Handles wood, metal and plastic assignments with ease. Interchangeable blades require no tools. Powerful 3.4 amp motor enhances traditional handsaw motion.
Initial blade installation can be extremely challenging. Not recommended for large scale operations. Instructions difficult to interpret.
Can be used in multiple different configurations. Extremely sharp blade. Great comfort and support.
Smaller size makes it not suitable for larger jobs.
Great for performing "field cuts" during camping and hunting trips. Locking pin is hardened steel, not plastic. Folds safely in rubberized handle between uses.
Rubber grip can become loose over time. Other folding saws available at lower price point. Not recommended for woodworking projects.
Four different blade/handle combinations provide rip and cross cuts. 10" cutting length, with a longer handle than the Gyokucho. Blades easy to attach and remove.
Thinner Japanese-style blade can get stuck easily. Not intended to perform as well as custom-made high end Japanese razor saws. Hidden metal can dull teeth quickly.
Ergonomic grip reduces hand and arm fatigue. Blade and teeth design improve efficiency per stroke, up to three times faster than traditional handsaws. Retail price price point is very impressive.
May not work well on harder woods. Some users find angle notations on blade confusing. Shorter blade length could actually increase arm and hand fatigue.
As with any tool, choosing the right saw for the task at hand is a crucial first step before you get to work. However, if you are unfamiliar with saws, you may not realize how many types are available. For example, a saw that is great for cutting with the wood grain might not produce favorable results when you need to cut across the grain.
To find the best saw for your needs, you must first know how you intend on using that saw. Are you going to cut tree branches or two-by-fours? Will it need to cut flush against a surface or fit into a hole? Do you want to cut a straight line or create something more ornate? These are the types of questions you'll need to ask yourself in order to purchase a saw that will allow you to cut right the first time.
The wide selection of saws on the market can be intimidating, but once you know what type is the right style for your needs, the decision becomes much easier. If you'd like to learn more about the different saw types that are available and how to use them, continue reading our buying guide.
The first step in finding the best saw is knowing what your options are. Every type of saw is designed with a specific type of cut and material in mind, though some types are more versatile than others.
This type of saw features sharper teeth and it is designed to cut across the grain of the wood. It typically produces a smoother edge than most saws.
A rip saw cuts with the wood grain. The teeth on this type of saw are more like chisels, so it tends to cut aggressively and leave a rough edge.
This type of saw features a rigid metal piece that runs along the back of the saw to keep the blade straight and allow for more precise cutting. This saw is frequently used with a miter box for moulding and trim work.
A pruning saw features a curved blade that can easily cut tree branches. These saws also have larger, sharper teeth so they can cut more aggressively than other types of saws.
When cutting materials other than wood, having a hacksaw can come in handy. Although you can purchase a wide variety of blades, the most common ones are thin and feature fine teeth, making them desirable for cutting metal. These types of saws also work on PVC and masonry.
A coping saw is designed to be used for fine woodworking. It features very thin blades that can be rotated to make intricate cuts. The blade on this type of saw can be inserted through a hole that has been drilled into a piece of wood.
Another saw used for intricate woodwork is a pull saw. The key feature with this type is that it does the cutting when you pull instead of when you push. A pull saw makes it easier for a beginner to cut straight.
Because of its thin, pointed blade, this type of saw is best used for cutting curves. Like a coping saw, it can also be used to cut from the inside. It is most often used in areas where the location of the hole (such as in drywall) would make it impossible to use a coping saw.
This is a long, thinner saw that resembles a keyhole saw but features coarser teeth to facilitate cutting through wallboard.
If you have the end of a dowel sticking through a piece of wood, you will need a flush cut saw to cut the dowel, so it becomes flush with the surface of the wood.
A reciprocating saw is gripped like a handheld saw, but it is electrically powered so the sawing motion is done for you. A reciprocating saw is most often used in demolition work.
