A portable saw is an essential part of any toolbox. You need a saw for cuttiing materials like carpentry, tile, drywall and carpet. The choices come down to hand saws that are easy to use and versatile, and power saws that make quick clean and straight cuts.
This guide introduces you to the types of power saws suitable for your projects. Safety is important when it comes to using these tools. This guide offers tips on blades for the types of saws you'll use and what to wear to protect yourself.
Types of Saws: Circular Saws
Types of Saws: Reciprocating Saws
Types of Saws for Drywall
Heavy Duty Types of Power Saws
Other Types of Power Saws
How to Choose Power Saw Blades
Differences in saw blades can be found in the material they’re made from, the thickness and the number and pattern of teeth. Replacement of saw blades is an important part of operating power saws. A dull blade reduces cutting efficiency and can be a safety hazard.
How Saw Teeth Work
Here are some terms and tips to know when choosing the right saw blades for all types of cuts.
- Kerf is the space left by the cut, which is determined by how thick the blade is and how wide the teeth are.
- TPI indicates the number of teeth per inch found on the cutting edge of a saw blade. A higher TPI will make a smoother cut in detail work. Rough cuts for demolition will require fewer teeth per inch.
- Saws with larger teeth are designed for faster heavy-duty tasks.
- Smaller teeth work better for finer cuts on delicate surfaces.
- Saws often cut with the side of the teeth, which allows the thickness of the cut to be wider than the blade itself.
- Set is the way the teeth are bent in alternating directions.
Power Saw Safety and Care
All types of power saws are effective when used properly but they can be dangerous. Always follow the important safety information found in the owner’s manual and operate your saw properly to avoid serious injury from your cutting tool.
- Keep hands away from moving blades.
- Wear safety glasses to protect your eyes from dust or flying debris. Use appropriate ear protection to dampen the loud noise and a dust mask to avoid inhalation of sawdust.
- Do not wear loose clothing or jewelry when operating a power saw.
- Unplug the saw or remove its battery when changing blades and when not in use.
- Avoid dangerous kickback. Always use sharp blades that are intended for the material to be cut and follow the blade manufacturer’s guidelines.
- Do not attempt to turn on the tool when the blade is against material to be cut.
- Never force the saw while it is cutting. Allow it to cut at its own speed.
- Wait for the blade to completely stop before lifting the saw from a cut.
While saws can be used for a wide variety of projects, there could be times when it doesn't make sense to purchase a new saw for a specific task on a one-time project. The Home Depot offers power saw rental so you use the equipment you need without it permanently taking up workshop space.