Best Saws You Need for Home Improvement Projects

Circular saw

 

apomares / Getty Images

For home projects, both electric and manual saws are a necessity. But you cannot simply purchase one saw for all uses. Saws generally address only a limited number of types of projects, whether it be demolishing a wall, cutting crown molding, creating a hole in drywall, cutting door trim, or cutting tile and artificial stone. Buy the saw that best fits your needs, both for efficiency and for safety.

Reciprocating Saw

Ryobi 18V Cordless Reciprocating Saw
Ryobi 18V Cordless Reciprocating Saw. Amazon.com

The reciprocating saw has become an indispensable tool in the home remodeler's workshop. Once known only by the trademark of Milwaukee Tools' Sawzall, the reciprocating saw is now produced by virtually all toolmakers, in both corded and cordless models.

Uses

Reciprocating saws are excellent for making rough cuts. You cannot use a reciprocating saw for cutting precise lines in a piece of trim, but it is a trusted ally in demolition and even some moderately precise work.

Pros

  • Makes fast, powerful cuts

Cons

  • Will not make plunge cuts
  • Can be difficult to control

Electric Compound/Miter Saw

Dewalk compound saw
 Amazon.com

An electric miter saw, also called a compound saw, uses an electrically powered single circular blade to make angled cuts.

Uses

You can use your electric compound/miter saw as much for rough chop-off work as for fine 45-degree angle cuts on crown molding. Make room for it on your workbench and keep it plugged in at all times. Your electric miter saw will find its way into so many of your home projects.

Pros

  • Precise cuts
  • Fast

Cons

  • Uses up a lot of space on your workbench

Manual Miter Box and Saw

Stanley Clamp Miter Box and Saw
Amazon.com 

A miter box and saw is a mated combination (often sold together) for making angled cuts in smaller pieces of work material such as trim.

Uses

Miter boxes and their accompanying miter saws are often ignored in this world of fast, powerful, and cheap electric miter saws. But miter box/saw combinations are even cheaper. Sometimes you need that precise touch when cutting a piece of delicate trim. This tool set is a great way to hold your work and ensure a nice 90-degree angle cut.

Pros

  • Precise cuts
  • Easy to transport

Cons

  • Limited number of angles
  • The saw can wobble within miter box frame

Corded Circular Saw

Circular saw
 

A corded circular saw is a saw with a single rotating circular blade. It is powered by regular household 120V current.

Uses

A corded circular saw is exactly what you need to rip through two-by-fours and greater sizes with ease, when cordless won't do it.

Pros

  • Heavy cutting
  • Cuts well for long periods without giving out

Cons

  • Cord can be bothersome

Cordless Circular Saw

Cordless circular saw
Amazon.com

Cordless circular saws use lithium-ion batteries to provide power to turn the saw blade. Other than the cordless aspect, these saws work the same as their corded companions.

Uses

Use cordless circular saws for exterior work where it can be difficult or bothersome to run extension cords.

Pros

  • No cord to get in the way
  • Expands the radius of your work far beyond electrical outlets

Cons

  • Heavier due to the attached battery
  • Power capacity is limited

Oscillating Multi-Tool (Saw Attachment)

Bosch Multi-X Oscillating Tool Kit
Amazon.com

Oscillating multi-tools have a vibrating (oscillating) head that can accept any number of attachments for different uses.

Uses

Oscillating multi-tools usually come with a few saw blades, good for undercutting door jambs when installing flooring, nipping off nails close to the surface, and even stripping paint.

Pros

  • Best way to make fine plunge cuts for trim
  • Multiple uses beyond saw cuts

Cons

  • Blades wear down quickly
  • Good only for minimal cuts

Jab Saw

Jab saw
jab saw / Getty Images

A jab saw is a hand saw with coarse teeth on one side of the blade.

Uses

Jab saws are used almost exclusively for drywall work: to create holes for boxes. It can also be used to cut rigid foam insulation.

Pros

  • Inexpensive
  • Best hand tool for cutting drywall

Cons

  • Coarse blade rips drywall paper
  • Creates much drywall debris

Twin Blade Saw

Rigid TwinBlade Saw
 Amazon.com

A twin-blade saw is a circular saw with two blades next to each other that turn in opposite directions, facilitating plunge cuts.

Uses

You can use a twin-blade saw to create grooves in wood, make plunge cuts for windows or doors, or to cut difficult materials like metal.

Pros

  • Powerful
  • Opposing blades keep saw steady

Cons

  • A limited-use tool
  • Creates wide cuts

Spiral Saw

RotoZip Saw
Amazon.com

A spiral saw is like a router and jigsaw, combined. Unlike a router, it will cut slim lines. Unlike a jigsaw, it will plunge into the material and it does not require you to turn the tool as you go around the lines.

Uses

Use the spiral saw for cutting holes into tile for faucets or for plunge-cuts into drywall for electrical boxes, among many other uses.

Pros

  • Small
  • Fast
  • Makes quick plunge cuts, just like a drill

Cons

  • Kicks up a lot of debris
  • Difficult to control

Wet Tile Saw

Ryobi 7" Wet Tile Saw
Amazon.com

If you want to cut tile or artificial stone, a wet tile saw is a great help. The continuous flow of water holds down dust and keeps the blade cool. For small amounts of tile installation, you can even get by with the much cheaper snap tile cutter.

Uses

Use a wet tile saw for cutting ceramic and porcelain tile, as well as manufactured veneer stone.

Pros

  • Dust-free
  • Straight cuts

Cons

  • A limited-use saw
  • Requires steady flow of water