The civilization that we are in has gone through a lot of stages, a lot of evolutions. The first evolution that shaped our world is the addition of metals in our daily chores.
We replaced all the traditional tools with the metal ones and we haven’t looked back since then. Our life became easier, faster, more comfortable than it was ever before.
The saws have been with us ever since the iron age. Our toolbox is never complete without a saw in the corner. We had modified the saws according to our use and thanks to that, we currently have over thirty different kinds of saws.
Each of these saws has their own use and you can’t really replace one with another unless certain modifications.
The saws have different shapes and sizes. Unless you are an expert, picking up the right kind of saw by just their name will confuse you as many saws are regionally called by the name of other saws. Also, in most cases, the shape of the saw plus the count and shape of the teeth will determine how a saw was intended to be used.
This article will help you from all the trouble you might face as a beginner. We will discuss about all the saws that currently exist in the market. All the basic features and the pros and cons will be discussed.
So, let’s not lengthen the intro anymore!
Types of Saws
There are more than thirty different saws in the market to aid up your work. The saws are different from the design and the purpose they serve. But all the saws are initially divided into two categories:
Hand saws: They are handheld, requires no power and typically slow.
Power saws: Electrically powered, faster and efficient.
They are the most ancient types of saws that has still regained its place in the garage. Though the invention of power saws had made them look obsolete or less efficient, they are more than handy for all the little chores and DIY works.
The hand saws can be of several types:
1. Back Saw
This type of hand saw has a narrow blade that is reinforced through the upper edge. For a fine consistent cut, back saws are good choice. The back saws are also called miter or tenton saws depending on their design and the region where it is used. The grip on the handle is firm and very useful while cutting through joinery or cabinetry.
2. Bow Saw
This is one of the most widely used outdoor saws. The bow saws are famous for both curved and straight cuts. The saw is mainly used for trimming trees, pruning, and cutting logs, but may be used for other rough cuts as well. The long, thin blade is attached to a frame which is shaped as a “stretched D”. The blade has numerous crosscut teeth that helps removing residuals during the pushing and pulling. The saw is also popular by some other names as Finn saws, swede saws, and buck saws.
3. Coping Saw
The coping saws are perfect for scrolling, trim work and type of cutting that needs a lot of intricate cuts and precision. The narrow and thin blade of it is attached to a stylish and sturdy D-shaped frame. The most intriguing feature of the coping saws are that the blades are removable. So, you can work with both wood and metals just by changing the blades. A coping saw is typically used when you are trying to achieve coped joints or when you are working with fretwork. This saw is widely used by both the professionals and the amateurs all over the world.
4. Crosscut Saw
The crosscut saws are generally bigger in size than the previously mentioned. The blades are thick and the crosscuts of the blade are deeper. The saw usually works during the push stroke like most of the western saws. The saw doesn’t have a frame to attach the blade with. Instead, the blade has wooden handle on the both sides for pushing and pulling. One of the most selling features of the crosscut saws is that they are able to cut wood perpendicular, right to the grain of the wood. This saw is useful in rough cuts for wood and trimming branches and limbs.
5. Fret Saw
The fret saws are upgraded version of the coping saws. The fret saws are widely used for intricating tight cuts in wood. The saw has a long and a larger frame which can help with cutting farther than the outer edges. The blade of the saw cannot be rotated and so the cutting positions would be a hard nut to crack with this saw. One of the downsides of this saw is the price of the blade. So, you have to be extra careful handling the blade.
Hacksaws are one of the most versatile and popular saws in the market. The saw has a prolific use in both wood and metal works. The hacksaws were first invented to cut pipes and tubes. But it was improvised afterward. The tool simply works with push and pull since the blade is designed to cut in both ways. The frame that holds the blade is sturdy yet lightweight. The hacksaws are preferred in all types of rough works since the blades are relatively cheaper.
