Circular Saw Blade Direction and Rotation

Makita XSH10 9-1/4-Inch Circular Saw

Mind Your Teeth for Correct Circular Saw Blade Direction

Most of us have been there at some point…staring at a blade in one hand and a saw in the other wondering what the correct circular saw blade direction is.

The first time I ran into it, I was a little less supervised than I should have been and put the blade on backward. I actually completed a cut, wondering why it cut so slowly before my mistake was corrected. Getting the circular saw blade teeth going the correct direction is what’s at the heart of the matter.

Pro Tips and Tricks: Lacking a proper cement board blade, some Pros intentionally put a framing blade on backward to cut cement board (Hardie Board).

Circular Saw Blade Rotation and Teeth Direction

The saw’s motor runs the blade rotation in a way that the circular saw teeth direction points up as it enters the wood you’re cutting. It’s intentional to create the most stable, accurate, and safe cutting.

As the blade teeth hit the material, they rip from the bottom through the top. That rotation direction pulls sawdust and chips up into the guard where they can eject through a dust port. It’s the opposite of a table saw, where the teeth enter the cut from the top.

Correct Circular Saw Blade Direction

Getting every saw’s blade direction correct isn’t as simple as just slapping the label side out and cutting. Differences in blade orientation (which side of the saw the blade is on) change which side of the blade you see.

If you keep in mind that the blade rotation keeps the teeth direction cutting upward, everything else from here is just icing on the cake. However, saw and blade manufacturers make it a little easier for you.

When you look at the saw’s blade cover there’s an arrow to let you know which direction the motor turns. On the blade, there’s usually a directional arrow as well. When you’re installing your circular saw blade, it’s just a matter of making sure those two arrows match each other.

Circular Saw Blade Direction and Rotation

For blade-right models, the correct circular saw blade direction is usually with the label side out. For saws that have the blade on the left, it typically installs with the “ugly” side out. It’s not a hard, fast rule, though. You should always double-check.

Makita XSR01 18V X2 Brushless Rear-Handle Circular Saw Review

In our experience, it’s usually blade-left saws where people get mixed up because they look better with the nice-looking side of the blade visible. But regardless of how it looks, it’s all about making sure those teeth cut from the bottom up.

So there you have it—keep those circular saw blade teeth pointing up. Ready for more circular saw tips? Check out this article!

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