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Carpentry can be a fantastically useful as well as enjoyable hobby, and woodworking is a suitable skill for any home owner or DIYer. One of the most useful tools in any shop is the standard circular saw.
Generally used for cutting thick wood, making long, straight cuts, or quickly cutting boards, it is a versatile tool limited mostly by the choice of blade used. The stock blade that comes with most saws is exactly what you’d expect – slightly dull, brittle, wobbly, and often times straight up cheap.
Anyone serious about woodworking needs a high-quality blade to ensure high quality work and craftsmanship. While there are many options out there in a wide variety of styles, we have curated several of the best blades on the market today in order to help make your buying experience stress free.
Comparison of the Best Circular Saw Blades
Freud D0760X Diablo Ultra Finish Saw Blade
Rockwell RW9231 VersaCut
Rockwell RW9229 VersaCut
Concord Blades WCB07245T 7 1/4-inch Blade
Things to Consider When Buying a Saw Blade
There are several factors that are critical when looking to purchase a new saw blade. While circular saws can range from 4 inches to 10 inches, the most common size, referred to as a ‘full-sized’ blade, is the 7 ¼ inch blade. It may seem obvious, but be sure to get the right sized blade for your saw set up or you are going to have major problems.
The next most important feature of the blade is its type. There are crosscut blades, combination blades, continuous rim, turbo trim, framing blades, plywood blades, rip-cut blades, and many, many more. Continuous rim blades feature no teeth, and are generally used for tile or slate, while segmented or turbo trim blades are designed for removing a lot of material at once and are generally best suited for concrete or brick.
Essentially, there is a blade for almost any occasion, but several stand out above the rest for the home craftsman. The most common types of blades for woodworking, for example, are the rip cut, the cross cut, and the combination blade.
A rip cut blade features small spaces between each tooth (called gullets) and a high number of teeth. These features make the blade suitable for cutting with the grain smoothly. On the other hand, the cross cut blade has much fewer teeth and larger gullets to allow for the relatively less smooth removal of extra material when cutting against the grain.
In general, most at-home DIYers and professionals use a combination blade. These are specifically made to be effective at both cutting against and cutting with the grain. There is always, of course, a trade off, but in general the technology behind these blades mitigates the downside of using a hybrid blade.
How to Care for Your Blades
Like most metal tools, properly caring for a circular saw blade is about preventative measures and proper maintenance. As blades are used, they get more and more dull. While this is unavoidable, using the proper blade for the job is the most important factor in caring for your blades.
Additionally, you can maintain your blade with a few simple tips.
- Always make sure you store your blade in a dry area free from humidity in order to maintain the edges of the teeth.
- When storing blades, hang it from the center hole. Do not let the blade’s kerf rest on the ground. A simple screw or nail in the wall will make storage easy and safe.
- Cleaning your blade can maintain its integrity by removing accumulated grime. Clean it after every few uses using a gentle solvent and a soft nylon brush. Be sure to test your solvent on a small area prior to use as some blades are specialty coated.
Review of the Best Circular Saw Blades
Let's take a look at this year's best models and what makes them stand out.
1. Freud D0760X Diablo Ultra Finish Saw Blade
Freud’s Diablo blades are what most in the industry consider a high-tier, premium product. They are made out of high-density carbide infused with patented TiCo, allowing it to crosscut and rip with minimal tearing and maximum ease.
The ultra-thin blade and anti-stick coat reduce friction, causing less heat during cutting and ultimately expanding blade life. This specialized coating also allows you to cut with minimal stopping and hang ups.
Combined with the Perma-Shield coat, anti-vibration technology helps this blade glide through wood with absolute ease, regardless of cut while leaving a much smaller footprint than any comparable competitors. This blade is also uniquely designed to work properly with any moisture level of wood.
The blade delivers an unbelievably smooth cut that always looks fantastic. Additionally, the versatile tooth design allows for rip cutting and cross cutting almost any wood or wood-based material.
This blade comes in 24 tooth, 40 tooth, and 60 tooth versions, allowing this already versatile blade to be further specialized to suit your needs. With Freud’s limited lifetime warranty, this blade simply can’t be beat for the price.
