The world of DIY-ing is huge and holds the possibility for a lot of versatility, and that’s why tools come in various shapes and sizes. And a good mini circular saw brings many possibilities to your workshop as it has the edge over full-sized saws when it comes to maneuverability and control.
With how specific they are, it might be a little tough to choose one of the alternatives, however. And that’s why I’ve made this list of the best compact circular saws you’ll find on the market.
The 6 Best Compact Circular Saws
1. Rockwell RK3441K
The Rockwell RK3441K is easily one of the best in its class. Its powerful 5 amp motor can spin the blade at 3500 RPM.
It also enables it to make cuts at a depth of 1-11/16 inches at a 90-degree angle. It also enables you to cut through 2x material without the need to flip your workpiece over.
The RK3441K measures 18.2 x 4.2 x 6.9 inches and weighs 5 pounds. So while it’s not exactly the most compact on the list, it’s still more portable and occupies less space than a full-size unit.
Its rubber grip handle makes it easy to hold and maneuver, which adds to the control you have over it.
Finally, this small saw comes with a 3-year warranty that helps you rest assured about the quality of its construction.
- Quality construction with a lightweight design
- The powerful motor handles most task around the workshop
- Has a good ergonomic design and is easy to use
- Works for both right-handed and left-handed people
- Some limitations on power and control
- Doesn’t work with lumber or harder materials
- Doesn’t have a laser marker
Although the Rockwell RK3441K can be used for professional woodworking, it’s not powerful enough for metals, lumber, or harder metals. But all-in-all, it does pack ample power to give you the best wood-cutting results.
2. Dremel SM20-03
I was impressed with the Dremel SM20-03 the moment I saw it in its well-made and properly-organized case. The case is big enough to fit the saw, its power cord, a dozen saw blades, and even some Allen wrenches.
And the full-integration isn’t the only impressive thing about the Dremel SM20-03. This unit packs a lot of power with its 6 amp motor that enables the blade to spin at an astounding speed of 17,000 RPM.
Moreover, its dimensions measure 12 x 12 x 5.5 inches, and it weighs 6.75 pounds. Evidently, it’s not the most portable mini saw on the list. But I can easily justify that with how powerful and efficient its performance is.
And by all means, it can still be used one-handedly to make plunge, straight, or flush cuts up to ¾” deep without any hassle.
Besides the ability to cut wood, the Dremel SM20-03 can also cut drywall, sheet metal, plastic, laminates, and plastic.
Additionally, this unit comes with a lock-on button that makes continuous operation easily feasible without causing strain or fatigue. And the fact that its blade is easy to change adds to the ergonomics of the Dremel SM20-03.
- Great build quality
- Strong yet quiet motor
- Might need multiple abrasive blades in some applications
- A little pricey
If budget isn’t a concern of yours, I’d highly recommend this fully integrated unit. It’s powerful, versatile, easy to use, and has everything you may need.
However, it’s pretty hefty for a mini circular saw.
3. Makita SH02R1
The Makita SH02R1 is simply the best cordless mini circular saw you can get for the money. Although it uses a 3-3/8” blade that suits a mini saw, it still has the feel of a standard circular one.
If you’re an avid DIYer, you’ll love how the design of the Makita SH02R1 combines power and comfort to enable you to take on any task without hassle.
Its 1500 RPM speed enables you to cut through MDF board, drywall, and other household materials –but nothing too tough. You can adjust the cut depth from between 5/8” and 1”.
Moreover, the Makita SH02R1 is capable of making bevel cuts and tailor cuts between 0 to 45 degrees to suit your particular needs.
It measures 14.5 x 8 x 10.2 inches and weighs only 3.5 pounds –making it the most portable and lightweight on the list. This makes sense as cordless saws are meant to be the most maneuverable.
- Very lightweight
- Capable of executing bevel cuts
- Cordless operation with fast charging
- Packs a lot of power for a small saw
- Doesn’t have dust exhaustion or collection
- Batteries aren’t compatible with other Makita brands
If you’re looking for a portable, lightweight, cordless mini saw that is easy to use, you’ll find none better than the SH02R1.
4. WORX WX429L WORXSAW
The WORX WX429L WORXSAW is a great budget compact circular saw that uses a flat, round blade to cut through a wide variety of materials.
It’s more or less the most compact choice on the list as it measures 15.1 x 4.2 x 5.8 inches. It also weighs 4.4 pounds, which makes it one of the lightest as well.
The WORX WX429L runs on a 4 amp motor that can spin the blade at a 3500 RPM speed. This is pretty suitable for a mini saw and enables you to cut sheet materials, including wood, metal, plastic, and even some stones.
You can operate the WORX WX429L one-handedly as it’s pretty light and comes with a safety trigger and parallel guides to ensure maximum precision during cuts.
Moreover, its handle is ambidextrous, so anyone can use it –whether right-handed or left-handed.
Finally, this compact saw comes with a vacuum port that makes cleanup a breeze that keeps your work area clean and visible.
- Very affordable
- Compact and lightweight design
- Easy to control, carry, and store
- Easy adjustments
- Comes with many safety features
- Not as powerful as bigger saws
If you’re looking for the most compact choice, you can’t go wrong with the WORX WX429L. Although it’s not the most powerful, it still suits a wide array of jobs and gives you a bang for your buck.
5. Rockwell RK3440K
The RK3440K is compact, ergonomic, and has a portable design. Weighing only 4 pounds, it can easily be operated using only one hand.
