Circular Saws Review

This is part 2 of our circular saws review. To see all details and parts of this article series please go here to the circular saw review.

In this part our circular saw review on which circular saw to buy, you'll discover a more detailed description of two basic circular saw concepts on the market.

What Kind of Circular Saw Should I Buy?

Lets review the two basic concepts:

  • Pendulum Guard Circular Saws
  • Plunge Cut Saws

On a conventional pendulum guard circular saw, the lower blade guard slides backwards up into the housing as you cut. It will either be pushed up inside as you begin the cut, or is lifted with the assistance of a tiny lever attached to the blade guard. Most circular saws have these design concepts.

Pendulum Guard Circular Saws Review

Conventional Pendulum Guard Circular Saw Blade Guard Lifted up Manually Difficult Plunge Cut with a Pendulum Guard Circular Saw
Conventional pendulum guard Dewalt circular saw. The blade guard covers the blade to below the saw's footplate. A lever allows the blade guard to be pushed back into the housing during the cut. Some power tool manufacturers have added a little guide wheel to the top of the blade guard. This will push the guard back and upward automatically when cutting. Even the smallest circular saw should have a large lever to push it up. A plunge cut (cut out of a closed surface) is tricky with a pendulum guard saw. Picture example shows a cordless Dewalt circular saw diving into a wooden floor. During the plunge or insertion, the saw needs to be moved slightly forward to allow the riving knife to smoothly slide into the cut.


  • No moving motor parts - allows reduced cost.
  • Simple mechanism - easy to maintain


  • You'll need an extra hand to open the guard.
  • Plunge Cuts are very difficult to properly guide
  • Pendulum Guard circular saws are more difficult to setup when needed on a 'guide rail system' (a track saw) the rail.

Plunge Cut Saws Review

Plunge cut circular saws have become increasingly popular during recent years. More and more, woodworkers find these easier to use and safer to work with.

Plunge Cut Saw Festool Plunge Cut Saw On Guide Rail System as Track Saw
Among the more popular plunge cut saws is the DeWalt plunge cut circular saw. One of the leaders in plunge cut saws is the German manufacturer, The Festool Power Tool Company. Picture example the Festool model TS 55 EBQ track saw. It has very good ergonomics, especially when used on a guide rail system. The Festool plunge cut saw used as track saw.


  • These models have the Saw Blade fully covered within the saws main guard.
  • This circular saw blade is covered in a safe and secure standby position, important for circular saw safety.
  • In this design allows both hands to stay on the plunge saw during the cut.
  • This design circular cutting tool is perfect for use on guide rail system such as a track saw.


  • Overall are plunge saws a bit more expensive.
  • Since there are more moving parts, this saw requires frequent cleaning and maintenance.

To sum up the review of the types of circular saws available for purchase, you may want to examine the plunge cut saws prior to deciding on your next purchase. Are you a cabinet worker? You aught to be examining the advantages this kind of circular saw and compare them to traditional Pendulum circular saws.
In our circular saws review series, you'll discover an in-depth analysis of the key components a professional circular saw must have such as depth adjustment, bevel cut settings, and blade change mechanism.

In the next part of this circular saws review article series, we look into ratings of key features like depths adjustment: front pivot, rear pivot vs. parallel guide as well as what depth adjustment is better? In addition we will examine blade change mechanisms and spindle lock systems on saws. The following part on circular saw ratings is here.
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Circular Saws Review

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