What is A Skill Saw? [Definition & Information]

Do you anyone with more than one name? Doesn’t that confuse you? The same goes with the term skill saw or skil saw or skill circular saws. It is known for its multiple names. However, that has a reason behind it, which we will let you know in the upcoming sections. For now, let’s check out what is a skill saw? We will also see how it is different from circular saws.

A skill saw circular in shape is a handheld circular saw that cut materials by moving its toothed disc in a rotatory motion. It generally runs on electricity. However, there are a few models that can also run on gasoline and hydraulic motor.

Skil Saws is an invention capable of cutting many different types of material. These type of saws have Tungsten carbide tips that make the cutting efficient. The robust circular saws blades are fixed on shafts that rotate and transmit the rotatory motion to the blade. Such a circular saw requires more power when compared with other types. However, as we use more power, it makes it easy and quick to cut the material.

What is the difference between a circular saw and a skill saw?

circular saw vs skill saw

The answer to the question- skill saw vs circular saw is:  skill saw is another name for circular saw. Yes, skill saws and circular saws are the same products. More precisely, the hand held circular saws are called skill saws. Therefore, when someone asks skill saw vs circular saw, you can explain to him that both are the same. However, “circular saws” is the older term.

Skil Power Tools is a company that was founded by Edmond Michel along with his partner Joseph Sullivan in the year 1926. The company, located in Illinois, United States, is a power tool brand that creates circular saw. One noteworthy product invention of the company is the skill circular saw. Therefore, the term skill saw is derived from this tool. Skill saw vs circular saw is not a meaningful comparison, it’s just two different names of one product.

How Skill Saw Got Its Name?

It happens when popular brand names are used for the name of the tools. For instance, the company name that created circular saw is Skil Power Tools. Their skill circular saws became so popular in North America that customers started calling the product the skil saw. However, The product is the hand held circular saws.

What is A Skill Saw

Examples Where Brands Name are Adopted as the Totableol Names

An example is the “crescent wrench” product. We have often used this term at the place of the adjustable wrench.

Here, Crescent is the brand that creates wrenches and many other hand tool products. Their wrenches, which were nothing but adjustable wrenches, became so popular that people adopted the company’s name along with the term “wrench.”

One more similar example is the “Phillips screwdriver.” The actual name of Phillips screwdriver is “recessed cruciform screw.” However, it is assumed that the person with the name Phillips promoted it. Also, the name is a bit easier to operate. Therefore, people adopted the new name with which they are more comfortable.

In short, skill saw became so popular that it replaced the term circular saw. If not replaced, if we compare skill saw vs circular saw, these terms are equally used in the market when people wish to purchase circular saws.

History of The Skill Saw

History of The Skill Saw

The history of the Skilsaw is the same as the history of handheld circular saws because they are the same product. Nobody knows the actual fact that who and when the circular saw was invented. At the end of the 18th century, circular saws were used in sawmills. People regularly used it to convert wood logs into beams and planks. It’s because a saw circular in shape can cut wood easily using rotary motion.

Development of Circular Saws

Development of Circular Saws

In the initial period, the diameter of skill saws was not large. It was generally used to manufacture something such as wall frames. However, with the technological advancements, a larger and wider variety of circular saws came into existence. With those circular saws, the usability grew, letting a circular saw cut almost all materials into several shapes.

However, at that time hand held circular saws were not used. In the 20th century, the first circular saw was invented, which was a worm drive saw. With time, people started calling it the skil saw.

It further developed as the manufacturers added a motor next to circular saws blades. Such a setup is called a direct drive sidewinder which is the successor of worm drive saws. The accuracy as well as the portability of the skil saw improved with it. You can now produce finer cuts and even utilize handheld circular saws for highly précised cutting.

What are the Characteristics of the Skill Saw?

Characteristics of the Skill Saw

General Characteristics of a Skill Saw:

  • The toothed skill saw blade has rotary motion that produces torque against the material’s edge, making it easy to cut.
  • As the motion is rapid, circular saws only leave very narrow slits providing the manufacturer with a smooth finish. However, it may require filing before final delivery depending on the material and exact features.
  • If the material’s edge has burrs after cutting through the metal or plastic, you can remove them using the sandpaper.

What are the characteristics you need to check before buying Circular Saw?

