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Some woodworking jobs require a little extra power, which is where a worm drive saw comes into play.
Designed with a unique gearing system, they produce much greater torque than your standard circular saw. Best suited to professionals and serious home DIYers.
Picking the best model can be a little tricky. So we put together a shortlist of some of the top models available as well as a 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 Worm Drive Circular Saws with Reviews 2020
Here is a list of the best worm drive circular saws we found:
1. SKILSAW SPT77WML-01 7-1/4" Worm Drive Circular Saw
- Easy to use
- Exceptionally light
- Renowned brand name
- The grip is not fully rubberized
- Wrench required for blade and oil changes
Taking the top spot, the Skilsaw SPT77WML-01 is a versatile saw backed by the respected ‘Skilsaw’ brand name that has been synonymous with cutting enthusiasts since the 1920s.
It features a 15 amp dual field motor with dual copper windings to increase the surface area by 40% and keep the motor from overheating. The cut-ready depth of cut system enables quick on the fly adjustments for 1/4, 1/2, ¾ and 2x ply. Blade sits to the left.
Sturdy upper and lower blade guards. Incredibly light for a circular saw which makes it great for overhead use. Maximum cutting depth of 2-3/8’’, 53-degree bevel capacity. The grip isn’t completely rubberized and a wrench is required for blade and oil changes.
If you’re looking fora lightweight and affordable saw with plenty of torque that will stand up to repeated use, the Skilsaw SPT77WML-01 is a great choice. It is easy to operate for inexperienced users while delivering enough performance to satisfy tradesmen.
2. DEWALT DWS535B 7-1/4" Worm Drive
- Strong build quality
- Very powerful
- Built-in break to help prevent kicks
- 3-year warranty
- Extra bevel options
- Heavier than the SKILSAW
- No wrench holder on saw
- Needs lubricating out of the box before the first use
- The cord is relatively short
DeWalt are very well known in the industry for their line of high-quality power tools, so how does the DeWalt DWS535B hold up?
Features include an electric brake to stop the blade once the trigger has been released. Lightweight aluminum and magnesium build, including a magnesium footplate. Toughcord protection system for 4 times better cord jerk protection for added user safety. Spindle lock for easy blade changes. Blade sits to the left.
The cutting depth at a 45-degree angle is 1-7/8’’ and at a 90-degree angle is 2-7/16’’. 53-degree bevel capacity with stops at 22.5 and 45 degrees. Comes with a brilliant 3-year warranty. There may be a slight learning curve to first-timers and the saw will need lubricating before the first use. Cord may be too short for some.
For the number of features you get for the price, the DeWalt DWS535B is worth picking up. There is no question the DeWalt DWS535B lives up to the name.
3. Makita 5377MG Magnesium 7-1/4" Hypoid Saw
- Very powerful
- Incredibly durable and long-lasting
- Good balance
- Hypoid gear system does not wear as quickly as worm gears
- Handy rafter hook
- No dust collection port
- Initial torque can occasionally be too much
Not officially a worm drive as Makita opted to use heat-treated hypoid steel gear system, as opposed to traditional bronze alloy worm gears instead. The steel hypoid gear system has a slight advantage in that they do not wear as quickly.
The hypoid gears supply consistent power to the blade making this saw very powerful and great for sawing through hardwood and other tough materials. Oil bath technology ensures 100% surface coating for less lifetime maintenance. Rubberized levers allow for easy adjustments and a rubber grip handle offer the user comfort during long jobs.
Features a max cutting depth of 1-3/4’’ at 45 degrees and 2-3/8’’ at 90 degrees. Bevel capacity of 51 degrees. No dust collection port and initial torque on startup may take some getting used to.
Professionals who require a high performing and long-lasting circular saw should look no further. Upon picking up the Makita 5377MG you will be shocked at how light it is for such a powerful saw – thanks to its magnesium construction. The unique hypoid steel gears make this saw one you can rely on for many years to come.
