The Best Hand Saws of 2022

These quality hand saws will help you make the cuts your power saws can’t.

By Tony Carrick | Updated Mar 4, 2022 4:01 PM

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Best Hand Saw Options

Photo: depositphotos.com

These days it seems that cutting power tools— compound miter saws, circular saws, jigsaws, reciprocating saws—have a motor of some kind. They make hand saws seem like relics from the past. Though it might seem like there’s a power saw for every cutting need, the fact is a hand saw is still a vital tool in most workshops. Sometimes, only the best hand saw can get the job done.

If you want the best hand saw for your workshop, read on to learn which features you should look for and why these saws make the cut for recommendations.

  1. BEST OVERALL: WilFiks 16” Pro Hand Saw
  2. BEST BUDGET: CRAFTSMAN Hand Saw, 15-Inch (CMHT20880)
  3. UPGRADE PICK: STANLEY FatMax Hand Saw
  4. BEST FOR METAL: LENOX Tools High-Tension Hacksaw, 12-inch (12132HT50)
  5. BEST FOR DRYWALL: DEWALT Jab Saw (DWHT20540)
  6. BEST FOR PLASTIC: AIRAJ 12 Inch Adjustable-Tension Hacksaw Frame
  7. BEST FOR WOODWORKING: SUIZAN Japanese Ryoba Pull Saw
  8. BEST FOR CAMPING: Home Planet Gear Folding Saw
Best Hand Saw Options

Photo: depositphotos.com

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Hand Saw

When selecting your first hand saw or its replacement, keep these considerations in mind when you shop.

Types of Hand Saws

Hand saws come in a variety of styles, each designed for different purposes.

  • The classic handsaw is called a panel saw. It features a slightly angled handle with a wide blade that could be up to 26 inches long. Panels saws are a good pick of hand saw for wood, from sheets to 2x4s.
  • Hacksaws feature a 10- to 12-inch blade supported by a c-shaped frame which creates tension on the blade. Hacksaws have fine tooth blades designed to cut smoothly through metal and plastic.
  • A jab saw is a long, skinny saw with large teeth used to cut holes in building materials such as drywall. The blade features a pointy end which can be pushed through the material without the need for drilling a hole. Some models may look more like a turkey carving knife than a traditional push-stroke saw.
  • Woodworking saws, such as pull saws, feature blades with fine teeth that make narrow, precise cuts.

Teeth

A hand saw’s teeth determine how quickly it cuts through wood and how clean a cut it makes. Tooth count is commonly referred to in teeth per inch (TPI). The fewer teeth per inch, the larger the teeth will be and the larger the spaces (or gullets) between them.

Coarse-tooth blades have one to seven teeth per inch. These blades can cut through large pieces of material quickly, but not smoothly; the large teeth tear some of the wood’s fibers leaving a rough finish.

Blades with 10 or more teeth per inch have smaller teeth with fewer gullets in between them. With more teeth per inch, the blade makes a smoother cut. But, since you’re pulling more teeth through the wood, you’ll use a lot more power to slice through it.

Blade

Hand saw blades are made out of a hardened steel alloy that prevents the teeth from dulling too quickly. While they use the same material, the shapes of blades can vary significantly depending on the type of saw and its purpose.

  • A general-purpose panel saw features a long, broad blade with large teeth designed to make quick, rough cuts through wood.
  • Hacksaws have thin blades with many teeth and no gullets allowing them to cut through metal or plastic easily.
  • Woodworking saws feature thin blades making precise cuts possible. The blade can cut in a curve and won’t get stuck in the wood mid-stroke. Some carpentry saws also cut on the pull stroke, which improves accuracy.
  • A jab saw has a long, narrow blade with large teeth designed to cut quickly through drywall material.

Flex

Most hand saws have inherent flex, meaning the blade will bend. A saw’s flex can make straight cuts difficult. Saws with a thicker blade will be more rigid, but require more effort to cut through the material. Thinner blades, on the other hand, will go through the material more quickly, but have more flex.

Some saws are designed to overcome this flex dilemma through designs that add support to the blade. Hacksaws, for example, feature a frame that holds the blade on both sides. An adjusting screw on the frame creates tension on the blade to prevent it from flexing while cutting harder materials, such as metal.

Tension

Proper blade tension is crucial to making a straight and even cut. When you press the saw blade against a solid object, it should bend slightly. A well-made saw blade will have a consistent curve when bent, meaning it shouldn’t bend at a sharper angle in any one spot. When you release the blade, it should immediately snap back to straight.

Some hand saws are designed to create tension on the blade. For example, hacksaw blades feature a c-shaped frame that connects to both ends of the thin saw blade. A tension adjustment allows you to increase the tension of the blade, making it more rigid. Some saws can create blade tension up to 50,000 pounds per square inch (PSI), creating the rigidity needed to cut harder materials like metal.

Handle

Given that you operate a hand saw manually, the handle is almost as important as the blade. A saw with a poorly designed handle will be difficult to control and uncomfortable to use.

Many saws are designed with ergonomic molded handles with rubberized grips to maximize control and comfort. But, that isn’t the case with all hand saws. Some manufacturers design their saws with the classic, and aesthetically pleasing, stained wood handles. While this design may sacrifice comfort, displaying a handsaw with this time-honored look certainly adds character to your workshop.

Length

Length refers to the cutting blade and does not include the handle. A longer saw will cut through more material on a single stroke, meaning fewer strokes are needed to complete a cut. Longer saws also tend to provide a more even and consistent cutting line. That said, saw length mainly comes down to personal preference. A larger person with a longer reach may feel more comfortable with a 26-inch saw, while someone with a shorter reach may prefer a 15-inch handsaw.

Our Top Picks

Below you’ll find some of the best hand saws for your workshop. Whether you’re looking for a hand saw for wood or the best hand saw to cut metal, these recommendations are ready to handle nearly any type of job.

Best Overall

Best Hand Saw Options: WilFiks 16” Pro Hand Saw
Photo: amazon.com

When it comes to handsaws, most DIYers want something that can handle a variety of tasks. With its 9 TPI and deep gullets, this saw can quickly make cross cuts through wood, rip boards, and make the occasional cut through a tree limb. It has enough flex to be forgiving but can still manage rapid cutting, and is our pick for the all-around best wood cutting hand saw.

This small hand saw’s 16-inch blade allows for long strokes that cut in both directions, which speeds up the cutting process. It’s also comfortable to use thanks to its lightweight design—it weighs less than a pound—and an ergonomic slip-resistant grip that provides both control and comfort. With its versatile design and comfortable handle, this is an excellent handsaw for everyday use.

Product Specs

  • Type: Jab saw
  • Number of Teeth: 9 TPI
  • Length: 16 inches

Pros

  • Gripped, slip-resistant handle
  • Lightweight design
  • Suitable for wood, boards, and small tree limbs

Cons

  • Not meant for heavy-duty use

Best Budget

Best Hand Saw Options: CRAFTSMAN Hand Saw, 15-Inch
Photo: Iowes.com

One advantage of handsaws is that they are much less expensive than their power saw successors, as you can see by the price tag of this Craftsman 15-inch handsaw. It features a tooth configuration that makes deeper cuts on the downstroke and milder cuts on the backstroke for fast, smooth cuts. With its induction-hardened fine teeth, this durable stainless steel blade will stay sharp for a long time. It’s one of the most inexpensive tree cutting hand saws that doesn’t compromise efficiency for price.

For added control, this saw boasts a beefy handle, giving you something substantial to hold, as well as a rubberized grip, for greater comfort when sawing thicker boards. The handle also features built-in 90- and 45-degree angles, so you can draw clean and precise cut lines with the dull side of the blade.

