What are the Different Types of Saws?

Views 8 Likes Comments Comment
Like if this guide is helpful
Hand Saw

With the plethora of different types of saws available, it can sometimes be difficult to know which saw is the right one for the job. From band saws to miter saws, eBay can provide listings for any type of cutting tool, so research is key when looking for the appropriate saw when buying online. This guide will sort through the major categories of saws, and describe the tasks for which they work best. The broadest type of distinction between saws is whether they are hand saws or mechanically powered saws. Keep in mind that saws can go by several names, depending upon regional and cultural variations in nomenclature, so be sure to include several different variations when searching, so you can maximize the number of available search results.

Hand Saws

Hand saws are the oldest, most traditional category of saws, and are powered solely by human effort. Many older hand saws are considered antiques, and, as such, are treated as collectibles. They can be divided into two general categories: regular hand saws and back saws.

Regular Hand Saws

Regular hand saws consist of a handle and blade, and this blade's thickness determines its stiffness. The following types of saw are considered regular hand saws as opposed to back saws.

Coping Saw

A coping saw is used to cut intricate shapes or patterns into materials such as wood moldings. Its precision can make it an excellent choice for cutting joints. It consists of a thin, hardened steel blade stretched between a C-shaped iron frame attached to a wooden handle. Because the blade is so thin, it is easy to change the direction of a cut within a piece of wood.

Fret Saw

A fret saw is essentially a coping saw with a more elongated frame and a shorter, thinner blade. It is capable of much tighter cutting radii and more detailed scrollwork than a coping saw, however. Its blade, unlike that of a coping saw, has a fixed orientation in relation to the frame, which makes cutting long, narrow components more difficult. However, the long, deep frame allows access to cut much further from the edge of the component.

Crosscut Saw

A crosscut saw is designed for crosscuts, which are cuts made horizontally into the trunk of a standing tree, although crosscut saws are also used for cutting lumber. The teeth of a crosscut saw are designed to cut at a right angle to the direction of wood grain. They are available in one- and two-man varieties. Vintage crosscut saws (those that are at least 30 years old) are highly sought after by professionals, as they are less stiff than modern saws, and their flexibility makes them less likely to bind in downed tree trunks.


A hacksaw is a fine-toothed saw used for cutting a variety of materials, including metal, wood, bone, and plastic. The blade is held under tension by an arched metal frame, which usually has a pistol-grip handle.

Keyhole Saw

A keyhole saw, also known as a pad saw or a jab saw, is most often used to cut holes into soft wood or drywall. It has a long, narrow blade, and is available in both fixed-blade and retractable-blade varieties.

Plywood Saw

A plywood saw has a fine-toothed blade that minimizes tearing of a sheet of plywood's outer veneer layers, allowing for a smooth cut. Plywood saws blades are traditionally 11 inches long and have 14 teeth per inch (tpi).

Rip Saw

In contrast to a crosscut saw, which is designed for cuts perpendicular to the grain of the workpiece, a rip saw is designed to cut parallel to the grain. Each tooth of the saw blade has a flat front edge and is not angled backward or forward. This configuration allows each tooth to act as a chisel, which prevents the saw from following grain lines and deviating from a straight cut.

Veneer Saw

A veneer saw is a small, precision saw used for cutting thin hardwood veneer. It has a two-edged blade that is usually 3 or 4 inches long and has 13 tpi.

Back Saws

A back saw is a type of hand saw that has a thinner blade than regular hand saws. This blade is reinforced with a stiffening rib on the side opposite the cutting edge. This rib limits the possible depth of a back saw's cut. Typically, a back saw has more finely spaced teeth than those of a regular hand saw. Some common examples include miter saws and tenon saws.

Miter Saw

A miter saw, referred to as a manual miter saw in the case of non-mechanical operation, is suspended on rollers in a metal guide that works with a miter box. This configuration allows accurate 90-degree crosscuts and miters at a 45-degree angle. A miter saw's blade is usually 20 to 30 inches long, and, for this reason, miter saws are sometimes known as large backsaws.

Tenon Saw

A tenon saw, also simply referred to as a backsaw, is a medium-sized backsaw with a 12- to 16-inch blade. They are most commonly used to cut tenons, which are square, peg-like components of a mortise and tenon joint.

Mechanically Powered Saws

Mechanically powered saws constitute the other major category of saws after hand saws. These saws can be powered via a direct wired electrical connection, batteries, or some other source, such as an internal combustion engine. They generally fall into one of three major categories: circular blade saws, reciprocating blade saws, and continuous band saws.

Circular Blade Saws

Any mechanically powered saw with a circular, rotating blade is considered a circular blade saw. This category of saw can either be handheld or table mounted.

Circular Saw

The circular saw, or buzzsaw, was first used in sawmills for the sawing of logs and beams. This type of saw is now most commonly used as a handheld saw, and can be used with a variety of blade styles and sizes.