4. Milwaukee 6477-20 7-1/4" Worm Drive Circular Saw
- Performs well under heavy loads
- 5-year manufacturer warranty
- New user friendly
- Heavier than other saws on the market
- Priced higher than it should
The Milwaukee 6477-20 is a highly durable worm drive saw that performs extremely well under heavy load. The 15 amp motor delivers a no-load blade maximum speed of 4,400 rpm.
A hardened steel gearing system allows the blade to power through tough material with ease. In-house oil site glass gives the user a clear way to monitor oil levels without having to perform maintenance. The composite shoe prevents it from bending or warping. Full magnesium construction. Blade sits to the left. Maximum bevel capacity 51.5 degrees.
Although there is no dust blower, some air from the fan is diverted to the cutting area of the blade which removes the sawdust and improves visibility while cutting. This saw is on the heavier end so not ideal for extended use, however, the added weight can help with guiding during cuts. Could be priced slightly cheaper.
It may not be at the top of our list but the Milwaukee 6477-20 still offers some great features that are sure to please many customers. More suitable for those in need of a heavier saw that can tackle tougher jobs.
5. Bosch CSW41 7-1/4 Inch Worm Drive Circular Saw
- A dream to use
- Minimal vibration
- Could benefit from a few more safety features
- Minor workmanship issues
One of the most functional and user-friendly circular saws out there. The Bosch CSW41 includes a 15 amp motor capable of delivering no-load blade speeds of up to 5,300 RPM. The rigid motor housing minimizes blade movement for an accurate cut every time.
A huge plus to this saw is the advanced oil lubrication system that will reduce the amount of maintenance and increase its lifespan. The on-board multi-function wrench allows for lever adjustments, blade and brush changes in mere seconds. Blade sits to the left.
Also featured is a thick rubberized handle to minimize vibration as much as possible for a more pleasant experience. Built-in hook for convenient storage. 53-degree bevel. It could benefit from a few extra safety features and some customers have found the odd workmanship issue.
If you are shopping for your first-ever circular saw, we highly recommend the Bosch CSW41. The lightweight design and affordable price tag will ease you into the world of worm drive saws.
6. DEWALT DCS577X1 7-1/4” Cordless Worm Style
- Comfortable to use
- Very powerful - on par with corded models
- Long battery life
- Handy rafter hook
- More expensive than other models
- Some may find the spindle lock is awkwardly positioned
Due to the direct drive system that powers the motor, the DeWalt DCS577X1 is not officially a ‘true’ worm drive saw. Neither the less, this does not stop it from delivering a massive 2400 watts of power. Furthermore, the inclusion of the brushless motor ensures this is a saw that will last you many years into the future.
The in-built dust blower maintains clear cutting visibility throughout cutting. Cutting depth is easy to adjust and the gauge is super visible. An electric brake to help stop the blade when needed. Blade sits to the left.
Bevel capacity of 53 degrees with convenient stops at 45 and 22.5 degrees. Max cutting depth is 1.875’’ at 45 degrees and 2.438’’ at degrees. Also includes a raft hook for hanging the saw while not in use. Unfortunately, this saw will set you back slightly more due to the addition of the brushless motor. The spindle lock is slightly exposed and may take some getting used to.
Despite the DeWalt DCS577X1 carrying a slightly higher price tag than other saws, what you get for the extra money is well worth it. Comfortable in the hand, cordless and delivering unrelenting power, this is a saw aimed at serious users only.
7. Makita XSR01PT 7-1/4" Cordless Worm Style Circular Saw
- 50% longer run time per charge
- 2 x LXT batteries are included
- More expensive than other worm drive saws
- No cutline dust blower
As with the above model, the Makita XSR01PT is not a true worm drive saw. Don’t let you put this off however, as this is still as a wonderfully powerful saw that can be used absolutely anywhere.
It features a special helical gear design that brings the gears together at a 45-degree angle rather than 90. Also, the motor is brushless, benefits of which include longer run times and reduced heat buildup.
Inbuilt speed change technology allows quick alterations to the torque and cutting speeds during a job. Cordless, so you aren’t restricted to where you can work. Slightly lighter than the worm drive saws featured on this list. Blade sits to the left.
