more expensive models have. Is it worth your attention? Let’s take a closer look and check what it has to offer.
Same as the Tacklife, the
The base plate, however, is thickened aluminum cast, which gives you more stability and durability.
Compact in size the saw shape is very similar to the Tacklife model. It’s easy to use one-handed and ergonomic grip reduces fatigue.
It comes with 2 blades, a rip fence, and a vacuum adaptor hose as well as Allen key for blade changing.
What I like about this saw that it has a dust extraction port and vacuum the same as the more expensive saws. This will let you hook it up with a small shop vac and get rid of most of the sawdust.
It’s light and accurate. Easy to use and handle straight out of the box. It has plenty of power for most jobs that a beginner woodworker or DIY-er would have in mind, like ripping through oak pallets, for instance.
Tool-less bevel and depth adjustments are pretty standard, and you’ll find it even in this budget example.
This model lacks the laser, but considering that DeWalt hasn’t got one either, it’s not a big deal. The safety button operation is the same as the rest of the saws on the market and gets some complaints from the users. Especially left-handed ones that find it very awkward if not impossible to use.
The quality of the blades that are included is not very high, but you can always upgrade, and I’m sure you’ll get better performance from your little saw.
This saw is a good value for the money. A great option for weekend warriors. Very similar to the Tacklife model, low price, and has many positive reviews. If you need a saw for occasional use, I’d definitely recommend checking it out
Ginour Mini Circular Saw
This is a model from a less known
The design of this saw model resembles the tacklife and
You get 6 blades for different applications included with this saw- 2 4 -/2 in metal/drywall blades, 2 5in wood blades, and 2 4-1/2in diamond blades. You also get a dust pipe with a vacuum attachment and the rip fence.
It’s compact in size and pretty lightweight. 5.5lbs compared to Tacklife’s 8.3lbs It’s light enough to be easily controlled with one hand but at the same time heavy enough to absorb the vibrations during use. Ergonomic grip with a sweat-proof rubber handle allows for better control and less fatigue. It doesn’t have the extra handle that tacklife and DeWalt have, though. But it’s comfortable enough even for females with smaller hands.
You also get the laser guide for improved cutting precision, which is a bonus. And the tool-less bevel (up to 45 deg each way)and cut depth adjustments which are seen in most of the models.
It also features an aluminum alloy guard that covers the blade and only retracts during the cutting operation, lowering the probability of accidental cuts. But like with all the circular saws, extreme caution is necessary during use.
So pretty much standard stuff. You also get the dust extraction port with the vacuum attachment, which allows for a cleaner working environment and better cutting line visibility.
The blades included are not exceptional, and if you want to get the best performance out of this little guy, invest in better blades. However, it does take 5in blades as well, which is a bonus in a depth cutting capability.
The dual safety switch could be a pain to use for some users. But as I said before, this is a problem for some people, while others have no difficulties operating this type of safety feature setup.
There isn’t much info about this brand and manufacturer, which could be worrying, but they do offer free replacement and a LIFETIME warranty. So you should be good as long as the company still exists if you need to use it.
The bottom line is that this saw has many positive reviews from users and would be great for quick around-the-house and DIY projects.
Black&Decker BDCCS20C Mini Circular saw
If you’re ready to move to power tools but not quite confident yet in using full-size saws, this one will be the one you’d want to go for.
It’s got everything you would need for pallet projects or any projects around your house: enough power, easy handling, ability to do bevel cuts, and a light weight. Since it’s cordless, it gives you a lot of portability as well. Its design is different from the models reviewed as it looks like a typical circular saw but smaller in size. Does this make it a better option when it comes to choosing the best cordless saw? Have a look and find out.
This cordless saw is powered by a 20V battery and able to produce 3700RPM, which is quite impressive and should be enough for light to medium-duty projects like pallet projects etc. Saying that, don’t expect to do a whole house remodel with it, though. But this compact saw is more than capable of making 4×4, 2×4, 1×4 and 1×2 easily.
Bevel and depth adjustments are quick and easy. The grip is comfortable, and the additional handle makes it even easier to control.
It comes with a battery and a charger.
This handy, little saw is easy to use and pretty lightweight(7.5lbs without battery). Lack of cord obviously adds up to its portability and versatility. Although not as compact as the rest of the models in this article, this saw allows for cutting thicker lumber like 4×4 without many problems.
The price of the kit, including the charger and one battery, is very attractive, and although it changes over time, you can often buy it under $90. It’s even cheaper if you already own some of the B&D cordless tools and purchase the bare tool only.
