By Grainger Editorial Staff 9/2/19
There are many different types of saws available depending on your cutting needs. It is important to pick the right saw for the right job. Using the wrong type of saw, with the wrong kind of blade, could result in ruining both your tools and your materials. Before you make that first cut, look at what kind of material you are working with and what kind of cuts you need to make.
The blade on a bandsaw is a thin, metal band with a large surface area—this makes it great for cutting metal. Bandsaws are frequently stationary saws with a built-in cutting table, though portable bandsaws are available as well. These types of saws come in a variety of sizes, both in the capable height (“resaw capacity”) and width (“throat”).
Also referred to as “buzzsaws,” circular saws are portable, electric saws with a rotating circular blade. These types of saws come in a wide variety of styles, accommodating many different blade sizes and types.
Chainsaws are motorized, handheld saws which usually run on a two-stroke engine (an electric option is available). They consist of a cutting chain that has sharp teeth, revolving around an extended arm.
Also known as “saber saws,” jig saws are lightweight and handheld. They have a vertical blade that moves up and down, cutting on the upstroke. Jig saws come in variable-speed types, and these types of saws may include lights and laser lines.
Masonry saws are sometimes called “concrete saws” and are made specifically for working with concrete. They have a unique, diamond blade designed to slice into extremely hard materials.
Power miter saws are good for making quick and accurate crosscuts. The miter saw has a rotating circular blade fixed onto a table. These types of saws are similar to a table saw, but perform angled cutting and use a blade that offers precise finishing.
A reciprocating saw is a powerful, electric hand saw. It has a push-and-pull, reciprocating blade, like a hand saw but with power. Reciprocating saws range from light to heavy duty.
Table saws are constructed of a circular blade, fixed into a stationary tabletop. The blade stays in a fixed location while the material is moved across the blade to make the cut.
There are many other types of power saws, each designed for its own particular application. You may use a chop saw or cold saw for metal cut-offs. There are also an entire range of metal cutting circular saws, designed for metalwork exclusively. If you are working with drywall, a spiral saw is great for making cutouts without the need of a pilot hole. Also, oscillating tools are available for flush cutting and cutouts.
Regardless of the material you need to cut—or the saw you use to do it—there are certain safety guidelines that apply across the board. Make sure to take every precaution before starting up an electric saw, ensuring that the area is clear for cutting and that all components are working properly. Taking a few minutes before you begin the work can help prevent accidents and injuries later.
The information contained in this article is intended for general information purposes only and is based on information available as of the initial date of publication. No representation is made that the information or references are complete or remain current. This article is not a substitute for review of current applicable government regulations, industry standards, or other standards specific to your business and/or activities and should not be construed as legal advice or opinion. Readers with specific questions should refer to the applicable standards or consult with an attorney.