Best Worm Drive Saws of 2019: Reviews with Buying Guide
Today, we are going to introduce you to five of the best worm drive saws in order to help you upgrade your ever-reliable circular saw with a more badass worm drive saw. If you already have a worm drive saw, and is planning to change the model you have now, this is also a good read for you.
Since five tools are still too much because you probably need just one anyway, we are going to help you further narrow that down with a quick buying guide. That way, you can discern for yourself how to select the worm driver that fits your personal needs and preferences.
Additionally, we have already outlined the best circular saws for this year, and recommend you check that out for a more comprehensive analysis.
Best Worm Drive Saws: Our Top Five Picks
At some point in your woodworking journey, you will realize that your basic power tools won’t work anymore, and that’s okay. That is because you’ve bought those tools just to help you get started right away. The projects that you have probably worked on were a lot simpler.
As you continue working hard in getting those projects done, you will start picking up things along the way. Your skill will improve, the projects that will interest you will start to get more complicated, and you will start exploring different materials.
The worm drive saws we have chosen and reviewed are designed to meet those needs. Let's explore each of the saws features, pros, and cons.
1. DEWALT DWS535 Worm Drive Circular Saw
Our first choice won’t probably surprise you anymore. After all, DEWALT is a big name in the industry of power tools. If a power tool is made by them, then there is a huge possibility that it will be durable, living up to the brand's name and black-and-yellow signature.
The DWS535 Worm Drive Circular Saw by DEWALT is powered by a motor that runs at a no-load speed of around 4800 RPM. It is built with a magnesium body and weighs approximately 13.8 pounds, as well as has a size dimension of 9.5 x 22.3 x 9 inches. As such, you can store and carry it around easily, allowing you to perform your projects at any job site.
Additionally, the DEWALT DWS535 Worm Drive Circular Saw has a cast magnesium shoe that gives you a more controlled cutting experience. As for angular cuts, the unit has a maximum bevel capacity of 53 degrees. What is better is that it has bevel stops at 22.5 and 45 degrees for faster cutting.
For more convenience, DEWALT integrated the tool with a spindle lock that will allow you to change the blade in a snap. It also features DEWALT’s ToughCord Cord Protection System that decreases the risk of cord jerking.
Upon purchase, this 7 ¼-inch saw will come with a 7.5-inch blade with a carbide tip, a three-year limited warranty, a user's manual, and a blade wrench.
- Heavy duty
- Easy to operate
- Quick blade changes
- Risk-free purchase
- Suited for challenging projects and materials
- Can’t be plugged into a regular electrical socket
- A little bit pricey compared to other units
2. SKILSAW SPT77WML-01 Worm Drive Circular Saw
The second worm drive circular saw on our list is the SPT77WML-01 by the brand SKILSAW. It might not be as big as the name DEWALT, but the company, which was established way back in 1924, has definitely made its mark in the world of tools already.
The unit that we are featuring today has a 15-amp motor that runs at a no-load speed of up to 5300 RPM. It is loaded with SKILSAW’s Dual-Field Motor Technology. This means that the motor has dual copper windings, which increases the surface area occupied by the copper.
That, in turn, decreases the heat to as much as 40% compared to other worm drive circular saws out there. Hence, the SKILSAW SPT77WML-01 Worm Drive Circular Saw's motor will remain cool even after a long day of hustling.
Like the DEWALT tool we reviewed above, this unit comes with a magnesium housing, giving it a weight of approximately 11.6 pounds. Size-wise, it comes in at 20.5 x 7.75 x 8.75 inches.
This unit also comes with cut-ready depth adjustment with built-in stops at ¼ ply, ½ ply, ¾ ply, and 2x for faster setting up and cutting. It has a maximum bevel capacity of 53 degrees, as well as a bevel stop at 45 degrees. Additionally, with its ergonomically designed soft-grip handles, you can use the tool without experiencing too much strain.
What is better is that you can use the SKILSAW SPT77WML-01 Worm Drive Circular Saw right out of the box since it comes with a carbide-tipped, 24-tooth blade. Installing and removing the blade will be easier as well since an on-tool wrench is provided.
In addition, you'll receive a brush and oil to help you maintain the tool. The product also comes with a 180-day guarantee and one-year limited warranty.
