Saws are one of the most essential equipment that are used to cut different materials. They have been in use for thousands of years.
While initially, they were only used to cut wood, the modern saws can cut a wide range of materials with a high level of precision. The modern saws are powered using electricity, gas, and other fuel which makes them more powerful.
When choosing a saw, the first thing you have to consider is whether you want a hand-operated saw or the saws that run on fuel. The saws that run on fuel, referred to as power saws, are more versatile.
There is also one other main factor – teeth per inch (TPI). The saw blades that have a higher TPI rating will produce smooth and clean cuts.
The article covers the complete list of saws out there and highlights the best use of each saw.
1. Hand Saws
As the name implies, a hand saw is not powered by gas or electricity. You have to use your hands to generate force and cut the wood. Some types of hand saws are used as general cutting tools while other types are designed for a specific style of cutting.
Here is a complete list of different types of hand saws,
The backsaw is short and has a narrow blade that comes with additional support along the upper edge. You can use the back saw along with a miter box to create miter joints at the desired angles.
The black saws are ideal for producing straight cuts and right-angled cuts. They also go under the aliases of miter saws and tenon saws.
Best for: Creating straight and right-angled cuts
Shaped in the form of a bow and hence the name, bow saw. It is a type of crosscut saw that has a long blade with crosscut teeth. When you move the bow saw to and fro, it will remove the materials.
Bow saws are ideal for cutting logs, pruning, and trimming trees. In some cases, they are also used to provide rough cuts.
Best for: Cutting logs and pruning trees
Coping saws come with a thin and narrow blade that makes them ideal for providing intricate cuts. It is one of the most popular saws that is used by people in different professions.
You can use the coping saw for trimming, scrolling, and making precision cuts.
Best for: Making intricate cuts and trimming
The crosscut saws have a thick blade with large and beveled teeth. The crosscut saws are ideal for trimming branches and rough-cutting wood. They are mainly used in construction sites.
The bigger crosscut saws come with handles on each end of the blade and are used by two people. These are used to cut the wood perpendicularly.
Best for: Cutting wood
Similar to the coping saw, it comes with a long and narrow blade that is used to produce intricate cuts. The fret saw a bigger body frame that allows you to cut from the outer edges.
But you cannot rotate the blade which makes it difficult to position the saw while making intricate cuts.
Best for: Making intricate cuts
Hacksaw is lightweight and is used for a wide range of cutting applications. You can change the blades depending on the material you want to cut through. The blades have a tooth count of 18 to 32 per inch.
Using this, you can cut metal, wood, plastic, and any other materials. The hacksaw is most commonly used for cutting pipes and tubing.
Best for: Cutting pipes and tubing
The hole saws are fitted to a drill which allows you to cut holes in wood, concrete, metal, plastic, and other materials.
Depending on the material you want to cut, you can choose the blade material. You also have the option of going with bi-metal hole saws that allow you to cut more materials. But, if you want to cut through harder materials, you want a hole saw whose teeth are coated with diamond or carbide.
Best for: Creating holes in wood, concrete, metal, plastic, and other materials
The Japanese saw features a long handle and a thin, narrow cutting blade. The saw is easy to handle which allows you to cut the wood with more precision. Also, with the long handle, you can make cuts with any desired angles that you may not be able to do with other saws.
The Japanese saws come in three different types – kataba, ryoba, and dozuki. With the Japanese saw, you can cut soft and hardwood with a high level of precision.
Best for: Making precision cuts in hard and softwood
The keyhole saw has a round handle with a pointed blade using which you can rough cut circles or similar patterns. The saw is more commonly used to cut holes through concrete than wood.
Using this, you can remove small circular portions from drywall or make patterns in wall interiors.
Best for: Cutting holes through concrete walls
The pole of this saw can be extended up to a maximum of 16 feet depending on the specific model. The blade measures 6 to 8 inches and is generally used to prune trees.
The latest models of pole saws are more powerful and come with either gas or electricity as a fuel source.
Best for: Pruning trees
The pruning saw features a unique pistol-style grip handle and a curve blade measuring 13 to 15 inches. The curve blade is capable of cutting on both sides using coarse teeth.
The pruning saw is commonly used by landscapers, lawn services, and tree surgeons.
Best for: Trimming shrubs, grass, and trees
A type of hand saw that you can use for cutting hardwood. The blade has fewer teeth per inch but the teeth are very sharp to cut the wood. If you are looking for a saw to cut woods, then this would fit the bill.
Best for: Cutting hard and softwood
As the name has it, this saw is specifically used for veneer works. The veneer saw has a short blade with 13 teeth per inch and is pointed on both sides. You won’t normally find this saw being used for any other cutting apart from veneer works.
Best for: Veneer works
Resembling a keyhole saw, the wallboard saw features a short and broad blade with edges on both sides. The blade has fewer teeth per inch when compared to other saws.
Using this, you can put puncture through or put small holes in drywall. It is normally used to make starter holes for drilling or using other such power tools.
Best for: Creating small holes in walls
2. Power Saws
The power saws serve cutting purposes that are very different from the handsaws. While some power saws have evolved on the capabilities of handsaws, they are not used for the same purposes. They find their own applications.
The power saws are generally clustered into three different groups – Continuous band, Reciprocating blade, and Circular blade.
Below, you will find a complete list of the different power saw types available in the market.
