Left Handed Circular Saws
I recently had an email asking me what kind of circular saw would be ideal for a left handed person. Being right handed, I had no immediate answer to this. After a little research though, I was left more confused than ever. It turns out that this is actually quite a tricky question to answer. So is there actually an ideal solution here? And which model is best suited for a left handed person? To begin with we are going to talk about some of the different saw designs, so let’s see if we can answer that below. Otherwise you can skip straight to the recommended models section here.
Left vs right
Firstly lets start by talking about the traditional circular saw design. Since around 90% of people are right handed, saws have been primarily designed for right handed folks. Traditionally the blade is mounted to the right on these models for two reasons. The first is the safety aspect, as you have the blade facing away from you. This makes it safer when it comes to kickbacks, as damage is less likely with the blade facing outwards and away from your body. The other factor is that with the blade on the other side of the handle, you get much less debris coming your way.
However in recent years the demand for left handed circular saw models has increased, and some manufacturers have begun making left mounted blade saws. And strangely enough, most right handed people tend to prefer this kind of design! The reason for this is that a left mounted blade allows a right handed person to have a clearer line of sight on what they are cutting, instead of having to peer over the side. Virtually every saw now has a safety guide, so in the event of a kickback there shouldn’t be any damage anyway. This does mean you will get more dust coming your way as a right hander when using a left mounted blade model, but most right handed people see that as an acceptable trade off for getting a more accurate cut.
Using the same logic, you could say that a traditional right mounted blade model will offer the same advantage to a left handed person. So where does that leave the left handed folks? I guess it really boils down to personal preference. If you prefer the idea of having a clear line of sight on your cutting line, then a traditional “right mounted blade” model will work well for a left handed guy. If you want the safest option, then you will have to try to find a left handed model. These can be tricky to find, but they do exist. We should also mention the worm drive saw, which are ideal for left handed folks as the blades are mounted on the left. However the trade-off with these kinds of saws are that they are on average around 50% heavier than circular saws. This is especially evident when you are doing overhead cuts. There is also the cost factor, as these models tend to cost a bit more.
We should also mention that most battery powered circular saws seem to have left mounted blades, but corded models still remain right side mounted. If anyone knows why this is, perhaps you can let us know in the comments below.
Recommended model – Dewalt DWE575SB Saw
If you think that a traditional right mounted blade model is what will work best for you, then the Dewalt DWE575SB saw is certainly worth considering. This model is a 7 1/4″ saw, and has a powerful 15 amp motor which delivers around 5200rpm of power. It is quite light at around 8.8 lbs, which makes it one of the lightest models in its class. It has an ergonomic handle for those lengthy jobs, and the cord is designed to be more resistant to pull outs. In terms of safety features, this model has an electric brake which ensures the blades stops within a second or two as soon as the trigger is released. The DWE575SB comes with the ability to do up to 57 degree beveled cuts, and it has set stops at both 45 and 22.5 degrees. It also comes with a handy integrated dust blower, which blows the dust away from the cutting line as you go along. Like most Dewalt products, this saw comes with a 3 year limited warranty. It may cost a little more than the competition with a retail price of around $140, but Dewalt products tend to be very reliable which is why this one is recommended. You can find out more about this model and read some of the many happy user reviews over on the Amazon page.
Recommended model – Bosch CS5 Saw
Now if you think a left mounted blade will suit you better, than make sure you have a look at the Bosch CS5 saw. This model also has a 15 amp motor, that delivers 6200 rpm of power. It weighs in at around 10lbs, which is still quite competitive. It comes with a 7 1/4″ blade, and the improved spindle lock allows for quick blade changes. It has the ability to do bevel cuts up to 56 degrees, and has an anti snag guard which allows you to make cuts without moving the guard forward. It is a little cheaper than the Dewalt above at around $125, but it does only come with a 1 year warranty. However if your heart is set on a left blade model, this one is certainly worth keeping in mind. As usual you can find out more about this model and read some of the user reviews on the Amazon product page.
So that is a quick look at some of the better models for both left and right mounted circular saws. It really comes down to personal preference to which style will suit you best. If you still can’t decide, then perhaps head down to your local diy store and try out both styles if they have them. Hopefully this will help you choose what kind you feel most comfortable with. The general opinion though seems to be that right side mounted models work best for left handers, although they were not designed that way!