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Circular Saw Blade Buying Guide

The right saw blade is a key part of a successful woodworking project. Learn how to find the best circular saw blade for your work.

Miter Saw Blade and Saw.

Circular Saw Blade Types

Different types of circular saw blades are designed to cut different materials and work with different power saws. Make sure the blade you choose is suitable for the material you need to cut. You also need to make sure it fits your saw. There are several specifications you should check.

Look at the blade diameter and type and compare these specifications with the capability of your saw. Acceptable sizes vary by saw model, but in general:

  • Handheld circular saws accept smaller blades, those 4-1/2 inches to 7-1/4 inches in diameter. These are typically carbide-tipped.
  • Tile saws use 7-inch or 10-inch diamond blades.
  • Table saws and compound miter saws use blades 10 inches or 12 inches in diameter. Like those for handheld saws, the blades are usually carbide-tipped.
  • Metal-cutting chop saws, also called abrasive saws or cutoff saws, take 14-inch silicon carbide or aluminum oxide abrasive blades.

Check the size of the arbor hole (the hole in the center of the blade). It must fit the arbor or shaft on your saw. Many blades with a circular arbor hole include a piece you can knock out to allow them to fit saws with a diamond-shaped arbor.

Note the maximum RPM (revolutions per minute) rating of the blade to make sure it's compatible with the tool you plan to use.

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Good to Know

Blade diameter, arbor hole size, number of teeth and kerf — the thickness of the cut the blade creates — are typically printed on the face of a circular saw blade. You may also see a list of appropriate tool types as well as maximum RPM and application specifications.

Standard Circular Saw Blades

Rip-Cut Blade, Crosscut Blade and Combination Blade.

Standard circular saw blades are those you typically use to cut wood or wood composites. The number of teeth on the blade helps determine the speed, type and finish of the cut. Blades with fewer teeth cut faster but those with more teeth create a finer finish. Gullets between the teeth remove chips from the work pieces. Expansion slots cut into the rim help prevent the blade from warping as it expands and contracts during use. They reduce vibration, creating a straighter cut.

Rip-cut blades, those for cutting with the wood grain (along the length of a board), have fewer teeth (16 to 40). The teeth are designed to cut aggressively and deep gullets provide good chip removal. Crosscut blades, those for cutting across the wood grain (across the face of a board), have between 40 and 80 teeth designed for clean cuts. Smaller gullets separate the teeth. Combination blades can make rip cuts and crosscuts. They have multiple groupings of teeth separated by deep gullets. Each group has one tooth for ripping and four for crosscutting.

You may also see blades with other designations:

  • Framing blades have 24 teeth and are effective for work — such as rough carpentry — where speed is more important than a clean cut.
  • Plywood blades have 100 or more fine teeth designed to create a finish with minimal splintering.
  • Thin-kerf blades have a narrow profile for faster, easier cutting and less material waste.
  • Hollow-ground blades have a body that's thinner than the teeth — a design intended to help keep the blade from becoming pinched in the work piece.
Good to Know

Some standard circular saw blades can cut materials other than wood, such as plastic or aluminum.

Good to Know


Look for circular saw blade features such as anti-kickback designs and friction-reducing coatings.

Continuous-Rim Blades

Continuous-Rim Blade.

Continuous-rim blades are a type of diamond-edged blades — sometimes called diamond blades — designed for materials such as tile and slate. Diamonds affixed to the edge of the blade cut through the material. These blades create a very clean finish. Some work in dry-cutting applications only, while others are for wet-cutting applications. Some work for either wet or dry applications.

Caution

While some blades are suitable for wet and dry applications, make sure your saw is suitable for the type of cutting you need to do.

Turbo-Rim Blades

Turbo-Rim Blade.

Turbo-rim blades are diamond blades similar to continuous-rim blades, but with a serrated rim that cuts materials such as brick and concrete. These blades cut more aggressively than continuous-rim blades but don't leave as clean a finish. Some work for dry cutting only, but some are appropriate for both wet and dry applications.

Segmented Blades

Segmented Blade.

Segmented blades also cut with diamond edges, but have a rim divided by gullets similar to those on a standard blade. The segments create the most aggressive cut of the diamond blades. These blades cut more quickly than the other types and can handle tough materials such as brick and concrete, but leave a rougher finish. Like continuous- and turbo-rim blades, some work for dry cutting, while others can handle wet or dry applications.

Abrasive Blades

Abrasive Blade.

Abrasive blades can cut materials such as brick, concrete or, depending on the blade, metals. Like the diamond blades, they don't have teeth. They cut with an abrasive material such as aluminum oxide or silicon carbide.

Stacked Dado Blades

Stacked Dado Set.

Stacked dado blade sets are wood-cutting accessories that include two circular saw blades as well as several chipper blades and shims. By stacking the blades or combinations of the blades, chippers and shims, you can cut grooves of different widths. These sets aren't for use with handheld saws; they're designed for table saws.

Caution

Follow the blade and saw manufacturers' instructions for use and safety.

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Learn about angle cuts, bevel cuts and more. Watch our DIY Basics video: What's That Cut Called?