Chop Saw vs Miter Saw Explained | Are You Cutting Metal or Wood?
We can’t tell you how many times we’ve heard the term “chop saw” used to describe a miter saw. It’s not a huge deal, but we always try to educate our readers (and those new to the trades) about the differences. It helps to use terminology correctly—particularly when you communicate with other professionals. In looking at a chop saw vs miter saw we can quickly see these are two very distinct tools.
They not only serve different purposes (metal-cutting vs wood), but they also function very differently from one another. This article goes through the various Pros and Cons as well as the differences, strengths, and weaknesses of each of these tools. If you’re more interested in the types of miter saws (compound, sliding, etc) we have an article on that as well.
Editor’s Note: Check out our best miter saw article for our top recommendations.
Key Differences Between the Chop Saw vs Miter Saw
Possibly the best way to differentiate the chop saw vs miter saw is to simply cover the key differences. But first, let’s talk about what makes these two types of saws similar.
Both tools primarily allow for cross-cutting of material. The miter saw and the chop saw both have a back fence to hold material fast while cutting. These tools also both use a circular saw blade with an exposed bottom cutting edge that spins away from the user.
With both of these tools, users need to keep their hands a minimum distance away from the cutting blade for safety. Currently, both tools may offer clamping systems to help stabilize material for cuts.
Now, let’s look at some key differences.
Chop Saw Features (as Opposed to Miter Saws)
- Makes straight cuts with a blade that does not bevel or miter
- Designed to cut metal (steel, aluminum, etc)
- Typically use abrasive cutting wheels
- Blade sizes up to 15-inches (12–15″ typical)
- Often includes clamps to hold material
- Can be high speed (abrasive) or “cold-cutting”
Miter Saw Features (as Opposed to Chop Saws)
- Makes straight or beveled cuts with a blade that also miters
- Primarily designed to cross-cut wood (trim, framing lumber, etc)
- Use carbide-tipped blades
- Blade sizes up to 12-inches (7-1/4 to 12″ typical)
- May include table clamps for holding material
Chop Saws vs Miter Saws for Metal – Hybrid Miter Saws!
If you plan to cut a lot of metal at angles, you may have a tougher decision. When looking at chop saws vs miter saws for metal, we tend to gravitate towards anything that can help us use a carbide-tipped “cold-cutting” blade. That brings us to the topic of hybrid metal- and wood-cutting miter saws.
Some companies, like Evolution Power Tools, offer saws designed to cut both metal and wood. These tools use blades (or have multiple blade options) that handle both materials fairly well. They often operate at much lower RPMs instead of the typical 3500 RPM of chop saws.
A typical hybrid saw more closely resembles a compound sliding miter saw than a chop saw. The “hybrid” functionality has more to do with the slower blade speed and the blade.
A hybrid saw often functions similarly to a cold cut saw in that it uses a slower blade speed. That slower blade speed means it can use a carbide-tipped metal-cutting blade and doesn’t require an abrasive wheel like high-speed saws.
Chop Saw vs Miter vs Hybrid Saws Compared
We also put the above (and more) into a table for easy observation:
|Possible cut types||Cross cuts (90°)||Straight, bevel, miter, compound||Straight, bevel, miter, compound|
|Square material capacity||up to 4-3/4 in.||around 4 in.||around 4 in.|
|Round material capacity||up to 5-1/8 in.||N/A||up to 4 in.|
|Rectangular capacity||4 x 7-5/8 in.2-3/4 in. x 9-1/8 in.||up to 2 x 12 in.||up to 2 x 12 in.|
|Blade sizes||12–15 in.||7-1/4 to 12 in.||10–12 in.|
|Types of blades||abrasive, diamond||carbide||carbide|
|Material it can cut||steel||wood||steel, aluminum, wood|
|Weight||heavy||lightweight to heavy||lightweight to heavy|
Chop Saw vs Miter Saw Blades – Abrasive vs Carbide-tipped Steel
Most chop saws use abrasive metal-cutting blades. The reasons are many. Primarily, however, these blades are inexpensive and they get the job done. Abrasive blades offer consistent, though imprecise, cutting of most soft steels. They really tend to have difficulty making more precise miter cuts since they inherently deflect and flex during use.
Don’t use a standard abrasive cutting disc on aluminum, either. The soft aluminum will quickly gum up the edge of the wheel and render it useless in a very short period of time.
Chop saws designed for abrasive wheels aren’t compatible with slower-speed (RPM) saws that use carbide-tipped blades for cutting various metals. You can find some steel blades designed for higher-speed saws. One example is the Milwaukee Steelhead Diamond cut-off blade. It uses exposed synthetic diamond grits along the cutting edge. We also don’t recommend using a blade like this one on aluminum. For that, we’d opt for a slower saw with a carbide blade.
On those saws which use slower RPMs to cut metal, you can find a variety of carbide-tipped cutting blades. These resemble a traditional wood blade, but they come optimized for cutting steel more safely. Some also prioritize softer metals like aluminum.
Chop Saw vs Sliding Miter Saws
We’ve addressed beveling in our discussion of the chop saw vs miter saw decision. One thing yet to be addressed has to do with capacity or depth of cut. Most metal chop saws deal with cross-cutting short pieces of metal 4-inches or smaller.
If for some reason, you need to cut larger pieces of metal, you might think a sliding miter saw could offer a solution. While technically true, the better solution might be a handheld metal-cutting saw like the Milwaukee cordless metal cutting saw.
With larger cross-cut lengths, you want to be very careful when using a tool like a miter saw to cut metal. A dedicated metal saw creates a much more safe situation when making longer cuts and affords you a better opportunity to secure the piece while cutting.
Final Thoughts and Other Considerations
We can’t possibly hit every conceivable topic related to the chop saw vs miter saw question. Once you understand the various issues: cutting speed, capacity, and the type of material and cut, you should be better equipped to make an informed choice.
We can’t emphasize enough the need to pay close attention to blade speed. When it comes to picking up a carbide blade for cutting metal, RPM/speed matters. Don’t put a low-speed metal blade on a high-speed miter saw in an attempt to convert your tool. Rather, look for a metal-cutting blade that matches the speed of your saw. That provides a safe, effective method of cutting metal on a miter saw or similar tool.
The same goes for chop saws. Some saws come designed for use with slower-speed steel blades while standard chop saws have the higher RPMs needed for abrasive cutting wheels. Match the blade to the saw!
For even more recommendations, check out our best miter saw article as well as our article on the best cordless circular saws. Both contain tools designed to cut both metal and wood.
When he’s not playing with the latest power tool, Clint DeBoer enjoys life as a husband, father, and avid reader—especially the Bible. He loves Jesus, has a degree in recording engineering, and has been involved in multimedia and/or online publishing in one form or another since 1992.
