Able to cut through drywall, plywood, plaster, and other common materials, this adjustable cutter could be the last hole saw you ever need to buy. Can replace an entire set from 1 and 3/16 inches to 8 and 5/8 inches, making it ideal for recessed lighting holes, and a much easier solution than a jig saw.
Hole cutter is not entirely balanced, can be a bit wobbly on start-up before the bit is fully engaged. The cutting bit can also jam up in softer materials.
With M3 steel construction and hardened backing plates, this set is built to withstand jobsite abuse. The thicker backing plates also protect against warping and increase longevity for this 9-piece kit.
Comparatively shallow teeth may cause you to stop frequently while drilling to remove build-up.
Since this kit includes convenient sizes for plumbing, electrical, and door-lock installation tasks, this kit combines durability with versatility.
The paint on the saws themselves tends to come off pretty easily.
The luxury of having the AutoStart pilot bit with a spring-loaded, retractable shaft makes starting cuts a breeze without the need for a pilot hole. Additionally, each saw is coated with a vacuum-brazed diamond grit for faster cuts and longer life.
Diamond wear rates were criticized by some, particularly when cutting materials like granite and marble.
For more precise cutting, this kit features a 5-piece set of metric hole saws, all made of thick alloy, designed to cut through multiple types of material. Combined with the spring-loaded pilot bit, this set creates a smooth cut for the most discerning of craftsman.
Comparatively, these saws are a bit thinner than others. Make sure that these saws are deep enough for your needs before using.
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There's a limit to how big a hole you can drill with a standard bit. The solution for something bigger in most cases is a hole saw – which can be as large as six inches in diameter.
Different types of hole saws can cut through just about every material you can think of: drywall, wood, plastic, glass, tile, concrete, marble, and steel. They are a valuable addition to every tool kit, whether you are a weekend DIYer or a professional tradesperson.
Given the versatility, it's no surprise that there are lots of hole saw sets to choose from. Our recommendations cover a wide range of alternatives to suit different tasks, and the following buying guide looks at specific features in more detail. It should provide all the information you need to decide on a hole saw set that’s right for you.
Most hole saws are comprised of an arbor, a metal cup with a toothed edge, and a pilot drill. The metal cup usually has straight sides – which makes it easier to cut a parallel hole – though some have sloped sides, which reduces friction or any chance of them binding in thick material. Not all models have a pilot drill, but it's usually included because without it, the hole saw has a tendency to wander – making it difficult to position accurately.
There is another tool called a hole saw, though more accurately it ought to be called a hole cutter. This consists of a bar with a cutting blade at one end and a shank to fit a drill chuck. As the drill rotates, the cutting blade cuts a circle. The main advantage of this type is that the blade can slide along the bar, making it adjustable. The disadvantage is that it has quite limited depth, and can only cut drywall, plywood and similar thin sheets.
What the hole saw is made of will define the materials it can cut through.
Some hole saw sets are designed to suit particular trades with a limited number of saws in limited sizes, which can be a bit too focused for general-purpose use. You don't necessarily need more pieces, just a wider spread of sizes.
Thick-walled hole saws are usually designed for cutting metal. They will cut wood and other materials, but thin-walled alternatives usually do those jobs better.
Inexpensive: Basic hole saw sets of high carbon steel (HCS) for cutting wallboard or pine paneling can be found for between $15 and $20. You'll find basic metal-cutting HSS hole saw sets for a similar price, although we recommend spending $10 to $15 more for TCT versions. Entry-level diamond hole saw sets don't cost any more than HCS versions – though depths will be limited, and the range of cuttable materials may be restricted.
Mid-range: Good bi-metal hole saw sets are in the $50 to $90 range, for which you'll get 12 to 15 sizes.
Expensive: A boxed set of heavy-duty diamond saws from a premium brand can be $200 or more, and you might get 8 or 10 sizes.
The main takeaway here is that there's something for every budget – but it pays to buy quality. Better to buy three of four really good pieces than a cheap set of 12, half of which you may never use.
Don't confuse high carbon steel (HCS) with high speed steel (HSS). The former is fine for cutting wood and wall board, while the latter is better suited for cutting metal.
At first glance, the Blendx Diamond Hole Saws Kit with its ten different sizes looks like an incredible value – and if you need to cut a few holes in tile or glass, it could be ideal. However, they won't cut thicker than ½ inch, and there's no arbor/pilot drill, so the technique takes a while to master. The KHCRAFT Bi-Metal Hole Saw Kit is an excellent choice for the keen DIYer who wants a good set of tools for a modest outlay: nine HSS saws for cutting wood, composites and aluminum, all neatly cased. The Milwaukee 49-22-4185 Professional Ice Hardened Hole Saw Kit comes from a company know for tough tools. With 28 pieces, the kit really couldn't be more comprehensive. And ice hardened? The bi-metal hole saws are heated and then quenched at temperatures at -4°F or colder to improve durability. Apparently it changes the entire structure of the metal whereas ordinary hardening affects only the exterior.
Q: Should any special safety precautions be taken when using a hole saw?
A: As when using any power tool, always wear eye protection. Hole saws can produce a considerable amount of dust and airborne debris, so a lightweight breathing mask is a good idea.
When the cutting edge of the hole saw itself makes contact, there can be a noticeable torque reaction that can cause the drill to twist in your hands. Make sure you have a firm grip, and wherever possible keep the cutting edge level with the work surface.
If you're working with a corded drill and using water as a coolant, make sure the drill is connected to a GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) to prevent electric shock.
Q: Can I use hole saws with any type of drill?
A: You can, but you need to consider the material you are drilling and the size of the hole. A one-inch hole in plywood shouldn't present any problems for a DIY-type cordless drill. A two-inch hole in concrete is a very different proposition. If you have lots of heavy-duty work in hard materials, a powerful Slotted Drive System SDS drill is the obvious choice.
Bear in mind whatever the drill, you should only use rotary, not hammer action. A hole saw is not designed to cut that way, and you'll very likely damage it and possibly deform the hole, too.
Q: What's the difference between an annular cutter and a hole saw?
A: In essence, all hole saws are a type of annular cutter in that they are a ring shape with teeth or cutting material on the edge. Machine tool annular cutters have a much thicker cutting edge and no pilot drill. They are designed for precision engineering work and normally used in lathes or milling machines.
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