types of handheld power sawsIf you are serious about DIY, there is one tool you can’t do without – a saw. But with so many available, from niche DIY products like multi-function tools to the trusty circular saw and the powerful miter saw, knowing the right one for your needs isn’t cut-and-dry. Before making a purchase it is important to understand the different choices and functions they offer, because at home timber and hardware, if it needs to be done, it needs to be done properly.

If you are after less elbow grease and more grunt, not to mention some handy features that cut through the more difficult DIY jobs such as cutting thick beams, a power saw is a way to go. Power saws can be intimidating at first, and they should be. Improperly used, they can do damage in no time, so you should always take the proper safety precautions. Once you make a few practice cuts though, you’ll soon be comfortable.

There are two main types of power saws: the power hand saws, such as the circular saw, and stationary power saws, such as the compound miter saw.

Electric Hand Saws

Circular saw

The most popular DIY electric saw is without a doubt the circular saw. This jack-of-all-trades can be fitted with different blades to suit different materials, adjusted to cut miters and pockets, and may be handheld or table mounted. While most circular saws use AC power like these Makita tools, there are also battery-operated models. This is the most essential power saw for any DIYer.

bosch electrical circular saw


For the truly crafty do-it-yourself enthusiast, a jigsaw is a must-have. In fact, few things are useful around the house as a jigsaw. It’s a hacksaw, a fine woodworking tool and a rough cutting constructions, all rolled into one. It makes straight, curved and beveled cuts and does work that would be difficult to accomplish by hand.

Reciprocating saws

This isn’t a tool that a non-professional usually buys right off the bat, but if you are serious about home renovation, it’s one you’ll want to add to your collection before long. Put simply, a reciprocating saw is a larger version of a jigsaw, with additional handles and speeds for greater control. The motor moves the blade back and forward, while a second handle steadies the saw as it cuts. Reciprocating saws are perfect tool for rough cutting, sawing in hard-to-reach areas and for pruning and demolition jobs. They are not ideal for making fine straight cuts though.

Multi-function tools

Multi-function tools, or oscillating tools, is a handy product that can manage any DIY task, such as cutting tiles and removing grout, to trimming a door and cutting through timber. Even though these products are smaller compared to traditional power saws, they able to offer more accurate cuts and detail

Stationary Power Saws

Miter saw

Stationary power saws are for your large cutting needs. The most common stationary power saw is the miter, or drop saw. It is used to make quick, accurate cross cuts and both bevel and miter cuts. The miter saw has a rotating circular blade fixed onto a table. While it’s mostly used for timber, a miter saw can also cut through plastic and some metals. In addition to the compound miter saw is the sliding compound miter saw, which offers the benefits of cutting larger pieces and greater control and precision in cuts.

Table saw

Table circular saw offers greater cutting access to large pieces of timber and is common among cabinet makers and hobbyists. This saw offer the ability to make cuts along the length of the timber, and sheet cutting. Generally, this tools is used when making continual cuts of the same size.

Metal cut-off saw

metal cut-off saw for cutting pipes

Finally in this collection of stationary power tools is the metal cut-off saw. This saw is ideal for any projects that require you to cut metal angles, square hollow sections, round hollow sections or piping, as the blade makes light work of these jobs. By simply swapping the blade, you are able to cut through different materials, from copper to stainless steel.

With the right power saw you are ready for anything, from cutting a raised bed to building a deck. It’s just a matter of figuring out what you want to do and doing some research. Some of the best brands for electric saws are Bosch, Einhell, Metabo, Makita and others. If you want the right advice on your next DIY project, visit your local lumber and hardware sore.