The Metal Cutting Saws
Buyers Guide Questions
What is a Metal Cutting Saw?
Metal saws are tools that are specifically designed to cut through metal. While there are manual tools that you can use, such as a hacksaw, cutting even one piece of angle iron using this method is tedious and requires a lot of effort. The results also leave something to be desired since, more often than not, you end up with an uneven final workpiece that requires some filing to smooth out.
Thankfully, there is a large variety of powerful and efficient options available on the market that will allow you to save time and energy. They also tend to make precise, smooth cuts ensuring that your project is finished with a minimal amount of effort.
Determining which type of metal saw is right for you depends on how you’re planning to use it. There are a number of options available on the market today. Two of the most popular cutting tools are the chop saw and the circular saw. The blades of these metal saws normally come with a special coating—either carbide tipped or a ceramic blend—which allows them to cut through hard material without heat build-up while also extending the life of the blade.
The chop saw is ideal for someone looking to make quick, quality cuts in no time – click here for our full review. They are normally large, stationary power tools with an abrasive disk or a multi-toothed blade mounted on a pivoting arm. This arm is mounted on the base plate of the unit and is brought directly down onto the workpiece. This type of tool is perfect for making both bevel and straight cuts quickly and precisely.
The circular metal saw is a smaller, more portable choice that uses an abrasive disc or heat-treated alloy blade, much the same as the similar table saw which is used for cutting larger objects. The materials are cut using a rotary motion that spins around an arbor. Since they’re handheld, these power tools are slightly more versatile than larger more cumbersome chop saws, allowing you to work quickly and also make long lengthy slices in light materials such as aluminum and sheet metal.
You have some other choices out there as well such as the reciprocating and band saw. Reciprocating saws can be used to cut through a variety of materials so you are not limited to metal applications. This tool uses a back and forth motion of the blade to cut through materials in no time. While these power saws enable you to get into hard to reach places, the end result is usually a product that is not quite as finished. For this reason, they’re usually the go-to option when you are taking on any sort of demolition project.
Band saws are another type of specialized tool that is ideal for cutting metal pipes and other long, heavy stock. The blade of this power tool runs horizontal, allowing for easy cuts through your desired workpiece. While they are extremely portable, they can become unwieldy when used to cut through thicker pieces, which is why they are normally relied on for specific projects.
Whatever project you are looking to take on, there is an option out there that is perfect for you. While some have very specific uses, others are very adaptable and can be used in any situation. The right tool will meet all your needs and be a valuable addition to your workshop for years to come.
- Motor ( Amp )
Can You Saw Metal?
Sawing through metal is easy with the right tools. But while you might be tempted to attempt the tackle your next demanding project with your trusty hand tool or one that uses a blade designed to cut wood, you won’t be happy with the results. More importantly, trying to cut through hard materials like metal with a tool that isn’t up to the task can be dangerous. Instead, you need to find a tool that is specifically designed for your project.
There are manual options available such as hacksaws which are fine if you are simply making one small cut. Otherwise, your best bet is to invest in a power tool that is built to handle this kind of project. These tools will provide the amps and torque needed to cut through even the hardest materials like butter. For more information on how to saw through metal, view our guide here. Blades designed to cut metal differ from ones that you would use on materials such as wood or plastic.
The two kinds of blades you will most likely encounter are multi-tooth blades and abrasive discs. Toothed blades have finer, more numerous teeth than their wood-slicing counterparts while abrasive discs are coated with a gritty mineral composite designed to help you tear through your project quickly and easily. While standard wood blades have a low pitch (number of teeth per inch or TPI), blades designed to cut through metals range from a tooth count in the 60’s to around 100.
This allows for clean, precise, burr-free cuts. Most metal blades that you find with these sharp teeth are made of stainless steel or a durable composite such as aluminum oxide. These blades also feature some type of special coating, normally a carbide tip or a ceramic-alloy blend, which reduces the number of dangerous sparks created when you are tackling a project.
This coating also protects the blade, extending its life, while creating cool cuts so you don’t have to worry about waiting to handle the material. The abrasive blades you will come across are designed to withstand wear, thanks to a coating of insulating material, and are gritty enough to quickly saw through even the toughest materials with a minimal amount of sparking and heat build-up.
So if you want to cut through metal materials such as angle iron, rebar, copper, pipes, or steel framings, it’s easy with the right tool and blade. By using a saw designed for the application you have in mind, you will save yourself time and aggravation while also ensuring that your project is completed safely and correctly.
Can I Use a Metal Saw to Cut Wood?
Metal cutting saws are specifically designed to cut through even the hardest materials like solid steel or iron pipe quickly and efficiently. Since many projects you take on will likely involve a few pieces of wood as well, it’s only natural to wonder if you could also use your favorite metal saw to also cut wood. While it’s certainly possible to cut wood with one of these saws, there are some things that you should keep in mind.
How effective a saw is at cutting certain materials comes down to the speed (RPM) that particular saw is capable of providing and what kind of blade is being used. A saw that you would use to cut through rebar or other metallic material use a blade constructed of an abrasive material, an alloy composite, or stainless steel. If you’re considering cutting wood with your abrasive blade, you need to remember that the blades on these saws were specifically designed for a certain material.
It’s certainly capable of handling cutting a few small pieces of wood but the cut wouldn’t have the fine, clean edge that you’d get if you used a wood blade. Also, if you’re planning on using the abrasive disc to cut a lot of wood, you risk wearing out the blade quickly. Stainless steel blades are a different story. These blades are used for sawing through almost any type of metal. What makes this type of saw different is the size and number of teeth that are on this blade.
