Attend the Tools Conference this year - Go Here to Register!

How to Use a Circular Saw – Guide for Beginners

If you are thinking about getting started on some home improvement projects you may be in the market for some power tools.

How to Use a Circular Saw – Guide for Beginners
< Back to all blog posts

How to Use a Circular Saw Properly?

If you are thinking about getting started on some home improvement projects you may be in the market for some power tools. If you are unfamiliar with power tools, then having a handy guide to introduce you to them would be really helpful.

One power tool you may decide to purchase, which could be really useful to you in your home improvements, is a circular saw. Here is an introduction to your circular saw and how to use it safely.

Before You Begin

Before you begin using a circular saw– or any power tool for that matter– there are a few things you should do to ensure your safety. You should remove or secure any loose clothing or jewelry and tie back hair that is shoulder length or longer.

Wear safety glasses to prevent debris from getting into your eyes. And if your saw has a cord, try to lay it where you are least likely to trip over it or cut into it. Also, check the blade for broken and chipped teeth.

Circular Saw Features

Your saw has several features that will make it a more useful and easier tool to use. Here are a few of the features you are likely to find on your circular saw.

  1. Blade Guard – This is a plastic shield that covers the blade. It retracts easily when the blade is in use.
  2. Foot Plate or Shoe – This is the flat piece through which the blade runs. It lays on the work surface as the blade is in motion.
  3. Depth Adjustment – This adjusts the blade to cut to different depths.
  4. Bevel Adjustment – This adjusts the angle at which the blade cuts for creating beveled surfaces.
  5. Laser Guide – When you pull the trigger, you may notice a beam of light on your cutting surface. This is to help guide you to cut straight.


Before you plug your saw in, set the shoe on the surface to be cut and set the blade right up against the wood to see where the blade falls. The blade should extend between ¼ to ½ an inch beyond the bottom of the wood. If it extends too far, it can be hazardous.

  • When cutting framing lumber, allow the free end to fall to the ground. This will prevent binding. Cutting in between the supports holding the lumber will cause the board to bow at the cut. It will pinch the blade causing kick back.
  • When cutting plywood, make sure to support the whole piece of plywood by laying two 2x4s across your saw horses and setting the plywood on top.
  • A rip cut is a cut that goes along the grain of the board rather than one that goes across it. This means cutting a board length-wise rather than straight across. It is usually best to make this sort of cut using a table saw but if it doesn’t have to be precise, a circular saw will do. Because clamps would be likely to get in the way, the best way to secure this board is to drive a nail into it to secure it to the sawhorse.

Last Words:

A circular saw can be a useful tool when used properly. It can also be very dangerous if you are not careful with it. Use this guide to help you get started using your circular saw and make sure you use it properly.

Get the Latest News on Tools and More for Home Service Pros!

Sign up now and be in the know about the best tools for home service professionals. We deliver news, reviews, and trends straight to your inbox.