Types of Saws | 2020 Guide

When it comes to heavy-duty DIY demands and construction projects, the humble saw is an essential tool to use. However, with so many different types of saw on the market, it can be hard to decide which variety to choose to best suit the requirements of your project. There’s a great many electric saw models on the market, with even more manual options to choose from. To make life easier, we’ve put together a thorough list of the main types of saw you’re likely to encounter and just what exactly they’re capable of.

Hand Saws and Hacksaws

Perhaps the most recognisable variety of manual saw is the humble hand saw. An essential addition to any toolbox, the everyday handsaw allows for quick and easy cutting with wood and other materials. Although it’s easy to use and very effective, a hand saw is not a good choice if you’re looking to make cuts with any level of precision. If you’re looking to make delicate cuts into brittle pieces of wood, a hand saw is probably best avoided. However, they’re a good choice if you’re simply seeking to make rough cuts for firewood and the like.

Another familiar variety of saw is the hacksaw. The hacksaw comes in a variety of different sizes and allows the user to cut different types of material. In addition to being able to cut through wood, hacksaws are particularly suited to making cuts through metal. They’re surprisingly robust and incredibly easy to use. They’re also a good value option. Once the hacksaw blade itself has been blunted or distorted after heavy use, it can be released from the main body of the saw and released with minimal effort.

Saws for Outdoor Applications

Lumberjack saws are instantly recognisable thanks to their distinct two-handle design. They’re of course meant to be operated by two individuals, with one taking hold of either hand. They can be used to cut very large pieces of wood, namely tree trunks and logs, into smaller pieces. Otherwise known as cross-cut saws, they’re very handy for working with natural hardwood outdoors. However, they can blunt very quickly, so you will want to ensure you pick out one with robust blade teeth that will hold up well over time.

If you’re looking to prune trees and bushes, a pruning saw is another key tool to consider. This hardy hand too is just the ticket for making effective cuts through branches and can clear away thick hedges quickly. Pruning saws are often used in lieu of chainsaws and fulfil many of the same applications. However, if you’re looking to maintain better levels of precision while working, or simply aren’t comfortable handling an electric chainsaw, pruning saws are well worth looking into.

If you’re someone who enjoys the great outdoors and getting back to nature, you might have already come across camping saws and bow saws before. Camping saws are relatively compact in design and lightweight to match. This makes them incredibly portable and an easy addition to your camping gear. They’re relatively robust and able to make quick and effortless cuts through most branches and small pieces of wood, but the smaller the saw, the less powerful it will be. Bow saws are altogether larger and instantly identifiable by their closed-loop design. Provided they’ve been fitted with a sharp enough blade, bow saws can be used easily cut through dense wood material. They’re so-called for their visual similarity to an archery bow and, despite their large size, are surprisingly lightweight and easy to carry.

Precision Work

If you’re after more precise results and intend to make curved cuts and work at angles, you’ll have to cast the net wider to find the ideal saw for the job. One tool that might be fit for task is the fret saw. This type of saw boasts a higher back and thinner blade than other types, which makes it a go-to choice for when you want to make curved cuts or cuts at an angle. However, bear in mind that a fret saw is only really suitable for use with thinner cuts of wood. If you’re working with thin panels or wish or producing details, this is an ideal choice of saw to work with. Beyond that, you run the risk of damaging the blade.

Another staple saw for detail work is the coping saw. As with a fret, this type of saw can be put to good use in cutting intricate curves and angles. As with the fret saw, it’s only really suitable when working with thinner materials. Reach for a coping saw if you’re looking to cut wooden molding pieces, or if you’re working on smaller projects and softwood workpieces.

You might not have heard of veneer saws before, but they’re well worth adding to your tool box if you’re struggling with smaller jobs. These types of saws are specially designed for smaller scale projects and tighter time frames. The more compact design and smaller blades of this type of saw does of course bring some limitations. You’ve less range when it comes to the cuts you can make, for example. That being said, a veneer saw offers a great deal of control within the available range of its blade. What’s more, they allow you to work very quickly, with the final cut generally smoother in finish. The performance of such saws can be impaired quickly as debris collects, however, so it’s worth regularly cleaning the blade as you go to ensure best results.

