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Trim Saw vs Circular Saw – What’s The Real Difference?

trim saw vs circular saw
Written by Ben Myers
Last Update: January 2, 2023

Trim saws and circular saws are almost identical to each other. If you are a beginner woodworker or an intermediate DIYer, you are most like to face the dilemma of having to choose between trim saws and circular saws. If you’re to make such a decision, you should know the difference between these two. The only notable difference is the size; trim saws are smaller than the circular saws.

Other than the size, many people tend to get confused between these two. Some might prefer the trim saws because these cost very little money and can deliver (almost) the same results. This is, however, an intriguing statement. To clarify the differences between trim saws and circular saws, we have listed out all the differences and when to use them.

Trim Saw vs Circular Saw : Which Saw Is Better for You


The main difference between both the trim saws and circulars saws is the size. The trim saws are miniature circular saws which almost the same functionalities. For better understanding, circular saws have a blade that is larger than 6 ½ inches. Any saw that has blades that are smaller than 6 ½ inches is a trim saw. Circular saws commonly come with a 6 ½ or a seven ¼ blade. Trim saws can be found having blade sizes of 5 ½ inches or 5 ? inches.

Power Source

As the circular saws are bigger and bulkier in size, these require more power input. This is why it needs a constant electrical connection. Although there are few cordless circular saws which run on DC power, these are not efficient enough, and the charge doesn’t last long. Being smaller in size, it requires less energy to run. Most trim saws are available without cords, and the battery backup is usually enough for a 4-6 hour session.

Cutting Depth

The blades used in both the circular and trim saws are the same, but they differ in diameter. In trim saws, blades that have a diameter which is less than 5 ½ inches are used. This means that it can cut only at a depth of around 1 ½ inches.  Blades of 7 ¼ inches are normally used in circular saws. This gives a cutting depth of around 2 ½ inches. A craftsman circular saw should come with a cutting depth measuring anywhere from 1-3 inches.


With larger blades and a deeper cut, the circular blades are ideal for cutting wood. You can get a smooth and precise cut, which makes it the best for shaping the wood. The trim saw has smaller blades, which makes it best for trimming the wood. Trim saws can give you smaller, finer cuts for finishing touches.

Which One to Choose?

Well, it depends upon you. If you’re an occasional woodworker or a DIYer, you should always go for the trim saw. It is lightweight and very easy to handle. With the trim saw, you can cut the wood, shape it, trim it and give finishing touches. Most importantly, the trim saws cost less than the regular circular saws.

Trim Saw- Which One to Choose

If you are a professional woodworker, you should always go for purchasing a circular saw first. These are highly versatile tools, and you can shape all kinds of wood with these. Although a bit heavy, these can give you finer cuts with a very little effort.

Our Recommendations

If you want to buy a trim saw or a circular saw, you must always ensure that you choose the best ones on the market. This is important because high-quality woodworking tools can make the woodworking a lot easier.

Trim Saw- Our Recommendations

If you are deciding to buy a high-quality trim saw, you must consider the DeWalt DWE575SB lightweight trim saw. This is one of the smallest circular saw but has premium build quality which makes it one of the toughest in the market. It has a 15 Amp motor which can produce enough torque to cut through the toughest of wood easily. It is very easy to handle, which means that you can serve the functions of trim saws with the Dewalt DWE575SB.

Trim Saw- For a professional woodworker

For a professional woodworker with the need for a high-end circular saw, SKIL 5280-01 is a good choice. This heavy-duty circular saw features a unique laser beam guide which can help you in cutting accurately. It can cut at a depth of 2 ? inches and offers a wide variety of angled cuts. In spite of being heavy, it has a good grip with provides excellent handling.


Many beginner woodworkers and intermediate DIYers often face a common dilemma of choosing between a circular saw or a trim saw. The trim saws and circular saws are almost identical to each other which is why many people may get confused. The main difference between the two is the size. The power source and blades are also different in these saws.

Get a trim saw first if you are a beginner woodworker. Trim saws will let you do all the basic functionalities that the circular saws offer along with a wide range of additional features. If you’re a professional woodworker, you must at first purchase a circular saw because these are very agile and highly versatile tools.

About the author

Ben Myers

A Floor Sanding Expert

Good day! Ben talking to you, guys! I’m a flooring specialist with a masonry certification. Over the past five years, my professional activities have almost been confined to one very particular area, floor sanding. Sanding a floor and preparing it for renovation is fun when you see the floor feels real smooth under feet. I remain busy and overwhelmed with contracts, but that doesn’t spoil my enthusiasm to cooperate with my those among my neighbors who are in the same or similar profession. What I do sometimes makes a good story, and I love to share it all with you. See my posts on this website while you can!

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