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What Are the Different Kinds of Saws: Introduction to Saw 101

Different Kinds of Saws
Written by Willie Osgood
Last Update: January 3, 2023

Every power or hand saw model comes with its pros and cons. Saws are versatile handheld cutting tools that are useful to DIY enthusiasts and professionals. Also, these cutting tools have wide applications in areas like plumbing, structural demolitions, carpentry, metal works, woodworking, and tree felling activities. Different kinds of saws are applicable to various tasks.

Different Kinds of Power Saw

Power saw tools are operated mechanically and their mechanical components make them very efficient, and versatile. Power saws are operated by built-in batteries or internal combustion. However, they come in different categories of blades like the circular blade, reciprocating blade, and continuous band.

1. Portable Saw

You don’t need to install a portable power saw before operating it. Portable saws often come in two variants; either in corded or cordless designs. Usually, portable saws are user-friendly and are ideal for DIY tasks.

  • Jigsaw


The Jigsaw is a type of reciprocating blade saw with sharp, fine teeth for cutting curved and non-straight lines on plywood. Also, the built-in rotor in Jigsaws work at variable speeds, and the blade of this power tool drifts easily.

  • Circular Saw

Circular Saw

Circular saws aka concrete saws are handheld power tools with large (6 to 9 inches) diameters of toothed blades. An operator has to apply pressure while cutting metals, wood, fiber, and masonry materials with circular saws. As a lightweight handheld saw, this circular saw is used in sawmills and building projects.

  • Band Saw (Portable)

Band Saw

A band saw allows for ease of movement, and outdoor applications. While using its twin wheels to provide high cutting strength, the built-in motor of your band saw gives low noise. However, band saws tend to drift with ease during cutting operations. Band saws are versatile because they are intended for woodworking, lumbering, and plumbing applications.

  • Chainsaw


Typically, a chainsaw has a long chain with ripping teeth around its blade, and the chain rotates during cutting applications. As a type of continuous band saw, the chainsaw comes with an internal combustion (two-stroke) engine and electric motor. This type of handheld saw is ideal for felling trees. Also, the clutch of a chainsaw helps to regulate the chain’s position, while its guide bar prevents the chain from falling off the blade during operations. Apart from tree felling, chainsaws can prepare firewood from trees.

  • Miter Saw


With the circular (10 to 12-inch blade size) blade, the Miter saw offers precise measurement and angle cuts. Usually, built-in motors of high-end models of Mitre saws are driven by electrical power. An advantage of using the handheld, electric miter saw is the ease of controlling cuts. Also, miter saws save time during cutting operations. They can handle compound scrollwork and trim effectively.

  • Chop Saw

Chop Saw

Generally, chop saws are heavy-duty power tools with abrasive blades like grinding wheels of machines. While cutting, the chop saw uses a water line to reduce the level of dust it generates. Chop saws require manual application of pressure to cut through thick metals. With circular blades of between 14 to 16-inch (diameter), chop saws are ideal for cutting concrete, steel pipe, rebar, asphalt, and tile.

2. Stationary Saw

Usually, stationary saws have fixed blade positions, and have large pulleys for cutting operations. The application of stationary saws varies, and it includes woodworking, metals, tubes and PVC cuts.

  • Band Saw (Stationary)

Band Saw (Stationary)

Stationary band saws are tall, floor-standing cutting tools that use pulleys to move the fine teeth of their blades along its cutting table. Band saws can make curves on wood, and cut tubes of PVC pipes accordingly. However, there’s a limit to the depth of the band saw’s fine teeth.

  • Reciprocating Saw


Reciprocating saws have blades that move back and forth with great precision. The quick jigsaw movement of this power tool’s increases its versatility. While maneuvering the parallel blade of a reciprocating saw, this tool will provide accuracy and great force through the surface of materials. Also, you can use the reciprocating saw for heavy or medium-duty cuts underneath wood joints, on nails, drywall, and pipes.

  •  Scroll Saw

Scroll Saw

Without taking a second look, novice users of cutting tools will take the scroll saw for a sewing machine. However, the Scroll Saw is a special tool that uses three types of operations to make spiral lines, patterns, and intricate scroll designs. Scroll saws use reciprocating blades, bands, and continuous blades to create precise rotations on the edges of woods.

  • Table Saw

Table Saw

The blade of a table saw is bigger than a circular saw’s that has a 9-inch diameter. Table saws have platforms that enable their blades’ adjustability. Also, these types of saws have tabletop surfaces, and they help to make multiple rip cuts or identical cuts on your wood piece. An advantage of table saws over circular saws is their compatibility with metal and masonry blades.

