37 Different Types of Saws & Their Usages

Saws are incredible tools for woodwork and metal projects. They are ideal for simple home woodworking jobs and advanced construction projects.

Saws fall under two broad categories – power saws and hand saws. For each category, there are those designed to handle specific tasks while others deal in a wide range of tasks. As such, their features and qualities differ significantly.

If you are a homeowner, a saw is an essential tool to include in your home workshop. It comes in handy in pruning tall trees, making shelves, erecting a fence around your garden, among other DIY tasks.

Choosing the right saw for your task is paramount in achieving more satisfying results. It also makes your work easier and less time-consuming.

Below is an in-depth review of different power saws and hand saws. It will help you know the type of task you can accomplish with each saw.

Types of Power Saws

As the name suggests, power saws are mechanically powered machines used for industrial and DIY projects. They are essential in building projects as they make work easier and faster to accomplish with minimal effort.

Therefore, if you have a complex, large, or heavy project, a power saw will sort you out in no time. Power saws come with different sources of power, such as electricity, gas, and battery.

They also have different types of blades and teeth based on the material they’re designed to cut. Below are some of the best power saws and their specific uses.

Chainsaw

chainsaw

A chainsaw is handheld and mechanically powered. It has a set of specially designed teeth in a linked chain. The chain rotates around a steel panel at high speed, thus cutting through wood effortlessly.

It is ideal for cutting large pieces of wood. Chainsaws are powered by a gasoline engine, battery, or electric power cord. Gasoline-powered models have greater power than electric ones but vibrate the most.

Chainsaws powered by electric motors are ideal for tasks that require a longer duration to accomplish. They vibrate less and thus play a key role in reducing fatigue.

One fantastic feature of a chainsaw is the inbuilt clutch. The clutch prevents the saw’s engine from overheating or stalling inside the wood you are cutting. It also protects you from the engine’s kickback while handling the saw.

Table Saw

table saw

This saw comes with a circular rotating blade, stable guides, and an electric-powered motor. It is the best in making the fastest and most accurate repeated cuts.

It works by pushing the material that you are cutting into the blade. Amazingly, you can adjust the blade depth to suit your cutting needs. You can also change the blade anytime, depending on the type of material you are cutting.

Table saws are ideal for making precise straight cuts. However, they can be dangerous if mishandled and therefore need a lot of caution when operating.

There are five different types of table saws:

  • Cabinet table saws: They are the heaviest. They are also the most accurate, powerful, and accurate.
  • Contractor table saw: This saw is mounted on a base since it is large and heavy. The mounting base comes with wheels to allow easy transportation to your job site.
  • Hybrid table saw: It resembles and feels like a cabinet saw but is more high-end in terms of price. It falls in the same price range as a high-end contractor saw.
  • Jobsite table saw: The Jobsite model is an excellent choice if you are looking for a reliable and portable table saw. It is lightweight yet well-equipped to handle tougher and larger jobs. It is also less pricey, thus suitable for home DIY enthusiasts.
  • Portable table saw: It is incredibly lightweight such that you can carry it with one hand. It is also inexpensive and powerful. However, it lacks the accuracy present in heavier and pricier table saws.

Pole Saw

pole saw

This power saw attaches to a telescoping pole handle. It is ideal for trimming or pruning branches on high trees.

You can also remove the telescoping handle and shaft from the pole saw to make it a standard chain saw.

The most common types of pole saws are:

  • Gas pole saw
  • Electric pole saw
  • Manual pole saw

Reciprocating Saw

Reciprocating saws, also known as sawzalls, are smaller in size than chain saws. These handheld power saws are suitable for wood and metal works. They are also ideal for heavy construction jobs.

reciprocating saw

Related: reciprocating saw blade

They use back and forth motion to cut thus their name. It takes the design of a jigsaw and allows for vertical use. This saw is a good choice for cutting drywall, especially when accuracy is not a priority.

There are three main types of reciprocating saws, and they are:

Miter Saw

miter saw

If you want to make a precise angled cut, a miter saw is the best tool to use. A miter is a joint cut between two pieces of wood that are seamlessly joined at an angle.

It is achieved by cutting equal-angled surfaces on the edges of each wood.

A miter saw has a circular blade that you pull down on the material you are cutting. You can swipe the blade with that of a table saw for better flexibility.

