14 Types Of Power Saws
Unlike hand saws, power saws are easier and more convenient for us to use. With the development of sawing technology, power saws are becoming one of the most commonly used tools in our projects. Most woodworkers, DIYers, and contractors are quite familiar with them. However, there are many different types of power saws with various purposes and uses, which makes them confusing, especially for beginners. Today, we’re going to briefly introduce these 14 types of power saws – what material they work on, what project they suit, how to use them, when to use them, and more. We hope that after reading this article, you will understand which power saw can be used in your workshop or for your project, or your additional knowledge in power saws can be gained. Let’s start!
- Circular Saw
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Circular saws, also named buzz saws, are among the most frequently used power saws or electric saws in the market. We can find circular saws in many workshops due to their high portability and versatility. Since they are light in weight, it is very convenient for us to take them to any location or construction site. There are cordless and corded circular saws, so you can pick the right one from them. As the name implies, a circular saw has an encased blade in a circular shape, cutting in a rotational motion. It is handheld and can be used with either the left hand or the right hand.
It works for a lot of applications, such as making straight bevel cuts, creating bevels for joinery, trimming carpentry works, and more. A circular saw is equipped with a circular saw blade that is suitable for cutting various materials, including wood, metal, plastic, stone, masonry, ceramics, etc. Most of the circular saw blades are equipped with tungsten carbide teeth, but there are also some blades that are abrasive for specific purposes.
To cut through a wood board, firstly we need to make sure the piece is firmly held in place beneath the circular saw. Then, adjust the cutting depth. When the blade operates at a high speed, push the wood board to finish the cut.
- Table Saw
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Table saws, also called bench saws, as a fundamental cutting tool, can be found in every woodworker’s workshop. It is extremely useful and powerful and can be applied in almost every job or project. With a circular saw blade, table saws can efficiently cut boards to the desired size. The blade is mounted on the table, emerging upwards when there is a piece of material needed to be cut. We can adjust the height of the circular saw blade to get different cutting depths. Unlike circular saws, table saws are stationary with a fixed table, so we should push the workpiece into the blade to get the job done.
Suitable accessories are of vital importance for making perfect cuts, such as fences and miter gauges. A fence is used to guide the workpiece, and a miter gauge allows you to make angled cuts. Circular saw blades are also suitable for table saws. Different blades cut different materials, so install the right blade before you start working.
- Miter Saw
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A miter saw is another frequently used type of power saw that can be found in workshops, especially professional ones. This machine resembles a circular saw or a chop saw. Invented in the 1970s, miter saws are specifically designed for making angled cuts. Of course, it can create 90-degree straight cuts, but it is ideal for making precise and clean beveled cuts. A miter saw is perfect for molding, trimming, and cutting on various materials but works best on wood and metal.
Miter saws are also stationary with a table. The workpiece should be fixed on the table. A revolving circular saw blade is mounted on a swing arm to work on the piece. There is also a gauge on the table to help make precise angled cuts.
There are several types of miter saws, including original miter box and saw, compound-mitre saw, standard miter saw, dual compound miter saw, sliding compound miter saw, and LED or laser miter saw.
- Panel Saw
Left: Horizontal panel saw (Image Source: ustooldepot.com)
Right: Vertical panel saw (Image Source: amazon.com)
In 1902, Wilhelm Altendorf invented the sliding panel saw equipped with a sliding table to pass wood boards through the circular saw blade. The main purpose of panel saws is to cut larger panels into small pieces. They are typically kept in professional workshops and are ideal for cutting wood, plywood, MDF, laminates, OSBs, or even aluminum. If you have a pile of wood sheets waiting to be cut into small pieces, a panel saw can help you.
Speaking of panel saw types, there are two types of panel saws that are horizontal and vertical panel saws. The horizontal panel saw looks like a larger-sized table saw, taking up much floor space. On the contrary, a vertical panel saw is a vertical machine, thus requiring less space. The vertical panel saw applies the cross-cutting method and the blade cut through the short side of the workpiece. Compared to a horizontal panel saw, a vertical panel saw is more popular for many people.
- Band Saw
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A band saw is a type of power saw equipped with a continuous blade or band running around two fixed rotating wheels. It works similarly to a jigsaw but has a stationary table. The blade is a thin and long band of toothed metal with different pitches and numbers of teeth for different materials, such as wood, metal, PVC, etc. A pulley system helps the blade move continuously.
Band saws are perfect for cutting piping, tubes, and other curved objects. There are two types of band saws – portable cordless and stationary band saws. Portable band saws are cordless and handheld machines. If you need to bring a band saw with you to other job sites, a portable band saw should be your choice. On the contrary, a stationary band saw can’t be moved around once complete installation.
Band saws come in two variants – horizontal and vertical band saws. Vertical band saws are in great demand in the woodworking industry for cutting lumbers. They are also applied in resawing works. In a vertical band saw, the workpiece is continuously moved through the running blade. On the other hand, horizontal band saws are mainly used in the metallurgy and metalworking industry. In a horizontal band saw, the rotating blade is mounted on a swing arm. This swing arm is moved onto the material to cut it.
