Whether you're someone who enjoys taking on DIY projects, you're getting into woodworking or you're a qualified builder or arborist, a hand saw is an essential tool to own. Hand saws come in a few varying types that include coping, pruning, bow, tenon, electric and panel saws to make light work of everything from wood, metal and plastic to that old tree in the garden.
To make sure your saw is up for the tasks you have planned, we've compiled a buying guide to help your decision along. We've also ranked the best hand saws for cutting trees, branches and logs as well as some great beginner electric hand saws to buy on sites like Amazon, Argos and Halfords from premium tool brands such as Stanley, Draper and DeWalt.
To find a saw that feels like an extension of your arm is the end goal and this buying guide is the start. Once you come to know the varying types of saws available to you and their defining features, you'll be in the position of knowing what you're looking for when presented with the 10 best of them.
Hand saws can be exclusive in the materials they're intended for, or they can be versatile and able to be used in different situations and with different materials. For instance, the small stature of the coping saw makes it the ideal candidate for intricate cuts through non-ferrous metals, wood, plastic and ceramic.
In stark contrast, bow and pruning saws are purposed for the garden specifically. The aggressive teeth of a bow saw will give a rougher finish – which is fine for cutting through tree branches and logs – whereas pruning saws are small, nifty tools that can be folded away for pocket storage.
Tenon saws are used for woodworking, creating a precise cut for a defined finish. They achieve this through their short and wide blades that have zero chance of flexing. The fine-toothed blades of hack saws, meanwhile, make them adept at slicing through most standard metal types.
Regular or panel hand saws, as they're also known, are the best choice for general-purpose wood cutting – their large blades make cutting through lengths of hard and soft wood a swift process. Last but certainly not least, electric hand saws typically come with multiple blades to make sawing easy in every situation.
As mentioned in the previous section, each hand saw comes with a particular blade that makes the saw perform well in its intended cutting duties. One of the most important aspects of each blade is its length, which is always measured in inches.
You'll find some of the smallest hand saw types like coping, pruning and tenon saws to be equipped with blades no longer than 12", with the most compact measuring a mere 6" long. As far as the larger hack, bow and panel saws are concerned, they typically sit at 24", 22" and 20" long.
Occasionally, these saw types will be shrunk down to between 15" and 18", making them lighter and easier to handle. Formulating an idea of the type of saw you think will work best for your next project alongside its blade length is a good first step when honing in on your chosen tool.
If you're wondering what in the world TPI stands for, don't worry, you're not alone. The teeth count of any given hand saw is measured by teeth per inch (TPI), although unfortunately, for some reason, not all brands are so kind as to include a TPI measurement with their saws.
Anyone who desires a fine and intricate cut should be on the hunt for a saw with a high TPI. On the flip side, those who wish to hack down some of the overgrown trees in the garden will require a lot less TPI from their saw's blade.
To wrap your head around this TPI business, consider any saw with a measurement of 12 TPI or over to be fine-toothed. Medium-toothed saws typically have between 7 and 12 TPI, which is common in most panel and hacksaws. Anything under 7 TPI is regarded as large-toothed to make light work of wood with a rougher-finished cut.
Some hand saws are designed in such a way that makes their blades quick and easy to change without the use of tools. The hand saws that are most likely to come with easily interchangeable blades (like hack and bow saws) are also the ones that are most likely to come with multiple blade types.
Electric hand saws are also likely to come with a few different blades that are designed for different materials and cuts. You'll find when a saw comes with extra blades, it will usually come with between 3 to 5 which vary in TPI and thickness, depending on their intended use.
Panel, pruning and tenon saws that come with just the one blade do so because their blade is designed to be sharpened over time and not replaced. So be sure to factor in how many blades your soon-to-be-favourite saw comes with and whether they are interchangeable or come ready to be sharpened.
Due to a myriad of tool brands offering what seems to be an endless supply of hand saws, the construction can be a little confusing for the average DIY punter. But with this aspect playing such an integral role in the overall effectiveness of a hand saw, it's certainly a point that deserves some consideration.
Hand saw blades should be made of hardened steel to endure many years of use. Carbon steel blades are used in premium hand saws for their lightweight and ultra-durable construction for which their higher prices reflect. If a blade's teeth have been induction hardened, be assured that your saw won't blunt in a hurry.
