Can I Use A Smaller Blade On My Circular Saw? Here’s The Truth

Last Updated On February 19, 2023

Last week, I tried a smaller blade on my circular saw and faced a lot of issues. As the saw was 10 inches and I tried to use a 9-inch blade, the results were minimal. That’s why today I’m here with some factors you have to know before using a smaller blade on the circular saw.

Can I use a smaller blade on my circular saw? Yes, you can use a smaller blade. But, you have to be clear about blade geometry and maximum cutting depth. 

Now, when you’re using a blade that is out of the manufacturer’s recommendation list, the blade geometry has a huge impact on the output. In fact, safety may compromise if you don’t have clear knowledge about these factors. So, scroll through the article to get clear info about using smaller blades.

Can I Use Smaller Blades on The Circular Saw?

Yes, you can go behind the recommended range but should have a clear knowledge of blade geometry and cutting depths. As the blade geometry includes lots of stuff like the blade’s tooth shape, teeth angle, material, and kerf, it is better to go for the recommended blade for your saw.

Most circular saws, whether it is cordless circular saws or corded saws, have detailed guides about the blade types, blade sizes, and cutting depths. To get the perfect output in woodcutting, it is better to use only the particular types of the right blade the saw accepts. Besides, the recommended one won’t have any risk that the smaller or bigger one may cause.  

On top of that, some cordless circular saws are compatible with smaller blades that can solve your issues. But, these smaller blades offer a deeper cut than the bigger ones. Also, you have to look at the blade’s tooth shape and teeth angle as rough or smooth depending on it, and you need the perfect one to get your desired cut.

Explanation of Blade Size Of A Circular Saw At A Glance!

Blade Size (Diameter)Recommended UsesRecommended Tooth Count
4 ½ inchesCutting plywood, OSB, and particleboard24-tooth
5 3/8 inchesSame uses as 4 ½ inches but with an extra cutting depth24-tooth
6 ½ inchesFraming and decking24-tooth or 40-tooth
7 ¼ inchesIdeal for cutting lumber up to 2 inches thick.24-tooth or 40-tooth
8 ¼ inchesIdeal for cutting thicker lumber and sheet materials24-tooth or 40-tooth
10 inchesCutting hardwoods and thick lumber40-tooth or 60-tooth
12 inchesCutting thick materials like metal and concrete80-tooth or higher

What Implications To Follow For Using a Smaller Blade?

Before using the smaller blade types in a rotating saw, things to remember, you have to follow implications like teeth guide, size of the blade, speed of the saw, etc to ensure perfect performance.

Size of The Blade

circular saw blade size

The right size of the blade is an important factor; as the size decreases, the cutting depth will also decrease. If the saw is 10 inches, but you’re using a 9-inch blade on it, the most obvious effect is the depth of the cut will be minimal. 

So, you have to adjust the blade properly to get a perfect cutting depth, even with a smaller blade.

Teeth Guide

The teeth guide helps to get the desired smooth or aggressive cut depending on the tooth angle. If the blade type has a low tooth angle, it will offer a smooth and sharp cut. 

On the other hand, if the blade has a high tooth angle, it will offer aggressive and deeper cuts. It is also important as the wrong blade teeth can destroy the wood, can’t ensure a straighter cut, and cause serious injuries.

Speed of The Saw

When you’re using a smaller circular saw blade than the recommended size, the blade has to handle higher rpm, which may create stress on the rotation. So, don’t go for a much smaller blade if the saw is extremely powerful.

Can I Use a Circular Saw Blade with a Different Kerf?

Definitely, you can use it. 

Kerf actually refers to the width of the blade teeth. The kerf of the blade is divided into two types, including Thin kerf and Full kerf blades. 

Now, thin kerf blades are used on thin-strip ripping projects as they cut wood with the exact width. Besides, it produces less sawdust and is ideal to use on exotic and costlier projects. The only downside, the thin kerf blade has issues with the heat produced.

On the other hand, full kerf blades come with wide teeth, which are sturdy due to their thickness. As the wide teeth offer huge cuts on the wood, it produces more sawdust compared to the thinner kerf. Also, the sturdy full kerf blades stand stronger against heat than the thinner ones.

