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Identifying what the best saw blade is can be a surprisingly complex topic. While we’re not trying to split an atom or build a rocket ship, there are a few things you need to know to make an educated decision. The two most important things to consider are what tool you’re using and what you are trying to cut. To keep things simple, we will primarily focus on circular saw blades that you use with a sliding miter saw.
You can find this type of saw in pretty much any shop. Gearheads, woodworkers, fabricators, etc., rely on miter saws for many reasons. The level of versatility this piece of equipment has to offer is on account of the range of different blade types that are available for it. That said, the information we learn about these blades will help you when shopping for blades you’ll need for other tools.
Starting with a familiar name, this offering from DeWalt is our top pick for a couple of reasons. Part of our decision is based on its excellent price point. At half the cost of premium brand blades, this entry offers two blades. One blade makes for fast cutting, and the other is for more precise work. That said, either blade features a thin-kerf design and computer balancing to reduce vibration and enhance performance. Both blades also feature tungsten carbide in their construction to minimize wear to hold an edge. It’s also worth mentioning that the patented wedge design features additional steel on the back of each tooth for reinforcement.
Woodworkers and professionals will argue against this entry because it lacks the elegance necessary for a truly acceptable cut in many fields. And though we do like this offering, we can’t argue against their point. However, for general cutting projects and for use by hobbyists, we do think it’s hard to beat.
10-inch circular blades
For fine finish/fast cutting wood
- Weight3 pounds
Excellent price point
Offers versatility for beginners
Not ideal for professional use
So, what about a blade for folks cutting up masonry? Well, we’ve got an entry for them, too. This blade from California Tools can perform wet or dry cuts on concrete, brick, block, pavers, limestone, and airstone. It features a 10-inch segmented blade to allow for cutting in any condition and uses laser welding to ensure that it is both durable and reliable. The fact that it is very affordable is a big bonus, too, especially for those who only need to tackle masonry projects every so often.
As the price may indicate, this is not a professional level tool. And hard use that it would see in such a setting will shorten the lifespan significantly. But, for the money, it’s worthy of any DIY or hobbyist project.
For wet or dry cutting
- BrandCalifornia Tools
- Weight1.65 pounds
Can cut a variety of materials
Not ideal for professional use
Here is a brand that is both recognizable by industry professionals and is a go-to choice for many of them. This blade is intended for most general-purpose cutting tasks involving wood. You can use it to cut various materials, including lumber, chipboard, plywood, and laminate. It can produce both crosscuts and rips cuts, but it is much more suited to cutting across the grain rather than along it. The design employs a thin kerf for enhanced performance and negative hook angles for better control. One should also consider the fact that the Hi-Density Carbide construction promotes a long and healthy life.
This blade does everything it says it will do, and there’s nothing not to like about it. It does have a much higher price tag than many entries, but it is worth the money. Do keep in mind that you will need to invest in other blades of similar quality for cutting projects outside of their capabilities for the best performance in your shop.
60 teeth for fine finish
- Weight1 pound
Ability to cut various materials
Superior performance for intended use
Can be a costly Investment when paired with blades of similar quality
We want to tip our hats to Makita here because of this blade’s ability to produce a much smoother cut than most in its price range. Upfront, you should know that this is a cross-cut blade, and using it to perform rip cuts or to cut materials aside from lumber will result in poor performance. However, when cutting across the grain, it leaves a near-perfect finish every time. It has a total of 80-teeth, and the micro-grain carbide teeth feature an almost mirror finish to enhance this saw blade’s capabilities. It also features an extremely thin kerf and a negative hook angle to compliment the performance.
Is it the absolute best blade? In comparison to premium entries, it may fall short, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t something professionals can rely on for general work purposes.
