Best Electric Saws for Cutting Wood 

By  Enda McLarnon

Most people understand that having a good power saw helps them to get jobs done faster and with great efficiency. The biggest problem for most people is knowing which saw to use for which job. In this article I will look in detail at the many electric powered saws that are best for cutting wood.

As you may be aware there are a number of different types of power saw on the market, and depending on what type of work you are trying to do, picking the right one for that job is really important.

In the main almost all of these saws are used for wood working, but some can also be used for working on different types of metal, tiles and even masonry.

However, almost 99% of these saws are aimed at and designed for cutting both soft woods and hard woods. They are used by professionals, contractors, hobbyists and those who do home improvement tasks and projects.

The main purpose of this article is to help you understand all of the sawing options, that are currently available.

That should then give you enough information that will help you decide which ones you need, and will be of the most benefit for the type of work that you want to do. You will find plenty of detail here and some really useful information.

A Full List Of All The Power Saws In The Market

Here is a list of the power saw types available in the market today. If you click on any of the links just below, you will be taken to a page, that explains each of these saw types in a lot more detail. However, I have done a summary on each type down below the list.

We should not of course forget the good old fashioned hand saw which is still used by millions of people every day. So, as you can see there is plenty of choice, but how on earth do you know which one does what, and which one you may need to get.

Below I have outlined a brief description of what each of these looks like, and what each has been designed for. That I think is a pretty good starting point as it will give you a general outline of which each power saw is capable of.

The video below will help you out with what is available today. Below the video I have done an explanation of each of the different saw types. There is then a link in each section which will take you to a more detailed review of each electric saw.

Band Saws for Cutting Wood

band_saw_componentsThese have been around for many years and are known in the industry as a work horse type of saw. These actually date back as far as 1809. You will find these in every woodworking shop in the land, and as a general rule, they are used for cutting straight cuts but can also be use to do curves and shapes.

Timber mills all use these for ripping wood and band saws are also great for what is termed re-sawing. They are mainly used for cutting wood, but with the right blades they can also cut metal as well.

The blade is a continuous band of metal with teeth that you can get in different thicknesses. They come as floor standing, bench top and portable models. Band saws range in price from around $100 and all the way up to $1,000 depending on the quality of the saw.

If you would like to find out more information on these types of band saws, then please click here for much more detail.

Chain Saws

husqvarna-440e-chainsaw-reviewMost people will be familiar with the chain saw. This is essentially used for cutting down trees, making logs and general tree husbandry, such as pruning.

Most of them are powered up using a 2-stroke gas engine, but you can also get electric versions and ones powered by using compressed air.

That all becomes a matter of what you need to use it for and how much you can afford to pay at the time you are making your purchase.

As the name would suggest they use a chain with teeth for cutting. Like the band saw these have been around for a very long time with their invention dated at around 1830. Chainsaws vary a lot in price from $90 at the low end and up to $500 at the higher end.

The most popular are the 2-stroke powered chainsaws. This is because they cut great and are portable.

If you would like to read in more detail about chainsaws then please click right here for more detailed information.

Circular Saws

PORTER-CABLE Circular SawThese are one of the most popular saws used today but they were invented as far back as 1780. They use a rotary blade and are often referred to as a chop saw.

They are used for either ripping or cross cutting wood. In the main these are either powered by electric, a cordless method using a battery and in some cases by pneumatic means.

Most commonly these are hand held devices, but some of them can also be bench mounted.

By changing the blade you can cut different materials with them.

In the main they are used for cutting straight edges.

These saws are relatively cheap and you will find them available from around $45-200. The price will vary quite a bit depending on the brand and the power of the saw.

You can click here to read an extensive buying guide for circular saws.


jigsawA jigsaw is a power tool which was invented in 1946. A chap called Albert Kaufmann replaced the needle on his wife’s sewing machine with a blade, and from that idea then the jigsaw became one of the most used saws in the world.

Sometimes the most simple of ideas is just so very clever. The blade moves up and down (reciprocates) and cuts through the wood as it is pushed along.

This saw is really useful for cutting shapes in different materials and this can be achieved by simply changing the blades. It is a versatile tool and is lightweight and portable.

Again there is a large price fluctuation with these saws and they will vary between $25-150 depending on the brand, the size and the quality. You can buy these in an normal and popular corded version and also in the cordless battery style.

If you would like to find out more about jigsaws, then please click here for more details.

Metal Cutting Saws

saws that cut though metalAs the name would suggest these are designed for cutting different types of metal. I have simply included these on my list so as you know all about the different types of power saws.

In the main these are chop saws usually powered by electric and in some cases by compressed air. They are referred to as abrasive or abrasive cut-off tools. You can also get these in a cordless version though that will make them more expensive that a corded style.

Clearly these are used mainly in steel factories, but the hand held versions have become very popular with electricians, people who work on ducting, air conditioning etc.

Essentially any trade that needs to work at cutting metal of some kind, can certainly make use of one of these.

In terms of pricing they can be anything between $150-500

If you would like to find out more about these saws, then please click here to read more.

Miter Saws

Miter saws for home useThis is a power saw designed to cut miter joints at a variety of angles. It is also good for cross cutting. These will also be used to make bevel cuts and many of them can also do compound cuts, which are of course a combination of a mitre and a bevel cut.

Often this is also referred to as a chop saw in the same way as a circular saw is referred to. This is where some confusion starts to arise.

Circular saws primarily cut straight lines whereas miter saws can also do this, but its main function is to cut various angles. These are used for tasks like framing and mouldings.

They come in different sizes from around 8-12″ blades and are small and portable.

They are powered by electric or often the cordless versions are powered by battery. They come as a standard miter only, a compound (miters and bevels) and a sliding compound. The sliding compound is always the better choice as it allows you to cut larger and wider pieces of wood.