Importance of Circular Saw Blade Size

Blade Size (Diameter)Importance in CuttingAdvantagesDisadvantages
4 ½ inchesCutting plywood, OSB, and particleboard– Lightweight
– Easy to maneuver
– Limited cutting depth
– Can be overheated when using it for heavy-duty tasks
5 3/8 inchesSame uses as 4 ½ inches but with an extra cutting depth– Lightweight
– Easy to maneuver
– Limited cutting depth
6 ½ inchesFraming and decking– Can cut through most materials with ease– May produce rough cuts
7 ¼ inchesIdeal for cutting lumber up to 2 inches thick.– Can handle most DIY and construction tasks– Heavy
8 ¼ inchesIdeal for cutting thicker lumber and sheet materials– Increased cutting depth and power– Too large and heavy
10 inchesCutting hardwoods and thick lumber– Can handle the toughest cutting with ease– Required high-powered saw
12 inchesCutting thick materials like metal and concrete– Maximum cutting depth and power– Required high-powered saw
– May produce a significant amount of sawdust

How Deep Can Circular Saws Cut?

The depth of the cut depends on the circular saw blade diameter and the degree of cutting. 

Let’s have a look at the details. 

Usually, 10-inch larger circular saws that are corded or cordless saws can cut deeper compared to the 7-inch ones. After reducing the flange nut or arbor diameter to the blade diameter, you will find the actual depth of the cut. With such calculation, a 7 ¼ inch saw can offer a depth of 2 inches. But, this depth can vary due to the angle of the saw blade. 

If the degree of cutting is 90°, the cut depth will be the highest. For example, a 7 ¼ inch saw can offer a depth of 2 ½ inches at a 90° angle. If you reduce the angle to 45 degrees, the depth will decrease to 1 ¾ inches. So, both the blade size and the degree of cutting have an impact on the depth of the circular saw blades cut.

Worm Drive Saw Vs. Circular Saw

CriteriaWorm Drive SawCircular Saw
Weight and SizeHeavier (13-16 lbs) and larger (18-20 inches)Lighter (6-10 lbs) and more compact (12-15 inches)
Power and TorqueGreater power (15-20 amps) and torque (35-50 in-lbs)Less power (7-15 amps) and torque (10-25 in-lbs)
Blade SizeTypically larger blades (7 1/4 to 10 inches)Smaller blades (5 1/2 to 7 1/4 inches)
Cutting DepthDeeper cutting depth (up to 3 3/4 inches)Limited cutting depth (up to 2 1/2 inches)
PrecisionProduce more accurate and precise cuts due to larger blade and gear systemProduce rougher cuts due to smaller blades and less torque
ManeuverabilityMore difficult to maneuver due to weight and sizeMore lightweight and easier to handle
PriceExpensive (starting around $150)Affordable (starting around $50)
worm drive saw vs circular saw

In between worm drive saw and circular saw, there are multiple differences in the RPM, loading capacity, and weight. Let’s dig into the details.


When it’s to rotation power, circular saws have a higher spinning rate compared to worm drive saws. A worm drive saw can offer up to 5000 RPM, whereas circular saw blades can go up to 8000 RPM. So, it is better to go for a circular saw if your projects demand heavy work.

Loading Capacity

As the warm saw has larger teeth than a circular one, they are durable and can provide more loading capacity for tough materials. On the other hand, the circular saw is compact in size and includes little teeth. As a result, they are portable, but the blades have issues with heat.


Woodworking tools like circular saws are lightweight and compact in design. That’s why you can easily maneuver them, which helps to get a precise cut. The worm driver is heavier than a circular saw, but they are perfect for a long blade cut.

Can You Use Bigger Circular Saw Blades?

No, you can not use a bigger blade in a circular saw. As these sorts of saws are tightly built, using larger blades can be dangerous for the users.

If the difference of the bigger blade is only a little like 1 mm or 1/16″, only then you can use a larger blade on circular saws. Otherwise, the big blade is too risky to use and can cause serious injury.

Here’s a quick video about some tips. Let’s take a look-

Final Words

Finally, we are at the end of our detailed article. As we tried to cover all the necessary information, we hope the article can help to clarify how you can use a smaller blade in a circular saw no matter whether it is a cheap or expensive circular saw.

But a question pops up in your mind, can I use a smaller blade on my circular saw? A very short answer, YES, you can.

It is better to use the right saw blade the manufacturer recommends. But, if you need to use a smaller one for the circular saw, keep the factors we discussed in mind and enjoy precise cuts with maximum performance.

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