With many years of experience in the field, we know beginners and hobbyists in woodworking, or simply those who are on a tight budget, cannot invest too much in buying an upmarket circular saw.
However, anybody deserves to have a decent saw, and any price range should have several well-rated products.
Therefore, we have researched, tested, and reviewed the best budget circular saw for those in these groups. Just spend a little time taking a look at our recommended products as well as learn useful tips in the buying guide.
- 1 What Are The Differences Between An Expensive and Cheap Circular Saw?
- 2 Top 5 Best Budget Circular Saws Review
- 3 How to Choose A Good Circular Saw for The Money
- 4 Final Words
What Are The Differences Between An Expensive and Cheap Circular Saw?
Are you wondering whether there is any difference between a cheap model and a pricey one? Yes, there are many. But we will merely talk about the main points.
First of all is their build quality, in other words, durability. Parts of high-end circular saws are always made of higher-quality materials. This is most obviously seen in the bearings.
Expensive models can last for years and years in spite of frequent use. Meanwhile, conventional ones might require several part replacements within one year of regular use.
Secondly, the cutting capacity is different between affordable and premium saws. More expensive saws will come with a more powerful motor as well as sharper and more sustainable blades, allowing users to handle harder workpieces and tackle light-duty projects more quickly.
Thirdly, low-priced devices can hardly offer features of the same quality as expensive ones. For instance, premier models will provide more precise laser sights, better blade guards, and blade breaks for safety, more accurate power indicator, longer warranty, etc.
Besides, high-end and low-end circular saws have some other minor discrepancies. Yet, only the primary differences above are what we need to care about.
You may feel confused now, but don't worry. As we promised above, we have five excellent choices for you, and we assure you that you will find out the best circular saw under 100 dollars for yourself after this article. So keep reading!
Top 5 Best Budget Circular Saws Review
Our Rating: 4.9/5
Our Rating: 4.6/5
Ryobi One P505
Our Rating: 4.7/5
Our Rating: 4.5/5
Our Rating: 4.8/5
The SKIL 5280-01 is in the #1 position on our list. This compact saw has a very intuitive and practical design, making it ideal for novices.
Its 14 amp motor provides an impressive speed of up to 5,300 RPMs and a beam laser guide so that any beginner can complete their projects more quickly and satisfactorily.
Moreover, there is a built-in dust blower that removes the excess sawdust to give woodworkers a clearer sight while cutting. Consequently, you will no longer be annoyed by hateful dust mite getting in the way.
For your safety, the anti-snag lower guard will alleviate snags when you have to perform narrow cuts offs. If you don't know, this saw offers a 51-degree bevel capacity for many kinds of cuts.
When you want to change the 7.25-inch, 24-tooth carbide blade, the spindle lock, and the wrench included will aid you effectively.
Unfortunately, as a low-priced product, SKIL 5280-01 still gets some downsides. Its power cord is only 6 feet long, which is a bit short. Besides, the laser guide is not 100% accurate, too.
The next pick that will not let you down is the PORTER-CABLE PCE300.
Owing to the robust 15-amp motor, the saw blade can reach the maximum speeds of as high as 5,500 RPM, which is not inferior to high-grade circular saws, although this is only a standard product.
There is both a metal upper and lower guards and a steel shoe to increase the durability and safety of the device. Meanwhile, the auxiliary handle makes the tool more comfortable to grip and use.
Furthermore, the depth adjustment lever, together with the spindle, will let users make adjustments in moments. You can use the powerful 7.25-inch 18-tooth carbide-tipped blade to cut as deep as 1.875 inches at the 45 degrees and 2.5 inches at a square angle.
Apart from ease of use, high performance, and longevity, the PORTER-CABLE PCE300 also comes with a limited 3-year warranty from the manufacturer.
About the drawbacks, we found the power switch was rather low-quality, and the machine was heavyweight. But generally talking, this is still a wise investment for casual DIYers and beginners.
Ryobi One P505
On the contrary to the PORTER-CABLE PCE300, the Ryobi One+ P505 is very light.
This machine saw solely weighs less than 5 pounds and runs on 18V Lithium-ion batteries. The motor is compatible with a variety of battery models, including versions from P100 to P108, except for P101 and P106. Nonetheless, no battery or charger is included in the box.
In addition, there is a rubber mold around the handle that enhances the friction between it and your hands so that you can hold it more comfortably and easily. This feature is especially handy for those with sweaty hands.
Instead of holding the main handle, you can grip the extra side handle at the left of the saw to see the cuts better, too.
We highly appreciate the innovation of the transparent polyurethane blade guard. It allows you to observe how you and the saw are doing, hence have more controllability over your work.
If you have to handle workpieces of different shapes and sizes, you can lift up the foot of the machine from 0 to 50 degrees to perform bevel cuts at different angles.
The PORTER-CABLE PCE310 looks similar to the PORTER-CABLE PCE310, but it is actually an upgraded model.
Rather than using a steel shoe like the previous version, this one features a magnesium shoe along with metal lower and upper guards, which is more durable and efficient.
One same thing is this model utilizes a 15-amp motor that drives the saw blade to run at the top rate of 5.500 RPM. This power can slice through almost all types of materials with moderate thickness.
The device has a spindle lock for you to fix the depth when you have made the perfect adjustment. Thanks to that, creating uniform cuts is easier than ever.
Additionally, the familiar auxiliary handle is available to improve comfort and give you more visibility on the saw.
Plus, PORTER-CABLE also covers this product with a three-year warranty like most others of the company. It is a nice bonus for those who are afraid of getting troubles with defective products.
Sadly, the heavyweight is an apparent disadvantage from the previous model that is not solved yet.
