8 Best Compact & Mini Circular Saws of 2020 • Reviews

Known for their greater degree of control, compact circular saws are fantastic power tools that create quick and precise cuts. The best mini circular saw is ideal for DIYers who frequently undertake small constructions around confined spaces.

It offers you the same functionality and versatility as a full-size circular saw, but does so in a more convenient way. Being lightweight and compact, a mini circular saw is more flexible to use than its bigger counterpart.

 Nonetheless, with a slew of options on the market, selecting the best compact circular saw for your craft needs can be daunting. But worry not, because our compact circular saw reviews will grease the skids for you.

 After a rigorous comparison of 50+ mini saws from leading brands, our selection team preferred the Makita SH02R1 compact circular saw over the competition. This cordless saw accomplishes most projects without compromising cleanliness and attention to detail.

Now buckle up, and go through our mini circular saw reviews of 2020.

Best Compact & Mini Circular Saw Reviews

1.  Makita SH02R1 12V Max CXT Lithium-Ion Cordless Circular Saw

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The Makita SH02R1 is the overall best compact circular saw whose power matches that of corded power saws. It uses 12V (2.0AH) Max CXT Lithium-Ion pod-style batteries that deliver faster cutting speed up to 1,500 RPM.

Who Is this For?

If you’re a home improvement DIYer who values power, precision and comfort, then it’s hard to go wrong with the Makita SH02R1. This compact saw has a 3-3/8-inch blade, which provides a 1-inch max cutting depth for tackling a broad range of cutting applications. It can cut through melamine, MDF, plywood, pegboard, drywall, and other household materials.   

What You’ll Like?

Makita’s SH02R1 cordless mini circular saw focuses on high-end performance and superior ergonomics. You’ll love its compact and lightweight design. Because it weighs barely 3.5lbs, you can use it for extended periods without experiencing hand fatigue.

Furthermore, you’ll enjoy holding this mini circular saw for longer due to its ergonomically designed handles. Its handles are rubberized for better grip and increased comfort while working.

You can adjust the saw’s cutting depth between 5/8inch at 45˚ and 1inch at 90˚. Plus, its base tilts from 0˚ to 45˚ so that you can tailor your cuts to your specific needs.

The SH02R1 comes with two powerful batteries that spin the blade at a whopping 1,500 RPM for quick and accurate cuts. Its batteries feature a protection mechanism which prevents overloading, overheating, and over-discharging. There’s also a blade wrench that guarantees smooth blade changing.

This model comes with a built-in dust blower for clearing debris from the line of cut, which in turn boosts your precision. What’s more, as an updated version of the SH01W, the SH02R1 has a sharper angle that enables you to apply more power behind its blade.

What Needs Improvement? 

No doubt, the Makita SH02R1 beats most cordless mini circular saws in terms of power, portability, and ease of operation. However, it’s not entirely without flaws, and some areas need improvement.

Being a member of Makita’s CXT series, its batteries and chargers aren’t compatible with Makita’s LXT models. Also, unlike most mini circular saws, its blade is positioned to the right, which may bother some users.

2.  WORX WORXSAW 4-1/2" Compact Circular Saw – WX429L

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The WORX WX429L is the best cordless mini circular saw that goes for cheap. It comes with versatile features that make cutting a snap.  

Who Is this For?

Not only is the WORX WX429L ideal for people with a lean budget, but also perfect for beginners. It’s among the slimmest options in our best mini circular saw reviews. That's why it’s a nice saw for hobbyists with smaller hands, including women.

What You’ll Like?

Although it’s compact and lightweight, the WX429L performs just like a full-size circular saw. You’ll love its 20V Li-Ion battery, which produces upward of 3500RPM for speedy cutting of wood, metal, tile and plastic. It also carries a unique brushless motor that boosts the saw’s runtime, power, and motor life.

Its 4-1/2inch blade is nearly half the size of a traditional saw. However, it’s capable of cutting through 2-by-4s with a single pass. It provides a max cutting depth of 1-11/16 inches at 90˚, with 6900/min no-load speed for quick and smooth cuts.

You’ll find it easy to adjust its depth gauge lever and bevel settings from 0-45 degrees for customized cuts. This best multi purpose saw has a parallel guide that improves the accuracy of your cuts. And it also integrates the LED light that illuminates your working environment.  