7. Japanese Saw
This one is different than the rest of the saws we’ve discussed so far. The teeth of the blade are arranged in the opposite direction than the other saws. So, the cutting is done by pulling the saw towards the user.
The Japanese saw is single-handed and the thin and short blade of its enables to reach the corners that the other saws cannot. The saws come in three types: the dozuki, ryoba, and kataba.
These saws take practice to use effectively. The saws are mostly used for cutting softwoods and they do better at this job than any other saws.
8. Keyhole Saw
This swordfish looking saw has a round handle to support the protruding blade that goes all the way to the tip. This saw is useful in making circles, squares and other kinds of patterns in plywood and materials like this. When working with drywall, you will need a keyhole saw to remove specific sections from the wall. Also, this saw is useful for working in the areas that other power saws cannot reach. One of the salient features of this saw is that they are lightweight.
9. Pruning Saw
The pruning saws are shaped like a pistol having a blade of 13-15 inches length. The blades are wide and the teeth are coarse that can cut in both directions. The teeth are arranged in such a way that the residuals from its cut get out of the way on their own. The handle provides a firm grip and the blade is sturdy enough to sustain a long period. Pruning saws are more commonly found in a homeowner’s toolkit, but they are also widely used by tree surgeons, lawn services, and landscapers.
10. Rip Cut Saw
The Rip cut saws resemble the hand saws so very much that they are simply called the “Hand saw” instead of Rip cut saw. These saws have fewer teeth per inch but they are sharp and can cut in both ways. If you are in one of those framing jobs, you will definitely need at least one of the Rip cut saws. These saws are mainly used for cutting woods. You might mistake it for a cross-cut saw but there are certain differences that you will find once you start working with them.
11. Veneer Saw
This is another highly specialized hand saw that has a double-edged blade that has 13 teeth per inch. The blade is quite short, about 3 to 4 inches. The veneer saw is useful for cutting hardware veneer.
The advantage of it is, you can use both edges for cutting. The veneer is made of fine wood and you can apply it to coarser wood also. The veneer wood might seem thin and fragile, but the knife can’t cut it. That’s when a veneer saw comes in use.
12. Wallboard Saw
The Wallboard saws might seem just like the keyhole saws but they are shorter in length but has a wider blade. Generally, there is always one edged blade in the wallboard saw, but some of them have the double-blade as well. The blade has fewer teeth per inch than other saws. If you need to puncture through paneling, then this saw is fruitful. For power tools there may need a starter hole, this saw does this job well.
Unlike the hand saws, the power saws are driven by an external power source. The power saws are fast and they are efficient for a bulk amount of work. The power saws are mostly three types i.e. Continuous Band, Reciprocating Blade, and Circular Blade. Several types of power saws are described below:
1. Band Saw (Stationary)
This tall, floor-standing saw has fine teeth to cut through most materials. It has large pulleys above and below the cutting table to move a continuous band. For intricate cutting of curves into wood and cutting tubes, piping, and PVC, Band saws are perfect.
But one of the major drawbacks is that the cuts are limited to only a few inches in depth. Band saws can be used to cut thin boards by standing the board on its edge and carefully ripping it using a fence.
2. Band Saw (Portable)
If you want to do the same job you did use band saw (stationery) outside your home or another garage, take this portable band saw with you. It can do most of the jobs that its successor does and also the advantage is it has a portable facility. You have the limitation of the pipe depth for cutting through it, typically 3 to 4-inch pipes.
Give more effort for straightening the cut. For plumbers, welders, and metalworkers this tool is feasible that they can move it from one place to another.
3. Chain Saw
This is the most familiar power saw and it can be called as a handheld band saw. As the name states, it has a chain that does all the cutting. The chain is assembled with some specially designed ripping teeth. For heavy-duty works, chainsaws are the first choice of many. The most common use of this tool is in cutting the trees and bushes.