  • Quality of the motor
  • Cutting Depth Capacity
  • The diameter of the blade
  • Expected Revolutions per minute
  • How easy it is to change blades
  • The cost  of circular saws
  • The cost of circular saws blades you may need to replace after some time.

How to Use Skill Saws?

how to use skill saw

It is very straightforward to use a skill saw. You don’t need to make much effort in cutting and manufacture a product if you follow the process correctly.

1)     First, you need to clamp the material using a machine vice.

2)     Make sure to tighten the vise as much as possible to allow no movement of the Skilsaw.

3)     Then you need to move circular saws across the material to cut it slowly.

That’s it! The job’s done. However, not all variants follow the same process. There are a few variants where the process is a bit different. Those circular saws are not hand held.

For instance, while using a table saw, you don’t need to move the saw. It is fixed on a table, and we need to slowly move the material to cut it.

Different Types of Circular Saws

There are two major types of

circular saw according to the position of the motor:

1)      Worm Drives

2)      Direct Drives

Let’s check out each one, how they are different, and when to use which saw.

Do you know what to do with old circular saw blades?

Worm Drive Circular Saw

Worm Drive Circular Saw

Advantages of Worm Drive Saw

In worm drive circular saw, the revolutions per minute is low, but the torque is high. That makes the worm drive circular saw suitable for plunge cuts. Besides that, if you are looking for circular saws that creates better sight lines, this is the one.

Disadvantages of Worm Drive Saw

The only disadvantage of using a worm drive circular saw is its heavyweight. Not just that, it even has a long length. Because of such features, it can be a bit problematic for the operator to employ these circular saws for a long time. The balancing of the saw is a difficult task and requires developing a handling skill.

Direct Drive Circular Saw

Direct Drive Circular Saw


The direct drive circular saw is also known as the sidewinder saw. The product structure allows the least energy loss letting it produce high revolutions per minute. Its major advantage is its easy handling. It is portable, and using it is facile. Therefore, you can use such a product for cutting vertical surfaces as well. You won’t require much support to operate it.


As the rpm is high and torque is low, direct drive circular saw doesn’t function well for creating plunge cuts.

When to Use HandHeld Circular Saw?

Hand held circular saw is one of the most common tools, which is apparent. Its design lets you use it for multiple purposes and high-end finishing. Such skill saws are lightweight, and they can carry operations easily.  Let’s discuss all benefits in detail and know how Skill saw can be helpful for you.

When to Use Hand Held Circular Saw


With the ease of carrying it anywhere, skills saws are one of the best ones. They provide stability while cutting without much recoil reaction. It helps woodcutters to cut the lumber quickly. There won’t be a need to place the lumber on the table and hold it while the table saw cuts it. It’s even better than a chop saw. You can cut a wood piece by keeping it in any way you want.

Moreover, skill saw became better with the introduction of lithium-powered inbuilt batteries. A woodcutter can take the circular saw anywhere without being worried about the power source. That’s something that makes it a worthy tool.


You can hold the circular saws and move them like you want; the design of these tools gives you additional control. Such control delivers the safety to the person using it. With the advancement of artificial intelligence, the Skilsaw can sense if they contact the skin. That locks the motor and stops the operation, saving the operator from severe injury.


Hand held circular saws design allows cutting the material accurately into the exact required size. There are the least issues regarding kerf, and finishing doesn’t require much time.

In addition to that, circular saws can work continuously in the same direction without deviation. However, when you utilize table saws, you won’t obtain such accuracy, and a minor deviation will be is there all the time.

How to Skill Saw Works


Don’t be confused that “What is a skill saw?” Skill saw vs circular saw is not valid as they are the same. We have also made you familiar with how the name Skilsaw came into existence. It is a brand name that became so popular, which made people replaced it with the tool. You can use a Skil saw for several operations. It can cut almost all metals which we came across in daily life. More than that, it is accurate and handy than more than most of the other saws.


My name is Michael M. Militello, and I want to help you find the right tools and the best products for your next project! As a professional tool expert here in Houston, TX, With my vast tool experience, I can help you choose the right brand, model, and size for the job. Please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have. You can reach me here on my blog and also on Facebook, Twitter , and Pinterest. I look forward to hearing from you!

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