21 Different Types of Saws and Their Uses

You can probably name a handful of different types of saws off the top of your head, but did you know that there are over 21 different types of saws?! The types of saws that are most commonly known are typically used for cutting wood. There are saws that are also able to cut through tile, metal, brick, and even concrete. In the following article, we will go over 25 different types of saws and their uses. We will start with the most commonly know types of saws and then get to some saws you might not have ever heard about.

Different Types of Saws



The handsaw is possibly the most iconic tool of all time. It has been in use for thousands of years and actually helped to develop civilization. It is mainly used to cut wood and utilizes a crosscut to cut across the grain of the wood.

Circular Saw

As it's name suggests, a circular saw uses a circular blade that spins to make its cuts. It is much more efficient than a hand saw and is able to cut through wood, plastic, metal, and masonry. Circular saws are commonly found at construction sites and are designed to cut a single and straight line.


Miter Saw


A miter saw is a circular saw that is attached to a stationary platform. They are designed to make crosscuts and are commonly used for framing and cutting trim and molding. Miter saws are typically portable and generally use blades ranging from 8 to 12 inches.


A hacksaw is a fine-toothed and C-shaped saw that was originally designed to cut metal. However, it is now used to cut a variety of other materials including plastic and wood. Plumbers use it to cut plastic pipe.


Table Saw


A table saw combines a circular saw with a table to form a very large and powerful machine. You are able to adjust the height of the blade, which changes the depth of the cut. The table saw is generally used to cut very large and long pieces of wood.


A jigsaw is a handheld saw that uses a reciprocating blade. It is designed to cut irregular curves mostly in wood and metal. They are known to be difficult to control because the blades and small and weak and completely unsupported at the bottom. It is a type of reciprocating saw.


Reciprocating Saw


A reciprocating saw is defined by its blades using a push and pull motion to cut. It is the same as a jigsaw, but typically more elongated.

Coping Saw

A coping saw is a U-shaped hand saw that is used to cut curves on thin materials. It has an interchangeable blade for metal and wood and is popular among artists and woodworkers.




A bandsaw is a saw that is characterized by a long and thin blade. It is typically used in woodworking and metalworking and is generally for cutting curves. The bandsaw is an adjustable machine and can range in size from benchtop size all the way to a 6 foot tall version.

Rip Saw

A rip saw looks like a crosscut (hand) saw, but it has a completely different function. It is designed to cut wood parallel to the grain. The edges are sharpened at a right angle, which forms chisel like cutting surfaces.


Veneer Saw


A veneer saw is used in veneering (shocking!). Veneer is thins slices of wood that are glued onto core panels to produced things like doors and the tops of cabinets. The saw has a small, double-edged curved blade.


A fretsaw is a U-shaped saw that looks like an extended version of a coping saw. It is typically used for intricate cutting work and for cutting tight curves. It is able to cut tighter curves than the coping saw.


Keyhole Saw


A keyhole saw is a long and narrow handheld saw that is used to cut small and hard to reach areas. It could have either a fixed or retractable blade.

Radial Arm Saw

A radial arm saw consists of a circular saw that sits on a sliding horizontal arm. It was the most commonly used saw to cut long pieces of wood until the miter saw was invented. They are pretty uncommon due to the limits of the machine, the ease-of-use of the miter saw, and the cost not making it a worthwhile purchase.


Japanese Saw


The Japanese saw is a small, handheld saw that is sometimes used in woodworking and jewelry making. It is unique because it cuts material on the pull stroke rather than the push stroke.

Bow Saw

A bow saw is a metal-framed saw that is either U or J-shaped. It is a crosscut saw that is typically used for cutting branches or firewood. It is also known as a Swede or buck saw.


Scroll Saw


A scroll saw is a benchtop saw used to cut precise curves in mainly wood and metal. It is similar to a band saw, but uses a reciprocating blade as opposed to a continuous loop. The small size of the blade allows it to cut intricate designs better than a jigsaw or coping saw.


A backsaw is a handsaw that has a reinforced edge opposite of the cutting edge. This allows for more control during cutting. They are typically used for precision work in woodworking.


Concrete Saw


As it's name suggests, a concrete saw is mainly used for cutting concrete, but can also be used to cut brick, asphalt, and tile. It comes in different sizes ranging from handheld to walk-behind.

Abrasive Saw

An abrasive saw, usually called a cut off saw or chop saw, is a saw that is used to cut hard materials like metal, tile, and concrete. It is technically not a saw because it doesn't use sharp teeth for cutting. Instead, it uses an abrasive circular disc.


Panel Saw


A panel saw is a machine that is typically found in a woodworking shop. It is used to cut wooden panels down to the proper size. The panel saw is used by lumber yards, building contractors, cabinet shops, and remodelers.

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