Buyers Guide

As mentioned in the introduction, there are many reasons why people invest in mini circular saws, and the best choice may depend on the intended use.

Also, check our reviews about the top-quality blades on the market:

  • Best circular saw blades
  • Best dado blades

The key components of a good compact mini saw, however, usually come down to these three things: power, accuracy, and ease of use.

best compact circular saw
  • Power: If you’re just cutting a few pieces of wood for the trim of some sort or drywall here and there, you don’t need to be especially worried about choosing the most powerful saw on the market.While the thickness may impact how powerful the saw really does need to be, in general, any good saw would do the trick. It’s when your projects get more intense or are at a professional-grade level that you need to consider how powerful your motor must be in order to make cuts with the required quality. Without adequate power, the saw won’t be able to keep up with your projects and can lead to early burn-out or glitches.
  • Accuracy: How heavy accuracy weighs in on your product selection will vary depending on what kind of project(s) you have. If you’re shredding pallets, you may not worry that the saw tends to have a bias towards either the left or right. On the flip side, if you’re cutting drywall to fit into a pretty precise area, you may not want to be fighting a bias the entire cut. Accuracy doesn’t just mean the line is cut straight; it can also refer to how sharp the angles are or how well the bevel cut turns out. The accuracy and quality of the cut can sometimes have a direct impact on the final product and how it turns out, so it’s important to keep this in mind as you make your choice.
  • Ease of Use: Everyone likes things that are easy and compact, and handheld saws are no exception. When you’re looking to invest in a saw, it’s important to consider how comfortable you will be using it. If you’re doing lots of overhead work, you’ll want something that is light (depending on your upper body strength) and easily maneuverable. Depending on the project requirements, you may also want to consider models that can easily be used one-handed – especially if your space is more confined.


Makita SH02R1

Makita SH02R1 12V max CXT® Lithium-Ion Cordless 3-3/8" Circular Saw Kit (2.0Ah)
  • Makita-built motor delivers 1,500 RPM for faster cutting
  • 3-3/8" blade delivers a maximum cutting depth of 1" for a wide range of cutting applications
  • Adjustable cutting depth from 1" at 90° and 5/8" at 45°
  • Tilting base for bevel cuts from 0° - 45°
  • Cuts plywood, MDF, pegboard, particleboard, melamine, drywall and more

Best Cordless Handheld Saw Model

Makita’s SH02R1 model isn’t the fastest saw on this list, but that doesn’t keep it from being the best small circular saw.

Granted, it is the slowest as far as RPMs (only 1500 compared to the 3500 for the rest of this list), but slow and steady wins this time. The quality of the cuts outshines all the others with the 3 3/8″ blade, and it weighs approximately 10lbs – a nice sturdy balance for the slower rotations/

This saw is at the top of the list for a few reasons: First, this is the only cordless model we reviewed. It comes with two batteries and a charging station, and unless cutting at full speed and maximum depth, these batteries last an impressive length of time.

Another perk is that the cuts are clean, and the dust output is minimal. It cuts through numerous types of material, including but not limited to plywood, particleboard, drywall, and pegboard. Additionally, the overall quality of the saw makes it worthy of a top pick.

Customer reviews do note that for heavy-duty projects, this may not be the best tool to invest in. It cuts 1″ deep, and running at full power for extended periods of time does put a strain on the battery.

However, for most people doing at-home projects, this saw will accomplish exactly what is needed and still have juice for the start of the next project.


  • RPM: 1500
  • Saw Weight: 10lbs
  • Type: Cordless
  • Size: 3-3/8″


  • The only cordless model
  • The blade can be adjusted for bevel cuts
  • Batteries and charging station included
  • Clean cut with minimal dust kickup
  • 3-year warranty on saw and batteries


  • Only cuts 1″ deep
  • Batteries die out if you are making extensive deep cuts
  • Doesn’t have a dust collection system because it’s so small
  • Rip fence sold separately

