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The 8 Best Hand Saws for Cutting Wood 2020 (Recommended)

best hand saw for cutting woodWhile the convenience of power tools can’t be overstated, certain manual tools are still a staple for any woodworker. Of those, the hand saw is a perfect example.

Despite its simplicity, the hand saw is very versatile in both outdoor and indoor applications. Whether you’re a professional or a DIYer, as a woodworker, you need a reliable and sturdy hand saw.

So, what does the best hand saw for cutting wood look like? While this isn’t a difficult question to answer, there are a lot of great options on the market.

Thus, to help you narrow it down, today, we bring you reviews of 8 hand saws we think are most worth your money, along with a detailed buying guide.

1. WilFiks 16” Pro Hand Saw

WilFiks 16” Pro Hand SawThis highly rated compact 16-inch saw is the first one we’ve selected for your consideration. With a sturdy and durable build, this hand saw offers surprising versatility in regards to performance.

First off, it can cut through a variety of materials with nearly unbelievable ease. No matter whether you’re working with wood, plastic, or drywall, the induction-hardened teeth promise to deliver.

Plus, sawing with this thing is particularly satisfying because it speeds up the process. With 9 TPI along the edge of its smooth-as-butter blade, this saw is ideal for a wide range of sawing operations without taking up an annoying amount of time.

Finally, we also want to mention the saw’s ergonomic handle, which fits most hand sizes. Not only does this ensure that you have a better and more comfortable grip, but the chance of slipping is also reduced, thereby lowering the risk of accidents.

On the whole, the guys at WilFiks prove with this product that the science of woodworking hand saws doesn’t have to be complicated, and we really appreciate them for it. We don’t really have anything to complain about in regards to this saw; buy it!

Highlighted Features

  • The handle is ergonomically designed for a more comfortable grip
  • Ideal for a range of sawing operations both indoors and outdoors
  • Can cut through drywall and plastic pipes as well as wood
  • The teeth are extremely sharp thanks to induction hardening
  • Secure blade design helps lower the risk of accidents

2. BLACK+DECKER PHS550B 3.4 Amp Powered Handsaw

BLACK+DECKER PHS550B 3.4 Amp Powered Handsaw with Storage BagWhat’s even better than a hand saw? An electric hand saw, of course. This one, in particular, from Black+Decker, exemplifies all the benefits of adding electric power to an already highly versatile tool.

When it comes down to it, you could say this electric hand saw performs both like a regular hand saw and a chainsaw. We say that because of its versatility and user-friendliness, which it owes to the convenient design and lightweight build. Furthermore, thanks to its ergonomic design, operating it is even easier and hassle-free.

Setting up and getting this thing going is as easy as 1-2-3. Just plug it in and turn it on; unlike with a manual hand saw, you’re not required to push back and forth—that’s all, obviously, done for you.

And the act of sawing itself is made unbelievably easy thanks to the super-sharp blade, able to cut through wood, plastic, and even metal. Plus, it’s also easily replaceable once it gets dull.

All of these features make this saw an ideal choice for DIYers, but at the same time, because of its strength, it also has a variety of professional applications.

So if you’re on the market looking for the best electric hand saw, then we don’t see how you could go wrong with this one. There’s really nothing to dislike about it!

Highlighted Features

  • Comes with a convenient bag for storage and portability
  • Can cut through the toughest of materials, including metal
  • Has a lightweight and compact design that enhances maneuverability
  • Makes very little sound during operation
  • Ideal for beginners because of its easy-to-use design

3. Irwin Tools 1773465 15-inch Universal Hand Saw

IRWIN Tools Universal Handsaw, 15-Inch (1773465)This next saw from Irwin is one of the most highly-rated hand saws currently to be found on the market, and it comes at a price that is nearly unbelievable. Let’s see why this product ends up in so many lists for the top picks in hand saws.

Both the DIYer and the professional tradesman love this saw for both its performance and reliability. With its triple-ground teeth and universal tooth grind, this saw’s blade is both sharp and fast, although perhaps not that smooth. The thickness of the blade is another commendable feature as it adds to overall stability and control.

It goes almost without saying that you can use this saw to cut through basically every type of wood there is, but also other materials that pop up in everyday life, like plastic and thin metals.

