Types of Electric Saws


There are numerous types of electrical saws, each created for a particular purpose. Some are intended for heavy labor work such as cutting down trees or sawing cabinetry materials. Others are for precision work such as cutting exact angles or creating intricate artistic pieces. Certain saws are made with blades intended for use with particular materials. Before purchasing or renting any saw, you need to decide what exactly the saw will be used for. Many weekend warriors find themselves the proud owners of several types of saws.

Heavy Labor

  • The largest and most powerful saws, and arguable the most recognizable, are created for heavy labor. The chainsaw is a hand-held saw with a long, oblong blade with chains that are motored around the perimeter of the saw. It is a very powerful saw and used most often for cutting down trees. A circular saw is another powerful tool that is used for cutting medium-width materials. It is also hand-held, but with a toothed round blade that spins below a cover that protects the user's hand.


  • Construction work is perhaps the industry that gets the most use out of saws, with table-mounted saws the most popular. A standard table saw has a stationary blade that comes through a hole in the table. You pull the object to be cut along the saw. A radial arm saw uses the same concept in reverse. The item to be cut is held stationary on the table while you pull the blade along a guide. A rotary saw is a high-speed hand-held saw that is useful for cutting thin materials like wallboard, cement board or plywood. It does not require the use of a pilot hole, which saves time.


  • A chop saw, also called miter saw, is used for cutting precise angles. The item to be cut sits below the blade and is held in place. The saw blade is set on the desired angle and you bring it down over the item, making the distinctive chopping motion. It is most often used for cutting trims like baseboard and crown molding. A jigsaw is a type of hand-held, reciprocating, straight blade saw that is best for cutting close angles and odd shapes.

Artistic Use

  • Some artists are able to use electric saws to create works of art. A scroll saw is able to cut intricate patterns into blocks of wood. It uses a pedal for control of the blade speed, much like a sewing machine does. Some artists are even able to control a powerful chainsaw to create large outdoor sculptures.


  • For materials such as concrete, standard saw blades would bend or warp, while softer materials would split or be shattered by speed and weight of the blade. To avoid this problem, specialty saws or blades are made for use with materials such as concrete, masonry, stone, tile and foam.

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