Corded vs. Cordless Circular Saw: Which Should You Buy?

corded circular saw

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You’ve finally concluded that buying a circular saw will make woodworking easier, and you’re okay with investing more in your tool inventory. Now the question is what to choose between a cordless or corded unit. 

Here, our experts will give you a detailed corded vs. cordless circular saw comparison to help you decide which one to buy and get the most value for money.

What are Corded Circular Saws?

A corded circular saw is the original version of a circular saw, and the main difference between the two is the power source. Corded circular saws run via a power source and can work with the toughest materials.

corded circular saw

Key Features

A corded saw is a high-power functioning tool with a spinning circular blade. It’s widely used and popular for cutting wood and other materials like plastic and steel. Like other power tools, this saw requires a cord and power outlet to function.

Functions

Blades

The material of the blade is a huge component of its working capacity. There is various teeth range, from 32 to 80, and the type of teeth blade you should use varies depending on the material you will tackle. 

Always use the appropriate blade size and teeth to ensure maximum performance and precise cuts. 

Cuts

A corded circular saw can make different cuts with height, bevel, and depth adjustments. Thus you can create the cross, bevel, miter, and compound cuts. But if you’re cutting thicker compound cuts, you should set the blade lower before running your saw across.  

Safety Features

Before using a corded circular saw, ensure that all the blade covers are in place to avoid your hands from getting in the way while sawing. The blade cover can protect your hand and makes the tool-less dangerous to work on. 

circular saw blade

Also check that the power cord is carefully placed to avoid accidentally cutting it. A corded circular saw will maximize functionality if you work on heavy wood. If you use it properly and with caution, you can keep using it for hours without the saw malfunctioning. 

Cost

Corded circular saws are among the most economical, and the price can vary from less than $50 to over $100. It’s a versatile investment, especially if you frequently opt for corded tools. 

Pros

Cons

What are Cordless Circular Saws?

Cordless models came to light when woodworkers realized the problem of mobility and portability. It came into production recently, but the first portable electric saw was invented in 1928 and nicknamed the “Model E.” 

cordless circular saw

The Model E has seen huge improvements making it possible to cater to huge productions of the cordless variety and make it functional in today’s time. 

Key Features

Corded and cordless circular saws have a lot of similarities since the cordless versions are portable adaptations of the former. 

In terms of cutting accuracy, these two are very much alike. While it runs on battery, it is still massively impressive for a machine as it runs with powerful motors and can be functional for years, provided with proper maintenance. 

Functions

Blades

Like a corded circular saw, there’s also a huge blade selection available for cordless versions. But if you’re opting for larger blades, keep in mind that corded circular saws only have until 6.5 inches in maximum, so you should match your blade to the material you are cutting. 

Cuts

Depending on your cut, you can also adjust the the height, depth, and bevel of your cordless circular saw. One drawback with cordless versions is their power since they won’t run as long as the electric-powered ones. 

operating a cordless circular saw

The battery of a cordless version drains quicker if you’re cutting a difficult piece of wood. 

Safety Features

Cordless circular saws are less dangerous since you won’t have to consider cutting the cord while operating. One of the biggest safety factors of using a cordless circular saw is its mobility.

Cost

Since cordless circular saws are a little high maintenance and are crafted differently, it’s also a bit more expensive than the corded variety. Also, it’s costlier in the long run since you’ll have to buy a battery and reserves if you want them functioning for a longer period. 

Pros

Cons

Which Saw is Better for Your Needs?

A power tool and its functionality differs depending on the woodworker’s needs, so before deciding on the right model, it’s important to be clear on what functions you are more particular about.

Ridgid corded circular saw

Size and Weight

Cordless saws are heavier, but corded saws are often bigger. If you’re using a circular saw, and you do not have that many power outlets, or if the area is far from outlets, then opting for cordless tools is ideal. 

But note that it will be tiring to use given the weight. You can opt for multiple extension cords instead to avoid experiencing fatigue on your arms, especially if you’re using them during the day. Professional users prefer cordless tools more, and we recommend avoiding unnecessary fatigue that could make your working days longer. 

Winner: Corded

Power

Unfortunately, even if the cordless circular saw is as functional as the corded counterpart, it can’t be used all day long. A cordless circular saw is created for making simple and few cuts. You can still expect high-quality cuts, but using it for bigger wood can cause some issues, especially once the battery drains out. 

Cordless circular saws have batteries with stock models from 18 to 20 volts and use a lithium-ion rechargeable battery. Manufacturers also include recharging stations for cordless saws, which can help you alternate your batteries so that you can use them any time of the day regardless of the power source.

