How to Change Circular Saw Blades

how to change a circular saw blade

It is vital that you know how to change circular saw blades. Circular saws are essential tools in the construction industry. The tool is in construction sites that involves measuring and cutting of timber. The blades are highly durable but wear out eventually with time and regular use. 

Changing the blades periodically ensures that your wood cutting is neat, and there is less wood splintering. Anyone can change the circular saw blades, and it takes a few minutes.  Circular saw blades are very reliable and versatile, which makes them the preferred choice for many people. 

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One of the attractive things about the saw is that it is easy to install. You will find it is easy to maintain. The circular saw blades give clean cuts. However, the blades get dull with time, which means you have to replace yours before it harms the motor if you are using a cordless circular saw. 

You can replace the blades depending on how often you use the saw and the quality of the original blade. If you haven’t seen any issues with the blade when cutting, it means the blades are still sharp. 

When should I change my circular saw blade?

Replace the blades when there is increased kerf tearout, chipping, excessive burning, binding, and the saw is slow or difficult to push through. These are the common red-flags that determine if the blades need replacing. 

If you have any concerns about how the circular saw blades are cutting or performance, then you can examine it carefully. Perhaps, it just needs to be cleaned, replaced, or sharpened. 

How to know if you should change circular saw blade

Changing circular saw blades is easy. Follow these steps to change your circular saw blade.  You can do the work yourself and continue cutting your lumber a few minutes later. 

  • Remove circular saw blade from the tool or machine. Inspect the blade to see if it has any pitch buildup on the teeth or sides. In most cases, poor cutting performance is due to a dirty blade.
  • When conducting a visual inspection, check for signs of damage and wear. Look for chipped, missing teeth, worn-down or broken or chipped carbide bits, which is an indication of damage. Any of these means the blade is damaged, and you need to replace it. 
  • Check the carbide edges using a magnifying glass or bright light to see if it is dull. A tipped-carbide means the saw blades are rounding off, and you need to take it for re-tipping or sharpening. 
  • Compare the saw blade against a sharp blade to know if the condition is excellent. Buy two identical blades. Use one blade as the primary blade with the other being your backup that you only use periodically. It helps ensure you can compare the two blades and realize if the primary blade is dull. 

How to change a powered circular saw blade

Follow the tips below to replace your old saw blade with a new blade safely. Replacing the portable saw blade takes a few minutes. 

  1. Unplug the power cord from the socket or electrical outlet. Remove the battery for cordless. 
  2. Press down the red button on the arbor-lock of the saw and rotate the blade until it engages the lock mechanism. Locking the blade ensure it does not turn freely. Restricting the blade movement ensures you don’t cut yourself while replacing the blade on the circular saw blade.
  3. Lift the safety guard by removing the arbor nut that holds the blade in place using the blade wrench. The safety guard is a plastic sheath covering the blade when it is not cutting. Lifting the guard makes it slide out and expose the saw blade to enable you to remove or replace it. A socket wrench works perfectly. Turn the wrench clockwise to loosen the nut. Lift out the nut and put it aside.
  4. Retract the upper blade guard then remove the old blade. 
  5. Slip your new blade onto the arbor and ensure the teeth are facing the direction of rotation. If you are not sure, just refer to the arrow on the blade guard. The teeth should angle downwards so that it cuts down as the blade is spinning in a clockwise motion. Check the side of saw casing for indication on where to face the teeth.
  6. Change the retaining bolt to ensure you lock the new blade in position. Use the socket wrench to tighten the circular saw arbor nut until it starts to snug. Take care not to overtighten the arbor nut, or it will be difficult to loosen it in the future when you want to replace the blade again. Once the saw blade is tight, slide back the safety guard into position. You can release the safety lock ( red button). The blade can now turn again.
  7. If you have a diamond-shaped arbor, just get two wood blocks and straddle the blade. Use a punch or hammer to bang out the diamond insert from the center.

Why should I change my circular blade?

People always want the best things. What is the best? This is a common question people ask. However, it is never about what the best is, but what is the best based on your needs?  The same principle applies to circular saw blades. Look for replacement blades that suit what you need to cut. 

Some blades are formulated purposely for cutting composite decking materials like laminate flooring and cement backer board. Saws come in different blade sizes. There are  5-3/8” to 7-1/4” Circular saw blades. When buying a blade to replace your current circular saw blade, ensure you get the right size that fits the machine. 

You need to change the circular saw blade when it stops grinding easily as you cut. When you are putting more effort to push the saw blade through to cut lumber. It makes cutting difficult ad dangerous. 

However, there are reasons that can make your saw blade to glide slowly through the timber.

  • The blade is blunt
  • Timber is wet or hardwood. Ripping along the timber grain ad not cross-cutting against timber grain. Cross-cutting needs less grunt than when ripping.
  • The saw is underpowered, which means you need t to unplug it from the power source. Rub your fingers gently along the blade to see if the blade is still sharp like a new blade. If there is difficulty cutting through lumber using the circular saw, maybe one of the teeth is broken off.  If multiple teeth are dull, then the only remedy is to change circular saw blade. 
  • Resharpening the circular saw blade fixes the problem. However, if 5 teeth or more teeth are damaged, then you should replace the blade and throw away the old one.  Buy a new quality and durable blade that will give you longevity. If you are sharpening, take it to professionals for perfect sharpening.

What to do before changing circular saw blades

  • Get the right blade
  • There are different sizes and types of circular blades. You have cross-cut, combination, rip cut, or framing blades, among others. Bearing this information in mind, ensure you have the blade that is in line with your cutting needs. Size is important, which means you should check the size of your current blade to ensure you buy the right blade. 
  • Blade sizes are written on the sides. Check your blade to know your current blade size, whether it is 5-3/8” or 7-1/4”, etc. 
  • Check the arrow on the saw blade to know the direction during installation. This is vital because facing the blade wrongly is dangerous. Having the right blade means getting the right cuts that is safe and clean. 

Safety precautions

  1. Before changing circular saw blades, power-of the source power, then unplug the saw from your wall socket. Powering your saw during replacement is dangerous. Make sure power drains completely before you start the replacement process. You can wear protective gloves and use goggles to protect your hands and eyes from harm. Handle your saw blades with care as accidents can result in loss of fingers.
  2. Most saw blades come with a wrench for use when replacing the saw blades or making adjustments. Keep the wrench in a safe place for easy retrieval when you need it most. 
  3. Before you replace the blade, engage the brake button or arbor lock then spin the blade to ensure it is locked before proceeding. 


Circular saw blades are an essential component in cutting lumber. You need to ensure that the blade is dull or damaged before you think of replacing it. Opt for durable and high-quality blades to ensure you get smooth gliding and clean cuts. Buy your blades from reputable vendors or hardware stores. Follow the process carefully to ensure that things go well, and you are not hurt in the process of replacing your saw blades. The process takes a few minutes to complete, and you can continue cutting lumber. Besides, circular saws come with wrench. A good blade or sharp blade takes less effort to cut lumber. 


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I recently wrote an article on answering if Circular Saw Blades are Universal. Read it here.

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