Whether you are an aspiring home renovation contractor or an enthusiastic DIY gardener, at some point, you need a tool that can cut through different materials.
What can be a better option than having the best chop saw at your disposal? It can handle a wide range of materials, from wood to metal, with ease and precision.
With it, you get the fast-cutting speed with increased accuracy. It’s already a valuable tool for carpenters and metalworkers.
But there are so many different options when it comes to choosing the right chop saws that it often gets super confusing. To make your job easier, we’ll share 5 of the Best Chop Saws below, and the things to consider when making a buying decision.
Top Chop Saw in The Market
Our Top Pick
Evolution Rage 4 chop saw is our top pick. It’s a multipurpose saw that can cut through a wide range of materials. You can cut both hard and soft materials from wood to metals.
You also get up to a 45-degree miter angled cut with its powerful motor and sturdy blades. You get precise and clear-cut without spending a fortune.
What Is A Chop Saw?
Chop saw is a powered tool used to cut a variety of materials such as wood and metals. It has a circular blade that rotates at high speed and has “drop-down” functionality to cut material from top to bottom.
The chop saw provides a clean, quick, and precise cut and takes a short time to get the cutting job done. Many new users often want to know the difference between the chop saw and the miter saw.
There are a few fundamental differences between the two. The miter saw gives you more flexibility in making angled cut, whereas the Chop saws mainly cut at 90 degrees.
But that difference is getting blurred out as several chops saw model allows you a limited angled cut as well.
Plus, the professional-grade chop saws are often used with bigger blades (14 inches and more) and have a powerful motor to cut through hard materials such as metals.
If you don’t need advanced functionality of angled or beveled cut, then it’s an excellent cheaper option. But if you need a more complex, angled, and finer cut, then you should choose a sliding miter saw.
What to consider when buying chop saw
A blade made from High-Speed Steel (HSS) gives you a precise and cleaner cut in the least amount of time.
A suitable clamping mechanism should be able to hold various thicknesses and shape cutting materials.
Choose a chop saw that comes with several safety features, such as a blade guard, to prevent any accident or injury.
Have a question about buying a chop saw? Contact us
Top Chop Saw Reviews
Below, we’ve selected some high-performance chop saw tools that you can buy with confidence.
1. Bosch Abrasive Cut Chop Saw
Best Miter Saw
Bosch 3814 chop saw is the abrasive cut saw that has a powerful 15-amp motor to deliver 3,900 RPM torque. With this abrasive saw, you can cut hard metals such as steel.
It’s a metal chop saw with the ability to cut at an angle from 0 to 45 degrees. It has several safety and time-saving features such as the spindle lock to change the wheel safely and includes the wheel wrench.
The high torque motor delivers sufficient power to cut through hard material with a clean cut. When cutting, you can set the adjustable depth stop for maximum control. It prevents the accidental over-cutting of the metal. It’s vital if you don’t want to cut entirely but need a partial cut.
It comes with 14-inch, 36 grip aluminum oxide wheels, and a handy blade wrench. With it, you can cut up to 6 inches in depth with ease.
The built-in wheel wrench storage allows you to store the wrench safely. So, you don’t have to go for hunting tools when you need to change the wheel. The build quality of the chop saw is outstanding.
The highly precise helical steel gears ensure the chop saw lasts longer while giving you a smooth and jerk-free cut. To hold the metal piece securely, it comes with a locking vise with a quick-release hold. It keeps the object stable without you manually holding it for a fast and efficient cut.
Since this is an abrasive saw that grinds the material for a cut, it generates a lot of heat. The hands-free clamping makes it easier to cut without worrying about burning your hand.
A word of caution, this is not suitable to cut wood. You should also not attempt to replace the blade with wood-cutting tooth blades as it may cause loss of control during use.
If you need wood cutting functionality along with metal then you should consider choosing a multi-purpose cut-off saw.
