Skill Saw vs. Circular Saw – Comparison & Differences

Skill Saw vs. Circular Saw

It is common to hear the terms Skill saw and circular saw used interchangeably even by the most experienced DIYers and woodworkers.

But while to some extent, you can use the two terms interchangeably given that they refer to the same kind of woodworking tool, there is more to these names than what many circular saw users understand.

One term refers to a particular brand of circular saw while the other refers to a particular saw type.

To help expand your woodworking tools understanding and ensure you know what to look for when shopping for circular saws, here we describe these tools are in more detail and explain how they differ.

Skill Saw Overview

Skill Saw
Photo: Skilsaw

Skill saw is one of the oldest and most famous circular saws types, and this should explain why many people are fond of referring to their circular saws simple as the Skill saws.

These saws came into the picture back in the 20th century when Joseph Sullivan and Edmond Michael panted their first portable handheld circular saw.

It was a worm drive kind of circular saw that went on to become very popular with all kinds of woodworkers, and many of its users would simply refer to it as the Skill saw given the brand name written on the tool.

And despite the coming of various brands that make circular saws, Skill saw is still one of the most dominant in the market with dozens of model options. Many users prefer their saws for their lightweight overall construction, easy to handle design and the fact that they have been tried and tested for almost a century.

But, despite the availability of several Skill saws in the market, opting for it over the many other regular circular saw brands means you will be limiting your brand and circular saw type options.


  • Often lighter than regular circular saws
  • Easier to handle
  • Tried and tested saw


  • Limited circular saw options

Circular Saw Overview

Circular Saw
Photo: Skilsaw

Circular saws were first invested in the 18th century, but the first models were way much bigger and bulkier than the modern-day circular saws which are known for their portability.

Initially, these saws were the tools to go for when you wanted to convert larger timber logs into more refined and usable lumber. These saws would require an entire assembly line to use and be only good enough for rip cuts.

It was not until Edmond Michael and Joseph Sullivan, the founders of Skill saw made their smaller handheld circular saws that these saw types started to come in smaller and more portable sizes.

But it would still be many years before the sidewinder drive circular saw came into the market as technologies improved to allow the motor to be placed alongside the saw blade and the use of a direct drive mechanism to make a more reliable saw.

Over the years, the design of the circular saw has continued to improve and models have become smaller and more efficient. Also, there are now almost countless brand options to choose from as almost all popular woodworking tools manufacturers now make circular saws, and this has also seen their priced drop significantly.

But unlike Skill Saw which has managed to maintain high-quality standards, many upcoming circular saws manufacturers now make low-quality models that neither perform well nor last long enough.


  • More brands to choose from
  • Wider variety of more affordable models
  • Highly versatile


  • There are many low-quality models out there

Skill Saw vs. Circular Saw

At the face of it, the term Skill saw and circular saw will refer to the same kind of tools which is a smaller power saw that uses a round abrasive blade.

But, to ensure these terms do not bring in any confusion, here are some important points about the two you need to understand.

1. What Is It?

To ensure you understand what you are buying, the first step should always be to understand what the terms Skill and circular saw refer to, and while they might look obvious to some users, things are not always that clear for others.

– Skill Saw

Skill saw refers to a brand of circular saws which is one of the oldest and most successful manufacturers of these tools, and the fact that many people refer to circular saws simply as a Skill saw is enough indication of this.

Besides circular saws, the brand Skill also makes various other tools which include cordless drills, benchtop saws, table saws, reciprocating saws, routers, benchtop grinders, and many other tools. Also, the company has a catalog of various accessories like drill bits, batteries, and various blades.

– Circular Saw

Circular saws are power saw types that will use abrasive spinning disc blades to make cuts through wood and various other materials. These saws are available in various types such as cordless and corded depending on the power source.

Also, unlike the Skill saws, you can get circular saws from a wide variety of brands from DeWalt to Milwaukee and Rockwell.

2. Versatility

Skill saws are still regular circular saws, and so you can expect it to do everything that the latter can do from making plunge cuts to ripping stock. But, given that these saws are all from the same brand you might be limited when it comes to versatility.

There are many other more versatile circular saws currently on the market with more advanced features such as a wider bevel angle that allows you to make wider bevels cuts.

Some brands like Makita and Black & Decker will offer upward of 55-degrees bevel cuts, and hence making their circular saw more versatile.

Also, some brands like Tacklife will even provide several blade types with their circular saws which allows you to use the saw for even more applications.

3. Product Options

Although Skill saws still have several circular saw models currently on the market, you will still not get as many options as the regular circular saw.

Almost every reputable power tool manufacturer now makes circular saws given the ever-growing popularity of this tool.

Better yet, all these brands will have several models in the market, and so if you choose not to restrict your choice to Skill saw, you will have hundreds if not more models to choose from. And with a wide variety, you can be certain of finding something that suits your specific needs.

4. Built Quality

The build quality that you get on your circular saw will mostly depend on the specific models and brand that you choose. However, you can rarely go wrong with Skill saw when it comes to quality.

Skill Saw circular saws are famous for their heavy-duty overall construction, and most woodworkers will admit that they are the kind of power tool that you can expect to have in your workshop for a long time.

The brand has been in business for a long time, and the fact that they are still one of the most popular options shows that many users trust the quality of their saws.

With regular circular saws, the build quality saw is not always guaranteed as it will mostly depend on the brand you buy from.

While some brands like DeWalt, Makita and Black & Decker are known for making top-quality products, there are also many cheap knockoff brands that manufacturer substandard circular saws.

5. Cost

Cost is one of the best parameters that you can use to judge a circular saw’s quality. In most instances, the expensive models are also the best quality.

But, the most important thing is to ensure you get the best value for money, and you also cannot buy what you cannot afford.

Overall, Skill saws tend to be more expensive when compared to other circular saw brands. While, there are many circular saws out there from different brands that will retail for even under $50, to get a Skill saw model, you will need to spend at least $100.

However, with that said, it is important to remember that what you spend on your circular saw mostly depends on where you are buying it and also the size and model.

Comparison Chart

Skill Saw

Circular Saw

What Is It?

Handheld circular saw brand

Power saw type



More Versatile

Product Options


Even more variety

Built Quality

Typically heavy-duty and highly durable

Mostly depends on brand and model





Although they might look like two different tools, Skill saw and circular saw describe the same tools, and the most significant difference is that one is a tool by a specific brand while the other is the actual name of the tool.

When it comes to choosing a circular saw, it will be more about finding a brand that suits your specific needs. Besides Skill, there are many other good brands out there.

All in all, if you prefer to buy a circular saw brand with a long history, and has been tried and tested, you should go for Skill. But, if you prefer something more affordable, there are many other inexpensive circular saw brands out there.