From what I've read on google, angle grinders and (portable) circular saws appear to be quite similar. Aside from a circular saw being perhaps a bit larger and maybe having some supports on the bottom, is there any major difference between an angle grinder and a circular saw? Thanks.

  • 1
    They both contain a motor that makes a disk rotate. That's about where the similarity ends.
    – fixer1234
    Commented Feb 8, 2018 at 4:16
  • Go to the hardware store and look at both of them. The answer should be glaringly obvious.
    – William S.
    Commented Feb 8, 2018 at 16:37
  • I will say, Dremel's Ultra-Saw is pretty close to a mix between the two. It's got a smaller blade that can take wheels meant for surface prep, metal, or wood -- but the "wood" blade has very shallow teeth, and basically just shreds through the material instead of trying to actually cut it. Throws up a ton of dust. Handy for certain uses (like cutting my cabinets from the inside while they were up on the wall) but not good for normal sawing. Commented Feb 8, 2018 at 17:22

3 Answers 3


Generally speaking, they're both "circular". Pretty much anything that spins a blade is "circular" - miter saw, table saw, chop saw, trim saw. They're all spinning blades, but when you say "circular" most think of a "handheld" circular saw usually used for cutting wood. "Angle grinder" is referring to a specific tool. So, if this is for an answer on a tech school test, i'd run with that :).

If you're specifically referring to handheld circular saw vs. an angle grinder I think there are many differences as stated, speed and power being key, but the main I see, is that a handheld circular saw has a base/guard that can be adjusted for depth and angle. This base is held against the material you are working with to cut in straight lines. An angle grinder has a perpendicular handle and is intended to be used free hand to run sand pads, grinding wheels, metal cutting disks, flap disks... you name it.

I think you could shape wood with the sanding pads and other disks on an angle grinder, but I think any kind of a blade intended for "cutting" wood is an ER visit waiting to happen.

On a circular saw, you can get blades for cutting metal, and it works well if you're cutting a lot of sheet metal or thinner plate. I think any kind of a blade for shaping or grinding metal with a circular saw is another ER visit waiting to happen.



  • power
  • gearing
  • speeds
  • collets
  • tool diameters
  • direction of forces
  • means of use
  • climb vs conventional
  • accessories
  • ability to sand or wirebrush

I think even if you managed to fit a sawblade on a grinder, you would have a completely uncontrollable tool that would be impossible to successfully engage to any work except for cars full of lost college students who make very poor decisions and scream a lot. While that may sound like fun, in the end Final Girl will kill you.


Circular saw is for wood. Angle grinder is for metal.

  • Angle grinder us also for masonry, with the right tooling. Commented Feb 8, 2018 at 14:03
  • But why? What are the differences that make this the case?
    – AndyT
    Commented Feb 8, 2018 at 16:19
  • Nope. Circular saws are available that are designed to be used for cutting metal. And there are electric wet circular saws for cutting masonry and tile too.
    – William S.
    Commented Feb 8, 2018 at 16:54
  • I have sanding disks for my angle grinder for wood, any kind of grinding wood metal or masonary disks or pads are available. With my skill saw I have metal cutting blades for sheet metal, and wood and masonry . Saws saw, grinders grind.
    – Ed Beal
    Commented Feb 8, 2018 at 18:07
  • Angle grinders can be used for grinding/cutting metal, masonry, wood, plastic, etc., etc. It's pretty versatile.
    – nightcoder
    Commented Feb 26, 2023 at 1:31

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