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Choosing the best compact circular saw is all about portability, weight, and ability to cut in confined spaces.
We put together this short guide on some of the top models available, as well as a complete buyer’s guide at the end.
Here's 3 products we picked out that thought you would be interested in depending on your budget...
The Best Compact Circular Saws with reviews 2021
Here's a list of the best compact saws on the market today:
1. Makita SH02R1 12V Max CXT Cordless Circular Saw
- Cordless model means you take it anywhere
- Weighs only 3.5lbs
- Batteries charge quickly and comes with 2 batteries
- 3 year warranty included
Not so Good
- Has a lower RPM than corded models but good torque
- Batteries are not compatible with other Makita LXT models (this is CXT series)
- Blade is on the right side as opposed to being on the left that most saws opt for (may not bother many users)
- No dust post
- Cuts only 1″ deep
There’s not many cordless compact circular saws around, but the SH02R1 from Makita is our favorite model.
While it may not offer the same RPMs as a corded model, it still produces enough torque to get the cuts you want.
2. Rockwell RK3441K Compact Saw
- Very popular – great reviews
- Lock-off switch for safety
- Almost as good as a full-size saw
- Cuts through 2×4 and other 2x materials
- Has a vacuum adapter
- Reasonably priced
Not so Good
- Lock-off switch located on left side of the handle and makes it difficult for lefties to use without engaging it
- No laser guide
This versatile compact circular saw has an ergonomic design to keep you comfortable, accurate, and in control for long periods of time. It has a lock-off switch for safety and a metal inner liner plus an outer guard to ensure durability.
The left-handed blade design provides a better cut-line visibility plus it gets you into places that not all other compact circular saws could. It can also make bevel cuts of 1 ⅛ inch if you’re looking for a little more versatility in your cuts.
This model is sold without the blade. However you can also opt to get the kit, which includes a diamond grit saw blade.
3. WORX WORXSAW WX429L Compact Saw
- Bevels from 0 – 45 degrees
- Left sided blade design provides better visibility
- Very compact
Not so Good
- Bogs down a little with long cuts
- Although they claim it’s capable of it, cutting through a 2×4 is difficult if not impossible to do
This Worx compact circular saw is easy to adjust, whether you’re setting the depth or bevel angle. The grip is comfortable and the saw feels balanced in your hand so you can control the saw. It’s lightweight and easy to maneuver even with one-hand.
Of all the mini circular saws we reviewed, this one is the most compact.
Because of the blade positioning, left handed people might have a hard time using this Worx saw also.
4. Genesis GCS545C Small Handheld Saw
- A powerful motor
- Ergonomic handle
- Easy to adjust depth
Not so Good
- Included blade will need upgrading fast
- Made for small jobs and can bog down with big ones
- Trigger located a bit awkwardly
This Genesis compact circular saw has a powerful 5.8 amp motor. The triple gear reduction increases torque and reduces the potential for damage to the gears by lowering the stress placed on them. The saw can also easily be used with one hand so you can use the other one to steady the whatever material you’re working with.
There’s a rip guide included so you can make your long cuts more easily without having to worry about accuracy. You do get your blade wrench and a Carbide tipped blade with this tool, but you’ll probably need to replace it before too long. If you want to cut any metals or harder woods, you should definitely upgrade the blade immediately.
5. Rockwell Versacut RK3440K Compact Saw
- Versatile as it comes with 3 different blades
- Laser cutting guide for precision
- Easy to setup and use
- Unique safety feature
Not so Good
- You have to apply added pressure to make the base plate which makes it a little cumbersome to use
- Cannot make bevel cuts
- Uncomfortable grip for anyone with large hands
This Rockwell compact circular saw comes with 3 different blades so you can cut wood, thin metal, plastic, PVC pipe, concrete, tile, and much more without having to make an extra trip to the hardware store to spend extra money on blades. It also has a laser cutting guide to boot.
There’s one little glitch with this one though, the laser uses its own battery which drains quickly.
It’s quite the design flaw since the laser could have easily been powered by the same electricity as the saw.
The Rockwell Versacut has a unique safety feature – a spring loaded base plate that covers the blade once the cut is complete. The depth of cut is determined by the depth gauges effect on the base plate. You have to apply enough pressure to push the plate to a set point where it will stop and the cut will be the right depth. While this makes this saw really safe, it’s a little cumbersome to use.
6. Genesis GPCS535CK Mini Circular Saw
- Comes with three different blades
- Small enough to be used with one hand
- Laser-light cutting guide
- Comes with storage case
Not so Good
- A little heavy compared to other compact circular saws
- Blade is a bit smaller than other compact circular saws
This compact circular saw is sold as a kit and includes a carbide tipped blade, a 44T HSS blade for cutting metal, and a diamond blade for tile.
This makes it extremely versatile right away as you can cut softwood, hardwood, tiles, copper, and aluminum.
Not to mention it also has a laser-light cutting guide.
