The hand-held circular saw is primarily designed for cutting panels. The flexible and compact machines make it possible to cut even in difficult situations, whether you are a DIY enthusiast or a professional. Our partner selbst.de has therefore tested portable circular saws from both areas of application: The experts have chosen AEG KS to be the top recommendation for professionals. – 2. It costs around 130 Euro, is for her class the price is pleasantly cheap. The test winner in the DIY sector was the Bosch PKS 55 A at a fair price of around 80 Euro. The Trotec PCSS – turned out to be a big hit. – 1400 for under 50 Euro.
The test was carried out by the magazine itself is the man and his portal selbst.de and in the March issue 2019 released. We have the results in April 2020 checked and found to be current.
In the test workshop, the circular saws had to pass the practical test. The experts carried out precise measurements because it was not just about performance and speed, but also about accuracy and quality. Wood dust was also a relevant evaluation criterion, because not all machines have a satisfactory extraction system. Ultimately, none of the circular saws achieved the top rating of “very good”, at one point or another it always failed. Nevertheless, two of the three professional machines were rated “good”, and four of the nine DIY machines were “good”. The remaining devices scored “satisfactory” or “sufficient”. Sawing was good enough with all devices, but sometimes the equipment was poor. In one case, even the prescribed dust extraction was completely missing, for which there was a significant devaluation.
You can read that in our article: In the overview we present the best models from the test in a table and then in detail. Then we give you a price-performance assessment, explain the self.de test procedure and explain what hand-held circular saws are all about. In the purchase advice you can read what you should consider when buying and we will give you alternatives.
These are the best portable circular saws in the test
The best circular saws according to selbst.de
test winner & price tip (professional): AEG KS 55 -2
- High precision and cutting quality
- Exact miter cut
- Good ergonomics
- No rip fence
- Little effective suction
- Not suitable for left-handers
The professional device AEG KS 55 – 2 received the best overall rating in the test: good (grade 1.9). In the practical test can convince the hand-held circular saw above all with its accuracy and cutting quality. There is hardly any tear on the surface when sawing. In addition, the kerf is clearly visible and the markings are correct. The cut material is cut off exactly at the crack, the cut channel lies in the residual wood. This means that you can work with pinpoint accuracy and straight lines, even without the missing rip fence. The set saw depth is exactly achieved in the test. Thanks to the easy-to-read scale, the miter cut also succeeds, the set angles deviate only slightly from the result. The sawing behavior when cutting thick and thin wood panels is good, but the overall cutting performance is somewhat lower and you need longer to work.
Somewhat disturbing is the lower efficiency of the suction. Despite the connected vacuum cleaner, a clear dust curtain remains. The subjective rating turns out to be strong: The processing of the professional device is high quality, the good ergonomics of the handles and switches allow comfortable working and with the 3.8 meter long power cord you have a lot of freedom of movement. The saw is less suitable for left-handers. The operating instructions are clear. In the laboratory tests AEG is the loudest device in the test, the sound pressure level is reached 86 decibels. There are no abnormalities in electrical and mechanical safety, all standards are complied with. A riving knife is missing, but protection is technically guaranteed. The AEG is very light with a weight of 3.7 kilograms, the absorption power is 1. 200 Watts and the sheet size at 165 millimeter with 54 millimeters maximum cutting depth. The scope of delivery includes a cloth bag for storage.
For a precise professional device, the AEG KS 55 – 2 comparatively little: round 130 Euro. Although this is still a little more expensive than home improvement models, it is also worth considering for non-professionals.
Test winner (handyman): Bosch PKS 55 A
- Good sawing performance
- Integrated Dust collection box
- Strong ergonomics
- Noticeable tear on surfaces
- Ads partly inaccurate
- power cord could be longer
The Bosch PKS 55 A is the best portable circular saw among the DIY models . The testers give the device a rating of “good” (grade 2.3). In terms of performance, the saw doesn't have to hide from the professional tools. Thick or thin workpieces can be tested in the practice test cut quickly and effectively. Working with a rip fence works great and the miter cut is convincing. The depth setting is not completely exact, but it is good. There are restrictions on the quality of the cut, when cutting there is a noticeable tear on the surface, as well as the visibility of the kerf. The various displays, some of which can be folded out, provide different results, making it particularly difficult to guide when sawing. The Bosch machine is the only one in the test to have an integrated dust container in addition to the adapter for the vacuum cleaner. The suction is therefore excellent.