A blade designed to cut through metals is built with smaller teeth that their wood-sawing counterparts or in professional lingo, their pitch (or a number of teeth per inch—TPI) is much higher. Blades designed for metal have a teeth count ranging from the low 60’s to close to 100 per blade. A typical saw blade used to cut framing lumber will have as little as 24 teeth. What’s the difference? Well, saw blades with fewer teeth (such as wood specific blades) will be more aggressive but produce slightly rougher finishes.
This is because the fewer teeth a blade has, the deeper the gullets between the teeth. They’ll make quick work of wood, reducing the cut time and eliminating overheating. If you are looking for something to cut trees down with, take a look at either our electric chainsaw reviews or gas powered tree saw reviews. The more teeth the blade has, the smaller the gullets. This means cuts will be slower and less aggressive.
Since most stainless steel blades can have an average of 80 teeth, cutting through wood will take longer and you risk burning the wood due to friction. You also run the risk of the blade binding (or getting stuck) in thick pieces of wood. So while a tool made for cutting through metal is perfectly capable of tackling wood, you should take the thickness of the wood into consideration. If you are just planning on cutting through a few thin pieces of plywood, then the blade should be just fine.
But if you are cutting through 2×4’s or thicker slabs of wood, you’d be better off dropping down to a blade with a lower tooth count for the sake of both the blade, speed, and cut quality. The good news is that you don’t have to buy a separate saw if you already own one that is designed to cut through metal material. The life of a blade varies based on construction and use. Due to this, manufacturers build these power tools to have replaceable blades.
Simply purchase a suitable wood blade (for instance a 24 tooth framing blade) and quickly install it onto the arbor. Just remember to take note of the blade size otherwise it might not fit correctly.If changing blades seems like a lot of work, there’s an alternative. Some tools come with multipurpose blades. These blades were designed for cutting through a variety of materials, saving you the time and money.
By purchasing a power tool that comes packaged with a multipurpose blade or swapping your dedicated blade for one of these multipurpose blades, you can go back and forth from between materials without having to change blades each time. Just because you bought a specialized saw doesn’t mean you can’t cut wood. It just means you should consider the blade.
By using the right blade—either wood or multipurpose—you can ensure that your projects will be done quickly without sacrificing quality. Even better, since you don’t need to purchase two separate tools, you don’t need to worry about cluttering your workspace with unnecessary items.
Can You Use Metal Cutting Blade Miter Saw?
While it is not ideal, you can use a miter saw for cutting metal as long as you use the right blade. However, since the miter saw was not designed specifically to cut through this type of hard material, you need to factor in what kinds of applications you’ll be using it for. The two types of material where miter use can be effective are aluminum and steel.
The reason a miter box is not the most appropriate tool to use when you want to cut through large amounts of metallic material is that the speed of the tool runs about 2/3’s faster than the fastest metal saw. This speed will create a high level of friction resulting in a blade and workpiece that are red hot to the touch.
So while it is not advised to use a miter tool to cut large amounts of metals, it can, in fact, tackle a few pieces if you keep some information in mind. The first thing to consider is safety. Since the miter will be running at a much higher speed than a tool designed to specifically cut through metals, you need to clear the miter box of all sawdust and debris.
The blade with creates sparks and heat and throw a large number of chips. Once the miter box is cleaned of dust, you need to replace the wood blade with an appropriate abrasive or fine-toothed, alloy blade. These blades will have a higher number of teeth, allowing it to make clean and precise cuts. Purchase the best high-impact blade that is designed for the material you intend to work.
Ideally, it should have a high number of teeth that provide triple-chip grind so that you can achieve a clean, burr-free finish. Blades made of composite materials such as aluminum oxide are more suited for the task and can cut through a variety of steel and aluminum bars.
So while it is not ideal to use a wood miter to cut metals, it can be done. While it is not the perfect tool for the job, with the right blade you can use your miter to cut non-ferrous or dry ferrous materials. The main cause for caution is that these tools were not designed to handle sparks, disintegrating blades, and chips so you need to select the right blade for the job.
With several options available on the market, you have the ability to choose from a variety of hand saws. The important thing to remember is that each are suited for certain applications and materials. By considering the demands of your project beforehand, you can be reassured that you have the perfect tool for the job.
The DEWALT DW872 14-Inch Multi-Cutter Saw is our top pick for best all-around choice on the market . Dewalt is known for building high-quality, durable power tools and this chop saw is no exception. With its specially designed 70-tooth carbide tipped blade and 15 amp motor, it’s capable of handling even the most demanding jobs and cut through almost any metal material. It delivers clean, precise, and efficient cuts faster than any similar priced model available today.
Our pick for best premium choice, the MK Morse CSM9NXTB 9-Inch Metal Cutting Circular Saw is simply the best premium choice on the market today. With 15 amps of power and the ability to maintain optimum torque, this saw allows you to tackle almost any project easily. The added feature of a laser guide ensures that your work is perfect and precise and the 45 degree bevel ability makes this power tool incredibly flexible. Best of all, the high-end durable construction guarantees that this will be a tool that you can rely on for years to come.
The best value on the market today, Evolution Power Tools RAGE4 Multipurpose Cutting Saw is a deceptively powerful chop saw that can be purchased for around $120. While other comparably-priced tools on the market might skimp on features or power, the RAGE4 delivers speed and versatility—capable of cutting through almost any material including wood, plastic, and metal. Plus, it’s much more compact compared to other 14” chop saws available on the market. It’s sturdy enough to handle regular use and is simply one of the most affordable and versatile power tools available on the market.