Metal cutting circs work in pretty much the same manner as a regular variant with a small but crucial difference…
A model expressly designed to cut metal will run at much lower speeds. While a wood circular saw runs at up to 5000 RPM, one intended for metalwork will usually max out at 3900 RPM or below. By using higher speeds on metal, you risk burning out the motor and damaging the blade.
Our advice is that if you’re looking to cut through metal on a regular basis, it’s well worth considering a specially designed circular saw as an investment rather than an expense.
Before we get going with our breakdown of the strongest options at your disposal, a brief glance at the 2 main types of blade you can choose from…
With carbide-tipped blades, you’ll enjoy increased lifespan while also generating cleaner cuts. You won’t suffer from too many sparks being kicked up and the finish will be clean and smooth.
An abrasive disc is cheaper but it wears down as you use it and won’t last the distance. The most serious drawback with this type of blade, though, is the shower of sparks in your workshop so these are really not recommended for most applications.
Who Needs Metal Cutting Circular Saws?
Whether you’re an electrician or a mechanic or you just fancy deviating from woodworking to try your hand at cutting some metal, if you’re planning to work with any type of metal on a regular basis, it pays to invest in a dedicated circular saw.
As we outlined above, trying to pop a metal cutting blade into a traditional wood cutting circular saw is unwise. The blade is likely to spin far too quickly and you won’t end up with the results you’re looking for. As you’ll see in the FAQs, you will be able to pop a wood cutting blade in a metal cutting saw so if you opt for something like the Evolution 180HD above, you’ll get the best of both worlds.
Hunting for the best metal cutting circular saw can initially seem overwhelming.
Once you start analyzing what you need from the saw, though, you’ll see it’s really not so complex after all. This needs analysis is perhaps the most crucial part of any buying decision with power tools so don’t be tempted to just rush in.
Think about the type of metals you need to cut and the scope of work you’ll be carrying out so this can guide your decision. You don’t need a pro-grade saw if you’re tinkering around in the home workshop. Equally, it’s senseless to be a saw fit for hobbyists if you’ve got plans to use your circular saw extensively out on the job site.
When it comes to price, don’t forget to focus on overall value rather than simply obsessing over the bottom line.
Here at Miter Saw Judge, we’re here to save you time and money so we’ll launch in now with our concise buying guide to make your life easier every step of the way…
What to Consider When Buying a Metal Cutting Circular Saw
Even though the majority of the cuts you’ll be making with your circular saw will be horizontal, it’s still likely you’ll be working overhead from time to time.
Also, even when you’re making horizontal cuts, the weight of the saw is relevant if you’ll be working for prolonged periods.
There’s no right or wrong answer to what makes the right weight. As with all aspects of your purchase, you need to focus on what feels comfortable for you and to make sure you don’t put yourself out of your comfort zone.
The lightest saw we look at today weighs less than 6 pounds while the bulkiest is fully 14 pounds. You’ve got plenty of leeway when it comes to choosing a circular saw for cutting metal so make sure you get the weight right. This will immediately narrow down your options and make your life easier straight off the bat.
The sweet spot is somewhere between 10 pounds and 13 pounds if you’re happy handling this weight. If you opt for one of the lighter choices, you’ll be limited to much smaller projects so think about intended usage as well as pure poundage.
The critical factor when choosing a circular saw is the blade.
Sizing depends entirely on the scope of work you intend to carry out.
Think about the projects you’ll be working on to determine whether it makes sense to shoot for a blade only designed to slice through metal or whether you’d be happier with one offering the ability to cut wood and plastic, too.
Cold-cutting blades with carbide tips are preferable to abrasives. They’ll be more effective, cut cleaner, create almost no sparks and last longer into the bargain. CERMET tips are becoming more common and they’re also a strong choice.
Consider ease of blade changing as well as performance and durability. Get this right and you’ll be looking at a circular saw that’s devastatingly effective and a pleasure to use.
When you’re looking to confidently cut metal, you should prioritize a powerplant that’s got higher amperage and voltage but a lower no-load speed.
Cutting speed of 3500 to 3900 RPM is ideal. Go much lower and you won’t cut with enough power, shoot for a higher speed and you’d dip out on the precision front.
As with all elements of your buying decision, you need to think about the motor not in isolation but related to the type of projects you’ll be working on.
You should think about the grip in terms of both safety and ergonomics.
The more ambitious the projects you intend to take on and the longer spells you’ll be working for, the more important it becomes to have a grip that feels great and won’t be in danger of allowing the saw to slip from your grasp.
Shape and material both count here. Even if you’re planning to buy the saw online, it always pays to pop to a store so you can get the general feel of the tool before committing to purchase. We like to think of this as active window shopping!
You should consider closely what type of metal you’ll be working with most. If you’re looking to deal with thicker material, make sure you opt for one with sufficient cutting power to handle this.
You should also think about whether you’re content to buy a dedicated metal cutting saw or you’d like one allowing you to deal with plastic and wood as well.
Variable speed on the circular saw is crucial if you want to move between various applications while optimizing cutting to suit.
The blade guard should come well-reviewed and with no complaints from users. This is obviously a pivotal safety feature when you’re using a circular saw.
Look for durable and appropriate materials in the saw itself so it won’t put you in any danger if you’re working in wet environments or adverse conditions.
The motor housing needs to be solid enough to bring down the chance of overheating to a minimum.
A lock-off lever to prevent the tool being accidentally fired up is a nice extra touch.