Choosing the Best Circular Saw

Cordless Circular Saws

Circular saws are versatile tools that are geared towards DIYers and carpenters alike, and are widely used along with other types of saws including jigsaws. This type of saw can be used to perform bevel cuts, cross cuts, and ripping materials such as hardwood, plywood and softwood with the integrated blade.
Just like most power tools, circular saws are available in a choice of corded and cordless models, where the former are powered by an electrical outlet, and latter with rechargeable lithium ion batteries with no wires to deal with. Buying a cordless circular saw can be a complex affair if you don’t know what to look for, but the following tips should guide you on the right track, and help you buy the right tool for the job.

Cordless vs. corded models

Choosing between the two models will depend mostly on how you plan on using the saw. Cordless circular saws are great when working in tight spaces and/or those where extension cords are challenging to use. Corded circular saws require a suitable extension cord, and are ideal for cutting jobs such as steel, masonry and continuous woodworking.

Features to look out for

    • Power – The power of a cordless tool is measured in watts, where the higher the number, the more cutting power.
    • Blade size – Blades for circular saws are available across a spectrum of sizes, most commonly 7-1/4 inches. Saws that offer blade capacities of 6″ and higher are ideal for most cutting tasks, whereas those with a smaller blade are lighter and easier to control. Furthermore, blades are available in steel and carbide-tipped versions, where the former are an economical choice, and the latter are more durable.
    • Bevel capacity – Circular saws with this feature allow you to make angled cuts, so look for tools with positive stops and tool-free adjustment for improved accuracy and efficiency to adjust for common angles.
    • Electric brake – This stops the blade from spinning when you release the trigger, which both enhances safety and gets the tool ready quickly for the next cut.
    • Easy change blade system – Some offer tool-free blade changes or the ability to change them in a single step, resulting in reduced downtime especially if you change blades frequently.
    • Dust blower – An integrated blower cleans the dust to improve visibility. Some circular saws can also be connected with a shop vacuum to collect sawdust as you use the tool.
    • Cast metal housing – This shields the motor from wear and tear and extends its service life.
    • Blade guard – a protective layer that covers the blade when not in use, and retracts when the tool is in use.
    • Ergonomics – Tools with non-slip soft handles are easier to control and hold especially when working for longer periods.
    • Safety features – A lock off button prevents the cordless circular saw from starting up before you intend it, and a soft start switch sets the blade moving at a lower speed when you first fire up the tool, improving control over the cut.

DeWalt 18V 165mm XR Lithium-Ion Circular Saw with Batteries

If you’re looking for a circular saw that offers little or no disappointment in terms of performance, the DeWalt DSC391N circular saw is what you should be looking at. It is equipped with a 165mm blade and a robust 3700rpm fan cooled powerful motor complete with replaceable brushes, making it an excellent choice for cutting applications where speed is of the essence.
With regards to durability, the DeWalt DSC391N circular saw takes home the gold with its cast magnesium base that renders accurate and repetitive cuts. Furthermore, the DSC391N circular saw is equipped with an ergonomic handle with rubber overmould for optimum comfort when working for longer periods.

Key Features of the DeWalt DSC391N Circular Saw

  • Lightweight at 3.2kgs
  • 18 volts165mm blade diameter
  • Intelligent switch module for optimal performance
  • Ergonomic handle
  • Includes 2 lithium ion batteries

Tipping the scales at just 3.2kgs, the DeWalt DSC391N circular saw is lightweight compared to its competition, and is fitted with an intelligent switch module that does two things—maximizes performance and prevents damage caused by temperature buildup or overload. The DeWalt DSC391N circular saw offers easy and quick blade changes with the integrated spindle lock.If you already have 18V DeWalt tools then you might want to save cost by opting for the tool without batteries. Otherwise, the full kit includes two batteries so that you can have one on charge whilst the other is in use, saving downtime waiting for the battery to charge.

Buy this DeWalt DSC391N on Amazon             Buy the Tool without batteries on Amazon

Bosch PKS 18 LI Cordless Circular Saw

When it comes to shopping for the best power tools, Bosch is one of the names that crops up often. The Bosch PKS 18 LI circular saw is designed for both novice and seasoned users, and is not only lightweight but also fitted with an ergonomic handle that makes it a joy to use for any applications and over extended periods. In addition, the Bosch PKS 18 LI circular saw is embedded with a Syneon Chip that helps maintain balance between the inner components in such a way that the tool is able to provide increased power for almost any application.