Clint’s career has covered nearly the entire realm of audio and video production. After graduating at the top of his class with an Associates Degree in Recording Engineering, he began working for the famed Soundelux studios in 1994, one of the largest post-production companies specializing in audio for feature films television. Working on a myriad of feature films, Clint honed his skills as a dialogue editor, foley editor, and sound designer. Years later, he moved into the expanding area of video editing, where he served as the company’s senior AVID video editor for three years.
Working for such clients as Universal Pictures, Hollywood Pictures, Paramount Home Entertainment, NASA, Universal Studios, Planet Hollywood, SEGA, NASCAR, and others, Clint DeBoer dealt extensively with client management as well as film video editing, color correction, and digital video MPEG compression. He also carries several THX certifications (Technician I and II, THX Video), and is ISF Level II Certified.
After founding the CD Media, Inc. publishing company in 1996, he went on to help start or grow several successful online publications, including Audioholics (as Editor-in-Chief for 12 years), Audiogurus, and AV Gadgets. In 2008, Clint founded Pro Tool Reviews followed by the landscape and outdoor power equipment-focused OPE Reviews in 2017. He also heads up the Pro Tool Innovation Awards, an annual awards program honoring innovative tools and accessories across the trades.
Crediting God and his excellent staff for the success of what is now the largest power tool review publication in the industry, Clint DeBoer hopes to see continued growth for the company as it rapidly expands its reach. Pro Tool Reviews critically reviews hundreds of hand tools, power tools, and accessories each year to help inform users about the best and newest products in the industry. Reaching everyone from the construction industry professional and tradesman to the serious DIYer, Pro Tool Reviews helps tool consumers shop better, work smarter, and stay aware of what tools and products can help put them at the top of their game.
Metal Cutting Chop Saw
A cop saw is simple, yet powerful cutting machine used widely in metal cutting. If you are looking for a saw that has a tremendous amount of raw power, then it is difficult to beat a chop saw. But people often get confused between a chop saw and a miter saw. In this article, I will tell you everything that you will ever need to know about metal cutting chop saws.
What is a Chop Saw?
A chop saw is a machine tool with rotating abrasive wheel fixed on a hinged arm that is brought down on to a fixed workpiece to make the cut. This power saw is mainly used to cut-off workpieces into the size and hence it is also called cut-off saw or parting-off saw.
The working principle of a chop saw is that an abrasive disc that rotates at very high rpm is feed against the stationary workpiece.
How to Use a Chop Saw?
The cutting tool used on a chop saw is an abrasive disc that is fixed on a swing arm. You will clamp or hold the workpiece on to the saw table. Switch on the cutting blade (abrasive disc) using the trigger on the handle and pull the head down.
Bring the abrasive disc on to the workpiece and pass it through. Keep the on/off trigger pressed until the cut is completed and brought out of the workpiece.
Is chop saw same as miter saw?
When you first see a chop saw, you may notice that it looks similar in appearance to a miter saw. This is because both chop saws and miter saws have a saw blade that is mounted on a hinged arm that hangs above the saw table. Looks aside, the purposes of each saw could not be more different.
Miter saws make precise miter (angled cuts) and bevel cuts, while chop saws make straight, 90-degree cuts or crosscuts. Likewise, chop saws are a lot more powerful than your average miter saw. They also differ in the type of cutting blade used. You can see more details comparison between miter saw and chop saw here.
Chop saw compared to Circular Saw or Skilsaw
On a Skilsaw or a circular saw you have a circular steel blade with teeth, whereas on a chop saw you have a large diameter abrasive disc that is relatively thin. Also, a circular saw is completely handheld power tool. You move the entire saw against a work-piece. This enables you to use circular saws on very large workpieces and it is highly portable. In the case of a chop saw, the workpiece needs to be held on its table and you cannot cut a piece that is wider than the blade diameter.
Uses of Chop Saws
As I said in the introduction, miter saws and chop saws look alike, but serve different purposes. So, what exactly are the main uses of a chop saw? For starters, one of the main uses of chop saws is to cut metal. The chop saw has the power necessary to cut through various kinds of metal, and not just sheet metal, but actual thicker pieces of metal. You can use it to cut both ferrous and non-ferrous metals like aluminum, brass etc. Now, chop saws are not the only saws out there capable of cutting through metal; in fact, many kinds of power saws (if equipped with the right blade) can cut through metal.
However, what sets the chop saw apart from these other kinds of saws is its ability to cut through hard metals and the sheer amount of metal that it can cut through. This is achieved by using an abrasive disc that rotates at very high rpm. Because of its power, a metal cutting chop saw can cut through metal quickly, enabling you to cut through huge volumes of metal in a single session.
Following are some of the most common uses of chop saws:
- To cut steel bars, pipes, and channels to the required size.
- Widely used in construction work
- You can use a chop saw for jobs that require cutting a large number of pieces to the same length. For example, fencing.
- It can cut tough solid metal bars that you cannot cut with a Band saw or a hacksaw.
How about Wood, Plastic, and other Soft Materials?
A chop saw can be used to cut through wood provided you are using the right kind of blade. However, a lot of saw experts don’t necessarily recommend using a chop saw for wood cutting because it is a waste of the chop saw’s power. Why use a more expensive chop saw to do a job that a simple circular saw could do? Also, the abrasive discs that you use for metal cutting cannot be used for cutting soft materials like wood. The disc will get loaded and may break or explode.
Also, while they are powerful, chop saws are not all that accurate. So, if you need to make precision cuts on wood, then a chop saw is not your best option. For woodworking, I strongly recommend you to use a table saw or a miter saw.
Those you familiar with miter saws know that their main purpose is to make angled cuts along materials, specifically wood. You may also be curious about whether a chop saw can also make angled cuts (after all, they are built very similarly to miter saws)? Well, the answer is yes, but it is very difficult to do so. When making an angled cut you need to maintain a high level of control over the saw blade. The problem with a chop saw is that the sheer power of the blade will make it more difficult to control when doing an angled cut. Still, depending on your skill level, it is possible to use a chop saw to make the sort of angled cuts you would normally need to use a miter saw for.
Pros and cons of using chop saws
Pros: On the pro side, there is the fact that a chop saw is a powerful saw that will absolutely devour most anything that you put in front of it. If you need to reliably cut thick pieces of metal, then a metal cutting chop saw is your best option by far.
Another major advantage is the speed with which you can cut through metals and other materials. Chop saws value speed and power over accuracy, so many come with things like foot switches so that you can speedily feed in metal with both hands.
Furthermore, cut-off saws result in less wastage since the abrasive wheels are thin compared to circular saw blades.
Cons: I have already discussed a few of the cons of using a chop saw throughout the article, but I will reiterate them here. Firstly, chop saws can be more difficult to control, which really only matters if you are trying to make intricate, angled cuts. But, I still feel it is worth mentioning. Also, the chop saw is not suited whatsoever for making accurate cuts. Finally, be aware that it is a bit more difficult to use a chop saw when compared with other kinds of saws.
If not used with proper caution, chop saws can be dangerous. There is definitely a bit of a learning curve and I would not recommend that beginners use a chop saw until they have some more experience working with power saws.