Winner: Cordless

Cutting Capacity

The cutting power of a circular saw is dependent on the initial torque and speed. 

operating a DeWalt circular saw

A cordless circular saw depends on a single battery. It drives more power depending on the battery’s capability, so if the battery is not fully charged or has weakened, then it will cause an impact on the speed and torque of your machine. 

The draw with using a battery-operated machine is the consistency of the battery, which inevitably changes over time. When the battery is inefficient, it will affect the cuts made regardless of how powerful the motor of your saw is. 

This is why professional woodworkers prefer corded versions, as they can ensure cut consistency and uniformity. A corded circular saw can generate apt speed to work even with difficult cuts and bigger materials when the power supply is consistent. 

Workers can also make more cuts with corded circular saws, as they can work longer hours without worrying about the cut’s efficiency. 

Winner: Corded

Battery Life and Durability

Corded models have unlimited battery power, but it relies on the power source and power outlets to work. Anomalies in the durability of the corded ones often result from the unruly maintenance of the tool, so we recommend keeping the engines well intact to secure durability. 

attaching battery to circular saw

Cordless circular saws rely on batteries, and the lifespan of a battery will decrease over time. It may be rechargeable, but since the batteries will decay, you cannot rely solely on extra batteries and will have to replace them every year or three. 

Using unreliable charging kits can also damage lithium-ion rechargeable batteries, resulting in malfunctioning batteries or batteries that easily run out even after charging.

Winner: Corded

Versatility

Corded and cordless versions differ mostly in versatility. The main advantage of corded circular saws is their ability to make accurate cuts on wood, even if the saw is old already. 

It’s also lighter, which makes DIY projects easier to finish without worrying the cuts will vary.

Winner: Corded

Price

Even if a corded circular saw is cheaper, you’ll also have to look into the specifications you will need. Therefore, it’s always a personal preference that you opt for a high-quality one, which means it’s more pricey than the standard ones. Thus it’s still a preferable option rather than cordless versions. 

DeWalt circular saw

When opting for cordless circular saws, you must consider buying batteries and charging kits, especially if you want to work with them for longer. This means more money is spent on the saw itself and its essential accessories for it to run smoothly. 

Should I Purchase a Cordless Unit?

A cordless unit is preferred by individuals who want to work on their saw efficiently. So, consider your power requirements, and if you are ready for the repercussions. 

So far, we have mentioned the possible draws of a cordless unit and what safeguard measures you should apply to make it a worth it purchase. Get battery-powered circular saws if you can offset the expenses of recharging stations and extra rechargeable and replacement batteries. 

Also, it’s best for woodworkers who always work in areas with no sure power supply. If you’re working on projects to be installed in open areas a cordless saw is your best bet. 

A cordless circular saw is mobile, and you can maximize its efficiency in cuts as long as the battery lasts. 

Why are Some Cordless Circular Saws for Left-Handed Users?

A cordless circular saw is meant to cut straight lines and maximize its orientation, and it’s usually placed on the left side. 

Lotus cordless circular saw

The main advantage of the cordless model is that it portions the weight of the saw to the material, making cutting more stabilized and accurate. Also, it allows a safer approach since it’s less prone to kickback. 

With left-handed circular saws, the woodworker can get a more accurate view since the motor will not block the sight while operating. Also, corded saws are often right-handed since the cord is placed on the left side.

Our Top Product Recommendations

1. Makita XPS01PTJ 5.0Ah 18V Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless Circular Saw

The Makita XPS01PTJ 5.0Ah is popular amongst woodworkers simply because it functions as recommended and produces laser-straight cuts. It has enough power, can almost replace a table saw and cuts like butter even with hard materials. It’s also air powered, which is a feature not mostly common to cordless circular saws. 

Key Features

2. Makita 50007Mg Magnesium 7 ¼ Inch Corded Circular Saw

Makita 5007Mg is one of the market’s most refined and powerful circular saws. It’s a true workhorse, can seamlessly balance accuracy, preciseness, and durability, and is very easy to use. 

What sets it apart from other circular saws is its magnesium components [1] which explain its durability and lightweight feature. 

Key Features

Conclusion

Bottomline, both corded and cordless circular saws deliver impressive cutting performance, and your choice will only vary depending on your overall preference. 

In our cordless vs. corded circular saw comparison, we saw that the latter has additional mobility features. Hence, if you think you can work with outlets every time you’re using the saw, then a corded version won’t disappoint.

Robert Johnson is a woodworker who takes joy in sharing his passion for creating to the rest of the world. His brainchild, Sawinery, allowed him to do so as well as connect with other craftsmen. He has since built an enviable workshop for himself and an equally impressive online accomplishment: an extensive resource site serving old timers and novices alike.
Robert Johnson
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