Power Tool Buying Guide for Saw Blade

Irwin Framing Saw BladeThe first thing to remember when buying a saw blade is the arbor size. The arbor is the center hole in the blade and that must match the arbor size of the saw. On any saw remember to read your owners manually to see what blade size you will need for your saw. Saw blades come in a variety of sizes, types, and materials.

Type of Materials used to make blades:

Steel Blades – Good for cutting softwoods, but will dull very quickly on hardwood. Inexpensive.
High-Speed Steel (HSS) Blades – Harder than the steel blades and will stay sharp longer. A little more pricey.
Carbide Tipped Blades – More expensive than the Steel and HSS, but they stay sharp longer than both. Good for hardwood cuts.
Abrasive Blades
– Abrasive material used on these blades for cutting masonry and metals.
Diamond Blades – The tips of the blades have real diamonds and will cut through glass, concrete and ceramic tile.

The saw blade does the cutting. Spend a couple dollars more and invest in a blade that will stay sharp longer and give you a better cut. Remember that a dull blade doesn’t only ruin your cut, but puts more stress on your saw.

Types of Blades

A ripping blade has few teeth and a large gullet for good wood removal. Used for cutting with the grain of the wood and will produce a ruff cut.


Has many teeth, usually more than 48 and a very small gullet. This is used to cut across the wood grain and will produce a smooth finish.


Usually, has a series of four to five teeth similar to the crosscut and is divided by a very large gullet. Used for cutting with the grain, against the grain and miter cuts.


Usually, has a 100 or more teeth and as the name implies is used for cutting plywood.


Hollow Ground
This blade is ground thinner into the body than the teeth to prevent binding. Used for making smooth cuts across the wood grain.


This is manufactured as stacked, one piece or two piece adjustable units. Used for cutting grooves and dados in dimensional lumber and sheets.


Thin Kerf
Used for easy cutting and will not waste as much material. This is used for cutting dimensional lumber.


Used for cutting tile, masonry or even steel.


Very sturdy and strong blade used for cutting tile, concrete, glass and ceramic materials.