Miter saws have special boxes that make such cuts possible, producing excellent 45-degree cuts. You can also custom-set the saw to cut your desired angle. It is perfect for cutting trim and molding.

Circular Saw

circular saw

A circular saw is one of the best power saws in the market. It is suitable for home and construction site use. Its circular blade spins at high speed, allowing easy ripping and crosscutting of wood.

The saw is incredibly lightweight and versatile. As a result, you can transport it to different locations with ease. A circular saw is compatible with different types of blades. By changing the blade, you can use it on various materials such as wood, metal, stone, plastic, and ceramic.

Jigsaw

This handheld power saw is ideal for making flawless curved and straight cuts, thanks to its versatility. A jigsaw can make a bevel cut of up to 45 degrees.

jigsaw

It has a thin downward-pointing blade that maneuvers around a cutout to bring out the desired patterns. It is also best in cutting out the hard-to-reach areas. Its handle comes in both corded and cordless versions. 

Since a jigsaw is lightweight, you can use it to cut thin and delicate boards or plywood.

It is also easy to use and reasonably quiet, thus great for a home workshop.

If you want to cut through metal, concrete, ceramic, or tile with your jigsaw, you will need to purchase separate thicker blades.

Band Saw

It is one of the best power saws. The blade of a band saw is a continuous loop of metal driven over wheels (two or three).

benchtop band saw

A band saw has no kickback making it an ideal choice for cautious woodworkers. It is relatively quiet, and you can use it at home or in a quiet neighborhood. You can cut through a variety of materials with this saw using interchangeable blades.

If you are looking for a power saw that cuts accurate and precise straight or curved cuts, a band saw is the best choice. Its blade has varying degrees of teeth and is therefore good in cutting a variety of jigsaw shapes.

There are different types of band saws, and they include;

  • Portable band saw
  • Benchtop band saw
  • Vertical band saw
  • Horizontal band saw
  • Wood band saw
  • Meat band saw

Scroll Saw

scroll saw

A scroll saw has a reciprocating saw in its system. It comes with a fine blade and different operating speeds. Therefore, it is perfect for delicate, precise, and intricate cuts such as spiral lines, curved edges, scrolls, and stylish patterns.

One outstanding feature of a scroll saw is its reciprocating blade and not a continuous loop like most saws. This way, it is possible to make interior cutouts on your wood by inserting the blade into a starter hole. Doing so enhances your woodworking creativity and brings out more decorative pieces.

Chop Saw

It resembles a circular saw, though a bit larger than the standard circular saw. It is ideal for cutting through metal as it has excellent vertical precision and power.

A chop saw comes with smooth toothless blades with abrasives to facilitate clean cuts. Some of these saws link up to a water supply line to help reduce dust when in use.

Flooring Saw

As its name suggests, this saw aids in fitting different floorings such as laminate, hardwood, and bamboo.

A flooring saw features some characteristics of a miter and table saw. It is perfect for making straight, and miter cuts and is highly portable.

The saw has thick rubber feet to give it stability during use and prevent floor damage. It is less accurate than a table saw, but it’s perfect for saving effort and time.

Oscillating Saw

An oscillating saw is often referred to as a multi-tool. It is a favorite tool to many professional and DIY remodelers. This tool is easy to use, lightweight, and requires little storage space.

An oscillating saw is compatible with a variety of blades. Therefore, you can use it to cut through metals, wood, plastic, tile, and any other material by just changing the blade.

The saw does not only cut but can also scrape and grind. It is also helpful in removing grout and caulk.

It is perfect for accomplishing smaller tasks but may not be suitable for longer cuts that require accuracy. 

Tile Saw

This saw is a go-to choice for professional tile setters as it provides clean, smooth edges. Integrating a water distribution system into a mounted circular blade is recommended to enhance its accuracy and performance. 

The only limitation of buying a tile saw is that you cannot use it for other purposes apart from cutting tiles.

Panel Saw

A panel saw is an advanced version of a table saw. It is the best in cutting large panels or sheets into pieces. Due to its complex use, this saw is big, thus suitable for industrial/ professional workshop use.

The saw cuts horizontally or vertically. You will need to use it alongside a sliding table to feed the materials to the blade.

Jamb Saw

This specialized saw is ideal for cutting molding and door jamb sections. Doing so enables you to lay flooring flush with the wall. Since a jamb saw is not frequently used, you would rather rent one when the need arises than incur the cost of buying.