  • Tile Saw

Tile Saw

Tile saws have abrasion-resistant, circular blades that are tough and designed for cutting porcelain or ceramic tiles. Usually, the friction of the circular blade and tile material emits heat. Consequently, water is an efficient cooling agent that gives the circular blade great precision as it cuts through the tile’s surface. Additionally, the cooling agent prevents the tile from scorching or having burn marks.

  • Radial Arm Saw

Radial Arm Saw

A radial arm saw uses a circular blade to make Miter and complex cuts on hard metal and wood surfaces. Its circular blade has adjustable speed levels that ensure the right spin for every operation. Also, the radial arm saw comes with a cutting table that helps you to align the surface of any material that needs to be cut.

Different Kinds of  Hand Saw

A saw is a cutting tool that comes with a blade with sharp-toothed edges. A hand saw is more reliable for cutting any type of wood or plumbing pipe.

  •  Coping Saw

Coping Saw

Coping saws have thin and narrow blades that form D-shapes with their C-shape frames. The design of coping saws enables users to make trims, internal, external, and scrolling cuts. Generally, coping saws are versatile because their blades are interchangeable, and they can handle both metal and wood materials.


  • Hacksaw


As one of the most common types of saw, the hacksaw looks like a hand saw and it has a lightweight design. Also, the hacksaw’s blade contains between 18 to 32 teeth per inch. It’s suitable for woodworking and cutting any type of material.

  • Japanese Saw

Japanese Saw

Japanese saws are known for their single handles and protruding blades with crosscut teeth. Usually, Japanese saws make guide paths on wood before they start cutting, and their types include Ryoba, Kataba, and Dozuki.

  •  Back Saw

Back Saw

The backsaw has a short blade that’s tensioned to its frame, and it offers straight cuts on woods. During woodworking tasks, back saws can make 90 and 45 degrees cutting corners.

  • Bow Saw

Bow Saw

A bow saw has the shape of an archer’s bow, but it’s crosscut teeth is used for pruning trees and cutting logs. Also, this type of hand saw comes with an adjustable blade that leaves a straight and curved cut on materials.

  • Crosscut Saw

Crosscut Saw

The crosscut saw is conspicuous because of its design of double handles, beveled teeth that come in pairs. Generally, the two-man crosscut saw is ideal for cutting timbers with rough surfaces, and it’s length ranges between 30 to 60 inches. Their style of cut makes right-angle (perpendicular) movements against the timber’s grain.

  • Pruning Saw

Pruning Saw

Pruning saws have the shape of pistols, their blades are curved and vary in length of between 12 to 15 inches. Usually, the teeth of a pruning saw’s blade are wide and coarse. This type of saw is used by gardeners, landscapers, and tree surgeons.

  • Rip Cut Saw

Rip Cut Saw

The rip cut saw is a special type of saw that cuts wood along the grain. There are fewer teeth per inch on the blade of rip cut saws. As a common type of hand saw that’s ideal for framing, the rip cut saw has a different function from the crosscut saw.

  • Fret Saw

Fret Saw

The design of the fret saw is similar to coping saws because of their blade styles. Also, the design of fret saws allows for cutting tighter radii, intricate tasks. However, the drawback about fret saws is the difficulty in performing scrollwork because their blades can’t be rotated.

  • Keyhole Saw

Keyhole Saw

Keyhole saws are also called jab or compass saws and are used to make rough circular cuts on drywall. They have narrow blades that protrude from their rounded handles and are versatile.

  • Veneer Saw

Veneer Saw

The Veneer saw has short, double-edged blades and about 13 fine teeth per inch. It’s the ideal saw for cutting veneer because it uses all its edges to handle veneering tasks.

  • Wallboard Saw

Wallboard Saw

The wallboard saw has a similar design with keyhole saws, but it has a wider blade with double-edged teeth. Its short blade has fewer teeth per inch and can handle drywall or paneling tasks efficiently.

Before choosing any saw model, it’s sensible to determine your purpose of cut. Each design comes with specific functions, and skills of operation. However, saw models with high-end features are more expensive than ordinary hand saws. Usually, it’s your DIY task or professional project that determines the right cutting tool. Also, the compatibility of switching saw blades might play a major role in choosing your saw. With this buyer’s guide, it will be easy to decide what your next model of the saw will be. Regardless of their types, you must consider the ease of use, speed of operation, and efficiency of your cutting tool.

About the author

Willie Osgood

An Avid Metalworker

Willie doesn’t really consider himself an artist, rather a craftsman involved in practical trades. Yet, most of his projects require him to make interesting and fine objects. Being the eldest son of a carpenter, his background is 100 percent rooted in crafting. He found the art of blacksmithing quite appealing since his teenage years… that fire, the sound of swinging hammers, and those long and shiny blades that came out as a finished product. Soon he literally became obsessed with metal – the way it moved, worked, and changed when heated or cooled.

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