See More Information about Bosch 3814 chop saw
2. Evolution Rage 4 Power Tools Chop Saw
Best Multipurpose Chop Saw
Evolution Rage 4 is a multipurpose chop saw that can cut through a wide range of materials. This chop saw is capable of cutting both hard and soft materials such as wood with nails, plastics, steel, and aluminum.
It’s a corded heavy-duty cut-off saw and not as noisy as an abrasive chop saw. But it’s not completely silent so you should wear protective hearing protection gear.
The saw is capable of cutting ferrous metals such as ¼ inch mild steel and non-ferrous materials such as aluminum, copper, reclaimed wood, plastics, and composites. It’s a universal cutting tool perfect for both professional and regular users.
With this cut-off saw, you get accurate and clean cold cuts that save you time and effort. The compact design of the saw makes it very portable. If you are a contractor, you can quickly place it on your truck and head for the job.
You get a 0 to 45-degree swivel clamp for angled cutting with a maximum 3-3/4″ width cut and 2″ round cutting depth. You also get ¼” of mild steel thickness cut capacity. The powerful motor has energy efficient gearbox that generates high torque without putting additional load on the engine.
It has a 7-1/4 “Tungsten Carbide” tipper multipurpose blade. It gives you a cleaner and versatile cutting performance. The high-quality edge means there is no heat buildup when cutting metals such as steel.
See More Information about Evolution Rage 4 Chop Saw
3. Makita Metal Cutting Saw
Best Metal Chop Saw
Makita LC1230 is a 12″ metal cutting saw that has a 15-amp powerful motor with 1,700 RPM cutting performance. This specially designed metal cutting chop saw can cut through iron rods, metal pipes, tubing, and most common metal construction materials.
It’s a high-performance cutting saw that cuts metal pieces four times faster than the abrasive saw. The quick-release vise reduces the time required to lock the metal piece for cutting securely. You always get the even and smoother cut with the least vibration when cutting hard metal objects.
The built-in socket wrench storage makes it easier to access the wrench when you need to change the blade. It comes with a collection tray to store the cutting waste for easier disposal.
It has an excellent build quality. The ergonomically designed D-shape handle has a two-finger trigger and a lock-off button. It improves safety by preventing any accidental start-up.
You also get the miter saw type angled cutting functionality as it has a quick-release support fence that allows you to adjust it from 0 to 45-degrees for angled cutting.
For any precise cut, the chop saw must remain stable. It uses large cast aluminum for the base. It makes it lightweight and portable with excellent stability.
The saw comes with a carbide-tipped blade that gives you an accurate and clean-cut while lasting 50 times longer than the abrasive wheel. This metal chop saw gives you 4-1/2″ cutting capacity at 90 degrees.
See More Information about Makita LC1230 Cutting Saw
4. Dewalt Abrasive Chop Saw
Best Chop Saw For The Money
If you’re looking for an abrasive chop saw for heavy-duty use, then check out Dewalt’s high-performance abrasive chop saw. It’s a 14″ chop saw that has a powerful 15-amp motor with 4,000 RPM speed suitable for a wide range of cutting applications.
Abrasive chop saws generate a lot of heat while cutting. It’s mainly due to the grinding cutting mechanism. The Dewalt has taken several design steps to reduce the heat when cutting. That makes it safe and comfortable for cutting hard metal objects.
The ergonomically designed D-shape handle allows a comfortable hand position. The space in the handle is wide enough to fit even a large hand. This comfortable hand position reduces fatigue and improves safety as you can make a firm grip on the handle during kickbacks.
The quick-lock vise allows you to clamp different size metal pieces with ease. This frees up your hand from holding the object as the abrasion chop saw generates enormous heat.
You also get the functionality of a miter saw as you can pivot the fence to get a 45-degree cutting angle.
The steel base allows you to weld jigs or stops directly onto the plate. It improves productivity and reduces cutting time. For saving time when changing the wheel, you can use the spindle lock feature.
The heavy-duty lock-down pin on the saw head firmly locks the saw in a carrying position without the use of a chain. It’s a very convenient safety feature that takes the least time to implement.
