Best Compact Circular Saws of 2020 – Reviews & Buyer’s Guide

Last Updated on October 18, 2020

If you are really into woodworking and don’t have a lot of room to keep or operate a full-blown table saw, a mini circular saw is what you need. For smooth, straight cuts minus the weight, you need the best compact circular saw. They are very versatile and nimble with enough power to get through any woodcutting jobs. You don’t have to worry about the weight because most of the power tools now use magnesium housing instead of aluminum.

There are a bunch of different kinds and a bunch of different price points, and there are a lot of manufacturers that now make small circular saws. Now, there are different variations of these power tools, but we're just going to focus on the compact models regardless of their power types. Some are better at maneuvering while some offer better cutting performance.

Keeping all the factors in mind, here is a list of some of the best-rated compact circular saws out there that are well made, don’t vibrate a lot, feature ergonomic handles with a good base.

ImageProduct NameWeightPower SourceEditor RatingPrice
Makita SH02R1 12V Max CXTMakita SH02R1 12V Max CXT3.5 lbsBattery-powered4.9/5Check Price
WORX WORXSAW WX429LWORX WORXSAW WX429L4.4 lbsCorded-Electric4.7/5Check Price
Rockwell RK3440K Versacut Ultra-Compact SawRockwell RK3440K Versacut Ultra-Compact Saw4 lbsCorded-Electric4.6/5Check Price
Dremel SM20-03 Saw-MaxDremel SM20-03 Saw-Max4.23 lbsCorded-Electric4.5/5Check Price
Rockwell RK3441K 4-1/2” SawRockwell RK3441K 4-1/2” Saw5 lbsCorded-Electric4.4/5Check Price
Homitt 5.8A 3500RPM Compact SawHomitt 5.8A 3500RPM Compact Saw7.7 lbsCorded-Electric4.4/5Check Price
SKIL PWRCore 12 Brushless 12V SawSKIL PWRCore 12 Brushless 12V Saw7.07 lbsBattery-powered4.3/5Check Price
Genesis GCS545C Small Handheld SawGenesis GCS545C Small Handheld Saw6 lbsCorded-Electric4.1/5Check Price

8 Best Compact Circular Saw Reviews 2020

If you are looking for the best compact circular saws on the market, here is a shortlist of the top 8 products.

1. Makita SH02R1 12V Max CXT Cordless Circular Saw

Makita SH02R1 12V Max ReviewThe Makita sh02r1 cordless circular saw takes the cake when it comes to portability, power, and convenience. Makita compact mini circular saws can be your cutting answer for drywall, plywood, and more. This cordless unit is powered by a 12V Max CXT lithium-ion battery.

To make it the best mini circular saw, Makita made this tool more compact and more comfortable by reducing the size and adding powerful components. The built-in motor of the Makita 3 3/8 mini circular saw is very efficient that has a maximum RPM of 1500. These types of mini saws are enough to give you a buttery smooth cut on a single pass.

The powerful motor in the Makita 3 3/8 saw is engineered for cutting faster. It has a 3-3/8-inch blade with a 1-inch max cutting depth. For accurate bevel cuts, these types of mini circular saws feature a tilting base that provides 5/8-inch cutting capacity at 45 degrees.

The compact size and ergonomic handle make these types of mini circular saws easy to handle. The handle has a soft rubberized grip that gives you a firm hold of the tool. The best part is, you can take this tool anywhere and word for long hours without getting fatigued. With the battery installed, the whole unit is 3.5 lbs.

There are many more neat features like a dust blower that keeps the cutting line clear and dust-free, and last but not least, an LED battery charge level indicator.

Pros
  • Compact and lightweight saw
  • Easy to hold and work with
  • Powerful built-in motor
  • Longer-lasting battery
Cons
  • The build quality seems a little flimsy

2. WORX WORXSAW 4-1/2″ Compact Circular Saw – WX429L

WORX WORXSAW 4-1/2" Saw ReviewIf you don’t want to use a bulky and heavy table saw, or if you want a compact and lightweight saw without sacrificing any cutting performance, this is the tool for you. This worx worxsaw 4-1/2 saw – wx429l is a cheap compact circular saw that is portable, easy to use, powerful, and ideal for DIY woodworking projects.

The 4-1/2″ worxsaw wx429l comes in a complete package that includes the saw with a long power cord, a 24-tooth carbide tip blade with safety cover, a parallel guide, an Allen key, and a vacuum adapter. This Allen fits the parallel guide as well as the blade screw if you want to lock that down. The worxsaw is very portable and also very powerful. This is the perfect fit for people with smaller hands.

