In this article we will be reviewing my recent purchase of the Mac Allister MSCS1200 circular saw.
The Mac Allister circular saw is a budget DIY power tool. It comes with a 240v plug, so it’s not suitable for work on a building site, where you would need 110v.
However, if you are looking for a low-cost circular saw, that you can use on DIY projects and small jobs, you really can’t go wrong for the price in my opinion.
I recently bought this saw, for a job ripping down some sheets of plywood. I found it very easy to work with and it did the job very well.
It cut through the ply with ease, the cuts were clean, and I didn’t feel any resistance whilst cutting.
Why did I buy the Mac Alister circular saw?
My reason for buying this saw was quite simple, I needed to cut several sheets of ply. However, my previous circular saw, had packed in a few years before and I never replaced it. The main reason for this purchase, was I really didn’t want to cut these sheets by hand.
The plywood I was working with, was 12mm ply in 2400mm x 1200mm sheets and I was cutting it to make some shelves. The average size of each shelf was 1500mm x 400mm.
This meant I had 6-7 decent sized cuts, per sheet of plywood.
With a brand-new handsaw I could have done this. However, it would have taken much longer, and it would have been really hard work. Plus, I would need a new saw, the one I had was a little old and certainly not sharp enough for this volume of cutting.
A brand new Bacho saw (my favourite type of hand saw), costs around £12. When I factored this in with the circular saw only costing £40, that’s just a £28 difference. Also, as I mentioned, it’s going to take me much longer with the hand saw and be much more difficult.
Before I purchased, I checked the reviews from previous customers, and they seemed very positive. Most were from DIY users. However, I also saw some reviews from professional trades saying good things, even a few joiners.
All these factors combined are the reason I purchased the saw.
Things I liked about this circular saw
I was very happy with the performance of this saw. It did the job I bought it for perfectly, and I’m sure I will get plenty of use from it in the future.
Some of the main highlights of the tool, can be seen below:
- Lightweight and easy to use – The saw itself is reasonably small and light. It also has decent cord length. This made cutting big sheets pretty easy.
- Decent saw depth (adjustable) – The max saw depth is 55mm. However, if you are cutting something much thinner, you can easily adjust saw depth. I personally use this for cutting 12mm ply on my garden decking. Obviously, I didn’t want to risk damaging my deck boards. Therefore, I placed timber lats underneath to raise the board and reduced the saw depth. This ensured I was nowhere near the decking below.
- Nice straight cuts – I didn’t personally use the laser, or the parallel guide. Instead I used the guide notch on the saw base. Even cutting free hand like this, I was able to perform really nice straight cuts.
- It comes with a laser and an adjustable guide – Even though I didn’t use these for my job. I recognise the benefits of both, and I would certainly use them on other jobs, where absolute precision were more essential.
- The blade can cut on an angle – The blade is adjustable and can be tilted to 45°. At this angle it still has a cutting depth of around 38mm.
- The price – Lets be honest, the price is very low. The nearest alternative DIY tools, are around double the price, and if you want a professional circular saw, you can pay anywhere from £100 all the way up to £600+
How does this compare to more expensive saws
Let’s remember this is a £40 saw. It is budget, and you do get what you pay for (I guess). However, I have used plenty of circular saws over the years, and there was nothing I really missed with this saw.
My previous saw was a Makita. It was much bigger than this circular saw, and it wasn’t one of my favourite tools for this very reason, it was quite bulky. With that said it was a good saw. I have also used DeWalt, Festool, and several other brands over the years.
When it comes down to cutting sheet material, there isn’t a massive difference between any of these tools. However, if you are buying a premium tool, the build quality and durability will definitely be better. I’m not saying the Mac Allister circular saw is bad. However it wouldn’t last long on a building site.
With that said, it isn’t designed for a building site. It has 240v power lead, it doesn’t come with a box (just a cardboard box) and it won’t have any of the bells and whistles you might find with higher end brands. However, for £40, this tool cut my plywood like a dream.
The time and effort I saved on this job alone was well worth the £40 I paid. If on the other hand I had purchased a professional brand for say £200, it would take years, and lots of little jobs for me to see the value.
Obviously, if you are a professional and will be using this tool regularly, then it makes sense to pay more and buy a premium product. However, if like me, you will only use it occasionally for small jobs. I think the Mac Allister circular saw is a pretty good buy at £40.
I hope you found this Mac Allister circular saw review useful. To see what other people are saying, you can check more customer reviews by clicking here