DIY Essentials

The hardy backsaw is a heavy-duty choice for DIY and should be a cornerstone of your tool collection. A key design feature of the backsaw is the robust spine that can be found along the top of the backsaw blade. This spine has a very important purpose, namely to keep the cutting blade as stable as possible as you make your cut. As the spine carries along the entire length of the blade, you can enjoy the utmost in stability for the duration of the cut. Backsaw handles are also very durable and user-friendly, further adding to the superior levels of control handled by this saw type. Backsaws are often used in combination with a mitre box for those looking to make precise straight cuts without the need for power tools.

If you’re undertaking renovation work, another handy tool to consider adding to your inventory is the keyhole saw. Otherwise known as a jab saw, this tool looks more like a knife upon first inspection. This sharp point allows the saw to be jabbed through certain materials before you start to saw away. If you’re looking to remove sections of drywall, this is an ideal option as it allows you to stab through the outer layer of material so the saw teeth can get a grip. Then, you can begin sawing away to remove large sections of debris. It might not offer great levels of precision, but it’s perfect for starting things off. Once you’ve made your initial cuts and cleared enough room to work with, you can move in with larger manual saw or power tools to more effectively get on with the task at hand.

Other Saw Varieties to Consider

One model of saw often overlooked by DIY enthusiasts is the bone saw. As the name would suggest, it’s used for cutting through bone. That being said, it’s not limited to culinary applications. The robust nature of a bone saw means it can be cut through hardy materials with ease. If you’re not too concerned about a smooth finish to the cuts you’re making, it’s a great go-to when the going gets tough.

Japanese saws, otherwise known as nokogiri saw, is a specialist model of hand saw often used in woodworking. Historically, this type of saw was used by Japanese carpenters and works differently than most types of saw used in the western world. Unlike most saws, which make the cut as the user pulls back on them, Japanese saws make their mark as the user pushes. This type of saw boasts many small and sharp teeth that allow them to cut quickly through wood and facilitates their signature push strike cut. However, hardened spine found at the top of the saw blade that forms the robust backbone of this saw means you’re limited to smaller workpieces.

Power Tool Alternatives

Sometimes, a hand-powered saw just isn’t going to cut it. Whether you’re tackling a mountain of a job or simply working with hardier materials, often the only way to go is electric. With these power tools, the saw blade is driven by an electric motor. The user benefits from not having to put in as much effort manually, allowing you to undertake much more extensive tasks. Electric saws are also the way to go if you’re looking to maximise precision with your cuts. If you’re looking to make the same cut many times over, or need to follow strict guidelines for construction projects, you really need to be sticking with electric saws as the standard.

Common Electric Saw Varieties

One of the most popular types of electric saw for DIY enthusiasts is the jigsaw. The innovative power tools can be used to cut relatively intricate shapes and curves, making them a good bet for all manner of tasks. Although jigsaw blades aren’t ideal for cutting robust materials or undertaking heavy-duty work, the slim blades of this type of saw are perfect for cutting through thinner workpieces with ease. Jigsaws are incredibly user-friendly, with features designed to accommodate the less experienced with power tools. However, jigsaw blades will become damaged over time and need replacing. That being said, it’s simple to do so and you’ve a range of options available when it comes to replacement jigsaw blades.

Somewhat similar to the jigsaw is the band saw. Unlike the compact and handheld design of the jigsaw, the band saw also boasts a table to which the cutting tool itself is attached. Thanks to the firm base that this table provides, the cutting saw can be used to make all manner of precise cuts. Used properly, a band saw can be used to make cuts with intricate angles. You can also use a band saw to make perfectly curved cuts and circular cut-outs. What’s worth bearing in mind here is that, as with the jigsaw, the blade of a band saw is relatively thin. It’s more than able to handle thinner pieces of material, but push it beyond its limits with thicker workpieces and you run the risk of damaging the blade.

Circular Saws and Mitre Saws

Looking to swap out your humble handsaw for something that does most of the work for you? A circular saw may be the way go. This motorised take on the traditional hand saw allows you to make the same sort of cuts you’d get from a manual version, but benefits from being able to operate continuously. If you’re finding yourself tire quickly, this is an ideal choice. What’s more, you’ll find cordless versions readily available, making circular saws a very versatile way to go.

