What are the basic functions that a good hand saw for wood should have? What types of accessories or sheets are most suitable?

manual circular saw

Manual circular saws are one of the most common and versatile tools in the do-it-yourself and joinery world. Precisely for this reason there is a world of possibilities and configurations: types of saws, powers, speeds or sizes are some of the variables that we must know to make a good choice when buying a tool of this type.

Basics for circular saws

The purpose of this tool is to make straight, quick and relatively accurate cuts along a surface, usually boards, although it can also be used for masonry, tiles, plastics …

The basic components that we should know when choosing the best circular saw are:

  • Depth control. Not all the wooden boards we cut have the same thickness, so it is necessary to be able to adjust the depth of the cut by adjusting the height of the saw.
  • Tilt adjustment. It allows to adjust the inclination of the saw in relation to the table top to make cuts at different angles of 90ยบ.
  • Saw guard. It is a metal cover that covers the saw when not in use and contracts when we are making a cut.
  • Plate or base. It is a piece of metal, with a flat surface, which rests on the board when cutting with the manual circular saw and allows the cut to be completely straight.
  • Saw blade. It consists of a circular blade that can have different sizes and be made of different materials depending on the intended use.

Cordless or cordless circular saw?

This decision is largely conditioned by where the tool will be used. If we are going to be in a place with difficult access to the power grid, we will certainly choose one with a battery, but the decision is generally not so easy.

Disadvantages of cordless circular saws

  • Battery weight. Battery-powered saws are heavier, as their weight must be added and therefore maneuverability is reduced. Although on the other hand they are generally smaller, so they can be compensated on occasion.
  • Autonomy. Battery life is always limited, and this is a very energy-consuming tool. Therefore, they are not ideal for extended use without access to electrical current.
  • Power. It will always be smaller than the ones we can fit and its use is not recommended in materials with greater resistance than wood. If we used it on harder materials, the result might not be ideal and the battery consumption would be even greater.
  • Price. Cordless circular saws are much more expensive.
  • Battery replacement cost. Virtually all batteries that use these types of tools, including drills, screwdrivers, etc., have a limited number of cycles or uses, so over time they will have to be replaced. When that point comes, you will first have to find replacement parts, which is not always easy, and then you will have to assess its cost.

Therefore, a cordless circular saw can be interesting and above all very comfortable in very specific situations and when it is not used intensively.

Now is the time to compare features or capabilities

  • Power. The more watts (W), the better, more accurate cuts and in harder materials.
  • Saw blade capacity. The larger the saw, the greater the depth of cut, although, on the other hand, the smaller the saw, the lighter it will be and the easier to control.
  • Electric brake. Having this capability allows the saw to stop 2 or 3 seconds after releasing the button, otherwise it can take up to 10 times longer.
  • Circular leaf anchor. There are different methods of fixing the saw blade, some faster than others.
  • Cutting angle capacity. Depending on the use that we are going to give to the tool, we may be interested in being able to make cuts at more pronounced angles.
  • Guide. For the cuts to be as straight as possible, we can find saws that only have a mark on the base and others that even have a laser that is projected on the wood.

Saw blades

After choosing the saw, it’s time to choose the blade, an equally important decision, perhaps more. There are many types, these are the most common:

  • Steel sheet. They are the most economical and are used mainly in soft woods. They wear out quickly on other materials and hardwoods.
  • Fast Iron. Similar to the previous ones but with greater resistance. Its use on hard materials is not yet recommended.
  • Carbon. Carbon is added to the tips of the saw allowing greater strength and precision. Its use is recommended in addition to soft woods, agglomerates and some metals such as aluminum and copper.
  • Polycrystalline diamond (PCD). In this case, the blade is highly resistant and can be used on almost any material.

Which brands usually offer good products?

The brands continuously launch new models, all with different characteristics. Therefore, making a classification to establish which is the best hand-held circular saw can be a task that quickly becomes obsolete.

Therefore, it is preferable to consult brands that we know are good products and, with the information we provide here, make the best choice for us. Bosch, Makita, Dewalt, Festool, Skill or Einhell offer good saws.