Circular saw dilemma - cheap and light vs better and heavier - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 24 Old 07-21-2016, 02:25 PM Thread Starter
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Circular saw dilemma - cheap and light vs better and heavier

Today was my third trip to Home Depot to check out circular saws. I have also read tons of reviews but still can't make up my mind. I was all set on Makita 5007MG for $139 but after holding it at HD, I am not sure if I want such a heavy saw. All I am doing is simple projects around the house like building a small workbench, changing trim boards, etc. I am not building furniture or sheds. Given that, I am now leaning toward one of the cheaper saws (Ryobi, Skill) with steel shoe and around 7 lbs in weight. So what do you think? Am I making mistake going cheap and light or those inexpensive circular saws would be OK for occasional home improvement projects?
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post #2 of 24 Old 07-21-2016, 02:45 PM
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I have learned my lesson through the years to buy the best tool I can afford. I have regretted so many "cheaper" purchases that I now only buy good power tools. I don't buy the most expensive stuff, by any means, but I stay away from cheap stuff that I am going to have to fight with to get quality results.
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post #3 of 24 Old 07-21-2016, 03:08 PM
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I expect we all suffer a bit from "paralysis by analysis." We have so many choices sometimes it is difficult to make a selection. If a 7-1/4" saw is too heavy maybe a battery powered model would be a better choice.

If I was that two-blocked on a choice I would go back to HD and handle everything in my price range and just buy one.

BTW, I like the magnesium base on circular saws and believe it is worth the premium no matter what saw you choose.

Good luck.
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post #4 of 24 Old 07-21-2016, 03:20 PM Thread Starter
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sbrader: I know that you should buy good quality tools but my problem is not the price as I can spend either $139 for Makita or $50 for Ryobi. My problem is handling. I spent maybe 10 minutes in HD today checking out various saws and the 10+lbs ones are just plain too heavy for me. So unless there is a huge difference between quality in $50 and $150 saw, I am leaning toward the lighter one.

subroc: Thanks for the suggestion but I do not want battery powered one. I have small 5 1/4" Craftsman cordless CS and that thing can't cut 1/2" board without stalling even on brand new Lithium high capacity battery. You are right though, the magnesium base is nice. Unfortunately, all the cheaper CS come with steel plates.
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post #5 of 24 Old 07-21-2016, 03:25 PM
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I misunderstood. In that case, I would find the one that feels most comfortable in my hand and put a good blade on it. The blade that comes with the saw (expensive or not) is usually not going to be nearly as nice as an aftermarket blade. I don't know that you'll see that much difference in the cut as long as you have a good blade. You may need to work a little slower if the less expensive saw doesn't generate as much torque, but I think you'll be happiest in the long run by picking the one that feels best to you.
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post #6 of 24 Old 07-21-2016, 04:07 PM
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Personally, for a better tool I'm more than happy to accept a little extra weight. I actually prefer it, so long as the tool isn't ripping my arms out the extra heft feels good in my hands. That's personal preference though, I'd say buy the best you can find that feels good to you

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post #7 of 24 Old 07-21-2016, 04:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drabina View Post
sbrader: I know that you should buy good quality tools but my problem is not the price as I can spend either $139 for Makita or $50 for Ryobi. .
I suspect cost is an issue or you would be looking at Festool. A lot of money but it's a tool you will enjoy every time you use for the rest of your life.
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post #8 of 24 Old 07-21-2016, 05:02 PM Thread Starter
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I suspect cost is an issue or you would be looking at Festool. A lot of money but it's a tool you will enjoy every time you use for the rest of your life.
It is not an issue. It is common sense. I do not need a $600 circular saw to cut two boards a month. Plus the TS 75 with bigger blade is listed at 13.6 lbs. If I am complaining about 10 lbs CS why would I even consider heavier one?
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post #9 of 24 Old 07-21-2016, 05:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drabina View Post
sbrader: I know that you should buy good quality tools but my problem is not the price as I can spend either $139 for Makita or $50 for Ryobi. My problem is handling. I spent maybe 10 minutes in HD today checking out various saws and the 10+lbs ones are just plain too heavy for me. So unless there is a huge difference between quality in $50 and $150 saw, I am leaning toward the lighter one.