The subjective evaluation mostly turns out good. The Bosch device is of high quality and has convincing ergonomics, left-handed people will have no problems. The operating instructions are easy to read and helpful. The power cord could be a little longer, but the 2.4 meters are ok. In the laboratory tests the circular saw shows no gaps in the electrical and mechanical safety, everything is correct. The operating volume of 82 Average is decibels. The riving knife is replaced by technical protective devices. The test winner of home improvement devices, like the professional champion, has an absorption performance of 1. 200 Watts, the saw blade diameter is 160 millimeters. This can be a maximum of 55 Cut millimeters deep. The accessories are extensive.
The hand-held circular saw Bosch PKS 55 A is for round 80 Euro available. This is a strong price for the quality offered. Bosch also has a wide range of accessories, such as guide rails.
Price tip (DIY): Trotec PCSS – 10 – 1400
- Good sawing performance
- High cutting quality
- Exact guidance with laser
- Rip fence bends slightly
- Mediocre build quality
- No thorough suction
The Trotec PCSS – 10 – 1400 is technically and qualitatively not entirely in the upper class, but there is the solid circular saw for a hammer price. The testers give the model a rating of “good” (grade 2.4). Simpler cutting work can be done in the practical test Can be done easily and quickly, but thin panels vibrate somewhat when sawing. The excellent cut quality, which hardly produces any tears on surfaces, is pleasing. In addition, a laser and markings help with the guidance and the kerf is extremely visible. The Trotec separates the wood exactly at the crack, the cutting channel lies in the residual wood. The set saw depth differs noticeably from the result, which is still ok. The miter cut could also be better. However, it is more annoying that the rip fence bends slightly and then jams. The suction is not entirely convincing, there is a lot of dust.
The subjective rating falls in terms of ergonomics, the 2.8 meter power cord also fits. The instruction manual is even excellent. However, there is criticism from the experts about the overall build quality: The case fits are not optimal and the stability is also in need of improvement. However, there are no safety concerns, as can be seen in the laboratory tests shows. The Trotec saw meets all requirements, including the technical replacement of the riving knife. The operating volume is at 83 Decibels a little above average, but is ok. The recording power includes lush 1. 400 Watt, the sheet size is with 190 millimeters particularly large and offers a cutting depth up to 65 millimeters. There is a second saw blade in the accessories.
In the DIY area, the Trotec PCSS – 10 – 1400 convince. The circular saw is not a real top model, but you pay under 50 Euro. This is great for occasional use.
How much do I have to spend on a good circular saw?
Circular saw models for Do-it-yourselfers are usually sufficient for cutting work in the home and garden. However, if you want a particularly high level of accuracy and a clean cut without tearing out, you may have to use the professional device. These models cost significantly more than 80 Euro, partly even more than 300 Euro. This is only worthwhile if you use the saw more often. A price below 150 Euro is in the professional area Cheap. This is rather expensive among hand-held circular saws for do-it-yourselfers, you can get a good model here for around 100 Euro. But even devices for under 50 Euros deliver a decent quality, as the price tip from the test shows. Many other machines in the price range between 50 and 100 Euro, however, disappoint in terms of accuracy or suction.
Circular saws in the test: How was whom the products rated?
Our partner selbst.de undergoes the circular saws in cooperation with the TÜV Rheinland in a detailed Practical test . The experts cut various pieces of wood in the workshop and assessed the result. This stops the work speed and determines the cutting performance. When sawing with a miter cut, the testers measure whether the result actually corresponds to the set angle and they also assess sawing with a rip fence, if this is available. The accuracy of the set cutting depth is checked. Finally, the cut quality also plays a role, because the surface should not tear or flake off. Few handheld circular saws have a built-in dust collector, but there is usually a connection for the workshop vacuum cleaner. The experts use it to test the extraction of wood dust.
