Rotorazer Reviews [Mini Circular Saws Analyzed]
Most of us are already fairly well-acquainted with the circular saw. This is by far one of the most common and useful cutting tools virtually guaranteed to be found on almost every construction site. In fact, many jobs which are not necessarily “construction” jobs will employ a circular saw in various situations that require quick, precise cuts, but as our Rotorazer Reviews will show, they are not always well-suited for all tasks.
In fact, there are plenty of situations where even the portable Roto Razor circular saw is simply too large for the space provided. Of course, that does not mean you simply want to break down and use a handsaw to cut through whatever object or material happens to be located in a tight corner or narrow passage.
Thankfully, power tool manufacturers have seen the need for just such an implement and have come up with a handheld circular saw, or a compact circular saw. Though these saws trade some of the cutting depth and power for the maneuverability and portability of a much smaller profile saw.
Rotorazer Multi-Purpose Circular Mini Saw
Rotorazer makes two products, both of which are compact saws. Depending on your viewing habits, you may have seen this compact saw advertised on television. It should go without saying that you cannot believe everything that you see on T.V., but that does not mean that the Rotorazer is not without its uses and niche. Basically, this is not intended to be used as a professional compact saw and is meant more for consumer-grade work--like minor jobs around the house.
Still, this compact saw does offer some versatility and can be counted on to perform a wide number of jobs so long as you know how to use it properly. For one, this compact saw puts out 400 watts and spins at 3400 rpms. To put that in a context more common among power tools, the Rotorazer’s motor uses about 3.3 amps. While this is not necessarily powerful for a compact saw, neither is it under-powered. Instead, the 3 amp range is basically where you expect to find a consumer grade compact saw.
Another one of the benefits of the Rotorazer is its precision. Aside from the fact that the motor will not generate too much destabilizing vibrations, it is also an exceptionally light compact saw at just under 6 pounds. This makes the one-hand control of the Rotorazer much easier than some of the other compact saws which can weigh upwards of 10 pounds. However, you will probably want to make a few practice cuts beforehand to get a feel for its action as the Rotorazer does not provide a direct sight line to the blade and instead relies on line guides.
In fact, this is arguably one of the worst qualities about the Rotorazer and is only compounded by the primary culprit: the base plate. Essentially, the base plate of the Rotorazer is made out of hard plastic. As any professional will tell you, aluminum or magnesium base plates are far more preferred due to their excellent combination of strength and light weight. The plastic is technically transparent, but it is still not a great solution and gives up far too much in terms of durability.
Comes with a set of 3 blades
Comes with a case
Comes with dust removal system
Spins at 3400 rpms
Easy to adjust blade depth
Suitable for cutting all types of materials
Weight under 6 pounds
Has a plastic baseplate
Poor sight line
Only ½” cutting depth
Moving on from the base model of the Rotorazer which is a consumer grade compact saw intended to be used for small DIY projects, the company has put forth a far more formidable product in the Rotorazer Platinum. In this case, it seems clear that Rotorazer is attempting to enter the commercial grade of compact saws and achieves mixed results.
Make no mistake, this is a significantly better compact saw than the basic Rotorazer, but there are still a few issues with it that leave a bit to be desired in the commercial grade market. That said, if you purchase this model for your at-home DIY projects, it should perform exceptionally well. This begins with the Rotorazer Platinum pretty much alleviating the majority of the engineering faults of the base Rotorazer.
For instance, whereas the base Rotorazer could spin an impressive 3400 rpms, it only generated about 3.3 amps of power. While that is fine for a traditional consumer-grade compact saw, it is still on the lower end of the spectrum. The Rotorazer Platinum, on the other hand, exceeds the original in both power and rotational speed. This compact saw uses 500 watts which is roughly equivalent to about 4.1 amps.
It is important to note that 4.1 amps are not actually that great for a commercial grade compact saw which are better served with motors that can generate between 5 to 7 amps, but a 4.1 amp motor is still impressive for a DIY compact saw. Even better, the Rotorazer Platinum can get up to 4500 rpms which allow it to cut through denser material than the original Rotorazer. It has a few other additions to aid in this respect as well.
