For most power tools enthusiasts, the circular saw is one of the must-haves as these versatile power saws come in handy for a wide variety of projects. But, many potential buyers tend to have difficulties deciding on whether to go for the corded or cordless types.
Both corded and cordless circular saws can make some amazing cuts and are useful for various projects. However, while the cordless models offer the convenience of uninterrupted power supply the cordless models offer increased portability.
To help you decide which between the two will work best for you, here we look at their key differences in more detail.
Corded Circular Saw
Corded circular saws are highly reputable for their ability to handle heavy-duty tasks, and they are the kind of power saw you will be happy to have around when cutting hardwoods and other hard materials like metals and masonry materials.
These saws will require plugging in to operate and will typically run on a larger and more powerful motor than the cordless types. Their plugged-in functionality also ensures a steady and continuous power supply.
The corded circular saws will often come with a larger blade than the cordless types which allows them to make deeper cuts. When compared to the cordless models, these saws also tend to be more affordable.
Because they will always be plugged-in when in operation, they will not need to have large batteries for power. Hence, even with their relatively larger and more powerful motors, they will still be generally more lightweight and easier to handle than the cordless types.
But when compared to the cordless circular saws, the corded saws will pose a greater safety risk. Also, these saws can only be used where there is a power outlet nearby hence limiting their usage.
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- High and consistent power supply
- Great for heavy-duty tasks and tougher materials
- Relatively more affordable
- Lightweight and easier to handle
- Poses more safety risk
- Usable where there is a power outlet only
Cordless Circular Saw
As more woodworkers opt for power tools that they can easily carry around and use at different job sites, cordless power tools like the cordless circular saw are becoming more popular.
The cordless circular saws mostly run on lithium-ion batteries which are typically 18 or 20-volt and with one, you will not have to worry about cords and extensions. And this allows you to use your power saw from anywhere.
These are generally safer power tools to use and will hardly make any significant noise when in operation. Because no cords are limiting you, it is also possible to fit the circular saw in tight spaces or use it in confined areas which makes it a more flexible power tool.
Because these are also not overly powered tools, they are more ideal when handling delicate and softer materials as you are likely to cut without damaging them.
However, the use of a battery limits the runtime as you cannot continue cutting once the battery dies out. Worst yet, most batteries will take at least an hour to charge which means the cordless circular saws come with more downtimes.
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- Can be used from anywhere
- Safer to use
- Quite flexible
- No cords and extensions to deal with
- Limited run time
- Often not very powerful
- Relatively pricier
Corded Circular Saw
Cordless Circular Saw
Average Blade Size
Hardwoods, metal and masonry materials
Softwoods and plastics
Depends on battery size
Poses more risk
Safer to use
Weight and Portability
Lightweight but not very portable
Heavier but still more portable
$50 to $200
$80 to $300
Corded vs. Cordless Circular Saws
The kinds of projects that you use your circular saw for will ultimately determine the right type for you. However, to make this decision, you need to know how the corded and cordless models differ. Here is a more detailed breakdown of the differences between the two popular circular saw types.
1. Power Source
The power source is the main factor that sets these two circular saws apart, and it affects everything else from how they cut to their overall size and runtime.
Corded Circular Saw
Corded circular saws are designed for plugging-in into your mains to operate and they get their name from the fact that they will include a cord.
The length of the cord is typically an issue for many users as it determines how easy it will be to use around the workshop and the longer it is the better. But, even if what you buy comes with a shorter cord, you can easily fix this issue with an extension.
When it comes to the power source the corded circular saws seem to have the edge here because the plug-in design makes them more powerful. Also, you can use them for as long as you want without running out of charge.
Cordless Circular Saw
Cordless circular saws are designed to address the needs of the modern woodworkers and DIYers that want something whose use is not limited by a cord.
These circular saws will typically run on lithium-ion batteries that come with different capacities and in different sizes.
Cordless circular saws are not as powerful as the corded types, but they are still powerful enough for many woodworking applications and they make up for what they lack in power by being highly convenient.
2. Average Blade Size
Both the corded and cordless circular saws will come with different blade sizes depending on their intended use and also the overall size of the tool.
