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5 Best Worm Drive Circular Saws – Reviews & Buying Guide

Best Worm Drive Circular Saw

While there is a lot you can accomplish with the standard circular saw, with the best worm drive circular saw you can do way much more.

Worm drive circular saws look much like the standard circular saws and can be used for the same applications. However, they use larger and more powerful motors which unlike the regular circular saws are placed behind the blade and not on the sides.

Given their extra weight, the worm drive circular saws will provide more stability and they are also often made from heavy-duty materials for more longevity.

Other benefits and advantages of the worm drive saws include improved cutting capacity and higher cutting speed.

But to get maximum benefits from these fantastic saws, you need to choose a good model. And in this piece, we show you how by reviewing 5 top-rated worm driver circular saws and with an in-depth buying guide.

5 Best Worm Drive Circular Saws - Reviews

IMAGE

​PRODUCT

​FEATURES

Makita 5377MG

1. Makita 5377MG

  • 15-amp motor with 4,500 RPM
  • Durable magnesium components
  • High-quality steel gears
  • Simple one-handed adjustments
Skilsaw SPT77WML-01

2. Skilsaw SPT77WML-01

  • Cool-running dual-field 15-amp motor with 5,300 RPM
  • Rugged and lightweight magnesium housing
  • Quick and accurate depth adjustments
Makita 5477NB

3. Makita 5477NB

  • 15-amp motor with 4,500 RPM
  • Durable and efficient hypoid gears
  • Oil bath technology
  • Oversized and ergonomic rubberized grip
Bosch CSW41

4. Bosch CSW41

  • 15-amp motor with 5,300 RPM
  • Sturdy magnesium housing and footplate
  • Onboard multifunctional wrench
  • Soft grip handle
Milwaukee 6477-20

5. Milwaukee 6477-20

  • 15-amp motor with 4,400 RPM
  • Heavy-duty composite shoe
  • Convenient oil site glass
  • Hardened steel gearing

PRODUCT

1. Makita 5377MG

Makita 5377MG
  • 15-amp motor with 4,500 RPM
  • Durable magnesium components
  • High-quality steel gears
  • Simple one-handed adjustments

2. Skilsaw SPT77WML-01

Skilsaw SPT77WML-01
  • Cool-running dual-field 15-amp motor with 5,300 RPM
  • Rugged and lightweight magnesium housing
  • Quick and accurate depth adjustments

3. Makita 5477NB

Makita 5477NB
  • 15-amp motor with 4,500 RPM
  • Durable and efficient hypoid gears
  • Oil bath technology
  • Oversized and ergonomic rubberized grip

4. Bosch CSW41

Bosch CSW41
  • 15-amp motor with 5,300 RPM
  • Sturdy magnesium housing and footplate
  • Onboard multifunctional wrench
  • Soft grip handle

5. Milwaukee 6477-20

Milwaukee 6477-20
  • 15-amp motor with 4,400 RPM
  • Heavy-duty composite shoe
  • Convenient oil site glass
  • Hardened steel gearing

1. Makita 5377MG – Top Pick Overall

Makita 5377MG
  • Power: 15 Amp
  • Blade Size: 7-1/4 inches
  • Speed: 4,500 RPM
  • Max Cut Depth: 2-3/8 inches at 90 degrees

Makita 5377MG  is a top rated worm drive circular saw that not only cuts well but has also been designed to last a long time thanks to the durable magnesium components.

The saw runs on a powerful 15-amp motor that delivers up to 4,500 RPM to ensure fast and efficient cutting and with some high-quality and heat-treated steel gears that will help make it even more long-lasting.

Operating it is also made easier by the simple one-handed adjustments that make use of large, rubberized levers and the comfortable rubber grip handle.

With the included rafter hook you can also keep the saw close when not in use, and it also provides a larger bevel capacity, easy to read settings and a blade wrench to ensure quick and easy blade replacement.

The cord on this worm drive saw is relatively shorter, and this is even more so when you compare it to other top models, but the good news is that you can easily change it out for something longer.