- Convenient to use
- Can withstand long work hours
- Can handle various materials
- Quick blade changes
- Risk-free purchase
- Short warranty period
3. Makita 5477NB Hypoid Saw
The next unit that we are going to feature here is Makita’s 5477NB Hypoid Saw. We love it because it packs almost the same amount of power, durability, and features as the other units in this list, but is available at a lower price tag.
So if you want to upgrade to a worm drive circular saw but don’t want to invest a lot of money, then this is the choice for you.
Like the previous unit listed, the Makita 5477NB Hypoid Saw also has a 15-amp motor, but it only runs at a maximum no-load speed of 4500 RPM. Its base plate is chemically treated and rustproof. Likewise, it is integrated with ergonomically designed, oversized handles with rubberized grips for increased friction, control, and comfort.
Weighing in at 14.3 pounds, this 7 ¼-inch saw is built with hypoid gears that give it more power. As such, it can cut through a wide variety of materials without hassles.
Aside from its heat-treated hypoid gears, this worm drive circular saw also boasts of its unique oil-bath technology that makes this product low maintenance. To add more, you can adjust the angle up to 51 degrees and would stop at 45 degrees automatically.
Upon purchase, the Makita 5477NB Hypoid Saw will come with a carbide-tipped blade that is designed with strategic heat vents for low-heat cutting. Also, it is integrated with a push-button spindle lock and a blade wrench for fast and easy blade changing. Additionally, the unit comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee, which is 150 days less than the previous unit, as well as a one-year warranty.
- Powerful, durable, and affordable
- Risk-free purchase
- Easy to operate, control, and maintain
- Limited or no overheating
- Quick blade changes
- A little heavy
- Short warranty and guarantee period
4. DEWALT DCS577B FLEXVOLT Worm Drive Circular Saw
Let us now move on to our fourth choice, which is another DEWALT product. You can probably tell by now how much we enjoy using the power tools offered by this brand, right? The main difference from the first saw by the same brand is that the DEWALT DCS577B FLEXVOLT Worm Drive Circular Saw is cordless.
This tool runs on a brushless motor for longer runtime and has a maximum no-load speed of 5800 RPM. Just like the previous DEWALT unit we have reviewed above, this is built with a magnesium body. It comes at a bare weight of 10.9 pounds, which is three pounds lighter than the previous DEWALT tool, and four pounds lighter than the previous unit we have listed.
Coming in at a size dimension of 18 x 9 x 8.2 inches, this tool has a high-grade magnesium shoe that gives you a more controlled cutting experience. Its maximum bevel capacity is 53 degrees and has bevel stops at 22.5 and 45 degrees.
This cordless saw is equipped with a rear handle, as well as designed with an optimum line of sight in mind to help you make accurate cuts. For your safety, the device is integrated with an electronic brake, which automatically stops the blade every time you release the trigger.
Although the battery and charger are not included, the tool comes with a 7.5-inch blade, a blade wrench, and an instruction manual. It also comes with a limited three-year warranty.
- Durable, lightweight, and powerful
- Quick blade changes
- Safe and easy to use
- High bevel capacity
- Can be used anywhere, as long as fully charged
- Bare tool only
- Heavier than other units once the battery is installed
5. Milwaukee 6477-20 Worm Drive Circular Saw
The last but certainly not the least unit that we are going to review is the 6477-20 Worm Drive Circular Saw by the brand Milwaukee. This is a corded tool that comes with its own stand.
This 7 ¼-inch saw is equipped with a 15-amp motor that allows it to run for a maximum no-load speed of 4400 RPM and bevel capacity of 51.5 degrees. It has a magnesium body which makes it very durable while still being lightweight. On that note, it comes in at an approximate weight of 19.4 pounds.
Additionally, this 23.9 x 9.3 x 9.3-inch saw has a worm gearing made from hardened steel that gives it more torque and power. It also comes with a composite shoe that won’t easily bend or warp.
The feature we love most about the Milwaukee 6477-20 Worm Drive Circular Saw has got to be its unique oil slate glass that allows you to check the current oil level quickly and easily. Apart from that, this unit comes with a five-year warranty, as well as a 7 ¼-inch blade that is carbide-tipped. Thus, you’re all ready to play the moment you get the unit.
- Heavy-duty and powerful
- High bevel capacity
- Easy to use
- Easy to check oil level
- Comes with a stand
- Extended warranty
- Heaviest unit in our list
- No bevel stops
- No blade-changing features
And those are our pick of the best worm drive saws. We hope you have enjoyed our breakdown, and that our list has narrowed down your choices. To ensure that you truly understand what the products above have to offer, as promised, we have curated a simple buying guide for you.
