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Worm Drive Circular Saw Reviews

Updated on September 23, 2013

What is a Worm Drive Circular Saw?

A worm drive circular saw is a tool that is widely used by framers however they are also starting to become popular with other users because of the advantages that the offer. These advantages are that they have a lot more power than a traditional sidewinder, they are also more durable. One benefit that a lot of people also appreciate is that for right handed users the blade being on the left makes it easier to line up cuts.


While there are a lot of advantages to a worm drive circular saw they do come with some disadvantages. The biggest of these is that they are very heavy, which makes them difficult for many people to use. Because the blade is on the left the weight of the saw is over the cutoff piece which means that you have to support all of the weight of the saw. It also means that the saw tends to pull towards you which creates some safety issues. Price can also be an issue as these saws are quite a bit more expensive, although to a certain extent the increased durability will offset this.


Whether or not a worm drive is a good option for you is going to depend on your needs and your experience. I would strongly suggest that you do some research on the advantages and the disadvantages before you make your choice. If you decide that you are going to go with a worm drive the following saws are all excellent options that are well worth considering.

The Makita 5377MG

Technically speaking our top worm drive circular saw does not use a worm drive at all. Rather it is what is known as a hypoid saw. This offers most of the advantages that you would get from a worm drive but also addresses one of the big disadvantages, the need to check and occasionally change the oil.


Things I Like About the Makita 5377MG


  • It is very light, it is in fact the lightest worm drive circular saw currently on the market. This is an important consideration because even the lightest ones are still quite a bit heavier than a traditional sidewinder. You will really appreciate the light weight if you use your saw a lot.

  • There is a larger bevel capacity than you would get with most circular saws allowing you to go to 51.5 degrees. This is particularly useful for framing which is after all the primary purpose of a worm drive saw.

  • It comes with a really good quality blade. With a lot of saws the blade that is included is not particularly good so you have to factor in the extra expense of getting a new one, that is not the case here.


Things I Didn't Like About the 5377MG


  • A little lacking in power. This is not to say that it is bad in this regard it is just that some of its competitors have a little bit more power.

  • There is a pretty good kick at start up. To a certain extent this is true of all worm drives but it seems to be particularly noticeable with this saw.

  • There are some doubts about how long the hypoid drive will last. I have not had the saw for long enough to actually test this but others have suggested that it might be an issue.


Should you Buy the Makita 5377MG?


Obviously I think that it is a good saw, I did rank it number one after all. It is particularly good for the home user who will appreciate the light weight and not having to deal with checking the oil. The professional however may want something with a little more power and a little bit more durable.


The Bosch 1677M

This is a great saw that is aimed mainly at the professional user. Heavier and more powerful than the Makita it may be too much saw for most home users but for professional framers it is an ideal option.


Things I Like About the Bosch 1677M


  • Lots of power, of all the worm drive circular saws that I have tried this one had the most power, it can rip through anything without a problem.

  • I really like the direct connection cord that comes with this saw, it saves you having to deal with the cord when you are trying to carry the saw or put it away at the end of the day.

  • The die cast foot plate is much smoother than the one you find on other saws allowing it to track straight edges much easier.


Things I Didn't Like About the Bosch 1677M


  • It is one the heavy side. By no means is it the heaviest worm drive that I have tried but it is not as light as the Makita for example.

  • This is one of the saws mentioned above that comes with a low quality blade, plan on having to replace it when you buy the saw.


Should you Buy the Bosch 1677M?


This is another great saw that I highly recommend. It is probably more appropriate for the professional user than the Makita because of its extra power and weight but the home user will also find that this is an excellent option.


The Dewalt DWS535

This is one of the more popular worm drive circular saws because it is a good option for almost any user. It falls somewhere in between the Makita and the Bosch in terms of performance and weight, as well as price. This makes it an option for both the professional and the home user.


Things I Like About the Dewalt DWS535


  • Probably has the best power to weight ratio of any worm drive that I have tried. It is not as light as the Makita or as powerful as the Bosch but it does offer a nice combination of both.

  • Durable, one of the issues with a lot of worm drives is that in order to keep the weight down the housing and base plate tend to be on the flimsy side, this is not an issue here as both are very solid. Despite this the magnesium construction does keep the weight down.

  • Can bevel the saw up to 53 degrees which is great for framing.


Things I Didn't Like About the DWS535


  • There is neither a safety switch nor an electric brake, safety features that we would like to see on all circular saws.

  • The numbers on the index and guide are a bit hard to see, they could definitely be brighter.


Should you Buy the Dewalt DWS535?


Again this is a saw that I really like, it did make the list after all. This a great option for both the professional and the home user. The saw cuts great while at the same time being light enough that most people can handle it. It is also durable enough for a professional user.

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