Best Compact Circular Saws – 2020 Reviews

Tool Tango is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Compact circular saws are some of the best cutting options for getting into weird spaces and tight angles, or making overhead cuts.

Even if you do not have any of those issues, a compact circular saw is a great product to have on hand. Read on to learn more about these fantastic saws.

Comparison Chart of the ​Best Compact Circular Saws

Product

Our Rating

​Price

RotoRazer Compact Circular Saw

Best Overall

Tacklife TCS115A

Runner-up

Rockwell RK3441K

Best for the Money

Makita SH02R1

Best Cordless Compact Circular Saw

EnerTwist ET-CS-20C

Best 4-1/2" Compact Circular Saw

Worx WX531L

Best Worx Compact Circular Saw

Rockwell RK3440K

Best Rockwell Compact Circular Saw

Dewalt DCS571B

Best Dewalt Compact Circular Saw

Porter-Cable PCE381K

Best Portable Cable Compact Circular Saw

What is a Compact Circular Saw?

A compact circular saw is a circular saw – that is, a saw with a circular blade shaped like a disc that spins rapidly via motor power – on a smaller level. Compact circular saws are often small enough to be able to be operated with just one hand.

This makes them a great option for smaller projects and do it yourself type of craftsmanship around the house. They can be navigated into smaller angles and are also quite easy to operate.

Are All Compact Circular Saws The Same?

To a certain extent, all compact circular saws are the same. They are all roughly the same size and tend to be used for the same kinds of projects. However, the saws do also have a certain level of variation.

Different saws come with different kinds of blades for cutting different kinds of materials, such as wood, metal, ceramics, tile, etc. Plus, saws can have different cutting depths (more on cutting depth later in the article).

Finally, different saws have different features such as blade guards, safety devices, and more.

Quick Take: Best ​Compact Circular Saws

Hoping to cut right to the chase? Below are the best ​compact circular saws:

  1. Best OverallRotoRazer Compact Circular Saw​​​
  2. Runner-up​​​​Tacklife TCS115A
  3. Best for the Money​​​​Rockwell RK3441K

Review of the Best Compact Circular Saws

How do you know which saw is best for you? We have compiled a list of the top compact circular saws on the market today:

​Best Overall:
​RotoRazer Compact Circular Saw

PROS

  • Sturdy and tough
  • Small and versatile
  • Great for smaller jobs
  • Endorsed for use by professional woodworkers

CONS

  • Can be difficult to see where you are cutting sometimes
  • ​RotoRazer customer service can be a little slow and/or lacking at times

Our Review

This saw really breaks away from the rest of the compact circular saw pack. It checks all the boxes of being small, lightweight, and easy to manipulate, but it also goes above and beyond. It works particularly well on thin pieces of wood, which makes it ideal for hobbyist woodworking such as making picture frames and other smaller pieces.

It is able to make accurate cuts, and its motor is surprisingly strong and robust for a saw of its size. It also comes in either yellow or red, which can help users to be able to personalize a bit more of their compact saw experience.

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

Users were most impressed with this saw’s ability to make smooth, flat cuts. If you are working on a piece that requires you to cut tight corners, or if you want to make precise cuts as part of a larger design, this is a good option.

​Runner-up:
​Tacklife TCS115A

PROS

  • Has a laser cutting guide
  • ​Cutting depth is easy to adjust
  • Excellent combination of power and portability
  • Safety switch has two triggers for added layer of protection

CONS

  • Heavier than competing brands, around 7 lbs

Our Review

This saw packs a punch! Its motor has 5.8 amps of power, and its blade spins at 3500 RPM. You would not want to mess around with this bad boy. It can handle anything you throw at it – any kind of wood, plaster, plasterboard, PVC pipe, plastics, and even tile!

It comes with six separate blades: two intended to cut soft metal, two specifically designed to cut wood, and even two blades with diamond tips for carving through tile like it is made of butter. It is also quite easy to take apart, in case anything ever goes wrong and you need to perform a little at home maintenance.

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

The most defining feature on this saw is its folding metal handle. The handle can either be retracted for users to be able to use the saw with one hand, freeing up the other hand for other projects. Or, it can be extended and used with two hands to enhance accuracy and control.