Compound Miter Saw

This power saw helps make miters, bevels, and crosscuts. It works by pulling the mounted circular blade downwards.

A compound miter saw is mainly used in cutting trim.


Types of Hand Saws

Hand saws, also known as panel saws, are non-powered, meaning they don’t use electricity, gas, or battery to function. There are different types of hand saws. There are those designed for hand use while others operate manually. 

Hand saws are the go-to tools for professional woodworkers when working on small projects. They are also a great addition to your home toolbox for DIY tasks. You can use a hand saw for a wide range of home and garden tasks.

Although power saws have greater accuracy and convenience, hand saws are ideal if you want to feel your material. As such, you can cut sophisticated pieces with more accuracy.

Moreover, these saws are less costly, highly portable, and take up less storage space. Let’s look at the different types of hand saws below.

A Basic Hand Saw

This saw is a must-have in your home toolbox. It has a long flexible blade with slightly offset teeth to allow continuous sawing.

Hand saws come with different types of teeth, which include:

  • Dual-purpose teeth
  • Crosscut teeth
  • Rip teeth
  • Japanese crosscut teeth

The kind of job you want to accomplish will determine the type of blade to buy.

Coping Saw

This hand saw is ideal for making internal and external cuts. It has a thin blade made of steel alloy to give it longevity.

One fantastic feature of a coping saw is its ability to cut through a cutout or a hole. It is ideal for making curved cuts on wood and creating coping joints. It also comes in handy when cutting through aluminum pipework.

The saw has downward-facing teeth and operates on a pull stroke.

Hack Saw

A hack saw is an excellent handheld tool that is specially designed to cut metals. Since this saw is manual, you will need to push it back and forth through the material you are cutting.

It has a c-shaped frame that secures the saw’s fine-toothed blade in place. However, always ensure that you position the material you are working on in a vise for personal safety.

Rip-Cut Saw

A rip-cut saw is one of the commonly-used woodworking tools for professionals and DIY enthusiasts.

This handheld saw has sharp and fewer teeth per inch. This way, it removes wood chips as it operates, making it ideal for precision cuts. However, you can use it to accomplish several tasks, thanks to its versatility.

The design of a rip-cut saw allows it cut wood parallel to the grain.

Crosscut Saw

If you are looking for a tool that can cut on rough wooden surfaces, a crosscut saw is the best choice. It is perfect for cutting lumber and trimming branches.

The saw has more prominent teeth than other hand saws and cuts perpendicular to the grain of the wood. It has a thick blade to give it stability against the rough wood.

Crosscut saws can either be single-user or for two users simultaneously. A two-person crosscut saw has a handle on either end and is ideal for cutting backyard planks to small sizes.

Bow Cut Saw

A bow cut saw is a medium-sized hand tool used for cutting logs and pruning trees. It is a modern version of a crosscut saw.

It works by pushing it in and out against the wood. It has a long and narrow blade which makes cutting of thick wood sections easy. The saw is also suitable for making curved cuts.

Fret Saw

If you are working on intricate woodwork, a fret saw is the best tool to use. Its blade has 32 teeth per inch and can therefore produce accurate, precise cuts.

You can also use a fret saw to make curved cuts, although they won’t be as accurate as using a coping saw. A fret saw is also referred to as a scroll saw.

Keyhole Saw

This saw resembles a dagger and has a pointed end on the front of the blade. Other names of a keyhole saw are jab saw, drywall saw, and pad saw.

Its thin pointed blade allows it to make small holes and awkward maneuvers. You can also use this saw to cut out rough patterns.

A keyhole saw is available in two varieties; with a retractable blade or with a fixed blade.

Folding Saw

Folding saws are handy for backpacking and camping due to their compact and lightweight nature. You can also get one for your home DIY tasks as it requires little storage space.

This saw has razor-sharp teeth and is ideal for pruning small branches.

These saws come in two significant folding designs/ styles:

Pruning style: The saw’s blade folds down into the handle. This way, it can fit in a belt-mounted holster for easy transportation.

Folding bow style: The blade folds out from a collapsed position and then locks into place. This style allows you to store the saw in a backpack. You will need a little bit more force when folding your blade into this style.

Note: Not all folding saws are suitable for camping. They only come in handy when weight and space are a major concern. If you are looking for camping saw, there are specially-designed varieties in the market.