It can easily cut a 2 by 4 in one pass while weighing 50% less than traditional 7-1/4-inch compact circular saws. These circular saws are very comfortable to use because of the ergonomic handle and rubberized grip. The actual weight is 4.4 pounds, which gives you a nice combination of control, comfort, and balance.

For a small circular saw, worxsaw wx429l has a lot of power as the motor is rated at four amps. This is one of the best compact saw for all your quick handyman fixes, school projects, or crafts. There is enough cutting depth to make a full 2-inch cut. You can adjust the bevel cut angle from 0 to 45 degrees.

The saw uses a thin blade to reduce tool strain and prolong the longevity of the blade. To achieve a clean edge cut, the parallel guide works well. Overall, this is one of the best circular saw under 50 for someone who is looking for the cheapest one.

Pros
  • Powerful and compact saw that can easily cut 2×4’s
  • Ergonomic design that allows for easy maneuverability
  • Easy to set the bevel settings and depth gauge
  • Built-in safety trigger and tacky grip
Cons
  • Not ideal for lots of accurate long cuts

3. Rockwell RK3440K Versacut Ultra-Compact Circular Saw

Rockwell RK3440K ReviewThe Rockwell rk3440k versacut saw will make your work look professional. This is the best-rated mini circular saw for a first-timer because it can make complicated cuts a breeze because of two reasons. One is the base plate that provides a clear view of the blade position.

The other reason is the laser guide. This guide is spot-on, which makes it very easy for the Rockwell rk3440k saw to follow along your desired cutting line. This tool has the power of a full-sized compact circular saw without the weight in a small form factor. Its 4-1/2″ blade provides a maximum cutting depth of 1-1/16 inches. It’s equipped with a 4-amp motor that can generate 3500 RPM.

You can operate this tool with one hand. You can even change the blade with one hand because of its easy blade changing mechanism. This is the feature that we like the most as it gives a wide range of cutting options. You are limited to just wood only. Simply by changing the blades, you can get a whole lot more work done, take out and cut any type of material in a matter of seconds.

We don’t think we need to tell you how efficient your work will be, if you use these types of mini saws. Since it doesn’t weigh a lot, you can easily carry it around the house or the job site and start working right away. You can’t make bevel cuts by it. This tool has an adapter for dust extraction that keeps dust away from the cut line, which also helps increase visibility.

You can easily cut through different types of materials that are 1 inch thicker. After all, from our point of view, we can say that this is one of the best compact mini circular saw.

Pros
  • Allows you to cut different types of material
  • One-hand operation
  • Streamlined design
  • Laser guide and ideal for tricky cuts
Cons
  • Don’t use it for cutting granite

4. Dremel SM20-03 Saw-Max

Dremel Saw-Max SM20-03The Dremel sm20 03 saw max tool kit is easy to work with using just one hand for most cuts. This versatile tool system has a maximum cutting depth of 20mm. This is deep enough to cut through the most common material for your DIY projects.

The Dremel saw max sm20 is perfect for those small home improvements and cutting projects. Ergonomically designed mini circular saws have abrasive cutting wheels and combine that with its excellent line of sight, and you have yourself one precise cutting machine. The 3-inch diameter blade helps you to achieve precise cuts.

You can also use a number of different blades, and the best part is, the blades come with the package. It can easily cut wood, plastic, and sheet metal. Like a tile cutter, You can also cut tiles with it. You can adjust the depth cut from 0 to 3-1/4-inch by the adjustable foot.

For safety purposes, this tool features a paddle switch mechanism to ensure that you operate this mini saw when you are ready to operate it. Apart from regular cuts, you can also do flush mount cuts using the dedicated saw blade that it comes with.

You can also do plunge cuts with ease. The Dremel SM20-03 mini saw is manufactured in the United States, which means you won’t have a problem regarding the quality of this mini saw. It boasts a power 6-amp motor with a heavy-duty outside case for durability.

Pros
  • Easy to adjust the cutting depth
  • Sturdy build quality
  • Multiple cutting options
  • One-handed operation
Cons
  • Doesn’t come with an Allen wrench

5. Rockwell RK3441K 4-1/2″ Compact Circular Saw

Rockwell RK3441K 4-1/2" ReviewIf you want a compact circular saw for small to medium cuts in metal and wood, the Rockwell rk3441k can become your go-to saw. For small jobs, this one is more convenient than full-size traditional circular saws. Thanks to its compact size, you can easily fit it in your electrical tool bag.

It’s so handy; you can easily use it with one hand. Don’t get fooled by its small size; this tool is packing a lot of power. It has a powerful 5-amp motor that can easily generate 3500 RPM. This much power can easily rival the performance of a full-size saw. It is capable of making 1-1/8″ inch bevel cuts.