VonHaus Corded Ultra-Compact Circular Saw

VonHaus 5.8 Amp Corded Ultra-Compact Circular Saw - 3,500 RPM with Miter Function, Dust Port, Carry Storage Case, Vacuum Hose and 2x 24T Wood Blade Kit
  • COMPACT, LIGHTWEIGHT and POWERFUL: 5.8-amp electric motor – delivers a no load speed of 3,500 rpm – easily cuts through wood and MDF. Includes 2 X 2 4T Tungsten Carbide Tipped Blade 4-1/2 in diameter. Arbour Size: 3/8in
  • ERGONOMIC DESIGN – slim grip handle for one handed operation - easier to handle than a traditional circular saw - offers optimum manoeuvrability for overhead cuts- Triple Geared Drive for maximum torque.
  • FEATURES: guide fence for precision straight cut; angle adjustment for bevel cuts of up to 45° and depth adjustment of up to 1”
  • ADDITIONAL ACCESSORIES: Dust extraction port attaches to your vacuum cleaner for cleaner cuts + easy store with strong storage case
  • EASE OF USE: Left sided blade design for optimum cut-line visibility, cuts through 2 X material with ease & Miter Function.

Great for Overhead Work

Coming in second only because it is corded, this VonHaus model rivals its competitors and comes out as the best compact circular saw on the list.

Like the first saw, this model weighs approximately 10 lbs (which is half the weight of the standard saw) and has a cutting speed of 3500 RPMs.

The maximum cut depth is 3 inches, but it does function optimally at depths of an inch or so. It maneuvers comfortably and can be used one-handed by most.

In addition to good straight cuts, this saw can also be adjusted to cut at a 45° angle. These features allow for great overhead work as well as table work due to the lightweight nature of the saw.

Another perk to this model is that the blade is to the left of the saw, which allows for an easier view of the cutting area. To further increase precision, this saw also comes with a guide fence.

This model is recommended for cutting materials such as wood and MDF and has a good power motor (5.8amp) to get the job done.

Overall this saw is recommended for its professionalism, ease of use, and practicality for small jobs. There are reviews that reference damaged saws – either upon arrival or on first use. However, most reviews speak to the durability of this saw.

These incidences of damage are not from using the saw; rather, they are manufacturer-related and don’t impact the overall quality.


  • RPM: 3500
  • Saw Weight: 10lbs
  • Type: Corded
  • Dimensions: 21 x 9.3 x 6.6 in


  • One-handed operation
  • Guide fence for cutting accuracy
  • The rotary blade is on the left side of the saw
  • Cut depth can go to 3 inches
  • Dust extraction port


  • Reviewers recommend it for wood cutting only
  • The plastic shield cannot be removed (which makes cutting some things – like bricks – difficult)
  • Parts are not made out of top-quality materials

Porter-Cable PCE381K

PORTER-CABLE 4-1/2-Inch Circular Saw, Compact, 5.5-Amp (PCE381K)
  • 5.5 Amp compact circular saw, running at 3,500 PRM for power and fast cutting speeds
  • Lightweight and compact unit for easy maneuvering
  • 1-11/16" depth of cut, cuts 2x material in single pass
  • 0-45 degree bevel capacity for variety of cuts
  • Dust port with vacuum adapter keeps your work area clean

Best Compact Saw for Bigger Hands

A quick overview of this Porter-Cable model doesn’t reveal the best perks of this saw. The dimensions are deceivingly normal: It weighs 6 lbs and has an RPM of 3500.

It is a corded model that has a motor power of 5.5amp with a blade width of 4.5″. However, there is quite a bit that puts this on the list for the best mini circular saw.

When you take a closer look at the saw as a whole, that’s when the best features come through. First, this compact saw is on the larger side, which makes it great if users have larger hands. At the same time, it’s not too heavy.

The dimensions balance out the saw and allow for greater maneuverability and comfortable handling. The motor power also allows for a broader range of materials to be cut, such as laminate.

Next, the saw comes with a dust vacuum that can be attached to the dust collection port for easy clean-up.

This is a unique feature that does make a positive difference in the workspace. Additionally, the tool bag that comes with this saw is a highly-praised bonus feature and makes it easily portable.

There is another feature that can be seen as either a pro or con depending on the user, and that is the fact that this mini saw blade comes uninstalled. For some, this was a challenge to install properly.

However, on the plus side, it means the screw that holds the blade isn’t too tight from the start (a common issue that is brought up in reviews of other compact hand saws). Self-installing the blade allows for a more reasonably tight fit that doesn’t impact the performance of the saw.


