If you are into home improvement, no doubt you already have many of the ordinary tools such as a hammer, screwdriver, tape measure, and cordless drill. You may even have begun collecting tools that fall in the nice-but-not-necessary category, like an electric miter saw, reciprocating saw, wet tile saw, or paint sprayer. What's left?
There is a saw that is so unique that it escapes the attention of many do-it-yourselfers. No, it's not an oscillating multi-tool or a rotary tool. It's a saw that gobbles through materials effortlessly and can perform near-magical feats such as cutting backward and making plunge cuts with perfect control. It is a dual blade circular saw, and once you learn about some of its stand-out features, you may be tempted to buy one.
Dual Blade Circular Saw Features
- Two adjacent circular blades move in opposite directions
- Makes straight plunge cuts
- Cuts both forward and backward
- Good for cutting tough materials
- A specialty tool that can be difficult to obtain
What Is a Dual Blade Circular Saw?
A single blade circular saw turns on a central spindle, its cutting teeth moving downward through the work material, and out again to complete the rotation. A single blade saw is an inspired tool that has served both professionals and do-it-yourselfers for decades.
A dual blade saw is a newer type of saw that has two blades that are smaller than those found on single blade saws (4-1/2 inches), with the blades rotating in opposite directions.
Dual Blade Saw Pros and Cons
Easy plunge cuts
Cuts metal well
Better control than with single-blade saws
Produces sharp, smooth edges
Blades difficult to change
Wax feed between blades required
Tool difficult to find, with cordless even harder to find
Dual Blade vs. Single Blade Saws
Dual blade circular saws help alleviate two of the problems that plague single blade saw users: kickback and the difficulty of making plunge cuts.
Kickback occurs when the blade pinches in the cut. The moving saw blade propels the saw backward and sometimes upward. Kickback, common with table saws, is the cause of most injuries with single blade saws. Because there is no single blade spinning the saw back in your direction (like a wheel on a vehicle), the saw cannot kick back at you. Although kickback is reduced when using a dual blade saw, binding may still occur if the material being cut is not correctly supported.
Plunge cuts are another function that single blade saws can do but do not do well or very safely. A plunge cut begins in the middle of the material, not at the end. A plunge cut is a move that seasoned do-it-yourselfers and professionals sometimes do, but control is difficult. With a single blade saw, when you plunge inward, you also have the saw blade trying to move the saw at a 90-degree angle from the plunge direction. A dual blade saw does not do this.
Two Blades Rotating in Opposite Directions
To counteract the motion of one saw blade's movement, the logical way to do so is to move a second blade in the opposite direction and at the same speed. That is the basic premise behind a dual blade circular saw.
Because these blades rotate in opposite directions, you have control; the saw is not allowed to have a mind of its own. This is in sharp contrast to single blade circular saws, which always seem to be propelling you in one direction or another. A dual blade saw is all about control. With it, you can cut forward, cut backward, cut up, or cut down. Kickback is not entirely eliminated but it is greatly reduced.
Additionally, a twin blade saw delivers a cleaner, sharper cut than single blade saws, even when fitted with toothy blades.
Dual Blade Circular Saw Uses
A dual blade saw will not replace your single blade circular saw. Instead, think of it as a supplementary tool for single blade circular saws and other saws in your shop.
Large Plunge Cuts
Plunge cuts are possible with multi-tools and rotary tools. In the manual saw category, jab saws can make plunge cuts in soft materials like drywall. But a dual blade circular saw is the only tool that can plunge cut with complete ease and can make such a large cut. And once the plunge has been made, the dual blade circular saw can continue making a straight line. Reciprocating saws, jigsaws, multi-tools, and rotary tools are all difficult to control.
Cutting Fine Materials
Dual blade circular saws can help you cut fine materials like wood veneer or laminate, but only in a pinch. Usually, you will want to stick to a single blade circular saw outfitted with a fine-tooth laminate or veneer blade.
Few saws can cut backward as well as forward. Backward cuts on a dual blade circular saw are as easy to control and produce cuts of the same quality as if they had been done with a single blade saw.
Dual blade saws are exceptionally good at cutting metal without the need for changing blades. These tools can cut stainless steel, galvanized iron, copper, tin, rebar, pipe, aluminum, and other types of metal.