If you’re hoping to make angled cuts, then mitre saws are the way to go. You should definitely invest in a mitre saw if you require angled edges that need to fit together neatly. Mitre saws are simple bench-top devices, although there’s a great variety within the category. You’ll find plenty in the way of budget-friendly options if you’re just starting out with DIY projects, while the more experienced user has plenty to consider at the premium end of the market.

For Precise Cuts

If you’re looking to maintain good levels of precision as you make cuts to workpieces, a table saw is a good way to go. With a table saw, the blade itself and the cutting component is kept firmly in place, allowing you to make more exact cuts along straight lines. This model of electric saw features a table on either side of the saw element itself, while the integrated stand boasts wider legs that allow for better weight distribution. The overall result is a power tool that’s incredibly stable and sturdy when cutting. This makes it an ideal choice if you’re looking to cut larger pieces of wood.

Heavy-Duty Electric Saws

If you’re looking for a motorised alternative to a keyhole saw to make quick work of drywall and renovation jobs, a reciprocating saw is well worth considering. This type of power tool replicates the classic action of a handsaw, giving you a robust forward and backwards sawing motion. This heavy-duty action is further enhanced by the inclusion of very sharp saw tooth found at the front of the blade. This allows you to use a reciprocating saw in much the same manner as a keyhole saw. To commence work, simply jab the point through the material you’re working with to begin sawing. As with manual keyhole saws, the trade-off with a reciprocating saw is that you’re limited to lower levels of precision. However, it’s a great way to start off larger jobs.

Finally, we’ll look at one of the most instantly recognisable types of electric saw on the market. We’re of course talking about the classic chainsaw. You’ll no doubt want to invest in a chainsaw if you’re looking to clear large spaces of land of stubborn branches and overgrowth. When it comes to picking out the right chainsaw for you, you’ve plenty of options. In addition to wired varieties that generally boast higher performance levels and better cutting action, you’ve a wide raft of cordless options to choose from. Going cordless and more compact is a good bet if you’re looking to tackle more awkward cutting angles and tighter spaces, although the smaller design usually means you compromise on power and battery longevity. However, if you only anticipate moderate use or want to supplement a more heavy-duty model, they’re an essential addition to your power tool line-up.

Best Mini Circular Saws | UK Guide | 2020

Circular saws are a go-to power tool for many heavy-duty jobs, but they’re heavy and cumbersome, limiting the freedom to carry out more precise jobs. If you’re lacking experience with such a tool, they can severely restrict application. Mini circular saws, however, are an appealing compromise for the less experienced or the average DIY enthusiast. Easier to handle and get to grips with, the best mini circular saws make quick work of cutting jobs. Compact and more lightweight in nature than their clunkier cousins, they can be used to make swift cuts with high levels of precision. Looking to invest in one of these compact marvels? Our go-to guide has everything you need to know to ensure you’re getting the best mini circular saw to meet your requirements.

User-Friendly Design

If you’re looking to invest in a mini circular saw, chances are you’re looking to undertake some serious DIY work. Even if you’re relatively experienced in using power tools, don’t make the mistake of overlooking user-friendliness when investing in compact circular saws. To ensure you produce as close to professional-level results as possible, pick a compact saws that’s both ergonomic in design and user-friendly in nature.

It’s easy to overlook these features when it comes to compact circular saws, with many models appearing quite similar on the surface. However, delve deeper and you’ll notice there’s a great variety in design. First and foremost, you’ll want to ensure you’re investing in a model that’s easy to handle and comfortable to work with. What’s crucial is that you’re working with a model that fits comfortably in your hands. Picking too bulky a model or one that’s too heavy to handle for long periods of time will ultimately affect your cutting ability, producing results that are subpar. A lightweight bulk and compact design aren’t the only credentials to keep in mind, however. To make life as simple as possible, pick a compact circular saw that allows for quick and easy adjustments.

Motor Specifics

Bear in mind that picking a circular saw with a powerful motor won’t necessarily yield the best results for your individual requirements. As a rule, compact circular saws are less powerful than conventional models. Generally speaking, you’re looking at motors rated from 3 to 6 amps. To ensure you’re picking the right power rating for you, you need to consider what kind of jobs you’ll be putting your saw to task on.

