How to Use a Circular Saw Properly and Safely

| Last Updated: March 31, 2021

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Like all machinery pieces, it can first be confusing to operate, which is a safety concern. Below is a rundown on how to use your circular saw safely and effectively. 

Using a Circular Saw Safely as a Beginner

Handling a circular saw must be done correctly and to a safe standard; in the section below, we'll show you how to start up and operate your circular saw. 

The first thing you'll want to do is gather all your safety equipment, such as ear protectors, dust masks, and protective glasses.

Inspect & Prepare Your Circular Saw

You'll now want to inspect every inch of your saw to ensure it's safe to operate. Make sure you're working with a sharp blade, suitable safety guard, and that the blade depth has been adjusted to suit the workpiece. It's important to note that the more profound the edge, the more friction it'll encounter.

Position The Workpiece & Saw

A priority in cutting using a circular saw is to ensure that the workpiece is secured correctly. To properly secure the workpiece, you can use clamps to hold it steady.

This will reduce the chances of kickback. To get a straight cut, use either a guide rail or a laser guide. You might want to place a table underneath the wood so that it has support for when it's entirely cut.

Find A Comfortable Stance

The best way to do this is by ensuring that you're not directly in front or behind the workpiece's direct linear path. Have the saw and workpiece below the torso level to ensure safety from kickback or other accidents. 

Remember Safety 

The lower the workpiece and saw, the better control you have over it. It's important to note that you should be holding your circular saw with both hands (when applicable) to stay in control. If the piece that's being cut off is heavy, this could pinch the blade and result in kickback.

A helpful tip to work around this is to cut small pieces off, slowly reducing the overall weight and size. 

How To Use a Circular Saw Without a Table

Using a circular saw without a table seems to dumbfound a lot of people. However, the most common way to operate a circular saw without a table is to use two sawhorses. 

If you adjust the blade's depth to just cut through the wood and no more, you can complete both a crosscut and a rip cut. 

Another method is to place two thick planks on the floor and then a plywood sheet over the top. This will act as an alternative cutting surface. 

Tips for Using a Circular Saw in Various Situations

Circular saws can be used to cut many materials; they're relatively versatile tools. However, not everyone knows how to use them to cut the many materials possible. Take a look below to find out how. 


Two types of blades will correctly cut through aluminum: a metal cutting blade or an abrasive blade. Metal cutting blades are great for thin sheet metal, while abrasive blades fair better with thicker metal workpieces. 

Concrete Blocks

You should only be using a circular saw blade to cut concrete blocks less than 6-inches thick. This cut can be made using an abrasive blade and a wet or dry diamond blade. The abrasive blade is suitable for shallow cuts. At the same time, the diamond blade is suited for deeper cuts. 


Cutting granite is usually cut using a diamond blade; when cutting, it's important not to be too heavy on the pressure. It might help to have someone spray water on the granite to overheat the blade due to friction. 


When cutting Plywood, it tends to chip easily. Therefore, it's recommended that you find what face you like most and place it facing downwards. When you cut through, the blade will exit at the top, meaning the less favorable face will chip rather than the favored face. Although that's not to say it will chip, it's just a useful precaution to take. 

Ripping Narrow Boards

The best way to do this is by using a long wooden board as your platform. You'll also want to mark out the path you plan to follow as narrow cuts are harder to follow. This can be done using a guide rail, laser guide or if you want to be fast and basic, use a sharpie to mark a path. 

Cutting Thick Wood

The most important part of working with thick materials is understanding the size of the blade you'll be using. The first step is to measure the thickness of the wood and then the diameter of the blade.

If you have a wood thickness of 6-inches and a blade diameter of 4-inches, it's not going to cut it. It's recommended to have at least two inches thicker on the blade's diameter than the wood you're cutting. 

Cutting Tile

Tile is a brittle material and can be frustrating to cut. The main thing to remember is that you're not cutting the tile the entire way. You're scoring a narrow slit through the tile to weaken it and then finally snap it off. 


Circular saws aren't that difficult to use, and they're relatively versatile tools that can be used on pretty much any material. If you follow the advice and method outlined above, you'll minimize any risks involved in the cutting process.