Anyone with smaller hands will love the WORX’s slim body and ergonomic design, because it’s more comfortable to hold. Its trigger is located way back on the handle to provide a safer and more balanced grip.

Unlike most circular saws, the WX429L integrates a rotatable duct extraction port that’s connected to a 1-1/4inch vacuum adaptor. This helps clear sawdust and other debris from your cut path, consequently guaranteeing cleaner, more accurate cuts.

Most importantly, this best handheld circular saw has a left-side blade sign. This ingenious design allows for an unrestricted view of the cut line.

What Needs Improvement? 

While the left-side blade design offers better visibility of the blade and material you’re cutting, it may not be a good match for left-handed users. Additionally, the WORX WX429L tends to fen down on long cuts.

3.  Dremel SM20-03 Saw-Max Tool Kit

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With over 75 years in business, Dremel has become a household name in the industry. The company’s corded-electric Dremel Saw-Max is satisfactorily outfitted to address most cutting applications.

Who Is this For? 

The Dremel SM20-03 is your go-to option if you need a corded mini circular saw that’s both feather-light and powerful. It weighs just about 4lbs, and comes with a ridiculously powerful 6-amp motor that can tear through various materials including tile, metal, wood and plastic.

What You’ll Like? 

With a ¾-inch maximum cutting depth, the Dremel SM20-03 may never be an excellent choice for cutting boards to size. It may never replace your table saw either – but its lightweight design and powerful motor make it a bona fide candidate for most home DIY detail projects.

This corded electric mini saw features a 6-amp (120V) motor whose top speed is rated at 1700RPM. Considering the saw weighs significantly less than conventional models, this top speed is enough to handle most projects.

You’ll like the fact that it comes with proprietary Dremel blades, which can cut through soft/hard wood, laminate flooring, PVC, drywall, composites, plywood, masonry materials, and so much more.

As one of the best small hand held circular saws, the Dremel Saw-Max has a versatile cutting system with two cutting wheel positions. This is perfect for making straight cuts, plunge cuts, and flush cuts.

The Dremel Saw-Max has an open left line of sight, which allows you to effortlessly follow your cut line without deviating. It also has an adjustable one-handed depth control that ensures ultimate cutting precision.

As a bonus, your purchase includes a carrying case that can hold the tool, 6.5ft cord, and two blades.

What Needs Improvement? 

In terms of the price point, the Dremel Saw-Max remains one of the most compact and powerful circular saws around. Unfortunately, the tool jams and gets hot after extended use. Its ¾-inch cutting depth could be better as well.

4.  Rockwell RK3440K Versacut Compact Circular Saw :

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This is a pint-size powerhouse for small cutting projects. It produces straighter and more accurate cuts than most circular saws in this list.

Who Is this For? 

If you’re looking for the best multipurpose saw with top-of-the-class precision, the Rockwell RK3440K Versacut might just match the description. This electric-powered saw comes with 3 blades for cutting through a wide array of materials including aluminum, ceramic tiles, sheet metals, and more. It uses exclusive laser guide technology to achieve a clear-cut precision.

What You’ll Like? 

This ultra-compact, multi-functional saw uses a handy 4-amp electric motor that generates 3500 RPM no-load speed. It has enough momentum to handle most home repair projects. Besides, it features a 120-inch power cord, so it can effortlessly access where regular corded circular saws can’t.

Ideally, the RK3440K is all about power and precision in constricted areas. You’ll appreciate the saw’s slim, in-line grip design and diminutive size. Its streamlined body lets it fit into tight spaces, while its tiny size makes it easy on your arms, hands, and shoulders.

For added comfort during operation, the saw has an ergonomically balanced design. Its motor is located to the rear for maximum comfort and minimum user fatigue.

This corded mini circular saw also puts safety at the forefront. It has a lock-off switch that prevents the unit from turning on before you’re ready to do the cutting.

Making cut changes is easy-peasy too, thanks to the saw’s depth-adjustment lever. It allows you to move the indicator to your preferred depth and smoothly lock in the blade. What’s more, a dust extraction adapter is available to keep the cut line debris-free for optimum visibility.

