Best Compact and Mini Circular Saw – Top Models of 2018

Few objects get a DIYer as excited as a good power tool. I love getting my hands on a tool and ripping into a new project. Lately, I’ve been on the lookout for a circular saw that was lighter and easier to move around. My search led to a desire for the best compact and mini circular saws available.

Compact Circular Saw Reviews 

I poured my research into a list of the 10 best compact and mini circular saws. I didn’t go for the biggest names or most fancy features. My search led me to put together a list of saws that perform because at the end of the day a tool needs to be able to do what it is designed to do. 

10 Best Compact and Mini Circular Saw Reviews

1. Dremel SM20-02 120-Volt Saw-Max

The Dremel Saw-Max SM20-02 is an excellent circular saw to make precision one handed cuts. The Saw-Max has a 6-amp motor that powers a 3-inch diameter mini saw blade. With the SM20 you can cut through most of the materials you use for household projects, including plastic, metal, masonry, wood, and tile.

Dremel has given the Saw-Max high power and durability by using a worm drive gear. The gear design allows Dremel to produce a powerful and durable saw motor while maintaining a compact saw. The saw blade is powered by a 6-amp motor to allow the blade to cut through the toughest materials.

Two wheel positions are available to help you complete more projects. The first position is for doing straight cuts and plunge cuts. The second reduces the length of the exposed blade to make flush cuts.

The compact profile and one hand design maximizes your line of sight to ensure that you are making the exact cut you need. The Dremel SM20-02 kit includes a cutting guide to further aid in accurate cutting.

What we liked

  • Excellent for cutting in confined spaces
  • Easy to control
  • Can cut wood, tile, and metal
  • Great tool for light cutting

What we didn't like

  • Can get very hot when used for extended periods.
  • Blades wear quickly

2. Makita SH02R1 12V Max Cordless Circular Saw

Makita’s Max CXT compact saw has a shape and feel that is like a standard circular saw, but only uses a 3-3/8” blade. The motor, blade, and cutting guide rest in at the very front of the saw, and the handle is higher and a little behind the blade. This setup moves your hand up and away from the cutting surface and focuses the weight of the saw on the cutting area.

The power and comfortable design of the Makita Max CXT lets you tackle almost any home improvement projects. The Makita compact saw can handle wood, drywall, MDF board, and other similar types of wood and household materials. You can change the depth of the cut between 1” and 5/8”. The angle of your cut can also be adjusted between 0 and 45-degrees to meet needs and allow for bevel cuts.

Makita has designed the SH02R1 compact saw to be lightweight and portable. The saw uses a 12-volt lithium-ion battery to power the saw. The package comes with two batteries and a charger that lets you keep working while one battery is charging.

What we liked

  • 3-year warranty on saw and batteries
  • Quieter than a full-size saw
  • More reliable slide-in battery
  • Lightweight and easy to handle

What we didn't like

  • No way to control or collect sawdust
  • 12-volt is underpowered

3. Tacklife TCS115A Compact Circular Saw

Everything is better with lasers. Tacklife takes the guesswork out of cutting a straight line by adding a laser guide to the front of their compact circular saw. The Tacklife compact saw also has a scale ruler that further helps maintain an accurate cutting line.
The minimalist frame of the Tacklife saw makes the saw light and easy to handle. The built-in safety features make sure only cut when you want to cut and what you want to cut.

The motor is mounted in the handle of the saw to provide front to back balance and easier handling. You can power through woods, plastics, metal, and tile thanks to the 710-watt/5.8-amp motor and 6 included saw blades.

The saw blades can perform straight and angles cuts. You can have a cut at a maximum depth of 1-11/16” and minimum cut depth of 1-1/8”. The blade angle can adjust between 45 and 90-degrees.

What we liked

  • Vacuum adapter port to blow out dust and debris
  • 6-foot long power cord
  • Changing between blades is fast and simple

What we didn't like

  • Safety button can be awkward to manipulate
  • Sawdust collects under saw preventing full depth cuts

Also Read: Best Chainsaw Mill

4. Porter-Cable PCE381K Compact Circular Saw

The Porter-Cable compact saw kit gives you the power of 5.5 amps and 3,500 RPMS in a compact package. The blade power can make cuts up to 1-11/16”. You can’t cut 2X4’s a quick as a full-size circular saw, but the Porter-Cable compact is excellent for quick household work.

At only 6-pounds, this saw can go with you anywhere and is comfortable to use for extended work periods. The saw is well balanced between the motor in the handle to help reduce fatigue in your hands and arms.

The body of the Porter-Cable compact saw has an equipped line guide for straight and consistent cuts. The guide has an angular adjustment of 0 to 45-degrees to allow for a larger variety of cut, including bevel cuts. Plus, the body has a dust port with vacuum adapter to control the debris kicked up from working.

What we liked

  • Excellent for overhead work
  • Includes steel line guide
  • Excellent construction
  • Comes with vacuum hose adapter

What we didn't like

  • Trigger and safety can be hard to use with smaller hands

5. Rockwell RK3440K Versacut

I wanted to feature two Rockwell compact circular saws because they offer two different configurations of the compact circular saw. The first is the RK3440K Versacut; an ultra-compact saw that is built to resemble a conventional circular saw with a pistol grip handle.

The angled grip puts your weight above and behind the blade to give you more power to push into the line of your cut. The angle can be a little tough for some cutting angles but is still easy to maintain across long cuts. The built-in laser guide keeps you square on the line of your cut to ensure a perfect line every time.