subroc: Thanks for the suggestion but I do not want battery powered one. I have small 5 1/4" Craftsman cordless CS and that thing can't cut 1/2" board without stalling even on brand new Lithium high capacity battery. You are right though, the magnesium base is nice. Unfortunately, all the cheaper CS come with steel plates.
Have you gone anyplace other than Home Depot? Home depot is rather limited in what they carry from my experience.

In my area Sears carries the largest selection of tools. They have not only their own Craftsman brand, but also carry others. I generally find that the Craftsman brand offers good quality but at a lower cost point.

You should also check on what Lowes carries.

Personally I would want a good quality saw but not one that is overly heavy. If it is too heavy that will cause you to tire quickly and also may be a safety concern. Weight and quality are not necessarily companion qualities.

George
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post #10 of 24 Old 07-21-2016, 05:29 PM Thread Starter
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Have you gone anyplace other than Home Depot? Home depot is rather limited in what they carry from my experience.
I did go to Lowes. Home Depot carries Ryobi and Skill, Lowes has just Skil from the inexpensive CS lines. I will check Sears but their website shows only 2 Craftsman and 1 DeWalt saws in inventory at my local store. Looks like Home Depot has the most options in stock.
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post #11 of 24 Old 07-21-2016, 09:28 PM
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Have you considered cordless saws, not really cheap but since getting my Makita 18 volt I have hardly ever used my corded saws. It is light, no cords to drag to the back forty to fix a fence and performs amazingly well.

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post #12 of 24 Old 07-21-2016, 09:44 PM
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If you're not going to be doing a lot of cutting that absolutely requires a circular saw consider a good jig saw. I had a good sized project a few years ago and I had a junky Craftsman circular saw. I bought a good Bosch jig saw and except for the fact that it goes slower than a circular saw it worked out quite well....even on PT 2 X 6's. I like using the jig saw so much that I don't even bother with the circular saw anymore. The jig saw is a whole lot lighter and easier to control and more versatile. I don't work for Bosch but their jig saws and blades are excellent. If you even consider going this route buy a good saw....I paid $160 for my Bosch jig saw and it is my favorite tool.
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post #13 of 24 Old 07-21-2016, 10:27 PM
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I have both corded and battery saws

My last battery saw was a Rigid 6 1/2" and a Milwaukee 6 1/2" before that. I haven't purchased a corded saw for years. Before those I love the Dewalt 18V 5 3/8" battery saws, and I have 3 of those. Last corded saw was a yard sale steal at $50.00 for a 7 1/4" worm drive Craftsman, my second one. Other corded saws include older 715 Porter Cables which haven't seen much use and a vintage 8 1/4" Skil. Why all the circular saws...?


Different tasks require different saws. Cutting siding 2 stories up on a scaffold, the Dewalt was perfect. Ripping 4" thick Oak planks, the 8 1/4" Skil just motored along. Holding a saw overhead, you had better have the lightest and most powerful saw you can find.

So, Bosch, Craftsman, Makita, Rigid all make good contractor type saws in 7 1/4". Smaller sizes by Rockwell, Worx and others have come on the market lately. You can check ebay form great deals on circular saw, BUT you can't hold them in your hands to test for convenient operation:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Porter-Cable...oAAOSwWTRWu0yt

Others here:
http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from...r+saw&_sacat=0

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post #14 of 24 Old 07-21-2016, 10:55 PM
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Each major manufacturer makes more than just one portable circular saw model.
They may have a light dut, medium duty and a heavy duty.
They may offer a worm gear drive model.
The Ridgid is HD's house brand and it has a lifetime warranty.
I like a Makita but the Milwaukee and Bosch are also good tools.

