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Whether you are a hobbyist or someone in the professional woodworking or carpentry world, you’ve likely heard the terms circular saw and skill saw being thrown around. The confusion lies in trying to differentiate between these two.
It’s this challenge that has likely brought you here, and you couldn’t have chosen a better place to get some clarity on the matter.
Today, it’s all about learning what constitutes a circular saw and a skill saw, as well as some other useful tidbits that you may want to take with you.
The origins of the circular saw make it an old tool. It’s no surprise that it works as well as it does, considering all the innovations that would have happened since the time of its inception. While its earlier models weren’t as compact and transportable, today’s circular saw is handheld and very conducive to those who require portability.
Of course, the kind of precision that you can get from each cut heavily depends on the skill of the user. You must be able to handle a circular saw safely first before you can start to think about precision. As you get better, you can start to make the kind of precise cuts that a table saw would be able to pull off.
So, you now know what a circular saw is. If you happened to see a skill saw before, it likely also fits the description provided for the circular saw above. With that said, what would be the difference then?
Well, the answer is a bit anticlimactic, unfortunately. There is not a difference per se. A skill saw is a circular saw. The skill saw everyone talks about is often written as “Skilsaw”, and that’s because all it is a circular saw that’s made by a company named SKIL, which is quite a reputable power tool manufacturer.
However, because of its impressive and growing popularity, the fact that it was nothing more than a brand name seems to have gotten lost along the way.
You find that skill saw builds are made to be powerful and precise and often rank among the best in the industry.
Choosing a Saw
So, with all that out of the way, what should you be focused on when choosing your circular saw? Simply evaluate the areas below, and it should guide you to your eventual selection, whether that’s a skill saw something that falls under another brand name.
As indicated before, skill saws rank among the best in the market, which means that the associated prices are set to reflect the quality. So, most other brands are going to be cheaper.
Power tools are a slippery slope, and you never want to choose anything just because it’s cheaper. In many cases, lowballing the price means giving up quite a bit of quality. Still, this doesn’t mean that every affordable power tool is a bad one.
The best advice that can be given here is to look for the tool that manages to offer the best balance where price and functionality are concerned.
Power and speed are big determinants of how well your saw can take on tasks and how fast it can complete them. The size of the blade and motor amperage makes the determinations here.
One of the reasons that skill saws are designed to stand out is the incredibly quick rotational speed. Some of its designs, for example, go all the way up to 5,000 RPM.
No one is saying that skill saws are the fastest in the world, but they are certainly up there. Simply evaluate the kind of workloads that you have and the kind of speed and rotational capability you need to handle them effectively.
These saws are all meant to be portable, after all. So, what do things look like in the size department? Well, on average, you find that skill saws are larger and heavier than other circular saws on the market.
Anything between 10 and 16 pounds (which is the range for Skilsaw builds) is considered quite heavy. For reference, a unit between six and 10 pounds is normal. Anything under six pounds is considered a light saw.
So, unfortunately, the mystery of the skill saw versus the circular saw ended in a less exciting fashion than most would have liked. A skill saw is nothing more than a circular saw made by SKIL.
Some of the features that are synonymous with the line make it stand out as one of the best in the industry, so the saws are worth a second look if the price tag is affordable to you.