Which Saws Do You Need to Start Home Remodeling?

Circular saw

 

apomares / Getty Images

When you begin remodeling your home, you are confronted with many choices. One major choice is which saws to buy. Can you just buy one saw for all uses? Here is a run-down of electric and manual saws you will or will not need to kick off your home remodeling career:

Reciprocating Saw (or "Sawzall")

Ryobi 18V Cordless Reciprocating Saw
Ryobi 18V Cordless Reciprocating Saw.

Amazon.com

Yes.

The reciprocating saw has become an indispensable tool in the home remodeler's workshop. Popularly known by the trademark of Milwaukee Tools' Sawzall, the reciprocating saw is produced by virtually all tool makers, in both corded and cordless models. You can't use a recip saw for cutting precise lines in a piece of trim, but it's a trusted ally in demolition and even some moderately-precise work. Buy it.

Electric Compound/Miter Saw

Dewalk compound saw

 Amazon.com

You'll probably use your electric compound/miter saw more for rough chop-off work than for fine 45 degree angle cuts on crown molding. But so what? You'll use your electric compound saw oftener than you can ever imagine. Make room for it on your workbench and keep it plugged in at all times (though I'd recommend switching off the power strip as a safety precaution).

Manual Miter Box and Saw

Stanley Clamp Miter Box and Saw

Amazon.com 

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. I've even used my box and saw numerous times just to lop off any old item--it's a great way to hold your work and ensure a nice 90 degree angle cut.

Corded Circular Saw

Circular saw

 

apomares / Getty Images

A circular saw--corded, not cordless--is exactly what you need to rip through 2x4s and greater with ease; cordless won't do it. Corded circular saws are relatively inexpensive and they last forever.

See Reviews of Circular Saws

Cordless Circular Saw

Cordless circular saw

Amazon.com

Nice, but not necessary.

I'm dubious about cordless circular saws. These types of saws require massive amounts of juice, something that lithium ion batteries, at least at this time, aren't prepared to give up. As such, tool manufacturers mate cordless circular saws with massively-sized batteries, making operation even more unwieldy. Unless you know you will be doing substantial work far from a power point, skip this tool for now.

Oscillating Multi-Tool (With Saw Attachment)

Bosch Multi-X Oscillating Tool Kit

Amazon.com

Yes, but not immediately.

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. But this isn't a tool you need right away. Buy later on down the road if the fancy strikes you.

See Review of Bosch Multi-X Oscillating Tool Kit

Jab Saw

Jab saw

jab saw / Getty Images

Yes.

A jab saw is super-cheap, so it couldn't hurt to pick one up. But keep in mind that it's only good for drywall work. So, unless you are hanging drywall, this tool won't do you much good.

Twin Blade Saw

Rigid TwinBlade Saw

 Amazon.com

A twin blade saw is a great invention: two blades next to each other which turn in opposite directions. This allows you to make jab cuts. But do you need it right away? No. Will you need it ever? That's debatable, but probably not.

RotoZip Saw

RotoZip Saw

Amazon.com

A RotoZip Spiral Saw is a neat device. It's 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. Neat as it is, it's not for the newbie remodeler. When you're ready to do full-scale electrical work, including installing outlets, then you can buy a RotoZip.

Wet Tile Saw

Ryobi 7

Amazon.com

If you want to cut tile, you really need a wet tile saw. 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.