Circular saws are great for cutting a variety of types of wood and materials. They are able to make precise and clean cuts in straight lines and can be faster than hand saws when used properly. Companies such as Black and Decker, Stihl, and Craftsman are just a few of the companies that produce these power saws. 


You do not want to overlook circular saw safety and so it is extremely important that you first learn to respect the power and danger of circular saws and secondly know how to safely operate the saw itself. Some of these tips carry over into power tool safety for tools besides the portable power saw.

Preparing to Use a Circular Saw.


Make sure the table and surrounding area is clear of debris, obstacles, pets, and people. Put on a pair of heavy duty safety goggles and a dusk mask. This will prevent debris and saw dust from getting in your eyes or into your nose and mouth. You do not want to be inhaling saw dust.


Double check to ensure power cords and clothes are free and clear from the saw blade cutting surface area. Verify that the retracting lower blade guard (if your circular saw is equipped with one) moves freely up and down. Verify the blade position. 


You must set the blade depth first and do this setting before plugging the saw into a power supply. Lock in the chosen depth. To determine the safe and appropriate blade depth you’ll want the lowest saw tooth on the blade not extending more than 1/8th of an inch (0.3 cm) below the wood being cut. You may need to place the wood on the table to get a good idea of the ideal setting.


Make sure the saw blade, guard area, and motor vents are free of dust and sawdust debris. This debris could cause a dangerous jam causing injury or damaging the equipment.


Users who are left handed should be especially careful handling a circular saw as most handheld saws are made for right handed users. Once more verify that the saw area is free and clear of debris, dust, clothing, wires, animals, or people before proceeding.

During Use of the Saw.

Never use the saw one handed. Always firmly hold the saw properly with one hand on the front knob like handle and the other hand firmly on the trigger handle. Test the retractable blade cover by allowing the saw to reach full speed then turning the saw off. The cover should move to cover the blade as the saw blade comes to a halt. If it does not there may be a problem with the safety mechanism and you should not use the saw. 

 Safety Tips for Using a Circular Saw Safely and CorrectlyCredit: By Rasbak (Own work) [GFDL ( or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

If the saw is functioning properly pull the trigger and wait until the saw blade has reached full speed before cutting the wood. Make sure the wood is secured to the cutting table and use clamps to do this. Whenever adjusting the blade depth, turn off and unplug the saw before making these important adjustments. Always remain aware of your surroundings while cutting with a circular saw.

Things to Avoid When Using a Circular Saw.

If the saw starts shaking, vibrating excessively, or the blade seems slow this could be a sign of a loose blade, wrong depth setting, damaged guard cover, or other problem. Immediately turn off and unplug the saw before trying to troubleshoot the problem. Never leave the saw plugged in or running when troubleshooting.


Do not force the saw blade when cutting, allow the blade to move smoothly through the wood and move it slowly in a straight line. Don’t twist or turn the saw during use as this could damage the saw, table, and wood. It could also cause flying debris. Also when making a cut keep your finger on the trigger until you complete the cut and have moved the blade away from the wood. This prevents the blade from splintering the wood or becoming jammed up. 


Make sure the wood you are cutting is free of nails, screws, and other items in the area of the wood where the cut is being made. Don’t try to overextend your arms when cutting the wood as you could lose your balance; a dangerous movement with a saw blade spinning. Also make sure the blade is sharp and always replace the blade as specified by the circular saw manufacturer. 


Once again make sure hands, clothing, debris, people, and pets are well clear of the saw blade. When you move the saw to reposition, do not keep the saw blade moving when moving to a new cut location.