Mini circular saw. Are they useful to you?

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Forum topic by DavidTTU posted 06-17-2016 02:22 PM 2933 views 0 times favorited 21 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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150 posts in 2641 days

06-17-2016 02:22 PM

Topic tags/keywords: mini circular saw

I need to buy a circular saw and I was thinking of buying a mini (4 1/2”) instead of a normal 7 1/4” saw.

I need to know one thing. Am I less of a man if a buy a mini saw? mostly joking.

I see me using it primarily to break down sheet goods before I get them to my table saw. I have also started into some home renovation projects and will need one for some demolition etc. It is not a tool I use often.

Only thing is, they are mostly identical in price. So am I crazy? Do you like/hate your mini circular saw? Does it break down sheet goods well? Do you have an opinion?


-- -David -- Lubbock, TX

21 replies so far

View GR8HUNTER's profile


8302 posts in 1718 days

#1 posted 06-17-2016 03:26 PM

well I demo a lot of homes and never grabbed my circular saw …. I always go for that trusty sawzall everytime
as far as cutting sheets to handy size ….... its all about preference …... I just love my 71/4 with good sharp blade

-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN :<))

View johnstoneb's profile


3167 posts in 3178 days

#2 posted 06-17-2016 04:01 PM

Breaking down sheet good I think you would be happier with the full size saw. The mini saw would do it but slowly.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

View Richard's profile


1944 posts in 3696 days

#3 posted 06-17-2016 04:20 PM

I would also go for the full size saw. If you want to cut a 2×4 or maybe a double 2×4 or something like that the Mini won’t really do it very good. If all you were going to do was break down sheet goods then the Mini should work if it has good power , but I would also stay away from the Cordless ones as they just don’t seem to me to have the power you get from a corded saw. And as stated above for Demo work the Sawzall is the go to tool of choice on almost all construction sites.
I have one of the Makita Mini saws (even smaller than the 4 1/2” ) and it is great for small trim cuts and real tight spots but not much else.

View josephf's profile


218 posts in 3102 days

#4 posted 06-17-2016 04:43 PM

I own two 5 1/2 circular ,a makita and skill brand .the makita is pretty much retired .they are super for fast cutting up junk lumber for kindling .i use mine for cutting up garbage scrap into small pieces for garbage can when i bring scrap home from jobs . i have a track saw for sheet material now so rarely gets that job .fast easy to use though .
but i have this even smaller corded makita . small blade .will not cut through a 2×4 .great for scribing .great for panel work .use it for cutouts in sheathing . by far easier for cutting sheathing then a 7 1/4” . Small blade has a ton of teeth and make an excellent cut .this saw turns very fast .
If you need specifics on what i said ask .
Speed saw turns is important .just makes cutting easier .

View knotscott's profile


8409 posts in 4381 days

#5 posted 06-17-2016 04:59 PM

I own a Skil 5510 5-1/2” saw and an older Craftsman 7-1/4” saw. Even though the bigger saw is more powerful, most of the time I grab for the Skil because it’s easier to handle. It really depends on what you’re going to cut.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View junebug's profile


103 posts in 3410 days

#6 posted 06-17-2016 05:26 PM

I have the Skil HD5510 as well. Love that little thing for breaking down sheet stock. Wouldn’t be my first choice for cutting 2x’s, but it will handle that as well. I like the light weight of it and the left mounted blade. The hardest part is finding a blade to fit it!

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4339 days

#7 posted 06-17-2016 06:47 PM

Definitely a manly full size. Seriously, it will cut faster and before you know it you will soon want to use it on something thicker and then you would regret having the smaller size. Also, your blades will last longer with the larger saw and you have a much bigger selection in larger saws, plus you don’t have to pay a ‘new gimmick’ price.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Woodknack's profile


13549 posts in 3385 days

#8 posted 06-17-2016 07:10 PM

I have an 18v PC and it throws chips right into your face as you use it, terrible design. I’ve heard of other battery saws having the same problem.

