This heavy-gauge blade features titanium carbide and a triple-chip grind to ensure clean, burr-free cuts. Features expansion slows that dissipate heat. Good for a wide range of metal projects.
Pricier than some competing brands.
Teeth are made from a special Cermet blend (ceramic-metal) and are designed to last much longer than standard blades. Teeth have a triple-chip grind for reduced burring. Laser-cut stabilizer vents and nonstick coating.
May be overkill for smaller projects.
This durable, well-made blade is excellent for making factory-like edge cuts easily and quickly. Designed for all high-gauge metal with anti-vibration vents for straighter, truer cutting.
Not advisable for cutting thicker metal.
The teeth are tipped with Cermet (a ceramic-metal blend) for longer life. Produces burr-free cuts and is capable of cutting a variety of materials, including pipe and steel studs. Vibration dampening is built in.
Cheaper blades are available for minor jobs.
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A metal-cutting blade in a circular saw can make short work of all kinds of jobs, from light-duty tasks like trimming pipework or aluminum siding to heavy-duty cutting of angle iron or steel framework.
There are numerous different devices for doing these jobs, too, from handheld multi-tools to benchtop chop saws, so the range of metal-cutting circular saw blades is extensive, and that’s before you start looking at blade materials, the type of metals they’re designed to cut, or the number and profile of the teeth.
Choosing the right blade for the job is far from straightforward and getting it wrong can result in poor performance at best and the possibility of your work being ruined at worst. Here at BestReviews, it’s our job to help you avoid those problems by giving you well-researched buying advice.
Metal-cutting circular saw blades vary from 2-inch diameter blades used by jewelers and precision engineers, to 14-inch monsters used for heavy-duty work. It should go without saying that these diameters are critical, as is the size of the hole in the middle that fits on your saw’s arbor (spindle). There is no leeway — the blade fits or it doesn’t — so always double-check before ordering.
The type of metal you can cut depends to some extent on the capabilities of your saw, but more important is how the metal-cutting saw blade is constructed.
HSS: The cheapest blades are made from high-speed steel (HSS), which is also called tool steel. Typically, you’ll see this used in low-cost drill bits, and for woodcutting blades it’s excellent, but metals are much harder. It’s adequate for cutting softer metals like aluminum or copper in thin sheets or pipework, but it’s not really hard enough to cut steel and certainly not cast iron. If you need to save money, and you’re only working with thin, nonferrous metals, an HSS metal-cutting circular saw blade will probably do the job.
Carbide: For those tougher materials, you need teeth that are harder and stay sharper for longer. HSS is still used as the main body of the saw blade, but tungsten carbide or titanium carbide tips are applied and ground to shape. Tungsten is a little harder than titanium, but the difference is minimal. If you’re looking for an all-purpose blade, choose one tipped in tungsten or titanium carbide.
Number: The number of teeth makes a considerable difference in how efficiently the blade cuts particular materials and the smoothness of the finish. Good manufacturers provide charts to help you choose (a maximum revolutions per minute may also be suggested). In general, fewer teeth mean faster cutting while more teeth mean a smoother cut.
You don’t want too many teeth, though, because that can make it difficult to clear the waste. It can result in the blade overheating or even jamming in the workpiece. Blades for rapid cutting of nonferrous metals might have as few as 30 teeth, but general-purpose models likely have in the 60 to 80 range.
Profile: Tooth profile can also improve cutting performance. A triple chip grind (TCG) is popular for thicker nonferrous metals. The blade has a different shape for alternate teeth, first an angled tooth for the initial cut, then a flat-topped tooth to clean away waste and provide a smooth finish.
Width: Heavy-duty blades usually have wider teeth, thus removing more material (the width of the cut is called the kerf). If you’re working to tight tolerances, the amount removed may have an impact, so it’s another thing worth checking.
Hook angle: Much is sometimes made of the hook angle (or claw shape), but it makes more difference in wood than metal. In the former, it can be quite aggressive, as much as 20° for cutting softwood, but blades don’t rip through steel in the same way, so the hook angle is usually just 1° or 2°, and it can be negative, sloping slightly away from the material. This provides additional safety because the bottom edge of the tooth helps hold the work down as it cuts.
It’s always worth looking at the surface of the blade. Often it doesn’t tell you much, but some manufacturers provide extensive information about the blade’s material-cutting capabilities and even the kind of tool it’s designed to be used with.
You’ll frequently find that metal-cutting circular saw blades have occasional gaps between sets of teeth. These slots and holes extend toward the middle and at first glance appear to be a weakness. In fact, these spaces, called gullets, are designed to allow for expansion as the blade gets hot and prevent the blade from distorting. They are there to maintain performance and kerf width.
If you’re using an angle grinder, there’s an alternative to the normal abrasive disks which are effective but wear down quickly. You can get metal-cutting blades that look much like those for circular saws, but instead of tungsten-tipped teeth, they have diamond-encrusted edges. They’re great for quickly chopping through things like rebar and bolts.
Carbide-tipped blades are also called tungsten carbide tipped (TCT) blades. It’s just a slightly different name for the same thing.
Face shield: Lincoln Electric OMNIShield
Specifically designed for metalworking, this polycarbonate lens is almost twice as thick as standard models, offering both excellent clarity and high-impact protection. The headband has lots of adjustment, with padding for comfort, and the face shield can also be adapted to work with most hard hats (adapters are extra).
Shop coat: Red Kap Men’s Shop Coat
A shop coat protects you and your clothing from hot metal particles (swarf) and provides useful pockets for pencils and tools. The Red Kap is made from a hard-wearing yet a comfortable combination of polyester and cotton, with hidden closures that won’t snag as you work. It’s vented to keep you cool, too.
Inexpensive: Cheap metal-cutting circular saw blades start at around $12 to $15 for a 7.5-inch model, but these are only hardened steel. They will cut aluminum sheet and other nonferrous metals of modest thickness, but not steel.
Mid-range: There’s a good choice of general-purpose blades between $35 and $60. These are carbide tipped, so they’ll handle steel sheet, rebar, and pipework with relative ease. Small jewelers’ saw blades and those for rotary tools usually fall into this price bracket.
Expensive: Blades (12- and 14-inch diameter) designed for heavy-gauge ferrous metals and tough materials like angle iron can cost anywhere from $80 to $150.
A. Is it technically possible? Yes. Is it advisable? Probably not. A specialist metal-cutting chop saw is the best tool, or a handheld circular saw if the job allows. In both of these cases, you clamp the material firmly before cutting and control the progress of the blade. When using a table saw, you’re moving the material into the blade. That may be okay on thin sheet metal, but not on thicker stock. Kickback could send your metal workpiece flying through the air and would be seriously dangerous.
A. You can with cheap HSS blades used for thin, nonferrous metals: just use a hand file. It’s unlikely you’ll be able to sharpen carbide-tipped blades. Most people don’t have the necessary equipment. The carbide tips are extremely hard and can only be sharpened with a diamond wheel. Added to that, the grind angle needs to be very precise. It’s a job for a professional regrinding service. Check around and get several quotes. Depending on the blade, prices can be two or three bucks per tooth, so it might just be cheaper to buy a new blade.
A. In terms of its ability to cut similar metals, yes. However, it’s more a question of using the right tool for the job. An angle grinder is very portable, and it’s great for quick and dirty metal cutting, especially in hard to reach places. A circular saw gives you precision so you can cut accurately to size and at various angles.