Specifically, the Rotorazer Platinum provides a maximum cutting depth of 1”. While this is by no means one of the deeper-cutting compact saws, it is definitely in line with many of the other compact saws that are used for light commercial grade work and is a significant improvement over the original Rotorazer which only provided a ½” cutting depth. Unfortunately, the two products share a common flaw: sight lines.
Much like the original Rotorazer, the Platinum model also relies on line guides on the base plate as opposed to simply designing the compact saw so that the blade is visible. In fairness, this is likely done as a safety precaution to prevent untrained homeowners from injuring themselves, but it is a pain for anyone who actually knows how to use a compact saw. On the bright side, the base plate is made out of metal instead of plastic.
Spins at 4500 rpms
Suitable for cutting all types of materials
Offers a 1” cutting depth
Comes with parallel guide rails
Comes with a set of 3 blades
Comes with a case
Comes with dust removal system
Heavy duty baseplate
Must be plugged into outlet
Poor sight line
A fairly heavy compact saw
Other factors to consider before purchase
When selecting a compact saw, it is important to make sure that you get a saw which will be able to handle the jobs you intend to use it for. This often means understanding what the actual capabilities of the saw are despite what the manufacturer may suggest. For instance, the original Rotorazer is not actually well suited for some of the tasks advertised. These are some of the factors to consider when purchasing a compact saw:
This can be a bit tricky because if you are not familiar with power tools, too much power can be worse than not enough. Consumer grade compact saws generally provide between 3 to 4 amps of power while the more powerful commercial grade compact saw will offer anywhere from 5 to 7 amps of power. The necessary cut precision can also influence this choice as more powerful motors will generate more vibrations.
How fast the blade spins will be more important depending on what type of materials you are trying to cut. Granted, the type of blade you use will also play an important role in that consideration, but the densest materials will ultimately require a faster spinning blade to prevent the blade from simply tearing the material instead of actually cutting it. Generally, anything that spins at 3500 rpms or faster is acceptable--though some high-end compact saws can get well over 10000 rpms.
Due to the nature of its design, compact saws will ultimately be more limited in regards to their cutting depth than pretty much every other type of power saw. As such, it is vital to make sure that you get a saw that can cut deep enough or else you will have essentially wasted your money. Keep in mind, you can often use technique and time to accommodate an under-powered or somewhat slower spinning saw, but there is nothing you can do if the cutting depth is too short. The shortest cutting depth you should accept for all but the slightest of jobs is 1”, though 1 ½” should be preferred and 2” is a must for commercial grade work.
Larger, more durable circular sawsThat said, it is still a good idea to go ahead and get a good feel for what we mean when we say things like “circular saw” and “compact saw.” In truth, compact saws are actually a type of circular saw--of which there are a few. However, each type of circular saw has its own particular application for which it is most appropriate--though, that is not to suggest you cannot use one for another in many situations if you must.
The term circular saw is actually a bit of a catch-all term that, even though it is most commonly used to mean one particular type of power tool, the name actually applies to a wide variety of different tools. For instance, both table saws and miter saws are technically a type of circular saw, but if you told someone you needed a circular saw, there is no way they would immediately think of a table saw or a miter saw. To make matters more complicated, many people use the term “skill saw” and “circular saw” interchangeably, even though they, too, technically refer to different power tools.
Circular Saw vs Skill Saw:The standard circular that most people think of when they use that term is a sidewinder circular saw. This is where the motor sits to the side of the blade and uses a direct drive action to spin the blade. This allows the blade to spin exceptionally quick which can make it more effective for cutting through extremely dense wood. This also makes the sidewinder more portable and compact, but only to a point.
