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How to use a circular saw

Introduction to Circular Saws

From basic instructions to advanced techniques, we are here to assist you and help you understand how to use a circular saw effectively for your woodworking and construction projects.

A circular saw is an essential powerhouse in the toolkit of both professionals and DIY enthusiasts. These versatile tools are designed to make accurate and efficient cuts through a variety of materials, including wood, metal, plastic, and masonry. By following the right steps and adhering to safety protocols, you can make really the most of this fantastic tool during your construction projects.

Features and Benefits

Precision Cutting:

Circular saws are admired for their ability to produce precise and straight cuts with minimal effort.

The blade's design and motor power combine to create a smooth cutting experience.


One of the circular saw's standout features is its adaptability.

From ripping large plywood sheets to making intricate crosscuts, this tool is an absolute go-to for a wide range of tasks on site.


With their robust motors and sharp blades, circular saws swiftly cut through materials, optimising your working time and productivity.


Designed as handheld tools, circular saws are portable and very easy to carry around your workspace or job site, allowing you to make cuts wherever they're needed.

Depth Adjustment:

Circular saws boast adjustable cutting depths, enabling you to customise the depth of the cut to match the thickness of the material you're working with.

Bevel Cutting:

Many circular saw models offer bevel cutting capabilities, allowing the blade to tilt at an angle, enabling you to create bevelled edges and angled cuts.

A step by step guide on how to use a circular saw

Step 1: Choose the Right Blade

  • Select a blade based on the material you're working with.
  • Carbide-tipped blades are excellent for wood, while diamond blades are ideal for masonry.
  • The right blade enhances both cutting quality and tool longevity.

Step 2: Adjust the Depth

  • Loosen the depth adjustment lever and set the base plate's depth according to the thickness of your material.
  • This ensures the blade only cuts as deep as necessary.

Step 3: Set the Cutting Angle

  • If your circular saw supports bevel cuts, adjust the bevel angle to achieve the desired cut angle. This feature adds flexibility to your projects, especially when crafting bevelled edges.

Step 4: Measure and Mark

  • Accurate measurements are the foundation of successful cuts.
  • Measure your material carefully and mark the cutting line using a straightedge and a pencil.
  • Double-check your measurements for precision.

Step 5: Secure the Material

  • Use clamps or other suitable methods to secure the material firmly to your work surface.
  • This will prevent any movement during cutting, ensuring safety and accuracy.

Step 6: Power Up the Saw

  • For corded circular saws, plug the tool into a power outlet and ensure the cord is safely routed.
  • Cordless models should be equipped with a fully charged battery.

Step 7: Start Cutting

  • Position the circular saws' blade right on the marked cutting line, aligning the blade with the edge of the material. This initial positioning is crucial for maintaining accuracy.

Step 8: Maintain a Steady Pace

  • Hold the saw's handle with both hands, ensuring a firm grip.
  • Begin cutting with a controlled and steady motion.
  • Avoid forcing the blade through the material; let the tool's power do the work.

Step 9: Complete the Cut

  • Follow the marked line precisely, keeping the blade on course.
  • As you approach the end of the cut, ensure your hands are clear of the blade's path and maintain control.

Applications on a Construction Site

Circular saws find a wide array of applications on construction sites, contributing to various tasks:

  • Framing: Circular saws are used to cut lumber for framing walls, floors, and roofs. They enable precise sizing and fitting of structural components.
  • Sheet Goods: The ability to rip large sheets of plywood, oriented strand board (OSB), and medium-density fiberboard (MDF) into smaller sections is invaluable for construction projects.
  • Trim Work: Circular saws play a vital role in cutting trim pieces accurately, ensuring seamless installations around doors, windows, and corners.
  • Concrete Cutting: By using an appropriate diamond blade, circular saws can cut through concrete, making them indispensable for creating openings in walls, floors, and pavement.

Prioritising safety is non-negotiable when working with any power tool, especially circular saws. Here's a checklist to ensure that you're safe when using a circular saw on site:

  • Safety Gear: Invest in safety goggles, ear protection, gloves, and appropriate clothing to safeguard yourself from potential hazards.
  • Secure Workspace: Your work area should be well-lit, clean, and stable. Ensure there's ample room to manoeuvre and that there are no tripping hazards.
  • Blade Inspection: Always examine the blade for any signs of damage, dullness, or wear before each use. A skill saw with a damaged blade can lead to accidents and poor-quality cuts.
  • Cord Management: For corded circular saws, manage the cord properly to prevent accidents, ensuring it stays clear of the cutting path.
  • Disconnect Power: Whenever you're changing blades or making adjustments, disconnect the saw from its power source to prevent unintentional activation.

Popular Circular Saw Brands in the UK

When seeking a circular saw for your projects, consider reputable brands that have garnered trust over the years:

  • Bosch: Bosch circular saws are celebrated for their precision and versatility. They cater to various skill levels and project requirements.
  • DeWalt: Known for robustness and innovation, DeWalt circular saws are favoured by professionals for their performance and durability.
  • Hilti: A Hilti skill saw is known for its comfortability, partnered with precise cuts. Widely considered as one of the front-runners in their field.
  • Makita: Renowned for its premium quality, Makita offers a wide range of circular saws, incorporating cutting-edge technology and ergonomic design.

View our Hilti Nuron SC 30WR-22 Cordless Circular Saw for hire

Comparing Cordless and Electric Circular Saws

Choosing between a cordless and an electric (corded) circular saw depends on your preferences and needs. Here's a quick comparison:

Cordless Circular Saw:

  • Pros:
    • Portability: No cords offer unmatched mobility.
    • Convenience: Suitable for remote locations without power outlets.
    • Safety: Absence of cords reduces tripping hazards.
  • Cons:
    • Battery Life: Limited runtime before recharging or replacing batteries.
    • Power: May have slightly lower power compared to corded models.
    • Weight: Batteries can add weight to the tool.
    View our Cordless Circular Saw for hire

Electric Circular Saw:

  • Pros:
    • Continuous Power: No battery restrictions; constant power supply.
    • Power Output: Generally offers more power for demanding cuts.
    • Longer Usage: Uninterrupted operation without needing to recharge.
  • Cons:
    • Mobility: Cord limits movement range.
    • Outlets: Requires access to power outlets.
    • Cord Hazards: Risk of tripping over cords
    View our Electric Circular Saw for hire

Comparing Circular Saws with Other Types of Saws

Circular saws are just one type of saw in the vast world of cutting tools. Let's compare them with some other popular saw types:

Circular Saws vs Reciprocating Saws

Circular Saws:

  • Excel in straight cuts.
  • Can be more accurate for precise cuts.
  • Offer greater cutting depth control.

Reciprocating Saws:

  • Thrive in demolition and rough cutting.
  • Ideal for cutting in tight spaces.
  • Suitable for various materials, including metal and wood.

View our reciprocating saws for hire

Circular Saws vs Chop Saws (Miter Saws)

Circular Saws:

  • Provide more flexibility for cutting lengths.
  • Allow for bevel cuts and a wider range of angles.
  • Portable and versatile for on-site usage.

Chop Saws:

  • Primarily designed for accurate angle and mitre cuts.
  • Often used for trim work and precision carpentry.
  • Suitable for making cross cuts and bevel cuts.

View our chop saws for hire

Circular Saws vs Floor Saws

Circular Saws:

  • Versatile for various materials, not just concrete or asphalt.
  • Can be used with appropriate blades for different tasks.
  • More portable and user-friendly than floor saws.

Floor Saws:

  • Specifically designed for cutting hard surfaces like concrete and asphalt.
  • Typically larger and heavier for heavy-duty tasks.
  • Suited for professional construction and roadwork.

View our floor saws for hire

To find out more about other saws, check out our latest article: The types of saws and their uses.


By grasping their features, mastering safety precautions, and following the step-by-step guide, you can confidently an electric or cordless circular saw to elevate your projects. Remember, safety is the cornerstone of any successful work, and by adhering to safety guidelines, you ensure a productive and risk-free experience. Consider the top brands such as Hilti, DeWalt, Makita, and Bosch for quality and reliability in your circular saw selection.

As you delve into the comparisons between cordless and electric models, and weigh the merits of circular saws against other types of saws, you're empowered to make informed choices that align with your unique project requirements. We hope you have gained enough knowledge on how to use a circular saw that you can positively affect your projects.

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