The TrakRunner Miter system helps you make perfect miter cuts, even in tight spots. The downside to this compact circular saw is that, compared to the others we reviewed, it’s quite heavy. At 12 pounds, it’s nearly double the weight of the majority of other saws. That said, it also has higher RPMs than most of the other models.
7. VonHaus 4.5 Amp Compact Circular Saw
- Great value
- Waterproof design
- Comes with a carrying case so it’s easy to transport
- Can cut through a variety of materials
Not so Good
- A little heavy
- Safety features can actually be a bit restrictive
- Awkward to hold at times
- Small cutting depth
The VonHaus is a decent choice for small jobs. It comes with a carrying case so it’s easy to store and transport and a straight cut guide to help with accuracy. The maximum cutting depth is about one inch and it can handle wood, metal, tile, etc with the right blade.
Considering how small the blade is, this saw is a little on the heavy side, although it’s still lightweight enough to be used with one hand. It’s also waterproof so you don’t have to worry about any damage if you’re working in the bathroom, kitchen, or outside.
Some of the safety features are a little difficult to work around and can actually affect your ability to use the saw because it makes the saw so awkward to hold.
There’s no way to just switch a button and have it run. You actually have to hold the safety buttons to get it to run.
8. MasterMind 800344 Small Circular Saw
- Has a three point ergonomic handle for comfort and control
- Has both a laser light and a LED light
- Unique blade position lets you do plunging cuts easily
Not so Good
- The laser light is a little faint and its use is a bit limited
- Difficult to see cutting area because of the position of the blade
- Smaller blade than others
- Low RPM
The MasterMind 800344 compact circular saw has a three point adjustable ergonomic handle for maximum comfort and easy control. This is a really nice feature because it allows you to change the handle as you change your position.
Whether you’re standing, sitting, or crouching, you have a way to change the grip so you’re still comfortable using the tool. The trigger paddle is large and easy to locate with a safety release switch that has to be slid out of the way before you can use the saw.
The MasterMind 800344 has both a laser guide and a LED light. You’re not able to use both at the same time and the LED light is much more effective. It’s hard to see the sides of the blade and you might not be able to tell where you’re cutting, but either the laser or the LED is sure to help a little.
Do I Need a Compact Circular Saw?
Not necessarily. Be sure you have a solid understanding of what, where, and how you want to cut before deciding on a small circular saw. If you know you will need something more heavy-duty for larger jobs, don’t try to justify a compact saw and make sure to go for a full-size circular saw.
Think of it as a tool that solely helps you make convenient cuts. If you need something a bit larger and portable, then check out our cordless circular saw reviews.
For example, while you can cut tile with a compact circular saw, it’s not going to be the best at it. Unless you are making very rough cuts, it’s best to just buy a tile saw instead.
Remember also that circular saws are only designed to cut in straight lines, so if you need to make and irregular or curved cuts, you may be better off looking to buy a portable bandsaw.
What to Look For In a Mini Circular Saw?
There are a few things to keep in mind when choosing a small circular saw.
What kind of materials will you be cutting? Indoors or outdoors? Long-term use or do you need it for just one job?
Once you know how you’ll use it, you can start to consider which features you need.
Power is important because it affects how quickly your circular saw can cut and, to an extent, determines what kind of materials it can cut through.
The nature of these tools is that they’re compact, so don’t expect to see the amps that you’ll see with the full size saws. Mini circular saws will have an average amp of about 3-5.
Another thing to consider about power is whether you want a corded or cordless saw.
Cordless tools always come with the same benefits – easy to take anywhere, no need to worry about a cord getting in the way. But they also share the same downsides. Namely, you always need to be aware of your battery life and that you’ll be limited to the amount of work the battery will allow you to do.
Battery powered saws will also not be able to offer the same amount of sheer power as a corded one can. You’ll need to decide which you prefer more – reliable power vs. mobility and convenience.
If power is priority then you might want to consider a full size circular saw instead.
Blade Size and Depth of Cut
Typically, a mini circular saw should have a depth of cut of at least 1 inch, though some can go as high as two.
Some handheld circular saws are capable of doing bevel cuts. This is a great feature to have because it makes your saw a lot more versatile. Without a bevel feature, you’re really only able to do straight rip, cross, and miter cuts.
While it isn’t the only factor that contributes to the depth of cut, the size of the blade plays a big part. Typically, a 4-inch circular saw is a standard size with some being just under that diameter.
There are a few extra things that aren’t really necessary on a mini circular saw but are definitely nice to have. Some of those are:
- Easy blade replacement
- Laser cutting guide
- LED light
- Carrying case
You may also be interested in: Standard circular saw
We Recommend the Mini Makita Circular Saw
There you have our complete guide of best compact circular saws. Our overall recommendation has to be the Makita SH02R1. Between the laser guide, the three included blades, and the storage case, what’s not to love about this saw?
There is no laser guide for Rockwell RK3441K