  • RPM: 3500
  • Saw Weight: 6lbs
  • Type: Corded
  • Dimensions: 17 x 5 x 6 in


  • Can make bevel cuts
  • Easily maneuverable for overhead cuts
  • Great tool bag to store everything
  • Dust vacuum attaches to the dust collection port


  • The circular blade has to be self-installed
  • Saw jumps a bit on initial starts

Rockwell RK3440K

ROCKWELL / WORX Rockwell Versacut 4.0 Amp Ultra-Compact Circular Saw with Laser Indicator and 3-Blade Kit with Carry Case – RK3440K
  • Powerful, 4.0 amp, multi-functional, ultra-compact circular saw
  • Cuts wide variety of materials such as tile, wood, sheet metal, plastics, flooring, and more
  • Ergonomic design with slim grip handle improves comfort and enhances grip and control – guide with just one hand
  • Built-in laser guide helps you align the perfect cut
  • Pivoting metal guard accommodates safe and easy plunge cuts

Lightest Ultra-Compact Hand Saw

Don’t let this lightweight circular saw fool you. Because this small Rockwell model weighs just 3.5 lbs, it sits on the list as a contender for ‘best compact hand saw.’

However, the mini nature of this saw doesn’t impact its performance in the least. It still comes with the standard 4.5″ blade and cuts with an RPM of 3500.

To balance the compact design, the motor runs slightly slower at 4.0amps. However, this mini saw still cuts a wide variety of materials, including tile, wood, sheet metal, plastics, and flooring.

For optimum cutting, this saw comes with a built-in laser guide, and there is a metal guard that protects the rotary blade (especially useful when making plunge cuts).

A great perk of this saw is that it also comes with the initial blade and two replacement blades. This increases the overall value of the saw by tripling its longevity, making this saw a good investment if you’re looking to use it for more than a single project and/or if you are purchasing it for work-related purposes.

On the even more practical side, this saw has an ample cord – 10 feet – and a 2-year product warranty.

There are a few things to keep in mind as you consider the types of jobs that you need this saw to do. Unfortunately, this hand saw does not have the ability to make bevel cuts. For some, this severely limits the overall usability of this compact circular saw.

Additionally, there are a number of negative reviews that critique the plunge-cutting ability as well. The main reason for this is that the plunges are uneven due to stiff plunge springs. If you can look beyond the stiffness, however, the plunge gauge is reviewed as accurate.


  • RPM: 3500
  • Saw Weight: 4lbs
  • Type: Corded
  • Dimensions: 17.3 x 8.7 x 4.5 in


  • The Saw kit comes with 3 blades
  • Built-in laser guide
  • Cuts through a variety of materials
  • 10-foot electric cord
  • 2-year manufacturer’s warranty


  • Cannot make bevel cuts
  • Requires strong finger pressure to start
  • The ability to make plunge cuts is negatively reviewed


Worx WX429L 4 Amp WORXSAW 4.5" Electric Compact Circular Saw
  • [SMALL FOR A REASON] Quick, more efficient cuts and you can take it with you when you don’t want to lug a big saw around
  • [EZ-SET DEPTH GAUGE] The lever lets you go from 0-45 degree bevel settings with quick adjustment
  • [MADE FOR LUMBER] Excellent depth-of-cut for slicing up to 2" stock lumber. Cut 2x4s in a single pass. It also cuts metal, tile, and plastic
  • [SEE THE CUT] Left-sided blade optimization gives you a clear line of sight on anything you’re cutting
  • [DO IT YOURSELF. DO IT BETTER. DO IT WITH WORX.] WORX tools are engineered with cutting-edge technology, and above modern efficiency standards, so you can build a cost-effective tool collection that’s been designed to last

Least Expensive Small Circular Saw

This WORXSAW model is one of the lightest circular saws on this list. It weighs just 5.3 lbs and comes with a 4.5″ blade. It has a 3500 RPM ability, and like most other saws reviewed here, it is corded.

This saw comes highly recommended as one of the best small circular saws for women due to the compact size and proportions of the tool. Numerous reviews referenced how nicely it fits female and/or smaller hands. Along those same lines, the finger pressure required to turn off the safety feature wasn’t too intense.

Another positive feature of this mini saw is that the cutting blade lies on the left side, which allows for clearer visibility of the cutting area.

Additionally, this saw has the ability to make bevel cuts on a scale ranging from 1 – 90° angles. The manufacturer’s warranty is also a nice addition, covering the product for 3 years.

Unfortunately, there are a few negatives to keep in mind when considering this product. Overall, the power of this saw is lacking compared to similar models and brands. It tends to cut with a slight bias to the left and is known to bind after cutting about 5 or 6 inches.

