Circular Saw Safety 101 – Tips & Rules to Keep Your Fingers

| Last Updated: April 1, 2021

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Circular saws are dangerous tools when not handled correctly; a simple mistake can turn catastrophic if you’re unsure how to handle it.

In the article below, we’ll show you some basic safety rules and handling practices. 

Tool Tango’s Circular Saw Safety Rules 

Safety should always be your number one priority. You’d be surprised by the number of people that disregard basic safety practices, which is why you won’t be surprised that in the US alone, 94,200 people each year are treated for saw injuries. 

  1. Carry out a general inspection of the saw before use to ensure everything is in working order.

  2. Don’t overreach when cutting a board; once you lose your balance, chances are, you’ll fall into the saw. 

  3. Secure your board before cutting into it; a board that isn’t secured down correctly will move around, increasing the risk of accidents. 

  4. Remove any objects from the wood, such as nails; if you hit a nail while cutting, it could damage your blade or even throw shards towards you. 

  5. Keep the power unplugged during maintenance or inspection; this will save you from any injuries if you accidentally hit the ON button. 

Circular Saw Terminology and Common Concepts

Circular saws have a similar design to table saws which is why you’ll notice reasonably identical features, characteristics, and components.

Below is a list of explained terms and jargon commonly used when referring to circular saws. 

  • Arbor - The shaft that rotates the blade.
  • Tear-out - This is when the circular saw blade comes to the end of the cut but splinters the wood’s edges. 
  • Kerf - The width of your cut. 
  • Gullet - The space between each tooth.
  • Framing Saw Blade - Framing blades have a lower tooth count with larger gullets between each tooth. This allows for more material to be removed, but the cuts aren’t as smooth. 
  • Finishing Saw Blade - These blades have more teeth to provide a smooth cut, usually between 40 and 60 teeth. 

Circular Saw Safety Features

When researching the various brands of circular saws to purchase, you should keep an eye out for the following safety features. The following can make a difference in lowering your risk exposure. 

Blade Guard - A blade guard acts as a cover over your blade; when you push the blade guard against the workpiece, the guard will lift to expose just enough of the blade to cut through wood. The guard acts as a barrier between you and the fast-moving sharp edge. 

Blade Brake - As you already know, a blade will still travel at fast speeds after a cut has been complete. A blade brake will help slow the blade down to get it ready for the next cut. The quicker the blade stops spinning, the safer it’ll be for you to handle. 

Emergency OFF Button -  If there’s a risk of you losing control of the board or machine, you’ll want to turn the saw off as fast as possible. An emergency power-off button would be best suited to this situation; they’re located usually within reach of your fingertips at the side of the handle for easy, non-strenuous access in case of emergencies. 

Essential Circular Saw Accessories

Circular saws don’t have much in terms of purchasable accessories as they usually come with everything you need. The only accessories you’d need to operate your circular saw with greater effectiveness are listed below. 

Guide Rail

A guide rail is a long rail that helps keep your saw on track while cutting. A common issue is that you often get distracted or have poor coordination; this results in the cuts being uneven and wood unusable. Having a physical guide helps you stay on course. 

Laser Guide

Laser guides have the same purpose as the guide rail, the difference being that the laser sits on the saw and points a laser beam across the workpiece so you know which way to cut. 

The downside to the laser guide is that it’s not a physical barrier to keep you straight; it relies too heavily on your sense of cutting direction. 

Router Edge Guide 

An edge guide is a guiding tool that allows the user to keep a uniform approach to each cut they make. The guide can be adjusted using clamps, movable to any distance from the table, and then the guide slides along with the table at the adjusted length. The cuts are then made at the same length with each cut and can create consistent grooves, joints, patterns, or general cuts. 


Safety rules are there to follow; if you don’t, the chances of you experiencing a life-changing accident increase significantly. Follow the tips we’ve outlined above, and you’ll not need to worry about taking unnecessary risks. 

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