What Needs Improvement? 

While the Rockwell RK3440K is the best multipurpose saw in our list, it falls short in some areas. Its max cut depth is only just 1-11/16 inches, which limits the amount of tasks you can accomplish. As it has a miniature size, it might not be a good fit if you have larger hands.

5.  TACKLIFE Circular Saw with Metal Handle

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The electric-powered Tacklife Compact Handheld Mini Circular Saw is a professional product that makes cutting convenient. It focuses on versatility, simplicity, and accuracy.

Who Is this For? 

The Tacklife TCS115A could be your ideal option if versatility is what you’re after in a compact saw. It comes with everything you’d need, including 6 practical blades, laser guide, depth adjustment control, double protection switch, and others.

What You’ll Like?

You’ll first be impressed by the saw’s robust 5.8-amp copper motor that produces up to 3500 RPM. Aside from high speed, the saw includes six plates (4-3/4inch & 4-1/2inch) for cutting wood, plastic, tile and soft metal. This makes it a good multi-purpose mini saw on the market.

The TCS115A features a revolutionary auxiliary handle patent design, which serves two purposes. Firstly, it enables you to operate the saw with a single hand without fatigue and secondly, it provides added stability when cutting.

The mini circular saw’s depth adjustment is a breeze. You’ll use the depth adjustment lever to control the cutting depth between 1-3/8 inches at 45˚ and 1-11/16 inches at 90˚. You can also decide to make bevel cuts from 0-45˚.

For absolute precision, this best mini circular saw features a parallel laser guide attachment. The laser guide indicates the precise cutting line, so you can make straighter cuts with ease. The saw’s left-sided blade design also optimizes precision by boosting cut-line visibility.

You’ll certainly appreciate the Tacklife’s maximum dust collection efficiency. It comes with an adapter for connecting the dust port to vacuum cleaner. So, it’s easy to maintain a clean environment. More importantly, a double protection switch prevents your machine from accidentally turning on, which in turn ensures your safety.

What Needs Improvement? 

This electric-powered saw is awesome and comes with a 10-feet cord for extended reach. However, its shoe needs improvement, as it feels rather flimsy.

6.  Rockwell RK3441K Compact Circular Saw Kit

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The best small hand held circular saw should have the muscle to handle a full scope of projects. That’s exactly what Rockwell has in store for you.

Who Is this For? 

If you want the best value saw kit to replace your oversized circular saws, then the Rockwell RK3441K matches the performance of full-size saws in a compact blueprint.

What You’ll Like? 

At first sight, you’ll fall in love with this saw’s monstrous 5-amp electric motor, which spins the blade at a staggering 3500 RPM speed. It performs just like a conventional 7-1/4-inch circular saw, breezing through 2x4s in just one pass. Its carbide-tipped blade is ideal for wood, tile, metal, and more.

The Rockwell’s 4.5-inch compact mini saw boasts a max cut depth of 1-11/16 inches at 90˚. Its bevel capacity is 1-1/8 inches at 45˚, with a 3/8-inch arbor size.

Apart from its top-of-the-line cutting power, this mini circular saw is easy to use and produces accurate cuts. At only 5lbs, the saw is simple to transport and maneuver without getting exhausted. Its slim, inline grip design gives you more comfort, balance, and control during extended working hours.

The saw’s blade is located to the left to ensure a remarkable cut-line visibility. A laser guide attachment helps you make more angled and precise cuts. Also, a dust port comes as standard with the saw. This assists with clearing the dust and debris off your working surface for improved visibility and accuracy.

Moreover, its blade is completely adjustable, which helps you create rip and plunge cuts conveniently. The Rockwell RK3441K doesn’t take safety for granted. It features a lock-off switch that puts you out of harm’s way.

What Needs Improvement? 

With the Rockwell RK3441K, kickbacks are possible to happen if you don’t maintain a good grip. We also realized the saw’s laser needs recalibration to function as expected.

7.  DEWALT DCS571B ATOMIC 20V MAX Circular Saw

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DEWALT is a reputable brand whose power tools meet the stringent industry standards. This cordless mini circular saw represents the brand’s foray into the compact mini circular saw market.

Who Is this For? 