53-degree bevel capacity with stops at 22.5, 45 and 53. Maximum cutting depth at 90 degrees of 2-9/16’’. Also included are two 36V LXT lithium-ion batteries. Priced marginally higher than worm drive saws. Doesn’t have a cut line dust blower.
The best way to describe the Makita XSR01PT is ‘efficient power’. This is a professional quality tool that knows exactly how much power you need at any given moment to make sure the task at hand is made no harder than it needs to be.
When deciding on a worm drive saw, there are several factors you must take into consideration. The following buyer’s guide will highlight each factor to ease your decision-making process.
Key Factors to Consider
The motor is the most vital component of a worm drive saw. A weak and unreliable motor is no good for anyone. These days, it’s pretty standard to get a 15 amp that delivers around 4,500 to 5400 RPM. If you find any that are less, you are likely going to get an unpowered model.
Pay attention to the saws cutting depth at both 90 and 45-degree angles. Ignoring this could leave you stuck when you need to cut certain materials.
It is important to check the bevel capacity as it will dictate the type of cut you’re able to get. A wider range will give you more freedom when cutting material at an angle. Also, preset bevel stops will make your life a lot easier.
As with any handheld tool, weight plays a big role in its usability. For quick jobs weight may not be an issue but for those large projects, every extra pound will be noticeable.
It may not seem important but an integrated dust blower does wonders for the cutters line of sight by making the cutting line perfectly visible throughout the entirety of the sawing process.
It’s worth paying attention to the cord length on each model. Although you can use an extension cord for a quick fix it is nice to have a cord out of the box that will be sufficient for all your projects.
We hope this is never needed but it is always nice to have some reassurance. Purchasing a worm drive saw is a big investment and not something you want to repeat every year. Most saws will come with anywhere from 1 to 3 years warranty included.
A word about cordless worm style saws
Cordless models are not true worm drive saws. But what exactly does that mean?
The reason comes down to the gearing system that drives the motor. Worm drive saws use worm gears whereas cordless models tend to use a direct drive system which is seen on sidewinder saws. Each come with their own benefits such as;
- Direct Drive – Load connected directly to the motor. Avoids gear backlash and friction loses, overall more efficient.
- Worm Drive – Can transfer motion in 90 degrees. Increased torque. Smooth and quiet.
Despite the difference, they still feature the same design and power traits associated with worm drive saws such as the left side blade positioning, motor positioned behind the blade, rear handle and improved torque. These can be just as good as corded the models.
If you do want to opt for a cordless circular saw for portability, then it’s highly recommended you invest in the latest models with a brushless motor.
Brushless tools have grown in popularity in recent years due to the added benefits they bring. These include:
- Adjusting their power output in accordance with the task at hand. So, if the saw detects more resistance, more power is produced to compensate.
- Increased motor longevity – as there is less stress on the motor
- Zero motor maintenance compared to brushed motors
Worm drive circular saw vs standard circular saw
We have already covered this in detail here. However, in short, the standout difference is the increased torque.
This is made possible by the positioning of the blade relative to the motor which requires the gearing system to sit at 90 degrees to the blade. The result is slightly reduced blade speeds, but much greater torque. It also means worm drive saws can use larger blades than circular saws. As you’d expect, with extra power comes added weight and a heftier price tag.
We also did a round-up of the best sidewinder circular saws which you can find here.
Wrapping it up
There you have it, the top 7 worm drive circular saws money can buy. You will have seen a variety of saws, each with their benefits and drawbacks with something to suit everyone. The ideal worm drive saw must pack plenty of torque while maintaining a lightweight and well-balanced design.
It wasn’t an easy decision, but our best pick goes to the Skilsaw SPT77WML-01. The Skilsaw ticks all the boxes you’d expect from a high-end power saw. From the dual copper winding system for improved longevity, full magnesium construction making it super light and easy to use and the ease cut ready depth system. This saw is sure not to disappoint!