Hack saw vs hand saw

Hack and hand saws are two common types of manual saws used in woodworking, metalworking, and various DIY projects. While they both serve the purpose of cutting through different materials, they have distinct characteristics and are designed for specific tasks. This introduction will discuss hack saw vs hand saws to help you understand their differences and applications.

Hack Saw:

A hack saw, a hacksaw, is a compact and versatile hand tool designed primarily for cutting metal, plastic, and other rigid materials. It consists of a U-shaped frame with a removable, thin, and toothed blade.

The blade typically has fine teeth, which allows for precise and controlled cutting in tight spaces. Hack saws are commonly used in metalworking and plumbing for tasks such as cutting pipes, bolts, and metal rods.

Hand Saw:

Unlike hack saws, hand saws have a more comprehensive range of blade types and tooth configurations, depending on the cutting task.

They are commonly used in carpentry, woodworking, and home improvement projects for cutting lumber, plywood, and various wooden materials. Hand saws are available in different styles, such as crosscut, rip, and dovetail saws, each optimized for specific cutting applications.

Key Differences:

1.     Materials: Hack saws are primarily used for cutting metal, plastic, and other hard materials, while hand saws are designed for cutting wood and softer materials.

2.     Tooth Configuration: Hack saws typically have fine, closely spaced teeth for cutting hard materials, providing precision and control. Hand saws have a variety of tooth configurations tailored to the specific requirements of woodcutting.

3.     Blade Thickness: Hack saw blades are thin and flexible, making them suitable for intricate cuts and access to tight spaces. Hand saw blades are thicker and more rigid, designed for cutting through wood efficiently.

4.     Application: Hack saws are commonly employed in metalworking and plumbing, whereas hand saws are versatile tools for woodworking, carpentry, and general DIY projects.

The Basic Concept of the Hacksaw and Handsaw

The basic concepts of the hacksaw and handsaw revolve around their Design, purpose, and how they function:


  • Design: A hacksaw consists of a U-shaped metal frame, with a handle at one end and a clamping mechanism at the other. A removable blade with fine teeth is attached to the clamping mechanism. The frame is designed to hold the blade under tension, keeping it taut for cutting.
  • Purpose: Hacksaws are primarily designed for cutting through hard materials such as metal, plastic, and small rods or pipes. They excel at making precise cuts in confined spaces due to their compact size and fine-toothed blades.
  • Function: To use a hacksaw, you secure the material to be cut in a vise or clamp, ensuring it remains stable. Then, you apply force to the handle while moving the saw back and forth (in a sawing motion). The teeth of the blade gradually remove material, creating a cut as you continue the sawing action.


  • Design: A handsaw typically consists of a straight or slightly curved blade with teeth along one edge and a handle at the other. The blade can vary in length and tooth configuration depending on the specific type of handsaw.
  • Purpose: Handsaws are designed for cutting through wood and softer materials. There are various types of handsaws, each suited for specific woodworking tasks, such as crosscutting, ripping, or making detailed cuts like dovetails.
  • Function: When using a handsaw, you typically mark the desired cut line on the wood or material and align the saw blade with the mark. Hold the handle firmly and apply steady pressure while moving the saw back and forth along the cut line. The teeth of the handsaw remove the material, creating the desired cut.

The Main Differences between a Hacksaw and a Handsaw

The main differences between a hacksaw and a handsaw can be summarized in several vital aspects, including their intended use, blade type, tooth configuration, and application. Here are the primary distinctions:

1.     Intended Use:

  • Hacksaw: Designed primarily for cutting hard materials like metal, plastic, and other harsh substances.
  • Handsaw: Designed primarily for cutting wood and softer materials, though specialized handsaws exist for different woodworking tasks.

2.     Blade Type:

  • Hacksaw: Equipped with a thin, flexible, and often replaceable blade designed for cutting hard materials efficiently.
  • Handsaw: Has a thicker and more rigid blade, typically not replaceable, optimized for cutting through wood with precision.

3.     Tooth Configuration:

  • Hacksaw: Features fine teeth, closely spaced, suitable for making precise cuts in hard materials.
  • Handsaw: Comes in various tooth configurations, such as crosscut teeth for clean cuts across the grain, rip teeth for cutting along the grain, and specialized teeth for different woodworking tasks.

