Understanding Concrete or Demolition Saws – What are They?
Simply put, a concrete saw is a tool used for cutting concrete. However, the purpose does not stop there because there are consaws that can also be used to cut other hard substances such as asphalt, bricks and tiles, while some can even cut through steel. This is essential for those involved in precise cutting jobs, such as construction or landscaping. So, start using a concrete saw if your job demands that.
There are many different kinds of concrete saws available, ranging from portable suitable for thin surfaces and light work to the heavy duty ones powered by gas or pneumatic or hydraulic pressure. There are also handheld and walk-behind types, the latter of which is more suited for areas with ample space to work and for those who prefer the convenience and ease in cutting. You will also find self propelled, early entry, and concrete ring saws in the industry.
In addition, different variations of blades are available and each is especially suited based on your preferences as well as on budget and performance concerns, ranging from corundum masonry to reciprocating to diamond/metal composite blades used for either wet or dry cutting.
Best Concrete Saw - Buying Guide
There are a lot of things to consider when you're planning to own a concrete cut off saw, as simply looking at concrete saw prices and choosing the most inexpensive ones will not cut. There are many variations you will find on the market, and it is important that you would get the right one for your intended use. Of course, there are some specifications that you might prefer based on your personal choices.
1. Wet or Dry
Some blades are required to be wet during use as this will lubricate the blades when cutting. This will help in prolonging the life of your blade as well as prevent accidents due to segments snapping off. Wet blades also help in minimizing dust generated.
Dry blades, on the other hand, are used when no water source is available within the immediate vicinity. The dry cutting means that blades would tend to overheat more, and a preventive measure for this is to make intermittently deeper cuts to prevent premature damage to the blades. Also, it is important to have proper ventilation and housekeeping within the area when dry cutting due to more dust being produced.
2. Chain Saws or Disc Cutters
In our opinion, the only reason that you would employ chainsaws is if you would require much deeper cuts, usually at around 14 inches or so. Disc cutters are definitely more precise when it comes to flush cutting and relief joints, and chainsaws are more delegated to removal works rather than construction. Still, this is something worth exploring depending on the job you are up against.
3. Gas or Electric
A gas-powered concrete saw provides more cutting power. However, noise and fumes may become an issue, especially in enclosed and unventilated areas. Like battery powered chainsaws, an electric cement saw is much quieter and there are no harmful gas fumes to consider. Power limitations may be an issue though since harder surfaces as well as substances like hardwood may be more difficult to cut.
As for portability, while there are models that are quite lightweight even for those that require gas or batteries. We have included electric and gas concrete saw reviews here so you can decide which type to go for.
4. Handheld or Walk Behind
The choice between a handheld concrete cutter or a walk behind will depend on both convenience and portability. The former allows you to make cuts that are not straight or are already fixed while the latter can only be used for straight cuts on surfaces that you place on the floor. On the other hand, nothing beats the walk behind type when it comes to ease and convenience of use.
5. Arbor Sizes
The arbor size pertains to the size of the hole that the disc blades would attach to. Larger arbor sizes can accept smaller blades with the right type of bushing, while smaller arbor sizes can only accept blades of limited arbor hole sizes. As a safety precaution, you should never attach blades that do not fit snugly as the blade might move around during cutting, which might cause uneven cuts or, worse, accidents in the workplace.
6. Disc Blades
There are different blade qualities, ranging from carbide to diamond tipped ones. Blades are abrasive in nature and tend to wear down after use. Of course, more durable ones will tend to cost more.
Different concrete saws require different diameters of blades. A small concrete saw, for example, would typically require small blades of 4.5 to 7.25 inches in diameter.
7. Depth of Cut
Only the best concrete saws will allow you to adjust for the depth of your cut. Of course, the total diameter of your blade would also be a factor for this. Typically, the bigger the saw, the deeper the maximum cut that it can do.
Concrete saws usually have a knob or level that you can use to adjust the depth of cut. Set this and ensure that it is locked in place to ensure even cutting.
Some concrete saws have safety features that offer protection to its users. Safety guards, dust filters, and voltage protection are just some of the features that you can find. Safety certifications and both international and national standards are sometimes provided to ensure quality and safety of products.
The efficiency of slab saws depends on its power as well as the quality of the blades. The higher the RPM and power of the motor, the easier that you will be able to make cuts. High-quality blades will also make cutting easier and faster with little to no pressure required.