Make sure that the workpiece is held firmly on to the bed. The cutting disc must attain the required rpm before you swing it on to the workpiece to cut. Otherwise, the workpiece, as well as the abrasive disc, can get damaged. An abrasive that breaks during operation can cause serious injuries. Trust me; you don’t want to explode a rotating disc.
Finally, because chop saws use abrasive blades (more on this in the next section), they tend to produce something called “particulate matter” which is something that you want to avoid breathing in. It is a mixture of grinding dust, metal particle and any coolant liquid you use. Most chop saws come with dust collection systems to collect this particulate matter, but it is still a con worth mentioning.
Cut-off Saw Safety Tips
- Use face shield. While a pair of goggles may seem sufficient, I strongly suggest you get a face shield to protect yourself from nasty injuries.
- If the dust collection system is not efficient, you must wear a mask to cover your nose.
- Before you mount the cut-off wheel make sure that there are no cracks or damages.
- Do not apply any sideways force on to the parting-off wheel. This can result in wheel breakage since the parting-off wheels have relatively thin cross-sections.
- You can see sparks generated during the cutting process. Keep the flammable materials away from chop saws to avoid the fire hazard.
- You should not attempt to cut wood, plywood, plastic etc using a cut-off wheel since it will cause the wheel to load-up and may result in wheel breakage.
Best chop saw blade for metal cutting
If you plan on cutting metal with your brand-new chop saw, then I would recommend that you invest in a good abrasive disc to go along with it (it likely already comes with one, but it never hurts to have extras). For those who don’t know, abrasive discs are a kind of saw blade that is ideal for cutting through the toughest materials like metal. Whereas most saw blades have razor sharp teeth along the edges, abrasive discs don’t have any teeth. Abrasive discs work essentially like grinding. The chop saw is capable of generating enough power and speed that it can actually cut through tough materials like metal by peeling-off the metal using abrasive grains.
Following are my suggestions for chop saw wheels.
General Purpose: Aluminum oxide abrasive wheels are a good general-purpose option. They can cut both ferrous and non-ferrous metals. Although the grain is not very sharp, it is tough.
Non-ferrous metals: Use silicon carbide abrasive wheels. Silicon carbide resinoid-bonded wheels have sharp grains which are suitable for cutting metals like aluminum, copper, brass etc.
Cast Iron: I would recommend you to use diamond abrasive discs to cut cast iron. They can also cut sheet metals, rebar and most metals including steel.
Alloy Steel: Ceramic abrasive blades are suitable for cutting mild steel, stainless steel, and alloy steels.
I strongly recommend you to follow the manufacturers guidelines on selecting the abrasive discs based on your cutting needs, the size of your chop saw and the maximum rpm of you saw.
Should I buy a Chop Saw?
Chop saws are highly useful for metalworking, construction and remodeling jobs. If you are into woodworking, you may not find this tool useful.
However, if your job involves cutting a lot of metal rods, pipes etc. then it is worth buying. If you don’t already own one, I would definitely recommend that you add a metal cutting chop saw to your collection.
I can’t stress enough how useful chop saws are. If you ever need to cut through something tough in a timely manner, then a chop saw is simply the best option available. Plus, because it’s so effective at cutting through metal, it makes a variety of home improvement projects much easier.
Miter Saw vs Circular Saw. What’s the Difference?
Are you curious about the difference between a miter saw and a circular saw? Are you trying to decide which power tool you should buy first? No worries! In this article, I’ll share the information you need to make the right decision.
Miter saws and circular saws both have a toothed, circular blade that can be used to cut wood, PVC and even aluminum. While there is some overlap between these two power tools, there are also some important differences.
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Differences Between a Miter Saw and a Circular Saw
A miter saw can do most of the same tasks as a circular saw, but both tools have their strengths and weaknesses.
- A miter saw is stationary and the blade is pulled downward onto the wood, while a circular saw is handheld and the blade is pushed through the wood.
- A circular saw excels at breaking down sheet goods, and a miter saw is best for cutting down longer boards.
- A miter saw can make more accurate cuts, due to the handheld nature of the circular saw.
- A circular saw is less expensive than a miter saw, and it’s more portable.
- A miter saw is safer to use than a circular saw.
- A circular saw can make both rip cuts along the length of a board and cross cuts across the width of a board, but a miter saw can only make cross cuts.
What is a Miter Saw?
A miter saw is a stationary cutting tool that makes cross-grain cuts. The miter saw is sometimes known as a “chop saw,” because you bring the blade down onto the wood in a chopping motion.
As their name implies, these saws are used for making miter cuts, or an angled cut. For example, a 45 degree miter cut is used for the corners of a picture frame.
Miter saws are also used to make bevel cuts. A bevel cut will create an angle along the end of the board. Learn more about how to use a miter saw here!
Types of Miter Saws
Let’s go over a few different types of miter saws. You can find several of these features all in one saw!
- Single bevel. A single bevel miter saw can make miter cuts and bevel cuts in a single direction.
- Double bevel miter saw. The double bevel miter saw can make bevel cuts in both directions. This feature speeds up the process when you need to make a lot of angled cuts. Learn the difference between a single bevel and dual bevel miter saw here!
- Compound miter saw. A compound miter saw allows you to make compound cuts. Compound cuts are when you make a miter cut and a bevel cut at the same time.
- Sliding miter saw. This type of miter saw slides on a bar to allow the blade to move forward instead of just straight down. Sliding miter saws are capable of cutting wider boards than non-sliding models.
Miter Saw Blade Size
The size of your miter saw blade will determine how big of a board you’re able to cut. But bigger isn’t always better! A small miter saw is more portable, and is easier to store away when you’re not using it.
You can purchase small miter saws with a 7 ¼” blade, which are great for the occasional DIY-er. However, the reduced cutting capacity of a smaller blade can be limiting.
A ten-inch blade is better suited for most jobs. This size is most common, and can be found in a variety of price points.
A 12-inch blade gives you the most cutting capacity (up to 14″ wide), but are the most expensive and the heaviest of the bunch.
Frequently Asked Question About Miter Saws
Let’s answer some of the most commonly asked questions about miter saws.
Are Cheap Miter Saws Worth it?
When looking for a miter saw, you want to get the most value. Both inexpensive and expensive miter saws can be worth it. It all depends on what you need.
If you’re just cutting some trim, and that’s all you will use your miter saw for, then it might make sense to purchase an inexpensive saw with a small blade.
Note: It’s never worth it to buy a low-quality miter saw. My first miter saw was a cheap Harbor Freight model, and it never cut straight! Save yourself some frustration and get a better quality saw!
When Should I Use a Miter Saw?
Miter saws work well when you need to make multiple cuts on standard lumber, like 2×4 boards. The miter saw is also useful for cutting trim, deck planks, and dowels. Basically, any long, thin wood can easily be cut at the miter saw!
When you use a miter saw stop block, you can cut dozens of identical pieces without measuring each one. With a circular saw, you’ll have to measure, mark and line up your blade each time you want to make a cut.
