Why Does My Circular Saw Keep Stopping? Common Problems & Reasons

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Even the most reliable power tools can run into hiccups, and circular saws are no exception. It’s disconcerting, to say the least, when you’re in the middle of a task and the blade suddenly halts or the entire saw stops functioning.

Over the years of working with these tools, I’ve encountered and troubleshooted this issue more times than I can count. There are a myriad of reasons behind such hitches, but luckily, they’re usually fixable. In this guide, I’ll discuss how to get a circular saw back up and running!

Top 10 Reasons Why Your Circular Saw Stops Working

#1: Insufficient Battery

One of the reasons a battery-powered circular saw is that the battery is dead. The saw will be able to work with whatever charge the battery has left. It usually works for a few more minutes to stop spinning completely. 

However, the battery may recover enough for you to be able to turn it on and allow it to function. If this happens, make sure to recharge the battery. 

However, if it still does not work, the battery might be damaged and up for replacement. 

circular saw battery

#2: Issue With the Motor or High Voltage

Make sure to check the circular saw’s motor. A motor issue can also cause your circular saw to stop working. Make sure to check if the blades are working properly, including the motor brass of the saw, motor arbor, etc. 

A high voltage is damaging to the circular saw and can lead to a motor issue. High voltage will break down the insulation of the power code due to this electric surge.

#3: Overheating

Overheating is also a reason for circular saws to stop working. Using unsharpened blades for cutting needs more pressure and results in more friction. This will most often lead to overheating of blades. 

The increase in heat as a result of overheating will trigger the thermal switch and thus stops the saw blade as a part of its safety feature. While using the circular saw, ensure that you are not using it aggressively without rest.  

#4: Power Cord Defect or Damage

If your circular saw is corded, then you may want to check the power cord itself. The outer shell of the power cord contains multiple small wires. 

corded circular saw

These tend to wear down after some time and the damage to the outer wires of the power cord may also damage the interior wires with time. 

Also, be careful with tangled cords during cutting operations. Sometimes these cords are left tangled and may be crushed under heavy objects. This pressure on the cords may result in damage to interior wires fraying them or snapping them completely.

If you observe that the saw occasionally turns on or off depending on the position of the saw, then there are problems with the cord. Replace the cord immediately so you can use your saw once again.

Before replacing the power cable, inspect the unit and make sure that everything is properly connected. Once everything has been checked, proceed to replace the power cable or have the store attendant replace it for you. 

Make sure to call in a professional to assist you so you won’t risk your safety and avoid any injuries involving your circular saw

#5: Wrong Blade Depth Settings

Another overlooked reason why a circular saw keeps on stopping is that the saw blade is not set at the appropriate depth for the piece you would like to cut.  

blade depth adjustment

The saw has the tendency to stop or stall when the blade is not deep enough nor protrudes far enough to cut on the wooden piece.

This can easily be solved by setting the saw blade to allow it to protrude more. If your saw, on the other hand, is large, then you will need a bigger saw blade. 

You can now make straight cuts or cuts of your choice with the correct settings.

#6: Wrong Blade Type or Size for the Project

Another reason why your circular saw keeps stopping in the middle of cutting is that you are not using the right blade for the job. If your circular saw keeps stopping mid-cut, it might be because you’re using a wood blade to cut through metal or other materials. 

circular saw blade for softwood will not work well for hardwood, and vice versa. This can easily be solved by replacing the blade with a more appropriate one. It’s crucial to match the blade to the task at hand.

operating circular saw with Metabo HPT 115435M blade

#7: Damaged Blade

A damaged circular saw blade is one of the most common causes for a circular blade to cease working. Whether it’s dullness, cracks, or warping, any damage can compromise your work and safety. Therefore, inspect your blade regularly and replace it at the first sign of damage. 

There are many disadvantages to using such a blade. First of all, it is no longer safe to use a damaged blade. 

Once the teeth are damaged it has the tendency to get caught in the wood and cause the saw to stop functioning. And if you’re planning to cut a straight line, it may wobble, or worse, damage your material.

Once you see that your blade is damaged, make sure to purchase a new one no matter what. Possessing a good quality circular saw blade is one of the most important safety considerations when dealing with circular saws. Do away from a low-quality blade and make sure to purchase a sharp blade. 

#8: Damaged or Loose Arbor

A damaged or loose arbor can also lead the circular saw to stop. This weak connection can lead the saw to keep stopping and refrain from cutting wood. 

circular saw arbor

Make sure to check if the arbor of the clutch bolt is loose then tighten it accordingly. Make sure to inspect these parts and check whether they are damaged then you may need to buy a new one. 

#9: Work Piece Not Properly Supported

A workpiece that is not properly supported can also result in your circular saw to keep stopping. It also has a tendency to pinch the blade. Thus, make sure to support your workpiece to avoid shifting the blade. 

#10: Saw Dust Buildup

another often overlooked culprit causing the saw to malfunction is sawdust buildup, especially in the engine. Fine particles can accumulate and block air circulation, essential for cooling the motor. If there’s insufficient cooling due to this clogging, your saw can suddenly stop working.