The soft-start extends the gear and motor life while reducing the start-shock. As an additional safety feature, the spark guard is adjustable that allowing you to direct the spark toward safer areas.
You can also store the wheel-changing wrench in an onboard compartment for quicker access.
See More Information about Dewalt Abrasive Chop Saw
5. Slugger Metal Cutting Saw
Precision Miter Saw
The Slugger metal cutting saw is a low-speed, high torque metal chop saw that gives you a clean cut in steel, aluminum, and a wide range of other metals.
It comes with a 2,200-watt motor that can easily cut through up to 5-1/8″ material at a 90-degree angle and 4-1/8″ stuff at a 45-degree angle.
These 1,300 low RPM, high torque motors cut these metals faster and safer than abrasive cut-off saws. The miter design allows you to make an angled cut up to 45 degrees.
It improves cutting flexibility. As you can make limited angled cut without buying a more expensive dedicated miter saw. For improved safety, it has an automatic retracting lower safety guard. It prevents any accidental injuries or damage.
The base is made of heavy-duty material for improved durability and stability. It reduces vibration while cutting and improves the accuracy of the cut.
Compared to an abrasive chop saw, this metal cutting saw generates less heat during the cutting process. The built-in collection tray inside the base captures the cutting debris for easier disposal and reduces the cleaning required afterward.
The 14-inch steel blade can cut through a wide range of metals. It has a cast aluminum body that can handle the harsh cutting conditions.
See More Information about Slugger Metal Cutting Saw
What Are The Types Of Chop Saw?
The chop saws are simple but powerful cutting tools that come with a variety of motor and cutting abilities. Here are three common types of chop saw based on the motor:
Gas-powered Chop Saw: It uses a small two-cylinder or sometimes four-cylinder gasoline engine.
It has lots of power and is used to cut through a variety of materials such as woods, metals, and steel. The gas engine transfers high torque and speed to the cutting blade.
But on the downside, these are noisy, have exhaust smoke, and need more maintenance. These are also heavy and less portable than other types of chop saw.
Corded Chop Saw: It uses an electric motor. To power it, you plug it into an electrical wall outlet. These are lightweight and easier to maneuver.
It has a long cutting capacity and doesn’t generate any smoke. It’s also less noisy than a gas-powered chop saw.
However, these are less powerful than gasoline chop saws and need to be plugged in continuously into an electrical outlet. You may find most chop saws in the market to be corded type.
Cordless Chop Saw: It’s a lightweight and highly portable powered cutting tool. These use rechargeable batteries such as Lithium-Ion or Nickel-Cadmium.
However, the use of a battery means you always have to keep the batteries charged. These are less powerful than gasoline, or corded chop saws. These are suitable for light-duty cutting tasks such as cutting wood or aluminum.
You can use a cordless saw to cut both wood and metal. However, if your primary use is to cut metals, then choose abrasive chop saw or cut-off saw.
Why Should You Choose A Chop Saw?
Chop saw is a fast and efficient way to cut hard metals and softwoods. Due to its wide variety of applications, it comes in various power ratings and blade types.
You also get lots of flexibility in choosing the blade and changing it interchangeably for your cutting needs.
You can use it for the following purposes:
- Cut metals steel pipes and reinforced steel bars
- To cut hard and softwoods
- Cutting chain fences and iron rods
- Use in construction and demolition purposes
- Re-modeling and metalworking projects
It’s a convenient tool when making molding or frames. When you need quick straight or square cuts, it’s a fast and efficient tool to use.
You don’t have to mess around changing cutting angles or other complicated settings that come in the miter saw. You simply move the blade up and down and make a cut. This saves time and gives you a far cleaner cut even if you are a beginner.
Features And Characteristics You Want In Any Chop Saw
When you are choosing the chop saw, look for the following features. You may not need to have a saw that has all the characteristics but be aware of some of the options.
You should choose the blade depending on the type of material you are going to cut. Not all cut-off saw blades are the same, and you need to know some key facts regarding the blades.