​Best for the Money:
​Rockwell RK3441K

PROS

  • Has a lock off safety switch
  • Can be used for a wide variety of different projects
  • Endorsed for use by professional contractors and lumber workers
  • Ergonomically designed to be comfortable to use for hours at a time

CONS

  • Left-handed users report it does not work particularly well for them
  • Has a laser cutting guide, but requires batteries to operate that are not included

Our Review

This saw is a beast! It comes with four specialized different cutting blades: a blade for cutting PVC pipe, a blade for cutting ceramic tile, a blade for cutting aluminum, and a blade with a carbide tip that will chomp through any and all kinds of wood.

Plus, it is able to cut to a depth of up to two inches, which is quite a bit for a compact circular saw. No matter what blade you are using, you can tilt the blade angle all the way up to 45 degrees, making it possible to do specialty cuts such as bevels.

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

You are not going to believe your eyes when you saw what a low price this saw is going for. We certainly did not. But never fear, this is no scam – you actually can get a compact circular saw of such high quality for such a low, low price.

​Best Cordless Compact Circular Saw:
​​​​Makita SH02R1

PROS

  • Lightweight and easy to carry
  • Excellent for home improvement projects
  • Depth can be adjusted up to half of an inch
  • Combines power and precision, good for complex projects

CONS

  • Cutting depth is only an inch

Our Review

This is an excellent saw for large projects associated with woodworking contract work. Without a cord, you have a lot more versatility and can accomplish things a corded circular saw would not be able to handle. This saw is also an awesome option if you have never worked with a compact circular saw before.

 It is specifically designed to closely resemble a standard saw, so if you are nervous about transitioning to a handheld blade, never fear with this model. Plus, it has a built in dust blower that keeps dust off of your cutting line and improves overall visibility and cut accuracy. 

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

The clear unique factor for this saw is that it is entirely cordless. If you are sick and tired of needing to plan your projects based on proximity to an outlet, or if you want to get rid of the safety hazard of cords criss crossing your workspace, this is the saw for you.

​Best 4 ½” Compact Circular Saw:
EnerTwist ET-CS-20C

PROS

  • Great for small jobs
  • Lightweight and easy to carry
  • Feels rugged and solid, despite being small
  • Easy to use, users report feeling a lot of control over this saw

CONS

  • Only comes with one battery, so you may need to take time off your project while waiting for it to recharge

Our Review

This saw is super efficient at cutting through smaller pieces of wood, particularly if you have to cut through a large quantity of 2x4s. It is powerful and cuts quickly, but does not create a large level of kickback so you will not have to worry about pieces of wood flying back towards your face after you have cut them (although you should always wear eye protection when using a saw, just in case!).

This tool is meant for all-around use and is fairly multifunctional. It comes with three saw blades, one for cutting small pieces of wood as we just mentioned, one for cutting through metal, and one for cutting both tile and concrete.

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

The biggest issue many users encounter with cordless saws is that their batteries do not last particularly long. That is certainly not the case with this tough little saw. The battery not only lasts a super long time, but it also recharges quickly!

​Best Worx Compact Circular Saw:
Worx WX531L

PROS

  • ​Weighs only 4 ½ lbs
  • ​Works well for female users
  • ​Great for working on thick structures
  • ​Handle is ergonomically designed to provide comfort for long haul jobs

CONS

  • ​Factory provided blades are not super accurate

Our Review

This saw is an all around great choice, particularly for those who have not used a compact circular saw before. Many aspects of this saw make it essentially foolproof. It is a simple process to adjust both the cutting depth of the blade and the saw’s bevel angle.

The saw inclines to the left, so you will always have a good view of the project you are working on. Increased visibility leads not only to increased safety, but also increased accuracy. And speaking of safety measures, the integrated safety trigger on this saw guarantees user safety no matter what.

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

You can feel confident purchasing the Worx WX531L and know that it will not end up costing you more money in the end. Not only does it come with a three year warranty with full coverage, but the blade is thinner than on other saws, meaning less strain on the tool and less required maintenance.

​Best Rockwell Compact Circular Saw:
Rockwell RK3440K

PROS

  • ​Great for small projects
  • ​Awesome for use by casual hobbyists
  • ​Has an efficient dust extraction system
  • ​Ultimate in compact saws: one of the smallest we have reviewed

CONS

  • ​Maximum cutting depth is smaller than many competitor saws, at just under 2 inches

Our Review

This is probably the number one option for anyone who is looking for a powerful compact circular saw that will not be exhausting to use. This saw is so small and lightweight that it will not wear out the muscles in your arms, shoulders, or neck in the slightest, so you could work with it all day if you needed to!