Table Saw

A table saw, unlike a circular saw, has a fixed circular blade that rises from a slot in a table. With this type of saw, the material to be cut is moved across a blade that remains in a fixed location. Smaller table saws that can be set on a workbench are referred to as workbench saws. Table saws set on steel legs are called contractor ' s saws. The heaviest version of a table saw, the cabinet saw, has an enclosed base containing multiple driving belts, which give it more power than traditional table saws.

Radial Arm Saw

On a radial arm saw, the circular blade is mounted on a sliding horizontal arm, which allows it to be pulled across the material to be cut. It is especially useful for crosscutting and for cutting long pieces of stock.

Rotary Saw

A rotary saw, also known by the brand name RotoZip, has a small, circular blade affixed to a handheld drill-like tool. It is used for making accurate cuts in drywall, plywood, and other materials, without the need to drill pilot holes.

Electric Miter Saw

An electric miter saw, also known as a chop saw, cut - off saw, or power miter box, performs the same function as a handheld miter saw, but is composed of a circular blade mounted on a rotating platform that can be set to specific angles, allowing precision cutting at a much greater speed than with the handheld alternative.

Concrete Saw

A concrete saw is used to cut asphalt and concrete. It is either electric or powered by an internal combustion engine, and uses a diamond cutting blade to abrade the hard surface of concrete.

Abrasive Saw

An abrasive saw, also known as a metal cut-off saw or a metal chop saw, uses an abrasive friction disc for cutting instead of a toothed blade. It is used to cut hard materials such as metals. The friction discs used with abrasive saws are designed to wear down as they cut through materials, so they must be replaced once they become too small.

Reciprocating Blade Saws

A reciprocating blade saw is a mechanical saw that moves a blade back and forth to cut materials. They can be handheld or attached to a fixed platform.


A jigsaw, or saber saw, is a small, handheld saw with a narrow blade used for cutting out irregular shapes. Unlike most other saws, it is designed to cut curves rather than straight lines.

Reciprocating Saw

A reciprocating saw, or sawzall, is another handheld reciprocating saw. It has a larger blade than a jigsaw, and is much more powerful. Unlike a jigsaw, which has a blade perpendicular to the handle, a reciprocating saw's blade is parallel. They are sometimes used for demolition work and for cutting pipe.

Scroll Saw

Scroll saws consist of a very thin blade mounted in between an arm and a platform. Scroll saws are capable of cutting intricate curves that would be impossible with other saws. They are popular for hobbyists and artists, as they can cut practically any shape by moving the piece to be cut around the platform in relation to the blade.

Continuous Band Saws

Unlike reciprocating saws, which use a blade that moves back and forth, continuous band saws use a blade that consists of a continuous band of metal with teeth on the outside edge. The two most common types of continuous band saws are band saws and chainsaws.

Band Saw

A band saw is a stationary saw with a blade consisting of a continuous band of metal riding on wheels that rotate on the same plane. They are known for their uniform cutting action and are used for cutting meat, metal and timber.


A chainsaw is a motor driven, handheld saw used for felling trees, cutting brush, or other activities that require a portable, powerful saw. Its blade consists of a cutting chain with sharp teeth on each segment of the chain. They are typically powered by a two-stroke internal combustion engine, although some electric chainsaws also are available.


How to Buy Saws on eBay

eBay can provide you with any of the saws mentioned in this guide, and with the many options available, chances are you'll find a great deal on a new or used saw. To find the saw you're looking for, you can either perform a targeted search for a specific saw, or use eBay's categories to browse for what you want. Although some vintage saws may be found in Collectibles, most saws can be found by browsing to Home and Garden, followed by Tools, and then Power Tools and Saws & Blades for mechanically powered saws, while hand saws can be found in Hand Tools and Saws. You can narrow the results of your search or browsing by using the criteria in the left-hand pane. Using these, you can choose to only look at items in a particular condition, price range, buying format, or location. After you've found the saw you're looking for, be sure to check the seller's feedback score and shipping options. Some sellers may offer the item instantly with the Buy It Now option, and some may also offer free shipping. Once the item is paid for, you can rest easy, as eBay's Buyer Protection policy will cover the cost of the item, including shipping, if it doesn't arrive or comes in a condition different than described.


Aisles and aisles of different kinds of saws fill hardware stores, but, with good research, you'll be able to decide which saw you need without stepping away from your desk. eBay's powerful search filters and numerous sellers will allow you to cut through the inconvenience of shopping in a hardware store so you can find the exact saw for your needs at the lowest price.

We did not produce the videos in this guide. Please exercise caution and common sense when using the videos. It is your responsibility to evaluate the accuracy or usefulness of the videos. We are not affiliated with the producers of these videos and do not warrant and are not responsible for the accuracy or reliability of any statement made or implied in the videos. Under no circumstances will we be liable for any loss or damage caused by your reliance on any video. Any references to a specific individual, commercial product or brand do not constitute or imply endorsement or sponsorship of eBay by that individual or brand or their affiliation with eBay.

Have something to share, create your own guide... Write a guide
Explore more guides