80 teeth for fine finish
- Weight1.75 pounds
Offers superior performance and Ffnish when making cross-cuts
Falls short of the performance of premium entries
Chances are you’ve seen a diablo blade in your dad’s woodshop, and for good reason. These blades are held on high for their ability to cut through wood like butter while leaving behind a perfect cut that needs little to no attention. This blade is carefully made in Italy and ensures unmatched performance when creating crosscuts, but it can perform rip cuts and even chew through plywood or melamine. It has a total of 60 teeth along the edge and is laser-cut to retain a consistent thin kerf. The use of premium materials and other design implements further enhance performance.
It is a little more expensive than other entries, meaning the performance is going to cost you a little more. But even if it is on the high end of budget-friendly pricing, it’s still a relatively affordable blade that’s worth the money.
60 teeth for fine finish
- Weight1.7 pounds
Can cut various materials
Exceptional performance on crosscuts
Slightly more expensive than similar offerings
It doesn’t matter what field you’re in or what you’re cutting; everyone loves a twofer. If you’re running a miter saw and a table saw, you should consider investing in this set. Besides the price is half of what you’d pay for a single blade from a premium supplier. This set features two 12-inch blades featuring 80 teeth each that produce a fine finish when making crosscuts. A couple of other features that’ll steal your heart are the thin kerf and hook angles that ensure good performance and handling. There’s also a non-stick finish running along the edge to compliment your working experience.
As you can expect, this is an excellent general-construction option. But it’s not ideal for high-detail projects or folks in the woodworking field.
80 teeth for ultra fine finish
Includes two blades
- Weight2.84 pounds
Excellent price and value
Exceptional performance for crosscuts
Not ideal for fine woodworking projects
Finally, a blade you can use to cut metal. It’s essential we feature a blade with such capabilities considering most readers are likely considering new saw blades because they need to cut through something metallic. This blade is ideal for cutting through steel and ferrous metals. It relies on construction-grade carbide teeth and an electrophoretic coating to enhance performance when making cuts and to promote long life. It is a 14-inch blade and is ready for use on radial arm saws and table saws, but a 12-inch variant is also available.
This is not the most affordable entry on our list, and it is a considerable expense for someone who’s just starting out. However, if you intend to cut through rigid materials, you’re better off spending a few extra dollars on a reliable blade than something that’s likely to chip or come apart.
Premium construction and finish
- Weight3.49 pounds
Allows one to cut through metallic objects
Premium price point
If you just need one blade to start learning with or move onto another form of working while saving as much as possible, this is a blade worthy of consideration. This saw blade by Tomax is a 10-inch 60-tooth model that’s designed for all-purpose wood cutting. Despite the low price, there are a few features that set this aside from other low-dollar offerings. The construction-grade carbide and electrophoretic finish ensure that it’s going to last a very long time in almost any shop. Furthermore, the limited lifetime warranty ensures you get the most out of your dollar when you purchase this saw.
Is it going to produce the kind of flawless cuts and consistent performance professionals need? No, and if you want a blade that can do those things, you might want to look elsewhere. This is the kind of saw blade that best serves hobbyists or folks who just need a blade to quickly knock out a project.
60 teeth for fine finish
- Weight1.75 pounds
Excellent price point
Construction, finish, and warranty ensure reliability
Not ideal for professional use
We want to close our list of reviews by featuring a combination blade. Of course, it wouldn’t be acceptable to do so by using some one-off brand that’s not worth the salt. This entry from Freud is designed to perform a multitude of projects. The designation on the blade itself tells us that this model can be used for performing rip cuts and crosscuts along with cutting through plywood, chipboard, and laminate. And though it may be more costly than other blades, the fact that it can do so much means you can save some money in the long run.
By nature, this blade does a lot of things well but does nothing great. While you can use it for various tasks, the finish is going to be subpar and will need some attention after the cut is made.
- Weight1 pound
Offers superior versatility
Does a lot well, but it’s not perfect
Best Saw Blades Buying Guide & FAQ
There are a ton of different saw blade types out there. You need to know which one works best, depending on the workpiece. Once you can establish that, you can start working toward picking out your blade. But before you blast off, there are a few more things you’ll want to keep in mind.
