Q&A: Need a new circular saw

I’ve been working nights doing some carpentry and without my (relatively) luxurious and large tablesaw, I’ve come to the conclusion that my inexpensive skil circular saw is just not up to the task for practically anything. I have a nice finish blade and it cuts cleanly but I have to “test” cut practically everything to make sure the blade is in the right location.

I would like to get a saw with the following features but don’t know where to look.

Good base/fence. My biggest issue is where locating the fence. I always use a straight edge clamped to the piece I’m cutting. I have to use a magnifying glass to mark the fence location because the distance to the blade is not a whole number. It would be great if the fence location were “exactly 1-1/2” or something to that effect. For both sides of the blade (not the same distance of course, but both whole numbers easy to mark).

Beveling. When the blade is beveled, it throws the fence distance off. This absolutely requires test cutting. It’s such a pain and time waster. My table saw doesn’t require this do well should any other tilting blade require it? Also, the bevel is hard to move, has no preset detents, etc. Those are nice features I’d like.

Built in ripping fence/gauge. I saw some accessories online for this. It would be nice to have it built in our at least compatible AND be able to set the distance by markings on the fence (just like my trusty table saw) and not by guessing/using a tape measure/test cutting/etc.

I suppose different blade widths may prevent a strict “whole number” fence distance, but the beveling accuracy thing is absolutely a necessity. So what’s good out there for under $150?

Losing fingers since 1969


Hi Brian
I haven’t checked off item by item on your wish list so this saw may not fulfill what you want. As a 30+ year contractor, I would say 95% of the people I have worked with have used and considered the Skil worm drive circular saws a standard in the industry . I’ve owned other work drives, like Bosch and Dewalt (also work drive) and they are good saws but are not as balanced as the Skil worm drive. I think you might be surprised at what a decent saw costs I would say all of the good saws are over your budget. Not sure this is much help perhaps others will have good suggestions for you.


woodworking classes, custom furniture maker

Brian: Bite the bullet and buy your self a track-saw. Several years ago I bought a Festool and have never looked back. The Festool has all the features you want. I do not know if the other track-saws haveall the features you want.


Tor and Odin are the greatest of gods.

For a circular saw I’d go with a worm drive. Can’t say which model would be best. I’ve used a Milwaukie and own the Makita. I’d say they are fairly equal. But yeah, if doing a lot of work with a circ saw a track saw would be the way to go. But one thing you mentioned about the magnifying glass… make spacers for laying out stuff like that. Have a pair for each side of the shoe that is perfect and then you just place the spacers on your mark, clamp your straight edge and away you go



Maybe this could be helpful until you bite the bullet for that new Festool! You always know exactly where your blade will cut.


“Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” Benjamin Franklin

I take it you have already used the trick of using a piece of plywoo with a piece on top, to act as a straight edge, and the bottom piece about a half inch wider than the base, plus the area for the “fence,” then cutting the plywood for a perfect “what you see is what you get” cut each time.

I’d make one for four foot cuts and one for eight foot cuts.

If I was doing a lot of precision cuts, I’d be looking down the track saw road. It’s a tool, so it’s an investment.