The essential requirement of the saw blade is to give you a precise and cleaner cut in the least amount of time. The saw blades are made from either High-Speed Steel (HSS) material or Tungsten Carbide-tipped blades.
The HSS blades are used for cutting hard and thick objects and can be used at over 3500 RPM cutting speed. It reduces the time needed for cutting, but you usually get a very coarse cut with HSS blades.
The Tungsten carbide-tipped blade cut hard objects at a lower speed. It gives you a precise and smooth cut. You can use it to cut ferrous and non-ferrous materials such as steel and aluminum, including tiles, ceramic, and wood.
When your primary purpose is to cut metal, then you can choose an abrasive or cold saw blade. We recommend buying a high-quality blade as these blades last longer and don’t wear out quickly.
Abrasive Chop Saw Blade
The abrasive blades are grinder-style blade that cuts through friction. The fast-moving blades have a coarse surface that grinds the metal piece. This process generates lots of sparks due to friction and increases the temperature of the cutting object.
You make a cut by placing the object under the blade and then clamping it or holding it firmly with your hand. Make sure you wear protective gloves if you are going to stay with grip, so you don’t get hand burned.
Cold Saw Blade
The cold saw blade cuts through the metal like other regular saws. It has sharp teeth on the blade that cut. It does not generate much spark when cutting and keeps the material cool after the cut.
The cold saw blade doesn’t need a higher blade speed as it cuts with its sharp teeth. You also get a more clean and smooth-cutting finish.
There are different blade sizes available in the market. Most often, if you are using the chop saw to cut thicker metal pieces, you should choose blades that are 10 to 14 inches in size.
Many professional-grade chops saw come with a larger 14-inch blade that gives you precise cuts on a thicker object. But we found a 10 to 12-inch blade size to be more suitable for residential and semi-professional use.
The number of teeth on the blade determines the cut finish. The larger the number of teeth on edge means, you get a smoother and cleaner cut finish. But as a downside, it slows down the cutting speed.
The chop saw blades are powered by an electrical motor unless you are using a gasoline chop saw that has a two-stroke engine. The powerful motor gives you a higher cutting ability and a higher revolution per minute (RPM) to the blade.
It reduces the cut time, and you can cut thicker and harder materials. As a general guideline, when slicing through harder stuff, you need to cut at lower RPM blade speed, whereas for soft objects, you can use a higher RPM blade.
For example, when cutting soft material, choose a motor that produces around 3,000 to 3,500 RPM speed. And when cutting hard objects, select an engine that allows you to adjust speed below 3,000 RPM.
You can also look for the gear reduction functionality in the chop saw that allows you to select the variable RPM with the ability to reduce the rotation speed of the blade at higher torque.
When cutting metals, use lower RPM for improved safety and a cleaner cut. You should also choose a motor that has at least 15 amp and 1,100 watts of operating range.
That’s enough power to handle most types of material to cut. Low power chop saw may either not be able to cut or worse give you a very imprecise rough cut.
The clamping mechanism in the chop saw allows you to secure the cutting object to the saw. It reduces the chance of cutting at the wrong spot and frees your hand for other tasks.
It’s vital when you are cutting metal pieces with an abrasive saw blade that generates a lot of heat. The clamping mechanism holds the object firmly on the base. It reduces the movement during the cut, and you get the precise length.
A suitable clamping mechanism should be able to hold various thicknesses and shapes of material firmly.
If your work requires you to cut different types of materials quite frequently, then you may have to change the blade consistently.
The blade change process can be time-consuming, and you want a saw that allows you to change the blade quickly.
Most chops saw have a single screw to hold the blade, and you need either an Allen key or a wrench to change the module. Check out the ability to quickly change the modules as it can be a huge time saver.
Safety is vital when operating the chop saw. Improper protection can result in severe injury or damage to the property.
The safety features build in the saw reduce the chances of accidents and protect you from injury. Some standard safety features that you should look for are the inclusion of a blade guard, spark deflector, accidental start, and emergency stop.