The battery life is pretty impressive, but I always recommend to invest in a bigger one anyway.
The kit is sold without a blade, but I always recommend upgrading to a good quality one like this one below regardless if it comes with one or not.
A good option for those who need occasional use of the circular saw and don’t need the full size one. I’d say it’s a beginner tool that allows you to get a feeling of working with this type of saw without intimidating the user.
WORX WX429L Compact circular saw
The Worx model is half of the weight of a full 7 ½ in size circular saw and comes with a lot of great features. But can it deliver the same results in terms of power?
This compact saw model from Worx is one with the lowest power standing at 4 Amps but can produce the same speed of 3500RPM as Tacklife,
It’s easy to handle and control even for a beginner. It has a dust port, and the Allen key is stored on the cord for quick access. They also included a rip fence, a vacuum adapter, and one blade.
It’s an excellent tool for homeowners or crafters for occasional use. The size of this compact saw is right even for small hands, and the saw itself is well balanced. The handle is the size of a soda can, and the safety lock/trigger setup is not as awkward as in the rest of the saws in this article. But also requires getting used to a bit.
For those who think that this saw would be too big for their hands, there is also a cordless version for around $130 with a battery and charger that is a lot slimmer. So something to consider.
It’s adequate for projects that don’t require cuts deeper than 2 in. And as it lacks a bit in a power department, it cuts slowly. Someone who needs longer cuts may be disappointed.
I’d say the power is acceptable considering the size and amperage of this model. Saying that it can be definitely used for dry 2x lumber and sheet goods, but don’t expect precision cutting.
Standard tool-less bevel and depth adjustments – same as in the most other saws this type. The shoe is narrow, which makes it easier to cut with limited space.
The dust port allows for shop vac attachment and does a pretty good job catching the majority of the sawdust.
Unlike the rest of the reviewed models, the blade guard is plastic, not metal, which is not ideal. The shoe is stamped not cast but for the price no surprise there. The safety is located in front of the trigger, which is a different design compared to the other saws. But because it is made of thin plastic, it’s more likely to break off in case you accidentally drop it.
Overall this saw is lightweight, reasonably sturdy, and convenient for small tasks with adequate accuracy.
There are several things to consider before buying this type of circular saw so you can make an informed decision.
The power of the saw will determine the torque and speed of the cut and general cutting capabilities for a variety of materials. Since these types of saws are not designed for heavy-duty work, you can’t really compare them to their full-size cousins. You should look for anything above 4 Amps and 3000RMP to be able to use it for any DIY and around the house jobs.
Blade size and cutting depth
The blade size for compact circular saws varies from around 2in up to 5-1/2. So the choice here mainly depends on your project and the thickness of the cutting material.
The cut depth depends mostly on the blade size and saw settings- in this case, around 1in to 4in. Then you also have to consider the blade price as well as the availability of different types of blades needed for different materials like wood, metal, ceramic.
Ease of use
If you use the saw for cutting a variety of materials, changing the blade fast is crucial. Most of the mini circular saws use an Allen wrench to do it. While it’s not overly complicated and can be done relatively quickly, it can disturb your workflow if you need to change the blades more often.
The saw ergonomics is critical, especially with these compact models since you use only one hand to make the cuts. You want as much control and comfort as possible. Some of the models have an extra detachable handle to make it even easier.
The next thing to consider is the bevel and depth adjustment. If you need a lot of beveled cuts and work with a variety of material thicknesses, these two should be easily changed without any extra tools.
Accuracy of the saw and then the cut precision can be influenced by several factors like vibrations, dust management systems, use of laser guides, or other physical guides. So if it’s something you’re looking for in your saw, it’s important to look closer at these features.
While most of the saws have some type of safety features included in their design like blade guards, blade brakes, and safety locks, you have to remember that even a small circular saw can be dangerous. Hence, it’s crucial that you take all the steps to ensure safe working practice.
Laser cutting guide – helps with cutting accuracy by creating a cutting line you follow with your saw. Usually powered with additional batteries.
LED light– It helps with cut line visibility and therefore cutting accuracy. While not necessary, it’s handy, especially in places with reduced access to light.
I hope this article has helped you with choosing the best compact circular saw and you’ve learned one thing or two about this type of saws. If you have any questions, leave a comment below and I’ll be happy to help you the best I can 🙂
Don’t have time to read now? Pin it for later to your woodworking power tools board, thanks!