In general, it is difficult to predict where exactly the machine will separate the material . If this happens exactly at the crack, while the cut channel lies in the residual wood, exact cuts are possible. The hand-held circular saws often cut off too much, so that the workpiece can sometimes become too small by one millimeter. In the test, the markings, guide aids and the visibility of the kerf are therefore assessed. In the subjective rating the testers judge working with the device: the ergonomics of the handles and switches, the clarity of the operating instructions and the processing quality of the machine. In the laboratory tests the operating volume is determined and the experts check the circular saw for its mechanical and electrical safety as well as compliance with standards. Abnormalities can lead to devaluations. The overall rating takes the form of a school grade.
How does a circular saw work?
The principle of operation of the hand-held circular saw comes from the stationary table saw. There the workpiece is guided over the work table and the rotating saw blade protruding from an opening separates the wood. It is powered by an electric motor. A riving knife prevents the kerf from closing again due to the wood tension and blocking the saw blade. If the saw blade can be swiveled, miter cuts are made in the 45 – Degree angle possible. Guide aids ensure a straight cut. Table saws are powerful and precise, but require a lot of space.
The principle was reversed for hand-held circular saws: The saw becomes passed over the workpiece. The saw blade is covered by the housing at the top and rear so that injuries cannot occur. There is also a movable protection at the bottom that only folds back when in use. A compact riving knife is dispensed with in the compact devices; the risk of kickback of the saw blade is reduced, among other things, by a strong motor brake. To guide the circular saw straight over the wood, there are several tools, including rails, rip fence or a laser.
The circular saw blades are interchangeable and differ in their diameter and tooth shapes. For example, some tooth shapes are more suitable for coated or veneered surfaces and for a cut along or across the wood fiber. You usually cut wood with the hand-held circular saw, but a saw blade selection is also available for plastic or metal cutting. The saw blades themselves are made of sheet metal or strip steel with blades made of sharpened hard metal.
What types of circular saws are there?
The hand-held circular saw is alternatively also available in a wireless version: The cordless hand-held circular saw usually has a less powerful motor with power consumption well below 1. 000 Watts and saws more slowly, especially with thick workpieces. The more power the device has, the larger and heavier the battery must be, which in turn affects mobility. Cordless circular saws are more suitable for simple tasks – or when a power cord is a problem. There are also professional battery variants, but here the device and battery pay significantly more than 200 Euro. After all, the batteries can usually be exchanged between devices from the same manufacturer.
With the plunge circular saw the saw blade sits completely in the housing in the idle state. You position the saw at the desired position on the workpiece and move the saw blade manually downwards. This allows you to make the cut exactly where you need it and move the device with more control over the workpiece. A diving circular saw is necessary, for example, if you want to cut slots or grooves. However, you can only cut straight with this.
What do I have to look out for when buying a circular saw?
The cutting quality and accuracy of the circular saw can hardly be estimated from the technical data. Orientation to test reports and user reviews is therefore essential. Ideally, you can test the device yourself before purchasing and thus also check the ergonomics. However, you can also note some objective aspects when buying online:
- Power input & speed
Hand-held circular saws for professionals and do-it-yourselfers hardly differ in terms of their performance. As a rule, this is 1. 200 to 1. 600 Watts. However, higher power consumption rarely means better cutting performance, 1. 200 – Watt devices are completely sufficient. Nominally more powerful machines can even take longer to cut the workpiece. Models with over 1. 600 Watts have hardly any added value. The circular saw should not have too low a wattage. The speed of the circular saw blade can usually be set before starting. This is useful if you are cutting thin wood or plastic plates and want to reduce the speed for this. The maximum speed varies depending on the model 4000 or 6000 revolutions per minute available. However, this does not have a major impact on efficiency and speed.
- Guide aids & lasers
Guide aids are required for a straight cut with a circular saw . Many models have a rip fence in the accessories so that the saw can be aligned with the edge of the workpiece. For cutting by sight, there are partially fold-out cutting displays or separate guide rails. Some manufacturers have even equipped their devices with a laser that draws the cutting line on the workpiece. You also need clearly visible markings if you want to make a miter cut. All leadership aids have advantages and disadvantages. You have to decide which one is best for you. However, it is essential to check how precisely the displays and the laser are aligned, ideally with trial cuts. Otherwise you may accidentally saw oddly. You can also buy a lot of help later.