Stationary Band Saw
The stationery band saw is one of the largest saws you will ever come across. It uses large pulleys on either side of the cutting table which moves a continuous band.
The band has fine teeth on its surface that cut through almost all materials when you place them on the cutting table. Using this, you can make curve cutting on woods and cutting tubes, PVC, and piping. You can also trim boards to shed their thickness using this saw.
But, the drawback is you can only make the cut for a few inches. Besides, it is time-consuming and you need a lot of patience.
Best for: Curve cutting on wood, cutting tubes, and piping.
Portable Band Saw
It is the portable version of the stationary band saw allowing you to carry it anywhere and perform the cutting tasks.
But with this, you can only cut pipes up to a maximum diameter of 3 to 4 inches. Besides, if you want to make straight cuts, you have to put in extra effort.
Best for: Making curve cuts in small diameter pipes
The most popular and the most widely used saw for cutting wood logs and chopping trees. The blade is covered by a chain with sharp teeth that rips the wood while cutting. Chainsaws fall into the group of band saws.
Best for: Cutting wood and chopping trees
Chop saw is one of the largest portable circular saws that you will find in the market. It comes in either a metal or a concrete cutting version. The later version reduces dust when you are cutting by including a connection for a water line.
The blades of the chop saws do not contain any teeth. Instead, they are made of special abrasives that cut through the materials. The chop saws go by different names such as abrasive saws, cut-off saws, and concrete saws.
Best for: Cutting through concrete
The circular saws are the most frequently used power saws. The blades of these saws are covered by tooths and measure 7 to 9 inches in diameter.
These saws are very versatile and you can cut different materials such as metal, wood, plastic, and masonry by changing the blades.
Best for: Cutting all materials
Compound Miter Saw
In this compound miter saw, you can mount the blade on an arm whose angle can be adjusted to get the desired cuts. They are generally used to produce compound, straight, and miter cuts.
Best for: Trimming windows and adding crown molding
The flooring saw is a specialized saw that is used to resaw flooring. The saw is portable which saves a lot of time as you do have to spend time moving the materials.
Besides, the flooring saw replaces the miter saw, table saw, and other accessories that you need to cut flooring.
Best for: Resaw and cut flooring
Jigsaw features a shirt blade that moves up and down at different speeds you preset. The blade has fine tooths that cut materials. The jigsaws come with corded and cordless options. The cordless ones allow you to move freely without being restricted by wires.
Using the jigsaws, you can cut curves and other non-straight lines on different materials. For thicker materials, you can increase the speed of the blade.
Best for: Cutting curves
The miter saw resembles a handsaw and is used to trim materials and make precision angle cuts. The saw can rotate up to 45 degrees on either side and you can set it up at an angle based on the cut you need.
Best for: Precision angle cuts
As the name implies, it has an oscillating blade located at one end. You can change the blade depending on the material you want to cut. Apart from cutting, you can also grind, remove caulk or grout, and scrap materials.
Best for: Cut, grind, and scrap materials
The panel saw come in horizontal and vertical alignments that are used to cut large panels. The horizontal panel saw has a sliding feeding table where you place the material to be chopped.
In the case of vertical panel saws, you have to either feed the material or attach a blade that slides through the panel.
Best for: Cutting large panels
Radial Arm Saw
Using the radial arm saw, you can create identical miter cuts, compound cuts, and more. This saw has a motor and blade fitted to an arm that extends over the cutting table.
Some radial arm saws have the option to replace the straight blade with a circular blade.
Best for: Making identical cuts
The reciprocating saw features a short blade that moves back and forth to cut the materials. Using the reciprocating saw, you can cut wood and plastics.
You can also use it to cut below the walls or joints made by woods as the saw is capable of cutting nails as well.
Best for: Cutting walls and wood joints
These saws come with a screwdriver-design handle and a fixed blade. It is most commonly used for cutting through concrete walls, paneling, and other minor cutting tasks.
Best for: Making cuts in concrete walls
The scroll saw features a rotating feeding table and a blade connected to an arm. The blade cuts the materials while the table is rotating to create curves that have sharp edges.
Best for: Making edged curve-cuttings
The table saw uses a motor that rotates at high speed to operate the blade. You can change the cutting depth by modifying the length of the blade from the table. You can use either a masonry blade or a metal blade for cutting purposes. But, you have to make sure that the blade supports the rpm of the motor.
Best for: Creating identical cuts and rip cuts
The tile saw uses a blade that is coated with diamond to make cuts on hard surfaces. It has a water cooling system that prevents it from overheating. For ensuring straight cuts, it comes with a miter.
One of the specialties of this saw is that you can cut glass without breaking it. But you have to choose the correct blade and model to achieve glass cuts.
Best for: Cutting glass and ceramic tiles
The track saw connects to a gliding rail that makes it resemble a circular saw. You have to place the material on the rail and move the blade along the rail to create the desired cut.
Best for: Creating straight cuts on woods and other materials
Over the years, saws have evolved into specialized cutting tools that are used for specific cutting purposes. As you have seen, you can not use the same saw to cut different materials. If you want to get a specific cut, you have specialized saw types for that as well.
Based on the material you want to cut and the desired cut, you can opt for a saw from the above list.
If you still have difficulties in choosing a saw, please let us know using the comments section. We will help you out. You can also post your thoughts and opinions in the comments box.