Ultimate Guide to the Types of Saws

Whether you are working on a big project, or are interested in renovating and repairing around the house, having the right tools really helps you sail in a smooth and efficient manner. Having the right tools doesn’t mean you have to own tons of tools related to the task at hand. You can make similar progress with a few versatile and well-chosen tools.

Saw is one such tool. A saw is an integral tool in any building project. Woodworking, metal works, or DIYs, you won’t get very far without a good saw by your side. This handy tool lets you cut various materials and bring them into the required size and shape. 

While woodworking saws have been around for more than a thousand years, many buyers still find it difficult to purchase the right one for their needs. One reason for this hesitation are the new, technologically innovative models that keep showing up in the market. While all of these saws have something special to offer, they might not fit your specific purpose well. Therefore, being familiar with different types of saws is essential for picking the best one according to your needs. 

The Different Types of Saws

Saws are predominant in personal use as well as in professional and industrial sectors. Buying an industrial grade saw for personal use rarely makes sense. That’s why they are divided into two main categories according to the source of their power — power saw and hand saw. 

Power Saw 

Man sawing log with a power saw

Power saws are mechanical tools that rely on external power to operate. You can choose between corded saws and battery-operated models. These saws do not require any manual effort and are generally very easy to use. Their accuracy and speed comes at cost, which can be very expensive in some instances. So when you are buying a power saw, make sure that you are going to make good use of it to get the best value for your hard-earned money. 

Hand Saw

carpenter sawing a board with hand saw

Hand saws are non-powered, manual handy tools that require human-power to operate. You will remember the traditional hand saw, but, over time, it has enormously evolved to fit different cutting styles and niches. These woodworking saws are a lot less expensive and easy to operate, and often require a lot of physical effort. Plus, you have to be careful about making the right cuts. They may be slower than their electrically powered counterparts, and having one in your tool box is essential if you are not into buying a power saw. 

Types of Power Saws and Their Uses

Cutting wood with a power saw

All power saws rely on external power to operate, whether corded or battery-powered. Some popular types of power saws include:

Track Saw 

Just as the name suggests, a track saw is a saw on a track. It works along a long trail and, despite being large, is quite portable. The cuts it creates are accurate and precise. 

Use: You can use it to cut straight lines through long panels and boards with minimal effort. 

Panel Saw 

Panel saws are a must-have when working with large panels of wood. This power saw comes in both horizontal and vertical alignments and is very straightforward to use. However, you should read the instructions before starting to use one for safety reasons.

Use: Panel saws are best for cross cutting MDF panels and plywood. If you are involved in making signs or cabinetry, this saw is a useful tool.

Table Saw 

A table saw is basically a table fitted with a circular saw powered by an electrical motor. They are quite big, so you need a large working area to set up one. If you have the space, a table saw is a worthy investment. It delivers high-quality precision cuts, so if you want to cut a lot of material, a table saw should be your choice. 

Use: Table saws are useful for ripping boards and panels to your desired length. Some of these are also suitable for cross cutting. 

Jig Saw 

Jig saws feature a finely toothed, short protrusion-like blade. It moves vertically at varying speeds letting you seamlessly cut curvy lines with its distinct design. It is available as both corded saws and cordless models. 

Use: You can use it to cut holes for air vents in floors and ceilings and creating curves on wooden panels and boards. 

Chain Saw

This saw uses a chain closed in a ring with numerous teeth. Chainsaws are more closely related to woodworking because they are mostly used in home construction projects. Besides the electric version, some chainsaws are gasoline-powered or battery-operated. 

Use:  Chainsaws are generally used for cutting logs and tree branches as well as for trimming shrubs. They also come in handy in various home construction projects.

Miter Saw 

A miter saw works a lot like a hand saw, only more precisely and quickly. It mimics a hand saw, pivoting up to 45 degrees to both sides of a 90-degree cut. You can adjust the angles by turning the table and tilting the blade to the side. These saws are often also termed as chop saws. 

Use: Depending upon its size, a miter saw can cut longitudinally and at an angle. 

Types  of Hand Saws and Their Uses 

DIYer using a hand saw for cutting a piece of wood

From traditional woodworking hand saws to specialized saws like keyhole saws, there are several types of hand saws

Back Saw 

Back saws have a narrow, short blade with a reinforced upper edge. The blade is rigid and boxy with sharp teeth at bottom. 

Use: They are great for straight, fine cuts. 

Coping Saw 

Featuring an odd design, a coping saw has a narrow, thin cutting edge with a wide space between it and the frame. This open space lets you work around wood pieces. 

Use: Coping saws are ideal for intricate cuts requiring precision. You can also use one for scrolling and trimming. 

Pruning Saw

As the name suggests, pruning saws are essentially meant for pruning purposes. They feature a curved blade and pistol grip, which is useful for fast removal of materials. 

Use: You can use it to prune your trees and shrubs. Professionals like landscapers use these a lot for selective cutting. 

Keyhole Saw 

Unlike their name, keyhole saws are designed to cut circles or patterns. They have a round handle with one blade protruding from its top. 

Use: This saw comes in handy when you want to remove material from the drywall and the cutting area is inaccessible. 

Hack Saw 

Hacksaws are lightweight and versatile tools designed to cut various materials, such as wood, plastic, metal, and more. They have specific cutting blades for each material with teeth ranging from 18 to 32 per inch on the blade. 

Use: You can use a hacksaw to cut light metal profiles and smaller pipes. 


Saws are primarily classified into two types — hand saws and power saws. Their distinction lies in the way they operate. Where handsaws are manually powered by you, power saws need an external source such as electric current to work. Both these categories feature saws specified by their design and use. When buying a new saw, make sure to prioritize what your specific needs are. Buying an industrial grade saw for simple repair jobs is not such a great financial decision, while going for a manual saw to do a lot of DIY work will make the job difficult and time consuming.