Wider sheet goods like plywood can’t be cut at a miter saw unless it’s already in strips that are narrower than the cutting capacity of the saw. This job is better suited for a circular saw or table saw.
Do I need a miter saw stand?
Some miter saws come with their own stand, or you can purchase one that fits your particular model. It’s much more comfortable to work with the saw at a workbench, but you can always use the floor in a pinch!
If you plan to use a miter saw on a regular basis, you may want to consider building yourself a miter saw stand for the workshop or garage. It will help support the board on both sides of the blade, and makes it easier to set up a stop block system. I had a mobile miter saw stand for many years, and recently built this amazing miter saw station that gives me tons of storage underneath!
What is a Circular Saw?
A circular saw is a battery powered or corded cutting tool used for rip cuts, bevel cuts, and crosscuts.
The circular saw is handheld. Some people think of a circular saw similar to a table saw; however, with a circular saw, you push the saw, and with a table saw, you push the material.
Types of Circular Saws
While all circular saws have the same basic design, with a flat plate on the bottom and a blade on the side, there are three main types.
Miniature circular saws have blades under 5″ in diameter, and have a handle that extends behind the motor instead of on top. They have a limited cutting depth, but most can cut a 2×4 or plywood. This type of saw is perfect for:
- Keeping in your car to break down sheet goods in the parking lot of the home improvement store.
- Occasional DIY-ers who only need to make a few cuts every once in a while.
- Contractors who want a lightweight alternative for cutting boards up in the air.
Standard size circular saws range from 7 ¼” to 10″ diameter blades. These are the most common type, and are great for all sorts of cutting tasks.
Track saws are a special kind of circular saw that runs on a dedicated track system for more straight, accurate cuts. Tracks saws are much more expensive, but they deliver finish quality cuts and can replace a miter saw, circular saw AND table saw for most applications. You can learn more about the difference between a track saw and a circular saw here!
If you’re struggling to get straight cuts with your circular saw, but don’t want to shell out the cash for a track saw, try making yourself a circular saw straight edge jig!
Circular Saw Blades
Circular saw blades can have a high or low tooth count. Generally speaking, a lower tooth count is good for fast, rough cuts. However, if you want less tear out and splinters at the edge of your board, I recommend using a blade with a higher tooth count. Circular saw blades come with 24, 60, and even 120 tooth blades.
The most common blade size for a circular saw is 7 ¼ inches, but you can also find smaller ones that are easier to handle. These blade sizes aren’t interchangeable, so you should always use the correct one for the saw you have.
Frequently Asked Questions About Circular Saws
Let’s go over some common circular saw questions.
When Should I Use a Circular Saw?
Many woodworkers and DIYers love circular saws because they are incredibly versatile. Unlike miter saws, circular saws are easily portable and can make long rip cuts.
Many people use circular saws when cutting larger boards down to size. for instance, a large sheet of plywood or a 2×12 that would be difficult to cut with a smaller miter saw.
What Should I Avoid Doing with a Circular Saw?
Avoid operating a circular saw without a blade cover. Some people have removed these blade covers because they believe they “get in the way.” When used properly, blade covers do not get in the way. These covers are there to protect your fingers!
Are Circular Saws Dangerous?
Yes. If used irresponsibly or without educating yourself on how to use them, circular saws can be very dangerous. Kickback can occur when the blade gets pinched between the two halves of the board. The saw could drop through the cut and injure your foot or leg. Or your fingers could just get in the way of the blade. All these safety considerations should be kept in mind when using this tool.
Why Does My Circular Saw Get Stuck?
If you’re using two sawhorses to support both ends of the board while cutting through the middle, this can cause the wood to pinch the blade. I recommend laying your board on a large slab of rigid foam insulation. This provides support without pinching the blade, and also prevents your work surface from getting cut up.
Second, you might have a dull blade. Be sure your blade is sharp and that it has the right tooth count for the material you’re working with.
Finally, your circular saw may not be very powerful, or the battery may be wearing down. If so, charge the battery or upgrade to a more powerful saw.
Now that you know the difference between a miter saw vs circular saw, you can choose the right one for you with confidence! Both have their pros and cons, and you may end up buying both for your workshop for different uses!
Check out these other woodworking tool articles!
The Best Concrete Saw, According to 6,000 Customer Reviews
Welcome to the Thomas guide to the best concrete saw 2023. Thomas has been connecting North American industrial buyers and suppliers for more than 120 years. When you purchase products through our independent recommendations, we may earn an affiliate commission.
A good concrete saw isn’t just for construction workers; these handy tools are convenient for many home and DIY projects too. When you need to reshape an existing piece of concrete with precision, such as a patio, paving stones, sidewalk, countertop, or flooring, the only tool that will do the job is a concrete saw.
There are many different types of these saws available so finding the best one for your needs might seem daunting. We’ve gone ahead and done the research and found some of the best concrete saws, from brands such as DeWALT, PORTER-CABLE, Makita, and SKIL, for you to choose from.
Here is a list of the best concrete saws, followed by a buying guide to help you select the best concrete saw for your needs.
Thomas’ Top Picks for the Best Concrete Saws 2023
Whether you’re looking for the best saw to cut concrete pavers, or a high-powered heavy-duty concrete saw for cutting solid materials on larger construction jobs, we’ve found some great products to help guide your selection, including wet and dry cutting saws, saws with active air filtration, and petrol powered disc cutters.
Best Granite Concrete Saw: DeWALT Wet Cutting Concrete Saw | Buy Now
Best Walk-Behind Concrete Saw: SKIL Walk-Behind Concrete Saw | Buy Now
Best Compact Circular Saw: WORX WX427L 6A 4-1/2″| Buy Now
Scroll down to read more about our top picks for the best concrete saws on Amazon according to Hyper-enthusiastic reviewers, for all needs and budgets.
listed in this article were as shown in US on amazon.com (USA) as of October 2022
Best-Rated Concrete Saw—Evolution R300DCT 12-Inch Concrete Saw
Around 2,000 5-star reviewers feel that the Evolution R300DCT 12-inch disc cutter concrete saw is the best electric concrete saw Amazon has to offer. Gliding through reinforced concrete, stone, brick, and paving, with a maximum cutting depth of four inches, this electric saw with instant start button and trigger has ergonomic, front and rear support, soft grips for easily cutting in both horizontal and vertical directions.
The Evolution R300DCT also comes with a 12-inch diamond blade and an adjustable safety guard. “This thing is a beast,” wrote one happy buyer who used it to make a 16-foot long cut in a 4-inch slab and recommended using this in conjunction with an electric jackhammer. Another customer added, “I am ripping through a tough job, solid rock. I’ve used it for about 90-minutes running and finding no faults.”
