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Buyers Guide - Saws


With so many different saws, it can be difficult to know which is the right one for the task. In many cases saws are designed to carry out a specific task – particularly when you get into electric saws. The simple table below should help you determine which saw you need for your job.

  • Different types of saw
    Chainsaws  Are electric saws designed for heavy-duty outdoor work – for example lopping branches, felling small trees and cutting logs for fires.
    Bow saw  A bow saw is made with a large c-shaped tubular steel frame. It is designed for heavy garden work such as cutting thick branches or logs.
    Pruning saw  Telescopic handle allows you to extend your reach to over two meters. Very handy for tall shrubs, hedges or trees.
    Circular saw  For quick, accurate, straight cutting of any types of wood – but especially heavy duty timber and sheet materials.
    Mitre saw  A mitre saw allows you to cut wood at accurate angles by setting the metal jig to the required angle. It is ideal where a perfect angle is imperative – such as pelmets, skirting or dado rails.
    Jigsaw  A jigsaw uses the blade like a pendulum – giving more control, cleaning cutting and reduced incidences of jamming. Jigsaws are particularly versatile, being able to be used on timber, chipboard, some metals and plastic for making both straight and curved cuts.
  • Features

    When choosing a saw there are many features to consider. Below are some of these features:

    Electric Saws
    Features common to electric saws can include:
      Wattage  The measure of power. The higher the wattage, the more ‘grunt’ the tool has. For heavier tasks it is best to have a greater wattage.
      Dust extractor  Sawing can create large amounts of dust. Some machines have a built-in extractor that clears the dust sawdust from the cut allowing you to retain your line of sight. Other machines allow a vacuum to be attached that allows dust to be collected as you go.
      Alternative blades  Different jobs may require different blades. Note what is provided with the tool.
      RPM  The measure of speed. The faster the speed, the greater the power and control. Particularly useful for heavier materials
      Mitre cutting facility  Allows exact degrees to be set for accurate angled cutting.

    Features specific to individual types of machine include
    Circular Saw
      Fence guide  Allows you to guide the blade to ensure a straight-line cut.
      Arbour lock  A unique locking mechanism allowing you to change blades easily.
      Adjustable rip fence  Protects the blade. It can be adjusted to suit the particular material and task.
      No load speed  The highest possible speed the tool can reach when it is not engaged in a material.
      Vertical height adjustment  Allows you to set the depth of cut required.
      Lower guard lift lever  For plunge cutting and easy blade change.
      Strokes per minute  More strokes per minute provide increased speed and efficiency and a better finish. Also assists when working with heavier materials.
    Mitre Saw
      Fence guide  Allows you to guide the blade to ensure a straight-line cut.
      Clamps  Allows the material being cut to be secured – for safety and precision.


  • Once you have your new saw

    Once you have your new saw, it is important to remember some important safety points:

    • Always wear protective gear such as gloves and goggles when using saws – especially electric saws.
    • Also when using electric saws outdoors, remember to use an RCD plug-in safety adapter.