Sidewinder Vs Worm Drive – What Type Of Circular Saw You Should Choose

The circular saw is undoubtedly one of the most popular power tools that any home or commercial workshop has. When you start building your own workshop, the first tool that you need to think about is, of course, the circular saw. In order to choose one, there are a lot of things that you need to choose from including the type of the circular saw or the blade size, to name just a few.

I have seen many people being confused about worm drive vs. circular saw while in fact; the worm drive saw is just a type of circular saw.  Let’s learn more about the worm drive and the other type of handheld circular saw as well as the most important features you need to consider when choosing a circular saw.

  • A sidewinder circular saw can have the motor on the right side or the left side of the blade.
  • On the other hand, a worm drive circular saw has a motor which is situated behind the blade. The first model of the worm drive circular saw was invented in 192 and the most popular brand of the worm drive is the Skil Model. The brand is so popular that many people mistake it as the Skil saw and consider it one of the types of saw that you can buy on the market.

With the information about the design of the motor in mind, we will discuss in more details about other differences between the sidewinder and the worm drive circular saw.

1. Weight and design:

With the motor which is placed behind the blade, the worm drive saw is typically heavier than the sidewinder saw. The sidewinder saw is generally lighter and generally more compact in size. However, such worm drive saw would be narrower in size when compared with other sidewinder saws.

2. The speed of the blade: 

Normally, the worm drive saw can spin at about 4000 to 4400 rpm. The sidewinder saw will spin at about 6000 to 6200 rpm, slightly faster than the worm drive saw. This is because the motor of the sidewinder circular saw is in line with the spinning blade. With the faster speed, you would have less torque for tougher cuts.

3. Right Hand Or Left Hand Option: 

The worm drive saw only has 1 single choice of design while the sidewinder circular saw has 2 options- with the motor on the left and the motor on the right. Hence, if you are a left-handed carpenter, you might find the sidewinder circular saw with the motor on either side of the blade much easier to use and control. It is also worth noting that for many carpenters, the motor which is located on either side of the blade of the circular saw will make it much harder to see the line that you want to cut. Hence, if your dominant hand is the right hand, you will want to buy a sidewinder circular saw with the motor situated on the left hand side of the blade. On the other hand, if your dominant hand is the left hand, it would be easier for you to use the sidewinder circular saw with the motor situated on the right hand of the blade.

4. Safety: 

There are many factors that contribute to the safety of a type of circular saw. First of all is the weight of the tool itself. A lighter and more compact tool would make it easier for you to control, hence, would make it safer for you to use. In this case, the sidewinder circular saw would be considered safer, especially when you need to work overhead. Second of all, you need to ensure that your hands are kept at the safe distance when you operate the tool. With this in mind, when you handle the sidewinder circular saw, you would be able to keep your hands far away from the motor and the blade, making it also safer for you to use this type of power saw.

Other Factors That You Need to Consider When Choosing a Circular Saw

1.The Bade Size:

The size of the blade of a circular saw refers to the diameter of the blade. If you are looking for a versatile circular saw that can cut through most of the materials, go for the blade with the size of 7 inches and more. Not to mention that with the average size of 7 to 7.25 inches, you would be able to find many types of blades as well.

2. The Types Of The Blade:

Besides the size of the blade, you also need to consider the design of the blade as well. One of the most common designs is the one with the carbide tipped teeth. That design makes the blade very versatile and functional of cutting many types of materials. On the other hand, if you know exactly what types of materials that you often work with, including wood, metal, or title, you can buy the one which is made specifically for cutting these types of materials. The number of the teeth is also one thing that you need to consider as well. Basically, the more teeth a blade of a circular saw has, the cleaner the cuts you would have. You can plan on buying a few blades as changing them for your own needs and requirements will not take you a lot of time.

3. The Power:

You would know how powerful a circular is by looking at the amperage specification of this tool. For the handheld circular saw, including the sidewinder and the worm drive type, the most common amperage is from 10 to 15. The more powerful the circular saw is, the better it is to work with different types of materials and the more efficient it is when you need to cut a lot of materials.

4. The Corded Or Cordless Option:

Last but not least, you should also consider if you want to buy a cordless circular saw or a corded one.  They have their own pros and cons for your consideration. For a cordless circular saw, you don’t have to worry about finding a power source to make the tool work. You can bring it around to anywhere you want to. However, a cordless circular saw is quite expensive. If you have a workshop and work mostly inside it, you don’t have to spend extra bucks of money for a cordless circular saw. Some corded circular saws come with very long cords as well for your convenience. However, they will never be as convenient and portable as the cordless circular saws. Another thing to consider is the power of the cordless or corded circular saw. Cordless circular saws might have limited power due to the limited batteries. Hence, you should use the cordless circular saws if you want to cut wood only.

5. Price:

If you have little experience in choosing any power tool in general, not to say the circular saw, maybe one of the most reliable factors you can use to choose a circular saw on the market is the price of the model that you want to buy. In general, the price of a sidewinder circular saw with a decent quality could range from around 100 dollars to 150 dollars. A sidewinder circular saw which is less than 100 dollars could be not so durable or powerful enough. On the other hand, the worm drive circular saw will be more expensive in general. You should expect to pay at least 200 dollars for a high quality worn drive circular saw.

6. Safety Features: 

Furthermore, you need to ensure that the circular saw that you are going to buy has a safety switch and the blade guard.

7. Other Things: 

Different types of circular saws on the market come with different weights and sizes. It is the best that you can experience each of the tools yourself. Check if the handles of these tools are comfortable in your hand. You also need to check if you are comfortable with the weight and the way the circular saw balance itself. A tool is suitable for you only when you feel comfortable handling it.


So as you can see, the sidewinder circular saw is lighter and capable of spinning faster than the sidewinder circular saw. In addition, it is also cheaper. Hence, if you are thinking about buying a circular saw for your workshop at home, you should consider a sidewinder circular saw first. Also, if most of your work requires working overhead, you can consider buying a sidewinder circular saw.

Here are just a few basic things that you need to know about the sidewinder and the worm drive circular saw. I hope that with all of the information above, you would be able to understand a bit more about the circular saw as well as the most important factors that you need to consider including the blade size and the power of the circular saw. With such information in mind and careful consideration, I am sure that you would be able to find the most suitable circular saw for all of your own needs and requirements.