Before we start, allow us just to make a few things clear about the buying guide that we are going to share with you today. This buying guide is going to be composed of two parts.
First, we are going to define what a circular saw is and mention the different types of circular saws. We are also going to list down the benefits and downsides of each type of circular saw. In this way, we can help you make an informed decision if you really need to add a worm drive circular saw to your cache of power tools.
If you already know what you need and why you need a worm drive circular saw, do feel free to move on ahead to the next part of this guide.
The second part of this buying guide is going to focus on the different features that you need to watch out for during your saw-hunting process. These are the things that you need to consider before taking the plunge and finally buying that unit you’ve been eyeing.
Essential Things to Know About Circular Saws
Just like the more traditional table saw, a circular saw is a power tool that allows you to make straight and angled cuts. However, unlike the table saw, a circular saw is more portable and convenient to use since it is handheld and lightweight. Even the heaviest circular saw is no match with the weight of an actual table saw.
A circular saw will also help you make cuts on the job site or wherever you are. Meaning you can carry it around more comfortably than the traditional table saw. Therefore, it truly is a must-have for any hobbyist or professional who needs to cut woods, metal, and plastic.
Different Types of Circular Saws
As for the common types of circular saws, there are only two. They are the sidewinder circular saw and the worm drive circular saw.
1. Sidewinder Circular Saw
This type of circular saw, also known as a line saw, is the most commonly used type. That’s because it is more basic, making it beginner-friendly. Likewise, it is more convenient to use than the other type.
If you are reading this article to find out if you need to upgrade to a worm drive circular saw, we know that the chances are, you already have this type of circular saw lying around in your garage or workshop.
A sidewinder circular saw is more compact and weighs less than worm drive models. That is due to the overall design of the device, where the motor is mounted on the side of the saw.
Another huge benefit is that sidewinders usually pack more revolutions or rotations per minute (RPM) or operate at faster speeds. That’s because the blade is just right beside the motor.
Additionally, this type of saw does not need to be oiled frequently, which means it is a less-maintenance tool. Also, thanks to its design, it can sit on top of your work piece and not just hang from the cutoff portion.
2. Worm Drive Circular Saw
We know what you’re thinking: “If sidewinder circular saws function so great, then why do you need to invest on a worm drive circular saw, especially if it’s heavier and needs more maintenance?”. In a nutshell, worm drive circular saws are simply more powerful than sidewinders, and we’ll tell you why in a bit.
First, let’s talk about the design of the worm drive circular saw. Here’s a fun tidbit: Did you know that Skilsaw actually created the first ever worm drive circular saw back in the 1920s?
The original design back then has probably been tweaked and improved already, but the gist is still there. That is, the motor is in the back, which makes the actual saw longer and narrower.
With such a design, the saw can make long cuts easier, and since it’s long, it is convenient to cut items even in tight spaces. This type of saw also has more torque, which means it is more equipped to carry on heavier workloads and cut through tougher materials as compared to the sidewinder.
If you have more experience on using the sidewinder, though, then you might experience a little bit of adjustment during your first few tries with a worm drive circular saw. That’s due to the different orientation and design of this type of saw.
That being said, once you do get used to it, you will find that it’s actually a lot easier to use since the design makes the tool more balanced and easier to control. Just think about it. With sidewinders, the motor is on the other side of the blade, which makes the motor side heavier than the blade side.
That is the reason why sidewinders need more handles for proper control. On the contrary, you won’t experience that imbalance with a worm drive circular saw.
Which One Do You Need?
If you’re still a beginner at woodworking and construction, then we definitely recommend dipping your toes on sidewinders first. That is only because you might find that the effort needed to maintain worm drive circular saws a total pain.
However, if you don’t mind the extra work involved, then you should definitely invest in a worm drive. After all, some worm drive circular saw models have features, like the oil-bath technology of the Makita 5477NB we have mentioned a while ago, that ensure the product only requires less or simple maintenance.
Different Features You Need to Consider Before Buying a Worm Drive Circular Saw
Once you have decided that the worm drive circular saw is the better choice for you, you need to understand the basic features that you need to look out for. That being said, here are the ones you need to consider:
One of the first few things that you need to consider when planning to buy or shopping for a worm drive circular saw is the size of the saw itself. It is also important to check the blade dimensions it can accommodate.