The next type of circular saw is what most people call skill saws--though these days either type of circular saw are liable to be labeled as a skill saw, depending on the person. Technically, a skill saw is also known as a worm drive saw. This is where the motor sits behind the blade and uses a set of gears called a worm and worm wheel to drive the blade. Skill saws provide straight kerfs, but they are also significantly more difficult to control. This occurs in part because the handle sits in the back and because the motor generates far more torque than any of the other types of handheld circular saws. These days, worm drive circular saws are used primarily for framing and other heavy-duty construction.
As the name suggests, a compact saw is far smaller than any of the other aforementioned circular saws. Whereas both the sidewinder and worm drive circular saws often require the use of both hands to ensure steady, controlled cuts, the compact saw is explicitly designed to be used in a single hand. This presents a number of advantages, but it also carries with it some caveats too--as we saw in our Rotorazer Reviews.
Benefits and Weaknesses of a Compact Saw:By far the best quality about a compact saw is its ability to provide a powerful cutting action in an incredibly small space. In fact, depending on the design of the compact saw in question, you may be able to cut almost directly against a 90 degree inside corner--give or take an inch or two. While some circular saws may be able to match this, few can do so when given a height clearance of less than 6” like many compact saws.
Another benefit of the compact saw is its precision. Though numerous strides have been made in stabilizing the cutting action of a sidewinder circular saw, there is still only so much one can do to make a motor that puts out 10+ amps of electricity and cuts with extreme precision. This issue is only amplified when the type of cuts necessary are within 1/16”.
Thankfully, most compact saws are only about 3 to 5 amps which makes them far easier to control. Beyond the cutting power being more manageable, the fact that the tool can be comfortably held in one hand also allows for more precise control--though this may depend on how familiar you are with using power tools, your form, and the type of cut you are making.
On the flip side, some of a compact saw’s benefits can turn out to be weaknesses in other situations. For instance, the reduced power output might make compact saws significantly easier to control, but they also ultimately limit the types of jobs that they are suitable for. This is especially relevant when trying to cut through denser material--especially fine, dense hardwoods.
Another quality that will ultimately limit the compact saw is its cutting depth. Whereas most circular saws use a blade between 7” to 10” in diameter and can cut anywhere from 3” to 6” deep, most compact saws use blades that are 4” or under and are rarely able to cut deeper than 1 ½”. Combined with the motor’s limitations, this means that even ½” board may give the compact saw significant trouble.
Tips and TechniquesFor compact saws, many of the tips you would follow when using a standard-sized circular saw either do not apply or do not apply in the same fashion. For instance, most of the time the blade depth will not matter quite as much. Granted, you may find a project where it does, and in that case, it is important to set the blade depth ahead of time, but it is unlikely to arise for most of your jobs.
One of the tips that remain true for the compact saw is to let the cutaway fall freely. This is to make sure that the cutaway piece does not obscure your saw as you continue to cut. If you do not have the cutaway set up to fall freely, it can catch the blade through the pass and cause either the cutaway or the saw to kick up.
Another tip that is useful for both circular saws and compact saws is to simply start the cut over if your line begins to wander. One thing to keep in mind is to always cut on the outside of your line, that way if your cut line begins to wander, it is far more likely to cut into the cutaway that will be discarded when you finish the cut anyway--rather than the actual work piece itself.
As we can see from our Rotorazer Reviews, these products definitely fill a distinctive niche in the power tool market, but it is important to know what the compact saw can do and what it is not intended to be used for. If you have a professional construction job, the Rotorazer brand is not yet truly commercial grade. While the Rotorazer Platinum is definitely on the edge, it is still a bit under-powered and its poor sight line makes it unsuitable for that setting.
That said, both the Rotorazers can make excellent consumer-grade compact saws. The original is likely better suited for different types of DIY crafts as its ½” cutting depth will limit its usefulness for repairs around the house. However, the Rotorazer Platinum is an ideal consumer-grade compact saw with the cutting depth and motor power necessary for most at-home maintenance and repairs.
- 1 Rotorazer Reviews
- 2 Other factors to consider before purchase
- 3 Larger, more durable circular saws
- 4 Circular Saw
- 5 Tips and Techniques
- 6 Conclusion: