Circular Saw Blade Types: Best Skill, Mini and Other Options
The first rule of saw blades is…
Never use the “stock” blade included with your circular saw for longer than necessary.
These stock blades are really cheap and generally make for poor results. Manufacturers make them as cheaply as possible, since they can’t really sell you a circular saw without a blade included.
There’s a variety of different types of circular saw blades, and you’ll definitely want to change the stock circular saw blade as soon as possible.
In this article, you’ll find a breakdown of important blade features (they’re more complex than you might guess), and also specific product recommendations for the best circular saw blades.
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Considerations before choosing
Saw blades are fairly simple overall, but there are certainly some things you’ll want to be aware of before buying.
Size of the blade
Most circular saws run blades of 7-¼ inches – It’s commonly called a “full sized” blade, or the saw that uses it can be called a “full sized” circular saw.
This is by far the most common size you’ll see available, although you can also find both larger and smaller options. Overall, circular saw blades range in size from around 4 to 10 inches.
Obviously, you should use the right size of blade to match your circular saw – If you’ve got a 7-¼ inch saw, then use a 7-¼ blade.
There’s a ton of different circular saw blades, each designed to perform well while making a certain type of cut.
You can find specialist rip-cut blades, crosscut blades, combination blades, framing blades, plywood blades, thin-kerf blades, and more.
Rip cut blades are designed specifically for rip cuts, crosscut blades for crosscuts, and so on.
The outer edge of a blade features teeth and gullets (gaps between the teeth), and this is one of the things that makes some blades better for crosscuts, and others better for rip cuts.
For example, a blade with wide gullets (and a low number of teeth) will be good for making cross cuts. This type of cut means the need to remove a lot of material as you cut against the grain of the wood, which is facilitated by the wide gullets.
On the other hand, rip cut blades have more teeth (and smaller gullets) as this is better for cutting with the grain of wood. Cutting with the grain means less material needs to be removed, and the higher number of teeth makes for a nice smooth rip cut.
If you’re looking for a general use blade for woodworking, a combination blade will be your best choice. As the name suggests, it’s designed to perform well while making both cross and rip cuts.
There’s also continuous-trim, turbo-trim, segmented, and abrasive blades.
The first three types are diamond-edged blades, and designed to tackle different types of materials.
Continuous-rim blades have no teeth or gullets, and are designed to work with things like tile or slate.
Turbo-trim is designed for materials such as brick and concrete.
Segmented blades are designed for the same tough materials (brick, concrete, etc) but they make for a much more aggressive (and fast) cut. They remove a ton of material at once – so, although the cut is faster, it will also be rougher than if you used a turbo-trim blade.
Lastly, abrasive blades can cut materials like brick, steel and concrete too – but they can also deal with abrasive materials such as aluminum oxide or silicon carbide.
Best Circular Saw Blade Buying Guide
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In this section, you’ll find specific recommendations for our top circular saw blade choices.
We’ll only be focusing on standard blade types, and not the specialized types covered in the “other types of blade” section above.
The number one and two spots are taken by these Diablo blades, that I’m sure you’ve heard of by now.
Freud is a great blade manufacturer. They specialize totally in blades and other cutting materials, and they do a darn good job.
Why we chose these blades
The number one choice on our list is the D0760X Diablo blade – and although we ranked this as our best circular saw blade overall, it isn’t necessarily the best one for you.
Firstly, this is a 7-¼ inch blade (as are the rest on our list) – so if you’ve got a different size of a saw, then this isn’t the choice for you.
This blade also has 60 teeth, and a very thin kerf. This makes it very useful for making precise and clean cuts, especially ripping cuts.
However, the D0760X isn’t just for ripping cuts and also makes for a great general use blade.
This is known as a “finishing” blade – because it’s designed to make super clean cuts with its super thin 0.59-inch kerf. The tradeoff here is that you’ll have to cut more slowly, as less material is removed with every pass of the blade (thanks to the smaller gullets).
These Diablo blades also come with a host of beneficial features from Freud – these are the little things that put Freud ahead of every other blade manufacturer.
You get an anti-stick coating which reduces friction and heat, and makes for an extended blade life. There’s also anti-vibration technology which reduces noise.
As mentioned, the D0760X Diablo has 60 teeth. This is great for precise cuts, but if you need a blade for faster (yet rougher) cuts then the D0740A Diablo will be a better choice.
The D0740A is basically a 40-tooth version of the first Diablo blade we just covered.
You get all the same Freud features (anti-stick coating, etc) as mentioned above, except this blade will be better suited for faster cuts, and for crosscutting.
The lower number of teeth (and wider gullets) means that each pass can remove more material – which is what makes for the faster cuts.
After the Diablo blades in position one and two on our list, the other options are basically lesser versions of these blades.
That being said, you can often find the Dewalt blades for cheaper than the Diablos. So if you’re on a budget, Dewalt could be the way to go.
The last option on our list is a blade from Irwin with 24 teeth, which is designed to make fast cuts in a number of materials.
With such wide gullets, this blade is going to make for some rough cuts – but they’ll be very quick cuts, and the blade can handle a number of materials.
Most people reading this article will probably be best suited with a general use woodworking blade, and the number one option on our list should be a great option.
If you have some specific need, then it’s best to do some additional research and find the best type of circular saw blade for your need. As mentioned above, there are all sorts of different blades to deal with different materials or make different sorts of cuts.
The blade is the heart of a saw, and having a poor blade on a great saw can really ruin your results. So when choosing, keep in mind that an investment in a great circular saw blade will pay you back every time you fire up your circular saw!