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Circular Saw Blade Buying Guide

Miter Saw Blade.

Circular saw blades put the power of your saw where it's needed, so the right blade is a key to the success of your project. Just as there are different saws and different project materials, there are different circular saw blades – each suited to a tool and a task. Learn how to find the right one for your work.

Circular Saw Blade Components

Circular Saw Blade Components.

There are four important parts on standard circular saw blades:

  • Tips bite into the work piece.
  • Shoulders support the tips
  • Gullets remove material from the work piece. Deeper gullets remove more material with each pass, while more shallow gullets create a finer cut.
  • Expansion slots help prevent the blade from warping as it expands and contracts during use. The end result is less vibration and a straighter cut.

Other features you might see on a circular saw blade include heat vents which aid in reducing vibration and an antifriction coating, which decreases buildup on the blade. A blade may also have a diamond knockout you can remove to allow you to use the blade on a saw with a corresponding shaft.

In addition to the standard toothed blades, there are also continuous rim blades that do not have the typical tip / gullet configuration. Blades that cut materials such as concrete, brick and tile often have a continuous rim.

More teeth on a toothed circular saw blade produce a smoother cut, while fewer teeth allow a blade to quickly cut through material.

Circular Saw Blade Materials

The materials from which saw blades are manufactured play a significant role in the life and performance of the blade. There are several material types you will commonly see:

  • Steel blades are inexpensive and work well for cutting softwood, but they dull quickly in hardwood.
  • High-speed steel blades (HSS) are harder than steel blades and stay sharper longer.
  • Carbide blades have carbide tips attached to their teeth. They're more expensive than other blades but stay sharp much longer than steel or high-speed steel.
  • Diamond blades use diamond-tipped teeth designed for cutting ceramic tile, glass and concrete.
  • Abrasive blades are made of rough material and are for cutting concrete, brick, cinder block and other masonry materials and metals.

Circular Saw Blade Types and Uses

Some circular saw blades are suited for stationary tools like table saws and compound miter saws, while others are suited for handheld circular saws. Know which blade your cutting tool will accept and make sure the blade you are considering is correct for the tool you'll be using.

It's also important to know what kind of material you'll be cutting and to match the material to the capability of the blade. In addition, some blades are suitable for dry cutting only while some are suitable only for wet cutting. Others are appropriate for either wet or dry applications.

Some examples of blade types and uses are below. Always follow the saw and blade manufacturers' instructions for use, safety, compatible blade diameter for the saw and materials you can cut with a blade.

  • Use for cutting with the wood grain
  • Have few teeth and a large gullet for good chip removal
Ripping Blade.
  • Use for cutting across the wood grain
  • Have many teeth (48 or more) and a small gullet for a smooth cut
Crosscutting Blade.
  • Use for cutting with or across the grain and miter cuts
  • Can have groupings of teeth divided by large gullets
Combination Blade.
  • Use for cutting plywood or other sheet goods
  • Usually has many fine teeth (100 or more)
Plywood Blade.
Hollow Ground
  • Use for making smooth cuts across the wood grain
  • Thinner in the body than the teeth to prevent binding
Hollow Ground Blade.
Thin Kerf
  • Use for cutting dimensional or engineered lumber
  • Has a thin profile for easier cutting and less material waste
Thin Kerf Blade.
AbrasiveUse for cutting masonry, tile or steelAbrasive Blade.
DiamondUse for cutting materials such as glass, concrete or ceramic tileDiamond Blade.

Shop for Circular Saw Blades

Shop for Circular Saw Blade Sets

In addition to standard blade types, you can also find specialty blades, such as blades to cut grooves and dados in dimensional lumber and sheet goods.