The DEWALT DCS571B is an excellent choice for users who need a premium circular saw for various cutting needs.  Its brushless motor enables you to cut up to 339 linear feet of ¾ inches using DEWALT’s 20V DCB205 max battery system (sold separately).

What You’ll Like? 

The DEWALT’s brushless motor design stands out from the crowd. You’ll appreciate the fact that it runs efficiently and extends the motor’s life, because the motor components don’t break down easily.

This 4.5-inch ATOMIC Circular Saw operates using a 20-volt max battery system. It guarantees longer hours of operation on a single charge. Still, this battery is compatible with other DEWALT tools using the same system.

As one of the best hand held circular saws, the DCS571B features ergonomic handles with solid grips. These handles let you use both hands comfortably for many hours of operation. Better yet, the handles are elongated to optimize your reach when cutting OSB and plywood.

The saw also features a bevel gear design that allows you to cut 1x material at 45˚ and 2x materials at 90˚. A convenient on-board blade key storage is available with this saw. It makes it more convenient than ever to change the blades on the go.

The DEWALT’s brushless 4.5-inch Cordless Circular Saw is a premium choice featuring various useful components. It comes with one blade, dust port adaptor, and rip fence.

What Needs Improvement? 

Your purchase doesn’t include the 20V DCB205 battery and charger, meaning you’ll have to spend extra bucks on a battery and charger. Similarly, this mini saw is costlier than most cordless circular saws on the market.

8.  Genesis GCS545C 5.8 Amp 120 Volt 4-1/2 in. Control Grip Compact Circular Saw

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Our best compact circular saw reviews won’t be complete without the Genesis GCS545C Control Grip. Even though it boasts a nonsensically low price tag, it doesn’t lack in power and performance.

Who Is this For?

If you have a tight budget and still wish to own the best versatile compact circular saw, you won’t go wrong with the Genesis GCS545C. In spite of being affordable, its 5.8-amp motor rotates the blade at 3500 RPM, enough to slice through woods, metals, and composite materials.

What You’ll Like? 

The first thing you’ll love is the saw’s lightweight design. At merely 6 pounds, you’ll find this handheld device to be light and simple to maneuver even in tight spaces. Its handle is ergonomically designed to reduce pressure on your arms while using the tool.

Better yet, you can hold the saw with just one hand and use the other hand to support your workpiece for added stability. Performance-wise, this best compact cordless mini saw is a beast.

It packs a gigantic 5.8-amp motor that generates 3500 revolutions per minute. As a result, it can tackle virtually all complex assignments thrown its way.

Its motor uses a triple-gear reduction mechanism that boosts the saw’s torque for maximum cutting efficiency. This mechanism reduces the stress on the gears, which in turn improves the saw’s durability.

What’s more, the tool has a 2-inch maximum cutting depth that’s suitable for cutting thick lumber. If you enjoy making specialty cuts, you’ll benefit from the saw’s adjustable blade that makes bevel cuts.

What Needs Improvement?

The Genesis GCS545C compact mini saw offers both worlds of versatility and value for the money. But then again, we didn’t like its blade guard, which comprises a thin plastic. Its blades are also not perfect, as their quality seem to be below par.

 How to Buy the Best Compact Circular Saw

The best mini circular saw has to be powerful enough to rip through chipboard, plywood, fiberboard, and related materials. Nonetheless, not all circular compact saws are created equal. Use the following guide as the benchmark for purchasing the best handheld circular saw.

  • Corded vs. Cordless Mini Circular Saws

You’ve got to first prioritize on power supply each time you’re buying the best mini circular saw. Corded saws draw juice from an outlet, so they’re powerful monsters that are ideal for jobsite projects. However, they’re rather complex to use, and a steep learning curve is involved.

Cordless mini circular saws are by far easier to use and are great for workshop tasks. Also, the best cordless mini saw can work for extended periods without recharge. Even so, a battery-operated model is only good if you want to use your saw infrequently for light cutting projects.

  • Amount of Power

Whether you choose a corded or cordless compact saw, it has to be powerful enough to tackle your craft needs. The sawing power can be measured in amps or Revolutions Per Minute (RPM). Models with an average of 5 amps or 300 RMP are effective for most light-duty DIY home improvement projects.

