Circular Saw Complete Guide: Blades and Accessories

In previous articles, we discussed how to pick a circular saw and which features to look for. Now we are going on hone in on the circular saw accessories like the blades and jigs. We are going to go over everything to know about circular saw blades from types to features. Next, we will go over the common circular saw jigs and how to create DIY jigs.


How to pick a circular saw blade

To effectively pick a circular saw blade, you will need to know the types of circular saw blades and the features.

First, I will go over the common types of circular saw blades and then the features to look for. Afterwards, I will discuss which blade will be the best for your needs.

6 Types of circular saw blades

Circular saw blades can be placed in 6 categories which includes, rip cut, crosscut, combination, dado, thin kerf, and specialty blades.

  1. Rip cut blade
  2. Crosscut blade
  3. Combination blade
  4. Dado blade
  5. Thin kerf blade
  6. Specialty blade

Below, I will discuss each blade type in detail.

  1. Rip cut blade
    • Rip cut blades are used to cut along the grain of the wood. These blades have fewer teeth and larger gullets than crosscut blades.
    • The larger teeth allow for rapid cuts when cutting along the wood grain. However, using a rip cut blade for a cross cut will result in rough cuts with wood blowout.
  2. Crosscut blade
    • Cross cut blades are used to cut across the wood grain. These blades have more teeth and smaller gullets than rip cut blades.
    • More teeth allow for a smoother and slower cut to prevent blowout and rough cut edges.
  3. Combination blade
    • Combination blades can be used as a ripcut and crosscut blade. These blades normally have more teeth than ripcut blades, but less teeth than crosscut blades.
    • Combination blades are the most common type of circular saw blade.
    • If you want a general purpose blade that can cut any type of wood and possible other materials like plastic and metal, then you should get a combination blade.
  4. Dado blade
    • Dado blades are blade sets that allow for dado cuts.
    • Normal blades cut at an angle and leave a jagged surface when trying to cut dados. However, dado blade sets include chipper blades that cut the wood at a flat, level, surface.
  5. Thin kerf blade
    • Thin kerf blades are smaller in thickness and result in less material from being eaten away from the saw blade.
  6. Specialty blade
    • Specialty blades are blades that are used to cut different types of material other than wood. These blades include aluminum, plastic, metal, tile, and cement blades.
    • Specialty blades, depending on the cut material, may have very small, high count blades or grinders.
    • The main difference between specialty blades and combination blades is that specialty blades are built for a particular cut material.

Circular saw blade features

Now that you know the different types of circular saw blades, I will discuss the different types of features and specifications to look for in circular saw blades.

  1. Blade Diameter
  2. Tooth count
  3. Kerf width
  4. Tooth Pattern
  5. Blade Material
  6. Blade use
  7. Arbor Diameter

Below, I will discuss each blade feature in detail.

  1. Blade Diameter
    • The blade diameter is the most important thing to consider when purchasing a circular saw balde.
    • You will need a circular saw blade with the diameter that matches circular saw size.
    • For example, you will need a 7 1/4″ circular saw blade for a 7 1/4″ circular saw.
    • Some circular saws are compatible with multiple blade sizes, but you should read the manual of your saw to ensure this.
    • Using a blade that is too small or too large can damage the saw and/or lead to injury.
  2. Tooth count
    • A higher tooth count will result in a smoother and slower cut. These blades are commonly seen in crosscut blades because they prevent blowout and rough edges.
    • Lower tooth count will result in a rougher and quicker cut. These blades are commonly seen in ripcuts blades because you do not need the fine teeth to achieve and smooth cut.
    • The teeth count will vary depending on the blade size.
    • The common number of teeth for 7 1/4″ circular saw blades are 24T, 40T, and 60T
      • 7 1/4″ 24T blade
        • 24T blades are ideal for framing and rough cuts where speed is most important
      • 7 1/4″ 40T blade
        • 40T blades are ideal for finer cuts where speed and cut finish are important
      • 7 1/4″ 60T blade
        • 60T blades are ideal for ultra fine finishes where cut finish is more important than speed
  3. Kerf width
    • The kerf width is the width of material that the saw blade removes during a cut.
    • Most circular saws blades have a kerf width of 0.050″ to 0.15″ with thin kerf blades being between 0.050 to 0.065 inches.
  4. Tooth Pattern
    • The two most common tooth patterns for circular saws are Flat Top (FT) and Alternating Top Bevel (ATB)
    • Flat Top tooth pattern
      • Flat top tooth pattern have blades that are square at the top. These blades are used for rip cuts and will result in blowout if used for cross cuts.
    • Alternating Top Bevel tooth pattern
      • Alternating Top Bevel blades are angled in alternating patterns to produce a clean cut that can be used for crosscuts and rip cuts.
      • Blades of High Alternating Top Bevels will result in deeper ridges when used to cut dados
    • Combination
      • Combination Alternating Bevel blades have one flat head raker tooth for every 4 alternating bevel teeth. These blades produce a smooth and flat cut.
  5. Blade Material
    • The blade material is an important factor in blade durability, cost, and blade use.
    • Tungsten Carbide Blades
      • Affordability: $$
      • Durability: $$
      • Common use: Wood, aluminum, plastic
      • Tungsten Carbide-Tipped steel blades are affordable and durable blades that can handle most woodworking applications
    • Diamond blades
      • Affordability: $
      • Durabilty: ***
      • Common use: Fiber Cement
      • Diamond blades are more costly than Tungsten Carbide blades, however they are much more durable and are commonly used for fiber cement cuts.
  6. Blade use
    • The blade material is not the only indicator for blade use. The tooth pattern, tooth count, and gullet size are all important in the type of material the blade can cut.
    • A circular saw can be used to cut various material like wood and steel. Most blades will specify which material to cut and if the blade is multi-purpose or not.
    • Common uses are wood, aluminum, steel, plastic, tile, and cement/masonry
  7. Arbor Diameter
    • The arbor diameter is the diameter of the hole where the blade is attached to the saw. The majority of the time, if you get a universal saw blade that matches the blade diameter, then the arbor diameter will match as well.
    • Common arbor diameter for 7 1/4″ circular saws are 5/8″.

Types of circular saw jigs

Circular saw jigs are attachments to the circular saw that can make cutting more precise, easier, and/or quicker. There are three main types of circular saw jigs, guide rails, crosscut, and arc jigs.

Circular saw guide rails

Circular saw guide rails are tracks that allow for precise rip and cross cuts.

The best guide rails have features to create repeatable cuts. There are many manufactured guide rails and easy DIY plans available. To learn how to make a circular saw guide rail, check out my youtube video below. If you want to purchase a guide rail, then I recommend the Kreg jig below.

Purchase the Kreg guide rails: Amazon link

Circular crosscut station

A crosscut station is a station where you sit your circular saw in to accurately perform crosscuts. You and also safely cut smaller pieces of wood, that would be difficult to cut if the circular saw was handheld.

The crosscut station is ideal for wood of a smaller width that would be difficult to cut using guide rails.

Purchase the Kreg crosscut station: Amazon link

Arc Jig

A circular saw can be used to create very broad circles or arcs. While the circular saw is not the ideal tool for the job, it can still be done.

To learn how to make an arc jig to create circles with a circular saw, check out my youtube video below.

To learn how you make your own circular saw jigs, check our my article “Circular Saw Jigs”.


My name is Rachel Blanding and I am a woodworker. I started woodworking at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. I mainly create and refurbish furniture and create art. In this site I will share with you the knowledge I have gained over the years, and what worked for me and what didn't.

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