If a regular circular saw can handle most tasks a plunge circular saw does, is it even worth investing in one?
What is a plunge cut circular saw, anyway?
Before going into the reasons for buying a plunge saw, let’s first discuss what plunge cutting means and compare a plunge saw vs circular saw.
What Does Plunge Cut Mean?
Plunge cutting is a technique that involves initially plunging a rotating or oscillating blade into making a hole anywhere on the surface of the material being cut.
The plunge cut is essential for making quick, clean holes in many materials without cutting from the edges.
Although some training is necessary for making clean plunge cuts with oscillating plunge tools, the plunge cut circular saw only requires the cut to be made in an accurate position.
For plunge cut circular saws, the initial hole allows the insertion of a larger part of the blade for continuous cutting in both directions parallel to the plunged hole.
What Is a Circular Saw?
A circular saw is a power tool that uses a round, flat blade spinning on its center. The blade can either have a toothed or abrasive edge.
Circular saws have a handle with a trigger, retracting protective guards, an arbor nut to hold the blade in place, and a bottom plate for arranging a cutting position.
The protective guards retract whenever an operator pushes the blade out of the base plate to cut.
The cutting depth and angle can be adjusted depending on the available features of a circular saw.
What Is a Circular Saw Used For?
Depending on the type of blade, a circular saw can be used in cutting wood, metal, or plastic.
You can use a circular saw to cut in straight lines at variable lengths, depending on the cutting guide’s maximum length.
To make a clean, straight cut with a circular saw, you must start from the edge of the material that is being cut.
What Is a Plunge Saw?
When talking about a plunge saw, people commonly refer to the plunge cut circular saw. Do not mistake a plunge saw for an oscillating or reciprocating tool.
The oscillating tool can make small plunge cuts using a saw blade, but it requires a lot of skill to use it for cutting in a long straight line.
Oscillating saws and reciprocating saws only vary in the direction of movement.
Reciprocating saws have a push-and-pull movement, while oscillating saws shake or move at tiny distances from side to side.
Oscillating tools have multiple interchangeable attachments that can be used for cutting, sawing, rasping, scraping, sanding, and polishing.
For cutting in long, straight lines, choose the plunge circular saw.
What Is a Plunge Cut Circular Saw?
Plunge cut circular saws are also referred to as track saws because they are typically paired with a guide track or guide rail.
A plunge saw is designed to have a circular blade inside the machine itself. Unlike the circular saw, it does not have the standard retractable blade guard.
Its design allows it to make quick and easy plunge cuts, which is why it is typically referred to as a plunge saw.
Most plunge cut circular saws incorporate effective dust extraction using their built-in vacuum exhaust system.
This feature allows you to have a completely clear line of sight while making your cuts.
Aside from that, it also prevents particle inhalation and excessive post cleanups.
What Is a Plunge Cut Saw Used For?
You use a plunge saw for making straight cuts, angled cuts, cross cuts, tongue and groove cuts, and many other cuts you can do with a table saw.
Cutting with wood, metal, or plastic also depends on the type of blade installed into the device.
Can You Use a Plunge Saw as a Circular Saw?
Understanding what is a plunge saw could get you thinking you can interchange the two power tools.
You use a plunge cut circular saw for almost all applications that require a circular saw.
In other words, a plunge saw is a more improved version of a circular saw.
One factor that gives circular saws an edge over plunge saws is that a plunge saw requires two hands for complete control.
You use one hand to plunge the blade into the material and use the other hand to push the cutting tool forward to complete the cut.
With enough skill, a circular saw only requires one hand to move the cutting tool, and the other hand is left free to secure the material being cut.
Plunge Saw vs Circular Saw
When comparing similar tools, either is always beneficial in one way or another. Both the tools can also have their drawbacks.
Now that you know what is a plunge cut circular saw, check out its benefits compared to those offered by a circular saw.
You cannot perform an accurate plunge cut with a circular saw.
With a circular saw, you will have to start your sawing at the edge of the material you are cutting.
Plunge cut circular saws allow you to plunge the blade at any point into the material that you need to cut.
Its plunge cut feature makes it perfect for cutting holes for sinks or hobs.
Smooth and Clean Cuts
Traditional circular saws cannot ensure splinter-free cuts wherever it matters.
A circular plunge saw will always provide a very smooth and clean surface after cutting with its guided blade.
Unlike in plunge cut circular saws, you cannot guarantee consistent cutting accuracy when using a regular circular saw.
A plunge saw has a guide rail component to ensure clean, accurate cuts.
Additionally, a plunge saw blade housing has a flat side that can double as a guide against any flat surface, such as a wall, door, or floor.
Not all circular saws have adjustable cutting depths and angular positioning like most plunge saws do.
Circular saws have the blade side open, making it unreliable for dust extraction.
On the other hand, plunge saws have enclosed blade housing that allows effortless dust extraction using a built-in vacuum tube.
All power tools with a sharp blade cannot be completely safe 100 percent of the time.
With most tools, accidents are more a result of operator negligence than an effect of faulty equipment design.
New tools are being designed to accommodate the best safety practices, and plunge saws can attest to that.
Since the blade is hidden in plunge saws, it is relatively much safer than circular saws.
The covering also protects an operator from inhaling dust particles and splintering.
Dust fumes from circular saws are actually haphazard because of the open side of the blade.
How Do You Plunge Cut With a Reciprocating Saw?
Although the best way to plunge cut a perfectly straight hole into a material is by using a plunge cut circular saw, you can also achieve it with a reciprocating saw.
What Is a Reciprocating Saw?
A reciprocating saw is a power tool that uses a push-and-pull motion to cut with a blade.
Also known as a hognose, the large blade on a reciprocating saw resembles that of a jigsaw.
The handle design makes it an ideal tool for cutting comfortably on vertical surfaces.
When using a reciprocating saw to make a plunge cut, the type of blade is very important.
We recommend using a blade with a rounded tip and cutting edges on both sides.
The rounded tip allows an operator to “roll” or plunge the reciprocating blade into the surface of the material being cut.
Steps in Plunge Cutting With a Reciprocating Saw
Use the following steps when trying to make a plunge cut with a reciprocating saw:
Step 1. Start by positioning the reciprocating saw blade parallel to the surface of the material being cut.
Step 2. Slowly tilt the device and let the rounded tip of the blade cut into the surface.
Step 3. Let the rest of the blade plunge through the material.
Keep in mind that cutting with a reciprocating saw without using a straight edge as a guide can result in crooked and uneven cuts.
Knowing what is a plunge saw can help you decide if it can be a great addition to your tools.
If you want to make clean, accurate cuts and not make a mess, a plunge cut circular saw can get the job done.
Plunge saws can be slotted onto a guide rail for a fast and precisely straight cut.
Depending on the model, the guide rails can be bought separately and connected to make longer tracks for cutting longer materials.
With the revolutionary guide rails, you can have total control over the plunge saw and cut through laminates, plywood, and insulation material.
Make repetitive cuts with a simple motion of the plunge saw and a push on the material being cut.
Moreover, you can enjoy making bevel and miter cuts even on small workpieces.
All of these benefits make the plunge saw an upgrade from the circular saw.