Motor: 15-Amp electric motor
Speed: 6,000 RPM (revolutions per minute)
Blade diameter: 9 inches
Cutting depth: 4 inches
Best Affordable Concrete Saw—PORTER-CABLE Electric Concrete Saw
There’s no need to go all out on a top concrete saw if you only need it for smaller concrete jobs, such as cutting concrete pavers or rebar, etc., which the economical PORTER-CABLE chop saw is perfect for. There’s a built-in vise for creating simple straight line cuts as well as various degree angle cuts too.
With features like a spindle lock for easy blade changes, spark deflector for increased safety, cutting fence with miter adjustment for angled cuts, a quick-release material clamp, and a 15-AMP motor for high power and durability, this chop saw is an affordable choice for less demanding concrete jobs and many reviewers felt that it is a good saw for the money.
Motor: 15-AMP electric
Speed: 3,800 RPM
Blade length: 14 inches
Cutting depth: 7 inches
Best Electric Concrete Saws—Makita EK7651H 14-Inch 4-Stroke Engine Saw
With top power and performance, the Makita EK7651H 14-inch 4-stroke engine power cutter can cut through just about anything. Just some of the perks this tool has over other similar models or those with two-stroke engines are that this saw requires no separate fuel or oil mixing, and less chance of engine failure. It also has a vented choke plate for the best fuel delivery and less chance of flooding.
Users describe this saw as “a real workhorse,” with “excellent” performance and “plenty of power,” and one reviewer noted that even though these saws have four-stroke engines, they have all the power of the popular Stihls and Husqvarnas which have two-stroke engines, but are “so much quieter and cleaner.”
Motor: 4.1 HP electric
Speed: 9,100 RPM
Blade length: 14 inches
Cutting depth: 4.8 inches
Best Granite Concrete Saw—DeWALT Wet Concrete Saw
For a cleaner concrete cutting experience, the DeWALT DWC860W wet or dry saw’s 13-foot water line ensures minimal dust and debris whilst cutting, and enough power to cut through cement, ceramics, stone, porcelain, marble, glass, and granite.
The water also helps keep the blade cool ensuring longer life. This lightweight saw can be used for wet or dry cutting and weighs only 9 pounds, making it easily transportable too. “Cutting a 1/2-inch Hardie Board was—no kidding—like cutting butter with a very hot knife,” raved one happy Amazon buyer.
Motor: 10.8-AMP motor
Speed: 13,000 RPM
Blade length: 4-3/8-inch diamond blade (approx. 1-5/16 inch)
Cutting depth: Adjustable depth-of-cut
Best Worm Drive Concrete Saw—SKIL Concrete Saw
Designed specifically for concrete cutting and scoring, the SKILSAW SPT79-00 Medusaw power cutter is a fully integrated worm drive saw that can be used wet or dry with minimal mess—use a standard hose for wet cuts, and the vacuum attachment for dry. With rust-resistant brackets and fasteners, this saw—which works like a charm on the hardest surfaces, including cement, asphalt, granite, bluestone, and limestone—is durable and sure to last.
“I can’t tell you how much I love this saw,” wrote a happy customer. “I have never cut a concrete board and not smelt the dust. This thing was unreal. I never smelt any dust, and could hardly see any either.”
Motor: 15-AMP Dual-Field motor
Speed: 5,100 RPM
Blade length: 7 inches
Cutting depth: maximum depth of cut at 90° is 2 inches
Best Concrete Cutting Circular Saw—XtremepowerUS Disc Cutter Saw
Its 2,600-watt power and 4,300 RPM motor make the XtremepowerUS electric disc cutter circular saw a popular choice for cutting concrete. The 15-amp motor helps it get through granite, concrete, porcelain, and stone with ease, and the dual integrated dust management wet or dry system ensures minimal dust.
There are handy wheels on the bottom of this disc cutter to help with user fatigue and ease-of-use. One buyer expressed, “Price is excellent. I used it to cut an opening in a solid brick wall in order to fit a double French door; [it] cut the brick easily and deep.” Another buyer helpfully wrote, “Take your time cutting; multiple passes are better rather than one deep pass. 2-inch cuts seemed to work best. Take frequent breaks.”
Speed: 4,300 RPM
Blade length: 14 inches
Cutting depth: 5 inches
Best Gas-powered Concrete Saws—Husqvarna Gas-Powered Concrete Saw
Electric saws are great for many reasons—not least of which is their lower price range—but you can’t beat a good gas-powered concrete saw for taking on the big jobs. Our choice for the best gas-powered saw for concrete is this Husqvarna 967682101 gas saw and here are a few reasons why: it has semi-automatic Smart tension for maximum power and belt life, a maintenance-free dura-starter, a superior active air filtration system, a five-inch cutting depth, and, at only 22.4 pounds, is much lighter than other gas concrete saws on the market.
Though its predecessor, the popular Husqvarna 967181002 K760 II, has been discontinued, many in the know believe that this newer model comfortably takes its place. “Cut a new door wall opening in existing old brick,” described one happy shopper. “Ran like a champ.” Another particularly helpful customer review reads, “This saw is a beast. It takes a little while to get the hang of it but once you learn how it’s easy. Make sure to read the instructions if you’ve never used a saw like this. Stand to the side of the saw, not directly behind it in case of kickback.”
Motor: 5 HP power output
Speed: 18,000 RPM (feet per minute)
Blade length: 5 inches
Cutting depth: 5 inches maximum depth
Best Walk-Behind Concrete Saw—Husqvarna Walk-Behind Concrete Saw
Walk-behind saws, though heavy, are the easiest tools for cutting through concrete flooring or paving, and the Husqvarna big walk-behind saw is a stellar choice. It features a retractable handwheel, a handle that offers low vibration, a depth indicator, and a large water tank that you can directly connect to a garden hose.
Its engine is by Honda and it has a recoil start. Customers report that pushing this is almost effortless and that the blade helps propel the machine forward so minimal elbow grease is required. Users have described it as “heavy-duty,” “strong,” “reliable,” and that it runs great and is easy to handle.
Engine: 11 HP, 4-stroke
Speed: 2,800 RPM
Blade diameter: 17.7 inches
Cutting depth: 7.36 inches
Best Handheld Concrete Saws—WORX WX427L 6A 4-1/2″ Compact Circular Saw
For a smaller concrete saw that is easy to operate and won’t take up too much space in your tool shed, the WORX compact circular saw is incredibly economical and can help you finalize those smaller projects like cutting tile, drywall, backer board, and thinner layers or cement easily.
It has an ergonomic design and features a self-locking safety switch, precise cutting, and it even has an adjustable blade. “Wonderful smaller saw and a nice package of several blades included in the packaging,” wrote one satisfied shopper, and another added, “It’s not a professional-grade product and won’t last as long as one but if you need a trim saw for a home improvement project and don’t plan to abuse it, it will get the job done. It’s nice that it came with 6 blades. Good value for the money.”
