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Updated August 2022
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.

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Buying guide for Best concrete saws

Concrete is usually poured because it’s such a hard material to cut, but sometimes cutting can’t be avoided. Whether you’re tackling a new build, remodel, or demolition, you need some form of concrete saw.

The choice of concrete saw might be wider than you expect, with everything from unpowered handheld saws to walk-behind models with high-performance gas motors. The saws have vastly different capacities and use both wet and dry methods of cutting.

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It’s common for a concrete saw to not include a blade, but that isn’t always clear in the description. Check carefully when ordering.

Key considerations

Capabilities

Concrete is a very versatile material. It can be poured in large slabs and made into blocks and other shapes. Not only can it be put to many different uses, but it also comes in a variety of thicknesses, and this presents a major challenge when you want to cut it. As a result, concrete saws can be divided into a number of categories: masonry, disc, walk-behind, chainsaw, and handsaw.

Masonry saws look much like the circular saws used for woodworking. They’re a versatile choice for cutting concrete, tile, stone, and so on. They’re generally easy to handle, but the depth of the cut is modest.

Disc cutters are somewhat similar to masonry saws but the blade is at the front. These tend to be more powerful and have greater capacities, though they are still handheld tools.

Walk-behind concrete saws are long-handled devices often used for scoring concrete to provide decorative effects. Large models have considerable capacities and can be used for heavy-duty cutting and trenching.

Concrete-cutting chainsaws are highly specialized tools, but they have few rivals if you need to cut thick concrete blocks.

Concrete-cutting handsaws: These are similar to their woodworking counterpart and are perhaps a somewhat surprising inclusion. A handsaw certainly takes plenty of effort, but it is the only concrete saw that can match a chainsaw for the thickness of the cut, and at a fraction of the cost.

Other factors

Your main deciding factor is often the depth of cut, but you also want to consider portability and ease of use. A large disc cutter can have impressive capacities, but it is more difficult to handle and frequently loud. If you only need to cut inch-thick concrete slabs for the backyard, one of these would certainly be overkill. It’s always tempting to look at high-power machines, but you’ll get the best bang for your buck if you spend some time thinking about the kind of concrete cutting you will do most of the time.

Power

Concrete saws can be corded, cordless, or gas powered. Much has already been written about the pros and cons of each power source, so we don’t really need to go into that. What we do need to look at is the impact of the power source on the saw’s performance.

Cordless tools are extremely popular because of the convenience they offer, but sawing concrete can push battery power to its limits. Most cordless concrete saws fall into the masonry saw category, and while they can still produce a competitive depth of cut, run times can be quite limited, and spare batteries are not cheap.

Corded electric concrete saws show up in every category except chainsaws (and handsaws, obviously). They’re easy to use, and they can go anywhere as long as you have a standard power outlet or a generator. They’re usually lighter than cordless or gas equivalents too. These are the concrete saws most usually suited to DIY users.

Gas-powered concrete saws are the high-performance models. Having said that, they’re not all scary beasts, though many aren’t suitable for the complete novice. You do have regular maintenance to consider, and often considerable noise. Many states also regulate emissions, so you need to look at models that are CARB and/or EPA compliant.

Blade diameter is usually quoted. It can sound impressive, but what you need to focus on is the actual depth of the cut.

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Features

Wet or dry

Concrete can be sawn wet or dry. Some concrete saws accommodate both methods, but most focus on one or the other. Many small masonry saws cut dry, which is easier because you don’t need a water supply, but they don’t have the same capacities and often need frequent breaks to keep the blade from overheating. Dust-collecting systems and bags come with some models, but the efficiency isn’t always great. These devices can also get in the way so they’re often left off.

The water supply for wet cutting is generally supplied via hoses fitted to either one or both sides of the blade. Often the connectors fit a standard garden hose. If you’re doing contract work on a jobsite, you’ll need to check that the saw complies with relevant safety standards for dust suppression. On walk-behind models, the water is sometimes provided via a gravity-fed tank, which adds considerable weight and can impact the saw’s maneuverability.

Blade

Masonry saws for concrete cutting usually come with the blade included, but larger models frequently do not. It’s an area that bears some investigation because you’ll find many alternatives. The most important thing to check is whether the blade supports wet cutting, dry cutting, or both. Running a wet blade dry will not only reduce performance but could also be dangerous.

