Worm drive vs hypoid vs sidewinder (direct drive) circular saws

Worm drive vs hypoid vs sidewinder (direct drive) circular saws

Ever wondered about the differences between worm dive, hypoid and sidewinder circular saws? Well read on for all you ever wanted to know and more!

Worm drive saw vs hypoid vs sidewinder saw (direct drive saw) motor orientation

  • A worm drive saw has the motor at right angles to the blade and is positioned towards the back of the saw.
  • A hypoid saw has the motor at right angles to the blade and is also positioned towards the back of the saw like a worm drive saw.
  • A sidewinder saw has the motor shaft and saw blade shaft is the same direction and usually directly connected. The motor on a sidewinder saw is also called a spur-gear motor.

Size and weight of worm drive, hypoid & sidewinder saws

  • Worm drive saws are heavy and bulky.
  • Hypoid drive saws are also heavy and bulky.
  • Sidewinder saws are light and compact.

Motor / blade sides for worm drive, hypoid & sidewinder saws

  • A worm drive blade is usually on the left side (motor on the right site).
  • A hypoid drive saw blade is on the left side (motor on the right site).
  • A sidewinder blade is usually on the right side (motor on the left side).

Line of sight for sidewinder vs worm drive vs hypoid saws

  • If you are right handed using a worm drive you can more easily see where the saw is cutting (because the motor is on the right side) and this can make it easier to cut straighter.
  • The hypoid saw is the same as the worm drive, if you are right handed using a hypoid saw you can more easily see where the saw is cutting (because the motor is on the right side) and this can make it easier to cut straighter.
  • The sidewinder with the blade on the right can make it harder to see where the blade is cutting (for right handers) and thus more difficult to cut strait lines.

However, if you are left handed the opposite will be true.

Power and saw spinning speed of sidewinder vs worm drive vs hypoid saws

  • A worm drive saws has a slower spinning blade with more torque. This is a function of the gear used. This means that the saw is less likely to ‘bog down’ when doing heavy duty cutting (in large piece(s) of wood).
  • A hypoid drive saw, similar to a worm drive has a slower spinning blade and has more torque. Again this means that the saw slows down less when doing heavy duty cutting.
  • A sidewinder blade is faster spinning with less torque and can be easier to ‘bog down’ / slow down when doing heavy duty sawing.

Hypoid circular saws

Makita hypoid circular saws: Makita make commonly available hypoid circular saws (they also make sidewinder circular saws). There are two hypoid models available.

The Makita 5477NB 15 Amp 7-1/4-Inch Hypoid Saw 

The Makita 5377MG Magnesium 7-1/4-Inch Hypoid Saw

Nothing is perfect the Makita hypoid saws are renowned as good quality, well made tools.

Dewalt hypiod circular saw:

DEWALT DW378GK Framer 15 Amp 7-1/4-Inch Hyphoid Circular Saw

Worm drive circular saws

A number of tool makers produce worm drive circular saws. The commonly available and well know brands that produce worm drive circular saws include:

Skilsaw worm drive circular saws: Skilsaw produced the very first worm drive circular saws. Because of this Skil saw was and still is synonymous with circular saw. See Skill saw vs circular saw. Skilsaw make both worm drive and sidewinder circular saws. Skilsaw produce worm drive circular saws in a number of different blade sizes and models such as:

SKILSAW SPT77W-01 15-Amp 7-1/4-Inch Aluminum Worm Drive Circular Saw

SKILSAW SPT77WML-01 15-Amp 7-1/4-Inch Lightweight Worm Drive Circular Saw

SKILSAW SPT70WM-01 15 Amp 10-1/4″ Magnesium SAWSQUATCH Worm Drive Circular Saw

SKIL SHD77 15 Amp 7-1/4-Inch Worm Drive SKILSAW Saw

SKIL MAG77LT-72 7-1/4-Inch Magnesium Worm Drive Circular Saw, Twist Lock

SKIL SHD77-73 7-1/4-Inch Worm Drive Circular Saw, Twist Lock

Bosch worm drive circular saws: Bosch make one worm drive circular saw model:

