Which Saw Should I Buy First?

Buying your first saw can be intimidating, especially if you’re a beginner. With so many different options to choose from, it can be difficult to choose the right one, with most beginners going for one that looks easy to use. So, which saw should you get as a beginner? 

You should buy a miter saw first. This is a great first saw if you need to work on simple DIY projects and are cutting on a flat surface. If you need more mobility, the jigsaw is a great option. However, if you don’t want to start with a power saw, a basic hand saw or hacksaw is ideal for beginners.

The rest of this article will discuss the different types of saws in detail and which one is perfect for beginners. I’ll also give tips on which saw to buy according to your needs and how to use each saw safely.

Which Saw Is Best for Beginners? 

For anyone venturing into the DIY universe, a good saw is one of the first things you’ll need to complete your workshop. Whether you’re looking for something that will help you with home projects or you want to try your hand out at carpentry, finding the right saw is crucial. 

The best saw for beginners is the basic hand saw. You can get it at any store, and it’s perfect for most simple woodwork projects. However, if you want a power saw, the best one for beginners is the miter saw. While it may look the most complicated, it’s actually the easiest saw to use.

The basic hand saw is a staple for gardeners, carpenters, and DIY enthusiasts. A simple hand saw is all you need if you’re working on general jobs and don’t need to do any specific cuts. It’s small, easy to use, and perfect for beginners.

You can get a simple hand saw from any hardware store for less than $30, but always check that the blades aren’t bent before buying one.

As you move onto bigger projects, you can get a more versatile hand saw or a power saw. If you want to start out with a power saw, it’s best to go with the miter saw, as it cuts straight and is extremely precise. However, it’s also the most expensive and has limited maneuverability. 

Which Hand Saw Should I Get First? 

While the age of hand saws is long gone, it’s still a staple part of any workshop. Power saws are great, versatile, and easy to use, but you’ll need a substitute for them when there’s no power. Also, many beginners prefer to get their hands straight with a hand saw before getting a power saw. But, which hand saw should you get first? 

You should get the basic hand saw first. This is best if you’re not going to cut metal, harder plastics, or logs. The basic hand saw is perfect for all types of routine tasks and is easy for beginners to use. If you need to cut heavier wood or metal, you should get a single-frame hacksaw.

When buying a hand saw, inspect the blades thoroughly before getting one. While basic hand saws are the cheapest saws you’ll get, they are also most likely to have defects. A single misplaced or missing saw tooth can make sawing much more difficult. Also, avoid using simple hand saws to cut metal or hard plastics as it may damage the saw. 

Other Hand Saws To Buy

While a basic hand saw is great for most home repair or DIY jobs, it’s limited to cutting wood. You can’t use it to trim trees, and the blade isn’t made for cutting metal or hard plastics. If you have more specific DIY jobs that need a saw, consider getting a more versatile hand saw. 

Here are some other hand saws that you can use: 


The hacksaw is one of the most versatile hand saws and one of the best for beginners. It’s designed to cut through metal, hard plastic, and wood and can be used for basically every DIY sawing job. However, hacksaws come in various styles, so you’ll have to choose one that suits your expertise:

  • Single frame hacksaws. These are the simplest and easiest to use and have a C-shaped design. The saw blade is fine-toothed and suitable for cutting hard metal. The hacksaw’s shape puts the blade under tension, which gives it better cutting power. Most hacksaws have a 10 to 12-inch (25 to 30.5-cm) blade and a comfortable grip, making them perfect for beginners and pros alike. 
  • Double frame hacksaws. These allow you to adjust the blade tension and position according to the job requirements but are more difficult to use. You can also get an adjustable hacksaw which allows you to change the blade according to your requirements. 
  • Coarse blade hacksaw. Coarse blades are difficult to use but are perfect for cutting light steel, copper, and other metal alloys. Most hacksaw blades are medium grade and can be used to cut most types of steel. However, if you have to cut thin pipes or metal sheets, you can get fine or superfine hacksaw blades. 

When using a hacksaw, always take these precautions: 

  • The blade tension shouldn’t be too much or too little. 
  • Don’t start cutting from an old hacksaw cut, or the blade may break. 
  • Loosen the blade after using the hacksaw and use water to cool it if it gets too hot. 

While hacksaws are great for cutting all materials, they should be reserved for metal. 

Pruning Saw 

This is another useful saw to have in your toolbox, especially if you need one for gardening. It usually comes in a curved shape and has a smaller blade than most hand saws. Pruning saws are ideal for cutting tree branches and trimming bushes. Pruning saws have hard-pointed, heat-treated teeth and can be used to prune trees safely. 

Just like with other saws, pruning saws come in many different variations. Ones with a coarse blade are perfect for cutting large branches, while fine-blade pruning saws are ideal for small branches and shrubs. 

When using a pruning saw, be careful to follow gardening safety rules. Remember that any branch can snap, even before you’ve cut it fully, so avoid placing weight on the branch when cutting. Also, never use the saw in facing toward yourself. If the blade is getting stuck inside the branch repeatedly, try using a saw with a coarser blade. 