While it’s certainly worth looking out for a good deal, we recommend avoiding cheap concrete saw blades because they tend to wear out very quickly.

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DID YOU KNOW?
Water-feed systems help keep dust levels down and cool the blade for more efficient cutting, but you’ll have to clean up the sludge afterward.
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Accessories

Protective gear: TR Industrial Hard Hat
A lot of debris can get thrown about when you’re cutting concrete, so wearing a face shield makes good sense. Many jobsites also require the use of a hard hat. Though originally designed for forestry use, this hat, face shield, and earmuff combo provides an affordable solution to several health hazards.

Respirator: 3M Half-Facepiece Reusable Respirator
Cutting concrete can be dusty work, and it releases crystalline silica that causes a respiratory disease called silicosis. Simple paper dust masks aren’t particularly efficient, so it’s recommended that you wear a lightweight respirator. Few manufacturers have a better reputation for safety equipment than 3M, and this model is effective, comfortable, and inexpensive.

Concrete saw prices

Inexpensive: You can find a concrete-cutting handsaw (if you don’t mind the effort required in using it) for anywhere from $30 to $50. Small electric masonry saws start at around $125.

Mid-range: There’s a wide choice of tools for cutting concrete slab in the $200 to $400 range. Some of these can cut up to an impressive 4-inch depth. Cordless versions are considerably more — generally $800 and up — which is the same bracket as electric walk-behind and high-powered handheld gas models.

Expensive: Specialist concrete chainsaws run anywhere from $1,600 and up. Replacement blades can be $500 and more. Most gas-powered walk-behind models are in the $2,000 to $3,500 range.

Cordless tools can eat through batteries surprisingly quickly. Buying a spare is an obvious solution, but it will add at least $50 to the total price.

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Tips

Many concrete saws can be managed quite safely even by inexperienced users. However, these are powerful tools, which means there is the potential for serious accidents. A few sensible precautions can help make sure one doesn’t happen to you.

  • Wear protective clothing. That includes strong gloves, protective footwear, and face mask, breathing protection, and ear defenders where appropriate.
  • Never operate a concrete saw if you’re not 100% alert.
  • Remove all distractions. Kids often want to help with projects at home, but they need to stay well clear until any cutting operations are finished. Keep pets indoors.
  • Understand the machine’s functions and how to stop it quickly in an emergency.
  • Check the concrete saw carefully before starting. Make sure the nuts and bolts are tight and any connections are secure. Check for blade damage and replace a damaged blade immediately.
  • Refuel when the motor is cool. Always take adequate care when fueling gas machines, and never refuel one when the motor is hot.
  • Plug a corded model into a ground-fault circuit interrupter. The GFCI will cut the power in the event of an electrical fault and could prevent you from being electrocuted.
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If you’re going to use your concrete saw in a commercial environment, it needs to comply with OHSA 1926.1153, which covers the personal exposure limit (PEL) of airborne concentrations of respirable crystalline silica.

FAQ

Q. Do I always need to use water with a concrete saw?

A. No. It depends on the blade type. Dry-cutting concrete saw blades generally have expansion slots to counteract the effects of heat buildup. They can often only be used for short periods and then need to rest. They’re also best for shallow cuts. Wet-cutting concrete saw blades are more heavy-duty models. There are also dual-purpose wet and dry blades with which water for lubrication is usually recommended but not entirely necessary.

Q. How long do concrete saw blades last?

A. That’s difficult to answer given that blades vary considerably, as does the hardness of concrete. As an estimate, cheap concrete saw blades might wear out after a dozen hours of continuous use. Quality versions can last ten times that long, which often more than compensates for the difference in price. You’ll usually get less unpleasant vibration and easier cutting from a quality blade.

Q. Can I use a chainsaw to cut concrete?

A. During our research we did find several chainsaws designed for cutting concrete, but they’re a specialist tool and much more expensive than woodcutting chainsaws. They usually have a hose attachment to provide water to cool the blades while cutting. An ordinary chainsaw blade is certainly not capable of cutting through concrete, and attempting to do so risks throwing off the chain, which could be very dangerous.

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