Do Compact Circular Saws Kick Back?

Last Updated On April 30, 2023

Are you a woodworker? Then a compact circular saw must be the most versatile tool for you.

But do you know the main problem with a circular saw? Any type of saw be it table saws or miter saws frequently kicks back.

Now you might ask- do compact circular saws kick back as well?

Unfortunately, yes. They do kick back like the table saws if not operated properly. Usually, an overheated blade causes the circular saw to kick back. Also, a dull blade can result in circular saw kickbacks frequently. 

There are some other reasons though. Let’s break down the key points that let the circular saw kickback.

Besides, we have some tried and tested tips to prevent kickback. 

So, let’s start!

Do Compact Circular Saws Kick Back?

Yes, they do. Whether you use a circular saw or a table saw, kickback occurs if you don’t use clean and sharp blades. 

Sometimes, the circular saw blade binds and starts moving in the opposite direction which can injure your fingers severely. 

What Causes a Circular Saw To Kick Back?

A compact circular saw kickbacks when the wooden board you are working with gets picked up by the circular saw blade and the blade throws it at you. These situations basically occur when the workpiece pinches the blade or gets stuck.

However, if you ask for some particular reasons that occur for circular saw/ table saw kickbacks while cutting a piece of wood, here they are-

  1. Suppose, you are cutting a board on two sawhorses without placing it on a flat surface, naturally the board will bend to the blade and it will result in kickbacks. So, use a flat surface to keep your saw blades steadily moving.
  2. The workpiece must be secured with clamps. Otherwise, it will cause a kickback. 
  3. If the blade doesn’t reach its full speed, it can be hooked into the board you are working with. Thus kickback occurs frequently both in a table saw or a compact circular saw. 
  4. When you are not handling the circular saw firmly, chances are, it will kick back. While operating the compact saw, always try to place a finger on the saw trigger. Only then the circular saw trigger could be released to stop the saw even if kickback occurs. 
  5. Next, the setting depth of the saw blades also matters. If the setting depth of the blades is deeper than the required cutting depth, it will increase the severity of the kickbacks even though you are using a compact circular saw or a table saw. Besides, the blade height should be accurately set for safety.
  6. Knotty woods often cause circular saw kickbacks as they are quite difficult to cut. While trying to cut a knotted wood piece, the saw blades often get jammed or pinched. And you know the result, right?- kickback! 
  7. If you use edgeless blades in your circular saw/table saw, naturally it will lead toward circular saw kickback. Because dull blades need to be forcefully rubbed on the wood piece and thus they get overheated affecting safety.

How to Handle Kick Back in a Circular Saw?

How to Handle Kick Back in a Circular Saw

The key to handling kickbacks in a circular saw is not to let the saw blade bind in the piece of wood. Besides, you need to make some technical adjustments and maintain proper safety features in operating the saw.

However, follow the following ways to prevent circular saw kickback in any type of saw-

  1. Always use sharp blades to minimize the chance of pinching and running the blade in the opposite direction while cutting wood. 
  2. The probability of circular saw kickback increases with pitch or sap build-up on the saw blades. So, always keep the blade clean.
  3. You should hold the compact saw firmly with both hands to have better control.
  4. Never overheat the saw blades as overheating can warp them. And as you know, warped or broken saw blades are one of the major causes of circular saw or table saw kickback.
  5. The workpiece or board should have support underneath where you will place the saw shoe. Also, please make sure that the cut-off wood piece falls away freely.
  6. You should make the necessary technical adjustments to adjust the blade depth properly. Yes, you can set the blade depth a half inch more than the cutting depth of the wood board, but not more than that.
  7. The saw blades must be firmly connected to the shaft to let you control it when you start cutting.
  8. Moreover, there must be good support on both sides of the wood including the middle portion as well. Without having a support system properly, particularly in the middle, the wood board is most likely to cause pinching of the saw blades.
  9. Applying downward pressure on the board is not recommended as you start cutting. You can take the help of a push stick to guard the board.
  10. Most importantly, never stand so close to the compact circular saw without wearing proper safety kits. As kickbacks usually occur in the opposite direction of cutting, you must uphold your position while holding the saw for wood cutting. 
  11. Try to use push sticks while standing behind the saw. The push stick will protect your hands even if a circular saw kickback happens.

Are Circular Saws Dangerous?

Yes, they are. If you use them recklessly, a circular saw could be more dangerous than table saws as they have faster blades. 

But why is a circular saw dangerous? 

If the blade catches the stock anyhow, it will shoot the saw back at you at a much faster speed than you can imagine.

Resultantly, severe injuries may occur including cutting your fingers, legs, hands, in fact, anything that comes its way.

Therefore, you must rely on some safety kits to be prepared while using a circular saw to cut safely.

Wearing a full face shield and goggles, using push sticks, etc. are the most important things. 

Also, make sure that the power cord or the spring-loaded blade guard never comes in the blade’s path to cause kickback. For safety purposes, the blade guard must return to the normal position while cutting wood.

Are Compact Circular Saws Worth It?

Definitely yes. Being the miniature version of the circular saw, a compact saw is preferable for its lightweight ergonomics, uninterrupted power supply, and optimal portability. Reasonably, they are getting more popular than ever.

As a compact or mini circular saw runs the blade at maximum speed, it produces cleaner cuts through various types of materials. 

Considering its affordable price point, surely, it’s a great bang for your buck to complete a wide range of woodworking projects.

Also, they are battery-powered in most cases. So, you get a continuous cut with a complete stop when needed. 

Final Words

As a woodworking power tool, a compact circular saw is a great appliance. 

But do compact circular saws kick back? You already got the answer. That is, yes, even a compact circular saw can kick back if proper precautions aren’t followed. Using dull blades ultimately leads to kickbacks and splintering. Also, you need to make sure the blade runs at full speed not to cause such unwanted safety issues.

Hopefully, this guide will help you prevent circular saw kickback for cutting wood safely.

All the best! 

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