What Is The Best Hand Saw For Cutting Wood (Or Metal)?

Last Updated on August 28, 2021

With the wide array of options available today, deciding on the right tools for your DIY projects can be frustrating. In the world of hand saws, many have expressed the same view and hence, numerous readers have reached out to us for advice on choosing the right type of hand saw for their next project. This inspired us to put together a quick review to help you select the right hand saw. Again, huge thank you to the readers for suggesting valuable content like this.

So, as promised, here are the 5 types of hand saws available out there and their best uses.

The 5 Most Common Hand Saws For Everyday Use:

The “Basic” Hand Saw

Designed for small wood jobs, the “basic” hand saw can be utilized for both soft and hardwood pieces. As a must-have tool in everyone’s toolkit, the “basic” hand saw is useful for various purposes from trimming green wood, cutting wooden logs or boards, and even metal. The hand saw is one of the oldest tools and got its name as it does not require any power to work. Instead, you have to use physical force to accomplish the task.


  • To make straight cuts on woods, especially when you do not have access to power
  • To accomplish wood cutting tasks where absolute precision is not important

Example: DeWalt DWHT20545L


The Hack Saw

The Hack Saw is easily identified by its C-shaped frame and fine-tooth blade. It has a pistol grip handle which allows for a firm grip when used. A bonus point is that the blades are disposable once they become blunt and can easily be replaced for cheap on Amazon (e.g., 20 blades for $11 AMZN offering) or at your local department and hardware stores. The frame is also adjustable to accommodate blades of different lengths and sizes.


  • Hacksaws are primarily used to cut metals
  • You can also use them to cut plastic pipes during plumbing jobs or making a plastic fence.

Example: DEWALT DWHT20547L


The Bow Saw

Not to be confused with the design of a hack saw, the bow saw is C-shaped or like its name “bow”-shaped and is much narrower and less sturdy than the hack saw. The bow saw is also used for cutting wood unlike the hack saw which is used for cutting metals and plastics. Alternative names for the bow saw are swede saw, finn saw, and bucksaw.


  • You can use bow saws to cut or trim tree branches
  • Cut firewood or wooden logs up to six (6) inches in diameter

Example: Bahco Bow Saw #9 All Purpose – 3/4″ x 36″ blade


The Back Saw

The Back Saw is another woodcutter and is defined by its block-like blade and mid-section. Its design allows for better control and more precise cutting than other hand saws mentioned before. The only minor drawback is that these saws may have a limited depth to which they can cut due to the thickness of the stiffened upper rib. The most common back saws are dovetails and tenons which are both staples in every carpenters’ toolkit.


  • Such saws are mostly used in woodworking for precise cuts such as in shaping dovetail joints
  • Used by carpenters to create tenons in the making of cabinets
  • Used by joiners for tasks such as the creation of wooden boxes, cupboards, and wooden bed frames

Example: Stanley FatMax 17-202, a 14-Inch Back Saw


The Coping Saw

Looks simple but the coping saw is a useful cutting tool that has a thin blade tensioned between a C-shaped frame. Its frame is compatible with a variety of blades that you can use while cutting wood pieces or metals. Plumbers and carpenters, both carry coping saws because of its ability to cut a wide range of materials.


  • Making furniture and wooden toys
  • Used to cut intricate external shapes or make interior cut-outs
  • Can be used for both wood and metal cuts

Example: OLSON SAW SF63510


We do hope this product guide was insightful and equipped you with the right information for your purchase.

For any additional questions, please feel free to contact us here through the site or via email at contact@PlayDrills.com

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