Motor: 6 AMP
Blade length: 4.7 inches
Cutting depth: 1-11/16″ (90°) 1-1/8″ (45°)
Best Concrete Saw 2023—Summary
The Makita EK7651H 14-inch 4-stroke engine power cutter (US1,499.99, Amazon) is a great professional-grade concrete saw, whereas, for anyone looking for the best concrete saw for those lighter-duty tasks, the small yet hard-working DeWALT DWC860W wet tile saw (from US149.99, Amazon) comes in highly recommended.
Choosing the Best Concrete Saw—Buying Guide
A concrete saw or concrete power cutter (also often referred to as masonry saws, abrasive saws, or cut-off saws) is a power tool used to cut concrete and other hard materials such as brick, asphalt, or tile. These saws generally use a diamond blade in order to be able to take on the task of cutting such harder surfaces.
What is the Best Concrete Saw?
Before deciding on the best power cutter for your needs, it’s good to know what types of saws are available for concrete (more on the various types of concrete saw below), and also look into specifications such as motor type (whether you want a gas concrete saw, electric motor, corded-electric, or battery-powered option), motor speed, blade type and blade material (a diamond blade, carbide-tipped blades, etc.), and what, if any, blades come with the machine. Maximum cutting depth, dual blade function, dual blade control, or adjustable depth control might also be options you wish to consider. If you feel a power cord will just get in your way, perhaps a cordless option would be best for your needs.
In addition, look at what extra features you would like your cement saw to have, such as wet cutting or dry cutting functions (some saws have the capability to cut both wet or dry), a wet dust management system, or a dry dust management system to alleviate flying dust and debris, lessen aggravation or allergies, and offer easier clean-up. A saw with improved air filtration could help produce fewer fumes and dust particles floating in the air, especially when dry cutting.
As always when handling power tools, protective gear, including face dust masks or shields, ear protection, eyewear, and gloves, are imperative. For walk-behind versions, steel-toed boots are a must. Another feature to look out for in a concrete saw is a safety guard and a spindle lock mechanism so you can safely remove the blade.
Types of Concrete Saws
There are several different types of concrete saws available on the market, and they differ both in size and the way they are handled, to the way they are powered.
Small hand-held concrete saws
These are the preferred option for smaller projects and are easy to carry around and straightforward to operate.
Walk-behind concrete saws
These saws resemble walk-behind lawnmowers and are operated much in the same way, cutting concrete as they go along.
Gas-powered concrete saws
Gas-powered models use gasoline to operate and are many contractors’ saw of choice thanks to the high power that they offer. Gas concrete saws, just like most gas-powered tools, require more maintenance than electric tools and produce more fumes.
Electric concrete saws
Though they are generally less powerful than the gas-powered variety, electric saws are lighter, quieter, and the best concrete saw type for indoor concrete saw cutting projects.
Battery-powered concrete saws
Again, although these are also less powerful than gas saws, battery-operated concrete saws are easily portable and offer ease of use without having to be near an electrical socket or with a power cord getting in the way.
Worm drive concrete saws
These saws have their motors attached at the rear and a longer distance between the handle and the blade to extend cutting reach.
Wet-cutting concrete saws
Wet-cutting saws produce water whilst cutting in order to minimize and control the amount of dust produced during operation. Some models are capable of wet and dry cutting too.
Using a Concrete Saw—How-to Video
When it comes to operating a concrete saw, we found the below video extremely useful. It includes preparation, safety, and best practices when using a concrete saw.
We’ve covered most of the types of concrete saws above, however, for more industrial use, concrete saws that are powered by pneumatic or hydraulic pressure are also available.
We hope our review of the best concrete saws has been helpful and you managed to find the best concrete saw for your needs. For more saw suppliers, including wood cut-off saws, electric portable hand saws, circular saws, metal cutting saws, table saws, and—if you prefer to leave the task to professionals—concrete cutting services, consult our additional guides or visit the Thomas Supplier Discovery Platform
The most important chop saw safety accessory!
Other Concrete and Tools Articles
- Types of Saws
- Types of Saw Blades
- All About Concrete. What You Need to Know
- Concrete Vs. Cement. What’s the Difference?
- Top Concrete Companies and Suppliers in the USA
- Top Cement Companies and Suppliers in the USA
- Concrete Block Materials Calculator
- Understanding Winches and Hoists. A Thomas Buying Guide
- Impact Wrench vs. Impact Driver. What’s the Difference
- Top Tool Manufacturers and Companies in the USA
- Drill Bit Shanks
- Types of Sockets
- Drill Bit Specifications
- History of the Robertson Screwdriver
- Drill Bit Materials
Gain great insight into the best tools for cutting through metal with this guide.
By Bob Beacham | Updated May 18, 2022 1:07 PM
We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs.
Sawing through metal by hand is hard work! A hacksaw can tackle occasional small jobs, but for larger pieces or if you cut metal on a regular basis, a power tool is the more sensible solution.
However, the wide variety of metal-cutting chop saws, Band saws, and circular saws on the market make finding the right choice a challenge. In this guide, we’ll help clarify the options available, discuss the key technical features of each type, and offer our suggestions for the best metal-cutting saw in the popular categories.
- BEST OVERALL:DeWALT DW872 14″ Multi-Cutter Saw
- RUNNER-UP:Makita LC1230 12″ Metal Cutting Saw
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK:Porter-Cable PCE700 14″ Chop Saw
- BEST DIY:Evolution RAGE4 Multi-Material Cutting Chop Saw
- BEST PORTABLE:WEN 94396 5-Inch Handheld Portable Band Saw for Metal
- BEST CIRCULAR:Milwaukee M18 Fuel Metal Cutting Circular Saw
- BEST HEAVY-DUTY:Shop Fox W1715 3/4 HP Metal Cutting Bandsaw
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Metal-Cutting Saw
Finding the best saw for cutting metal isn’t as straightforward as it might seem. Different sizes, power options, and cutting capacities are available. Also consider how it will be used: Will the tool be in a workshop, or should it be portable? First, consider the differences in the three main types of metal-cutting saws. To get the right combination of both performance and value, take the following considerations into account.
Blade Type and Size
The two main types of tools for cutting metal are chop saws and Band saws, and they have different types and sizes of blades.
- Chop saws, with a rise-and-fall action similar to a woodworking miter saw, have either a toothed blade or an abrasive wheel (often called a cut-off wheel). Most toothed blades have carbide-tipped teeth, which stay sharp longer. They outlast abrasive cut-off wheels, though the latter are considerably cheaper. The diameter of the blade or cut-off wheel can range from 7¼ inches to 16 inches. This size has a big impact on the maximum cutting thickness, though individual machine specifications should always be checked.
- Band saws, which range from handheld portable models to heavy-duty workshop tools, have a continuous steel ribbon with teeth along one edge. While the length of a Band saw blade is fixed, both width and teeth per inch (TPI) can vary. Wider blades are stiffer and used for straight cutting, whereas thinner, more flexible blades can cut curves. A blade with fewer teeth cuts more quickly, while blades with more teeth can create a smoother finish.
