Last updated: September 3, 2021

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Have you ever wondered how to achieve perfectly circular cuts in materials as hard as marble? The answer is simple: Using a  hole saw. This special tool allows us to cut any surface or material easily, making perfect holes for taps, hoses or lights.

Hole saws are a very popular widespread tool among decorators, construction workers and DIY enthusiasts. They can be used for a  wide variety of tasks. Hole saws are also easy to use. This article will explain everything you need to know about the hole saws and discuss the best models.

Key Facts

  • Hole saws have a cup attachment that makes holes.
  • Harder materials, such as ceramics or concrete, will require the use of lubricating liquids such as oil or water. The depth to which you can drill will be determined by the shape of the cup attachment.
  • Most manufacturers recommend that you use variable speed drills to make cuts with hole saws.
  • Hole saws, especially those with diamond-grain teeth, need careful care to prolong their useful life.

Our recommendation: The best hole saws

These days you will find a wide variety of hole saws on the market. Unless you are a professional builder or carpenter, it can be confusing to know which is the best one. To help you with the process, we have selected the best hole saws for you - let's check them out.

Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about hole saws

Hole saws are an extension that is used with an electric drill or screwdriver to make circular holes. They are quite simple tools to use, but also extremely handy ones thanks to their versatility and functionality. Below, we will explain everything you need to know about crown saws.

Equipment for drilling large holes

In order to cut very hard materials such as concrete or cement, it is better to moisten the tool with some water. (Source: Yuri Minaev: 104913878/

What are hole saws exactly?

Hole saws are also known as hole cutters. It is a very useful tool, especially for carpenters, electricians and builders and in carpentry. They have an annular shape and they are used to make a round hole in materials such as plastic, glass, plaster, asbestos, fibreglass, ceramics, tiles, granite, marble and all types of metals, ferrous and non-ferrous. They are often used to make large diameter cuts quickly and easily.

What are the parts of a hole saw?

A hole saw doesn’t work by itself. It must be attached to a motorised tool like a drill before they can work. The hole saw provides the cutting component, which will be spun by the motor of the drill.

Below we will explain the most important parts of a hole saw:

  • A cylinder or cup: This is the most important part of the hole saw. Normally it will be made of carbon steel, one end has a serrated edge and the other is fits to the motoring device
  • Adjustment system: It is the part in which the drill engages. It is usually a thread or nut that is connected to the drill and serves to centre and guide the cut.
  • Slots: The wall of the cup may have holes. These serve to extract the dust and prevent it from accumulating inside, which could slow down the bit and cause problems in the cut.

a hole saw and blueprints

Hole saws are designed with the specific material in mind that they are going to cut.
(Source: Guy Ozenne: 25757991/

What are bi-metal hole saws?

On the market, there are a very large variety of hole saws. You have very cheap models made of carbon steel and others that are more expensive but adapted for specific types of work.  The most common model and most widely used models are bimetallic.

Bi-metal hole saws combine two types of steel to form the edge of the cutting end: high-speed steel and soft elastic steel. Both form a durable edge that allows you to cut at high speed on all types of materials. In addition, this combination helps the tool to be much more durable.

What types of hole saws are there?

On today's market, there is a wide variety of hole saws. Some have been designed for specialised tasks. They have diamond edges,  special diameters and even double cups. Each type of saw will be suitable for a specific job and which you choose will depend on your needs.

The below table shows the different types  of hole saws and their characteristics:

Type of material Type of saw Characteristics
By material Soft materials To work with wood or plaster.

The most commonly used type in cabinet making, decoration and construction.

By material For concrete Ideal for working with very hard materials.

It's best to choose a high-quality saw.

By material For tiles Have a diamond edge.

Cuts cleanly without breaks or cracks.

Works with low revolutions.

Cool the blade with water in order to extend its useful life.

By material For metal Ideals for all types of metals (ferrous and non-ferrous).

Offer a high level of cutting quality

Frequently used in workshops.

By design Adjustable Very practical, as the cutting diameter can be adjusted.

Can do a variety of tasks.

By design Various Set of cylindrical saws in various sizes.

Let you make different sized holes.

Main applications of each type of hole saw

As we've already seen, each type of hole saw is designed to do a specific type of task. However, there are also other considerations to keep in mind. It is important to consider the spacing, type and material of the saw's teeth, all of which affect the type of work a hole saw can and cannot do.

