Rubber is a material that can be seemingly either as soft as silk or as tough as steel. Rubber is an excellent project material, but how can you cut it? Will a circular saw work?

A circular saw will cut through rubber with a sharp blade; however, it is not the preferred method since you can melt the rubber and need water to keep it cool, damaging your circular saw.

Be warned, though, just because a circular saw can cut through rubber doesn’t mean it’s the best tool for the job. There are other options more suitable for cutting rubber.

How to Use a Circular Saw to Cut Rubber

The most important thing you want to focus on is how hard your rubber is. 

We don’t expect you to break out a durometer and measure its Shore rating, but different rubbers require different tools.

How hard and thick your rubber is will determine what to use to cut rubber. If you want to use a circular saw to cut rubber, it’s better suited for hard rubber.

Tips for Cutting Hard Rubber with a Circular Saw

Hard rubber can be anything from thick rubber mats to tires to hard rubber construction materials. 

  • Be aware of kickbacks
  • Saw blades aren’t universal when it comes to materials. Different materials need different blades
  • Rubber can grab the blade easily. You want a blade with many teeth, and the saw going on high RPMs while cutting as slowly as possible.
  • You may also want to use water while cutting to help cool down the material to keep it from melting, but be sure not to get your circular saw wet as it could damage it.

One thing you can use to let the rubber pass through the saw quickly is to use a lubricant, like the DuPont Non-Stick Dry-Film Lubricant.

Other Options for Cutting Rubber

Since a circular saw isn’t the safest option for cutting rubber, no matter how thick, it is better to do it manually. 

Depending on its thickness, you’ll use different tools for hard and soft rubber; mostly, a really sharp edge will work just fine.

Tools to cut Soft Rubber

A soft rubber would be something like foam rubber, soft silicone, or maybe your garden variety rubber bands. Soft rubber is difficult to cut with a circular saw.

You want to use the sharpest utility knife you can get your hands on and a straight edge for soft rubber. There are also different options for different thicknesses.

Hold the utility knife perpendicular to the material at a 90-degree angle and make repeated shallow cuts to complete the cutting. Don’t attempt one large, deep cut.

Here is a list of utility knives that can cut rubber of different thicknesses.

NameThickness of Material
X-Acto No 1. Precision KnifeThin
WorkPro Premium Utility KnifeMedium
Fiskers Pro Snap-Blade Utility KnifeThick 

Snap-blade utility knives are meant just to snap the blade for a fresh blade, but if extended all the way out, you can use them to thick, soft rubber. 

While a straight edge and a utility knife are definitely the way to go, there are other options for cutting your rubber.

Hack Saw

Sometimes, the manual way is the easiest. You can go slow, so you won’t melt the rubber as you cut. 

You can also have finer control over the cut you will make.

Hack saws come in a variety of teeth sizes and numbers. Depending on how dense your rubber is, you can tailor fit the saw to the job. 

More teeth mean smaller chips and a smoother cut.

Reciprocating Saw and Jigsaw

A reciprocating saw, also known as a saws-all, is like a powered hack saw. Jigsaws are also a great option for cutting thick rubber.

There are a wide variety of blades for reciprocating saws and jigsaws, and like the others, the more teeth, the better.

These are also great if you’re trying to get curved cuts in the rubber, like cutting stall mats and doing rubber flooring.

However, like the circular saw, you want to go slow with either option.

Heavy-Duty Rubber Cutter

The heavy-duty rubber cutter is similar to a pair of power shears. 

Rubber cutters come in a variety of shapes and prices. They can be as expensive as the Hercules Foam Rubber Cutter Kit.

While the tool is expensive, it does the job smoothly and quickly. There are different sizes of cutters on the market for different jobs. 

There even are cheaper manual rubber cutters.

Materials a Circular Saw is Good at Cutting Through

While a common circular saw may not be the best option for rubber, it is the best option for many materials used at home or on a construction site. These materials include: 

  • Wood
  • Vinyl
  • Steel
  • Masonry (Brick, Concrete, etc.)
  • Tiles

The versatility and utility of a circular is one of the reasons it is a staple of many a tool collection. They can cut everything from carbon steel rebar to tree stumps within reason.

If you need an arrow straight cut from your circular saw, there are universal, and after-market straight edge tracks you can buy and track-specific track saws.


A circular saw can cut through rubber, but better tools depend on the thickness and hardness of your rubber. 

In a pinch, though, a circular saw is fine if it is sharp and you go slow.