Pros:

  • More durable steel gears
  • Fast and simple one-handed adjustments
  • Comfortable rubber grip handle
  • Convenient retractable hook

Cons:

  • Cord is a little on the shorter side
  • Relatively heavier

2. Skilsaw SPT77WML-01 – Best for under $200

Skilsaw SPT77WML-01
  • Power: 15 Amp
  • Blade Size: 7-1/4 inches
  • Speed: 5,300 RPM
  • Max Cut Depth: 2-3/8 inches at 90 degrees

Being one of the lightest worm drive circular saws on both our list and in the market, the Skilsaw SPT77WML-01 is designed to be super easy to maneuver and to ensure woodworkers can use it comfortably for extended periods with minimal fatigue.

Comfort is further enhanced by the ergonomic soft-grip handle that will also ensure you maintain a firm grip for safer operation.

This circular saw also features rugged magnesium housing and equally durable parts to ensure it can withstand regular use for a long time.

And it runs on a powerful 15-amp dual-field motor that runs cooler than most others and will allow for easy, quick and accurate depth adjustments.

Many users will also love the 53-degree bevel capacity as it allows for a wide variety of cuts and the anti-snag lower guard that ensures smooth operation even when cutting thinner pieces.

For adults with larger than average hands, the handle feels smaller but for a majority of users, the size is okay and the soft grip makes it super comfortable.

Pros:

  • Rugged magnesium housing
  • Relatively lightweight
  • Cool-running dual-field motor
  • Ergonomic soft-grip handle
  • Easy and quick depth adjustments

Cons:

  • Smaller handle
  • A little noisier

3. Makita 5477NB – Budget Model

Makita 5477NB
  • Power: 15 Amp
  • Blade Size: 7-1/4 inches
  • Speed: 4,500 RPM
  • Max Cut Depth: 2-3/8 inches at 90 degrees

Given its relatively affordable price tag, powerful motor, and durable overall construction, Makita 5477NB is our best worm drive circular saw for the money as you would need to spend way much more to get anything better.

This budget worm drive circular saw runs on a 15-amp motor that delivers up to 4,500 RPM for fast and more efficient cutting. And it makes use of high-quality heat-treated hypoid gears for even more efficiency as they provide a greater contact surface for constant power.

Also, this circular saw will require minimal maintenance thanks to the oil bath technology and sealed gear housing.

There is also an oversize handle with an ergonomic and rubberized grip for more comfortable operation and easy control and larger lever to ensure faster bevel and depth adjustment

With a total weight of a little over 14 pounds, this Makita worm drive circular saw is relatively heavier when compared with others on our list, but many users will hardly even notice the few extra pounds as it still feels well balanced and easy to maneuver.

Pros:

  • Highly efficient and durable hypoid gears
  • Requires less maintenance
  • Fast bevel/depth adjustments
  • Comfortable rubberized grip
  • Relatively more affordable

Cons:

  • Relatively heavier

4. Bosch CSW41 – High Speed, Accurate & Precise

Bosch CSW41
  • Power: 15 Amp
  • Blade Size: 7-1/4 inches
  • Speed: 5,300 RPM
  • Max Cut Depth: 2-3/8 inches at 90 degrees

Bosch makes their model CSW41 to provide the three key things that woodworkers are always looking for in a worm drive circular saw which are high speed, accuracy, and precision.

The high speed comes from the powerful 15-amp motor that delivers up to 5,300 RPM and its accuracy is from the left-side blade placement that ensures you always maintain clear cut line visibility.

With this worm drive circular saw, you also get an onboard multifunctional wrench that will make blade and brush changes faster and large lever for simple and precise depth and bevel adjustment.

You can also easily keep the tool closer to you when not in use thanks to the convenient built-in rafter hook, and you can be confident of comfortable and smooth operation thanks to the anti-snag lower guard and soft grip handle.

Noise is probably the only significant drawback with this worm drive circular saw, but this is typical of most similar power tools, and it only takes some getting used to.