If you don't have time to do it right the first time, when will you have time to do it over?
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post #15 of 24 Old 07-21-2016, 11:28 PM
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project types

Quote:
Originally Posted by drabina View Post
Today was my third trip to Home Depot to check out circular saws. I have also read tons of reviews but still can't make up my mind. I was all set on Makita 5007MG for $139 but after holding it at HD, I am not sure if I want such a heavy saw. All I am doing is simple projects around the house like building a small workbench, changing trim boards, etc. I am not building furniture or sheds. Given that, I am now leaning toward one of the cheaper saws (Ryobi, Skill) with steel shoe and around 7 lbs in weight. So what do you think? Am I making mistake going cheap and light or those inexpensive circular saws would be OK for occasional home improvement projects?

A circular saw is not a fine woodworking to for making precise cuts for furniture. It can be used with guides to make straight cuts in sheetgoods like plywood and such for cabinets, shelves etc. When cutting sheetgoods the weight of the saw rests on the work. When cutting flooring for decks likewise. When you are rough cutting planks and 2 X's for framing sometimes it's easier to just support the saw by arm strength, so weight becomes more important. So can sup[port the work and the saw by having small work vises, or saw horse, so the saw's weight is less important and this is what I generally do. I use a cross cut guide to insure my cuts are square or at the angle I need for siding.

I wouldn't be all that concerned with weight for that reason. What is more important are the control handles and adjustment knobs AND which side of the motor the blade is one. Right handed folks prefer a saw with the blade on the left because it's easier to see you cut line when working without a edge guide. For many years circ saws came in right bladed only and you had to look over and around the motor and down at the cut line.

Battery saws and corded saws come in both flavors now. It's just what you prefer BUT sometimes you have to use one a while before you can decide.... right or left bladed.
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The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #16 of 24 Old 07-22-2016, 10:50 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the replies. I had to go to HD again yesterday to pickup some screws so I checked the circular saws again. After handling each one I found Skilsaw for $99 that's 8.8lbs and has the magnesium body and shoe. That's somewhere between the 7 lbs cheap CS and 10 lbs Makita I have originally planned to buy. It also comes with Diablo blade. I may just go for this one as the reviews are usually positive.
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post #17 of 24 Old 07-22-2016, 12:52 PM
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I have 2 circular saws. A Milwaukee and a Makita.
The Milwaukee weighs 12 1/4#. The Makita weighs 8 1/4#.
As years go by, and I get older, lighter tools (as long as high quality) are the ones I pick up.
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post #18 of 24 Old 07-22-2016, 01:37 PM
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With a light saw when there is a kick back it is harder to control the saw. With a heavier saw it is easier to control, for me. I hate the worm screw saws because of the really heavy weight. They will last forever it seems, but a saw that powerful, the kick back to me is worse than a lighter saw because it just won't bog down.

I like a saw with enough power and weight that it won't bog down in ripping, but is easier to control on a kick back. A light saw just doesn't have the power, it seems to me. The older craftsman saws were good, the only down side was the pivot point would wear out quick and you couldn't get a sq cut. I am retired now and I have a Dewalt which does a good job when I need it. I also have a few other circular saw, Hitachi, 2 Porter Cables, I like them all. My dad had one of the plastic Rockwell saws, light saw but would bog in a heart beat.

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post #19 of 24 Old 07-22-2016, 03:14 PM
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IMHO the heavier ones usually last longer, thou they usually a little heavier and draw a little more current. If you have to cut a hard or wet board you will be glad to have the heavier saw which is usually a little more powerful.

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post #20 of 24 Old 07-28-2016, 12:21 PM Thread Starter
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I just wanted to post an update. I have purchased the Skilsaw model SPT67WM from Home Depot. The CS came with Diablo blade. I have already used it to make number of cuts and I have to say that the difference between the new corded Skilsaw and my old Craftsman cordless is like a night and day. The 19.2V cordless system is no match for corded 15 Amps motor. The extra weight does indeed help but at less than 10 lbs it is not a burden when working with the saw for longer period of time. So far I am very happy with the new CS.

Thanks to all who replied and provided valuable information.
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