- Chain Saw
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Chain saws are designed to trim and cut lumber and trees. With a chain saw, you can cut through large amounts of lumber in a short time, but the cuts are rough and inaccurate. Chain saws have a linked chain with a set of teeth, rotating around the guide bar.
There are several chain saws, including battery-powered chain saws, corded electric chain saws, gas-powered chain saws, and pneumatic chain saws. Among these types, the gas-powered chain saw is more powerful than the electric chain saw.
- Jig Saw
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A jig Saw is a very versatile handheld power saw which is designed to make curved, irregular, and straight cuts. It is equipped with a short reciprocating blade that moves up and down to cut through materials such as wood, metal, granite, plastic, ceramic tile, etc. The jig saw is specially designed light in weight for us to handle it easily. It can’t be used in heavy work, but it is ideal for light-duty cutting projects, such as installing countertops. Most jig saw blades are made from high-carbon steel, high-speed steel, or tungsten carbide. They can create clean and precise cuts.
Though works similarly to a reciprocating saw, a jig saw is much more precise and can create curved cuts.
- Chop Saw
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A chop saw looks quite like a miter saw, but fulfills an entirely different role. Chop saws are ideal for heavy-duty applications. It is also known as a cut-off saw or abrasive saw that is designed to make straight cuts. Unlike a circular saw blade or miter saw blade, a chop saw blade is toothless and designed with abrasives specifically used for cutting tough materials such as concrete, tile, brick, metal sheets, masonry, etc. Most chop saws are found in professional workshops instead of home workshops. When working, you should hold the swing arm where the blade is placed against the workpiece.
- Reciprocating Saw
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A reciprocating saw is a handheld electric tool equipped with a blade that is constantly pulled and pushed back and forth to cut. It has two versions – cordless and corded. The reciprocating motion and aggressive teeth result in efficient and quick cuts. The reciprocating saw is designed for various materials, especially hard and tough ones, including wood, metal, tubing, plastic, brick, tile, and marble. It is ideal for remodeling and demolition projects instead of precision work or curved cuts. There is a special type of reciprocating saw, called Sawzall, which is perfect for cutting PVC pipes, installing doors and windows, replacing drywall, removing floor tiles, cutting through wood with nails, etc.
- Track Saw
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A track saw, also called a plunge saw, consists of a long metal rail and a spring-loaded and hinged circular saw blade. Essentially, a track saw is a type of circular saw with a metal track, which is used to increase the accuracy and stability of the saw during operation. Track saws are ideal for projects requiring high-precision cuts. They can be used to cut wood, plastic, metal, acrylic glass, etc. When using a track saw, you should clamp the metal rail onto the workpiece. Then, plunge into the workpiece and cut along the track to make quality cuts.
- Radial Arm Saw
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In 1922, Raymond DeWalt invented the radial arm saw which was ideal for cutting long pieces of wood boards. Radial arm saws are designed to make all kinds of cuts, such as straight cuts, miter cuts, cross cuts, and compound cuts on various materials, including wood, metal, concrete, etc. The blade is attached to a radial arm and the workpiece is fixed on the table. The arm carrying the rotating blade can cut the workpiece at different angles.
Radial arm saws used to be popular and frequently used, but today, most people choose miter saws or table saws due to safety issues.
- Scroll Saw
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Scroll saws are a type of power saw designed for making extremely intricate patterns and accurate cuts. A scroll saw has a thin band of metal controlled by two wheels. The saw is fixed to a table, thus you can hold the workpiece during operation. The band or blade is reciprocating, moving up and down to cut the workpiece. Scroll saws have a wide range of applications, such as cutting scrolls and patterns, making wooden toys, marquetry, intarsia, lettered signs, templates, jigsaw puzzles, and more. Since the scroll saw is a highly professional power tool, it is more suitable for professionals, not beginners.
- Tile Saw
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Tile saws are special electric saws that are designed to cut various types of tiles, such as ceramic tile, glass tile, porcelain tile, granite, stone, and marble. They are small and stationary and equipped with a table. Since most tiles are hard and brittle, we should use a special type of saw blade made from diamond. There are two types of tile saws – wet tile saws and dry tile saws. When using a wet tile saw, there is a water jet stream to keep the blade cool. Besides, the water is also a lubricant to ensure accurate cuts.
- Flooring Saw
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As the name suggests, a flooring saw is s specialized power saw that is designed to cut laminate flooring works. It is an uncommon yet useful type of power saw. Flooring saws are compact and can be used in limited spaces. A flooring saw consists of a rectangular metal base and a small circular blade. When using a flooring saw, we lay the metal base on the floor and put the workpiece on top of the metal base. Then, guide the blade over the workpiece to cut through it. A flooring saw can create straight cuts, miter cuts, rip cuts, and cross cuts.
(DISCLAIMER: Pictures in this article are not for commercial purposes.)