Pros:

  • Strong and sturdy housing and footplate
  • High-speed motor
  • Handy onboard multi-functional wrench
  • Convenient built-in tool hook
  • Smooth and comfortable operation

Cons:

  • Can be quite noisy
  • Could be a little lighter

5. Milwaukee 6477-20 – Perfect Pick for a Professional

Milwaukee 6477-20
  • Power: 15 Amp
  • Blade Size: 7-1/4 inches
  • Speed: 4,400 RPM
  • Max Cut Depth: 2-7/16 inches at 90 degrees

The durable and easy to use Milwaukee 6477-20 has been built with a professional woodworker in mind, and it is designed to not only provide fast and precise cuts but also withstand regular and heavy use.

It has a powerful 15-amp motor that will deliver 4,400 RPM for top-notch cutting performance, and it will not bog down when you put it under heavy load.

And with the hardened steel worm gearing, this worm drive saw will ensure that you always get maximum torque even when using it under the toughest conditions.

This top-notch professional worm driver circular saw also uses a heavy-duty composite shoe that will not bend or warp when cutting. To make this an even more convenient circular saw, it will also include an exclusive oil site glass that allows you to gauge the oil level easily and accurately.

This Milwaukee saw model is the priciest on our worm drive circular saw reviews, but for a professional-grade power tool, it is still quite reasonably priced. And you can also be sure that it will give you value for every buck.

Pros:

  • Durable and easy to use
  • Heavy duty composite use
  • Hardened steel gear
  • Quick and accurate oil level check

Cons:

  • A little expensive
  • Quite heavy

Worm Drive vs. Standard Circular Saw

Worm Drive vs. Standard Circular Saw

It is hard to find any woodworking workshop or job site without a circular saw. And in many instances, most DIYers and professional will have either a worm drive or the standard sidewinder circular saw.

But, how do woodworkers choose between the two? Here are a few points that explain their points of departure to shed more light on this.

1. Motor

The way the power from the motor gets to the blade is the key difference between the worm drive and standard circular saws.

With the sidewinder or standard circular saws, the motor will be either on the right or left which explains where it gets its name. The motor on these saws uses a spur gear to turn the blade, but the location of the motor on the side can easily put the saw off balance since the motor side is heavier.

With the worm drive circular saw, the motor sits behind the blade which makes the tool longer and narrower. The centerline of the motor is parallel to the saw blade's plane, and there is also a wider distance between the handle and blade for a longer reach when making a cut.

Unlike the direct drive saws, the worm drive models use a spiral or worm gear to turn another gear which is oriented at 90 degrees and this makes these saws more powerful by increasing the blade's torque.

2. Blade

In the past, the blade orientation was very distinct for these circular saws since the direct drive models were blade-right and the worm drive was blade-left. But with modern models, the difference is not very clear when it comes to the blade orientation.

And while the blade orientation might not look very significant, it is still a vital factor to consider as it will influence the visibility of the cut line.

With the narrower and longer blade-left worm drive circular saws, right-handed users will have a clearer sight line, but for the left-handed users, it might not be very clear. The blade-right direct drive circular saws, on the other hand, give left-handed users a clearer cut line sight.

3. Speed

Sidewinders will use a spur-gear motor and its design means that the motor must be in line with the blade which translates to a faster spinning blade. And a typical standard circular saw will spin the blade at around 6,000 RPM.

With the worm drive circular saws, on the other hand, the gears are oriented at 90 degrees, and this setup reduces the speed at which the blade spins. For most models, it will average at around 4,500 RPM.

But the lower speed also translates to a higher torque which makes the worm drive circular saws the best for making tougher cuts.

4. Weight

The standard circular saw is typically lighter than the worm drive circular saws which makes it easier to hold and maneuver when making unusual cuts. However, the location of the motor means that the saws are often one side heavy and not well-balanced.

Worm drive circular saws are relatively heavier which can make them hard to handle, and this is more so for beginners. But, while the extra weight might put off some tradesmen, it can also be a huge advantage when making quick crosscuts in downward action and for longer cuts.

On average the direct drive circular saws will weigh around or under 10 pounds while the worm drive models typically weigh 12 to 20 pounds.