Features of the Bosch PKS 18 LI Circular Saw

  • Integrated dust extraction port
  • Compact and lightweight footprint
  • Easy to use with simple bevel angle and cutting depth adjustments
  • Onsite lock-off button mated with soft grip for increased user comfort and control
  • Ideal choice for cutting floor boards and decking with top notch accuracy

The Bosch PKS 18 LI Circular Saw features patented CutControl technology, which allows users to make accurate cuts by following marked lines. Further, the inbuilt spindle lock makes it easy to change blades with no tools required, and its dust extraction port ensures you leave little or no mess in the shop. The Bosch PKS 18 LI Circular Saw comes as a body-only model, so you will have to buy a compatible lithium ion battery and charger separately.

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Makita DSS611Z LXT Body Only Cordless 18 V Circular Saw

The Makita DSS611Z LXT 165mm circular saw provides a no fuss cutting experience thanks to its integrated, powerful motor and no load speed of 3700rpm. It offers over the top performance with 40mm max depth of cut at 45 degrees and 57mm max depth of cut at 90 degrees, making it an ideal choice for a wide range of applications. Adding to this, it boasts a lightweight design that is complete with a rigid aluminum base for superior quality and toughness. One of the noteworthy features of the DSS611Z LXT circular saw is its double safety trigger, which prevents accidental starting.

Features of the Makita DSS611Z LXT 165mm Circular Saw

  • Removable dust nozzle
  • Handle with comfort grips
  • Compact and lightweight design
  • 20mm bore diameter
  • Onsite hex wrench storage space

The Makita DSS611Z LXT 165mm circular saw can create bevel cuts of up to 50 degrees without any hiccups, and features a dust port that can be connected with a vacuum cleaner. Its safety cover with calibration line makes it easy to adjust the depth, and rubberized grip provides great comfort and handling. The Makita DSS611Z LXT 165mm circular saw is powered by lithium ion batteries (not included), which provide an impressive 430% greater run time.

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Ryobi R18CS-0 ONE+ 18 V Cordless Circular Saw

The Ryobi R18CS-0 ONE+ 18 V cordless circular saw is an ideal choice for cutting kitchen work tops, trimming sheet wood to size, making long straight cuts and accurate cuts across timber. It can be ordered in a choice of three different variants—body only, with battery and charger or with an extra blade. It is a joy to use and setup owing to its tool free depth and bevel adjustments, and even features an onsite dust port to curb the mess that may arise as a result of cutting. The Ryobi R18CS-0 ONE+ 18 V cordless circular saw offers impressive cut capacities such as 36 mm at 45 degrees and 52 mm at 90 degrees.

Features of the Ryobi R18CS-0 ONE+ 18 V Cordless Circular Saw

  • Good fit for a wide range of applications
  • Tool free depth and bevel adjustments
  • Great cut capacities
  • Rotatable dust port
  • Available in three different variants

The Ryobi R18CS-0 ONE+ 18 V cordless circular saw weighs just 2.4kgs, and is fitted with an 18V motor that that renders speeds of 4700 rpm to easily cut through most timber and sheet materials. It is equipped with a 165mm blade complete with 24 carbide tipped teeth so you can expect nothing less than superior cutting performance. Its rotatable dust port not only allows you to work in a dust free environment by connecting it with a vacuum, but also keeps the cut line clear for greater accuracy.

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Hitachi C18DGLP4 18V Cordless Lithium-Ion Circular Saw

Left-handers are going to love this one! The Hitachi C18DGLP4 18V cordless circular saw has the blade on the other side compared to most circular saws. The blade’s position, which is on the left makes cutting operations a whole lot easier if you are left-handed, or if you really need to get tight into a space from the other side to normal. The Hitachi C18DGLP4 18V circular saw is equipped with an LED light that improves visibility in low light areas, and features a 50 degree bevel angle to serve applications beyond the basic 45 degrees.

Key features of the Hitachi C18DGLP4 18V Circular Saw

  • Left side blade position
  • Integrated LED light
  • Lifetime tool warranty
  • Soft rubber grip
  • Lightweight and compact footprint
  • Good bevel angle

The Hitachi C18DGLP4 18V circular saw features a soft grip that gives you more control over the tool and makes it comfortable to use. Added to this, it is lightweight at just 6.2lbs and equipped with an electric brake and blade guard for top notch precision and safety. But that’s not all, the Hitachi C18DGLP4 18V circular saw is fitted with a fan cooled motor that increases runtime resulting in better performance, and boasts an impressive no-load speed of 4,500 RPM.

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Conclusion:

Circular saws are one of the most essential tools for a wide range of applications from building decks to tree houses. There are several different types of circular saws available, which is why it is important to determine the type of project you intend to use the tool for before heading out shopping. Now that you’ve read our buying guide, you should have great insight into what to look for in the best circular saw, and we’ve even provided you with 5 of the best options to simplify your buying decision.