Most of the chain saws are powered by two stroked combustion engines. Due to their loud noise, the electric chainsaws are taking their place nowadays. Depending on the region, homeowners also keep this tool in the collection.
4. Chop Saw
The chop saws are one of the largest portable versions of circular saws. They are normally two types i.e. metal and masonry cutting versions. The concrete cutting saw uses the flow of water to reduce dust while cutting.
The blades of these saws are toothless and they are manufactured with special abrasives designed for the materials to be cut. Chop saws have some other names like cut-off saws, concrete saws, and abrasive saws.
5. Circular Saw
Circular saw is one of the popular faces in the family of power saws. The teeth of the blade are wide and normally 7 ¼ to 9 inches in diameter. The circular saws are very popular for cutting wood, metal, plastic and other materials. The electric circular saw comes in two distinct types i.e. worm drive and sidewinder. Sidewinders have less weight and the torque is also less as well the worm drive saw.
Different types of blades are there for you for different types of cutting. The height of the blade can always be fixed with the help of the lever. For adjusting the height, move the shoe to the upward or downward direction and then lock the blade. But there is a limitation in the depth that you should keep in mind.
6. Compound Miter Saw
This is the miter saw on steroids. Compound saws are very popular for their straight, miter, and compound cuts. Instead of pivoting up and down the miter saws cut in a different way.
The blade is mounted on an arm that can be adjusted for complex angles. This includes cuts for complex scrollwork and trim. The compound miter saw saves your time when you need to trim out windows or add crown molding.
7. Flooring Saw
A flooring saw is a portable power saw. Like the name, it is used to re-saw flooring to fit. The materials may be of hardwood, bamboo or laminate. It is a specialized one that can replace the table saw, miter saw and other tools that you need to cut flooring.
The biggest advantage is that it can save a lot of time of yours as you don’t have to move materials from one room to another or from the garage and vice versa. And that way you can save your strength too.
Not only flooring saw, but you will also like to read the best flooring nailers.
It is a handheld power saw. Compared to the other power saws that has a reciprocating blade, this is the most powerful one. This is very popular for cutting metal sheets and plywood. It has got some other names from the manufacturers as a sabre saw or bayonet saw. The blade can be moved up and down and it’s got some fine teeth as well.
When cutting curve, don’t apply force over it because of the force there may be uneven cut. The blade is small, so careful to not apply any kind of force while cutting. Instead, you can just steer the blade in the direction you want to make the cut. Controlling the saw might be a problem for the beginners. Make sure to look for a long cord or cordless jigsaw in the market.
9. Masonry Saw
The masonry saws are one of the least used power saws which are used for cutting lightweight concrete blocks. Also, it is called the concrete saw. It is familiar to a standard hand saw. But both the blade and the teeth are larger than the hand saw and has a pistol grip handle. However, the blade can be removed from the handle afterward.
The saws have 1 to 3 teeth per an inch length which is enough for the work it is built for. The deep gullets of it carry the dust away with every push stroke when it makes the cut.
10. Miter Saw
Being one of the few saws designed to expressly mimic a hand saw, the miter saw is ideal for use in the trim or other jobs involving precise measurements and angle cuts.
For a straight 90 degrees cut, a simple miter saw can pivot up to 45 degrees. Also, the saws can be used in conjunction with tables for cutting long mitered ends.
11. Oscillating Saw
Oscillating saws are one of the most innovative saws in the saw family. Also known as an oscillating multi-tool or oscillating tool, it has a body that resembles a grinder but has an oscillating attachment at the end that can be changed out depending on the job.
From the working point of view, it has quite a good number of similarities with the reciprocating saws. But it can handle not only cutting, but also grinding, removing grout or caulk, and scraping which some of its competitors cannot.
12. Panel Saw
The panel saws are specially designed to cut large panels. The saws have two different models i.e. Horizontal and vertical. The horizontal models use a sliding feed table which is pretty comforting while working with heavy materials.