Angled Cuts and Fence Adjustment
Chop saws get their name from the rise and fall of the blade. Unlike a woodworking miter saw, the blade cannot be rotated or tilted. Instead, a rotating fence is fitted, and the workpiece is clamped against it at the required angle.
Handheld metal-cutting Band saws typically are used for making pipework or cutting rebar. In theory, they can cut at any angle, but their freehand nature can make it difficult to maintain accuracy. Workshop versions of this saw can offer great versatility, either with a rise-and-fall action similar to a chop saw or by using a flat table to support the workpiece, which is then fed into the blade.
Motor Power and Source
Since it’s the maximum available from a standard electrical outlet, corded motors are often restricted to 15A (amps) of power, so workshop models often have a motor of this size. portable saws are frequently 10 amp-hours, which are, strictly speaking, less powerful but still able to deliver a good performance. Heavy-duty models are frequently assigned a horsepower rating rather than amp-hours, and a dedicated circuit is sometimes required to run them.
The power for cordless metal-cutting saws is rated in volts (V) instead of amps, which describes the battery capacity. Light-duty 12-volt models are the smallest, 18-volt or 20-volt models are the most common, and powerful 36-volt tools are now available.
Vise Adjustment and Blade Change
Chop saws and workshop Band saws feature a vise for securely clamping the work during cutting. Unlike a standard vise that has two jaws, most have a single jaw that closes against the fence. The distance the jaw can open defines the maximum size of workpiece that it can accommodate. Quick-release mechanisms are a convenient addition on many of these saws.
Blade changing is straightforward on chop saws, which usually have a way of preventing rotation while the main nut is loosened and a new blade fitted. Band saws are a bit more involved because blade tension and tracking must be set, but it’s not a difficult task.
Chop saws invariably have blade guards that expose the minimum amount of blade necessary to cut metal while offering maximum protection for the operator. Spark deflectors are also common, but while they do a good job of suppressing most of the material thrown off, users should still wear safety goggles or glasses.
The design of a Band saw makes it impractical to have a full blade guard, so a length of blade remains exposed at all times. Extra care must be taken when using these tools.
Trigger locks, another important safety feature, help prevent accidental operation. Some handheld metal-cutting saws have a soft start, which reduces the initial torque when the trigger is pulled, thus making them easier to control.
Ease of transporting a metal-cutting tool depends largely on the type of saw. Handheld Band saws and metal-cutting circular saws, which are similar to their woodworking counterparts, are usually light and very portable.
Chop saws vary in weight, so we considered models that weigh from 19 pounds to more than 50 pounds. That’s still fairly movable, but weight might be a factor if the tool must be taken to and from a jobsite every day.
Heavy-duty workshop Band saws can weigh 100 pounds or more, so they aren’t typically considered portable. Some, however, have wheels to move them around if necessary.
Metal-cutting tools may have few design specs and extra features to make them easier and more convenient to use.
- The best metal chop saws have big handles that allow easy access for a gloved hand and are comfortable to use for long periods.
- A shaft lock allows blade changing with a single wrench.
- Some chop saws have chip trays to collect waste and make cleanup easier.
- Variable speed on Band saws allows the user to match the cutting rate to the type of material for more efficient sawing.
- On cordless tools, a brushless motor offers greater battery efficiency than brushed motors.
- With a circular saw, it can be difficult to see where the blade is actually cutting, so some models have laser guides that project forward. basic models simply contain a guide arrow on the bottom plate.
Our Top Picks
Now that you’ve learned about the differences in the types of metal-cutting tools and their features, it’s time to check out some of the best models on the market.
DeWALT DW872 14″ Multi-Cutter Saw
The DeWALT DW872 is a frequent favorite in independent reviews of the best chop saw for metal. The powerful 15-amp-hours motor combines with a 66-tooth carbide-tipped blade to provide fast, clean cutting of steel, aluminum, copper, and other metals, as well as plastics, composites, and wood.
The DW872 has a class-leading cutting capacity of up to 5 3/16-inch diameter in solid bar or 6½ inches by 4½ inches in rectangular stock. Users can create bevels of up to 45 degrees using the adjustable fence, and the clamp has a quick-release lever.
My VideoCircular saw Hack How To Make A Mini Chop saw Machine
At 47 pounds, the chop saw is fairly portable while also being sturdy, though the pressed steel base isn’t quite as rigid as some cast versions. The blade guard is plastic. There is neither a chip tray nor a spark deflector, but since the DeWALT produces very few sparks, this isn’t really an issue.
Get the DeWALT metal-cutting saw at Amazon or Acme Tools.
Makita LC1230 12″ Metal Cutting Saw
Another popular, high-performance choice, this Makita model has a blade slightly smaller than the DeWALT, with a maximum cut of 4½ inches. However, the 60 carbide-tipped teeth provide fast cutting and a smooth finish through a wide variety of metals. The base is a solid aluminum casting, and the blade guard is steel, although it produces very few sparks.
While several chop saws have a quick-release clamp for fast, repetitive cutting, the Makita also boasts a quick-release fence for Rapid setting of different angles. Quick-and-easy blade changing requires a socket wrench, but it’s included. A pair of safety goggles also comes with the saw. Although a chip tray is provided, it catches very little. The Makita chop saw makes a useful light- to medium-duty tool, but for DIY users, it’s a significant investment.
Get the Makita metal-cutting saw at Amazon, The Home Depot, or Acme Tools.
Porter-Cable PCE700 14″ Chop Saw
At first glance, it’s difficult to see why the Porter-Cable chop saw is so affordable. Its overall construction is sturdy, and it has a powerful 15-amp-hours motor. It features an adjustable fence for cutting angles at up to 45 degrees and a quick-release clamp. The spark deflector protects the user and provides a clear view of the cut line.
The big difference in this chop saw is its abrasive wheel. While it runs at 3,800 rpm (revolutions per minute), the actual cutting speed is considerably slower than with a toothed blade. Additionally, while replacement wheels are a fraction of the cost of a tungsten carbide blade, they wear out much more quickly. So while the maximum cut is stated at 5 inches, it quickly reduces with regular use. Abrasive wheels also produce a lot of sparks. Still, the Porter-Cable’s price makes it a worthy option for home welders and engineers who don’t need high precision.
Get the Porter-Cable metal-cutting saw at Amazon, The Home Depot, or Acme Tools.
Evolution RAGE4 Multi-Material Cutting Chop Saw
DIYers in the market for a multipurpose saw may wish to check out the Evolution Rage4. It’s a well-made, sturdy tool with an adjustable fence and quick-release clamp. The 10-amp-hours motor isn’t as powerful as some, but it’s a good match for the 7¼-inch tungsten-tipped blade.
Thanks to its remarkable versatility, the blade is the star here. It can make accurate cuts in ferrous and nonferrous metals, plastic, PVC, composites, and wood. The maximum thickness in steel plate is only ¼ inch, but it saws through a box section at up to 5 inches across.
The saw generates very little heat and few sparks. At just 19 pounds, it’s highly portable and easy to store, making it a good choice for a small workshop with limited space.