The pitch of the saw’s teeth is measured in the number of teeth per centimetre or inch. A saw with teeth that are an equal distance apart will be labelled “regular” or “constant.” If a saw is labelled "different step" it means the teeth are grouped at regular intervals along the saw.

We have prepared an orientation chart for reference detailing l the main applications of the different types of hole saws.

Type of saw Available diametres Recommended speeds depending on the material Maximum cutting depth Materials it can cut
Bimetal, constant step. 14-210 mm 25-3000 RPM 41 mm Metals, stainless stell, cast iron, brass, aluminium, plaster, non-ferrous materials, wood, PVC.
Bimetal, variable step. 14-210 mm 25-3000 RPM 41 mm Metals, astainless stell, cast iron, brass, aluminium, plaster, non-ferrous materials, wood, PVC.
Diamond. 14-151 mm 150-1200 RPM 41 mm Acrylic, ceramic, porcelain, glass, stone, fibreglass, masonry, brick.
Carbide edge. 19-152 mm 20-3200 RPM 41 mm Formica, fibreglass, plaster, floating floors, wood veneers.
Carbide grains. 22-114 mm 100-1000 RPM 41 mm Non-metallic materials, floating floors, fibreglass.
Carbide edge for laminates. 15-100 mm 65-800 RPM 13 mm Metals, stainless steel, non-ferrous materials.
To use with cordless drills. 16-38 mm 70-700 RPM 13 mm Metals, stainless steel, non-ferrous metals.
To use with cord drills. 16-38 mm 70-700 RPM 13 mm Metals, stainless steel, non-ferrous metals, plaster.
Carbide edge, multipurpose. 19-159 mm 300-1000 RPM 54 mm Wood, wood veneer, formica, plastic, acrylics, plaster, floating floors, glass, fibreglass, ceramics, tiles, masonry.

What are the optimal speeds for hole saws?

Not all hole saws operate at the same speed. The speed is measured in revolutions per minute (RPM). This factor will depend fundamentally on the diameter of the tool, which can be offered in metric or imperial measurements, and the material you intend to cut. The smaller the diameter, the faster it must turn.

To cut, for example, wood and plastic, you need a number of revolutions approximately 10 times greater than you would need to cut steel. It is for this reason that it is recommended to use the hole saws with variable speed drills since they are the only ones that will allow you to adjust the revolutions.

Electric drill lock hole drilling through door, for deadbolt, c

Hole saws are classified by the number of teeth per centimetre or inch.
(Source: Vladimir Grigorev : 57978110/

How do you use a hole saw?

Once you have chosen the saw according to the work you want to do and have read the manufacturer's instructions, it is advisable to follow a series of steps to ensure excellent performance. These instructions are for general use. You should keep in mind that these can vary depending on the work.

If you want to know how hole saws work in general, we explain below:

  • Using a pencil, draw a circle where you want to drill and mark the centre of the circle.
  • Insert the pilot drill into the drill and make sure that you hold it firmly so that it does not come loose.
  • Mount the hole saw on the shaft that passes through the end of the shank and through the opening in the bottom of the saw. The pilot drill should protrude between 0.63 and 0.95 cm from the saw teeth.
  • Install the cup saw in the drill. The end of the rod is placed on the mandrel and make sure it fits well.
  • Plug in the drill and align the pilot drill with the centre of the marked circle.
  • Turn on the drill. Remember to keep your hand steady and perpendicular to the work surface. It is advisable to apply light pressure. , Drill part of the hole and remove the saw. Repeat this procedure as many times as necessary to complete the task. This will reduce friction and lengthen its life.

Should I drill dry or should I lubricate the hole saw?

Diamond hole saws are also called diamond drill bits. Those that have been welded by laser can be used for wet and dry drilling, but not all materials to be drilled are suitable for dry drilling. Very hard materials, such as concrete, need lubrication.

To drill on materials as hard as concrete or cement, it is best to lubricate with water. Otherwise, the excess heat generated during the drilling process can make the edge of the saw lose and, therefore, reduce its lifespan and negatively affect performance.

circular saw and accessories

There is a type of saw for each kind of work.
(Source: Juan Antonio Garcia: 22479711/

Advantage and disadvantages of using a hole saw

The main advantage of using a  hole saw in front of the conventional broaches is its efficiency both in terms of material being cut and power use. It also makes clean cuts and can be used to make large diameter cuts.

Among the main disadvantages are that you need a variable speed electric drill to use a hole saw.  Cleaning is another problem as the cups can get clogged if all excess materials are not removed from them.