Amps, volts and torque will all factor into determining the overall power potential of a circular saw. To make life simple, remember that the amp dictates how much electrical power you require for blades to operate efficiently, while the volt can be understood in much the same way as horsepower. A higher voltage suggests a more powerful motor. Torque is rated differently and is ultimately affected by the specific working conditions of a circular saw and the materials you’re cutting. Determining the overall power efficiency of your circular saw motor requires you to carefully weigh up all three of these factors.

Blade Size

When buying a mini circular saw, you’ll want to bear in mind the depth of cut. In an ideal world, you want to be looking at mini circular saws that allow for cuts ranging from one inch to two inches in depth. This is determined by the blade size you’re using. Most compact saws will only allow for a depth of an inch in depth, but you won’t struggle to find models allowing or a greater depth of two inches or more.

A quality compact circular saw will also allow you to achieve angled cuts or bevel cuts on the edges of the wood you’re working with. Make sure you pick a model that allows for this cutting ability to ensure you’re getting a piece of machinery that’s as versatile as possible. Pay special attention to the overall size of the blade when buying a compact circular saw. For best results, you want to be purchasing a saw that boasts a diameter of approximately four inches.

Cordless Mini Circular Saws

Although they’re generally more expensive than mains-powered models, cordless circular saws are the better option. The nature of a compact circular saw is its versatility and flexibility, which is further enhanced by going for a quality cordless model. That being said, you’ll want to bear in mind power efficiency limitations when looking at cordless models. Additional costs need to be considered when buying cordless options, with extra batteries the biggest surplus investment that will affect your budget. A further detriment of cordless models is that battery packs can add extra bulk to the overall handling weight.

As such, a conventional corded circular saw may be the way to go. There are some important things to bear in mind in determining whether or not a corded model is the right fit for you. For starters, consider your main working environment. If your workshop has ready access to mains power, leaving you with plenty of freedom to move around your work area, a corded option is an obvious choice. What’s more, a corded model is usually a more lightweight option than a cordless one. The biggest benefits of a corded circular saw include no worries about restrictions of motor efficiency and performance. You’ll also never need worry about keeping an eye on battery levels and recharging of battery replacements.

Safety Features and Additional Factors to Consider

As with any power tool, safety features play an important part of the overall design. A reliable safety lock is one such feature to look out for. What’s more, an electric brake is a must if you’re prone to mistakes and want the ability to immediately halt operation. Such a feature allows for an easier time of things, both in carrying out cuts and negating the chance of you sustaining an injury while working.

Further features that will make your life easier include a shaft lock. This is particularly useful for those who might be looking to work with various types of material that will require the use of various types of blade in the cutting action. A shaft lock allows you to make these regular changes quickly and easily. Finally, a laser guide is well worth considering. A laser guide will help the less experienced user make more precise cuts as a standard. Even the more proficient user will appreciate the benefits a laser guide can bring, allowing you to work at pace, without worrying about cutting accuracy.

Product Reviews

By now you should have plenty of things to keep in mind when picking out your next mini circular saw. If you still need some further inspiration, check out our breakdown of some of the best mini circular saw models you can currently find on the UK market. Our line-up includes models from some of the most reputable manufacturers around, with compact saw models to suit every requirement and budget.

Mini Circular Saw, HYCHIKA Circular Saw with 3 Saw Blades, Laser Guide, Scale Ruler, 500W Pure Copper Motor, 4500RPM Ideal for Wood, Soft Metal, Tile and Plastic Cuts

There’s a great deal to applaud about this heavy-duty mini circular saw. For starters, there’s a highly robust and powerful 500W motor, delivering high cutting speeds of up to 4,500 rotations per minute. This will make quick work of cutting through all manner of materials such as wood, tile, plastics, PVC and more. The overall durability of this saw is further enhanced by the metal gearbox housing and base plate. Included with the main circular saw body are three blades, granting you a wide variety of cutting capability. You can make quick work of wood cuts and metal cuts with designated blades, while the grit diamond blade is ideal for more precise tile cutting jobs.

Thanks to the handy laser guide included, you can also enjoy very precise cutting performance along a straight line. There’s also a parallel guide to further refine your cutting speed and levels of accuracy. Cutting depth can be adjusted from between zero to 25mm with ease, depending on your exact requirement. This circular saw is a very ergonomic choice, with the soft rubberised handle making it easier to handle and reducing vibration when working. Easy to use and very affordable, it’s hard to say no to this standout mini circular saw model.


