Thursday, September 16, 2021

    The best saws to tackle DIY projects at home

    The best saws to tackle DIY projects at home

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    • If you like to tackle DIY projects around the house, you’re going to need a saw or two.
    • We’ve rounded up the very best saws you can buy whether you need a jigsaw, chainsaw, circular saw, or table saw.

    Growing up, my dad had a workshop that was off-limits to the kids. But occasionally, dad would let us into the workshop to watch him work — and fetch tools for him, of course.

    The old table saw always grabbed my attention. This machine’s ability to slice through wood like it was bread was fascinating. And its all-metal design, hulking cabinet, thunderous noises, and sharp blade looked unbelievably dangerous, which made it even more fascinating.

    When I was a little older and it was time to learn how to saw and work with wood, unfortunately, the table saw remained off-limits. I always had to use a hand saw. I didn’t necessarily like it at the time, but it was probably a smart idea. It certainly made me think about each cut more and measure accurately, as I didn’t want to have to make two hand cuts. Over the years, learning initially with hand saws has made me appreciate the power tools I own a lot more.

    Large table saws still exist, but the world of saws now focuses on portability. The ability to use power saws almost anywhere makes them extremely useful tools. But they haven’t put the hand saw out of commission yet. There’s still a place for using a hand saw, whether you’re making a simple cut or you want to teach your kids about working with wood the old-fashioned way. 

    Here are the best saws for your home DIY projects:

    Prices and links are current as of 4/10/2020. We also added a product showcase of the top of the article, and we updated our selection of related buying guides.

    The best circular saw

    makita saw


    The Makita 5007MGA Circular Saw offers a great level of power, versatility, and precision, making it an outstanding choice in a circular saw.

    When it comes to doing simple woodworking jobs at home, having a circular saw gives you a tremendous amount of versatility. It’s more mobile than a table saw, yet it delivers plenty of power.

    And while there’s nothing wrong with sawing one or two 2x4s by hand, if you have 100 to cut, you’ll be at it all day with a hand saw. On the plus side, your arm will look very buff.

    Our favorite circular saw is the Makita 5007MGA. It delivers the best mix of precision and power among circular saws. It has an excellent electric brake, which will keep you safe while working, and it delivers 5,800 revolutions per minute for plenty of cutting power.

    Other expert reviewers mostly have good things to say about the Makita saw. Pro Tool Reviews and Top Ten Reviews give the Makita 5007MGA the highest marks among circular saws, saying it’s light enough to take wherever you need to use it. And it can create deep cuts and beveled angle cuts quickly, allowing you to successfully complete almost any job you need to do.

    The Makita saw’s cutting quality is impressive, but the saw blade may not run straight if you inadvertently place horizontal pressure on the blade while using it, as the blade has a bit of flexibility.

    Pros: Outperforms other circular saws, includes a high quality electric brake to keep you safe while cutting, delivers angle cuts up to 56 degrees, lighter weight than other circular saws

    Cons: Too much flexibility in the blade when horizontal pressure is applied

    $159.00 from The Home Depot

    The best hand saw

    hand saw


    Even though the design is simple, not all hand saws are created equal, and the Stanley 20-526 15-Inch Hand Saw gives you a sure cut with a comfortable handle.

    When it comes to sawing wood, we understand that a power saw is the fastest and most precise option. But there may be times when a hand saw will do the job for you without worrying about whether you charged the power saw’s battery. Hand saws are also great for cutting thin dowels, insulation foam, or anything else that a power saw may split or shred.

    We appreciate the simplicity of the Stanley 20-526 15-Inch Hand Saw. It offers 12 points per inch on the saw blade for efficient cutting. You’ll love the comfort of the handgrip, too, which lets you saw for as long as your muscles can handle it.

    Stanley welded the handle to the blade, eliminating the need for screws that could loosen over time, which is a smart design element.

    You should note that this Stanley saw is a crosscut style of hand saw, which means it won’t make fine cuts, leaving some rough edges, so you should also invest in some sandpaper to clean up any splinters.

