Why Does a Circular Saw Blade Point in the Opposite Direction of a Table Saw Blade?

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Circular saws are a crucial part of any workshop owing to their versatility. With different blade sizes and types, you are assured of cutting through almost all types of materials with very little effort.

Unlike table saw blades that rotate clockwise, circular saw blades have been designed to spin in an anti-clockwise direction. So, why does a circular saw blade point to the opposite direction of a table saw blade?

Why Does a Circular Saw Blade Point in the Opposite Direction of a Table Saw Blade?

The teeth of circular blades have been designed to cut on the upstroke in a forward direction, whereas table saw blades cut on the downstroke. For the circular saw, cutting on the upstroke helps to push the material forward and towards the cutting blade. It also helps in maintaining control of the saw and the woodwork piece.

Because a circular saw is handheld, it is used differently than a table saw. The table saw is stabilized by a table that you cut on in addition to a guide fence and track. This is not true of the circular saw.

A circular saw blade cuts on the upstroke as this is a safer way to operate the handheld saw. Cutting on the upstroke naturally moves the saw through the wood and keeps it more stabilized as you cut.

With the circular blades’ upward spin direction, the teeth tend to bite more firmly into the woodwork piece and this prevents any mishap.

This is a crucial safety consideration and it also helps to keep the area of the cut clean and more accessible to ensure an easier and faster cut.

Man holding a circular saw

Despite these features, you need to take some steps to ensure you perform the cutting tasks safely. The saw blade must always be fixed in such a manner that the motor direction and direction of the rotation marked on the blade are parallel to each other.

Which Way Should the Teeth on your Saw Point?

In all saws, the blade is a key determinant of the material that it can be used on, whether stone, wood, ceramic, plastic, or any other. Blades are meant for specified applications and you need to choose the appropriate blade for every type of woodwork. The type of saw that you are using will determine the proper direction of the teeth.

Circular Saws

Circular saw blade teeth always point up on the front side of the saw. In other words, the point where the saw meets the wood should have the teeth point upwards.

This means that the circular saw cuts wood on the upstroke.

For a right handed circular saw (most common), this means that the blade rotates counterclockwise, which is similar to the table saw. For a left handed circular saw, the blade rotates clockwise.

Align the arrows on your blade to determine their rotation. This is a great way to double check your alignment for your specific saw.

Man displaying the blades of a circular saw

Table Saw

Table saws are the best for preparing large volumes of same size woodwork and for ripping. With table saws, checking the direction of the teeth is a challenge because most of the saw’s blade is concealed and seeing the teeth is more difficult.

Table saw blades rotate counterclockwise, cutting the wood on the downstroke. This means that the teeth must be pointing downward.

Upward-facing teeth can cause severe injury not only to the operator, but also to people who are close by.

Types of Circular Saw Blades

Different circular saw blade types have different configurations available. Some of the circular blades include:

  • Rip cut blades: These have few large teeth and are designed for notching into wood planks on a forward stroke.
  • Crows-cut and combination saw blades: These all face backward despite the difference in teeth configuration.
  • Abrasive blades: These blades are used for masonry and they do not have teeth but are made of rough materials such as fiber.
  • Metal cutting blades: These blades are toothless and feature expansion slots that come in handy when the blade heats up.

Safety Considerations

The teeth of circular saw blades are intended to cut upwards into the material from below and this is for safety purposes. It is important that you should not spin them in a different direction just like you spin a table saw blade.

This is because this is dangerous not only for you but for other people who may be close by.

Man explaining why does a circular saw blade point to the opposite direction of a table saw blade

If your mini circular saw begins spinning in a reverse direction or starts kicking or buckling or behaving in an alarming manner, you need to have the device checked immediately. This will help to diagnose the issue and ensure that it is fixed by a professional.

Which Way Should the Teeth of Circular Saw Blade Point?

Circular saw blade teeth should be facing upwards. To check, look at the spot where your saw blade meets the wood, and ensure that the teeth are pointing upwards. This allows the circular saw to cut on the upstroke.

Do Circular Saw Blades Have a Rotation Direction Marking?

Yes, circular saw blades usually have an arrow marking indicating the direction in which the blade is supposed to rotate. This marking is important because they have a different rotational direction from table saw blades.


Cordless circular saws are useful tools that come with a variety of useful blades and are very versatile. With these blades, you can cut almost all materials that require cutting around the house.

When using circular saws, make sure that the blade points to the opposite direction of the table saw blades. This will ensure that your saw works perfectly and will guarantee the safety of the device when in use.

An expert at home repair, remodel, and DIY projects for nearly 40 years. His first experience came in completely restoring an antique home. Completely redone from the inside out, and restored to its original form, the home is a featured design by renowned Southern California Architect Cliff May, considered to be the father of the California Ranch Home. Now Dennis spends his time on fine woodworking projects and tool comparisons.