We finish the list with another saw from PORTER-CABLE, the PCC660B.
Like the Ryobi One P505, this is a cordless circular saw. However, despite the 20V MAX system, its motor still is weaker quite a lot. While the Ryobi One P505 can reach the maximum rate of 4.700 RPM, the highest speed of the PCC660B is sole 4000 RPM.
An advantage of this saw over its competitor is that it runs on the PORTER-CABLE battery sharing system, which is compatible with other products from the PORTER-CABLE company.
Nevertheless, our favorite part is the overmolded handle. This helps us boost our performance because it can reduce stress and fatigue as well as sweat on our hands dramatically.
What’s more, you can also change your holding hand quickly, which is essential when using a circular saw.
Another user-friendly point is its reduced weight compared with other PORTER-CABLE brothers. With the modest weight of merely 6.5 lbs, it will ease your burden during long hours of cutting wood.
Last but not least, the metal shoe can be adjusted for the machine to perform cuts of all angles from 0 to 50°. In combination with the incredible 2.125-inch cutting capacity, the PORTER-CABLE PCC660B promises to be a reliable companion for new woodworkers in their simple projects.
How to Choose A Good Circular Saw for The Money
Corded or cordless?
It is common for cordless circular saws to charge a higher price than their corded counterparts. Moreover, during your use, you have to pay extra fees for replacing/repairing batteries as well as the charger if they are too old or damaged.
Also, corded saws are generally much more powerful than cordless ones because they run on a stronger power supply.
Given the fact that you are looking for the best cheap circular saw, you do not want to spend too much on buying and using a saw in the long run. Therefore, we recommend purchasing corded models to save your budget.
When it comes to working with machines, safety is always one of the top priorities. Typically, circular saws have two critical safety gears – blade breaks and blade guards.
A blade guard works as a protective wall between the vulnerable body of users and the dangerous sharp blade. Therefore, you should inspect this part carefully and make sure that it must at least meet the standard.
A good blade guard must cover the whole saw blade entirely. It just slides back when the blade is rotating. After you finish the cut, it will slide back to its initial place to cover the entire blade again.
About the blade brake, it is a component that helps to halt the rotating saw blade faster when you stop cutting and release the trigger.
This brake is especially significant if you use robust circular saws that can reach a high speed of more than 5000 RPM. Stopping the moving blade as soon as possible after your cut is finished is necessary to keep you safer.
Spending little money does not mean that you cannot enjoy convenient features. A cheap circular saw should still feature a precise laser guide, a well-made safety lock, an accurate power indicator, various bevel degrees, and so on.
If you are going to utilize the saw regularly, you should find a model that allows you to change the blade quickly. And if you often need to take your tools with you on the go, a carrying case is recommended.
You do not necessarily take these additional features too seriously, but they will be very supportive in specific circumstances.
The fact that not everybody is aware of is that not all circular saws that look similar are equally ergonomic. Even when they share one shape and size, their weights might still be different quite a lot.
You would meet difficulties handling a bulky and heavy machine. However, it should not be too light or small, or else the level of stability and balance will not be ensured.
It is a good idea to try as many models as possible at a local shop to find out the most appropriate dimensions and weights for you to maneuver in your projects.
Apart from the overall size of the saw, you should pay more attention to the dimension of the blade. On average, most blades have diameters of 5.5 to 7.25 inches.
Normally, saws with bigger blades often have a higher price because they are made from more amount of material as well as require higher power capacity.
Therefore, if you do not really need a massive blade to tackle huge objects, buy a small one to reduce the cost.
Types of blade
Not only the dimension but the type and material of blade also have a significant influence on your cutting performance.
If your workpieces are often hard substances, you should buy saw blades with teeth made of tungsten carbide-coated or other sturdy materials.
Besides, if you often make rough and aggressive cuts, you should utilize blades with few teeth. Contrarily, if your jobs require smooth and precise cuts on softer workpieces, your blade should feature many teeth.
Cutting capacity and cutting depth
Calculate how deep the device can cut at both 45° and 90°. Basically, this will help you find the right saw to deliver sufficient cutting depth to your workpieces when you need to cut them from different angles.
For instance, if you have to make bevel cuts as deep as 3 inches on huge logs, opt for saws that offer up to a 3-inch cutting depth at the 45° angle.
One factor that we cannot ignore is the rate of the blade. The faster the blade can spin, the more effectively it slices through objects.
For example, models with high speed, such as the PORTER-CABLE PCE310, can rotate at 5500 RPM. They often run on high-wattage motors of roughly 1500 Watts and cost more energy, but they will aid you in cutting tough materials just as easy as a knife slices through butter.
Outstanding brand names
Apart from considering so many factors, an effortless method of picking the best cheap circular saws is browsing for reputable brands in this field.
To ease your burden, we will list down some of the famous names in the market as below:
You can visit their official websites or their shops on Amazon. Then finding a low-priced yet excellent circular saw is just a breeze since there are plenty of favorable choices there.
Choose older models
There is nothing wrong with purchasing an old saw, as long as it still works well. Today, manufacturers often launch new products every year, and the backlog of previous models will gradually be cheaper.
This is a good opportunity for customers to possess good saws at a budget-friendly price, although newer products are likely to be better.
Now that you have learned so many useful tips as well as got some excellent models in your mind, you can confidentially go out and spend just a little money to own a decent circular saw.
From our point of view, we rate the SKIL 5280-01 to be the best budget circular saw for beginners and hobbyists since it is effortless and safe to use, suitable for multiple applications. Meanwhile, other counterparts are more challenging and less safe to handle.
If we miss something important, please remind us in the comment section.
Thanks for reading!