4.     Application:

  • Hacksaw: Commonly used in metalworking and plumbing to cut metal pipes, rods, bolts, and plastic materials.
  • Handsaw: Widely used in carpentry, woodworking, and general DIY projects for cutting lumber, plywood, and other wooden materials.

5.     Blade Length and Shape:

  • Hacksaw: Typically has a shorter blade, often in a rectangular shape that fits within the U-shaped frame.
  • Handsaw: Can have longer blades, which vary in shape (straight, slightly curved) and size depending on the type of handsaw and its intended use.

6.     Handle Design:

  • Hacksaw: Features a handle attached to one end of the frame, allowing for a firm grip while cutting hard materials.
  • Handsaw: Comes with a handle at the opposite end of the blade, providing control and stability when cutting through wood.

7.     Tensioning Mechanism:

  • Hacksaw: Utilizes a tensioning mechanism within the frame to keep the blade taut and ensure precise cutting.
  • Handsaw: It does not typically have a tensioning mechanism since the thicker blade provides rigidity for cutting wood.

8.     Versatility:

  • Hacksaw: Specialized for cutting hard materials and not suitable for woodworking tasks.
  • Handsaw: Versatile, with various types tailored for different woodworking applications, making it a go-to tool for carpenters and DIY enthusiasts.

Are They Worth Having Today?

Both hacksaws and handsaws remain valuable tools today, and their worth depends on your specific needs and the types of projects you undertake. Here are some considerations for their relevance and worth in modern times:


1.     Worth for Metalworking and Plumbing: If you frequently work with metal, pipes, or plastic materials, a hacksaw is an essential tool. It allows you to make precise cuts in these complex materials, which might be challenging with other types of saws.

2.     Compact and Portable: Hacksaws are compact and easy to carry, making them useful for on-the-go or remote projects where power tools may not be available or practical.

3.     Affordability: Hacksaws and replacement blades are relatively inexpensive, making them accessible tools for those on a budget.

4.     Precision in Tight Spaces: The fine teeth of a hacksaw blade make it ideal for making intricate cuts in confined or hard-to-reach spaces.


1.     Essential for Woodworking: If you engage in woodworking, carpentry, or home improvement projects involving wood, a handsaw is indispensable. It provides the control and precision needed for cutting lumber and wooden materials.

2.     Versatility: Handsaws come in various types, each tailored for specific woodworking tasks. Whether crosscutting, ripping, or making dovetail joints, there’s a handsaw for the job.

3.     No Power Dependency: Unlike power saws requiring electricity or batteries, handsaws are manual and do not rely on a power source. This makes them useful in situations where power tools are impractical or unavailable.

4.     Precision and Control: A handsaw allows for fine-tuned control over your cuts, resulting in clean and accurate woodworking projects.

5.     Quiet and Less Dust: Handsaws are quieter and produce less dust than power saws, which can be advantageous in indoor or noise-sensitive environments.

Hand Saw Vs. Hacksaw Variations

Hand saws and hacksaws come in various variations, each designed for specific tasks and materials. These variations offer users the flexibility to choose the right tool for their needs. Here are some common variations of hand saws and hacksaws:

Hand Saw Variations:

1.     Crosscut Saw: Designed for cutting across the grain of wood, crosscut saws have teeth with alternating bevels to make clean and precise cuts.

2.     Rip Saw: Rip saws are optimized for cutting along the grain of wood. They have fewer teeth per inch and larger gullets to remove material along the length of the cut efficiently.

3.     Dovetail Saw: Dovetail saws are fine-toothed saws with a thin blade, specifically designed for making intricate and precise dovetail joints in woodworking.

4.     Back Saw: Back saws are characterized by a rigid spine on the back of the blade, which helps maintain the saw’s alignment for accurate and straight cuts. They are commonly used in joinery and cabinetry.

5.     Coping Saw: Coping saws have a narrow, fine-toothed blade tensioned in a C-shaped frame. They are used for detailed and curved cuts, often in intricate woodworking.