However, make it a point to let the blade rest after prolonged cutting to prevent it from overheating. This is especially important when using dry cutting blades. In any case, an efficient cutting saw can help you save a lot of man-hours, which translate to both cost and time as well as effort.
Convenience pertains to ease of use when carrying or operating your road saw. This can include weight, vibration, noise, maneuverability, and even the length of the power cord. Having a concrete saw that is convenient to use will save you not only time, but it will lessen the strain of operating it as well.
Concrete saws have different price ranges from a couple of hundred dollars to several thousand. This will depend on the size and power of your selection, and some brands are also known to be more expensive than others. Take note that, sometimes, price does not always mean quality and you may find a perfectly suitable concrete saw for you without costing an arm and a leg.
Should I Buy or Rent a Quick Cut Saw?
Buying a concrete saw is a big decision, as you would be stuck with it for the long term. For one time jobs that require a specialized tool, renting would be the right to call. This is more economical and practical, especially if you will not be using it consistently.
However, purchasing a concrete saw is your bet if you are in a landscaping or construction business, as well as if you are doing a lot of DIY work. A frequently used saw that you have bought pays for itself in a couple of months, and with proper care and maintenance, a concrete saw can last you for many years.
You should check on your specific needs and budget to decide whether to buy or rent. In any case, having a cheap concrete saw, at the very least, as a part of your toolkit is an absolute essential while renting or buying specialized or heavy duty ones should be decided based on the circumstances mentioned above.
Whether your concrete saw is the walk behind or handheld or chop saw type, make sure that you take proper precautions to avoid damage to property or injury to yourself. It is very important to read the operations manual of your tool before its use. In addition, never forget to wear proper protective equipment such as gloves, dust masks, steel-toe shoes, and eye goggles when operating these types of equipment.
It is also very important to prepare your work area before using a concrete saw. For wet cutting, make sure that you have an adequate water source and water would not reach electrical outlets or other liquid sensitive equipment. Make it a point to keep any electrical wires away from the work area, and that the surroundings are well-lit and properly ventilated.
Lastly, keep others away when the concrete saw is in operation, especially children and pets, and never operate an improperly acting machine without having it checked by a professional first. Always focus on the job at hand when operating any type of similar equipment and never handle such a potentially dangerous device without the utmost care.
Care & Maintenance
Maintenance of your demo saw is actually simple and if done properly, your tool can serve you well for many years. However, as these equipment do take a lot of abuse, regular checkups must be done to ensure that they remain in a good condition even with regular use.
Make sure to regularly clean all external surfaces and lubricate bearings as needed since sludge and water buildup can drastically affect your concrete saw’s performance. Make it a part of regular maintenance to check on air filters, belts, and oil levels. Change your saw’s oil as indicated in the user’s manual, and replace faulty parts as needed.
Another thing that you should do is ensure that you are using the right blades for the job. Replace your blades once worn out to reduce the stress on your saw. Make sure that you check your saw before using it, and have it checked out if anything does not feel right as using it further may cause more damage and might even lead to accidents or injury.
Summing It All Up
We shared our research findings here so you can make an informed buying decision. Personally, I’d choose the SKILL SAW MEDUSAW for shallow cuts and the EVOLUTION DISCCUT1 for everything else. This is basing my criteria on my own needs and budget, which might, of course, differ from yours. My choices were made due to my personal disdain of gasoline fumes, as well. For other jobs outside the scope of these two, then I’d probably just rent as seldom do those types of jobs come in anyway.
Aside from these, there are also reputed brands offering high performance concrete saws like STIHL (GS 461), Core Cut, Harbor Freight, Milwaukee (M18), AGP Europe, Perfect Trac, Echo, Edco, Bosch, Dolmar (309), Redzaw, Norton, Hilti (DSH 700 & DSH 700-X), Wacker Neuson, Multiquip (Slab Saver), Husky, Dimas, Hitachi, Norton, Diesel, Meco, Mongoose, Homelite (MP38), and Partner (K950 & K1200). But we could not list their products here simply because they were not good enough when we made the comparison.
Still, it is more a matter of personal taste in the end, as well as the nature of the job at hand. By knowing what each of these concrete saws can do along with their limitations, you will know for sure which one to get.
Before we conclude, we’d like to mention that the following types of saws were also part of our review process. Check them out as well -
- Reciprocating Saws
- Miter Saws
- Cabinet Table Saws
- Tile Saws
- Hybrid Table Saw