Japanese Saw

It has a sturdy narrow blade attached to a single handle. The saw cuts on a pull motion, thus giving a cleaner narrower cut without tearing the grain.

A Japanese Saw gives you more control and is ideal for smaller and more precise cutting tasks.

Back Saw

Also known as a dovetail saw, a backsaw offers precision and accuracy when making dovetail joints. It has a narrow blade with small fine teeth for precise cutting.

You can wrap a heavy piece of steel or brass over the top edge of the saw’s blade. Doing so lessens the force required when cutting, keeps the blade straight, and gives you greater control.

There is a variety of back saws with varying lengths and handle designs.

Pruning Saw

This saw is favorable for use in a garden for pruning big shrubs and tall trees. It comes with a curved handle and blade making it easy to reach the hidden branches.

You can mount the saw on the end of a pole if you want to prune tree limbs. However, for low-hanging branches, you can use it as a hand tool.

This tool works better for smaller pruning tasks. If you need to do largescale pruning, it is recommendable to use a chainsaw.

Veneer Saw

This saw is suitable for cutting hardwood veneers, plastics and laminates. It is a double-edged saw with a small, three to four inches curved blade.

Due to its size, a veneer saw is only helpful for small tasks. It is fast and offers excellent results. When used with a straight edge, a veneer saw can cut perfect square-edged materials, ideal for making butt-joining matched veneers.

Wallboard Saw

A wallboard saw resembles a keyhole saw, only that it has a shorter and wider blade. This tool has a double-edged blade with sharp teeth on both sides.

It also has a pointed tip that aids in punching holes into a panel or drywall. Unlike a keyhole saw, this one has fewer teeth per inch, making it great for making rough cuts.

If you want your wallboard saw to last longer, it is recommendable to go for one with a tempered or hardened blade.

Razor Saw

A razor saw has finely-pitched crosscut teeth. It is ideal for making clean, accurate cuts in extremely softwood, especially in model boats, trains, and planes. The saw is also excellent in cutting soft metals, softwood, and plastics.

Camping Saw

Camping saws are available in different designs and features. When looking for a camping saw, the key features to consider are; versatility, compactness, and lightweight. A saw that has a non-slip handle and a sheath would be an added benefit.

A folding camping saw is the best fit because you can slip it in a bag and carry it wherever you wish. It cuts a wide range of materials and takes up hardly any space. You can use this saw to trim branches, cut firewood, and any other necessary cut while on a camping spree.

Bone Saw

Just like its name, a bone saw is for cutting bones. It is a fantastic tool for meat butchers and game hunters. The saw’s blade is likely to rust fast due to frequent contact with animal blood. Therefore, it is recommendable to go for a stainless steel blade as it is immune to corrosion.

Wire Saw

A wise saw uses abrasion rather than saw teeth to cut wood. Its handheld model is lightweight, making it fit for backpackers.

However, one notable limitation of this saw is that it requires a lot of time and effort to complete a task. Therefore, if you must have it, ensure that the handle is comfortable enough for your fingers.

Manual Pole Saw

It is one of the most common and conventional hand saw to have. It comes with pruning or folding saw on one end of a long stick.

The saw allows you to cut high branches from trees.

Carcass Saw

This saw is remarkable in cutting the framework carcass of a cabinet. It has a stiff blade and crosscut-filed teeth, which helps in making precise cuts across the wood grain. The saw can only handle smaller tasks compared to a tenon saw.

Pocket Chainsaw

A pocket chainsaw is a favorite of backpackers and survivalists. It has a compact design and is lightweight, making it easy to carry around.

Although this saw is heavier than wire saws, it cuts using teeth and not friction. As such, it makes cutting faster, easier, and less strenuous.


Summary

Sawing is an essential aspect of woodworking and metal works for home DIY projects and professional jobs. It is an easy and safe way to cut materials into desirable sizes.

From the review above, saws fall under two broad categories; power saws and hand saws. Power saws are more accurate and precise, while hand saws give you control over the material you are cutting.

All these tools are excellent, and they have different characteristics and uses. When deciding on the best saw to buy, it is crucial to consider your sawing needs. We hope that this review helps you in making the right decision.

Marcus Weldman

Marcus Weldman is the main author of WiseMakr.com. Marcus is a tool and DIY enthusiast. He spends his time discovering the comparative differences and practical limits for all kinds of tools.