Left Hand Circular Saw VS Right Hand Circular Saw

Stuart Wellbert
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When it comes to using a circular saw, there will always be that debate on which hand is the best to use the saw. This is one of those things that may vary around the world, or even on the same job site. Using the saw with the right hand vs the left hand is one of those things that will come down to the individual.

Left Hand Circular Saw

If you are right handed, you will find it is easier for you to use the left hand to guide the saw through the cut. If you are not comfortable using your right hand to guide the saw, then it’s time to switch now. If you are left handed, this should be your preferred method.

Right Hand Circular Saw

There are some people that actually believe it is safer to guide the right than using the left hand. Others may believe that it is just easier for the right hand to guide the saw, and they will use it that way.

If you are right handed, there is a good chance you will find it easier to guide the blade with your left hand. If you are mainly using your right hand to guide it, you may find that your right hand is being forced to work beyond the joints’ natural range of motion.

Useful Key Points

♠ Circular saws cut using a spinning circular blade which remains fixed in position while the work piece rotates as the saw moves along it. This is in contrast to a reciprocating saw which uses a back and forth motion.

♠ They have a disk shaped blade, much like a pizza cutter, with teeth along the edge which dig into the material you are cutting, and a notch down the center to allow material to pass through when cutting along the edge. The blade is held on with a bolt which tightens until the blade holds firmly but can still rotate. There are (usually constant-speed) and variable-speed versions. The blade diameter is the width of the cut, and the arbor is the distance from the blade to the motor.

♠ Left hand saws cut clockwise (CW) and rotate counterclockwise. Right hand saws rotate clockwise and move counterclockwise.

♠ They are similar to a handsaw but have many advantages over a handsaw when cutting sheet materials. They are called a “compound miter” saw when they are clamped into a crosscut sled and a miter saw when they are equipped with a stand to be used on their own.

Right Hand Side

Circular saws often come with markings along the sides of the saw blade. These markings include a red line, a black line and a white line. The white line is easy to see, you can use it to make a straight cut. The black line is made from iron and is more conductive than white marking. You can use this marking to help with angle cuts. The red line is easy to recognize, and you can use this marking to help with bevel cuts.

The white line indicates the “toe” of the saw. The toe is the portion of the saw blade closest to the handle. The toe can be used as a starting point for crosscuts, but you need to consistently use the same side of the saw (the motor side vs the hand side) when starting your cuts for consistency.

A bevel cut is a cut made at an angle to the face of the wood. This is usually a cut only made on construction or cabinet grade cuts. This is used for creating a recess in a cabinet and backsplashes for example.

The bevel cut is cut by using the markings along the blade. The red marking can be used to draw a line and the black marking can be used to make two lines. A bevel is cut by keeping the red line on the outside of the cut. You can use the black marking to find which direction to cut.

Left Hand Side

It has been an ongoing debate for years. What does OR FDSR mean? Well, it is simply the language on the blade guard of a saw that indicates the direction or rotation that will be cut when the saw is turned on. So, what do Left/Right hand side stand for?

If you hold the saw in your right hand and line up the arrow with the rotation arrow on the blade guard, then it will cut to the left.

This terminology is confusing because your left hand will be going in the same direction as the rotation of the Saw.

Confused? Look at it this way: If you are looking down at the saw, the saw will cut to the left.

If your right hand is on the handle, then, when you turn the saw, it will cut to the left.

Do you plan to use your left hand on the saw? Yes? Then on the saw the arrow goes on the left.

Other Important Specs

You should definitely be paying attention to the speeds of your saws though because for most pro users, they are one of the important factors to consider. A good rule of thumb is choosing the saw with the highest speed if you are going to use it for most of your projects or even high priority projects. On the other hand, if speed is not as important to you, then having a lower speed is okay regardless of what other features it might have.

Also, we understand that there are some people who are willing to spend a little more for additional features to their saws. If this is you, then you should be looking at a saw with features such as laser guidance, dust evacuation, electric brake, and electronic speed control among others.

As you can see, unlike other things, there can be so much difference between a left hand and right hand circular saw. You can be sure that the materials used, the number of bevel cuts, blade width, blade speed, motor power, and portability will be different between these two. However, this is what makes your choice an easier one.

While it may seem at a glance that left hand circular saws are for you, do consider the other side of the coin as well before you decide on a single one.


A right hand circular saw is the most common and most popular kind of saw you’ll see in hardware stores and big box retailers. Ultimately, from a couple different factors come down to workflow. There are more left-handers in the world than right-handers, so it stands to reason that there’d be a higher demand for this style of saw.

But just how different is this saw? The guts of the saw are almost identical on both sides; the only difference is the way you use it. The blade in a left-handed saw will rotate counterclockwise. This would be the opposite of the rotation of the blade in the right-handed version.

The way to choose which saw to choose based on how you are is pretty straightforward; if you are left-handed, then your ease of use and work flow ability will be better with a left-handed saw.

Left Hand Circular Saw

Left-Handed Saw

For lefties, the left-handed version is a better option. It doesn’t matter if it’s a corded or cordless circular saw because the left-handed saw will have the blade rotating the opposite direction, so you don’t have to worry about getting your hand sawed off.