Mini Circular Saw, Meterk 750W 3500RPM Compact Circular Saw with Laser Electric Saw with 6 Saw Blades Cutting Depth 90° (48mm), 45° (32mm) Ideal for Wood, PVC Pipe, Soft Metal, Tile, Plastic

You’ve got plenty to play with when you invest in this mini circular saw from Meterk. A powerful motor that enables speeds of up to 3,500 rotations per minute makes it a heavy-duty hero, with no load speeds to slow down your overall working pace. In total, there are six blades included to accommodate cutting of all types of material. You’ll find two diamond blades for handling cuts to tile and cement, along with two diamond blades that are specifically manufactured for making cuts to plastic and soft metal materials. What’s more, there are two TCT blades thrown in for cutting wood with ease.

There’s plenty of handy extra features included to make life even easier, including the laser guide and scale rule to ensure the utmost in precision when cutting. Straight line cutting functionality is also complemented by bevel cutting ability, with the freedom to make 45-degree bevel cuts should you require. Particularly impressive here is the deeper cutting potential of the saw, with depths of up to 32mm achievable.


HERZO Compact Circular Saw 710W 3500 RMP Include Laser Guide Compact Mini Saw with 3 Wood Cutting Blades Adjustable Cutting Depth 0-45mm and Bevel Angle (0-45 °) GB

Here’s another great mini circular saw that won’t break the bank. A powerful 710W motor provides you with all the cutting efficiency you could want for most jobs, with speeds of up to 3,500 rotations per minute achievable to deliver a highly efficient power tool. Laser guide technology is also included as standard, allowing you to cut straight lines with ease and deliver professional results with minimal effort. Adjustments can be made with a single hand, with the slim design of this saw making it a very user-friendly and ergonomic option.

An adjustable cutting angle allows you to make quick changes to carry out bevel cuts simply. Maximum cutting depth here is an impressive 42.8mm (at 90 degrees) and 28.55mm at 45 degrees. Included along with the main saw body itself are three robust wood cutting blades, a 3-metre cable, edge guide and blade change tool. Safety features are also accounted for, with a lock button and start button on hand to ensure no injuries or mishaps while working.


Circular Saw, Ginour 710W 3500RPM Mini Circular Saw with Laser, Cutting Depth 28mm(45°), 42.8mm(90°), 3 Saw Blades 115mm(24T, 60T, Diamond Saw Blade), Dust Extraction Pipe, Cutting Wood, Metal

Get the quality cuts you’re after with this Ginour Circular Saw. With a powerful 710W motor and speeds of up to 3,500 RPM, this saw is perfect for cutting all types of material, including wood, metal, tile, plywood and plastics. No matter what you’re cutting, you count on comfort and a user-friendly experience thanks to a soft rubber handle and a body that’s been designed with one-handed operation in mind. Laser guide technology allows for precise cutting, with the scale ruler further enhancing your accuracy while working. You can enjoy cutting depths of up to 42.8mm when cutting at a 90-degree angle, with depths of up to 28mm when cutting at a 45-degree angle. Those after impressive results and user-friendly functionality will be pushed to find a model that outdoes this beauty from Ginour.


Dremel DSM20 Compact Saw 710 W, Mini Circular Saw with 3 Attachments, 4 Accessories, Edge Cutting Guide, 20 mm Cutting Depth and Abrasive Technology for Straight Cuts, Plunge Cuts, Flush Cuts

The Dremel DSM20 is a good choice for those seeking something very compact and manageable. This mini circular saw is the definition of handheld efficiency, with its ergonomic design not stealing away from a powerful 710W motor that delivers quality cuts through all manner of materials. You’ll be able to effectively cut through metal, wood and tile alike with this model. The more compact nature of this saw makes it a good option for those working in very confined spaces, with the ergonomic body easy to handle and operate in cramped conditions and along awkward areas. An adjustable depth guide and fine line of sight also ensure high levels of cutting precision are maintained, with adjustments easy to carry out with one hand. The superior design of this handheld circular saw does come at a higher price than other models on this list, but with all the benefits it will bring to your workflow, it’s well worth the investment.