Power Saws

Of course you want a power saw.  What could be cooler than a power saw?  But there are so many kinds!  How are you going to choose?  Read on to find out. First decide on whether you want a handheld saw or a table saw. Consider portability and whether or not a cordless model is a necessity. Remember that freedom of movement will cost you power, which is what you will prefer when cutting heavy materials such as heavy timber, masonry, and thick metal.

Portable vs. Stationary

Portable Table Saws: These space savers are transportable, making them ideal for framing and deck work. Their design facilitates making long, straight, accurate cuts. They don't accept many accessories.

Stationary Table Saws: This permanent fixture is very versatile, accepting many different accessories, and it is the most powerful option. Best for dealing with heavy materials and large workloads.


As with drills, if your tool has a cord, you'll get more power and less transportability.  Cordless models are heavier and require charging the battery, but it's nice to be able to schlep your tools around without tripping.


Choose your blade size for table saws: eight or ten-inch. The larger it is, the heavier the material it will be able to saw through, and the better it will be at cutting angles. These are the most popular blade types in ascending order of strength and expensiveness:
* Steel Blades - Good for soft wood.
* High-Speed Steel Blades - Stay sharp longer.
* Carbide Tipped Blades - More expensive and much higher quality.
* Abrasive Blades - For masonry, tile, steel and other metals.
* Diamond-Tipped Blades - For glass, concrete, and ceramics.

Also check out these other blade types for circular saws: ripping, crosscutting, combination, plywood, hollow ground, dado, and thin kerf.

What Else?

Popular Mechanics says that traditional saws have 7 1/4" blades (bigger blades for bigger cutting and the converse), are rated at 15 amps of power (more amps, more power), and have the blade on the right side of the saw (known as a "sidewinder").  They cut at 45 and 90 degree angles and do better with thin-kerf blades.  Check out the site for more tips.