Types of Saws

Hilti Nuron Jig Saws

Saws are one of the most exciting tools available. Maybe it’s the danger aspect of the sharp, sometimes fast blades that makes saws so fun to work with? There is also a huge variety of saws for multiple uses. In fact, it can be overwhelming deciding which saw is best for you when assembling your first workshop. We made it easy for you. Today, we’re going over the most common types of saws.

We’ve broken the types of saws into two categories: Hand Saws and Power Saws. We won’t get into more obscure saws, but we will mention types of saws common on jobsites, in personal workshops, discuss their use, where to buy, and more.

So, let’s dive into the different types of saws.

Types of Hand Saws

When learning the different types of saws, hand saws are a great place to start. Hand saws have a straightforward, power-free, manual operation, and have been around since the stone age. Hand saws’ simple design makes them great for beginners, and every tool person should have at least one.

Today, we are going to cover some of the common types of hand saws, plus one unusual favorite of mine.

Click to jump to Power Saws.

1Coping Saw

Coping saws have thin blades and are designed to make curve cuts in wood, and it can cut intricate shapes. This saw is commonly used for trim finish and precision work.

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2Crosscut/Rip Saw


I bet when you think of a hand saw, it’s a crosscut/rip saw that appears in your brain. This is perhaps the most common type of saw and was the go-to before electric saws. You may have also seen large versions of these saws where there is a handle on each end for a two-person operation, popular in lumber cutting.

Yes, these are two different types of saws, but similar. The crosscut has a thicker blade with large bevel teeth. It’s good for rough-cutting wood and cutting short grain wood.

The rip saw is for cutting long grain wood. Combination blades are also available.

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3Back Saw

Back saws are used for dovetail joints in woodworking. The rigid back allows for more precise sawing.  The saws have narrow blades and fine teeth for a nice, clean finish cut.

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4Hack Saw

A hacksaw is designed to cut metal. It has a thick blade with lots of teeth that make it easier to cut through metal and reduce jumping. You can use this on other materials like plastic and wood, but this is great for cutting through materials like metal pipe.

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5Jab Saw/Keyhole Saw

A jab saw or keyhole saw has a tapered blade allowing the user to jab through the material. While this type of saw was originally used to cut keyholes, it is now commonly used in drywall applications.

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6Japanese Saw

Unlike most blades that cut when pushed, a Japanese saw has a thick blade designed to cut when pulled. These saws are made for precision work and smaller jobs like flush cuts in trim work. Some Japanese saws feature a blade on each side. One side has a crosscut blade, with a rip blade on the other.

A Japanese saw is smaller than most of the other saws that we mentioned today, and fits nicely in most toolboxes and belts.

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Types of Power Saws

Hand saws are tried and true, but they can be less efficient than power saws. Power saws dramatically improved productivity and reduced fatigue in users since their introduction in 1923. Power saws have come a long way since then, achieving incredibly high cut speeds thanks to advancements in motor and power technology.

Again, there are multiple types of power saws. We can’t get to all of them today, but we will go over the most common types of power saws, their uses, and the projects or trades these saws are meant for.

Click to return to Hand Saws.

7Band Saw

There are two types of band saws: stationary and portable.

A stationary band saw has a table so you can rest your material on the table while making a cut. You can make curve cuts or cut pipe, PVC, and more. A portable band saw allows you to make straight cuts onto PVC and pipe, but should not be used for curved cuts.

Neither version is designed for intricate cuts. For that, you might be interested in a scroll saw or jig saw.

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I know the chainsaw is the saw of horror movies, but it’s actually designed for cutting trees. Chainsaws come in a wide variety of sizes. Most sizes and uses fall into the following categories: large-diameter tree trunks, cutting branches, or small tree choppers.

It’s called a chainsaw because the cutting mechanism is a chain that rotates around a stationary piece of metal. While most saws do not need oil, a chain saw requires oil as it cuts.

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9Chop Saw

A chop saw is designed to cut concrete or metal.  Yes, you can cut wood, but usually you will want to use a miter saw for wood material.  A chop saw only goes up and down and doesn’t make miter or bevel cuts.  Think of a karate chop and how the hand just comes down, a chop saw uses the same concept.

Chop saws have a selection of blades available suited for whatever you are cutting. For instance, you will need an abrasive cutting wheel when cutting metal. For brick, you will need a diamond blade. Some chop saws have water attachment kits to help with dust management.

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10Circular Saw

One of the most common types of saws is the circular saw.  This saw has a circular blade that rotates, hence, a circular saw.  There are two types of motors – Worm Drive vs Inline.