Get the Evolution Rage4 metal-cutting saw at Amazon, The Home Depot, or Tractor Supply Co.
WEN 94396 5-Inch Handheld Portable Band Saw for Metal
WEN has a reputation for producing durable tools at competitive prices, and the company’s handheld portable Band saw is a good example. It contains a reliable 10-amp-hours motor that drives a 10/14-TPI variable pitch blade suitable for a variety of materials. Users can adjust the speed, so the feed rate can be optimized for metals ranging from aluminum to cast iron. It can complete a maximum cut of 5 inches.
Ball-bearing guides help ensure smooth cutting, and an external lever simplifies blade tensioning. A rubberized grip offers room for a gloved hand, and an auxiliary handle at the front provides a sure hold.
At under 15 pounds, it’s light, but that’s because it contains quite a lot of plastic. Although the saw isn’t fragile, it might suffer damage in tough jobsite environments. Reports also exist of occasional breakdowns, though these seem to be isolated incidents rather than a common problem.
- Power: 10 amp-hours corded (20-volt cordless also available)
- Speed: Variable: 60 to 420 feet per minute (fpm)
- Weight: 14.5 pounds
Get the WEN metal-cutting saw at Amazon, The Home Depot, or Walmart.
Milwaukee M18 Fuel Metal Cutting Circular Saw
Milwaukee makes the cut with its M18 Fuel Metal Cutting Circular Saw, a versatile tool popular with jobsite welders, installation contractors, and sheet-metal workers. It uses a powerful brushless motor that features RedLink Plus electronics to maximize battery life. Unlike brush motors, brushless versions are maintenance-free.
The Milwaukee M18 has the best metal-cutting circular saw blade we’ve seen, with 30 carbide-tipped teeth ideal for tackling angle iron, rebar, sheet steel, and EMT (electrical conduit), among other metals. A wide stainless steel shoe (base plate) provides stability when sawing, and a clear guard offers good cut line visibility. Its 6.5-pound weight and attached 5-amp-hours battery make it very manageable.
It’s difficult to find fault with the Milwaukee M18 Fuel metal-cutting circular saw, but it’s expensive. A battery and charger are not included.
Get the Milwaukee metal-cutting saw at Amazon, The Home Depot, or Acme Tools.
Shop Fox W1715 3/4 HP Metal Cutting Bandsaw
Shop Fox produces affordable heavy-duty machinery aimed at home and small workshop users. The Shop Fox W1715 metal-cutting Band saw has a powerful ¾-horsepower motor with three speed ranges, yet it plugs into a standard 110-volt outlet.
Thanks to the included vertical sawing attachment, the Band saw can be used either horizontally or upright. The maximum cut is a 4½-inch diameter in round stock or 6 inches by 4½ inches rectangular. Adjustable clamps allow sawing at any angle. The saw shuts off automatically as soon as the cut is finished.
Some assembly is required, and since it weighs 122 pounds, it’s a job for two people. Once assembly is complete, the wheels on the stand make it relatively easy to move around. Although the Shop Fox W1715 is a significant investment, it’s a good value when compared with similar rivals.
- Power: ¾ horsepower, single phase (uses standard 110-volt outlet)
- Speed: 78, 108, or 180 fpm
- Weight: 122 pounds
- Horizontal and vertical cutting ability
- Competitively priced
- Wheels and handle for mobility
Get the Shop Fox metal-cutting saw at Amazon, Acme Tools, or The Home Depot.
The DeWALT metal-cutting saw is a superbly made saw, with the best 14-inch carbide metal-cutting blade for general-purpose use we found. However, its price may put it beyond the reach of many amateurs. The Porter-Cable metal-cutting saw doesn’t have the same high-quality feel, but it’s robust, dependable, and quite affordable.
How We Chose the Best Metal-Cutting Saws
As an engineer, I have extensive experience with metal-cutting saws. The Bob Vila team also researched leading brands and the latest products to make sure we were aware of recent developments. While the technical aspects discussed here are clearly important, several other key factors impacted our choices.
- Type: Although lots of different types of metal-cutting saws are available and chop saws are popular among metal workers and welders, they aren’t the best metal-cutting saw to trim rebar set in concrete or saw through metal piping installed in a building. Our goal was to choose models that provide solutions for a variety of different users.
- Value: We tried to find metal-cutting saws for every budget, but we never base our choices on price alone. Each of these saws comes from a brand with an established reputation for reliability and durability to ensure long-term value.
Safety Tips for Using Metal-Cutting Saws
Any saw that can cut metal has the potential to be dangerous, but taking a few simple precautions will help prevent accidents.
- Read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully. Make sure you understand how the machine works and how to turn it off quickly.
- Always wear protective goggles or safety glasses. Cutting metal is usually quite noisy, so wearing ear protection is also a good idea.
- Metal can sometimes get hot when being sawed, and cut edges can be sharp. Experts recommend that you wear strong, heat-resistant gloves.
- Make sure any guards are in place correctly. Although you may be tempted to remove them for a better view, don’t.
- Sparks are often generated when cutting metal. Make sure flammable liquids are well away from the work area.
- Securely clamp the item you plan to cut, and never lift a workpiece into a rotating saw blade. If the metal catches or is thrown out, it can cause serious injury. Band saws with vertical tables are an exception, as the workpiece cannot be pulled into the blade.
The information in this guide provides a comprehensive explanation of the key features of metal-cutting saws. However, during our research, we came across some general questions, which we address along with their answers below.
Q. What is a saw that cuts metal called?
A hand saw for cutting metal is called a hacksaw. Powered saws are often called chop saws or cut-off saws, but metal-cutting Band saws and metal-cutting circular saws also are available.
Q. What is the best saw for cutting metal?
Because some saws are better at particular tasks than others, no single answer exists as to which saw is the best. This article considers the various features and offers a variety of solutions.
Q. How does a cut-off saw work?
A cut-off saw usually has an abrasive disk rather than a toothed blade. It works similarly to an angle grinder, but it’s mounted on a sturdy base, which helps provide stability and improve both control and accuracy.
Q. What is the best cold-cut saw?
Each of the listed metal-cutting saws could be described as a cold-cut saw, because unlike metal-cutting lathes and mills, they don’t use lubricants. However, the term typically refers to chop saws, and the DeWALT and Makita are our favorites.
Q. Can I use any saw to cut metal?
No. Saws designed for cutting wood might be able to cut soft metals like aluminum or brass, but not steel. Even then, manufacturers don’t recommend it because swarf (metal scraps) can damage the motor or other moving parts. It’s wise to follow manufacturers’ recommendations as to the capabilities of their machines.
Q. Can I use a metal-cutting saw to cut wood?
It’s possible, but it depends on the type of saw and the blade fitted. Sawdust tends to clog metal-cutting Band saw blades because they have lots of small teeth. Using a saw like the Evolution Rage4 is a multipurpose solution. However, if you cut wood on a regular basis, a dedicated saw is usually a worthwhile investment.