- Blade size & cutting depth
The circular saw blades are available in different sizes, the individual circular saws have a fixed one Sheet size. A larger diameter can increase the cutting speed, but this is not always the case. Essentially, the blade size affects the maximum depth of cut. For devices with a small diameter (160 / 165 millimeters) this is usually at 55 millimeters. Large saw blades (190 millimeters) can be round 65 Cut millimeters deep into the wood. If you mainly want to saw thick boards, you should choose the larger diameter. The blade size sometimes has an impact on the interchangeability and availability of the saw blades. These are available with different numbers of teeth: 12, 24, 36 and even more. Fewer teeth cut faster but coarser, for hard materials you need saw blades with many teeth.
- Weight & power cord
Since you have the circular saw at Having to carry out the operation manually, a low weight is an advantage. Technically, there are limits to this, after all, the machine must have enough stability for the sawing work. The weight of the devices is therefore around 4 kilograms on average, and it can fluctuate up or down by half a kilogram from model to model. Saws that only weigh 3 kilograms or less often have a lack of equipment. A long power cord is also important for operation, so that you have enough freedom of movement when working. It should be 2.5 meters cable length, especially with professional devices, there are sometimes 3.5 meters and more available. Some manufacturers sell suitable extension cables as accessories.
- Extraction & Accessories
A lot of wood dust is generated when working with the circular saw. Dust collection is mandatory for the devices, but only a few models have an integrated dust container. The preferred solution is usually an extraction nozzle to which the workshop vacuum cleaner is attached. Dust collection is not always really effective, however, since the wood dust is whirled up by the saw blade. It is therefore always recommended to wear a dust mask. A few devices do not offer any possibility of extraction, you should refrain from these models. The adapter for connecting the workshop vacuum cleaner is included. In addition, you will often find the mountable rip fence and sometimes a second saw blade in the accessories. A suitcase for storage is useful.
- Security & Volume
A riving knife prevents the wood from contracting during cutting and the hand-held circular saw then kicking back. However, many compact devices are now dispensing with them. Here, a strong engine brake or a quickly closing pendulum hood protect against injuries. These models are therefore safe even without a riving knife, but you should check the presence of a protective mechanism. The saw blade must be covered during storage and a switch-on protection must be available. The volume during operation is also a safety aspect, because too much noise damages your ears. In the trade is hearing protection from 85 Decibels are mandatory, most hand-held circular saws move at this threshold: Quiet devices reach about 80 decibels, loud copies produce over 85 decibels sound pressure. You can reduce the volume by reducing the speed.
What are the alternatives to the circular saw?
In the jigsaw an elongated saw blade is clamped in the blade holder, which is moved up and down with rapid lifting movements and thus cuts through the material. You can saw straight lines and curves or miter cuts. The jigsaw is intended for complex and fine cuts, less for speed and efficiency. The saber or Recipro saw works similar to a jigsaw but has more power and is therefore operated like a drill with two hands. In the professional craft sector, large wood or steel tubes are cut with it. The saber saw is more intended for rough work, in the home improvement area the purpose is small. For the very rough work there is also the chainsaw , which is completely unsuitable for the workshop.
The most important questions about circular saws at a glance
Which circular saw is suitable for DIY enthusiasts?
The best DIY hand-held circular saw in the test is the Bosch PKS 55 A for round 80 Euro. It cuts well and is generously equipped. However, there are also models at a fair price in the professional sector that could be interesting for DIY enthusiasts: The very precise AEG KS 55 – 2 is for round 130 Euro available.
How much does a circular saw cost?
Good circular saws in the professional sector are available from around 150 Euro, upwards the price scale is open, you will find models for 300 Euros and more. DIY tools are cheaper, here you can get good saws for under 100 Euro and solid models even at a bargain price of below 50 Euro.
Which saw blades are there for the circular saw?
The diameter of the saw blade determines the depth of cut, here you have to pay attention to the specifications of the circular saw. You have a choice of the number of teeth. Saw blades with few teeth cut faster, but not as thoroughly. You need a lot of teeth for hard wood.
What do I need a plunge saw for?
With the plunge circular saw, the saw blade lowered when starting, so you can position the saw very precisely on the workpiece beforehand and then guide it precisely. You can use the plunge saw to cut slots or grooves in furniture making, for example. It can only be led straight.
This contribution was created by CHIP authors and is based on the results of the article “Comparison of the best circular saws 2019” the Magazine itself is the man and his portal selbst.de . The test was in March 2019 carried out. The CHIP test center was not involved in the investigation.