Best Worm Drive Circular Saw

What Is A Worm Drive Saw

Worm Drive Saw

If you have done any carpentry work before, it is likely that you have seen or used a circular saw. The first portable circular saw was actually invented in 1924 by Skilsaw.

This was a revolutionary breakthrough in carpentry. The worm drive is a direct descendant of the first circular saw because it was indeed a worm drive saw. While the most common circular saws on the market are direct drive or sidewinder saws, there are reasons you should consider a worm drive saw.

The major distinction between the worm drive saw and the direct-drive saw is the orientation of the motor and how the blade is driven.  In a worm drive saw, the motor will be at the back of the saw as opposed to the sidewinder whose motor is always placed adjacent to the blade.

 Benefits of A Worm Drive Saw

Most drive saws have the blade on the left which is another unique feature of these saws. This is because having the blade on the left makes it much easier for right-hand dominant users to be able to see their cut line.

In addition, the blade speeds in worm drive saws are normally around 4,500 RPM whereas in a direct drive saw, you could expect around 6,000 RPM. Nonetheless, even though you are giving up speed on these saws, you are getting more torque to your blade. This makes worm drive circular saws well suited for plunge cuts, or for gang cutting (cutting multiple sheets of plywood).

  Also, the handles of worm drive saws are placed behind the motor. , and since the motor is already placed behind the saw blade as opposed to beside it, you can get a longer reach. That is, your reach will be extended when ripping large pieces of wood like a sheet of plywood. In addition to this, it provides more balance to the tool. The design gives it a more narrow profile which is great for cutting in confined spaces.

Drawbacks to Worm Drive Saws

One of the largest drawbacks to the worm drive saws is the weight of the saw. Due to the gearing to drive the blade, worm drive saws are much heavier than their direct drive counterparts. This really would be a factor if you have to hold the saw over your head for a long period of time. Heck, even if you were picking the saw up just to crosscut a 2×4 all day, the weight will make a difference though it may be less prevalent.

Features To Consider In A Worm Drive Saw

The following features must be considered in choosing a worm drive saw:

●     Motor Size: You are going to be on the lookout for a minimum of 15 amp motor

●   Saw Foot: A foot made out of cast magnesium will be more durable than pressed steel

●   Spindle Lock: A spindle lock that is easily accessible is going to make blade changing easier.

Best Worm Drive Circular Saw


The Good

The Skilsaw SPT77WML-01 saw comes in as one of the lightest saws on the list with just over 13 lbs weight. Skilsaw still offers all the power you would need in this saw. The 15 amp motor is constructed with a dual field motor, which allows the motor to run cooler for enhanced durability. The no-load speed of the blade is 5300 RPMs which is close to the blade speeds from comparable sidewinders.

The Bad

There are just a few complaints about this saw. The first is some QC on Skilsaw’s part. Multiple consumers have received their saws with no gear lubricant from the factory. This typically leaves consumers with 2 choices- buy lubricant or take it to the nearest service center to have it serviced. The other complaint is the fit and finish. Occasionally, the saws can make rattling sounds. Also, the fit is so tight on the shoe that adjusting the bevel on the shoe can be grueling work.

The Bottom Line

The Skilsaw worm drive is perfect for tackling framing jobs. It allows you to maneuver your saw stylishly and skillfully for optimum precision. Meanwhile, some experience and patience are required on your end as the user. With a comfortable handle and 24-tooth carbide tipped blade, this powerful circular worm drive is built with rugged durability. It has 15 Amp of power for users to rip through more lumber in less time. 

Dewalt DWS535B

The Good

The 7-1/4-inches circular saw has 15 amps power and can run at a maximum speed of up to 4800 rpm. The Dewalt power saw has a 53-degree bevel for numerous versatile cuts. Dewalt has become known as a standard for power tools so their worm-drive circular saw, can handle most jobs with ease.