However, if you’re doing heavy-duty cutting on thick materials, get a saw with at least 10 amps. Compact and mini circular saws with higher amperage produce more torque. This makes it easier to tear through harder materials like metal.

  • Cutting Depth & Beveling Capacity

You need to consider the max cutting depth the saw is capable of before placing your order. The depth of cut is a measure of how deep your saw can cut through a material. The blades of most mini circular saws have a max cut depth of 1 inch, though some go as high as 2 inches and are suitable for thicker materials.

For greater versatility, it’s best if you choose a mini circular saw that can make bevel cuts. The beveling feature helps you make angled cuts to the edge of the material you’re cutting. If your saw has no bevel, you’ll be limited to making straight rip, cross, and miter cuts.

  • Cutting Precision

While compact saws excel in smaller projects, such tasks call for a keen eye to detail. Mini saws won’t make clean and accurate cuts if you’re trying to cut at maximum depth. Besides, even a slight mistake may affect your fine work.

So, look for saws that have special design elements for preventing the blade from slipping off the alignment as it spins. For greater cutting precision, choose a saw with the following characteristics:

  • Thinner blades
  • Lower vibrations
  • Laser visual guides (or LED lights)
  • Physical guides
  • Dust collection systems

These special design elements assist with making accurate, clean cuts. Ideally, they help you to stay on track while cutting.

  • Blade-Swapping Mechanism

Pay attention to the saw’s blade change mechanism while making your buying decision. The best compact mini circular saws of modern times have a tool-less blade-replacement system. This revolutionary system speeds up the process of removing, changing and re-installing the blade.

Being able to swap your blades easily enhances your productivity and minimizes time wastage. Also, remember to choose a mini circular saw whose replacement spare parts are easy to find within your locale.

  • Safety Lock or Electric Brake

A safety lock or electric break is an essential feature that most people overlook when buying a best compact circular saw. Mini circular saws that come with this safety function enable you to wrap up your task smoothly without injuries.

You’ll be able to stop the blade from spinning by simply releasing the trigger so the current can’t flow to the motor. This life-saving feature allows you to stop the blade of any saw in less than 3 seconds.

  • Ergonomics & Design

The best mini saw should have an ergonomic design to ease your operation. Great ergonomics boost your productivity and safety. Make sure to choose a power tool whose handle fits your hand snugly, and you shouldn’t feel any pressure when you hold it.

A saw with good handle and grip minimizes the strain on your hand and wrist during operation. A good handle offers a normal grasping position, while a solid grip avoids slipping. With excellent ergonomics, you’ll find it easier to maneuver the tool and have absolute control over it.

  • Useful Add-Ons

Premium mini circular saw models come with a few extra features worth having. The following are additional features you might want to consider:

  1. Laser Cutting Guide: Laser cutting guide is ideal for making accurate cuts along the line. A laser projects a straight beam of light onto your workpiece so that you can follow the line with your blade and make straighter cuts.
  2. LED Light: Some compact circular saws come with LED lighting that improves the cutting precision. LED lights brighten your work surface to enable you to have a better visibility. This lets you see where the blade goes so you can make more accurate cuts.
  3. Shaft Lock/Spindle: Having a shaft lock or spindle is awesome if you’re working with a variety of materials. Different materials will need different blades to cut them. Hence, this feature allows for easy blade replacement on site.
  4. Carrying Case: You might argue that having a carrying case is unnecessary since compact circular saws are small and portable. You could be right, but then, a case makes things a little more convenient in terms of storage. Instead of leaving your power tool mounted to a table, you can store it in a case and keep it out of sight when not in use. 

Final Verdict

Of all the saws we’ve rolled out in our best compact circular saw reviews, the Makita SH02R1 is a cut above the rest. We preferred this best mini saw over other options due to its high-end power, superior ergonomics, exemplary durability, and remarkable mobility.

Being a cordless mini circular saw, it gives you free reign as you work on your workpieces in your workshop. Long story short, the Makita SH02R1 is the best option for most users out there.

By the same token, we recommend the Genesis GCS545C if you’re on a tight budget. It gives you exemplary features at a fraction of the price, and is a nice choice for budget buyers. While it’s rather heavier than other models in our mini circular saw reviews, its precision deserves a round of applause.

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