The sliding compound is the most popular and the prices vary between $70-400

If you would like to read more about the best miter saws available then please click here to read more details.

Powered Hand Saws

powered hand sawsWe have all probably used a hand saw, and this uses the same type of motion but without all the effort. They are similar in nature to the reciprocating saw.

They are useful for straight cutting and are light and easy to handle. They can be used on wood, metals and plastics by changing the blade.

Like the hand saw these are a good all round saw if all you need to do is some quick straight cuts.

The cut on these is pretty crude but they do the job quickly and are ideal for working with rougher pieces of timber. These price out at the lower end of power saws and will range between $40-100

You should not use these for any type of fine woodworking and are more intended to be used on a construction site, or workplace

Click Here To Read More Detailed Reviews on Powered Hand Saws

Reciprocating Saws

reciprocating-sawsThis one like the one above uses a push/pull action so hence its name reciprocating.

Its main use is in the demolition and construction industry for removing stud walls and quickly sawing through supporting posts and joists.

Emergency teams will also use this type of saw for getting through metal quickly.

They are a rather crude device, but strong and tough to get through most materials with the right blade.

Their main use though is by teams of construction workers who are renovating old buildings and just need to quickly cut through joists and beams.

The prices in these are fairly standard at an average of around $50-70.

You Can Click Here To Read More About Reciprocating Saws

Scroll Saws

scroll saws for woodworkingThese are small electrical saws, mainly used by hobbyists for cutting out intricate shapes.

It is similar in nature and use to a band saw but a scroll saw does leave a better finish and is more adaptable and easier to use.

It is particularly good for cutting out complex interior cut outs. Many woodworkers will also have a scroll saw for doing their finer and more intricate work.

Their main use is by the many different people out there who do any type of fine wood working using wood, and need delicate and intricate cut outs.

There is a huge variation in price and can be anything between $90 to $600 with an average price of around $140.

If you would like to read more detail about scroll saws, then please read our detailed guide right here.

Table Saws

rable sawsOften referred to as a saw bench, this tool has a blade which sticks out from a table surface. The wood is the passed along the table surface and into contact with the blade.

They come in a few different styles such as job site saws, cabinet saws and contractor saws.

They use a circular saw type of blade and like the band saw you will find these in almost every woodworking shop.

These are becoming a lot cheaper than they used to be and they are a really useful saw to have as they can truly speed up any work that you may be doing.

The average price for these is around $300 though there is again a variance from as low as $100 and all the way up to $1,000.

Click here to read more information on table saws.

Tile Saws

tile cutting sawsIf you plan on doing a lot of tiling work, either on floors or walls, then it is a really good idea to invest in a good quality electric tile saw.

This will make cutting tiles to shape and size a great deal easier.

If you have ever tiled before then you know cutting tiles is not easy. There is also a lot of waste with them if they break along the wrong line.

With an electric version you let the blade and saw do the work and cut very accurate lines.

These saws usually have a special type of rotary blade which is then cooled down by water, which is held in a trough as part of the saw. One of these really takes the work out of sawing and when I bought mine, it was one of my best ever investments.

You Can Click Here To Read More About Tile Saws

Masonry Saws

Masonry saws are usually what are called Disc cutters and these can be bought as wet or dry. These would mainly be used by either general contractors or professionals. They are however now available at affordable prices, and as such, you will now see them in more homes.

That said this would not be a tool that you would need to use on a regular basis. If you do have to do some work that involves cutting concrete then it might be a better idea just to rent one out.

The people who are buying these today are typically new home owners who have a lot of tiles to lay down and they fancy doing that as a large project. These are not crazy expensive with an average price of around $125-150, but it is the type of saw that would not get a great deal of use in most homes.

You Can Click Here To Read More About Masonry Saws

Which Saws Should You Consider Buying?

The decision as to which saw you want or need will simply come down to what you are going to use it for, and how often you are going to get using it. If money is no object you could of course buy them all, and good quality ones as well for under $1,000.

The reality is though, that unless you are a professional contractor or a dedicated woodworker, you will only need a couple of these to be able to do about 95% of your jobs.

Everyone with an interest in getting a saw should of course have a high quality hand saw, as to be honest it is really handy and convenient to have, and it can do jobs really quickly without the hassle of setting up any power tools.

I think as standard a good quality jigsaw is pretty much an essential to have, but please get yourself a good one. It will give you years of service, is highly versatile and can be used to make a variety of different cuts, in a variety of materials.

I would also recommend getting a good miter saw, and if you have one of those, then in truth you don’t ever need a circular saw. The miter saw will allow you to do many different tasks. So if you have a good hand saw, a jigsaw and a miter saw, you will be able to do about 99% of all the wood working jobs that you will ever undertake in and around the home.

If you then wanted to take that to the next level, I would recommend a good band saw as that is just such a versatile saw to have. You will also get plenty of use out of it, once you have set it up and got it working well. If hobbies are your thing, then a scroll saw is the perfect choice, and you will be amazed at what it can do for you.

Reciprocating saws and power hand saws are a great idea if you work in the construction industry, but for the home owner are not really that useful.

Chainsaws are of course pretty much an essential if you have to take care of a lot of trees or lumber. Unless you plan on doing a lot of tiling, or working on masonry, then it is a better idea to hire a tile/masonry saw than to buy one.

Hopefully that has helped explain what is available, and has given you a better idea of what saws you will need to get. If you want to look in these in a great more detail, then this site is packed full of detailed information that should help influence your buying decision.

Enda McLarnon

Enda McLarnon is now retired and is now enjoying writing about his love of power tools. All types of these tools are now available and they make working on projects and DIY jobs around the home a great deal of fun

Enda McLarnon

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