Before we continue, think about the kind of work you’ll be performing in the future. We are talking primarily about miter saws here, because of their versatility. But that doesn’t mean they are a universal tool. If you’re looking for suggestions on other saws you can bring to your shop, consider reviewing our buying guides to help select a scroll saw, band saw, or reciprocating saw.
Do You Need a Saw Blade?
All saws have two things in common, they cut things, and they use blades to do it. But to do so effectively, it must have the right blade. As an example, the blade on your miter saw may be one that makes quick work of lumber, but trying to use that same blade on metal is a terrible idea. So you need different saw blades for other materials.
Not only that, the orientation of the blade can have a lot to do with the type of cut it can make in materials. When cutting wood, you’ll need to pay special attention to whether the blade is best for rip cuts, crosscuts, or both. If you don’t pay special attention to this, you can wind up destroying the workpiece.
And we all know the saying “a sharp knife is a safe knife,” the same school of thought applies to saw blades. If the blade you have now is chewed to bits or the teeth are no longer sharp, it’s worth considering swapping it for a new one.
- Different blades allow you to cut different materials
- Saw blades can determine how you cut materials
- Dull or worn out blades can be dangerous
Types of Saw Blades
Let’s dive into the different types of saw blades out there. We’re going to bend the rules a little bit here and talk about saw blades in general. It lightens the load on the discussion end, and the basic principles we talk about here are what will apply to most saws.
A circular saw blade has very little in common with the blade you’d use on a scroll saw or a reciprocating saw. But the orientation of the teeth or the design of the edge needs to match the material you are cutting, no matter the saw.
Wood Cutting Blades
When we talk about wood cutting blades, we open up a whole new can of worms. For the sake of keeping things as light as possible, we’re going to pick out the least amount of worms that we can. Know this though, not all woodcutting blades are the same, and you’ll need to think about the job you’re doing before picking one.
Woodcutting blades can have a variety of different edges. We already know there is the option of picking a blade for making rip cuts, crosscuts, or a blend of both. But the possibilities don’t end there. You will also find framing blades, plywood blades, thin-kerf blades, and hollow-ground blades. All of which serve different purposes.
Metal Cutting Blades
Like wood cutting blades, those meant for metal come in different shapes and sizes. But we can simplify things by discussing the two primary types: Metal cutting blades and Abrasive blades.
Metal cutting blades are like wood cutting blades because they have teeth. The main difference between the two is that metal cutting blades generally have a much higher tooth count, and the teeth are oriented so that they can cut through the metal without kicking or binding.
An abrasive wheel is much like a cut-off wheel you’d use on an angle grinder, only bigger. An abrasive blade relies more on speed than it does a sharp edge. That means you need a saw that can provide the appropriate speeds for a successful experience.
Masonry Cutting Blades
Cutting through materials like tile, slate, stone, and concrete requires a special kind of saw blade. But here again, we open up a giant can of worms, and we can spend hours sorting through them.
What separates blades for these materials from the others is that they use diamond-lined edges to cut through the material. There are continuous edge, turbo-rim edge, and segmented edges to choose from, and, as you already know, each one of these edges has a different use in mind.
If you are cutting masonry, one of the critical things to keep in mind is whether the blade will handle wet or dry cutting. Which to use when also balances itself on the material you’re cutting, but you will need to take the environment you are working within into consideration as well.
What to Look for When Buying Saw Blades
Once you’ve got a project and you know the different types of saw blades, you’re pretty well set to make your pick. From here, it ultimately comes down to buying a quality product. Coming from experience, it’s unwise to underestimate the stress blades and bits are subjected to. Even if you’re using a “cheap” tool, performance and safety are subject to positive impacts with a high-quality cutting end.
That said, if you’re going to spend your money on anything, spend it on a good saw blade. For your reading pleasure, we’re going to dive into some more critical factors to keep in mind as you shop around.