-- Rick M,

View pintodeluxe's profile


6312 posts in 3818 days

#9 posted 06-17-2016 07:16 PM

I have a Ridgid 6-1/2” circular saw that is much lighter and easier to maneuver than my Bosch. I still prefer the 7-1/4” Bosch for cutting sheet goods because I keep a premium blade on it. However when weight is a factor, like fence building or outdoor projects… I reach for the little one.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View devann's profile


2257 posts in 3698 days

#10 posted 06-17-2016 07:38 PM

For breaking down sheet goods,etc… I like a Model 77 Skilsaw. I’ve consistently use one when I need to go after an entire bundle of plywood. The saw is a good fit if you have big hands and offers great leverage because of the hand position in correlation to the saw blade. I’m referring to single hand use here, not two hands.

A model 77 can cut bundles of plywood running at full depth of cut. When I try that with a “sidewinder” there is a constant strain on the wrist because the saw wants to back out of the cut, and you’re holding the saw at a point of higher center of gravity.

With sidewinders you also have to slow down your rate of cut. If you don’t you’ll break the saw, I’ve done it before just to prove the point. I’ve never been able to break a wormgear the same way.

Another thing I consider when buying any saw is blade size. I try to minimize so many different size blades so I can interchange them more often, Buying popular sizes reduces cost. I basically buy three sizes, 7 1/4”, 10”, 12”.

-- Darrell, making more sawdust than I know what to do with

View runswithscissors's profile


3128 posts in 3030 days

#11 posted 06-19-2016 05:37 AM

I have an 18v saw, a Skil worm drive, and a Ridgid 6 1/2”. For sheet goods I prefer the Rigid, as it’s light weight, has sufficient power, and is easy to control.

I used to have a PC 4 1/2” worm drive. I really liked the idea of the saw, but truth be told, I could never develop a strong, satisfying relationship with it. It really didn’t have much power, and blades in that size were hard to find. Finally sold it.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

View dhazelton's profile


2839 posts in 3302 days

#12 posted 06-19-2016 03:12 PM

I had a Skil 6 12 inch that I bought in the mid 80s but it died. I loved that size and wish I could find another.

View runswithscissors's profile


3128 posts in 3030 days

#13 posted 06-19-2016 08:50 PM

I had one of those, from the pawn shop, I think. Liked it a lot, next to their worm drive, Skil’s best saw. I have been told (by my local tool vendor), that Skil no longer makes it. That’s why I went with the Ridgid 6 1/2”.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

View Kelly's profile


3359 posts in 3949 days

#14 posted 06-19-2016 09:20 PM

I have a Skillsaw worm drive, a Dewalt Hybrid, a Makita cordless, and…... the one I use the most – my Porter Cable Saw Boss.

I bought the Saw Boss when I had to cut ends off rotted trusses. Holding a worm drive over your head is no fun, of course. The Saw Boss doesn’t make it more fun, but it makes it much easier.

Since it’s first job, I’ve used the Saw Boss far more often than the big boys. I use the worm drives when I have to do a lot of tough cuts, like cutting through decking with a rubber coat, which killed a brand new B&D “pro” standard saw in under five minutes.

For sheet goods and a few 2x’s, it’s the Boss. Every time. It powers through as good as the larger B&D’s or equivalents.

Price aside, one caveat of the PC Boss, the blades aren’t as common.

View JoeinGa's profile


7741 posts in 3012 days

#15 posted 06-19-2016 10:24 PM

Dont know if I’d call it a “mini” saw but I’ve had a Dewalt cordless circ. saw for about 5 years and I use the HECK out of it. Unless I’m cutting something bigger then a 2X4, it’s the “go to” saw that I grab the first. Even 3/4” sheets of plywood aren’t a problem, so long as the battery has a good charge on it. Light-weight, plenty of power (all things considered) and easy to carry anywhere I need to go.

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

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