Can a Circular Saw Cut Through Nails?

Circular saws are versatile power tools, able to cut through various materials including wood, metal, and even stone. However, some materials will be more challenging than others. For example, can you cut through nails with a circular saw? 

A circular saw can cut through nails. However, its ability to do so depends on its blade and the type of nail being cut. The most effective blade for cutting nails will be 7 ¼ inches (18.4 cm) in diameter and have a tip-embedded tooth design with carbide tips. 

This guide will explain how to cut through nails with a circular saw, how to stay safe while doing it, and tips on choosing the best blades to use when cutting through nails with a circular saw. 

How To Cut Through Nails With a Circular Saw

To cut through nails with a circular saw, be mindful of how much force you use as well as your personal safety. While holding the saw firmly, cut without too much force. Too much pressure will result in a saw kickback or dull the blade. 

As you can guess from the name, a kick back occurs when the force exerted on and by the saw causes it to suddenly move toward you instead of the object you’re cutting. Of course, you’ll want to avoid that as much as possible, seeing as it’ll grant you a ticket to the emergency room (at the very least).  

Specifically, here are the steps you should take when cutting through nails with a circular saw. 

  1. Ensure the blade is thick enough. Standard circular saw blades usually measure 7 ¼ inches (18.4 cm). 
  2. Clamp the block of wood onto your work surface. 
  3. Hold your saw firmly and position the blade at the edge of the block facing you.  
  4. Keeping the blade straight, cut through the nail while putting firm pressure on the saw.
  5. Once you finish cutting the nails, lay the saw on its side and inspect the nails for a clean cut.

If you’re more of a visual learner, check out this easy-to-follow Youtube video for cutting through nails with a chainsaw:

Safety Tips for Cutting Through Nails With a Circular Saw

Working with a high-powered cutting tool like a circular saw can be dangerous. To minimize potential accidents and injuries when cutting through nails with a circular saw, here are a few tips to remember.

  • Know how to use a saw properly and how to apply pressure. As I mentioned earlier, it’s essential to hold the saw firmly with both hands and apply pressure evenly. Otherwise, you’ll risk damaging the blade and injuring yourself. 
  • Choose a cordless model instead. This way, you don’t have to worry about wires getting tangled everywhere.
  • Always ensure the saw blade is adequately sharpened. The sharper the blade, the more efficient the cut, and the less energy it’ll require from you to use it. 
  • Keep an eye on the battery level. It doesn’t have to be at 100% all the time, but it should have enough power to do what you want it to. The last thing you want is for the battery to run out when you’re in the middle of a job.
  • Always wear safety goggles and ear protection. Circular saws can cause fragmented nails to shoot at high speeds, which can fly toward and injure you. 

What To Check When Choosing Circular Saws for Cutting Nails

The types of circular saws that can cut nails are similar to ordinary saws. These tools have 7¼ inch (18.4 cm) blades and 24 teeth designed to tear through nails underneath and outside wood surfaces. 

The two things you need to look at when buying circular saws for cutting through nails are the following. 

Blade Dimensions and Nail Type

Your saw’s blade type and the type of nail will determine what thickness of nails it can cut through. For example, some blades can cut through brad nails up to 3/8″ (0.95 cm) in diameter, while others can cut through smaller or large ones.   

Number of Teeth

Tip-embedded blades are robust and durable. They can slice through nails and screw embedded in wood without losing their sharpness.

While some circular blades have 60 to 80 teeth, a blade for cutting through nails should have fewer teeth. This is because they should be able to remove nails from hardwood quickly and leave a clean cut (i.e., without any marks). Blades with fewer teeth usually have deeper grooves between them, which allow the saw to cut with more power. 

Best Circular Blade for Cutting Nails

You don’t have to buy the newest, most expensive model to cut through nails. With the right blade, your current model can easily handle most materials. 

That said, there are many types of circular saws on the market, so it’s important to know what features you need before making your purchase. 

Some of the features you’ll find include:

  • Specialized cutting blade attachments and tip-blade connections. This feature helps you handle extreme impact, such as cutting through nails. 
  • Tungsten carbide teeth. The material makes the blade more durable, allowing you to use it for longer. 

In addition, if you’re on a budget but need a low tooth count, you’ll also find a few options on the market.

How Many Nails Can a Circular Saw Cut?

Not all circular saws perform the same. As I’ve explained earlier, some have more teeth on their blade than others, allowing them to cut better. 

Also, thicker nails are more difficult for a circular saw to cut through than thinner ones. 

For these reasons, it’s essential to choose the right saw before starting any construction project.

That said, here are a couple of Youtube videos demonstrating how many nails circular saws can cut. 

SKILSAW circular saw (16 nails):

Dewalt 60V circular saw (22 nails): 

What’s the Best Saw to Cut Through Nails? (PAA)

A reciprocating saw is the best tool for cutting through nails. The blades on these saws can cut through hard materials such as wood, metal, and stone. Additionally, they have teeth specifically designed to cut through nails. 

A jig saw can also cut through nails. It’s lighter and easier to control, making it a better tool for beginner DIYers compared to the reciprocating saw. 

No matter which saw you choose to cut through nails, there are a few things you should keep in mind. 

  • Prioritize blade size. A larger blade will allow you to cut through thicker nails more quickly. If you’re going for speed, go with a bigger blade. If you’re going for precision, opt for a smaller blade.
  • Cutting angles matter too. The straight-on approach cuts through nails more quickly than the 45-degree angle, which leads to less tear-out and makes the cut look cleaner. The angle of the cut will, of course, depend on the type of tool you prefer. 


Cutting through nails with a circular saw is possible, but you must have the right tools and keep safety in mind. The best way to do this is to use a blade with few teeth. 

Blades with fewer teeth have a deeper groove between the teeth and a greater surface area, allowing them to cut with more power. The best circular saw for cutting through nails is a tip-embedded blade.

Follow these tips, and you should be able to reduce your chances of getting hurt while cutting through nails with a circular saw.

Damien Madeira

Damien has been doing woodworking for the last 5 years. He began as a hobbyist with hand tools and slowly worked his way up to own larger machines and mill rough wood into beautiful creations. While still considering himself a hobbyist, he has a passion for woodworking and enjoys working with epoxy as well.

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