Advice for using a hole saw

Unless you are a construction professional, it will be useful to follow a few practical tips to help you get the best results:

  • First of all, follow the usual safety regulations. Wear protective glasses, appropriate clothing and, if you have long hair, tie it up.
  • The instructions of the manufacturers are fundamental. Read the manual and follow the instructions.
  • Do not rush to make the cut, let the saw do its job. If you see smoke it is caused by you working too fast or because the saw is worn.
  • Whenever you extract the material from the cup, be sure to remove the remaining chips and all the residue. This will prevent the holes from clogging. Typically, multipurpose hole saws incorporate slots to facilitate the extraction of waste material.
  • If the perforated button is stuck to the saw, remove it with a screwdriver.
  • When cutting most metals (except cast iron) and ceramics, it is recommended to use coolant.
  • If you cut tempered steel, vitrified ceramics or materials that incorporate concrete it is better to use hole saws with teeth or diamond grains.
  • Unless they are specifically manufactured for this purpose, do not use cordless drills with hole saws, as these do not have enough power and the motor will burn.

Black Hole saw

If you are thinking of working with a wireless drill, there are models of crowns made specifically for them.
(Source: Adam88x: 34965305/

Shopping criteria

Hole saws are tools designed to make large holes. Unlike drills, they are specifically for making large diameter holes. You’ll find a range of different hole saws on the market these days, so here are some of the things to keep in mind when buying one.

Material and thickness

Cup saws are designed for a specific type of material. For example, metal saws that are made of carbon steel will allow you to work on all types of ferrous and non-ferrous surfaces. You will also find saws for wood and softer materials. In general, multipurpose hole saws are used for construction work. These will work on stone plaster and thin metal sheets. These are ideal for electrical work, such as connecting pipes and cables to electrical panels.

Hole saws are an excellent option if you want to make larger holes in various materials.

Type of step

As we have already explained in the previous section, the step is the distance between the teeth. This is an important factor. In our table we explain which steps are appropriate for which material. , The length and shape of the teeth will determine the type of material on which you can work. Before choosing your hole saw, read the manufacturer's insert carefully and look at our table.

Type of teeth or edge

The type of material that covers the teeth determines what material can be cut by the hole saw. In this way, bimetallic holes are ideal for working with metals, wood and plastics. Those with carbide tips work on fibreglass, Formica and other soft materials. For cuts in hard materials such as concrete or ceramic and tiles, you should look for hole saws with teeth coated with diamond or diamond-edged grain.

Wood Hole Saw

For the best power, you need to use a drill with a variable speed.
(Source: Wichien Tepsuttinun: 52853635/

Suitable drill

Manual and especially cordless drills do not usually have enough speed to reach the required number of revolutions per minute recommended by hole saw manufacturers. If you plan to work with a cordless drill, make sure you purchase a hole saw specifically manufactured for this type of drill. When choosing a hole saw you should look at the diameter of the drill chuck and select the correct size. If you choose a saw that does not fit your drill, you would be wasting your money.


As we have already explained, not all the hole saws work at the same speed. Look closely at the revolutions per minute they need to work and what kind of material you can use depending on this factor. The speed will depend on the diameter of your saw, the smaller diameter plus the speed of rotation. To cut soft materials, such as plastic or wood, you will need many more revolutions than to drill into concrete. It is for this reason that it is recommended that hole saws be used with variable speed drills.

Hole saw blue

Not all hole saws have the same speed, which is measured in revolutions per minute (RPM).
(Source: Olaf Speier: 41496757/


The hole saw you choose determines how deep it can cut. You should choose the type of hole saw which will suit the hole you wish to drill.  There are models which drill holes with a smaller diameter and plenty of depth, and others which do the opposite. As a general rule, large diameter holes tend to have less depth. Look carefully before choosing and always do it according to your needs. If you're not going to need to drill deep holes, don't choose own with a long drill bit.


The hole saws are, basically, a type of cylindrical saw that can cut holes of a certain depth.  These saws are used for masonry, decoration and woodwork. They are also used by electricians and masons in the construction industry.

Choosing the best hole saw in the market is not easy. There are a great variety of models. Your choice will depend on the jobs you want to do. We've told you all about the hole saws so you can choose the best one.

If you liked the article, leave a comment or share with your friends and family to find the best hole saw in the market.

(Source of the featured image: Alexandr Makarov: 14805039/