Lightweight and Portable
If you are a general contractor, then it’s more likely that quite often you have to move your chop saw around. The lightweight and portable chop saw allows you to load it quickly in your work truck and bring it to the job site.
The cordless chop saw is a highly portable and flexible option, but it may not be suitable for heavy-duty work.
But if you have a dedicated workshop and you don’t need to move saw around, then look for the higher power and cutting ability over the portability.
Chop saw must be made of good quality material that can withstand any type of cutting task.
Most chops saw use aluminum for their outer casing. It improves the portability of the saw while keeping the weight low.
Can A Wood Chop Saw Cut Metal Object?
The wood chop saw is designed specifically to cut woods that are usually softer than any metal object. But you can use it to cut thinner and softer metals.
The wood chop saw usually has higher RPM to make quick and faster cuts, whereas the metal objects need lower RPM for getting a clear and smoother cut.
If your chop saw is equipped with the ability to set the different blade speeds, then lower the RPM when cutting metals. It reduces the chance of damaging the wooden saw blade when cutting metal objects.
However, you should use it for limited purposes, and if you find yourself cutting lots of metals, then you should change the blade and use the saw blade that’s specifically designed to cut metals.
How To Prevent Kickbacks When Operating Chop Saw
The kickback is the most common cause of injury when operating a chop saw. The kickback happens when the blade suddenly stops moving due to a pinched, bound, or misaligned saw blade. It causes the uncontrolled saw to lift up and out of the workpiece toward the operator.
Here are ways you can reduce the kickback to prevent injury or damage to the property:
- Check the blade for any bend or lose teeth. This causes the module to get suddenly stuck in the material while cutting. The sudden stall in the blade makes the motor to remain in motion and drives the unit rapidly back toward you.
- Always hold a firm grip with both hands on the saw and position your arm securely to stop a kickback. Keep your body aligned to either side of the blade, but not in line with the module.
- Don’t try to remove the saw from the cutting action or pull it back while the blade is in motion. Let the Chop saw blade come to a complete stop before doing any movement to the saw.
- Always centre the saw blade in the kerf and make sure the saw teeth are not embedded in the material before starting the motor. If the saw blade is bound in the object, it may walk up or kickback from the work piece when restarted.
- Don’t use a dull or damaged blade. The damaged or dull blades produce excessive friction and increase the possibility of kickbacks.
- Check lower guard for proper closing: Don’t start the saw if lower guard does not move freely or close instantly. You should not clamp or tie the lower guard into the open position.
Always raise the lower guard with the retracting handle and make sure it moves freely and does not touch the blade or other parts.
Precautions When Using A Chop Saw
Proper precaution is vital when operating the chop saw. Always read the owner’s manual to familiarize yourself with the tool and understand safety instructions.
Here are some precautions and safety steps you can take when using a chop saw.
- Stay alert: Always pay attention when using the power tool. Don’t get complacent or lose your guard when operating the chop saw. A moment of inattention while operating the chop saw may result in serious injury.
- Use PPE: The personal protective equipment (PPE) such as a dust mask, hard hat, hearing protection, or non-skid safety shoes, reduce the injuries.
- Prevent unintentional starting: You should be mindful of your finger on the trigger. Check if the switch is in the off-position before connecting the saw to the power source or battery pack. Never press the start switch when you don’t intend to start the tool.
- Keep cutting platform clear: Don’t leave any adjusting keys or wrench on the cutting platform before turning on the machine. Don’t leave a wrench or key remain attached to a moving part of the saw as it may result in injury.
- Don’t overreach: Always maintain proper footing and balance when operating the saw. This gives you better control of the saw if an unexpected situation arises.
- No loose clothing: Don’t wear loose clothing or overhanging jewelry when operating the tool. Keep your hair, gloves, and cloth away from the moving part, so it does not accidentally catch in the blade.
- Sharp and clean blade: You should always maintain blades with proper care. Make sure the edges are sharp and not broken. Change the blade or sharpen it when the blades get dull.
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