what is a circular saw used for

What Is a Circular Saw Used For?

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If you haven’t been in the DIY world for long, you might be wondering what is a circular saw used for.

A circular saw is one of the more versatile tools you’d want to have in your shop, especially if you need fast cutting power.

In this guide, we'll explore the number of ways you can use a circular saw.

Can You Use a Circular Saw As a Table Saw?

Contrary to popular belief, circular saws and table saws perform similarly and offer similar results.

As long as you take the time to learn how to use circular saws, you’d be able to get the most use out of it.

There are plenty of tasks your new circular saw can do, too, if only you allow yourself to master how it’s used.

With a circular saw, you can make crosscuts, work on inset boards, and rip lumber as you would with a table saw.

The main difference is accuracy.

A table saw is specifically designed to perform precision cuts with ease.

On the other hand, a circular saw is often handheld, which means you'll need to wield your power for accuracy.

You might also want to consider investing in other equipment pieces to help make working with certain materials simpler.

For example, using a speed square can act as a fence guide to help you cut accurately down your marks.

You can also consider using a shooting board when ripping boards, as it can help you get straight rips.

In reality, if you want to be accurate, a circular saw offers a broader range of job options than a table saw.

It's portable, available in cordless or corded models, and gives you far more maneuverability.

The most significant difference between the two is that table saws are far more precise because they're stationary.

What Is a Circular Saw Used For?

Let's get into the many other purposes for a circular saw that you might be new to.

Cutting Logs

If you don't have access to a chainsaw, you might want to consider using a circular saw instead.

Depending on the type of wood you're working with, you might need a specific type of saw.

For example, hardwood will be best cut by a worm drive saw to slice through the hardened layers.

The most significant benefit of a circular saw for cutting logs is that you can cut them into small pieces.

Once finished, they'll be much easier to transport, and you can create custom sizes for storage.

Straight Cuts

The most popular task for anyone with a circular saw is making straight cuts.

You can quickly create miter cuts, rip cuts, cross cuts, and bevel cuts with the right attachments.

They're highly versatile in regards to circular saw uses, allowing you to do large and small scale projects alike.


You'll find crosscuts to be most useful when you want to shorten boards and long timber.

This method allows you to slice in the grain's direction in the wood, resulting in higher-quality cuts.

Circular saws are the most effective method for making crosscuts comfortably.

Bevel Cuts

If you're making 45-degree bevels, your circular saw will prove most useful.

It's important to note that they won't offer perfect slopes, but they can be great for foundational materials.

They might also be the best choice for construction projects where precision isn't always necessary.

Cutting Metal

Along with wood, you can cut through metal using a circular saw. However, it will be a little more strenuous, especially if you choose a hard metal.

Like making firewood, it's best if you use a heavy-duty blade, such as metal cutting blades.

Another option for working with metal is to find cold saws, which are a specialty circular saw.

These are typically used to cut away brass, steel, and bronze. They're much smaller than the average circular saw, which makes them easier to handle.

what is a circular saw used for

How Dangerous Is a Circular Saw?

Several circular saw injuries occur regularly, making them a dangerous power tool.

Maintaining safety at your job site is of the utmost importance to avoid debilitating injuries.

You could easily amputate your fingers or slice through skin, among many other disastrous incidents.

1. Invest in Circular Saw Safety Equipment

As with any power tool at your site, you must wear the appropriate safety equipment.

It’s not enough that you learn what do you use a circular saw for; safety is of the utmost importance with any power tool.

The top recommended items include:

Safety Glasses

Safety glasses feature non-penetrable materials on the lenses to protect your eyes from debris.

As you'll likely be working with wood, you'll want to prevent wood slivers from getting into your eyes.

Also, they help to prevent sawdust and other contaminants from entering your eyes.

If you wear glasses, you might also be able to purchase specialty lenses for your existing frames.

Sometimes, manufacturers will create safety glasses that can be worn daily and while you’re on a job site.

It’s a great alternative, as some industrial workplaces suggest avoiding contacts because it can trap debris in your eye.

Hearing Protection

Circular saws aren't overbearingly loud, but they can be disruptive over a long period.

When you're working around power tools consistently, you'll need to protect your long-term hearing.

Appropriate Clothing

One of the essential rules of operating power tools is to make sure you wear the right clothes.

You won't want sleeves that could get caught in the rotating blade, nor any parts of your clothing that could get snagged.

Users with long hair must ensure their hair is securely tied back, as well, to prevent injuries.

Another crucial part of using a circular saw is to make sure you're not wearing any unbreakable jewelry.

For example, wedding rings made from tungsten can be a significant hazard when operating powered equipment.

Always Use a Blade Guard

If you're making multiple cuts in a row, a blade guard might seem like an inconvenience.

However, it is available for your safety and should always be used.

With its help, your blade will not be exposed, which can help to prevent injury.

3. Use a Stable Surface

Even though most circular saws are handheld, it's crucial you cut on a stable surface.

Plenty of professionals decide to make their cuts on the ground in a comfortable and sturdy position.

You can also use a sturdy cutting table to make your slices without putting yourself at risk.

4. Learn to Avoid Kickbacks

Your positioning is vital to ensure you don't accidentally get injured from your circular saw.

It's best if you stand to the side at a fair distance to where you're not overextending your torso.

If you're directly behind the saw, you could be at risk for dealing with kickbacks.

5. Use Both Hands

Even the highest quality circular saws need to be handled with care, especially as you must maintain a firm grip.

Be sure to use both of your hands to offer maximum control in all environments.

It's also important that you take the necessary steps to clamp down your materials not to move.

6. Perform Frequent Blade Inspections

As the blade on your saw is the number one hazard, you'll need to inspect it regularly.

The sharper your blade is, the more effortlessly it will cut, which can keep you safer.

You won't have to worry about putting more effort into your cuts with a sharp blade.

Also, regular inspections help you know when it's time to service the saw to extend its longevity.

7. Built-In Trigger Safety

The vast majority of circular saws are required to have safety features built into them.

The trigger safety is the most common, as it helps prevent the user from accidentally starting the saw.

Using your thumb, you'll be able to disengage the safety so that you can freely pull the trigger when needed.

Once finished cutting, you can re-engage the trigger safety so that the power tool isn't inadvertently started.

When used in combination with a comfortable grip, you should easily position your hand for safe usage.

Is There a Difference Between a Skill Saw and a Circular Saw?

At first glance, a skill saw and circular saw look almost identical. Where the majority of differences lie are in the circular saw uses and portability.

Circular saws were invented first in the 20th century, but the original models were designed to be mounted.

Due to their lack of portability, Edmond Michel decided to create a powerful tool that was far more portable.

Working alongside Joseph Sullivan, a local farmer, they created a company called Skilsaw to begin manufacturing skill saws.

Their new design was meant to allow woodworkers to make efficient cuts with a powerful motor in a smaller shaped tool.

Today, many of the same sentiments ring true, as skill saws are slightly more portable than circular saws.

You'll typically use skill saws for smaller projects, such as household DIY tasks.

However, some of the more expensive models can also be convenient for more heavy-duty industrial tasks.

Circular saws, on the other hand, are highly versatile and offer an impressive number of affordable models.

You'll also find a few different types of circular saws to consider, including worm drive, direct drive, and hypoid.

Word Drive Circular Saw

Direct Drive Circular Saw

Hypoid Circular Saw

What Do You Use A Circular Saw For?

There are many uses to consider when asking what is a circular saw used for. With more experience, you can make the most out of learning how to use circular saws.

You'll also find that they are among the most versatile items to have in your kit for large and small scale projects.

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