This buildup can cause your circular saw engine to overheat and keep stopping. All the sawdust deposition can also cause the moving parts to become stuck.

How to Troubleshoot the Issue With Your Circular Saw

Determining the root of this malfunction can be tricky. I recommend closely examining the unit and methodically following these troubleshooting steps:

10 ¼ Inches circular saw
  1. Check the possible part that may be blocked.
  2. Check if the air cleaner inside the saw is stuck or not.
  3. Check for a damaged power cord and electric cables then proceed to purchase new ones.  
  4. Check and ensure that the reset button is not damaged.
  5. Make sure that the saw blades are not overheating. If it is, make sure to restart the device again.
  6. Check if the saw blade is stuck.
  7. Check if the current passing through is normal.
  8. Once grease oil [1] is visible on the surface motor, proceed to check the motor brushes. 
  9. Check and make sure that your grounded plug is in one piece.

11 Ways to Fix Your Circular Saw + How to Maintain and Use it Properly

It’s important to have the basic knowledge to troubleshoot your saw that suddenly stops while cutting wood or any other material. The list will cover indicates how to use and maintain the saw properly.

#1: Use a High-Quality Blade

Change the blade of the circular saw and purchase a high-quality one to maximize the use of a circular saw. A premium quality saw blade will prevent you from changing blades more often. 

Milwaukee 48-40-4070 Circular Saw Blade

#2: Tighten the Bolts

Always make it a point to check the brass screw, bolts, and clutches on your circular saw blade. If they’re loose, the blade might not operate as it should. So, if you spot any looseness, grab a wrench and tighten them up. 

Ensuring these parts are secure is essential for optimal blade performance and safety.

#3: Replace the Defective Motor Brass

Next, check the motor brass. Oftentimes, a defective motor brass is a culprit behind a non-functioning saw. One of the telltale signs of a defective motor brass is when it produces whistling and clicking noises. If this happens, purchase a new one. 

#4: Replace the Motor Arbor

At times, motor issues may cause a bad connection. The motor arbor may have some issues which lead to a non-functional circular saw. Check if the blade is held properly, and if not, replace the motor arbor at once. 

#5: Change the Rotor and Stator

Inspect the rotor and stator, especially if you notice smoke or a burning smell. This might indicate that they are damaged. Replace it immediately to avoid causing fires and other dangers. 

circular saw blade

#6: Repair or Replace Damaged Power Cords

Examine the power cords that come with your saw. Check if you have a frayed cord and if so proceed to replace them rather than trying to fix them. 

#7: Repair Carbon Brushes

The saw motor may also stop working when carbon brushes are worn out from continuous use. Old carbon brushes once worn out has the tendency to make saw unresponsive since it will be unable to rotate the shaft properly. 

#8: Lubricate Properly

Lubrication may also be the reason for your saw to stop working. Old grease tends to become solid with time and damages the motor from the inside. Develop a habit of changing grease on a regular basis. This way, you can also stop your saw from sticking as you cut wood. 

#9: Allow it to Cool Down After Long Periods of Use

Make sure to check if the unit is overheated. Once the blades are overheated it turns off the switch until the motor comes to a cooler temperature. Once you see the blade stopping, it’s a sign that it needs to rest. 

Therefore, allow the unit to cool down after long periods of use. 

cutting granite tile with circular saw

#10: Plug into a Reliable Electric Source

Identify reliable sources of electricity. A reliable electric source provides normal, regular, and enough power to refrain from short circuits. But, you may also need to check how many watts your circular saw is using to verify if the power source is providing enough energy to run the tool.

#11: Clean the Parts Regularly

I can’t emphasize enough the importance of maintaining a clean workspace and regularly cleaning your saw blades. Over time, I’ve realized that a regular cleaning routine helps avoid dust accumulation, ensuring both your work area and tool are in prime condition for the next project.

How Can I Tell if My Circular Saw Needs to be Replaced?

There are a number of reasons and telltale signs which signify a circular saw replacement. One sign is that the blade will cut at a slower rate than usual and produces burn marks on the wood which may lead to smoke production.


How do I stop my circular saw from binding?

You can stop the circular saw from binding by checking if the teeth are sharp and if you have the appropriate blade for your project. Another is to regularly lubricate the blade. 

How do I stop the circular saw from spinning?

You can stop spinning by tightening loose parts of your circular saw. Another is to use a good blade for your circular saw or purchase a new circular saw altogether. A Ryobi circular saw is known to be of high quality and very reliable. 


Like all power tools, a circular saw isn’t immune to wear and tear, especially with consistent use over the years. There can be multiple reasons your circular saw might act up.

Fortunately, most of these issues are straightforward and can be rectified with the right approach. I advise you inspect the essential components of the saw first. By closely examining these critical parts, you can pinpoint and address the root of the problem more effectively.

robert headshot

Robert Johnson is a passionate furniture maker & carpenter, sought after for his knowledge on the craft.
You’ve probably seen his down-to-earth wisdom in USA Today, Bobvila, Family Handyman, and The Spruce, where he has shared commentary and guidance on various woodworking topics.

Robert is the brain behind Sawinery, where he aims to share tips, tricks, and a passion for all things carpentry.

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