That is because the dimensions can determine, more or less, the kind of tasks you can do with your saw. It can make a difference in the type of materials that your saw can handle, the cutting depth it can do, and the kind of blades you can equip it with.
2. Power and Speed
The next thing that you need to consider is the power of your circular saw, which is measured by amperage. Similarly, the speed level of the blade when it spins should be noted. The good thing is that manufacturers will give you some information on the RPM (revolutions or rotations per minute) that your saw can make the blade spin.
Ultimately, the type of blade you are using will still make a difference in the speed of your cutting experience. Nevertheless, the RPM and amp of your unit can still give you an idea of how hard your saw can work, regardless of the kind of blade installed.
The housing of worm drive saws are made out of different materials, and it all depends on what the manufacturer finds best for their product’s design. The most common material used, though, is magnesium.
As we have mentioned above, worm drive circular saws are heavier compared to the usual sidewinder circular saws. That being said, magnesium can provide the protection that the motor needs, while still making the machine lightweight enough for comfortable use. Thus, as you might have noticed already, almost all of the worm drive circular saws we have featured have a body and shoe crafted with magnesium.
4. Bevel Capacity
The bevel adjustment is the kind of tilt that your unit can perform, which is needed to make bevel cuts or angular cuts. These kinds of cuts are usually used in producing the sides of frames and the like. If you have certain degrees in mind, it is important to look at how far your unit can tilt or how many degrees can it be adjusted.
Since there are certain degrees that we commonly use ourselves in a lot of projects (such as 45 degrees), it will be a huge help if your saw has preset bevel stops already. This will make you adjust the bevel settings quickly and efficiently.
5. Blade-Changing Systems
Do you commonly work with a variety of different materials? If so, then blade-changing features are something that you might want to consider as well. Spindle locks and blade wrenches are always welcome for us to make fast blade changes in between cutting breaks.
If there’s one thing that makes sidewinders more preferred over the more powerful worm drives, it’s this: worm drive circular saws are more challenging to maintain. You have to oil it regularly; otherwise, it won’t function to its full potential.
We already know that, but it doesn’t mean that it is easy to keep track of it. In the midst of things, regular maintenance can be easily forgotten especially during a swarm of projects. Hence, features that make it easier for us to maintain our saws, especially low-maintenance worm drive circular saws are always the best considerations.
7. Safety Features
Another set of features that you should definitely consider and invest on are safety features. Using power tools are no joke since they are tiring to use. When we get tired, we can easily lose focus, and the next thing we know, everything is spiraling out of control.
Protect yourself from this untoward incidents with a unit equipped with additional safety features, such as an emergency brake that stops the blade from spinning automatically once you release the handle.
8. Corded or Cordless
Finally, you should also think about whether your device is corded or cordless. Here’s a rule for power tools: if it’s corded, it will be more powerful since it has a steady and never-ending supply of power. On the other hand, cordless units are limited to the amount of power that their battery can provide.
However, cords can be a safety risk too, especially if you’re not too careful. Not only that, it can be pretty limiting since you need to be near a power outlet at all times.
Meanwhile, you can use cordless units anywhere—even when there’s no outlet around. They are more portable and definitely more convenient to use.
In the end, the decision on which circular saw to buy will all boil down to your personal needs and preferences. We definitely recommend doing the proper research before buying a unit, even on the ones we have already mentioned, just to make sure that you are well-informed on the tool that you’re buying.
If we had to choose one, though, we highly recommend that you buy the DEWALT DWS535 Worm Drive Circular Saw. Although it is a bit more expensive than the four models, the power and speed it delivers, the bevel capacity, and the warranty make it a great value for your money.
Table of Contents
- 1 Comparison Chart
- 2 Best Worm Drive Saws: Our Top Five Picks
- 2.1 1. DEWALT DWS535 Worm Drive Circular Saw
- 2.2 2. SKILSAW SPT77WML-01 Worm Drive Circular Saw
- 2.3 3. Makita 5477NB Hypoid Saw
- 2.4 4. DEWALT DCS577B FLEXVOLT Worm Drive Circular Saw
- 2.5 5. Milwaukee 6477-20 Worm Drive Circular Saw
- 3 Buying Guide
- 3.1 Essential Things to Know About Circular Saws
- 3.2 Different Features You Need to Consider Before Buying a Worm Drive Circular Saw
- 4 Conclusion