Hand Saw Vs. Hacksaw: What’s the Difference?

There are many various types of saws on the market, and each of them has its own unique purpose and design. Two of the most common saws are hand saws and hacksaws. These saws look similar, but what are they designed for, and what are the differences between them? Hand saw vs. hacksaw, what’s the difference?

Hand saws come in many varieties, but they are all usually used for cutting and processing wood. Hacksaws are primarily of the same design but have interchangeable blades. Hacksaws are used for cutting metal and plastic. Hacksaw blades are small and narrow, while hand saw blades are larger.

These two types of saws are both handheld and versatile, but they are designed for very different purposes. The hand saw and the hacksaw look similar, and they are both operated in the same way, but the truth is that these two saw types are vastly different. Let’s look closer at the differences between hand saws and hacksaws.

Hand Saw Vs. Hacksaw: What’s The Difference?

The hand saw and the hacksaw are both incredibly versatile tools. These are both types of handheld saws that are compact and portable, and they even look very similar in some respects.

For these reasons, it is a common misconception that hand saws and hacksaws are the same tools. The truth is that these two types of handheld saws are vastly different with regards to their intended uses, the blades that they use, and the design of the saws.

These two saws are very different from each other, and understanding the differences between them is vital for understanding how to use these tools correctly.

Without knowing the differences between a hand saw and a hacksaw, you may find yourself using the wrong saw, and using the wrong saw can be incredibly dangerous depending on what is the saw is being used for.

Let’s more closely examine the major differences between the hand saw and the hacksaw to highlight their differences and to better understand how to use them:

Handsaw Vs. Hacksaw Uses:

The most important difference between the hand saw and the hacksaw is the intended uses for these two saw types.

Hand saws and hacksaws are meant to be used to cut, trim, process, and shape different materials, and so these two saws have very different intended purposes.

Hand saws are meant for cutting and trimming wood. The blades that are used in hand saws and the design of the saw themselves make them ideal for easily cutting through various types of woods of differing densities and hardness.

If a hand saw is used for cutting or trimming materials other than wood, they are likely to fail or even to be damaged by the process. These saws are intended for use on wood and not much else.

Hacksaws are similar in design to hand saws, but the difference is that hacksaws are intended for cutting and trimming metal and plastic rather than wood.

These saws are much tougher than hand saws, and they are able to cut through even hardened steel. All varieties of plastics can be cut and processed with a hacksaw as well, as long as the plastic is not too large for the hacksaw to manage.

Hacksaws are intended for cutting very hard materials, such as metal, but if they are used for cutting a material such as wood, they do not fare very well at all.

Hand Saw Vs. Hacksaw Blades:

The materials that these two different types of handheld saws are designed to cut are a result of the blades that are used in the saws.

The blades that are used in hand saws are thick, flexible metal – usually soft steel. These blades usually have 5 – 8 teeth per inch, and the blade itself is usually quite broad.

Hand saw blades have sharp, jagged teeth that are either designed for cutting in one direction or are made to cut in both directions. 

General hand saw blade types are crosscut blades and rip saw blades. Crosscut blades are sharper and more pointed, while rip saw blades are more square and rip through material rather than cutting through it.

Hacksaw blades are more specialized and are less general than hand saw blades. The blades used in hacksaws are sharp, hardened steel blades that have 14 – 32 teeth per inch.

These blades are interchangeable and can be swapped out very easily. Different hacksaw blades with each varying number of teeth per inch are used for cutting various materials of different hardness and densities.

Hacksaw blades are hardened steel, which makes them hard enough to cut through metal and hard plastic, which is not possible with any hand saw blade.

Hand Saw Vs. Hacksaw Designs:

The way these two saws are designed is also an important difference.

Hand saws have a large, often long blade that is attached at a single point into the handle of the saw. This allows for a very long push and draw motion that is ideal for cutting through wood.

Hacksaws have a short, narrow blade that is attached at either end of a saw bow, and the bow is then attached to a pistol-grip handle. This design makes it easier for quick, short motions when cutting through hard materials such as metal, which makes the process much easier.

Hand Saw Vs. Hacksaw Variations

Hand saws have been around for many thousands of years and have been developed by almost every civilization in history.

This means that there are a great number of hand saw variations and designs from all over the world. 

Hacksaws are more specialized than hand saws, and there are almost no variations of the original hacksaw design. The only variations are in size, and there is a very wide selection of hacksaw blades available for specialized purposes.

Which Is The Better Handheld Saw?

Both hand saws and hacksaws are versatile, and they are excellent to use when they are put to work on a material that they are designed to cut

Which saw to use and which saw is better for you is entirely dependant on what material you will be using the saw to cut. Using a hacksaw for metal works well, but it is not able to cut wood very effectively due to the design of the blade.

Hand saws are fantastic for cutting wood, but they will barely put a scratch in metal or hard plastic. This means that which saw is best should be determined by what you need the saw for.

Hand saws are best for wood, and hacksaws are best for metal and hard plastics.


Hand saws and hacksaws are somewhat similar in appearance, but with regards to their application, they are two entirely different tools.

Handsaws are larger than hacksaws, and they are primarily used for cutting and processing wood. Cutting any other materials is almost impossible for a hand saw due to the blade and design of the saw.

Hacksaws are much harder saws, and while they are smaller than hand saws, they are used for cutting metal and hard plastics. They have a hardened steel blade that is perfect for these materials, but they can not be used for cutting wood with much success.



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