Read More: 10 Best Compact Circular Saws

5. Application

A worm drive circular saw can handle most of the cuts that a standard circular saw can do as it is a more powerful saw but the reverse is not true.

However, the worm driver circular saw excels when it comes to making long rip cuts, when cutting hardwoods and when dealing with larger materials.

The standard circular saw, on the other hand, is easier to maneuver and will be ideal for making crosscuts and when dealing with soft woods and more delicate materials.

How to Buy the Best Worm Drive Circular Saw

How to Buy the Best Warm Drive Circular Saw

The market is flooded with all kinds of worm drive circular saws given their ever-growing popularity. However, not all of them are well-built or will work well for you. As such, you need to pick one keenly by considering the following important things.

1. Power

Like with any other power saw type, the cutting efficiency of a worm drive circular saw will depend on the power that the motor generates.

Most worm drive circular saws are AC-powered rather than being battery-powered because the power required to operate the motor is often more than what typical batteries can generate.

And while the actual power that you get will vary from one model to the other, on average most often have 15-amp motors which are powerful enough for different applications. Hence, something with a 15-amp motor should work well enough for most DIYers and professionals.

2. Speed

Blade speed is another important factor to consider when choosing a worm drive circular saw as it will affect the materials the saw will be able to cut through.

The higher the blade speed the better as it means that the saw can cut through thicker and denser materials with minimal kickback, and without causing the motor to burn out.

Most 15-amp worm drive circular saws which are the most popular options will generate at least 4,000 RPM which should be enough speed for most hobbyists and professionals.

3. Blade

Since the blade does the actual cutting, it is an essential part of a worm drive saw that you should never overlook.

And as you consider the blade, the first thing to look out for is the size. Most models will come with a 7-1/2-inch blade. However, there are larger worm driver circular saws that will use 8-1/2 or 10-inch blades.

Also, consider the blade change mechanism as you will often need to change the blade on your saw. The models that have the simplest blade change mechanisms that do not need any special tools will be the best as they will give you an easy time.

4. Max Cutting Depth

The maximum cutting depth of a worm drive circular saw also matters as it will determine whether the saw you buy will be useful for your projects or not.

When it comes to the cutting depth, the blade size will determine how deep you can cut. Saws with the 10-inch blades will make the deepest cuts.

If you are going to use your saw to cut thicker materials, you need something with a deeper cutting depth for fast cuts. And make sure you check the maximum cutting depth when the saw is both at 90 degrees and when it is slanted (45 degrees).

5. Size and Design

As you shop for a good worm drive circular saw, you also need to consider the size and design as they will determine how easy it will be to use and maneuver.

And while the worm drive circular saws are typically larger than the standard circular saws, their size still varies from one model to the other.

The smaller the saw the better it will be as it will be easy to maneuver and can fit into tight spaces with ease. For the design, a good model should be more ergonomically designed and with a nice grip to make it easy to handle for extended periods and with minimal hand fatigue.

6. Cut Line Visibility

To use a worm drive saw seamlessly and for precise cuts, you need to maintain clear cut line visibility. The design of the saw is one of the key determinants of the cut line's visibility.

In most instances, saws with the bleeding on the left will provide the best cut line visibility. However, doing thorough research before buying and comparing different models should allow you to choose a saw that offers the best cut line visibility.

7. Budget

Worm drive circular saw will come with different price tags depending on the model, features, capacity and many other factors. Hence, before you start shopping for one, you need to come up with a budget.

You can get one of these saws for anything between $100 and $500. And like with other saw types, the pricier the model the more powerful and feature-rich it will be.

And as you come up with a budget or decide how much to spend, you should first determine how you intend to use the worm drive circular saw and how often to ensure that you choose something that will offer you the best value for cash.

Conclusion

Worm drive circular saws have been growing in popularity greatly over the years, and there is now a wide range of products in the market.

But because not all will work well for you, it is important to make sure you choose the best worm drive circular saw from the many options by taking into account important points like power, blade, speed, and cut line visibility.

And whether you are a hobbyist looking for one for your DIY projects or a professional looking to add a good worm drive circular saw to your tools collection, there is something for you in our top 5 reviews above.