What is a Circular Saw Used for? Common Uses & Safety Tips

What is a Circular Saw Used For
Photo: DeWalt

For someone who’s looking to set up a workshop, a circular saw is one of the best tools to start with because it is very affordable.

It is portable and there is a cordless option that is easier to move around with and can still be used to make a wide variety of cuts.

The tool is available with the blade either on the right or left side, giving you a right or left-handed option to choose from.

What is a Circular Saw Used For?

Circular saw is commonly used for:

1) Straight Cuts

Regardless of the type you use, you can make any type of straight cut using a circular saw.

This includes crosscuts, rip cuts, miter cuts, and even bevel cuts if it has a tilting shoe.

2) Cutting Down Long Plywood

This is just like making a straight cut only that it is across a long length.

For this, you will need a straight edge guide and set the blade depth to exceed the plywood’s thickness by a few millimeters.

You should also support the plywood using extruded foam or small blocks such as 2×2 from the floor.  

3) Cutting Logs into Firewood

If you don’t have a chainsaw, you can use a circular saw to cut logs into firewood.

If the log is from a hardwood tree, you should use a worm drive saw, which produces enough torque to push the blade through the hard layers. 

The saw will enable you to produce smaller pieces of firewood with similar shapes and sizes that are easier to transport and easy to burn.

4) Cut Large-Sized Timber

Cutting large-sized timber is very similar to cutting plywood. You have to support the stock, set the blade depth and use a guide to prevent crooked cuts.

5) Cutting Down Metal

Cutting through metal is more demanding than cutting through wood. Therefore, a worm drive saw is recommended and it should be fitted with a metal cutting blade.

However, there is a limit. The metal sheet should not exceed 3/8” in thickness.

Safety Tips When Using a Circular Saw

Safety Tips When Using a Circular Saw
Photo: Skilsaw
  • Always wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). This includes goggles, earplugs and a dust mask. Avoid gloves and any loose clothing that might be pulled in by the spinning blade.
  • Make sure to adjust the blade depth such that it only exceeds the width of the workpiece by a few millimeters or a fraction of an inch.
  • To prevent injuries, always stop the blade using the saw’s electronic brake after finishing the cut, even if the saw has a blade guard. Also, ensure this guard slides back and forth freely at all times.
  • Cut while holding the saw using both hands for better control.
  • Avoid standing directly behind the saw when cutting. In case there are kickbacks, you will be out of the way.
  • If using a corded saw, keep an eye on its cord and extension cables to avoid tripping.
  • Ensure the blade is sharp at all times.


Generally, a circular saw is recommended for small projects and is ideal for beginners due to its affordability.

It is also versatile enough to be used in metal cutting but you need to adhere to the safety tips to prevent injury.