33 Types of Saws and When To Use Them

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types of saws

Ready to start working on your next big house project? Or perhaps you have a hands-on job that needs just the right tool. Whatever the situation is, you won’t get very far without a saw.

Saws are integral tools that help you create a perfect finished project. However, it can be hard to know just what saw is right for the task at hand.

There are both power and hand saws available. While hand saws are less expensive and usually easier to operate, they require a lot more physical work and aren’t as accurate.

Power saws, on the other hand, are more accurate and get the job done faster but they are both expensive and sometimes quite large.

In this article, we’ll explain the different types of power and hand saws and let you know their best uses. Our hope is that whether you’re installing crown molding, building a tree fort, or finally finishing that basement, you’ll have exactly the right tools that will get the best results.

Different Types of Saws

Power Saws

Power saws rely on power to work. Whether it is battery, electric, or gasoline, all of these cutting tools rely on an external power source to meet your needs.

Track Saw

A track saw works on a long trail and although it is quite large, it is actually portable. It can cut through wood with minimal effort.

This is a perfect saw if you want accuracy and precision for longer cuts.

Panel Saw

Panel Saw

If you have large panels of wood to cut, then you will need a panel saw. They are quite specific but if you make signs or are involved in cabinetry, then this is a must-have.

A panel saw comes in both horizontal and vertical alignments. Both versions have their own instructions, so you’ll want to get more information before first using this saw.

Oscillating Saw

An oscillating saw may look like a grinder but it has an oscillating saw attachment on it. This is changeable, so if you have different jobs, you can use specific attachments.

If you’re tired of your reciprocating saw, this is a good alternative. It is more versatile and in addition to cutting, it can also grind, scrape, sand, and remove grout.

Radial Arm Saw

A radical arm saw has an arm that extends over your cutting surface. The point of this arm is to create identical cuts.

You would use a radical arm saw if you need to make elaborate and exact cuts. 

Table Saw

You might need a lot of room, but if you have it, a table saw is a great investment. It is basically a table with a circular saw that is powered by a high speed motor.

If you have a lot of pieces of wood that need to be cut, then a table saw will make short work of it all.

Jig saw

A jigsaw is a rather small, handheld device. Its blade has fine teeth that move up and down for a very precise cut.  

You can find both corded and corded options. Jigsaws are perfect for crafting curves in your wood.

Tile Saw

Need to cut tile? A tile saw is the right powered tool to use and will help you get your bathroom or kitchen finished so much easier.

Cutting tiles requires water to keep all the dust at bay. A tile saw uses water and easily makes straight lines in ceramic and porcelain tiles.

Flooring Saw

As you would expect, a flooring saw is made for floors. It is portable so you can get down to the ground and cut through all your flooring options.

If you aren’t sure about the investment in this specific tool, you can instead use a miter saw and a table saw to get the same results.

Reciprocating Saw

A reciprocating saw is similar to a jigsaw. It has a blade that moves quite fast so you want to make sure you have complete control over it.

If you are performing common tasks such as cutting wood or plastic, or if you want to cut through both wood and nails, then this is a solid tool.

Miter Saw

A miter saw is unique in that it works just like a hand saw, only a lot quicker and a lot more powerful. If you have a lot of work to do, this tool is a better investment.

You can use a miter saw for cutting angles on wood and other designs that require precise angles.

Compound Miter Saw

A compound miter saw is like a miter saw, only more powerful. In order to create more efficient and complex cuts, the blade of this saw is mounted onto an arm.

You can use a compound saw for plenty of projects, including trimming windows and installing crown molding.

Chop Saw

A chop saw belongs in the family of circular saws and it quite a large tool. It comes in a masonry and metal version, depending on your needs.

Quite large, a chop saw has toothless blades and has abrasives you can choose for each specific task.

Circular Saw

A circular saw is a very versatile machine. You can use different blades to cut different materials.

With a circular saw blade, you can quickly cut through wood, plastic, metal, and even masonry. It is a bit of a specific tool, but if you’re in the right industry, it is invaluable.

Scroll Saw

A scroll saw is quite the versatile tool. It can be used with a reciprocating blade or a continuous band.

As the name suggests, a scroll saw is perfect for scroll work including patterns and spirals. Anything that will result in a curved design, this tool is perfect for.

Rotary Saw

A rotary saw is another handheld saw that works both at the job site and at home. It is designed to cut through drywall and is essential when the cut needs to happen in the middle of a material.

It is constructed with a small handle and a fixed blade that creates small but accurate cuts.

Chain Saw

For those with unruly backyards, a chain saw is mandatory. Powered by either battery, electric cord, or gasoline, a chain saw is a portable device that will quickly knock back your tree branches.

