Last updated: August 5, 2021

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Anyone who does DIY at home will sooner or later come across the question: What do I cut metal with? This is where the hacksaw comes in! Metal saws are suitable for hard material and are not only used for metal, but also for plastic. They are available in electric and in purely mechanical form.

A metal saw should be comfortable to hold and easy to use. The saw blade is easy to change, which will be necessary either when the teeth become blunt or when the material being worked on changes. In this article we have compared the best metal saws as well as answered the most important questions when buying a metal saw.




Summary

  • Metal saws are suitable for those who want to cut or trim metal objects at home. You can cut copper, mild steel, cast iron, brass, aluminium and plastic.
  • Hand saws are easy to carry, but you need more physical strength to use them. Electric metal saws require more out of your wallet, but are perfect, especially for larger projects.
  • When choosing the right saw blade, the TPI is important: the number of teeth per inch. The harder the material to be cut, the more teeth per inch you need.

The Best Metal Saw: Our Choices

Buying and rating criteria for hacksaws

There are some criteria you need to consider when buying a hacksaw. They will help you to find out which hacksaw suits you best. In the following paragraphs, we will go into more detail about the buying and evaluation criteria.

TPI: Teeth Per Inch

The TPI parameter describes the number of teeth per inch of the saw blade. Typically, a metal saw has between 8 and 32 TPI. One inch is equal to 2.54 cm, so for example, 8 TPI means that the saw blade has 8 teeth per 2.54 cm.

The TPI parameter you choose for your saw blade depends on the material you want to cut. In general, the harder the material to be sawn, the greater the number of teeth.

A coarse metal saw blade has 8 to 18 TPI and is suitable for mild steel, copper, aluminium, plastics and round and square bars of mild steel over 40 mm thick.

A medium metal saw blade has 18 to 22 TPI and is used for the following materials: High strength steel, cast iron, mild steel round and square bars under 40 mm thick and brass. Fine metal saw blades have 22 to 32 TPI and are used for thin-walled tubes, profile bars, chilled cast iron and sheet metal.

The size of the metal saw blades

Long metal saw blades allow you to work quickly and effectively on large workpieces. The standard size here is 300 mm long saw blades. Short and small blades, on the other hand, are suitable for precision work.

Handle and handle shape (for handsaws)

The handle is particularly important for hand saws because it is the means of power transmission. The handle should be non-slip and must be shaped so that the saw is easy and comfortable to use. Make sure that the handle is large enough for your hand and knuckles.

Hacksaws have the handle integrated into the handle. Here, more force is exerted and the handle is more non-slip and ergonomic. Bow saws, on the other hand, have a fixed metal bow with a wooden handle attached to the end.

Cooling lubricant (for electric saws)

Some electric metal saws have the ability to cool and lubricate their saw blades at the same time. If the right cooling lubricant is missing, saw blades will become blunt more quickly - also, cooling by the cooling lubricant contributes to more accurate machining. The cooling lubricant reduces friction between the material and the saw blade and, if necessary, also removes chips by flushing them away.

Guide: Frequently asked questions about metal saws answered in detail

In the following paragraphs we answer the most important questions about buying a metal saw.

Who is a hacksaw suitable for?

A hacksaw is suitable for all do-it-yourselfers who want to cut and trim materials at home that are made of soft or hard metals or plastic. In the home, metal saws are often used to cut copper or aluminium heating pipes.

What types of metal saws are there?

Manual metal saws work either by push or pull. They are easy to use and require little maintenance: the saw blade is changed as needed and clamped with the help of a wing nut. The disadvantage of manual metal saws is that they require strength and endurance.

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Circular saws are powered by an electric motor. (Image source: annawaldl / unsplash)

Electric metal saws work the same way as manual ones, except they are powered by the motor and therefore require less strength from the user. There are lighter, more mobile devices and also stand-up saws, which usually stay in one place. You can only use the electric hacksaw within the limits of its battery power or the length of its power cable.

How much does a hacksaw cost?

The big difference in price ranges is determined by the type of saw, namely whether it is a hand saw or an electric hacksaw. Hand saws are sturdy yet simple constructions that therefore cost less. Electric metal saws, on the other hand, consist of expensive technology. Below we have listed the different price categories of metal saws:

Price range Available products
6 - 30 euros Hand saws
100 - 500 euros Electric metal saw
from 15 euros Hiring an electric metal saw

As you can see, you can buy a handsaw for as little as three pairs of socks. Electric hacksaws are available from 100 Euros, and the average price for an electric hacksaw is between 100 and 500 Euros, depending on what extra features you need or how powerful you want the motor to be. We have introduced a third price category that is currently a popular alternative to buying a hacksaw: renting electric hacksaws. This is possible for as little as 15 euros.

How do you properly clamp a saw blade?

Changing a saw blade is fairly straightforward: With hacksaws, the first step is to loosen the attachment of the saw blade. This is usually a wing nut or another type of nut. The second step is to change the saw blade, paying attention to the direction of the teeth. Orientate yourself on the direction in which the teeth of the old saw blade were pointing. In the last step, you only have to screw the wing nut back on and tighten it.

What do I have to pay attention to when sawing?

Always wear safety goggles when using a metal saw! This applies to both hand saws and electric saws. Metal chips are produced during sawing, which can be particularly dangerous for the eyes.

You should also pay attention to the cutting speed and the contact pressure so that they are not too high. There is a risk that the saw blade heats up too much, which has a negative effect on its stability.

Conclusion

Metal saws are indispensable for do-it-yourselfers. They are used for soft and hard metals as well as for plastic. The most important distinction between metal saws is whether they are hand saws or electric saws. Hand saws are inexpensive and handy, whereas electric saws are suitable for more serious metalworking.

When buying the right metal saw, pay particular attention to the TPI of the saw blade and, in the case of hand saws, the handle, as these have a major impact on handling. Metal saws are practical and easy to maintain: changing a saw blade is straightforward and there are few points to consider when sawing.

Image source: Michael Browning / unsplash

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