Blade teeth are also known to have up to three sides fashioned onto them, thus creating a razor-sharp cutting edge. As far as handles are concerned, you want an ergonomic design that promotes a comfortable grip, manages plenty of use and is fitted to the blade with toughened screws.
With the main considerations in the rearview mirror, it's now time for the exciting part – getting to select your next favourite tool of the shed. This list has been put together with price as a defining factor alongside each saw's quest to make light work of every job or project from here on out.
|Intended For||Precise cuts in soft and hard wood|
|Construction||Hard point blade, soft-grip handle|
|Intended For||Intricate cuts in wood, plastic, non-ferrous metal, ceramic|
|Blade Length||Not stated|
|Construction||Chrome plated frame, wooden handle|
|Construction||Can store blades in handle|
|Saw Type||Electric circular saw|
|Intended For||Tiles, stone, brick, wood, metal, plasterboard|
|Blades||3:1 diamond tipped blade, 1 wood cutting blade, 1 general-purpose blade|
|Construction||500 W, spindle lock button for easy blade change, 45 degree blade angle|
|Construction||Rigid steel blade, soft-feel ergonomic grip handle|
|Blades||1 - interchangeable|
|Construction||Rust-proofed steel frame, pulse-hardened and rust-proofed blade|
|Intended For||Garden - trees, shrub|
|Blade Length||17.8 cm|
|Construction||High carbon-steel blade, folding blade, ultra-sharp precision teeth|
|Intended For||Garden work, hard and soft wood, metal, plastic|
|Blade Length||8", 5", 4"|
|Blades||3 - jig, prune, metal|
|Construction||500 W motor, auto-select technology, tool-free blade change|
|Construction||Induction-hardened teeth, 3-side teeth, aluminium handle|
|Construction||Induction hardened teeth, 3-side teeth, bi-material handle screwed and ultrasonically welded|
Spear & Jackson
Spear & Jackson
FatMax Fine Cut Handsaw
Electric Hand Saw
Kew Pruning Saw
Predator Second Fix Saw
Worxsaw Compact Circular Saw
With Durable Induction-Hardened Teeth for Longevity
A First-Rate Panel Saw That's Light and Easy to Handle
Give Yourself a Helping Hand and Go Electric
Premium Pruning Saw to Gain Control of Your Garden
Great for Branches and Working in Tight Spaces
The Ever-Popular Panel Saw That's Priced to Sell
Functional and Powerful Electric Circular Saw
A Heavy-Duty Hacksaw to Cut Through Metal With Ease
Versatile Coping Saw With Five Blades Included
Tenon Saw With Hard-Point Blade for a Refined Slice
|Saw Type||Panel||Panel||Electric||Pruning||Bow||Panel||Electric circular saw||Hacksaw||Coping||Tenon|
|Intended For||Wood||Wood||Garden work, hard and soft wood, metal, plastic||Garden - trees, shrub||Garden||Wood||Tiles, stone, brick, wood, metal, plasterboard||Metal||Intricate cuts in wood, plastic, non-ferrous metal, ceramic||Precise cuts in soft and hard wood|
|Blade Length||22"||15"||8", 5", 4"||17.8 cm||20"||22"||-||12"||Not stated||10"|
|TPI||11||11||Not stated||6||11||10||Not stated||Not stated||15||9|
|Blades||1||1||3 - jig, prune, metal||1||1 - interchangeable||1||3:1 diamond tipped blade, 1 wood cutting blade, 1 general-purpose blade||1||5||1|
|Construction||Induction hardened teeth, 3-side teeth, bi-material handle screwed and ultrasonically welded||Induction-hardened teeth, 3-side teeth, aluminium handle||500 W motor, auto-select technology, tool-free blade change||High carbon-steel blade, folding blade, ultra-sharp precision teeth||Rust-proofed steel frame, pulse-hardened and rust-proofed blade||Rigid steel blade, soft-feel ergonomic grip handle||500 W, spindle lock button for easy blade change, 45 degree blade angle||Can store blades in handle||Chrome plated frame, wooden handle||Hard point blade, soft-grip handle|
There's nothing more frustrating when tackling a DIY project than being up against it with inadequate tools. That's why we've ranked the 10 best chainsaws, electric hand saws and tape measures to ensure your sawing needs are met and your measurements are on point.
A hand saw should be capable of cutting through its intended material in a clean, straight and hopefully easy manner. We hope this article was useful in finding you a hand saw that will serve you well as you build up your confidence in what can be achieved with the right tools for the job.
Author: Connor Macanally
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