The angle cut and rip fence are nice and precise. You can easily set any angle cut by securing the knob, which is quick to do. Rockwell rk3441k is only 5 pounds, which is half the weight of most traditional circular saws.

Rockwell rk3441k has just enough cut capacity to cut everyday materials at 90-degrees for your DIY projects. Don’t let the 5-amp motor fool you though, Rockwell claims that it can cut just as fast as a full-sized saw. With its 4-1/2” blades, it can easily go through 2x4s in a single pass.

Pros
  • Thin blade design to reduce motor strain
  • Good balance and comfort
  • Left-hand blade design
  • More powerful than ordinary compact type saws
Cons
  • No laser guide

6. Homitt 5.8A 3500 RPM Compact Saw

Homitt 5.8A 3500 RPM Compact Saw ReviewIf you want a compact and handy saw that is light enough to use and easy to control with one hand, this Homitt 5.8A 3500 RPM Compact Circular Saw with Laser is for you. Whether you want to cut wood moldings or PVC piping, this tool will work like a charm. It’s ideal for those small cutting and woodworking jobs where space is limited.

With the homitt compact saw, you won’t even need to set up your big and heavy circular saw. For people with smaller hands, this will give you just the right fit. Although it is compact, it has the right amount of mass to absorb all the vibrations of cutting. With its large 4-1/2-inch blade, this tool can fulfill your various cutting needs.

At 90-degree, it has the highest cutting depth of 43 mm and 28mm for a 45-degree bevel cut. This compact saw has a powerful 705W motor that delivers a no-load speed of 3,500 rpm. These types of compact saws come with three functional blades that you can use to cut different types of wood, tile, marble, aluminum alloy, metals, and PVC pipes.

To ensure you get a precise parallel cut, this tool has a highly visible laser guide. Even in bright sunlight, the sight laser marking is visible. To further help with alignment and visibility, the blade is on the left side. You can see easily where you are cutting.

To maintain a clean workspace, there is a dust pipe that you can use to connect to a vacuum cleaner by attaching the pipe to the adapter port. To make sure you don’t accidentally cut your fingers, there are two protective blade guards. Overall, it’s the best circular saw under 100 for someone who is looking for an easy to use the tool.

Pros
  • Compact and handy
  • Powerful 5.8 amp motor
  • 3500 RPM no-load speed
  • Laser guide included
Cons
  • The safety trigger is in an awkward position

7. SKIL PWRCore 12 Brushless 12V Compact Circular Saw

SKIL PWRCore 12 Brushless 12V Saw ReviewThe Skil CR541802 12V PWRCore Brushless 5-1/2 Inch Compact Circular Saw is a powerful saw that comes with everything you need to get started with your woodworking project. It has a powerful brushless motor that does more than providing raw power. This powerful motor is efficient, powerful enough, requires less maintenance, and allows the tool to be more compact.

The skil pwrcore 12 brushless 12v saw is a lightweight tool that can be used to cut through different materials. Since it’s a cordless model, you can take it anywhere and start working right away. The battery SKIL used in this machine is called the PWRCORE 12, which is a 12V lithium-ion battery.

It has a 25% longer runtime with twice the battery life. The charger brick also has some cool features. It can quickly charge the battery from 0 to 25% in less than 5 minutes. With its 5-1/2-inch carbide-tipped 18-tooth blade, you can make quick, clean cut with each pass.

The blade is ultra-thin, which reduces the strain on the motor and increases the longevity of both the blade and the saw. It also has an integrated dust port to keep the cutting area free from dust and debris.

There is a lever in the back that makes adjusting the depth very easy. To achieve different cut angles, there is a bevel adjustment level that you can use to set it from 0 to 50-degree. If you want quick and accurate cuts, this is the ideal electric compact saw for you.

Pros
  • A powerful brushless motor that can generate 4200 RPM
  • Thin 18-tooth ultra-thin blade
  • Easy to adjust the depth
  • Compact and lightweight design
Cons
  • Slightly expensive

8. Genesis GCS545C Small Handheld Saw

Genesis GCS545C Small Handheld Saw ReviewEven a small saw purchased right can make a big difference. Such an example of a compact mini circular saw is the genesis 5.8 amp 4-1/2 in. compact circular saw. This is a powerful compact mini saw that can easily cut through composites, softwood, and hardwood. It is backed up by a powerful 5.8-amp motor that can generate 3,500 RPM.

To achieve maximum torque, the genesis gcs545c uses triple-gear reduction technology that allows you to cut through different materials with ease. With its 4-1/2-inch 24-tooth carbide tip blade, you can easily achieve clean and quick cuts. To keep the cutting area free of debris, this saw has a built-in vacuum adaptor and dust port.