The Most Important Features of Saw Blades
In covering the essential features of a saw blade, we’re pretty much going to recap everything we discuss under previous headings. It may seem redundant to do so, but we must stress using the right saw blade and a high-quality one to prevent injury and enhance performance. Regarding this discussion, the saw is the workhorse, but the blades are what makes it possible for it to do its job.
It seems like a rudimentary bit of information. But because we have a focus that shifts between circular saw blades and saw blades as a whole, we should highlight that the saw you pick must be compatible with the tool you're using. It doesn't matter what it can do if you don't have the tool to use it.
All saw types use different blades, even those that use a circular cutting edge rely on specific parameters that you need to consider. So, start by taking the time to ensure the saw blade you're interested in can work with the tool you've got.
Saw blades are made from all different kinds of materials, and a lot can determine what makes for quality construction. The materials it can cut through and the type of tool it's compatible with are two major players that determine what materials are necessary for its construction. Therefore you want to compare apples to apples and make sure you're getting a blade worthy of your money.
As a rule of thumb, try and stick with more reputable brands when you're making your selection. That's not to say that there aren't ways to save money, but "budget-friendly" entries generally lack in terms of production quality that's essential for performance and safety.
Last but not least, make sure you pick a blade that can cut what you need it to. Even if you choose an edge that matches the medium, it's worth doing some research to make sure it can cut in the manner that you or the tool requires.
It really is imperative that you use a blade for crosscuts to cut across the grain rather than with it. Otherwise, the edge is going to chew up the workpiece. The same is true if you try to use an abrasive wheel when the saw can't turn it at the necessary speeds or manage speed very well.
Care and Maintenance for Saw Blades
Nothing will teach you to respect tools faster than misusing or disregarding the condition of cutting tools. It’s also worth noting that nothing will make your life easier than a well-tuned, sharp edge on a saw.
Always, always, always, remember that the machine doesn’t care what it’s cutting through. As long as you’re applying power to it, it’s going to do its job. So, before you begin cutting, you need to make sure the tool is safe to use. Making sure it’s safe starts with taking care of it.
Always make sure you're using the right blade and that it’s installed properly. Only use the blade that can cut through whatever it is you’re cutting. Never underestimate the power you are wielding and try to apply more force than the tool needs to work.
- Use the blade only as intended to protect yourself and the workpiece.
- Never use force or you can damage the blade, the workpiece, the saw, or yourself.
- Switch/Sharpen blades regularly to preserve performance and protect yourself.
The Best Saw Blades FAQ:
It’s time we get into the common questions regarding saws and blades. Here we’re going to have the opportunity to shed light on some of the most common concerns. In reviewing them, you may be able to take note and figure out when and why you need a new blade. But keep in mind you’ll always need to change blades when you begin working with new materials.
Q. What is the best circular saw for home use?
Though we have yet to cover the topic of circular saws, Milwaukee, Makita, and DeWalt are great go-to brands for home and professional use.
Q. How long does a saw blade last?
Blades can last for as little as a few weeks to a few years. You might even burn through some in a single-use. It all depends on the machine, the material you are cutting, and how often you use it.
How do you know if a table saw blade is dull?
A: As a table saw blade dulls, chipping, and tear out will increase. Sluggish performance, kickback, and other poor running characteristics can also signify that the blade is dull.
Our Top Pick
The DeWalt DW3106P5 10-Inch Miter/Table Saw Blades takes our top pick on account of offering two high-quality blades at a relatively low price. Not only that, the combination of blades gives you the option to make cuts more quickly or to make a flawless cut. And while there are better options for professionals, we think that this set will serve hobbyists better than most.
And while the DeWalt DW3106P5 10-Inch Miter/Table Saw Blades does take our top pick, it’s hard to beat the price of the Tomax TMW1060 10-Inch 60 Tooth ATB Fine Finish Saw Blade. But just because we like these two doesn’t mean they’ll wind up in your shop.
So, tell us, what kind of projects are you working on? What blade do you think will work best?
- Saw - Wikipedia