    Pros: Great price point for a saw, very good build quality with the handle welded to the saw blade, handle is comfortable to use for long periods, makes simple cuts quickly

    Cons: Crosscut style saw leaves rough edges after cutting, more work to use than a power saw

    $17.55 from The Home Depot

    $20.54 from Walmart

    The best compound miter saw

    compound miter saw


    When you have a huge stack of wood to cut, the DeWalt DWS780 12-Inch Compound Miter Saw delivers unmatched speed and accuracy.

    If you ever need to cut a lot of lumber, you’ll quickly find that a lot of different tools can handle the job. But one of the best options is a compound miter saw, and the leader among these saws is the DeWalt DWS780 12-Inch Compound Miter Saw.

    The DeWalt saw uses a large circular cutting blade to give it plenty of versatility. You can work through an entire stack of 2x4s in almost no time at all. A compound miter saw has a flat base on which to rest the wood, as well as an LED light to ensure a straight cut.

    It also delivers cuts at many different angles with ease by tilting the blade. You can precisely set the blade for a particular angle and lock it in place, making it easy to repeat the angled cut over and over. This is a life-saver and makes a compound miter saw an amazing power tool.

    Whether you’re a novice around power tools or you have several years of experience, you’ll appreciate the DeWalt DWS780 Compound Miter Saw, according to Tool Nerds. However, to gain the most benefit from this power saw, you will need to have the know-how to be able to make occasional adjustments to the unit.

    The Sawist likes the built-in LED light for accuracy in cuts and the maximum 16-inch cutting width. All of these features result in a tremendous amount of cutting power, according to Pro Tool Reviews.

    This DeWalt power saw carries a high price tag, and it requires a lot of storage and working space, but its feature set and power easily overcome any hassles.

    Pros: Ranks well above average versus other compound miter saws in terms of speed and accuracy, easy to make repeated angle cuts with the blade locked in place, delivers plenty of power

    Cons: Large and heavy saw body, carries a very high price point, needs occasional adjustments

    $599.00 from The Home Depot

    The best hacksaw



    The highest tension setting on the Stanley 15-113 12-Inch Hacksaw ensures you can cut through a variety of materials easily and precisely.

    If you don’t have a hacksaw among your collection of tools, you’re missing out on one of the most versatile types of saws. You can swap out the blade on a hacksaw, giving you the ability to cut through many types of materials, including metal.

    Our favorite hacksaw is the Stanley 15-113 12-Inch High Tension Hacksaw, which uses an adjustable tension setting to deliver up to 32,000 PSI on the blade. Some hacksaws have an uncomfortable wobble to the blade, making it difficult to cut with any power, but the Stanley saw features excellent stability because of its high tension setting.

    Even though a hacksaw is a hand saw, its slim design gives this type of saw the ability to work in many areas other saws can’t reach. To give the Stanley 15-113 High Tension Hacksaw an even greater ability to work in tight spots, you can set the hacksaw blade on the Stanley to a 45-degree angle.

    This hacksaw justifies its high price with an excellent performance level. It’s also easy to change the blades on this Stanley 15-113 hacksaw, which is a common problem on some cheaper models.

    Pros: Offers heavy-duty performance in a hacksaw, able to cut through various types of material, high-tension setting ensures a steady blade that outperforms many hacksaw models

    Cons: Price is higher than average for a hacksaw

    $15.97 from The Home Depot

    $31.95 from Walmart

    $31.81 from Amazon

    The best reciprocating saw

    milwaukee reciprocating saws 2625 20 66_1000

    Milkwaukee/Home Depot

    Reciprocating saws work in so many situations, so we recommend the Milwaukee 2625-20 M18 Cordless Reciprocating Saw.

    A reciprocating saw (also called a sawzall or hackzall) cuts a whole host of materials, ranging from wood studs and tree branches to metal, PVC, and drywall, making this the kind of general-purpose saw that you’ll want to have on hand.

    The Milwaukee M18 Cordless Reciprocating Saw runs from a rechargeable battery (not included) and delivers power and performance that put it far ahead of most other sawzalls.