Product Specs

  • Type: Panel saw
  • Number of Teeth: 8 TPI
  • Length: 15 inches

Pros

  • Dual tooth configuration
  • Induction-hardened teeth
  • Sturdy handle
  • Built-in 90- and 45-degree angles for precise cutting

Cons

  • Not suitable for use on plastic, concrete, drywall, or metal

Upgrade Pick

The Best Hand Saw Option: STANLEY FatMax Hand Saw
Photo: walmart.com

If you intend to use your hand saw for heavy-duty projects, the STANLEY FatMax Hand Saw could be just the ticket. With a triple cut razor blade, 9 TPI on the 15-inch blade, and induction-hardened technology, this blade is thicker and more durable than average to make cutting easier and straight.

Ergonomically-designed, rubber-coated handles also allow you to hold this saw without creating fatigue in your hands or wrist, this hand saw is ideal for tree limbs, wooden planks, and other wooden materials.

Product Specs

  • Type: Panel saw
  • Number of Teeth: 9 TPI
  • Length: 15 inches

Pros

  • 3 cutting surfaces
  • Induction-heated teeth
  • Rubber-coated handles

Cons

  • Pricey
  • Some have reported that this saw’s blade is too small for some heavy-duty wood materials

Best For Metal

Best Hand Saw Options: LENOX Tools High-Tension Hacksaw
Photo: amazon.com

When it comes to effectively cutting metal, a high-tension blade is crucial to ensuring a straight cut. But how much tension is enough? This hacksaw from Lenox creates blade tension up to 50,000 pounds per square inch (PSI), ensuring you can make a straight cut through even the toughest materials.

The comfortable rubber grip gives you control of the saw as you cut through metal. This saw also offers plenty of hidden features, including a convenient storage cavity for up to five blades and a bracket for a second blade that turns this tool into a jab saw.

Product Specs

  • Type: Hacksaw
  • Number of Teeth: 24 TPI
  • Length: 12 inches

Pros

  • High-tension blade
  • Rubber gripped handle
  • Storage cavity for up to 5 blades
  • Also works as a jab saw

Cons

  • Pricey compared to similar options

Best For Drywall

Best Hand Saw Options: DEWALT Jab Saw
Photo: walmart.com

When it comes to handheld tools, comfort is paramount—especially in dirty jobs like hacking through drywall. Without a motor to assist you, your arm is doing all the work. With its molded rubberized grip, you’ll have a firm hold on this DEWALT jab saw.

Using its aggressive tooth geometry, this saw can make quick work out of drywall cutting jobs, which will both speed your project along and save your arm some effort. This tool can cut through other building materials, too, including plastic. And, with its induction-hardened teeth, the blade should stay sharp through many projects.

Product Specs

  • Type: Jab saw
  • Number of Teeth: 8 TPI
  • Length: 6 inches

Pros

  • Molded rubberized grip
  • Suitable for plastic, drywall, and small wood materials
  • Induction-hardened teeth

Cons

  • Some users report that this blade is very rigid
  • Not suitable for heavy-duty use

Best For Plastic

The Best Hand Saw Option: AIRAJ 12 Inch Adjustable-Tension Hacksaw Frame
Photo: walmart.com

This hacksaw from AIRAJ is surprisingly versatile. With its high-grade steel saw blades and ergonomic handle, it cuts through plastic pipes, wood, and metal with ease. It also features a handy adjuster for fine-tuning the blade’s tension on the fly, allowing you to optimize its cutting performance.

The saw includes two sets of brackets that allow you to cut at the standard 90 degrees or 45 degrees. A rubberized grip provides control and comfort. A second grip on the opposite end enables you to use the saw two-handed for those tricky cuts. The AIRAJ 12 comes well equipped with 10 steel blades.

Product Specs

  • Type: Hacksaw
  • Number of Teeth: 10 TPI
  • Length: 12 inches

Pros

  • High-grade steel blades
  • Suitable for plastic, wood, and metal
  • Tension adjuster built-in
  • 2 brackets included

Cons

  • Pricey compared to similar options

Best For Woodworking

Best Hand Saw Options: SUIZAN Japanese Ryoba Pull Saw
Photo: amazon.com

Most Western-style saws cut on the push part of a stroke. This Japanese hand saw flips the script with a blade that cuts on the pull part of the stroke. What’s the advantage? Pull saws allow for more accurate cuts. This saw also features a thin blade, allowing it to cut effortlessly through wood.