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, the in-package blade is quite thin. Purchasing a secondary blade that is more durable is recommended to ensure better performance.

All-in-all, this circular saw may not stand up well for intense, heavy-duty projects. However, it is the least expensive option and works quite well for in-home projects and the occasional 2 x 4 or pallet.

For those looking at home renovation projects, this compact saw would be a good investment for drywall and other lightweight materials.


  • RPM: 3500
  • Saw Weight: 3lbs
  • Type: Corded
  • Dimensions: 15.1 x 4.2 x 5.8 in


  • The blade on the left side allows for clearer line visibility
  • It can be adjusted to make bevel cuts
  • 3-year manufacturer’s warranty
  • Good fit for women or those with smaller hands


  • Motor power is weak compared to the saw’s size and weight
  • The blade comes a little thin – customers recommend getting stronger blade(s)
  • Cuts with a slight bias to the left
  • Binds after 5 or 6 inches
  • Only good for drywall

Rockwell RK3441K

Rockwell 4-1/2” Compact Circular Saw, 5 amps, 3500 rpm, with Dust Port and Starter Kit– RK3441K , Black
  • [MORE MANEUVERABILITY] All the functionality of a full-size circular saw but in a compact design that’s easier to use, and easier to make quick cuts with
  • [REAR MOTOR] For a more balanced feel. With the motor in the handle, you control much of the weight of the saw with just the palm of your hand for smoother movements
  • [EASY DEPTH SETTING] The readily accessible adjustment lever lets you change the cut on the fly, and the bevel adjustment lever enables you to make cuts from 0-45°
  • [SPINDLE LOCK BUTTON] For quick and safe blade changes. Just grab the included blade key and switch out any brand’s 4-1/2” blade
  • [IMPROVED BLADE VISIBILITY] The left-handed blade housing allows you to see exactly where you’re cutting, for straighter, more accurate cuts

Best For Quality Plunge Cuts

This small circular saw by Rockwell has a lot going for it. It is the second lightest compact circular saw on this list, weighing only 5 lbs. It is a corded model and has an RPM speed of 3500. In addition to being the second lightest, it is also the second least expensive mini saw on this list.

The productivity of this miniature saw may be surprising, given its small size. It has the ability to make bevel cuts, plunge cuts, and shear off a nice 90-degree angle.

The build of this handheld saw allows for easy one-handed use, and the blade is positioned on the left side of the drive, which allows for a clean sightline down the cut. This model also comes with a 10-foot cord to allow for easy connection to a power source.

In addition to the tool’s features, Rockwell also offers a 3-year manufacturer’s warranty on the saw and a 30-day satisfaction guarantee. These are very attractive perks – especially if you run into issues with this model.

While this handheld model has a lot of things going for it, there is one product defect that, upon comparison, keeps this from being a top selection. The most common complaint in customer reviews is about the screw that holds the blade on the saw.

More often than not, this screw snaps, causing this blade to fly off the tool. For many, this is an incredibly serious safety risk that was not outweighed by the positive features of this model.

Other non-hazardous flaws that were pointed out include inconsistent depth cuts, a stiff safety button that was especially difficult for left-handed users, a thin blade, and an awkward holding position when making shallow cuts.

Compared to the perks, these detractions can be seen as minor and don’t impact the overall functionality of this mini saw. However, these must also be considered in addition to the potential for the blade to detach.


  • RPM: 3500
  • Saw Weight: 5lbs
  • Type: Corded
  • Dimensions: 15.3 x 4.2 x 5.1 in


  • Designed to make bevel cuts and clean 90-degree angles
  • 10 feet of cord
  • The blade is on the left side of the drive – easy to view the cuts
  • 3-year manufacturer’s warranty
  • 30-day satisfaction guarantee


  • The screw that holds the blade breaks
  • The safety button is on the left side of the handle
  • The blade is thin – it can’t cut deep in one swipe
  • Max cut depth will vary inconsistently
  • Shallow cuts make the handle angle awkward when held for cutting


Finding the best compact circular saw will depend on your project requirements, accuracy requirements, and what power and design you need to achieve both.

There are other features that you should also consider while making a decision that can make your work easier and more efficient.

Reading compact circular saw reviews and listing what features are most important or relevant will help you narrow down your selection and help you purchase the best compact circular saw for you.

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