When it comes to getting the job done right, it is important to have the right tools at your disposal. This is true when considering saws. There are types of saws for just about everything you might find yourself working on. The right saw allows you to get the job done faster with a better cut. The incorrect saw may not provide you with the clean cut you're looking for and it may also take longer to complete the task without the right types of saws on hand. However, because there are so many types of saws out there, we've put together everything you need to know.
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WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF SAWS?
The different types of saws can be broken down into two larger categories: hand saws and electric saws. Hand saws are not as widely used now, thanks to the lowering price point of electric saws. However, there is still a time and a place for hand saws, so knowing the differences and when each is most helpful is important.
A back saw has a blocky handle with a wide rectangular blade. This cuts a fine, straight cut and is usually combined with a miter box. This is good for straight lines and cutting angles on 2x4s.
A bow saw is something you'll be more likely to use outside. It looks like an actual bow, as the handle is curved. The blade is long and has crosscut teeth, so it is best for removing small branches and trimming trees.
A coping saw is similar to a bow saw in that it has a slender, elongated top and a skinny, longer blade. However, its smaller size makes it desirable for cutting intricate work into wood, such as when you want scrolling. This saw makes it easier to pay attention to detail while cutting. Similar to the coping saw is the fret saw. The design of this is only different because it has a longer frame, which allows you to work deeper into an intricate cut.
The hacksaw is the most common handsaw you'll use. It is a handy tool to have around and can be used on PVC, wood, metal, plastics, and other materials. You can also usually remove the blade and swap in a different blade based on the kind of material you're cutting.
The band saw is a stationary saw that has a vertical blade running up and down. You will push wood and other materials through the saw for a desired cut. It's a great power tool if you are going to be working with wood for an extended period. It is also one of the more expensive tools out there, so unless you're building a wood shop, you probably don't need a stationary band saw on hand.
There is a portable band saw, and these are good for making smaller cuts on the go. You won't be able to make the same large cuts on larger items, but it works great on the spot when cutting through plumbing or metalwork.
This is more of an outdoor tool than the other types of saws available. With a chain saw, you can cut down large branches and cut free debris when you don't need a crisp, clean cut. This is also a great tool when you're cutting up firewood and don't want to spend the time using an axe.
There are two main kinds of circular saws (although you can then break it down into smaller sub-categories). First, there is the portable circular saw. This is a great tool to have when you need to cut wood at a job site and don't have the resources (or the money) to purchase a stationary saw or band saw. These kinds of saws have removable blades that can be swapped out to cut through metal, wood, masonry, plastics, and other materials. It is best to use this kind of saw when cutting horizontally to the ground and when working with a steady surface.
The second option of a circular saw is the "chop" saw, which is basically a stationary circular saw. The saw is positioned vertically and then pulled down, so instead of running along an object it basically is "chopping" down on the object. If you plan on spending a good deal of time in the wood shop, this is an excellent piece of equipment to have on hand.
Miter saws can fall into a similar category as well. Miter saws are very much like a chop or circular saw, and the blade is circular, as well. Some miter saws allow you to adjust the cutting angle though, so instead of pulling the blade down at a perfect 90-degree angle you can cut it at 45 degrees (and so on).
This is an excellent handheld tool that is good when you need a saw that can cut vertically. For example, if you need to cut a hole out of drywall or something similar, this is a saw that will work well. Of course, you can also cut horizontally like you would with a circular saw.
If you plan on installing wood flooring, this is a must. Yes, you can use a circular saw or "chop" saw for this kind of work, but it is substantially easier to use a flooring saw. This unit can be positioned right on the floor and then the wood blanks can be measured right there on the spot and cut to the desired length without moving it around. The less movement you need to do with materials, the less likely you are to miss-measure a cut. In the long run, a flooring saw may save you a good deal of money on possible cutting mistakes.
WHO ARE THE MOST REPUTABLE SAW MAKERS?
The top saw brands are a bit of a personal preference. Buying a saw is similar to buying a car or a kitchen appliance. If you ask a dozen people, you'll probably hear a half-dozen different answers. The top saw makers will all make higher-end products. You'll just need to identify potential saws for your job and then go over the user reviews.
In general though, the top saw manufactures to consider when it comes to buying a saw include:
HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST SAW FOR THE JOB
If you are looking at possibly investing in a saw for an upcoming job, you'll want to make sure you're buying the best jaw for not only the specific job, but for upcoming work you'll be performing. Many of these saws will cost hundreds of dollars, so you need to know the money you're putting into the saw will be well worth it. Here are a few specifics to keep in mind when looking at the different types of saws for a potential job:
What kind of material are you going to be working with? Are you cutting through wood or are you cutting through PVC? Not all blades are right for the given material. Some saws allow you to swap out the blades, so in these instances these kinds of saws may be perfect, especially if you're working on plumbing now but you know you'll probably use the saw more with wood later on down the line.
Consider how much room you have to work with. If you need your saw to get under the sink, you probably don't want to purchase a giant stationary circular-saw. That's just too much space, and it puts you in a dangerous situation to try and force it to work. If you are working outside, you have more freedom, and in this case you might want to go with something larger for a stronger, more powerful blade.
You will need to keep in mind how much money you have to spend on a saw. Depending on the kind of saw you want, you can go from spending under $50 to well over $500. The kind of powerful saws you might find in a wood shop will be on the higher end, so unless you're looking at home construction or woodworking you probably won't need something on this end of the spectrum.
You'll need to consider whether some added features would be nice. Some saws have a laser sight to help you cut a straight line, while other saws might include improved hand grips or bonus replaceable saws tips. It may come down to if you want to pay more now or if you want to spread it out and buy additional saw tips later on.
There are so many types of saws out there you'll likely never have the need for every kind. However, with the handful of jobs you'll be performing around the house, it is a good idea to understand what each of these saws can do. This way, you can make an educated decision on which types of saws you should have at the house and what kind of equipment you may need to pick up for any upcoming project.
I’m a husband and father of two children. In my professional life, I’ve worked with tools for the last 7 years. I just want to try and share my practical knowledge here on this site.