Learn which saws should make the cut for your project

In plain terms, a saw is a tool that uses a thick or thin blade (or in some cases, a wire) to cut through materials such as wood, rubber, plastic or metal. Most saws have a serrated or abrasive blade and a smooth (safe) underside. Today, many saws used in the construction business are power saws fueled by motors using steam, water, electricity or hand-powered engines. Since there is an enormous variety of saws to choose from, it's important that any construction company or do-it-yourselfer to know which ones are right for the job at hand.

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Band Saw

The band saw is a stationary saw. Its blade consists of a band of metal with teeth along one edge. Those who use this stand-up device typically slide long, thin sheets of either wood, plastic or metal along a platform towards the blade, which can then produce straight cuts. The band saw is extremely useful in making very fast, simple and precise cuts. Powered by wind, water, steam and most often an electrical motor, the band saw is a dangerous device that should only be used by operators with some previous training.

Tile Saw

Are you working on a new floor for your bathroom, kitchen or the area around your pool or hot tub? Then there's a good chance you're working with certain types of tile, which may include stone like granite or marble. Slicing through these materials with a typical band saw or circular saw isn't the best idea; instead, rent or buy a tile saw, which uses a diamond blade to easily cut ceramic tile. One good thing about tile saws (sometimes called a wet saws), is that they're cooled with water, meaning each cut is dust-free and extremely smooth.

Circular Saw

When we think of power saws, we often think of the circular saw – the portable hand saw used to cut long but thin strips of lumber such as two-by-fours. Simply put, it's a serrated metal disc spinning within a larger apparatus that is most often powered via an electric cord. Stationary versions like the table saw can be used to cut thicker materials with more efficiency.