While more expensive than other blades on the market, you cannot get a better blade for the price than with Freud’s diablo line. Patented, exclusive technology in both blade material, as well as the tooling process make this blade a smooth, powerful cutting tool.
The several tooth options combined with the lifetime warranty ensure you will always be satisfied with these blades.
2. Rockwell RW9231 VersaCut
Rockwell’s more premium blades, the RW9231 VersaCut are yet another quality product from Rockwell’s line of fantastic tools. These blades come in 24T, making them ideal for most woods and plastics, as well as weaker metals such as aluminum, soft alloys, and composite metals.
Designed out of quality metals, this saw is also coated with a light base coat to ensure minimal chemical interactions between the blade and your substrate. Additionally, carbide tipping on the teeth reduce blade dulling when cutting large projects.
These are smaller blades, meant for smaller saws. Being 3 3/8 inch, these blades are meant more for the home DIYer or amateur woodworker, rather than the professional or advanced craftsmen. While Rockwell does sell the larger 7 ¼ inch blades, they are more expensive.
These blades are quality and durable, especially for the price. That being said, budget blades tend require replacement sooner than the more expensive ones. To make sure that your blade remains in tip top shape, be sure to clean it properly and avoid abrasive solvents when doing so.
Rockwell’s RW9231 24T VersaCut 3 3/8-inch blades are a rock-solid investment. With carbide tipped teeth, it can cut through most materials with ease. Additionally, a light coating and decent warranty ensure you will always be satisfied with your purchase.
3. Rockwell RW9229 VersaCut
Next up on our list is another fantastic product from Rockwell. The Rockwell RW9229 VersaCut blade comes in 3 3/8 inch and 7 ¼ inch versions. While definitely a budget blade, it still offers the same high quality everyone expects from Rockwell.
Boasting a high 44 tooth design, this blade is meant more for heavy duty use than the lower tooth blades on the list. It can cut through aluminum and other softer metals, while still being able to cut through all the materials you’d expect including dry wall, plastic, and of course, wood.
The RW9229 is minimally coated, so it will run hotter than some of the other saws. Being made of steel, however, allows it to handle this heat with minimal tearing of the substrate material. Nonetheless, be sure to allow for proper cooling and ventilation when using this blade.
Bottom line, this is a budget saw blade. It works fantastically for lighter duty cutting of aluminum, wood, drywall, plastic, and composites. If you are a perfectionist, or advanced craftsman, however, you might want to get a more premium saw blade.
This blade is meant ideally for the newer users, who don’t want to spend a fortune on new blades while they are still learning the hobby.
4. Concord Blades WCB07245T 7 1/4-inch Blade
Concord is not as well known as some of the other brands on this list. That being said, their WCB0725T blades are still an excellent buy. Made of construction grade steel, these saws are primarily designed for wood use but can be used on other materials so long as you are careful about overheating.
With 80 titanium carbide tipped teeth, this blade offers excellent precision as well as a very clean and smooth cut. The thin kerf allows for a very smooth finish and minimal wasting of material. While the hooked teeth do provide a much higher surface quality surrounding the cut, they require more feed pressure.
These saws are designed primarily for the intermediate user. Since they require more pressure, it is best to practice before using these blades. Regardless, once you’ve practiced, these are one of the cleanest, smoothest cutting blades on the market.
Some of the chief complaints on this one are due to design choices by Concord. It is a lower RPM blade than most others, although this helps with the heating issues it can have. Be sure to run this blade below 7500 rpms to ensure you do not burn your wood while you cut it.
Ultimately, this Concord blade is an excellent choice for the experienced user. Beginners can use it; however they must be careful as it requires extra pressure and is more heat liable than other saw blades. It provides one of the smoothest, cleanest cuts on the market and with its strong, durable design, it will keep you cutting longer than many of the competitors’ blades.
While there are many choices of saw blades, there is an obvious tradeoff between price and quality. In general, you get what you pay for. That being said, many of the aficionados likely saw our top choice coming a mile away.
Ultimately, if you want a fantastic, multi-purpose blade at a reasonable price, you cannot go wrong with Freud’s D0760X Diablo saw blade. The non-stick coating and anti-vibration technology alone are enough to set this blade above the rest, but combined with Freud’s limited lifetime guarantee and exceptional craftsmanship, these blades can’t be beat.