The size also means it can easily be operated with just one hand, without the off balance, dangerous feel that one hand operation often provokes with other saws. You can use your other hand to stabilize your cutting surface and actually make your process more safe.

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

When we say compact with this saw, we mean compact. This saw is tiny! Its grip is very thin compared to other saws, which means it can more easily navigate tighter spaces and awkward angles. It is also a great option for smaller users, such as women.

​Best Dewalt Compact Circular Saw:
De​Walt DCS571B

PROS

  • ​Easy to use
  • ​Has a flip out rafter hook
  • ​Rotation speed is exceptionally fast
  • ​Endorsed for use by professional carpenters

CONS

  • ​Binds up fairly easily

Our Review

There were a lot of things to love about this model. It comes with the most modern blades possible, ultra thin kerf blades, and it works much better with these blades than any other brand on this list.

It also arrives fully aligned, right out of the box, so you will not need to spend countless hours struggling to re-tension it and set it up properly, you can just get straight to the hard work of sawing. Plus, its battery lasts a lot longer than some of the other competitor brands that also operate on battery power.

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

A lot of saws advertise their laser cutting lines, but this saw is the real deal. It has an LED light system that illuminates your cutting surface perfectly so that you will always be able to make the most accurate cut possible, even in dimly lit conditions.

​Best ​Cabled Compact Circular Saw: 
Porter-Cable PCE381K

PROS

  • ​Easy to use
  • ​Fits well in hand
  • ​Makes precise cuts
  • ​Durable enough to be used every day and not break down

CONS

  • ​Safety button is difficult to access

Our Review

This saw is a phenomenal option for overhead work. If there is ever a saw you would feel comfortable lifting up and over your head and face, this is the one. It does not produce a high level of kickback, or really any kickback at all, so you will not have to worry about it jerking around, binding up, or sputtering out on top of you.

Users report that this saw is a particular good choice for stripping plywood down the middle, or cutting any sort of trim. Plus, it comes with a soft carrying case to easily transport it from your shop to your work site.

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

For all of the hype around laser cutting guides, would it not be awesome to just be able to trust the standard guide system on a saw to make straight, accurate cuts? That is the case with this model! The standard guide allows for smooth, straight slices.

Pros and Cons of Compact Circular Saws

Still not sold on the idea of a compact circular saw? Here is a breakdown of the pros and cons:

Pros

Size

It’s right there in the name – these saws are compact! If you are sick of wrangling around a huge saw that breaks your back and your spirit, you have got to go with a compact model.

Maneuverability

The best thing about smaller saws is not just that they are less exhausting to operate, but also that they are easier to maneuver. Do you have a tight space or a weird angle that you have been dying to get in and cut? A compact circular saw can do it for you.

Accuracy

Smaller size and increased maneuverability of course translates to a boost in accuracy. These saws are some of the best options available for making precise, accurate cuts.

Cons

Lack of Power

The thing about a smaller size is that it also means a smaller motor, which translates pretty clearly to less power than a traditional saw. You will likely need to expect to make smaller cuts with your compact saw.

Conclusion

Compact circular saws are an all around excellent investment. They can handle cuts that other saws will just not be able to process. We guarantee that if you choose to go with any of the saws on our list above, you will not be disappointed.

People Also Ask

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about compact circular saws:  

When Should I Use A Compact Circular Saw?

Compact circular saws are a great option whenever you need to make cuts at weird angles, or smaller cuts that would be exceptionally laborious to make if you used a full sized saw to get it done. Cuts such as trim work and overhead work are good examples.

How Heavy Are Compact Circular Saws?

Weight can range from saw to saw, but one of the main selling points of these saws is their lighter weight compared to other types of saws. Most compact circular saws are between 4 and 5 lbs.

Are Compact Circular Saws Water Resistant?

Many compact circular saws are designed to be resistant to water. You should keep an eye out when reviewing your saw and pay attention to the product details to find out if the saw you are considering is water resistant.

How Deep Can A Compact Circular Saw Cut?

Again, this can range depending on the saw, and gets at one of the few drawbacks of working with a circular saw – they will not be able to make as deep of cuts as other kinds of saws. Most circular saws cut within a range of an inch to two inches deep.