These saws are designed to cut straight and will not make curved cuts. There is a plate or show on the bottom so the saw can ride along the material while making the cut.

These saws come in a wide range of sizes. The saw size you need is mostly dictated by the type of job you’ll be doing.  The most common size of a circular saw is a 7-1/4 in. saw.

Circular Saws Reviews

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11Miter Saw

A miter saw is a bench tool. These saws are great for making bevel or miter cuts (angle cuts). If you are a hobbyist or building a house, this is usually a must-have saw.

These saws have a blade that spins around an arbor and you lay the material on the tabletop. When ready to make a cut, you pull down on the handle and bury the blade into the piece of work to make a cut.

A miter saw can come in a variety of different styles depending on your need. While there are a variety of sizes, the two most common are 10 in. and 12 in. saws.

Miter Saws Reviews

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12Jig Saw

A jig saw features a blade that moves up and down to make a cut.  These are great for  circular cuts, curve cuts, and tighter corners.  You can use this to cut straight lines but they are not really designed for that task.

There are a wide variety of different jig saw blades, making it versatile for cutting wood, metal, plastic, and more.

Jig Saws Reviews

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13Oscillating Saw

An oscillating saw gets its name from a blade that oscillates back and forth to make a cut.  It vibrates quickly to make cutting quick and easy. These are versatile tools used to cut trim, make cuts into tight corners, and more.

You can cut more than just wood. You can also use an oscillating saw to remove caulk, and grout, and to scrape and grind.

Oscillating Saw Reviews

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14Panel Saw

You won’t find a panel saw in most home workshops. You may have seen this saw at Home Depot, or in a professional woodshop, particularly cabinet woodshops. Even though this saw is less common it is worth knowing about.

These saws are similar to a table saw, but they don’t lay flat like a table saw does. A panel saw is designed to make vertical and horizontal cuts, and is designed to cut sheets of plywood, panels, and more.

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15Radial Arm Saw

This isn’t a common saw unless you are in cabinet making or woodworking shop. A radial arm saw has a blade that spins in a circular motion and is attached to an arm that can slide back and forth. You can also adjust the arm to cut at angles. Overall, radial arm saws are extremely versatile saws.

16Reciprocating Saw

This is one of the few saws that is designed to not produce a finished product.  Instead, a reciprocating saw is usually used for demolition projects. This has a blade that moves back and forth, similar to a jig saw, but it’s designed for heavier-duty applications and also has a much thicker blade. Jig saws are also designed to generally point down when cutting. A reciprocating saw can be used at any angle.

Reciprocating Saw Reviews

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17Scroll Saw

Scroll saws are similar to jig saws in that they are also designed to cut curves and shapes. Scroll saws have a smaller blade that allows you to get into tighter spots. The blade moves up and down and the user can rotate their work. All of this helps to make intricate cuts.

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18Table Saw

One of the most popular saws at job sites, workshops, and garage settings is table saws. A table saw is pretty much a stationary circular saw that is mounted into a table. Wooden boards are laid flat on the table and fed into the saw to make long, straight cuts.

Users can adjust the blade height up or down to match the thickness of the material they are cutting. Most table saws can also perform bevel cuts.

Table Saws Reviews

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19Tile Saw

As the name implies, a tile saw is designed for cutting tile.  The saw uses a diamond blade so it can cut through stone, porcelain, and more. The advantage of this saw is it will not chip or crack the tile.

There are two types of tile saws. A dry cut and wet cut. A wet tile saw has a water reservoir of water and a pump. The pump draws water from the reservoir and sprays it on the blade. The water prevents dust from flying up into the air, and keeps the blade and material cool. It also works as a lubricant. This makes a wet cut tile saw a clean type of saw when cutting tile.

Tile Saw Reviews

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20Track Saw

You could probably say a track saw resembles an upside-down table saw. In reality, a track saw is really just a circular saw that glides across a track. Similar to a table saw, a track saw is great for making long, straight cuts. However, a track saw is portable while a table saw is stationary.

Track saws ensure straight, accurate cuts. When combined with a fine tooth blade, you also get a nice clean cut without any chips.

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Types of Saws Wrap-up

So, there you have it. These are the most common types of saws you will come across in most homeowner and professional workshops. There are more saws. We could talk about them all day. However, most saws beyond this are very specialized. But if you want to learn more about types of saws, leave a comment. Otherwise, I hope these descriptions have given you a bit of knowledge and you know what saws are right for your projects.


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