Trim Saw vs Circular Saw – Are They The Same?

When it comes to choosing the right saw, there are many factors to consider. Two of the most common saws you will come across on the job site or in your local hardware store are either the circular saw or the trim saw.

Let’s look at these two types of power tools to see if there are any differences in their appearance and uses in terms of trim saw vs circular saw.

Differences between Trim Saw and Circular Saw

Up to this point, you have certainly got it that both saws may look similar to some extent for using spinning blades. But there are many differences in their offering to your requirements. Now let’s see what the differences between a trim saw and a circular saw are? It will help you select the right saw for you.

Size and Weight

The most visible discrepancy between a trim saw and a circular saw is the size and weight of these two types of saw. A trim saw is smaller in size with a blade diameter of 5.5 inches and used for cutting wood pieces with a thin diameter where precision is required. And its weight is also lighter than that of a circular saw. A trim saw uses a smaller motor and a smaller saw blade. These smaller parts of the saw significantly reduce the weight of the saw. On the other hand, a full-size circular saw has a larger body with a blade diameter of even 8 inches. This saw is used for cutting thicker diameter ferrous and nonferrous materials. Due to its bigger size motors and blades, the weight of this saw is greater than a trim saw. Besides, there is a cordless version available of a circular saw that uses an external piece of battery. Batteries increase the overall weight of the saw.     

Power Generation

The larger the motor, the greater power a saw will generate. In the case of a circular saw, its motor is larger and produces greater motor power for the effective cutting of nonferrous hard metals. These nonferrous metals include steel, iron, carbon mixed steel, etc. But in the case of a trim saw, the motor size is smaller, and it generates less power of cutting compared to a circular saw. In the case of electric power, a circular saw needs as much as 1200 watts of electric power for effective working. It takes around 2400 watts of electricity for a circular saw to start spinning initially. On the other hand, a trim saw uses relatively smaller motors and blades. And the electric power requirement is also lower compared to a circular saw. 

Cutting Capability

The cutting capacity of a saw depends on the power and the blades used in it. A circular saw has bigger blades and can cut as deep as 4 inches with blade depth adjustment. Besides, a circular uses a powerful motor and a bigger saw blade. You can change the RPM of the saw according to the need of your work requirement and the capacity of the blade. With a perfect adjustment of these facts along with the power requirement, you can cut precisely. For cutting hard metals such as steel and carbon composite materials, it is required to use the right type of blade and specific motor power. In the case of a trim saw, cutting capacity is limited by its less deep cutting ability and less powerful motors. However, the trim saw is meant to cut soft materials such as wood, tiles, and plastics with higher precision and accuracy. There are some trim saws used for shaping and remodeling stones. Those trim saws are attached to a table or a wood board. A thin blade is used with higher RPM to remodel stones and marbles.

Blade Types

The blades used in both saws are the same. The main difference is in their size. A trim saw can use almost all the blades available for a circular saw, but the major difference is in their size and teeth count. Most of the blade-making companies are now making the same teeth count for both trims saw blade and circular saw blade.   


The portability of a saw is another major factor to consider. In the case of the trim saw and the circular saw, portability is a good factor for differentiation between those saws. A circular saw is a lightweight and smaller size saw. Circular saws are handheld saws that handheld feature gives the saws the advantage of taking them anywhere for work purposes. Unlike other saws, the average weight of a circular saw is around 4 kg, and with its cordless version, you can carry it anywhere and use it without an electricity connection. On the other hand, a trim saw has smaller blades and smaller motors for high precision. Lots of trim saw come with a bigger body, and the saw requires using a specific place for work. 

Quality Finishing

You might find it hard to use a full-size circular saw for cutting material with high precision and accuracy. Whenever you need a quality finishing, it is better for you to select a trim saw over a circular saw. Trim saws have blades with a smaller diameter and thinner kerf over their small size. Trim saws can make quality cutting without tearing out edges of the cutting area of any materials. On the other hand, if you need fast cutting, and the material you are using is less valuable, then you can go for a circular saw. A circular saw under $50 offers many essential features sometimes. A trim saw is used for quality cutting, remodeling, and reshaping of any piece of games, wood, or even stone piece. But a circular saw is used to cut bigger size wood beams and metals for furniture making and making smaller pieces.


Trim saws are easy to control. You don’t have to put the same level of effort into work to get your required precision when using a trim saw. When using a table trim saw, you don’t need your hands to hold the saw for cutting any material. You have to put the material to the moving blade. That increases effective control of the cutting. But in the case of a Circular saw, you have to put the material on a table and hold the saw with your hand. And holding the saw with your hand means you have to put extra effort into it for effective control of the saw.  

Cutting angle

A circular saw can make angular cuts with the help of an angle mechanism. These angular cuts include 45-degree bevel angle cut, 45-degree miter angle cut, and 90-degree bevel and miter angle cuts. But it is impossible to have angle cuts with a trim saw. 

Trim Saw vs Circular saw – Are They the Same?

A clear answer to this question is no, trim saw and circular saw are not the same, although both saws are used for cutting purposes there are lots of differences in their appearance, the way they work and their uses.

Bottom Line

Trim saw and Circular saw both are available in the markets, although they may look similar to some extent. Their differences are visible in their customer offering. It totally depends on what type of cutting work you do to select the right type of saw for your better work experience.