A dirty saw blade is more likely to rust and become difficult to use. The best thing you can do for your saws is keep them clean and dry and store them in a climate-controlled area.
There are a few fine points to keep in mind when looking at the teeth of your saw.
Usually, larger teeth are used for softer woods and smaller teeth for harder woods. A coarser blade is going to give you a rougher cut, and the wider the teeth are, the wider the cut will be. If you have trouble starting a cut with a saw that features large teeth, you might want to consider one with smaller teeth.
You will want a handle on your saw that can easily accommodate your hand. It should also be somewhat comfortable and firmly attached to the blade with no wobble. Most saws feature a molded plastic or rubber grip that is comfortable to hold and gives you good control over your motion.
While most saws are hand saws and are driven by your own elbow grease, many saws are electric or gas powered for highly efficient cutting that is best suited to bigger jobs and thick materials. As with any job, you should consider which tool will get the work done best and won’t require you to do anything over. Not every task calls for a power tool, but electric and gas saws are sometimes the only tool that can cut the materials you’re working with.
To protect your saw blade during storage, cut a section of hose that is equal to the length of the blade, slit it longways, and place it over the teeth of the saw.
Inexpensive: If you are just looking for a small, handheld saw, something with a folding blade that is good for lighter duty work or a saw for smaller jobs like a keyhole saw, you can get one for under $15. These may not be the most durable models, but if you're only pruning or doing work where precision isn't the most important factor, you might find what you are looking for in this lower price range.
Mid-range: From $15 to $25, you'll find decent quality saws for most of your needs. Whether it's a crosscut saw or a hacksaw, the average DIY enthusiast will likely be able to find good value in this price range.
Expensive: If you are interested in fine woodworking and want a precise, professional-grade handsaw, you should consider saws for between $70 and $120. The saws in this price range are designed for the serious woodworker and are built to last.
If you ever experience binding — when the kerf pinches against the saw blade and makes it difficult to move — simply place a nail in the kerf to keep it open so that your saw blade can freely move back and forth.
Even if you have the best, most expensive saw, it doesn't guarantee a straight cut. Following are a few tips to help you saw wood like a journeyman carpenter.
There are a few saws that didn’t quite make the cut for our top picks but are certainly still worth considering.
Olson Saw Coping Saw features a hardwood handle, and the blades can be turned 360º to saw in any direction using a push or pull stroke. However, this is just the frame, so you'll also need their coping saw blade assortment to get the job done.
For outdoor work, Corona's Razor Tooth Folding Saw has a durable, 7-inch blade that is designed for pruning branches up to 3 inches in diameter.
For a stalwart carpenter saw, try the Great Neck Saw Crosscut Hand Saw, a 26-inch saw with a high carbon steel blade.
And lastly, for the toughest jobs, there's Bahco's 30-Inch Ergo Bow Saw, which is designed to be used on dry wood and lumber.
Q. Do saws cut when you push them or when you pull them?
A. It all depends on the saw. Some saws feature teeth that cut when pushing the blade away from your body, while others feature teeth that are designed to cut when pulling the blade toward you. Additionally, there are saws that are manufactured to cut in both directions. It is important to know which direction your saw cuts so you are not applying effort when there is no cutting being done.
Q. What is a kerf?
A. The kerf is the slit in the wood that is made by the saw. Some saws create a very narrow slit, while others make one that is quite wide. The width of the kerf is determined by the set of the teeth — wider the teeth are at their base, the wider the kerf. The kerf needs to be wide enough so the saw doesn't get stuck in the wood, but if it is too wide, the cutting action can be sloppy and hard to control.
Q. What is the difference between a crosscut and a rip?
A. Crosscut simply means cutting across the grain of the wood. Since this is a more difficult task than cutting with the grain (a rip cut), crosscut saws are manufactured differently — the teeth are beveled and angled to provide more of a knifelike edge. Yes, it is possible to perform a rip cut with a crosscut saw and vice versa, but it is always better to use the right saw for the job at hand.
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