Its blade measures around four inches, making it suitable for cutting wood that is around two inches thick.
Not only that, but the RK3440K comes with three different blades that give it a high degree of versatility to cut other materials such as plastic, aluminum, sheet metal, or even ceramic tiles. And its operation is pretty seamless thanks to the 4 amp motor that spins its blade at a 3500 RPM speed.
Moreover, this unit is equipped with a laser cutting guide that helps you deliver more accurate and straight cuts. However, this guide can only be powered with a battery.
- Equipped with three blades
- Features a laser to enhance cutting precision
- Safe to use
- Safety features can hinder smoothness of operation
- The laser can only be powered by a battery
The Rockwell RK3440K is an ideal choice for someone who’s looking for a mini saw of average power, weight, and price. Opt for it if you’re not expecting too much and only want some adequate cutting power.
6. Genesis GCS545C
Although most options beat the Genesis GCS545C, I still had to include it for the power of its motor combined with how easy it is to use.
It also comes with great ergonomic features such as a comfortable handle, seamless depth adjustments, and the capability to operate for extended periods of time.
It can make cuts at 90 degrees with a 1-11/16″ depth and its bevel capacity at 45 degrees is 1-1/8″, so it’s pretty similar to the Rockwell RK3441K but at a more affordable price level.
With a 16 x 4.25 x 8 inches footprint, it’s adequately-sized. However, it weighs 6 pounds, which is relatively heavy in the world of compact circular saws.
However, you’ll probably need to upgrade the carbide-tipped blade and blade wrench that come with this unit. They’re not the most durable, and neither is the Genesis GCS545C.
- Adjustable depth gauge
- Comes with bevel control
- Very powerful motor
- Has a vacuum adapter to keep the cutting line clear
- Rather hefty
- Blades aren’t of high quality
The GCS545C is a good choice if you’re looking for a reasonably-priced small rotary saw with a strong motor. However, don’t count on its durability.
How to Pick a Compact Circular Saw?
When you’re shopping for a mini circular saw, there are a couple of things that you should pay attention to.
The weight and dimensions of your saw make a huge difference here since these are hand-held tools. For a mini circular saw, you should find a unit that’s easy to handle and is made from lightweight materials such as magnesium. Make sure the tool feels well-balanced in your hand so you can use it safely.
How big the blade on your saw dictates the kinds of materials you’ll be able to cut through, and you can’t get something too big on a small power saw. So if you want to cut through masonry and concrete, you shouldn’t really count on this type of saw.
As you work, you’ll often need to adjust the blade to ensure precision to your cuts. That’s why you should make sure the angle and height of your saw’s blade are easy to adjust and don’t require special wrenches or tools.
The more durable your saw is, the longer you can use it for. Not only should it be well-constructed, but it should also have a durable blade that survives the toughness of the materials you intend to cut.
That’s why you should pick premium materials and features, such as a cast metal shoe instead of an aluminum one.
Why Get a Mini Circular Saw?
Mini circular saws are best for beginners or professionals that are trying to reach very tight nooks and tough angles.
So if you’re still not well-versed with these power tools, you should start with a mini circular saw as it gives you more control and confidence as you operate it.
And unless you’ll be cutting through 2 x 4 studs or lengthwise often, a mini circular saw would perfectly suit all the tasks you want to execute.
What’s the Difference Between a Mini Circular Saw and a Regular One?
The main difference lies in the weight of both. Circular saws usually weigh between 8.8 pounds to 11 pounds while mini ones range between 4.4 pounds and up to 6.6 pounds.
But that difference also means the blade diameter will differ as regular circular saws come with blades ranging between 6.2 inches and up to 9 inches while blades of mini circular saws range between 2.5 inches and up to 4.7 inches.
As a consequence, regular saws can reach a cutting depth between 2.16 inches and up to 3.3 inches while mini ones can only reach 0.6 inches and up to 1.7 inches.
What Blade Should I Use with a Mini Circular Saw?
The versatility of circular saws is enhanced by the versatility of blades available. And the kind of blade you should use depends on what you intend to use the saw for. Here’s a little guide to explain it to you.
Firstly, you probably won’t be able to use framing and demolition blades as these range from 5-3/8″ to 8-1/4,” and 6-1/2” to 7-1/4” respectively and are too big for a mini circular saw.
You can use finish blades, starting at 4-3/8” but not ultra-finish ones. These have 40 to 60 teeth and are used to finish plywood and similar materials. They’re ideal for when the finish matters, including making furniture and cabinetry.
You probably won’t be able to use different metal blades except for aluminum ones as they start from 3/16″. These have 56 teeth and are specifically made for cutting aluminum.
Finally, your saw might work with some wood and metal blades that come with 36 teeth. But if you want to work with steel studs, angle iron, flat bar, pipes, sheet steel, and EMT conduit, it’s better to make sure that the small hand-held circular saw you choose will be able to handle it.
Although each of the options I’ve mentioned works as the best compact circular saw, there are some that have the edge over the rest.
For one, the Dremel SM20-03 is a great choice for anyone that’s looking for a fully-integrated unit. It has ample cutting depth, power, and versatility. However, it can be a little pricey.
If you’re looking for something more affordable, go for the Rockwell RK3441K. However, it’s less powerful.
Finally, if you want the most maneuverable choice, I’d recommend the Makita SH02R1 as it’s the most lightweight option and works cordlessly.