Cutting a perfectly round hole in wood, plastic, metal, or even ceramic tile requires a specialized type of cutting tool—the hole saw. A hole saw is a ring-shaped saw blade measuring from less than 1 inch up to 4 inches in diameter and includes a bit that attaches to a standard cordless or corded drill. The blade features high-speed steel teeth that can cut perfectly round holes through materials ranging from metal to wood. A standard drill bit at the center of the hole saw serves as a pilot to center the blade over the material.
In this guide, we’ll explore the features to consider when shopping for a hole saw and discover some of the best hole saws on the market today for DIYers and pros alike.
- BEST OVERALL: DEWALT Hole Saw Kit
- RUNNER UP: SUNGATOR Bi-Metal Hole Saw Kit
- BEST UPGRADE: Milwaukee All Purpose Professional Hole Saw Kit
- BEST FOR PROS: Bosch 25-Piece Master Bi-Metal Hole Saw Kit
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Hole Saw Kit
To choose the proper hole saw kit, it’s essential to consider such factors as the type of material with which the saw blades are made, the variety of available blade sizes, the number of drill bits included in the kit, the required power source for the hole saw, and the speed with which the hole saw can cut. Read on to learn more about these considerations when shopping for the best hole saw kit.
Hole saws are available in a variety of materials to suit different cutting needs. Most hole saws consist of high-speed steel, which cuts well while also resisting wear. Some hole saws are made of two metals: a carbon steel body—which boasts superior durability—and high-speed steel teeth.
Some high-end hole saws are constructed with advanced metals, such as carbon-steel alloy, which is harder than regular steel. Some saw blades go through a process called ice-hardening, which exposes the steel to subzero temperatures. This process helps to harden the steel, making it less susceptible to wear.
Additionally, some hole saws offer blades made with specialized materials. Hole saws with tungsten carbide tips can cut harder materials, such as thick steel, iron, pipe, and stainless steel. Hole saws with diamond-encrusted blades are suitable for cutting holes in hard materials that metal blades can’t cut through, including glass, ceramic, porcelain slate, tile, fiberglass, and limestone.
Hole saw kits include a variety of saw blade diameters to meet a multitude of needs. Sizes range from small ¾-inch-diameter blades up to large 4¾-inch-diameter saw blades. Hole saw blades typically include open slots on the side that allow for easy removal of the plug after cutting. Most kits provide at least 10 saw blades, along with a set of arbors and mandrels capable of holding the different blade sizes.
Hole saw kits also include a set of drill bits that function as pilot bits. These bits fit in the center of the round saw blade and serve as a guide that allows the operator to center the blade on the material. Many kits include multiple bits, so the user has backups should the bit wear down or break.
Since hole saw kits work with a power drill, they are either battery- or electric-powered. A battery-powered drill allows for convenient outdoor use where access to a power outlet is limited, while a corded drill provides less convenience but more power.
Since hole saws tend to require significantly more power than a standard drill bit, corded drills present the ideal means for powering these tools, as they produce more torque and higher RPMs than battery-powered drills, in addition to having access to an unlimited source of power.
Both the style of a saw blade and the material with which it’s made largely determine how quickly a hole saw can cut. Bimetal blades with high-speed steel are some of the quickest blades.
Blades designed with aggressive teeth angles and deep gullets that can remove more material with each rotation cut more quickly; however, they won’t make as smooth a cut as blades with more teeth and smaller gullets that take longer to cut.
Our Top Picks
Taking into consideration the above mentioned factors, this list of top picks below includes hole saw kits made with durable materials in a variety of categories and also covers a broad range of hole saw sizes. Read on to explore some of the best hole saw kits available today to ensure that the next hole is perfectly round.
With its numerous blades and quality materials, this extensive saw kit from DEWALT meets a broad range of applications. It boasts 11 blades ranging in size from ¾ of an inch to 2½ inches, with a cutting depth of 1⅞ inches, making it suitable for thicker materials. Deep gullets between the teeth allow for optimal chip removal, allowing the blade to cut through materials faster. A long slot on the side of each blade facilitates the quick removal of wood plugs after cutting.
Each blade consists of high-speed steel, which cuts through wood, plastic, and metal more quickly and smoothly than other metals. Two mandrels—one large and one small—enable quick changes between blade sizes, while a centering tool allows for quick maintenance. Pieces are neatly organized in a durable, hard plastic case for easy transport.
This hole saw kit from SUNGATOR offers 10 hole saw sizes at an affordable price, making it an excellent budget option for those who need a hole saw for occasional use. The saw sizes range in diameter from ¾ of an inch to 2½ inches, and the kit also includes two mandrels to accommodate large and small hole saws and one replacement pilot drill bit. These blades can cut to depths of 43 mm (1.7 inches) to 50 mm (2 inches), depending on the bit size.
The manufacturer uses a bimetal construction in its hole saws with a durable carbon body and high-speed steel blades that are rustproof and heat-resistant while making efficient cuts through metal, wood, PVC board, plastic, and drywall. A durable plastic case keeps the pieces of this set neatly organized and ready for transport to the next project or job site.
These ice-hardened hole saws from Milwaukee may cost more upfront, but they’re worth it as these blades go through a cryogenic process that hardens the metal’s consistency, resulting in blades that will last up to 50 percent longer than standard metal blades. They also cut faster, thanks to a blade design that features deeper gullets and more aggressively angled teeth that remove more material with each revolution.
Boasting 22 blades that range from ¾ of an inch to 4¾ inches, this kit can handle nearly any hole saw job. Three arbors create a tight connection between the blades and a cordless or electric drill. This kit also includes three drill bits. A molded carrying case keeps the 28 pieces organized and even has room for additional hole saws.
With its 8 percent cobalt alloy construction, Bosch’s hole saw kit is one of the most durable on the market, making it suitable for electricians, plumbers, and other pros. This set, which can cut through stainless steel, plastic, and wood, contains 25 pieces, including 11 hole saw sizes that range in diameter from ⅞ of an inch to 2½ inches, each with a cutting depth of 1.6 inches. The blades feature teeth that alternate in size, which allows for faster cuts while extending blade life.
A quick-change mandrel makes it easy to switch between bit sizes. This set includes two bits, so there will always be a backup for when the first bit wears out. Reinforced shoulders on each bit add durability, while long slots on the sides allow for easy plug removal after each cut. A sturdy carrying case keeps blades, bits, and adapters well organized.
FAQs About Hole Saw Kits
If you’re still wondering about how hole saws work, then read on for answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about these tools.
Q: Can you use a hole saw without a pilot bit?
You do not have to use a pilot bit with a hole saw; however, it is challenging to center a hole saw without using a pilot bit as a guide.
Q: Will a hole saw cut through stainless steel?
A good bimetal hole saw will cut through hard materials, such as thin-gauge steel and stainless steel.
Q: Can a hole saw cut metal?
A hole saw will cut through thin-gauge metal materials like aluminum and steel. When possible, use oil or water to lubricate the surface to prevent the bit from overheating, which can damage the bit.