You can tell that thought was put into the ergonomic handle as well. It has a unique design that makes it easy to maneuver the saw no matter the size of your hand, and because of the high-density resin construction, your hand will take longer to get tired.

The only issue seems to be that the blade of this saw does not respond well to being sharpened. Given the unbelievable price point, though, we don’t think that should be a deal-breaker. Overall, if a general-purpose saw is what you seek, then we think this is a great option.

Highlighted Features

  • Operates using a universal tooth grind that allows swift and smooth cutting
  • Ergonomic handle constructed from high-density resign ensures a comfortable grip for the user
  • Able to cut up to 3x faster than other saws due to the triple-ground teeth
  • Integrates a unique lacquer coating to allow for smoothness and control
  • Available at a highly reasonable price relative to the performance

4. Stanley 20-045 15-Inch Fat Max Hand Saw

Stanley 20-045 15-Inch Fat Max Hand SawIf you’ve been interested in the construction tools industry for a while, then there’s a very small chance that you haven’t heard of Stanley. For over 150 years, they have been credited with producing high-quality and high-performance tools that have quickly become popular amongst both professionals and amateurs.

This FatMax saw is one of their most popular products and for a good reason. It comes in a convenient and universally convenient 15-inch size configuration, but it sure packs a punch. Thanks to the integrated SharpTooth technology and induction-hardened teeth, this saw is nearly unmatched in how sharp and smooth its cuts are.

The thick blade on this thing is another great feature. Made to be 15% thicker than conventional hand saws, you can expect surprisingly straight cuts without having to worry about binding. Plus, the triple cutting surface allows you to cut much faster than other brands’ saws.

And of course, like any respectable hand saw, the handle is ergonomically designed; you don’t have to worry about slippage or your hand getting tired. The attractive black-and-yellow color theme is also another plus.

Highlighted Features

  • 15 inch saw length enhances control and precision
  • Teeth are induction-hardened to stay sharper for longer
  • Integrated with unique SharpTooth technology for faster sawing
  • 9 TPI configuration is ideal for general-purpose sawing applications
  • Thick and comfortable ergonomic handle design ensures a no-slip grip

5. Shark Corp 10-2312 12-Inch Carpentry Saw

Shark Corp 10-2312 12-Inch Carpentry SawOf all the saw brands we’ve reviewed and will review after, this one might be the most aptly named. This unique saw is in the style of a ripping saw, yet offers enough versatility that it’s quickly become a favorite general-purpose saw.

Ideal for a variety of cutting and trimming applications, this saw is well-suited to both internal and external applications. But thanks to its 14 TPI configuration, you can also confidently use this thing to make detailed cuts.

The blade is made from stainless steel, which allows the blade to be both sharp and durable. And should you ever feel as though the blade is wearing out, replacing it is a simple task.

You’ll notice this saw doesn’t look like others; it features a unique pistol-style handle, which definitely deserves mention. Not only can you expect a sturdy grip, it also allows you a kind of control over the blade that many other saws won’t.

While it’s true that this saw won’t allow you to comfortably cut through extra-tough materials, we think it’s still a great deal given its versatility, especially in relation to the price.

Highlighted Features

  • Ideal for cutting plastic and wood of varying thicknesses
  • 14 TPI enables an extremely smooth and intricate cutting experience
  • The blade is uniquely balanced to allow efficient flush cutting
  • The blade can be replaced easily if it starts to wear out
  • Ideal for those who are looking for one general-purpose saw

6. GreatNeck N2610 – 26 Inch 10 TPI Cross Cut Hand Saw

GreatNeck N2610 - 26 Inch 10 TPI Cross Cut Hand SawThe GreatNeck N2610 is another extremely popular, highly rated, and high-performing saw ideal for crosscutting applications: so if you’re working with really tough materials, this is an ideal pick.

The first thing we want to discuss is the blade. Measuring at 26 inches, this saw means business; professionals swear by the control and ease this thing offers. More importantly, it’s made from high carbon steel, which is not only extremely durable but extremely sharp.

But just because this thing is ideal for aggressive and rough cuts, doesn’t mean you can’t make finer cuts with it. Sure, it will take up more time, but it’s still good to know that you’re buying a saw that can do it all.