Bosch CSW41 7-1/4-Inch Worm Drive Circular Saw

Dewalt worm drive circular saws: Dewalt make several worm drive circular saw models:

DEWALT DWS535 7 1/4-Inch Worm Drive Circular Saw

DEWALT DCS577B FLEXVOLT 60V MAX 7-1/4” Worm Drive Style Saw

DEWALT DWS535T 7-1/4-Inch Worm Drive Circular Saw with Twistlock Plug

Ridgid worm drive circular saw: 

Ridgid R3210 Saw, 7 1/4-Inch Circular Worm Drive

Hitachi worm drive circular saw:

Hitachi C7WDM 7 1/4″ 15-Amp Worm Drive Circular Saw

Sidewinder circular saws

Sidewinder circular saws are very common and are made by a large number of manufactures with an even larger number of models. Some well know models include:

Makita sidewinder circular saws:

Makita XSH03Z 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless 6-1/2″ Circular Saw

Makita 5007MG Magnesium 7-1/4-Inch Circular Saw

Skil sidewinder circular saws:

SKIL 5280-01 15-Amp 7-1/4-Inch Circular Saw with Single Beam Laser Guide

SKIL 5995-01 18-Volt 5-3/8-Inch SKILSAW Circular Saw

Bosch sidewinder circular saws:

Bosch CCS180K 18-Volt Lithium-Ion 6-1/2-Inch Circular Saw Kit

Bosch CS10 7-1/4-Inch 15 Amp Circular Saw

Dewalt sidewinder circular saws:

DEWALT DWE575SB 7-1/4-Inch Lightweight Circular Saw

DEWALT DCS570B 7-1/4″ (184mm) 20V Cordless Circular Saw

Porter Cable sidewinder circular saws:

PORTER-CABLE PC15TCS 15 Amp Heavy-Duty Circular Saw, 7-1/4″

PORTER-CABLE PCC660B 20V Max Lithium Bare 6-1/2-Inch Circular Saw

 

What is a worm drive saw?

A worm drive saw is powered through a worm drive gear. A worm drive is type of gear, that has a screw gear (also know as a worm) meshes with a worm wheel. A worm drive allows the drive to be transferred at a 90 degree angle.

Worm drive Gear

Worm drive Gear

 

What is a hypoid saw?

A hypoid saw is powered through a hypoid drive gear. A hypoid drive is similar to a worm drive in that it transfers the drive at a 90- degree angle. However, a hypoid gear uses a different gear mechanism to a worm drive. A hypoid is a type of spiral bevel gear whose axis does not intersect with the axis of the meshing gear. The shape of a hypoid gear is a revolved hyperboloid (that is, the pitch surface of the hypoid gear is a hyperbolic surface), whereas the shape of a spiral bevel gear is normally conical.

Hypoid gears

Hypoid gears

 

What is a sidewinder saw?

A sidewinder saw is where the engine shaft is connected directly to the circular saw blade or connected in line with traditional cogs or sprockets.

 

Summing up

The difference between the different types of circular saws (worm drive, hypoid and sidewinder) is based on their gar mechanism. worm drive and hypoid are similar in that their motor drive shaft is at right angles to the blade shaft and their motors are towards the back of the saw. Sidewinder motor drive shaft is the same direction as the blade drive shaft and are more compact and light weight.

Best Circular Saws Under $50

Want to buy a circular saw but not spend a lot? Check out my review of the best circular saws under $50 here:

Best Miter Saws

Another tool that every serious woodworker needs is a miter saw! Check out my review of miter saws here:

Best Cabinet Table Saws

If you have a larger budget and want a serious table saw you can check out my review of hybrid and cabinet table saws here:

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