A circular saw, sometimes referred to as a buzz saw, is a tool used for cutting wood, plastic, metal, or masonry. Typically, a circular saw is easily identified by the presence of a metal disc or blade with teeth on the edge and a mechanism that causes the disk to spin. The tool can be either hand held or table mounted.
When buying a circular saw, it's important to choose a tool with a motor that is powerful enough to meet your needs. For example, a woodworker should choose a saw with enough power to cut through everything from wet lumber to dense hardwood. If the motor in the saw you select doesn't have enough power, the blade heats up and begins to dull. In addition to creating poor quality cuts, this can become a safety hazard if the blade starts to climb out and push the saw back towards the user.
Reading product descriptions can provide a basic estimate of a motor's power. Amps indicate the amount of electricity the saw's motor draws, while horsepower accounts for rotational force. However, price is often the most reliable way to determine the quality of a circular saw. Generally, you can expect to spend several hundred dollars for a top of the line circular saw. Luckily, with proper care, you can expect your saw to last for 20 years or more.
Other features to look for when purchasing a circular saw include large lever locks, knobs that can be tightened with the whole hand, and cast-metal shoes with reinforcing ribs on the top surface to prevent damage if the saw accidentally hits the ground when you're working. Since the weight and feel of a saw can vary among manufacturers, it's also helpful to spend some time testing a few different models to see what fits your personal preferences.
Circular saws, like other power tools, can cause serious injuries if they are not used properly. Familiarize yourself with the owner's manual before attempting your first project. Make sure you are wearing safety glasses to protect your eyes from flying debris and ear protection to guard against hearing damage caused by the noise of the motor. If you are left-handed, you must be extremely cautious when operating a circular saw, since most saws are designed for right-handed operation. It's also a good idea to make sure your saw is unplugged from the power source before attempting to make any adjustments to the blade depth.