The only concern seems to be the lack of an ergonomic handle. While that fancy word is certainly reassuring to associate with any construction tool purchase, sometimes sacrificing comfort is justified in terms of performance; and this saw definitely delivers on that front.

Highlighted Features

  • Features a highly durable and sturdy 26-inch high carbon steel blade
  • Perfectly suited to more aggressive cutting operations
  • The hardwood handle is resistant to weather and damp
  • 10 TPI configuration allows for faster cutting
  • Comes with an aesthetically appealing traditional hardwood handle

7. Vaughan BS240P Pull Stroke Rip Handsaw

Vaughan BS240P Pull Stroke HandsawThis next saw from Vaughan is ideal for a number of applications, which it can perform with such smoothness and effortlessness that it has quickly become popular amongst both DIYers and professionals.

One of the main reasons behind this is the saw’s innovative thin blade, which bolsters the saw’s easy pull-stroke operation (as opposed to a push stroke). Your sawing will not only be made noticeably faster and more efficient but will produce much more accurate results.

Furthermore, the triple edge teeth on the blade allow it to be well-suited to such a high range of sawing applications. You can use this thing for rougher, but also rest assured that you can just as easily make finer and more detailed cuts. Don’t try to saw through extra-tough materials with this thing, though!

We also appreciate the way the blade is set so rigidly into the handle. Despite that, however, you can easily and quickly disassemble the saw if you ever decide to replace the blade. It also allows, of course, for easier storage.

Highlighted Features

  • Allows for an easy pull action that increases efficiency
  • Thin blade ensures greater accuracy and takes up less time
  • Comes with a blade guard to protect against accidents
  • The blade is removable and replaceable at any time
  • Ideal for both rough carpentry tasks and fine trimming work

8. Ryoba 9-1/2″ Double Edge Razor Saw

Ryoba 9-1/2" Double Edge Razor Saw for HardwoodsWe’re ending our list of reviews with a beautiful and intricately crafted Japanese-style double-edged hand saw from Ryoba. With both crosscutting and ripping abilities, and a design that cuts effortlessly through hardwood, this is one of the more expensive hand saws you can buy, but it’s definitely worth the money.

Why do we say so?

Let’s start with the 24-inch blade. With a 22 TPI configuration, this saw will serve you well in  moderately heavy-duty crosscutting and ripping operations as well as in making more detailed and intricate cuts.

Furthermore, the blade is evenly balanced thanks to an even tension. And because of the saw’s reliable ability to make clean cuts across the grain, this is an ideal hand saw for those who are into making furniture.

There’s not much for us to complain about in regards to this hand saw; however, note that if you’re going to be doing aggressive and rough cuts, then purchasing this is probably not the best idea. For most other operations, though, this saw will deliver nicely.

Highlighted Features

  • Very well suited to working with hardwood
  • Features rip teeth on one side and crosscut teeth on the other
  • Ideal for cutting all kinds of hardwoods such as oak, maple, and teak
  • Has a comfortable and soft handle
  • The unique design enhances performance and reliability

We’ve also reviewed Best Chainsaw Mill, In case you may check!

Buying Guide for Hand Saw

With so many great options on the market, it can take a while to figure out what the best woodworking hand saw really is. But it’s not that complicated. Here is a list of things to keep in mind when purchasing a hand saw.

Teeth Per Inch

The “teeth” of a hand saw are the sharp intervals along the saw’s edge. The amount of teeth per every inch of the saw, also called TPI, determines the performance type of the saw.

If you’re using the hand saw for softer materials like softwood, bigger teeth are ideal. Saws with bigger teeth will also get the job done faster, but the finishing will be rougher. On the other hand, smaller teeth are required if you want to cut smoothly through tougher materials, but they take a longer time.

If you’re using a ripping saw with the grain on softwoods, you’ll get more satisfying results with a coarse blade saw with 2 to 8 TPI.

For crosscutting, or sawing through materials of medium-level toughness, a medium blade saw with 10 to 20 TPI works best.

And if you’re working with very hard surfaces and looking to make intricate and detailed cuts, a saw with 20 to 30 TPI will serve you best.

Hand Saw Size

The length of the hand saw’s blade determines its overall size. Hand saws can be anywhere between 12 to 30 inches.

Hand saws that measure 12 to 20 inches are called “short panel” hand saws, and because they offer greater control, they are ideal for finer woodworking operations.