It is used by both professionals and homeowners and will cut tree branches, trim shrubs, and bring order back to your yard.

Band Saw (Stationary)

A stationary band saw provides a continuous cut thanks to large pulleys that are both below and above the table.

While a band saw only cuts depths of a few inches, it is quite versatile. You can use it with wood, PVC, tubes, and pipes.

Band Saw (Portable)

If you want more mobility, a portable band saw is a great investment. It can actually perform all the jobs a stationary band saw does but in a portable manner.

A portable band saw is great if you want to be able to transport it. It make take a bit more effort to craft precision cuts, but it is a staple for most carpenters and welders.

Hand Saws

The nice thing about hand saws is that you can simply grab one and start working. While they don’t require an external power source, they do require extra strength on your part to get the best job done.

Coping Saw

Coping Saw

A coping saw looks a little odd, thanks to its wide open space between the frame and the cutting edge. It has smaller teeth and is perfect for trim work and other detailed, intricate cuts.

The large space between the two parts allows you to work around wood pieces. You can use the small teeth to navigate even tiny areas.

Pruning Saw

Pruning Saw

A pruning saw, as its name suggests, is meant to prune trees and bushes. It has a curved blade that is about 13 inches in length.

The teeth on a pruning saw can cut on both the pushing and pulling motions for a faster cut. However, the cut is a bit rougher, so it is not meant for fine details.

Fret Saw

Fret Saw

Similar to a coping saw, a fret saw is made for precise and intricate cuts. It features a lot of space between the frame and the blade, allowing for more room for larger projects to fit in.

The only issue with a fret saw is that the thin blade can’t be turned inwards so scrollwork becomes more of a challenge.

Keyhole Saw

Keyhole Saw

Sometimes cuts in tight spaces need to be made. A keyhole saw was made for these situations. It comes with a round handle that has a single blade.

A keyhole saw is used to cut holes in drywall or rough circles. While it is a specific tool, if you need it for one job, it’s worth purchasing.

Wallboard Saw

Wallboard Saw

While a keyhole saw can be used for both drywall and finishing details, a wallboard saw is mainly used just for drywall. It has a small handle and a narrow blade.

You can find both single-edge and double-edge versions. A wallboard saw will help create starter holes in drywall before a power tool takes over.

Veneer Saw

veneer saw

Unless you are into fine woodworking, you most likely won’t need a veneer saw. It is a small saw that has a double-edged blade.

It is, as you may have guessed, used with veneer work and is quite a specific tool.



One of the more popular types of saws, a hack saw is made for cutting through tubes and pipes. It can be used for a variety of materials, including cutting metal, plastic, and wood.

When purchasing a hacksaw, pat attention to how many teeth it has, as this can vary greatly. You will find hacksaws with anywhere from 18 to 34 teeth per inch.

Japanese Saw

A Japanese saw is similar to a back saw but is more precise. It has a thin cutting blade that protrudes from a single handle.

Japanese saws are further classified into three types: dozuki, roba, and kataba. They are best for both soft and hard woods.

Rip Cut Saw

Rip Cut Saw

If you’re never heard of this saw before, it might be because it goes by the more popular name of just a hand saw.

A rip cut saw is needed for framing. It has fewer teeth than other saws but they are quite sharp in order to quickly cut through wood.

Back Saw

Back Saw

Straight and boxy, a back saw has sharp teeth on the bottom and a rigid design on the top, or back. The rigid spine allows it to remain more stable and produce a straighter cut.

You will find box saws paired with miter boxes and they may even be called miter saws, depending on where you are from.

Pole Saw

pole saw

For higher tree pruning, a pole saw is needed. It has a large, bended blade that is attached to an extendable pole. This pole can reach 7 to 15 feet high.

There are both manual and powered pole saws available. If you don’t want to just use muscle-power, there are varieties that run on either electricity or gas.

Bow Saw

Bow Saw

A bow saw is a type of crosscut saw and is used primarily outdoors. It has a large open frame to it with crosscut teeth on its long edge.

You can use a bow saw for pruning and trimming trees as it is meant to cut while both pushing and pulling. It is even strong enough to cut logs.

Crosscut Saw

Crosscut Saw

For roughly sawing through any cuts of wood, a crosscut saw will work wonders. It has a thicker blade and beveled teeth.

Crosscut saws now have handles on them for individual use although other versions of them were large enough for two people to cut through giant logs.  


Whether you work in construction or like DIY projects at home, you will need a wide variety of saws to get the job done. We hope this list has given you all the information you need to find the right tool for the job.

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