This Japanese pull saw offers two saws in one: a fine-tooth side that makes smooth crosscuts and a flip side that includes larger, more aggressive teeth for rip cuts. These features make this option one of the best hand saws for woodworking. Made of premium-quality Japanese steel, both blades are extremely sharp and durable. A rubberized handle provides plenty of grip for excellent control.

Product Specs

  • Type: Woodworking saw
  • Number of Teeth: 17 TPI
  • Length: 17 inches

Pros

  • Extra-thin blade
  • Double-sided design; fine and aggressive teeth
  • Japanese steel construction
  • Rubberized handle

Cons

  • Some users report limited durability

Best For Camping

The Best Hand Saw Option: Home Planet Gear Folding Saw
Photo: amazon.com

There are many uses for portable hand saws on camping trips, from making kindling to cutting long branches. For a durable, reliable option, the Home Planet Gear Folding Saw could be just the ticket. Made with a medium-tooth, 8-inch blade with 9 TPI, it can cut through small branches and twigs easily through pull stokes.

This design also folds inwardly with a slotted screw and locks in place for safe keeping. The ribbed rubber handle allows for a firm grip while in use and the small hole in the bottom of the grip allows you to attach this saw to your belt or backpack easily.

Product Specs

  • Type: Jab saw
  • Number of Teeth: 9 TPI
  • Length: 17 inches (extended), 9 inches (retracted)

Pros

  • Retractable design; blade locks into place
  • Pull-cutting technology
  • Hole built-in for attaching to backpacks or belts

Cons

  • Not suitable for heavy-duty use
  • Slotted screw may require some tightening

Our Verdict

Finding the right hand saw for your intended use can be difficult with so many options on the market. One of the best options for light-duty work is the WilFiks jab saw with its lightweight 16-inch design with 9 TPI. For a budget-friendly option that can tackle heavy-duty cutting, the CRAFTSMAN panel saw is 15 inches long with 8 TPI and induction-heated teeth, featuring a dual tooth configuration for more cutting per pass.

How We Chose the Best Hand Saws

We researched the most sought-after hand saws in their respective categories and discovered that the best models are determined by their type, number of teeth, length, handle type, compatibility with multiple materials, and other special features included by select brands.

The above picks feature jab, panel, and hacksaw constructions that are capable of tackling light to heavy-duty jobs. The majority of our picks are made with ample teeth for more cutting power per pass, with options ranging from 8 to 24 PTI. For even more power per swipe of the blade, these hand saws come with 6 to 17-inch lengths based on your intended use.

With these factors in mind, our selected picks also come with rubberized or non-slip gripped handles for ease of use and safety, while others are made with induction-heated blades for long-lasting durability. With these factors in mind, the above saws are capable of cutting through wood, metal, plastic, drywall, and more.

FAQs 

If you still have questions about your new hand saw, check out these common questions.

Q: How do you start a saw cut?

Use your thumb to help line up the saw blade with the cut line. Start with the teeth nearest to the handle. Make sure to start the cut next to the line, on the waste side. Make a few back cuts until you create a defined opening in the wood. Position the saw at a 45-degree angle with the material. With your elbow close to your body, start with a few short forward strokes to deepen the cut. Then, begin making longer strokes.

Q: How do you sharpen a hand saw?

To sharpen a handsaw properly, clamp the saw’s blade in a vice between two scrap wood pieces with the blade side facing up. Make sure the clamp grips the blade close to the cutting edge. Use a double-cut metal file to file the teeth until they are uniform height.

Q: How do you lubricate a hand saw?

To prevent rust, lubricate your saw after every use. You can use a variety of lubricants, including WD-40, gun oil, or paste wax. In addition to preventing the metal from oxidizing, the lubricant will also help the blade slide through the wood.