Most general-use hand saws will be longer, measuring between 24 and 30 inches. If you’re interested in such activities as the home renovation or furniture-making, longer hand saw are ideal.

Hand Saw Type

Hand saws come in a number of different designs to suit different purposes. Other than the basic hand saw, the other main types are ripping, crosscut, and dovetail. Let’s have a closer look at each in turn.

1. Ripping Saw

These saws are so-called because of the specific design they have that allow them to cut with the grain of the wood (as opposed to against it). The teeth of a ripping saw total of 60 degrees; the front edge of each tooth is 8 degrees from perpendicular, while the back edge is 52 degrees from perpendicular.

The design of the teeth of a ripping saw is meant for chiseling wood; however, they can still be used for cross-cutting applications as long as they are not heavy-duty.

The ripping saw is a popular choice for most woodworkers who only want one saw in their toolbox.

2. Crosscut Saw

Crosscut saws are designed to cut across the wood’s grain. The teeth of a crosscut saw are basically designed so that they resemble beveled edges; this ensures that the teeth can shear wood fibers when cutting.

Do note that ripping with a crosscut saw is difficult and inefficient, given the beveled edges of the teeth. Therefore, if you’re only buying one saw for most applications, a crosscut is not the best option.

3. Dovetail Back Saw

These are particularly designed to cut through both hard and softwoods, and for woodworking applications that require great precision. Dovetail saws are ideal for making intricate and small cuts with a smooth and clean finish, which are achievable thanks to the higher TPI.

One of the main benefits of a dovetail saw is its cylindrical handle. This allows the user to maneuver the saw much more easily and with greater control. Because of these features, the dovetail saw is popular amongst many woodworkers.

Additionally, some brands also produce multi-purpose hand saws. However, it’s generally best to avoid such saws; while they may be suited to a wider range of applications, they usually lack in terms of efficiency, control, and overall user-friendliness. You’re better off just buying a hand saw suited specifically to your needs.

4. Blade Thickness

The thickness of the saw’s blade is also another important constituent of its performance, as it has a direct impact on the tooth geometry and flexibility or maneuverability of the saw.

With thicker blades, the cutting operation is stiffer; while this means your project will take longer to finish, the upside is you’re going to be able to achieve greater precision. On the other hand, if you prioritize flexibility, then a thinner blade will suit you better.

5. Grip

Last but not least, ensure that the hand saw you’ve selected for yourself comes with a good, sturdy handle, so that you can have a good grip. The amount of precision and control you can enjoy from your hand saw depends almost entirely on this.

One important thing to remember is that the handle must match the size of your hands. If it’s too large, you won’t be able to exert as much force, which in turn will lower your precision.

For best results, choose a hand saw with an ergonomic handle. If not, at least consider one with a handle coated with rubber or some other similar material.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What design type of hand saw is best?

The ripping saw works great as a general-purpose hand saw. Although there are some hand saws that are marketed as “multi-purpose,” in the long run they may not offer great performance.

  • What is TPI and why does it matter?

TPI stands for “teeth per inch,” which refers to the amount of sharp-edged intervals along each inch of the hand saw blade’s edge. The tougher the material, the higher the TPI should be to ensure optimal performance.

  • What’s the best hand saw for cutting wood?

Although all our reviewed hand saws are great, we especially like the reasonably priced Irwin Tools 1773465 Universal Handsaw. It performs admirably thanks to the triple-ground teeth and thick blade.

  • What size hand saw should I buy?

If you want greater control and precision, then short panel hand saws (12 to 20 inches) are the right choice. However, saws between 24 and 30 inches are the most popular choice.

  • Why should I buy a hand saw?

Many woodworkers, whether professionals or DIYers, consider the handsaw to be indispensable. They let you cut more than just wood; they are sturdy and reliable tools that offer great flexibility to users.

Conclusion

When it comes down to it, there is no one best hand saw for cutting wood. Nevertheless, the Irwin Tools 1773465 Universal Handsaw definitely comes close thanks to its versatility and affordability.

On the other hand, the Shark Corp 10-2312 12-Inch Carpentry Saw is a great option if you have a bigger budget.

If you’re still in doubt, though, why not have a look at our buying guide?

Good luck!

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