12 amp vs 15 amp Circular Saw?

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Forum topic by Beginningwoodworker posted 11-16-2011 01:03 AM 18765 views 1 time favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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13345 posts in 3671 days

11-16-2011 01:03 AM

I have a Skil 5400 12 amp made in USA circular saw thats has a 12 amp motor, I am wondering is it strong enough for construction projects like 2×4’s, 2×6’s, and OSB sheathing? Or do I need to upgrade to a 15 amp circular saw.

13 replies so far

View jack1's profile


2107 posts in 4026 days

#1 posted 11-16-2011 01:06 AM

should be ok for most stuff if you don’t rush cutting the bigger stuff. Be sure to use large gauge extension cord. I like 12 gauge but 14 will do. That helps insure the saw doesn’t get a voltage drop and you get full power. ;0)

-- jack -- ...measure once, curse twice!

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Don W

18715 posts in 2566 days

#2 posted 11-16-2011 01:44 AM

i’d use it till she dies.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View crank49's profile


4030 posts in 2969 days

#3 posted 11-16-2011 01:45 AM

A good blade will help.

View PutnamEco's profile


155 posts in 3284 days

#4 posted 11-16-2011 02:30 AM

I would not worry about it being 12 amps. Unless you REALLY need an excuse to pick up a new tool. I’ll second the good blade suggestion, either a Irwin Marathon or Freud Diablo with 24 teeth should work fine.

It has been my experience that low end saws develop blade wobble due to bearing wear long before they stop running.

-- “The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.” ― Franklin D. Roosevelt

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13345 posts in 3671 days

#5 posted 11-16-2011 02:57 AM

I think it needs new blade.

View Woodwrecker's profile


4148 posts in 3574 days

#6 posted 11-16-2011 03:15 AM

Put that new blade on that old saw and get cutting Charles !
Like Don W said, use her until she gives up, then treat yourself to a nice new 15 amp’er!

-- Eric, central Florida / Utor praemia operibus duris

View TOM's profile


65 posts in 1989 days

#7 posted 08-10-2013 08:27 PM

Most here talked about blades … but the original question was about AMPS/POWER.

Anyone have any practical advice to offer as to the 12 amp vs. 15 amp issue?

View toolie's profile


2122 posts in 2627 days

#8 posted 08-10-2013 08:40 PM

my 35 YO skil saw is 12A and never failed me.

-- there's a solution to every just have to be willing to find it.

View JustJoe's profile


1554 posts in 2037 days

#9 posted 08-10-2013 08:54 PM

I can attest that the 12amp version will cut that stuff without problem. At the start of monsoon season I splurged on the cheapest saw Lowes had – a 12amp “Blue Hawk” corded circular saw for $29.97. I bought it to cut 30 year old cement with a diamond blade. It powered through it with no problem. It’s now on the front porch of the workshop for shortening the rough lumber before I bring it in to dimension it.

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View Loren's profile (online now)


10391 posts in 3646 days

#10 posted 08-10-2013 09:04 PM

15 amp saws tend to be heavier. They probably cut a bit faster
when ripping solid woods. 15 amp saw models sometimes
have an available version that takes 8.25” blades with the
same motor. It’s the size of the guard that limits the
blade size.

View mandatory66's profile


202 posts in 2129 days

#11 posted 08-11-2013 02:07 AM

I have a 28 year old B&D SawCat with 13 amps. Still runs fine & cuts 2x lumber with ease. Power is not an issue.Use it.

View Grandpa's profile


3259 posts in 2674 days

#12 posted 08-11-2013 02:12 AM

I doubt you would notice the difference IF you use good blades and blades that are intended for the job you are doing.

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5631 posts in 2209 days

#13 posted 08-11-2013 02:35 AM

With sheet goods and crosscutting 2x stock, you probably won’t notice any difference, heck I cut those with a cordless circ saw. If you were cutting a bunch of 4×4’s or ripping the 2x’s, the 12amp would do the job, but struggle more, so would have to be fed slower. Keep a good quality blade on it and use it.

-- In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. Thomas Jefferson

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