6.     Japanese Pull Saw: These saws have a thin, flexible blade and cut on the pull stroke rather than the push stroke, providing excellent control and precision. They come in various styles for different woodworking tasks.

Hacksaw Variations:

1.     Mini Hacksaw: A smaller, more compact version of the standard hacksaw, designed for making precision cuts in tight spaces.

2.     Adjustable Frame Hacksaw: These hacksaws feature an adjustable frame, allowing you to use blades of various lengths to accommodate different cutting needs.

3.     Bow Saw: Bow saws have a bow-shaped frame with a wide blade, primarily used for cutting logs and branches in outdoor settings, such as gardening or camping.

4.     Junior Hacksaw: Similar to a mini hacksaw but typically used for lighter-duty cutting tasks. Hobbyists and DIY enthusiasts often use junior hacksaws.

5.     Power Hacksaw: Although not a hand tool, power hacksaws are machines that automatically use a reciprocating blade to cut through metal and other materials. They are used in industrial settings for heavy-duty cutting tasks.

6.     Blade Variations: Hacksaw blades come in various tooth configurations, including high-speed steel (HSS) blades for cutting metal, bi-metal blades for durability, and carbide-tipped blades for cutting hardened materials.

8.     Tension Adjustment: Some hacksaws have tension-adjustment features to control the tightness of the blade, which can affect cutting efficiency.

Which Is The Better Handheld Saw?

Determining which handheld saw is better between a hand saw, and a hacksaw depends entirely on the specific task and material you need to cut. Each saw is designed for different purposes, and one may excel in a particular context while being less suitable in another. Let’s break it down:

Hand Saw:

  • Better for Woodworking: A hand saw is the better choice if you primarily work with wood or softer materials. Hand saws come in various types with different tooth configurations, allowing you to make precise cuts across or along the grain of wood.
  • Versatility: Hand saws can handle various woodworking tasks, from rough cutting to fine joinery work. There are specialized hand saws for specific purposes like crosscutting, ripping, and making dovetail joints.
  • Control and Precision: Hand saws offer excellent control and precision when cutting wood, making them the preferred choice for woodworking projects that require accuracy.


  • Better for Metal and Tough Materials: If you primarily work with metal, plastic, or other rigid materials, a hacksaw is the better handheld saw. Hacksaws are specifically designed for cutting through these materials efficiently and with precision.
  • Tight Spaces: Hacksaws, especially mini hacksaws, are suitable for making cuts in confined spaces where maneuvering a giant hand saw might be challenging.
  • Specialized Teeth: Hacksaw blades come with fine teeth ideal for cutting hard materials, providing cleaner and more controlled cuts than hand saws.

Hacksaws and Handsaw: Similarities

Hacksaws and handsaws are both manual cutting tools, and while they have distinct purposes and designs, there are some similarities between them:

  • 1.     Manual Operation: Both hacksaws and handsaws are operated manually, meaning they do not require electricity or batteries to function. Users move the saw back and forth to cut through materials.
  • 2.     Blade and Frame: Both saws have a blade and a frame. The blade is attached to the frame, and the frame provides support and structure for the sawing process.
  • 3.     Blade Tension: There is a mechanism to tension the blade in both hacksaws and some handsaws. Tensioning the blade keeps it rigid and taut, allowing for more efficient and accurate cutting.
  • 4.     Control: Users control both saws’ cutting speed and direction. The back-and-forth motion allows for precise cuts when used correctly.
  • 5.     Blade Replacement: In some cases, both hacksaw and handsaw blades are replaceable. This feature allows users to replace worn-out or damaged blades, extending the lifespan of the tool.
  • 6.     Portability: Hacksaws and handsaws are relatively compact and portable, making them convenient for use in various locations and settings, including remote or outdoor projects.
  • 7.     Tool for Cutting: Cutting is the primary purpose of both hacksaws and handsaws. While their materials and tooth configurations may differ, they share the fundamental function of removing material to create a cut.

Cost Of hack saw vs. hand saw.

