Circular, pendular, reciprocal or with a miter? Fixed or mobile? For detail work or rough cuts? Find out in this article what kind of saw from the category of electric ones you can buy and what each of the types available in the offer of specialty stores offers you.
For those who are accustomed to carrying out construction or renovation work in the home, which involves the use of wood, chipboard or MDF, plastic and other specific materials, the transition from a manual saw to an electric one is a natural step. But which model is the most suitable for you among the multiple variants available in the store?
Circular electric saw
This saw model uses a disc-shaped blade, provided with sharp teeth, which rotates around an axis, making precise cuts in a variety of materials. It can be used to make sections in a straight line or following a curved path, offering good stability over long distances. However, it is less suitable if it is about small cuts, at sharp angles or tight curves.
The electrical options are available in wired power models, more powerful and recommended for professionals, and respectively, in variants with battery, easier to handle, optimal for DIY enthusiasts.
It works very well with almost any material, from wooden planks to metal sheets and concrete, if you choose the right blade and you bought a quality model with a power of over 1.7kW.
Unlike circular options, a pendulum saw has a long and narrow blade, framed in a support and guide sole, with the help of which you can accurately cut small sections, in curved and broken lines. If you know how to use it correctly, you can also perform straight cuts on longer lengths, replacing to some extent the circular version.
It is the tool you need to cut a corner of the tile, which fits under the sink or create a round hole in an OSB board, through which a water pipe can easily pass. It is one of the most useful versions of the saw that you can have in the workshop, if you like to build various objects made of wood, MDF or chipboard. It can also be used on metal, but with less good results than a flex.
Because it is designed more for construction and demolition works, being stronger than pendulum models, the reciprocating saw is mainly a tool for professionals. It is provided with a long and thin blade, similar to pendulum variants, which this time works with a much smaller guide sole. This format allows it to have access to narrow areas and can be used to cut both horizontal and vertical surfaces.
The sectioning of the materials is performed by a movement of advancing and retracting the blade, and most of the devices are provided with the possibility of orbital movement, created by adding vertical mobility. The products are available in wired versions, equipped with more powerful motors, but also in options that use batteries and ensure greater mobility in the workspace.
Most models are equipped with several cutting speeds that allow adaptation to the structure and strength of the material. The reciprocating saw is a very good solution for coarse cuts, in resistant structures, but it is less suitable for fine work.
These versions are used to obtain a quick cut, from top to bottom, through a material, at the desired angle. Most of them have small dimensions, they are hand variants, easy to handle, with circular blades whose diameter varies between 20 and 23 cm. It bears this name because the blade is framed in the upper part in a protective metal element that has the shape similar to a helmet.
The distinctive feature of these products is the index that allows the controlled change of the angle of penetration of the blade in the material, most often at predefined values, such as at 15, 30 or 45 degrees. These devices are specially designed to make cross cuts, so you can’t really use them for long distance longitudinal sections. Most are equipped with laser guidance that indicates the point at which the blade will penetrate the material, thus ensuring high cutting accuracy.
Unlike hand-held pendulum or circular models, these versions necessarily require placement and anchoring on a worktop, being fixed devices, provided with a vertical support structure, which allows controlled lowering and raising of the blade.
Circular models with table
Also in the category of fixed options, you can also opt for a circular electric saw integrated in the work table. But when you consider such a version, it is good to keep in mind that you will need more space than for the models mentioned above. As the name suggests, these types of devices are actually workbenches that have integrated into the structure a toothed cutting disc, connected to a motor and a control system.
If in the case of pendular, reciprocal or miter options, the material stays in place, being well fixed, and the blade moves, in this case things are the other way around. The canvas is stationary and to cut, while it spins, wood or any other type of material is passed over it.
These tools are very suitable for projects you are working on with larger pieces of wood, chipboard, MDF, etc., and generally provide straight, long cuts. The work table is provided with guide elements, which help you move the plate you are working with in a straight line from the blade, and respectively the protection, which prevents accidents. They are products intended especially for professional workshops and craftsmen and less for those who just want to have at hand a convenient tool for occasional sectioning.