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.
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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.
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.
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FatMax Fine Cut Handsaw｜STA515244
With Durable Induction-Hardened Teeth for Longevity
A First-Rate Panel Saw That's Light and Easy to Handle
Electric Hand Saw｜RS890K-GB
Give Yourself a Helping Hand and Go Electric
Spear & Jackson
Kew Pruning Saw
Premium Pruning Saw to Gain Control of Your Garden
Great for Branches and Working in Tight Spaces
Spear & Jackson
Predator Second Fix Saw｜B98SF
The Ever-Popular Panel Saw That's Priced to Sell
Worxsaw Compact Circular Saw｜WX439 XL
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
With a clear focus on clever design and construction, Stanley's FatMax panel saw is a force to be reckoned with. The teeth of the blade have been induction hardened to ensure their longevity and can also be easily sharpened when required.
The 3-sided teeth are another impressive feature that makes for a razor-sharp precision edge to slice through all types of wood with ease. The premium rubber and plastic handle has been screwed and ultrasonically welded to the blade to give you confidence when cutting, rounding out a remarkable saw for a remarkable price.
DeWalt are more known for their power tools but that hasn't stopped them from making a big impact on the hand saw game. This is a true statement on quality with a lightweight and ergonomic handle that will go a long way in making you feel comfortable and in control when sawing.
The blade itself features induction-hardened, 3-sided teeth for optimal strength and sharpness. However, the best part about this saw is its shortened blade. At just 15", it will give anyone who's worried about wrangling a full-sized saw something light and easy to deal with. Good call DeWalt.
This is one of the most reasonably-priced and unsurprisingly in-demand electric saws on the market, already helping thousands of DIYers achieve their desired outcomes confidently. The saw comes with jig, prune and metal cutting blades to ensure each aspect of your project can be achieved.
The blades can be easily swapped out with the push of a button, but will remain firmly fixed in place while cutting. Plus, the auto-select technology will make switching between the applications swift and easy. A great present to gift yourself or a partner who's always looking toward that next big DIY idea.
As far as pruning saws go, you'd be hard-pressed to find a finer offering than this one from Spear & Jackson that's been designed in conjunction with the Kew Gardens horticulture team. Through their wealth of experience and knowledge in all things gardening, they have perfected the pruning saw for all to enjoy.
The blade can be folded away for safe storage and the high carbon-steel construction gives a convincing amount of strength and lasting sharpness. A fantastic premium pruner with a low TPI to help you through the stubborn overgrowth of the garden.
With a comfortable, soft-grip handle that features an impact guard to eliminate any chance of your hand slipping toward the blade, this bow saw has been thoughtfully designed. The steel of the frame and blade have both been rust-proofed, too.
In addition, the 20" blade has been pulse-hardened for a tougher construction that is purposed for the thicker branches, trunks and bits of the garden. This is a premium saw to give your garden a good and proper makeover and leave you content when the hard work of the day is done.
The Predator series of saws by the acclaimed British tool company Spear & Jackson are very popular entry-level saws offering incredible value for money. The Second Fix panel saw features a rigid steel blade that measures 22" in length.
Its TPI sits nicely in the middle of the scale at 10, making it a good all-rounder to cut through all types of wood. If you're looking for a saw that's constructed well but doesn't cost the earth, the Predator is ready and waiting today to aid you with your next DIY project.
If you're someone who prefers your tools to do the hard work, then this compact circular saw by Worx is a good place to start sawing. It comes with three specially formulated blades that make cutting through most building materials a guaranteed breeze.
The compact, lightweight construction of the saw will enable you to make accurate, straight cuts in confined spaces without a second thought about it. While an electric circular saw may be excessive for the folk who only need a saw from time to time, for the ones with big ideas and projects on the horizon, this will be a real treat.
Next up is this heavy-duty hacksaw that's primed to cut through a variety of different metals in a secure and stable manner. The included 12" blade, with the dial, can be tightened or loosened off and swapped out with other 12" blade types which you can purchase separately.
You can also store these additional blades inside the handle itself, making certain you'll be ready for whatever metal comes your way. However, while you can safely assume the blade to be fine-toothed, how fine-toothed it is is up for interpretation as the TPI has been left out.
With five blades included, this coping saw is a versatile little number that's equipped to cut through a range of different materials. In fact, it's purposed for intricate cuts on wood, plastic, non-ferrous metals and ceramics.
The blades can be easily changed without the use of any extra tools, which will make your job easier each time a new material needs cutting. The saw's frame has been chrome plated for durability, but just watch that the wooden handle doesn't get left out in the rain and fall victim to warping and splitting over time.
Rolson are a British company that prides themselves on producing decent tools for affordable prices – and this tenon saw is no exception. It's intended to give precise cuts in both soft and hardwoods resulting in a fine and smooth finish.
This precision is achieved through the hard-point blade being both low in length at 10" and incredibly rigid. The soft-grip handle will allow you to make said precise cuts back to back without your hand feeling stiff and sore. At such a low price, however, you really can't expect much more than a budget saw with a fairly budget construction.
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
No. 1: Stanley｜FatMax Fine Cut Handsaw｜STA515244
No. 2: DeWalt｜Panel Saw｜DWHT20544L
No. 3: Black+Decker｜Electric Hand Saw｜RS890K-GB
No. 4: Spear & Jackson｜Kew Pruning Saw
No. 5: Gardena｜Bow Saw
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