The blade position is toward the center of the saw body and guide. The blade has variable depth adjustments and the power to cut through flooring, sheet metal, tile, and wood.

What we liked

  • Easy, one-hand operation
  • Easy to adjust the blade plunge depth
  • Can cut almost any home construction material, with a proper blade attached
  • Has an adapter to control dust and debris spray

What we didn't like

  • No capability to make bevel cuts
  • Saftey spring can be tough to overcome

6. Rockwell RK3441K Compact Circular Saw

The second Rockwell Compact has the more direct handled grip that is like the traditional compact saw. The orientation is a left-hand blade design that is light and easy to control. The design gives it exceptional maneuverability that even allows for easy overhand cuts.

Unlike the ultra-compact cousin, this saw has a bevel angle adjustment that ranges from 90 to 45-degrees. In the same range, you will a variable cutting depth of 1-11/16” at 90-degrees and 1-1/8” at 45-degrees. The variety of the cuts lets you handle a wide range of projects from small to large.

The durability and power of the 3500 RPM motor make it capable and reliable. You can count on the Rockwell compact to get the job done on professional job sites and amateur projects.

What we liked

  • Has depth and power to cut 2x4’s
  • Simple one-handed control
  • Has a low 5-pound weight

What we didn't like

  • The saw can kick a little

7. Rotorazer Platinum Compact Circular Saw

The Rotorazer Platinum compact circular saw is a powerhouse in a small package. This compact circular saw can rip at 4,500 RPMs with a 500-watt motor. This power lets you quickly cut through tile, wood, metal, PVC, and copper piping.

The Rotorazer compact saw has variable depth cuts that will allow you to reach up to 1-inch. The saw kit has 3 85mm blades. A tungsten blade for wood, and steel blade for metal, and a diamond blade for working with tile and stone.

For precision cutting and safety, the Rotorazer features a parallel line guide that compliments the minimal frame and keeps your dead centered on your cut. The included dust extraction hose keeps the by-products of your work out and away from your face and work area.

What we liked

  • Versatile compact circular saw
  • Lightweight and maneuverable
  • Collects and removes dust

What we didn't like

  • Can be difficult to use with one hand
  • Saw gets hot with continual use

8. VonHaus Corded Ultra-Compact Circular Saw

The VonHaus corded circular saw is another little saw with lots of guts. The motor is a 5.8-amp triple geared drive pumps at 4,500 RPMs. You can use this saw for wood, tile, flooring materials, and metal. Your imagination only limits your project.

VonHaus went for comfort with a slim handle optimized for 1-handed operation. Mounted on top of the saw is a laser guide that makes sure your 1-handed cutting stays on course. You also have a line guide that acts as a guard and a backup accuracy tool.

The VonHaus only has a maximum cut depth of 1-1/8” with a variable plunge adjustment. The blade has a 3.5-inch diameter. The compact power and precision cutting let you take this saw into a variety of places that larger tools can’t even hope to reach.

What we liked

  • Vacuum tube, dust attachment
  • Excellent cutting power
  • Comes with a hard protective carry case

What we didn't like

  • Saw has a steep learning curve

9. Worx Worxsaw 4-1/2" Compact Circular Saw

We now jump into the budget category of our compact circular saw list. I love the budget options that still provide a kick and a punch. Budget doesn’t mean that you are skimping on quality or power.

The Worxsaw has a 4.5-inch blade that gives it the ability to make quick cuts of 2x4s. Worx has designed the blades to be thin yet strong. The thinner blade reduces strain on the saw while providing the speed and power of a full-size saw.

The blade of the Worxsaw can adjust both depth and angle. You can get the precise depth and angle of your cut for both large areas and those projects in confined spaces. The blade is mounted on the left side of the saw to provide an excellent view of your cutting line.

What we liked

  • Excellent size and shape for any sized hands
  • Dust vacuum port
  • Good cutting power. Includes bevel cuts
  • Weighs only 5-pounds

What we didn't like

  • Small guide and sled make it hard to feel contact
  • Slower cut than other similar saws

10. Genesis GCS545C Compact Circular Saw

Our second budget saw is the Genesis Control Grip. The Genesis has a 5.8-amp motor that spins the blade at 3,500 RPMs. The Genesis may be a lower price, but it doesn’t lack in power and performance. 4.5-inch diameter blades allow for a surprisingly deep cut for a compact saw.

The Genesis saw has the power to slice through woods, composite materials, and metals like copper and aluminum. The package comes with a carbide tipped blade and a high-speed steel blade. Each of the blades has adjustable depth and angle controls. Like higher priced saws, you can perform accurate depth and bevel cuts with the Genesis.

What we liked

  • Light and maneuverable
  • Durable and versatile
  • Comfortable handle grip

What we didn't like

  • The guide bar is short
  • The blade guard is thin plastic

How To Use a Circular Saw - This video created by - Make

The Final Cut 

My list of the 10 best compact and mini circular saws features saws of different designs, power sources, and cutting muscle. I picked each of these saws because my research showed them to be dependable models that are easy to use, lightweight, and reliable. I know that whichever saw you choose will make you a happy builder, whether you are an amateur or a pro.

Sean J. Stone
 

Sean has been a woodworking enthusiast for 8 years, and in that time has written huge resources on woodworking and tools.

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