I'm doing some small projects such as building a workbench, and I don't have a saw to cut plywood with. I've got a 12" compound miter saw, so I don't currently need a circular saw for anything other than cutting plywood.
I looked around and I think I found a good quality DeWalt saw as a candidate for ~$140. I also found some really cheap Harbor Freight saws for $25-$35. Is it worth paying 4x the price for a quality saw, if all I'll be using it for is the occasional plywood cut? (I'm also a little worried about safety issues with such a cheap saw. Do the blades have a higher chance of flying apart and sending shrapnel toward the user?)
I ended up going for a mid-range saw and buying a Ridgid. Several different factors weighed in on my decision:
- I borrowed a friend's 25 year old Craftsman, and one of the features I wish it had the most was a front and rear kerf indicator for both sides of the blade. It got annoying fast not knowing exactly where the cut line would be. The Ridgid has this. The DeWalt mentioned above doesn't.
- Tool weight and feel. I went to HD and held all the saws. I really liked how the Ridgid felt.
- Degree and depth markings. I was looking for a saw that had a positive stop at 45° bevel. The depth indication also helps a ton.
- Warranty: The Ridgid came with a 90 day money back guarantee, a 3 year warranty, and a limited lifetime service warranty.
- Did I mention it's QUIET? I can barely tell a difference when it's cutting vs. no load.
The first cut I made with my new saw was at a 45° bevel through 1/2" plywood, and it didn't catch or bind at all. I'd recommend it - unless it ends up breaking in the near future, which I highly doubt.