So, you’ve decided to step up your woodworking game by getting a circular saw – great choice! Now, the real question: should you go cordless or stick with the traditional corded version?
Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. Let’s dive into the corded vs. cordless debate to help you pick the best fit for your needs and wallet.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
The battery of a cordless version drains quicker if you’re cutting a difficult piece of wood.
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.
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.
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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.
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.
Unfortunately, even if the cordless circular saw is as functional as the corded counterpart, it can’t be used all day long. It is created for making simple and few cuts, and therefore a good type of circular saw to consider for beginners.
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.
The cutting power of a circular saw is dependent on the initial torque and speed.
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 have an impact on the speed and torque of your machine, potentially causing the circular saw to stop repeatedly.
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.
Battery Life and Durability
Plugging in gives you non-stop power, but remember, you’re tied to an outlet. Want your corded tool to last? Take good care of it! Mistreating it is a surefire way to shorten its life. So, always handle with care and keep everything in tip-top shape.
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.
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.
If you often handle heavy-duty tasks, a corded circular saw might be the better choice. If portability, convenience, and versatility are more important to you, a cordless circular saw can provide the freedom to work in various environments.
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.
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, I’ve 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.
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.
My 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.
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  which explain its durability and lightweight feature.
At the heart of it, both plug-in and battery-powered circular saws pack a punch when it comes to cutting. It really boils down to what suits your style.
In the head-to-head between the two, you’ve noticed that the plug-in ones give you a bit more freedom to move around. So, if you’re cool with being near an outlet when working, the plug-in saw won’t let you down.
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