The Bad

The tool does not have a blower, and as such, dust and debris accumulate fast when you use Dewalt. The implication of this is that you have to keep some compressed air nearby for quick clean up of your workspace. Also, the saw does not come with a case, in fact, there is no official case sold by Dewalt. 

Also, the saw does not come with a case, in fact, there is no official case sold by Dewalt. 

Bottom Line

On top of all the good features above it is designed with an electric brake that stops the blade after the release of the trigger.

In addition, it is made of lightweight magnesium and aluminum. Dewalt worm drive circular saw also offers cord protection system and overall is a powerful worm drive circular saw.

Dewalt has become the go to power tool for many consumers. If your workshop is full of the bright yellow Dewalt tools this saw will be a great addition to your work shop

Milwaukee 6477-20

The Good

The saw is lightweight compared to other worm drive saws, yet offering the same power and torque expected from a worm drive saw.

The Bad

The composite shoe does not stand up to its promise of “will not warp, bend or burr”. This gives the saw a cheap feel. The blade guard can also be tiring to deal with, as you might have to hold it open.

The Bottom Line

Milwaukee has a name for making quality products. But if I was looking to spring for a worm drive saw, I would look at what the other saw makers are producing. The Milwaukee  6477-20 comes with similar power as the other worm drive saws on the market.

This saw comes equipped with a 15 amp motor capable of turning the blade at 4,400 RPMs. The worm drive saw is constructed with magnesium for strength and reduced weight. The power tool saw includes a sight glass to check the oil level in the saw ensuring that the worm drives are well lubricated.

Milwaukee claims that the composite shoe will not warp or bend, but consumers seem to think otherwise. If you are an occasional user and are loyal to the Milwaukee brand then this may work well in your tool kit, but if you are a commercial user or looking for the best value I think there are better options than this saw.

Hitachi C7WDM 

The Good

Positioned among the highest-end pro-grade models, the new Hitachi worm drive saw offers top performance, durability, longevity, accuracy and user-friendliness at a relatively cheap price. The durable worm drive gears ensure long life and optimum results. The steel bevel and depth adjustment levers offer appropriate toughness and real usability. 

The Bad

There are just a few drawbacks with the Hitachi worm drive. First, because of its weight, users cannot use it for a long period of time. It exhausts the users very quickly. In addition, it is known for losing power when working with wood and no one finds this appealing. 

The Bottom Line

In an era when brands have become increasingly focused on cordless framing saws, the new Hitachi power tool- with a 7-1/4″ 15A features becomes a great user choice. It has a 5,000 RPM speed, rafter hook and non-slip soft handle grip. It features two 7-1/4″ 24T VPR blades for fast cutting. The carbon brush access also allows for easy inspection and replacement of the brushes when necessary. This is to ensure the prolonged life of the tool. 

Ridgid R3210

The Good

The Ridgid R3210 worm drive circular saw boasts of incredible build quality, cutting power, cutting performance, and value for its price. In short, it has been defined and proven as the powerful beast of a circular saw that can handle just about anything you want it to perform. Yes, it is heavy. But you will hardly find a circular saw that is not of a relatively heavyweight. It has a long, narrow worm drive with a motor position behind the blade instead of its side. 

The Bad

Withal the amazing features that convince users to buy, the only drawbacks with this power saw are few and invariably inconsequential. The fact that it does not come with a case can be discouraging. And second, it is heavier than some rival models on the marketplace. 

The Bottom Line

It features a powerful 15 A motor, which keeps it on par with the high end of circular saw and lower RPMs with much higher torque. The saw has a 0 degrees to 56 degrees bevel capability with positive stop detents at common angles. The Hex Grip overmod on the handle is another great feature. It can be your primary saw because it offers much more power than any sidewinder. Its ThruCool motor design feature substitutes for its lack of weight-saving magnesium.  

In conclusion if you desire a powerful saw that offers more, any of the above-listed worm drive circular saw can help achieve your aim. Check the features and considering your budget, choose any of these and you will be making a worthwhile decision after all. 

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