    Saw Reviewed says this Milwaukee reciprocating saw has plenty of versatility, thanks to its cordless operation, allowing you to take it anywhere.

    Because this reciprocating saw is easy to use and powerful, anyone from a home handyman to a professional contractor will be able to use the Milwaukee 2625-20 saw successfully, according to the Cut the Wood review.

    Regardless of your level of experience with this type of saw, you’ll appreciate the anti-vibration feature Milwaukee included in this saw. Lower-quality reciprocating saws tend to cause a lot of uncomfortable vibrations.

    Pros: One of the most versatile reciprocating saws available, runs from a rechargeable battery, includes a well-designed anti-vibration feature, more powerful than most battery sawzalls

    Cons: Must purchase the battery separately, longevity of this model is questionable

    $99.00 from The Home Depot

    $88.95 from Walmart

    The best jigsaw



    When you want the best performance in a safely designed jigsaw, you’ll appreciate the build quality of the Bosch JS470E 120-Volt Top-Handle Jigsaw.

    Making tricky curved cuts is one of the most difficult types of cuts for a saw — unless you own the right tool. Jigsaws use a tiny blade that moves fast to allow for circular cuts or other types of curved pattern cuts.

    Jigsaws also can be pretty dangerous if your unit doesn’t have some safeguards, which is why we really like the Bosch JS470E 120-Volt Top-Handle Jigsaw. This saw has a die-cast foot with a steel insert that gives you a sturdy base on which to work, reducing the chances of a slip. You also can pick from four different blade speed settings, which helps you to use the Bosch jigsaw more safely.

    When it comes to making curved cuts safely, the Bosch JS470E excels. And as another safety factor, The Saw Guy says you can eject the current blade using a button, meaning you never have to touch a blade that’s become heated from use. With the top handle design of this Bosch jigsaw, you can use the machine comfortably and place just the right amount of downward pressure on the saw as it makes a cut.

    This model is easy to use, even for those new to jigsaws, but it may not yield professional-level results.

    Pros: Speed-adjustable jigsaw for cutting through various types of materials, plenty of safety factors versus other jigsaws, comfortable to use with top-handle design, hands-free blade ejection

    Cons: Price is a little high, doesn’t offer cutting results to meet the needs of pros

    $159.00 from The Home Depot

    $180.06 from Walmart

    The best table saw

    dewalt table saws dwe7491rs 31_1000


    A portable table saw, like the DeWalt DWE7491RS 10-Inch Job Site Table Saw, is much more user-friendly than a stationary model.

    If you think a table saw must be a heavy, stationary power tool, the DeWalt DWE7491RS 10-Inch Job Site Table Saw will change your thinking. This smartly designed table saw works well in a workshop setting, but it also is portable with wheels and a fold-up design to take to a job site.

    It’s a heavy saw at 90 pounds, but having wheels allows you to easily move it from place to place. It has angle cutting capabilities, and it’ll work on many different sizes of wood, giving it the versatility most people need from a table saw.

    When you want to set it up for use, it has sturdy legs and a rack and pinion fence system to allow for precise adjustments to create a level surface after it has been moved.

    The Sharp Cut review says there’s a lot to like about this DeWalt table saw, highlighting its overall engineering and design. The Tool Box Buzz review put it more simply, calling it the best job site table saw it has tested.

    Beyond the innovative design that gives the DeWalt DWE7491RS table saw its portability, the Power Tools Rater says this saw’s powerful motor makes it an effective cutting tool.

    However, a few owners say the tabletop is not always flat and could end up warping over time.

    Pros: Innovative design to ensure a level cutting surface, powerful motor for making all kinds of different cuts, good longevity, built-in wheels make it a snap to move the heavy saw anywhere

    Cons: Tabletop surface may warp over time

    $599.00 from Home Depot

    The best chain saw

    chains saw


    The Husqvarna 460 Rancher 20-Inch Chain Saw delivers plenty of power, but it’s also a reliable saw that consists of high-quality parts.