Thanks to its left-hand blade design, it has excellent cutline visibility. If you want to make accurate long cuts, it comes with a rip-guide that is easy to use. However, that also means that you won’t have any sight lasers with this tool. For durability purposes, it has a cast aluminum gearbox.

It has a compact design, which also makes this tool lightweight. Thanks to this, it is easier to use and comfortable too. If you have to make a lot of awkward cuts, this is the tool for you. It’s handy for those tight spots where you need better maneuverability.

Genesis gcs545c is also an incredibly versatile tool because it isn’t limited to wood only. You can use it for the subfloor, drywall, aluminum, and copper. With purchase, you will get a 24-tooth blade and two optional blades. Overall, this is one of the best mini saw that has more power than you will ever need.

Pros
  • Incredibly versatile
  • Easy to use in tighter spaces
  • Powerful and lightweight design
  • A good line of sight
Cons
  • The rip guide is poorly made

How to Choose the Best One

Now that you have gone through our compact circular saw reviews, you might wonder what you need to consider when buying one. The saw that you are investing in needs to be able to meet your requirements. Your purpose plays a vital role in your selection, and not recognizing it will be a big mistake.

You need to be aware of the different aspects that make a good circular saw before you go about spending your cash. The following section of the article will guide you through the features that you should look for when purchasing.

Choosing the Correct Type

Compact circular saws can be either corded or cordless. In this day and age, cordless power tools have come a long way in terms of performance. There is not much difference between the capability of a cordless circular saw and a corded one. But usability and portability are major things to consider in this.

If you have a huge budget, you can get one of both types. That way, you can use the corded one in your workshop where you have access to a wall socket and use the cordless model when you need to take your job outside. If you have a budget for only one, we would highly recommend you to choose the best cordless compact circular saw.

Quality of The Blade

Blades are the most critical part of compact circular saws. Without a high-quality blade, you will not be able to cut thicker wood. It will severely limit your work process and prevent you from doing any heavy-duty tasks. Thankfully, you can always replace the factory blade if it is not up to your standard.

However, not everyone has the luxury of swapping out parts in their new compact saw. So, investing in a top-rated compact circular saw that comes with quality in-build blades is a good idea. Carbide-tipped blades are something to look out for if you want the most out of your investment.

You should also go for blades that come with more teeth if you want a clean cut. The best-rated compact circular saw has a high-quality blade. Make sure to read our compact circular saw review to find the right one.

Cutting Depth

Another important thing of note is the cutting depth of the circular saw. This feature directly correlates with the blade quality. Size is also a vital consideration for this factor. With bigger blades, you can expect more depth of cut and shorter.

Typically, 4-inch circular saws are sufficient for most users while leaving some room for errors. The minimum depth of cut you can find for a saw on the market is 1 inch.

However, some high-end products can go further, reaching up to two inches. If you plan on doing bevel cuts, then cutting depth should also be a factor in your consideration. Not all circular saws are capable of cutting at an angle.

Ergonomics and Ease of Use

A saw that is not comfortable for you to use is hardly worth buying. Although most units look the same, the way they feel, and function can differ drastically. Since it is a dangerous tool, you should give top priority to its ergonomic design.

You must find the good compact circular saw that is easy for you to use. If you have the option to test out the product first-hand, always go for it. Buying products online is a great option, but it does not let you test out the product personally.

Additional Features

Some of the best-rated compact circular saws features additional options to make your experience with the unit better. You could keep an eye out for these functions to get even more out of your investment. Easy blade replacement is an essential feature that you should always prioritize over other things.

Additionally, some units even feature a laser cutting guide to make cutting precise. LED light attachments may seem small but come in handy when you are working in low light conditions. Something even as little as a carry bag adds value to your purchase.

And that concludes our reviews. Hopefully, you have found what you were looking for. Also, make sure to check the FAQ section in case you haven’t got the answer you were looking for.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is it essential to have a laser cutting guide in my compact circular saw?

No, it is not essential to have a laser cutting guide. However, it is a highly useful tool that can help you get accurate cuts. Even though it is not critical to the device, a laser cutting guide feature in a compact saw gets a high place in our recommendation.

2. Are more teeth in the saw make it work better?

Not necessarily. The higher the number of teeth in the blade, the smoother the cut will be. On the other hand, fewer teeth will help make the cutting process faster, saving you a lot of time.

3. Which one is better, Cordless or Corded saw?

In terms of power, both saws can perform similarly. However, in terms of portability, cordless units win.

Final Thoughts

A compact circular saw is a handy tool to have for any DIY enthusiast. All the products on our list are handpicked to give you the best performance per dollar spent.

We hope our comprehensive review has helped you find the perfect unit for yourself. We wish you all the best in all your endeavors, whether as a recreational carpenter or a professional.

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