Circular Saws: difference between Sidewinder vs. Worm Drive

If we were asked what are the different types of circular saws, most of us probably would end up mentioning the corded and cordless one. Yes, those are different types based on how the power is supplied. However, circular saws can differ in how the actual anatomy of the machine works.

Based on the mechanical formation, circular saws come in two different formats - worm drive and direct drive. Direct drive is popularly referred to as sidewinder, as well. If you are not quite sure how exactly these two are different, sit back and relax. We are going to point out the key difference between a sidewinder and worm drive circular saw. Keep reading till the end to find out!

What is a worm drive Circular Saw?  

A worm drive circular saw has the motor placed at the back side of the saw. The power required for the blade is delivered with the help of two gears, which can be found fixed forming a 90-degree angle. This gear placement mitigates the blade speed. The RPM count would be around 4500. However, the torque is, in this case, higher than the sidewinder. Not to mention, as the device is designed, the saw takes a longer and larger form and obviously heavier.  

What Is A Sidewinder Circular Saw?  

A sidewinder circular saw uses a spur-gear motor. The motor is actually designed to be placed at a straight and parallel position of the spinning blade. So, obviously, because of this design, the blade turns at a greater RPM rate than the worm drive saw. To be exact, the worm drive saw offers around 6000 RPM. As for the weight, the sidewinder is a bit lighter than the worm drive saw.

How Does Each Type Of Saw Handle?

Although there are a few exceptions, typically, a sidewinder circular saw comes with the blade fixed on the right side, and a worm drive circular saw comes with the blade fixed on the left. Whether you are a right-handed user or a lefty, this determines the habit of your work and the sight of the cutting lines. Let's say you are a right-handed user.

Now, for a sidewinder, the blade is placed and fixed on the right part, so the tool’s weight will be on its left. This specific design rests the tool’s weight on the solid area, not on the cutoff. But this comes with a price. You can’t see the cutline clearly.

Generally, when you use a sidewinder saw, you cut on the stack of lumber or on the sawhorses. But as the sidewinder is a lightweight device, it’s a great one for overhead working. Then again, the blade being at a safer distance also makes sure that your hands are away from getting cut. So sidewinders are easy to handle.  

On the other hand, a worm drive saw blade is placed on its left portion. That puts the maximum weight on its right side. So, the manner you install a blade on this is quite different from a sidewinder.

Then again, it’s very convenient, as well, to keep an eye on the cutline. Many users choose to make the cut on the stack of lumber or simply adopt a handheld position by using the machine’s weight. Then again, the longer size of the device makes it convenient to cut long sheets of material. As for plunge cutting, this one also comes in super handy.
What Are The Mechanical Differences?
Mechanically speaking, the two saws come with different mechanisms. Although these two machines have a few similarities, the difference is obvious. Here are some of the key mechanical differences that you need to know.
Motor Position

The motor of the worm drive is placed at the end of the blade. It is typically found at the rear side of the center point of the blade. However, the motor of the sidewinder is found at the middle point of the blade.
Blade Position

Although it’s kind of a generalization, the worm drive comes with the blade being on the left side of it. On the other hand, the sidewinder comes with the blade being on the right part.
Weight

The way the worm drive circular saw functions, and it places the motor against the blade at a non-parallel position, it comes with a spiral-threaded shaft that connects to the wheel. That’s why the entire device becomes pretty heavy in comparison to the sidewinder.
If you consider the weight in pounds, a worm drive weighs just around 15 pounds, while the sidewinder weighs just around 8 pounds.  

Power, Speed & Torque

Although it comes with less RPM count and a heavyweight profile, a worm drive can offer better and more powerful torque than the sidewinder. That’s why the sidewinder has a faster blade speed than the worm drive saw.
Maintenance

Worm drive circular saws need to be regularly oiled to lubricate them. However, there are some versions in the market that come with a sealed system that does not need any lubrication. As for the sidewinder saws, these machines do not need any lubrication at all because the design comes with a sealed system by default.
Handle Position
As for the handle of the device, worm drive saws typically come with a handle placed at the rear side of the device. On the other hand, the sidewinders place the handle on the top of the machine. However, some modern sidewinders do come with rear handles, too.
What Are The Similarities Between Sidewinders And Worm Drive?
As we mentioned earlier, there are some similarities between these two different circular saws. Here is what you need to know.
Function
The major similarity of these tools is the function of the machine. Both the devices come with a motor that makes a sharp blade spin to cut different materials from wood to metal and even concrete. However, different tools perform well on different materials.
Features
Another similarity is the features of the cut. You can easily change the cutting depth and also execute bevel cuts. Then again, both of these types are found in wired and wireless formats.
Although we have mentioned the major similarities, there are some small similarities in power consumption and cutting strength. However, there are more differences than similarities, so we have simply pointed out the major equalities here.
Worm drive circular saw advantages
The benefits of a worm drive circular saw are plenty. Here is a glimpse of them.
●    Make plunge cuts: The length of the saw makes it really easy for the device to make plunge cuts.
●    Better for right-handed users: As the motor fits on the rear and the blade is positioned on the left, it’s very comfortable for right-handed users.
●    Cuts hard materials: A worm drive saw is better popular for the ability to cut harder materials like metal and cement, etc.  
Advantages Of A Sidewinder Circular Saw
Sidewinder circular saw does come with a few benefits, as well. Here’s what you need to know.
●    Lighter: The design of the saw by placing the motor in the center makes it pretty lightweight.
●    Compact: As the motor is placed in the middle, the length of the machine is compact.
●    Beginner-friendly: Being compact and lightweight, it’s easier for any beginner to learn cutting with a circular saw.


Final Words

Ideally, you won’t be feeling the difference between sidewinders vs. worm drive circular saw if you are not rigorously using the machine. However, if you are a true carpenter who needs to apply the device every single day, the difference will be obvious. Depending on your type of work, you can easily pick any one of the devices. Lightweight or heavy, it doesn’t matter as long as you get what you want!

Happy crafting!

Leave a Reply