For the vertical model, you might feed the material or have a blade that moves through a stationary panel. Panel saws are common in cabinetmaking, sign making, and similar industries.
13. Pole Saw
As the name states, pole saw is a saw on the end of a pole. The power pole saws take the form of a chain saw or a small powered saw. Its power source can be the mains electric, battery, or gas engine (Petrol).
In the pole saws that are not externally powered, there is a pruning saw attached to the end of the pole. For trimming trees, branches or herbs, this type of saw will offer a great deal of convenience.
14. Radial Arm Saw
In a radial arm type of saw, there is an extended motor and blade placed. This power saw can easily make compound cuts, miter cuts, etc. This type of saw offers you a great convenience as you can interchange the blades of a radial arm saw and a circular saw according to your purpose.
At first, verify the speed of the spin. Working with the saw is easy. Slide the arm and it will pull the blade across the material. The radial arm saws are useful for cutting long pieces of material, especially wood. One can easily use this tool for crosscutting.
15. Reciprocating Saw
As self-explaining as the name is, the reciprocating saw has a blade that reciprocates to make a cut. Reciprocating saws are sometimes called a Sawzall®, as they are the first one to manufacture this saw.
The saws are very popular for cutting tubing, wood, and plastics, and are also used for cutting beneath walls or wood joints.
16. Rotary Saw
Rotary saws have a very small screwdriver type handle. The blade here is fixed with it. While you need access or repair a wall, then do it with a rotary saw because in these cases it is the ideal one.
Workers use it for crafts for construction frequently. Like the keyhole saws, this rotary saw is very useful for drywall, paneling, and for other small cutting tasks. The saw resembles a drill. If you don’t want any pilot hole in the wall, this will do the task well.
17. Scroll Saw
Scroll saws can operate with a band or a continuous or a reciprocating blade. Similar to coping saws, these powered saws are designed for intricate scrollwork, spiral lines, or patterns.
They offer some other benefits since the built-in table can be used to house the material while cutting to achieve precise rotation and detail. Creating curves with edges is what it excels at.
18. Table Saw
Table saws have blades that are a little larger than that of a circular saw. It has a high-speed motor mounted beneath a flat table. To adjust the depth of cut, the blades rise out of the table bed.
Table saws are incomparable when it comes to making numerous rip cuts or preparing a large number of identically sized pieces. Table saws accept both metal and masonry blades. However, remember to take care that the blade design matches the motor speed.
19. Tile Saw
From the design point of view, the tile saws are very similar to the miter saws. Alternately known as the wet saw, the tile saw uses a diamond-coated blade and water-cooling system to cut through tiles like butter.
It’s used for cutting multiple ceramic tiles to provide it the desired shape or size quickly. Also, it uses a miter to ensure straight cuts along with your cut marks. But make sure to fill the reservoir beneath the table with water before using this tool.
20. Track Saw
When it comes to ultra-precise cuts in a straight line on a wooden object, track saws are one of the most excellent options available. The track saw and the chain saw have so many things in common. Besides the numerous similarities, the main difference between a chainsaw and a track saw is- chainsaw doesn’t go through any given guideline where the track saw follows a specific and pre-assigned track.
The saw moves in a straight line along with the direction of the metal guide. As a benefit, you don’t have to worry about slipping or moving away from the cutting line. To provide the guideline or track-line metal tracks are used in most of the track saws. For its uses, it’s also called plunge-cut saw or plunge saw as well.
We have reached the end of the article. We have covered as many saws as we could. Each of the saws has special purpose and the use of them are different. If you are to buy one, the suggestion would be to understand the purpose of your work well. Then you choose the saw that serves your purpose the most. Always remember to handle the saws with care. They can hurt you pretty bad. Stay cautious, stay safe.
I'm Joost Nusselder, the founder of Tools Doctor, content marketer, and dad. I love trying out new equipment, and together with my team I've been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with tools & crafting tips.