Types of Circular Saw Blades Explained

Planning to find a solid circular saw? Excellent. Here, you’ll find the main types of circular saw blades explained.

I’ll also let you in on the major features of the blades, as well as touch upon the functions of circular saws — because the two concepts are inseparable.

Circular saws are multipurpose tools utilized for multiple cutting jobs. However, without a superb blade, even the best saw will be ineffective.

Complete Guide to Popular Circular Saw Blades

Sticking with the right blade is almost as important as choosing the saw itself. In this post, you’ll find:

  • an overview of the main features of both circular saws and their blades;
  • circular saw blade teeth explained;
  • the main types of blades with peculiarities of use;
  • my answers to your most frequently asked questions.

Main Features of a Circular Saw & Its Blade

Prior to evaluating the blade features, focus on the main characteristics of the circular saw you need — and don’t forget to look up how to use a circular saw.

A high-quality machine should boast sufficient power and blade capacity to cope with anything you’ll put it through — and retain its great shape after that. With that said, only purchase the saw after taking the following features into consideration:

  1. Power. This parameter is often referred to as amperage and is measured in amperes. If you plan to use a corded saw on occasion, a unit with up to twelve amps will be enough. For heavy-duty jobs, choose a 15-amp saw. The power of cordless and battery-operated circular saws is measured in volts. Higher amperage/voltage equals more cutting power.
  2. Blade capacity. This feature deals with how deep a saw can cut. The largest blade equals the deepest cut. 7-1/4 inches is the most frequently utilized diameter. Units ‘with less depth’ are usually more maneuverable due to their lighter weight.
  3. Brakes. The main function of electric brakes is to settle down the rotation of the sharp saw blade. This helps you stop the blade’s speed compared to just letting it work under its own steam until it slows down naturally.
  4. Blade replacement. Circular saw blades tend to wear out, but it’s only natural. When this happens, it affects the tool’s speed, damages its motor, and leaves occasional burn marks on the material. Don’t hesitate to replace your old circular saw blade whenever necessary. The procedure is affordable and fairly easy.
  5. Bevel capacity. This feature is about the maximum bevel cut that the beast can make. A top-notch circular saw no longer comes down to making simple 90-degree cuts. A modern unit is capable of making simple bevel cuts at a variety of angles, 55 degrees maximum.

Now, with regard to the main features of a circular saw blade, they are as follows:

  • number of teeth: more teeth equals more accurate cuts;
  • gullet: it’s a between-the-teeth gap;
  • expansion slots: these allow the blade metal to expand a little when heating up, thus preventing overheating;
  • size: this criterion depends on your unique needs.

circular saw blade on table

10 Circular Saw Blade Types

Wondering what circular saw blade to use? Check out the different types of circular saw blades we’ve rounded up for you below and enjoy making the right choice.

1. Ripping Blade: For the Smoothest Results

These blades are crafted to return the smoothest, cleanest, and safest cuts when ripping wood. They come with a restricted number of massive, neat teeth. Therefore, casting off the dust from the cut and removing it is a piece of cake.

2. Crosscutting Blade: For Delicate Cuts Across the Board Face

These blades are designed for making cuts across the board face. They boast more teeth than a ripping blade, as well as smaller gullets. Crosscutting blades take more time to cut, but they return cleaner, more delicate results.

The additional plus side is that with these blades, you can cut without fear to splinter or tear the wood.

3. Plywood Blade: Best for Delicate Stuff

It’s all in the name. This type of blade is utilized for working with plywood and similar, highly splinterable materials. Usually, plywood blades come with a lot more teeth than the aforementioned types. As a result, they produce fine cuts and prevent wood tearing.

4. General-Purpose Blade

If you don’t always have time to change blades, this versatile blade type is for you. Furthermore, general-purpose blades, also referred to as combination blades, are definitely right up your street if you work on a multitude of various woodworking projects.

5. Finishing Blade: When Ultra-Smoothness Is Prioritized

Are you looking to make ultra-clean cuts without damaging the wood? This type is your best bet. Basically, it’s for performing the cleanest cuts on sections of wood that will be clearly seen once you’re through.

6. Thin Kerf Blade: Less Waste & Less Dust

Kerf is represented by the width of the cut. Thin kerf blades make particularly narrow cuts and are most frequently utilized for working with dimensional lumber. This blade comes with skinny teeth, which means less wasted wood and less sawdust.

7. Paneling Blade: For Panels, Veneer, Plywood

This blade is usually utilized with a radial arm saw or a table saw. Some tradesmen even cut plastic with it.

8. Masonry Blade: It’s Toothless

Indeed, this type comes with no teeth. If you work with masonry of any sort, this is the only type of blade that will suit you like a glove.

9. Metal-Cutting: With No Teeth but With Expansion Slots

Metal-cutting blades are pretty self-explanatory. They are specialist blades expressly made for dealing with the majority of metal types.

10. Hollow-Ground: For Smooth Cuts on Coated Boards

Specifically designed to work with coated boards, this type is also ideal for extra fine crosscutting.

different circular saws

How Do You Choose a Circular Saw Blade

Overall, there are some crucial factors to take into consideration when picking the right type of blade for you. Find them below:

  • the material you’ll deal with: there are multi-purpose circular saw blades, it’s true, but most of them will fail if you attempt at cutting plywood or a chunk of granite;
  • project specificity: decide whether you need a blade for rough cuts or finishing because these two outcomes involve two different types of blades;
  • cut type: start by deciding on the type of cuts you need to make and proceed by shopping for the right tool.

FAQ: Circular Saw Blades Explained

Have questions left on the different circular saw blades? Look through my answers to your most frequently asked questions. Chances are you’ll learn something new from them, too.

What is the most common blade when using a circular saw?

Combination circular saw blades are most frequently used with circular saws. They make quick, precise ‘rip cuts’ through wood and sheet materials.

Are all circular saw blades the same thickness?

No. Circular saw blade thickness (also known as kerf) is usually between 1/8 to 1/4 in. Fewer thickness results in less dust and waste. However, thin blades are heating-sensitive and tend to wobble.

Can I use any circular saw blade?

Not exactly. Your blade choice is determined by the project you’re going to work on.

Which saw blade makes the smoothest cut?

Broadly speaking, a blade with more teeth results in the finest cuts. However, fewer teeth also equal slower work. The type of material cannot be overlooked here, either.

How many teeth should my saw blade have?

That depends on the material you’re going to work with. Is it MDF? Then you need up to 120 teeth for the best cut. Is it melamine or veneered plywood? Opt for the blade with up to 80 teeth. For plywood, 40 teeth will suffice.

Also read:

Conclusion: Ready to Make the Right Choice?

There are various circular blade sizes and skill saw blade types. A diverse classification like this is determined by the stuff you intend to deal with. I hope that now that you’ve read this post, you have a clearer idea of the best blade type for your needs.

If you have questions or want to add something on the topic, feel free to speak up in the comments below. I appreciate your feedback greatly.

Sean Chapman

Sean Chapman

My ultimate goal is to provide insights that will help you effectively determine whether this or that tool or product suits your needs/budget or not. I test out home improvement tools at work on a daily basis and enjoy sharing my knowledge with D.I.Y-ers who have similar questions to the ones I used to have. I realize how important choosing the right tools is, that’s why my approach to every review I publish is very responsible.

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