The cost of a hack saw vs. a hand saw can vary widely based on several factors, including the brand, quality, blade material, and features of the saw. Here are some general price ranges to give you an idea of what to expect:

Hack Saw:

1.     Basic Hack Saw: A basic hack saw with a simple frame and standard blade can cost as little as $10 to $20. These are often used for occasional DIY projects and light metal cutting.

2.     Mid-Range Hack Saw: A mid-range hack saw with improved build quality and a more durable blade might cost between $20 and $50. These are suitable for frequent use and may offer additional features like adjustable frames or tensioning mechanisms.

3.     Professional Hack Saw: High-quality professional-grade hack saws designed for heavy-duty metal cutting can range from $50 to $100. These saws often have ergonomic handles, premium blade materials, and advanced features for precise cutting.

Hand Saw:

1.     Basic Hand Saw: For woodworking and general cutting tasks, Entry-level hand saws can be affordable, from $10 to $20. These saws are suitable for light to moderate use.

2.     Mid-Range Hand Saw: A mid-range hand saw, offering better blade quality and potentially specialized tooth configurations, can cost between $20 and $50. These are suitable for regular woodworking projects and may have features like tension-adjustment mechanisms.

3.     Specialized Hand Saws: Some specialized hand saws, such as dovetail or Japanese pull saws, can cost between $30 and $100 or more, depending on their quality and features. These are designed for specific woodworking tasks and offer precision cutting capabilities.

4.     Vintage or Premium Hand Saws: Vintage or collectible hand saws, as well as premium hand saws from renowned manufacturers, can command higher prices, ranging from $100 to several hundred dollars.

Hacksaws and Handsaws: Maintenance and Care

Proper maintenance and care of hacksaws and handsaws are essential to ensure they perform efficiently and have a longer lifespan. Here are some maintenance and care tips for both types of saws:

Maintenance and Care for Hacksaws:

1.     Blade Inspection: Regularly inspect the blade for signs of wear, damage, or dullness. 

2.     Blade Lubrication: Lubricate the blade periodically with cutting oil or a lubricant suitable for your cutting material. This reduces friction and heat during cutting, extending the blade’s life.

3.     Frame Cleaning: Clean the hacksaw frame, removing any metal shavings or debris that may accumulate in the frame or tensioning mechanism.

4.     Tension Adjustment: Ensure the blade is correctly tensioned. An under-tensioned blade can result in inefficient cutting while over-tensioning can lead to blade breakage. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for tension adjustment.

5.     Handle Inspection: Check the handle and grip for cracks or damage. A damaged handle can affect your control and comfort while using the saw.

6.     Storage: Store your hacksaw in a dry environment to prevent rust. Consider using a blade guard or sheath to protect the blade from moisture and damage.

Maintenance and Care for Handsaws:

1.     Blade Cleaning: After each use, remove sawdust, resin, and debris from the blade using a wire brush or a saw blade cleaning tool. Clean blades cut more efficiently and last longer.

2.     Blade Sharpening: Regularly sharpen the teeth of your handsaw blade using a saw file or a sharpening tool designed for the specific tooth configuration of your saw. Sharp teeth result in smoother cuts and less effort.

3.     Handle Maintenance: Check the handle for any loose screws or damage. Tighten loose screws and replace any damaged or worn-out handles to maintain control and comfort.

4.     Blade Protection: When not in use, protect the blade by using blade guards or blade sleeves. This prevents damage to the teeth and keeps the blade sharp.

5.     Storage: Store your handsaw in a dry location to prevent rust. Hang it on a pegboard or use a dedicated storage rack to keep it organized and accessible.

6.     Blade Replacement: When a handsaw blade becomes too dull or damaged to sharpen effectively, replace it with a new one. Ensure the replacement blade is compatible with your saw’s Design and purpose.

7.     Lubrication (For Some Saws): Some handsaws, like Japanese pull saws, benefit from occasional lubrication with a dry lubricant or silicone spray to reduce friction.


Regularly inspecting and cleaning the blades, checking handles for damage, and storing the saws in dry environments are vital practices. Additionally, sharpening blades when necessary and using blade guards or sheaths contribute to maintaining the saws in top condition. By following these guidelines, you can maximize the performance and safety of your saws for various cutting tasks.

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