Corded vs Cordless Circular Saw: Which Is Right for You?

A circular saw is a versatile piece of equipment for cutting wood quickly and precisely. It makes a handy tool for DIY and commercial jobs.

There are many things to consider when buying a circular saw, and one of them is whether or not you want a corded or a cordless model.

Both versions have benefits and advantages; being aware of their differences is crucial to finding the right equipment for your projects.

Here’s a detailed corded vs cordless circular saw comparison.

Table of Contents

    What Is a Corded Circular Saw?

    Nearly all major brands of circular saws offer at least one corded model.

    While cordless units continue to grow in popularity, most professional contractors still prefer them because of their reliable performance and value.

    As its name suggests, a corded saw plugs into an outlet to generate power. That offers several benefits, such as more consistent power output and longer run time.

    General-purpose corded units are usually used for cutting wood, but some models can be used for cutting other materials like metal panels.

    General Features of Corded Circular Saws

    Now, let us take a closer look at the basic features of corded circular saws.

    • Motor

    All circular saws use a universal motor, running either off AC or DC electric power.

    Generally, corded models utilize up to 15Amps of power, which is a lot for your disposal.

    However, not all corded versions will be like that. Some models feature a lower power output which is ideal for an average home DIYer.

    Nevertheless, we don’t recommend getting a unit with a power output lower than 12Amps as it will be too frail to tackle even the most common jobs.

    • Blade Size

    Corded and cordless models use pretty much the same blades, but corded versions generally have bigger blades that move faster.

    A typical corded saw has a blade diameter of 7.25 inches. Larger blades correspond to more speed and better power output, so it is highly suitable for heavy-duty cutting tasks.

    Hence, cutting masonry, steel, and other tough materials won’t be a problem for a corded circular saw.

    Moreover, corded saws will usually have anywhere from 24 to 80 teeth. The more teeth the blade has, the smoother the cut.

    If you intend to use the saw for basic projects, you’ll do well with a circular blade with around 24 to 32 teeth.

    However, if you intend to use it to cut tiles or glass, you want a blade with many teeth.

    • Speed

    The speed of a circular saw refers to the number of times the blade will spin per minute.

    Many models offer a speed of over 5,000 RPM, which is ideal for cutting through tough materials like steel and masonry.

    You may also find corded models that feature variable speed options for projects where you need more control.

    What Is a Cordless Circular Saw?

    Newer models of circular saws feature a cordless construction. The most obvious benefit of bare tools is their portability.

    Cords and extension cords can sometimes get in the way.

    You can carry the cordless saw anywhere it’s needed without a cord to deal with, even on a site with no power supply.

    Cordless circular saws usually use lithium-ion batteries and run for four to eight hours.

    General Features of Cordless Circular Saws

    Here are the general features of a cordless circular saw:

    • Motor

    Cordless models typically feature brushless motors, which are more efficient than universal motors used in corded models.

    Compared to a brushed motor, a brushless motor has no physical commutator and brushes.

    Instead, they have an electronic circuit called an inverter which produces a single, continuously revolving magnetic field and constant motion.

    Moreover, brushless motors are more energy-efficient because of the lack of friction from brushes.

    That said, they make an ideal motor for battery-powered tools as they produce a finite amount of power per charge.

    • Speed

    Corded saws used to be superior to cordless models in terms of speed.

    However, some brands today manufacture cordless units capable of producing speeds of up to 5,200 RPM.

    • Blade

    As mentioned earlier, both corded and cordless circular saws use the same blades.

    You have to select the circular saw blade based on the material you’re cutting.

    corded vs cordless circular saw difference

    Corded vs Cordless Circular Saw: Key Differences

    As you can see, both corded and cordless versions of circular saws have many similarities.

    Now, let us dig deeper into their differences.

    Power Supply

    The power supply is the most common difference between a corded and a cordless circular saw.

    Since a cable powers corded saws, you always need to be within reach of a power supply.

    While it may not be an issue in your workshop, it means you have limitations on where you can work.

    As such, you can’t use a corded saw where you are nowhere near an outlet.

    Hence, if you’re out in the yard and cutting a big piece of plyboard, using a corded electric saw may not be the best option unless you have a power outlet nearby.

    On the other hand, a cordless saw uses a lithium-ion battery, so you don’t need an outlet to operate the tool.

    Most cordless models use 18V or 20V of power. Battery longevity varies quite considerably between brands.

    The best cordless circular saw has a battery that lasts anywhere from four to eight hours before it needs recharging which is good enough to perform hundreds of cuts.

    Also, since you’re not dealing with cords, you can use a cordless saw virtually anywhere.

    You also don’t have to worry about sudden power outages that could interrupt your work.


    Safety is a major consideration when choosing power tools. Both models have safety features, but the cordless one is generally safer than the corded one.

    The problem with corded saws is that cables tend to get in the way. For example, cords promote tripping hazards, which can lead to many more accidents in the workshop.

    Also, the cables of power tools can be pretty long, which you need to be mindful of.

    You certainly don’t want to pull the plug while you’re in the middle of a cutting job.

    Lastly, a corded saw may be inconvenient to use if you work in a tight space.

    With a cordless tool, you don’t have to worry about a possible trip hazard or the power cord getting in the way of things.

    It’s also a more suitable option if you work in tight spaces.


    Both corded and cordless circular saws will generally have the same features.

    However, the power aspect is what gives the corded version an edge over its cordless counterpart.

    For easy jobs, there will not be much difference between the two models.

    Opt for a corded version if you plan to work on larger projects and tougher materials.

    At least you’re not going to worry about your tool suddenly stopping in the middle of everything.

    A corded circular saw is a good option for projects requiring you to work continuously.

    The absence of a battery means it’s lighter and hence, more comfortable to handle.

    It also offers excellent performance without much hassle.

    Taking power aside, cordless circular saws often come with modern features that make working with them a lot easier, such as LED lights, lasers, and dust blowers.


    A higher power output translates to better performance, so a corded circular saw is best for demanding jobs.

    Besides delivering a higher power output, the consistent power supply is another significant advantage of corded units.

    Since it won’t run out of steady power, you can effectively use it for larger projects.

    Corded models don’t burn through different components as fast as cordless versions, so you can push the tool to its limits without worrying that it may break.

    Cordless circular saws lack in this aspect.

    Besides having to recharge or replace the batteries after a few hours, cordless circular saws don’t deliver a consistent output level.

    That’s because a drop in battery power results in a drop in performance.


    Price is another consideration when purchasing power tools. Corded circular saws are generally cheaper than cordless ones.

    However, don’t think that the lower price tag makes corded models inferior.

    The cordless units are more expensive because of the battery and the slightly different technology that allows them to work.

    Besides the battery that comes with the unit, you may also need to purchase a backup battery to ensure the tool functions for extended periods.

    Size and Weight

    Even though cordless saws are portable, they tend to be a bit heavier than their corded counterparts due to the batteries.

    Corded saws usually weigh seven to 10 pounds on average. This is important to remember, especially if you intend to use the tool for prolonged and professional applications.

    However, for residential use, there wouldn’t be much of a difference between the two.

    Pros and Cons

    Here’s a summary of corded vs. cordless circular saws’ draws and drawbacks.

    Corded Circular Saw


    • Powerful
    • Ideal for heavy-duty work
    • Well-priced
    • Lightweight
    • Easy to use


    • Cord has safety hazards
    • Not portable
    • Always needs a power source

    Cordless Circular Saw


    • Portable
    • Safe
    • Easy to use
    • Easy to set up


    • Can be a bit more expensive
    • Not as powerful as the corded version

    Which Saw Is Right for You?

    As you can see, both corded and cordless circular saws have pros and cons.

    Hence, when deciding between the two, it’s really a matter of personal preference.

    The cordless version is probably best for tasks where you will only make a few relatively small cuts here and there.

    Besides being portable, you won’t have to worry about finding an electrical outlet when you work.

    However, if you’re a contractor or someone who needs a reliable saw that you can use day and night, a lighter, corded circular saw with a never-ending power supply is best.

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