 

How Do I Choose a Building Company?

Building a property can become an unpleasant undertaking if you happen to fall into the hands of the wrong building company. It is, therefore, essential to choose a contractor that you can trust, whether you intend to build your property from scratch or are doing major renovations. The right builder will take you through the entire process with no stress.

Although construction always comes with unforeseen issues like sudden weather changes, sickness of staff or shortage of building materials, there are plenty of problems that you can avoid by properly vetting your builder.

No matter how small your building project may seem, not just any builder will do. The following are just a fraction of things that could go wrong as a result of hiring the wrong company.

  • Falling behind schedule
  • Failure to stick to the budget (Either the builder didn’t do a comprehensive budget or is trying to rip you off)
  • Abandoning of the project halfway through (possibly due to advance payment beyond the work done)
  • Safety concerns such as collapsing of buildings due to poor workmanship

The good news is that there are many certified and qualified companies, which can deliver good work without letting you down. However, to get the best builder, you have to do a thorough evaluation.

Determine the kind of work that you require

Building companies fall into two main categories each with different experiences;

  1. General builders – These are contractors that can handle any construction activity with ease.
  1. Specialist builders – Expert building companies specialize in one line of business such as building stair ways, renovating basements, etc.

Ask for leads for builders in your locality

The following are places that you can use for your research.

  • Your local Home Builders Association
  • Local real estate agents normally have useful leads
  • Browse through the real estate ad section of the local newspaper and magazines
  • Ask current homeowners, for instance, friends or relatives for leads.

After gathering the leads, come up with a list of builders that seem promising.

 

 Interview the builders

Contact each builder on your list and schedule an interview where you can ask them a few questions such as;

  • Do they have referrals of homeowners residing in properties that they’ve built in the past? Reputable builders will be happy to show-off their work, and will not hesitate to list a few of their previous customers.
  • What financial plans they have in place? Do they have insurance?
  • Can they cater for customized needs as opposed to standard plans?
  • Are their properties regulated by home owners associations and if so, what are the fees?
  • Do the builders offer warranty in case something goes wrong with your property such as cracking of walls or leaking pipes?
  • What rules and regulations come with hiring them?
  • Have they won any awards? Although an award is not a core requirement, it shows that notable building or consumer organizations have recognized the company’s quality work.

Interviewing homeowners

Ask the home owners about their experience working with the contractors.

  • Did the company have good communications skills?
  • Are there are any issues that have come up with the properties since purchase.
  • If indeed there are property-related problems that have cropped up, were the builders willing to sort them out promptly?

All the questions above will help you narrow down your list to three or four contractors that possess the qualities that you desire.

Visit the properties

Make arrangements to visit the properties that builders have constructed and make assessments on quality, functionality, etc.

Determine your project scope

Think about everything that you need. Hire an engineer to do structural calculations, and help you come up with drawings of the property as per your specifications.

Prepare a brief

The write up will show a list of requirements and be as specific as possible.  If you appear unsure, the builder might end up giving you their ideas, and you might end up with a structure that you don’t want, but rather the builder’s preference.

 Send the brief to the builders for bidding

Bidding allows you to get a variety of offers, and from that, you can choose the one that appears to provide quality work for the best price.  Analyze the quotes to see if they’re realistic or far-fetched.

As tempting as it might be, do not be quick to pick the company with the cheapest quote. Ask the pricier ones to justify their costs and find out what the cheap contractors did not include in their quotations.

Look at the breakdown of the costs carefully, and assess whether you need the items that are raising the costs? Can you do without them or are they a necessity?

Please note that some builders quote meager prices only for you to realise later on that you need to fork out more money to cater for essentials that were not in the quote.

Familiarise yourself with quote jargon such as provisional sums and prime costs. The terms are for allowances, and you should be keen to ensure that they do not appear too often, as they can be deceptive. Ask for clarifications if you come across anything that doesn’t make sense.

If you aren’t supplying the building materials, seek to know where the construction company will source the building materials from and the exact type, to avoid future misunderstandings.

 Booking

Good builders are always on demand, so ensure that you book on time, to avoid last minute disappointments.

Contract

Before work commences, ensure that you’ve both signed a binding contract.  The document will show that the builder has acknowledged responsibility for the project and that you’ve agreed to pay a certain amount of money in return.

The contract also shows payment terms to avoid sudden off-budget expenditure.

Selecting a reputable company gives you a peace of mind knowing that you, your family or business are safe from property associated accidents like building collapses, gas leaks, etc. You will also be sure that you’ll be working with a professional who is not just after money.

 

Good builders will have enough business acumen to understand that they need future referrals, so they will ensure that they do everything in their power to be as professional as possible.