Corded vs Cordless Circular Saws – Which One’s Right for You?

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Corded vs cordless

It’s an age-old tool inventory conflict. Do you buy a tool that gets its power from a dedicated cord or one that gets its power from a battery? That is the question.

The answer is very rarely as simple as advocating one over the other because it always falls to what you, the tool user, needs. In general, cordless tools offer mobility and maneuverability while tools with dedicated cords traded mobility in for maximum consistent power.

Under normal circumstances, it’s best to make this choice without considering the price, as corded and cordless models tend to be around the same price range.

Note: We recently reviewed a bunch of circular saws. Click here to see our Favorite Picks of 2019

Cutting the cord in favor of going mobile

Cordless tools offer a significant plus in that you aren’t tethered to a wall outlet for power. You carry it with you. That means you can take your tool to where the work needs to be done rather than either bringing the work back to your workshop or relying on wall outlets at the job site.

If your work is taking place in the early stages of a project where you need to build infrastructure to support bringing in electrical outlets, that is a significant plus. Frames used to support electrical infrastructure are heavy to lug around and it’s much less wear-and-tear on the operator — that would be you — to cut the wood at the site.

Maximum power with a corded saw

What a cordless circular saw can’t provide is the kind of power that access to wall current can provide. The biggest advantage of corded circular saws is that they are much more powerful than cordless models because of that wall power. Not to put too fine a point on it, but the longer you use a cordless circular saw, the more the battery drains. That means the less powerful it becomes.

a corded circular saw

Image credit: commons.wikimedia.org, rasbak

If you have really heavy work to do, a circular saw that connects to your wall outlet will start to show its real value. They can keep cutting and cutting at the same power level for hours. In fact, you’ll get tired out faster using them than will the saw.

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BLACK+DECKER 20V MAX 5-1/2-Inch Cordless Circular...
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BLACK+DECKER 20V MAX 5-1/2-Inch Cordless Circular...
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Our Favorite Corded Model
DEWALT  7-1/4-Inch Circular Saw with Electric...
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Accounting for the cord & the weight of the battery

The differences in power supplies also brings a positive to both kinds of tools. For a cordless saw, it means that you can line up and make cuts faster because you don’t have to continually account for the power cord to avoid cutting into it. It’s also not likely to get wrapped around things or get caught in other tools and materials at a job site.

That battery does mean added weight to the tool, however. The corded circular saw is lighter because you’re not humping around the power source. It’s coming out of a wall socket.

working hard with a circular saw

Image credit: afcent.af.mil

The choice between a corded circular saw and a cordless need not be an either/or proposition, because there are very good reasons to have both in your tool inventory. If you understand the role that both kinds of saws can play, you can get the most out of them. The bonus is that in terms of price, both are pretty equal. So, you can choose directly based on what you need, not on your budget.

If you have work that requires mobility, or in general you like tools that you can move around, a cordless circular saw is probably your kind of tool. It gets its power from an attached battery, which means a little added weight. You’ll have to accept that as part of the bargain.

Corded circular saws deliver more consistent power and more of it. They get their juice, not from a battery that will wear down, but from a power cable that gets it reliably from wall current. Pay your electric bill, you’ll have as much juice as you’ll want.

Feel free to visit our circular saw buying guide found here.

Sources:

https://allthingshome.ca/renovations-maintenance/stories/story/power-tools-three-facts-know/

https://www.diynetwork.com/how-to/skills-and-know-how/tools/cordless-vs-corded-tools


Header image credit: flickr.com, mark hunter