    If you’re in the market for a chainsaw, chances are you have a specific need in mind. Whether you’re cleaning up after a storm or cutting firewood, you want a reliable machine. After all, you might not use it again for several months. But when it’s time to cut wood, you need the chainsaw to be ready to go.

    The Husqvarna 460 Rancher 20-Inch Chain Saw has the perfect mix of power and reliability. With a powerful 60.3cc two-stroke engine, this model can handle a lot of work, ripping through branches and trees in no time.

    One potential drawback to this Husqvarna chainsaw is its large size. It weighs 12.8 pounds before you attach the bar and chain. Although this doesn’t sound like much, it will feel heavy after an hour or so of cutting work.

    According to Chain Saw Journal, the Husqvarna 460 Rancher’s air cleaning system is among the best you’ll see in a chainsaw, ensuring a longer lifespan for the engine. Husqvarna creates high-quality products across the board, according to Tool Nerds, and the 460 Rancher follows suit, as it consists of parts that will last a long time. 

    A gas-powered chainsaw like the 460 Rancher will require more maintenance than an electric chainsaw. But Husqvarna has made the process of adding fuel and performing maintenance work as easy as possible.

    Pros: Consists of high-quality parts that will last a long time, big chainsaw that can handle a lot of tree cutting jobs, large engine, maintenance tasks are easier than with most gas chainsaws

    Cons: Price is above average, some problems with keeping the chain tight enough

    $459.00 from Amazon

    What type of saw do I really need?

    How chainsaws work

    Business Insider

    So many different types of saws exist and each one is designed for a different type of job, so it may be confusing for novice DIYers. Using the right saw for the right job will make your work with these tools far more effective and successful. Now on to the different saws you’ll find at your local hardware store and their most common uses:

    • Band Saw: A power band saw uses a small, thin blade to make cuts into tubing or metal pipes. Stationary versions are most common, but some band saws are made to carry to the job site.
    • Chain Saw: These are huge, portable saws designed to cut large logs or tree branches. They make thick, rough cuts, so they are not recommended for cutting lumber.
    • Circular Saw: Circular saws are very popular among DIYers, as they are portable and often run from a battery. They use a small circular blade to cut many different thicknesses of lumber.
    • Compound Miter Saw: This is another popular power saw for homeowners, as it places a circular blade on an arm that you pull down to slice through lumber quickly. These powerful saws also make angled cuts easily. It works best for 2x4s and larger pieces of lumber.
    • Concrete Saw: A concrete saw uses a large circular blade that slices through cement or foundation bricks. It’s portable, but it’s really heavy.
    • Hand Saws: Many types of hand saws still appear on the market. You may use them when working in tight quarters where a power saw cannot fit or reach. A few of the more popular types of hand saws include a back saw, which has a reinforced bar on the top of the blade, making it rigid for miter cuts. A hack saw works well for cutting plastic tubing, wood, or metal with a very small, thin blade. A crosscut saw is a general type of hand saw that works for many different purposes.
    • Jigsaws: When you need to make precise cuts featuring curves or circles, the power jigsaw provides the ability to make precise cuts with an extremely small and thin blade that moves up and down quickly.
    • Reciprocating Saw: This horizontally-shaped saw has a thin, long blade that moves back and forth horizontally. You can use it to cut almost anything that’s a bit too odd-shaped or awkward for another kind of saw, such as pipes, tree branches, or drywall. Reciprocating saws can run on batteries or power cords. They are nice to have on hand as a general-purpose saw, but they make very rough cuts.
    • Table Saw: Table saws have always been stationary tools, but some now are portable. They include a large cutting area, where you’ll slide the wood across the cutting area and through the spinning blade, which extends just above the surface of the cutting area. It’s easy to cut large pieces of wood in a hurry with this type of saw. Table saws are great for ripping, crosscutting, mitering, and beveling.

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    Disclosure: This post is brought to you by the Insider Reviews team. We highlight products and services you might find interesting. If you buy them, we get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners. We frequently receive products free of charge from manufacturers to test. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product is featured or recommended. We operate independently from our advertising sales team. We welcome your feedback. Email us at


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