While you can still get corded saws with blades that have a diameter of 10 inches or more, the 7-1/4-inch blades are the most common and also what many users seem to prefer. These blades provide just the right balance of cutting power and speed and are hence more versatile. And there are also some smaller blades that you can get on the budget models.
Cordless circular saws, on the other hand, will not have the power required to run the larger blades efficiently. Hence, most will have relatively smaller blades than the corded types with the 6-1/2 blades being the most popular option.
3. Best Uses
Because these are still both circular saws, they will be ideal for pretty much the same uses, but the differences in power mean they will be best for certain uses than others.
Corded circular saws are the more powerful of the two and will hence be great for heavy-duty uses in the workshop and different job sites. These saws seem to work best for larger projects like home improvement and renovations where you need to make several cuts.
Cordless circular saws are best suited for light-duty applications and will be very useful for DIYers and hobbyists since these users hardly need to do any heavy-duty work. Also, these are the best option for occasional users as they will not be very good for regular usage given the short run time.
Corded and cordless circular saws also seem to excel at cutting different materials types, and so as you pick between the two, you need to know the material you intend to cut.
The more powerful corded saws with the larger and stronger blades will be perfect for cutting hardwoods, metals and masonry materials like ceramic tiles and brick. All you will need to do is make sure that you have the right blade for the material you want to cut and the saw will supply more than enough power.
Cordless saws are great for cutting softer materials like softwood, wood products, and plastics. And this is because they will not cut as aggressively as the corded types that are more powerful, and so there will be less risk of ruining these more delicate materials.
Runtime determines how long you can use a tool before you need to recharge it, and it is also a crucial factor to consider since it will determine how fast you finish your work and how much work you get done.
But, when it comes to runtime, there is almost no competition between the corded and cordless circular saw. The corded circular saw will provide unlimited runtime. Provided the machine is plugged in, it can still work. A power outage will probably be the only thing that would stop you from using his tool
The cordless models will depend on the battery capacity or how long the batteries are designed to hold the charge. Some can only provide a runtime of only 30 minutes while the best ones will at most give you a few hours. But, the good news is that you can easily increase the runtime by investing in a few extra batteries.
With any power tool, safety should always be a concern as these tools pose more danger to you and those around you than you think.
The extra power and larger blades that spin a little faster on the corded circular saws make them a little more dangerous to use than the cordless types. Also, the cord comes with a trip hazard, and there is also a greater risk of electrocution with corded tools.
Cordless circular saws might not be completely safe, but they will have no cords which make them safer to use.
But, the good news is that with modern types of both tools, many manufacturers will put a lot of emphasis on safety, and so the tools will have several safety features from a nice blade guard to automatic blade stop.
7. Weight and Portability
If you plan to be using your circular saw in different locations, its size and overall weight matter a lot. Also, these are handheld tools, and so you will want something easier to handle.
The corded circular saws tend to be lighter and more compact because unlike the cordless types, they will not need to accommodate large batteries. But surprisingly, they are still not very portable as they can only be used where there is a power outlet.
Cordless circular saws might be large and heavier than most corded types, but because they are battery-operated, they are more portable since they will be easier to carry and use from anywhere.
But, overall the two power saws are still fairly portable as most models do not weigh much, and so you should be able to carry them around easily.
Circular saws are not very expensive, and they are one of the cheapest types of power saws out there. But the price still differs between the corded and cordless types.
Corded circular saws are the more affordable option of the two and will come with prices that typically range between $50 and $200. And you can even get a good enough model for under $50.
Cordless circular saws tend to be a little pricier because many models will retail at between $80 and $300, but it is still possible to get some basic ones that go for a little under $50.
Whether you buy the corded or cordless circular saw will ultimately depend on your specific preferences and what you are going to use the saw for.
However, if you understand the factors that set them apart from the power source to the blade size and portability, you will make a more informed saw choice.
All in all, the corded circular saws are a great buy for anyone looking for something more powerful for heavy-duty use that will also provide unlimited runtimes. Corded circular saws also seem to work better for professional woodworkers and carpenters.
Cordless circular saws are perfect for those that prioritize portability, and they are also a great buy for the occasional users like DIYers and hobbyists that want something for light-duty applications.