Which Power Saw Should I Get First? 

While hand saws are great for beginners (and cheap), they can be tiring to use and may pose a higher safety risk for beginners. Hand saws also have less accuracy and can mess up important DIY jobs. If you want a more reliable saw, then get a good power saw

The miter saw is the best power saw to get first and also the easiest to use. While it may look complex and have more features than a simple jigsaw, the miter saw is still the easiest and safest power saw, which makes it ideal if you’re buying your first saw. 

A miter saw has a circular blade attached to a base via an adjustable arm. The blade size ranges from 10 to 16 inches (25.4 to 40.64 cm), but most DIY miter saws have 12-inch (30.5-cm) blades. Dual bevel miter saws allow you to cut at an angle, which can be helpful for woodworking and home renovation jobs. 

You can get a sliding compound miter saw if you want more accuracy. These saws have rails on which the blade slides while cutting, allowing you to cut larger pieces of wood. You can also get a miter saw with laser guidance, dust collection, and automatic safety shutoff. 

While beginners usually shy away from getting power saws with too many features, you should actually go for more features when you’re buying your first saw. Some of these features are for safety, and others will help increase your accuracy, which isn’t possible with most hand saws. 

Downsides to Miter Saws 

While miter saws are perfect for most beginners, they aren’t as flexible as other power saws. Miter saws cut on a limited plane and can’t be used where you need to move the saw around to get the perfect cut. 

Miter saws are also more expensive than the average power saw, and it may not seem like a good idea to get one if you aren’t going to use it regularly. Additionally, some miter saws can be complex, and it will take you time to get used to the settings. 

Other Power Saws That Are Good for Beginners

The jigsaw and simple circular saw are great for beginners because they’re versatile and easy to use. While the circular saw can be slightly complex, most pros would recommend getting a jigsaw as your first power saw. 

Let’s look more closely at these power saws and when to use them: 


While the jigsaw is easy to use, it’s not typically used for easy tasks. However, if you need to cut an angle in a cabinet or trim a small metal pipe, a jigsaw can be pretty handy. It has a vertical blade for cutting at all angles and can be pretty accurate as well. 

What makes the jigsaw ideal is its simplicity. With a jigsaw, the cutting pat is usually straight, and you can change the blades according to your requirements. Always use a blade that’s made for the surface you’re cutting to avoid damaging the saw. If you use a wood blade to cut metal, you won’t be very accurate, and the blade may snap. 

Here are some of the best jigsaws available online: 

  • BOSCH Corded Top-Handle Jig Saw (available on Amazon.com). This is one of the most versatile jigsaws you’ll ever get. It comes with an 8-inch (20.32-cm) blade, ergonomic top handle, and a sturdy die-cast foot for safety. It also has variable speeds, which you can control by the accelerator button. 
  • DEWALT Jig Saw (available on Amazon.com). Powered by a lithium-ion battery, this Dewalt jigsaw is ideal for sawing in areas where you don’t have an electrical connection. The keyless blade is easy to change, and it also comes with an adjustable dust blower. With an anti-slip grip and other safety features, this is one of the best jigsaws to buy. 
  • BLACK+DECKER Jig Saw (available on Amazon.com). If you’re looking for a versatile jigsaw that will accept both u-shank and t-shank blades, this is it. It makes be-leveled cuts up to 45 degrees, has curve control technology, and comes with an adjustable shoe for enhanced stability. 
  • SKIL Orbital Laser Jigsaw (available on Amazon.com). While this jigsaw is for the more experienced, it’s a great tool to have nonetheless. It comes with a built-in laser guide for precision and has 4-position orbital cut control. It also has a variable speed trigger, giving you more control over your handiwork. 

Circular Saw 

Circular saws are some of the most effective power saws and can cut through most materials with precision. While they’re slightly more difficult for beginners to handle, they aren’t very complex either. A circular saw is ideal for wooden cuts and can be used to cut through sheets of plywood, large logs, and most wooden objects.

When compared to a miter saw, the circular saw doesn’t have the same accuracy. However, it’s ideal for bigger woodworking jobs and much more versatile. You can also get a battery-powered circular saw if you need to use the saw in areas where there’s no electrical connection. 

Table Saw

While a table saw is great for cutting large volumes of wood precisely, it’s not suitable for beginners unless you’re starting your own woodworking or handyman business. Table saws are also very limited and are too expensive for most people to have as their first power saw. 


No DIY kit is complete without a good saw. Whether you need a good gardening saw or a power saw for home renovation projects, it’s important to get an easy-to-use saw as your first. A simple hand saw or hacksaw is the perfect saw to start out with. 

If you want a power saw first, you can get a miter saw with enough safety features and cutting assistance for precision jobs. Choose a good jigsaw or circular saw if you want something more versatile. Regardless of your choice, read the manual and safety precautions before using it.

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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