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Best Hand Saw UK 

By  The Saw Guy

The general purpose hand saw is the most popular type of hand saw and one that most home owners will be familiar with. This can also be called a panel saw, rip saw or even just a wood saw. If you don't own one of these, then you probably should. They are great for general purpose cutting and sometimes it is just as quick to use one of these than go to the bother of setting up a power saw.

The construction of a hand saw is basic as they literally have a handle and a blade. The handles will either be made of plastic or wood and some may have a soft grip with finger grips. These are not expensive to buy and the typical general purpose hand saw costs around £10-£15 in the UK. You can buy them at any DIY store and there are lots of choices online.

Just below we show you the parts of a typical hand saw, and we have then checked out the top 5 best selling hand saws that are currently available on the UK market. Underneath those, we have a full buyer's guide, if you are someone who likes a lot of detail.

Just below we have shown you the names for the various parts of a hand saw. As you can see they are a very basic tool that has a handle with a steel blade attached and teeth on one side of that blade.

anatomy of a hand saw

TPI on a Hand Saw

On hand saws, the blades can vary in length, and the number of teeth in the blade is the most important thing to understand when buying one. The number of teeth is usually measured in teeth per inch (TPI)

  • Less than 7 teeth - for coarse cutting of rough wood, and tree branches
  • 7-11 TPI is called a medium coarse cut - suitable for most woodworking jobs and ideal general purpose
  • Greater than 12 teeth is for finer cuts - when you want a neat and tidy finish

Top 5 Hand Saws in the UK

We have listed just below the best 5 hand saws currently available on the UK market:

  1. Stanley 515289 FatMax Heavy-duty Handsaw - Best Heavy Duty hand saw
  2. Irwin Jack Plus 880 Universal Handsaw - Cheapest and most popular hand saw (Our recommendation)
  3. Draper 82196 Venom First Fix Double Ground 8PPI Handsaw - Best hand saw for Plastic, Plasterboard and planed timber
  4. Barbarossa 20” 500mm Pro Hand Saw - Popular UK buy
  5. Presch Hand Saw - Best for fine cuts and laminates and fits most tool boxes

Best Heavy Duty Hand Saw- Stanley 515289 FatMax Heavy-duty Handsaw

This saw is 22" long (550mm) and it is also available as a 20" (500ml) and it weighs 0.53 lbs (0.24 Kg)

The saw has a 7 TPI which means it is designed for fast heavy duty cutting of wood, and also trees and branches

The teeth have also been hardened to improve the lifetime of the saw, and they have also been grounded to make them really sharp and tough

The entire purpose of this saw is about the speed of cutting and it is really fast and with the minimum of effort

The handle is solid and the back of the saw blade can act as a 45 and 90 degree guide.

96% buyer satisfaction based on 750+ online buyer reviews

WE LIKE

  • 84 out of 100 buyers give this a 5 star review
  • Delivers very fast cutting for the rough cutting of wood such as 2 x 4s, sheets of plywood or trees and branches
  • Many buyers bought this to cut through garden sleepers and all seemed pleased with the results
  • Other buyers bought this to cut branches for a wood store and again all of those were pleased with the outcome

WE DON'TLIKE

  • 1 out of 100 buyers give this a poor review
  • It isn't suitable where you need a fine or neat finish
  • More expensive that other brands

Our Opinion: With 7TPI the cut is going to be rough but when it comes to doing heavy duty sawing, that really doesn't matter a great deal. The vast majority of buyers sing the praises of this hand saw and there are little to no complaints about the quality of it. This is a very good hand saw from the well known Stanley tool brand that does exactly what it says. 

Cheapest Hand Saw - Irwin Jack Plus 880 Universal Handsaw

This saw is 20" (500ml) long and it weighs 0.92 lbs (0.42 Kg)

The blade is made from top quality C75 steel and has an 8 TPI which means it is designed for fast heavy duty cutting of wood, and also trees and branches

The teeth have been triple ground to make them really sharp and tough

The entire purpose of this saw is about the speed of cutting and it is really fast and with the minimum of effort

The handle is solid and the back of the saw blade can act as a 45 and 90 degree guide, and also has a finger rest

94% buyer satisfaction based on 1,000+ online buyer reviews

WE LIKE

  • 79 out of 100 buyers give this a 5 star review
  • The cheapest on the UK market from a very good brand
  • Many buyers, including professionals, use this as it is cheap to replace when the teeth do wear out and stops them having to sharpen a more expensive handsaw
  • This is a good choice for general DIY
  • A number of buyers used this on trees and branches to good effect.

WE DON'TLIKE

  • 1 out of 100 buyers give this a poor review
  • Will bend too much if forced so slow and steady sawing is required

Our Opinion: Irwin tools are usually expensive but this saw is the exception to that rule. Most of the writers here on our website use this one as it is just a good saw at the lowest price. Some buyers get a couple of these, one for their garage/shed and one for their toolbox. It works best when long steady strokes are used rather then trying to force the saw through the wood.

Best for Plastic, Plasterboard and planed timber - Draper 82196 Venom First Fix Double Ground 8PPI Handsaw

This saw is 22" (550ml) long and it weighs 0.79 lbs (0.35 Kg) It is also available as a 350mm length and a 500mm length

The blade is made from good quality SK5 carbon steel and has an 8 TPI which means it is designed for fine and neat cutting -  This saw will do finer cuts on planed timber such as skirting, banister rails etc

The teeth have been double ground to make them sharp and tough and the blade has been coated with an ultra-tough lacquer protecting the blade from corrosion whilst easing friction when sawing

The handle has a soft grip and the back of the saw blade can act as a 45 and 90 degree guide, and also has a finger rest

92% buyer satisfaction based on 2,000+ online buyer reviews

WE LIKE

  • 75 out of 100 buyers give this a 5 star review
  • A very good quality general purpose saw as it can cut anything from branches to planed timber
  • This is a sharp saw and the teeth are hardened and last for a good length of time.
  • The cuts are clean and ideal for most DIY tasks in the home or garden

WE DON'TLIKE

  • 1 out of 100 buyers give this a poor review
  • A couple of buyers didn't like the handle

Our Opinion: The number of reviews tells us that this saw sells really well and it's another very good choice for general DIY. This is a good saw if you are working with framing, decking and general wood cutting around the home and garden. Draper are a British brand who make a range of affordable tools for those in the trade.

Barbarossa 20” 500mm Pro Hand Saw

This saw is 20" (500ml) long and it weighs 0.92 lbs (0.42 Kg) It is also available in a 22" version

The blade is made from carbon steel and has an 8 TPI which means it is designed for fast cutting of wood, and can also cut trees and branches

The teeth are staggered hard point teeth for longer life

The handle is made from ABS plastic with soft finger grips and is slip resistant

They are the only brand we could find who offer a 100% money back guarantee

90% buyer satisfaction based on 1,500+ online buyer reviews

WE LIKE

  • 71 out of 100 buyers give this a 5 star review
  • Most buyers get this one as they want a hand saw for general purpose use
  • Many buyers thought it was very good value for money
  • Quite a number of people also bought this for branch cutting and were pleased with the results

WE DON'TLIKE

  • 2 out of 100 buyers give this a poor review
  • Can be hard to use as it is quite aggressive
  • Some buyers say it is not that sharp

Our Opinion: We are not that fond of this particular hand saw. It is on our list because many UK people buy it. In our opinion the three above are better choices. We noticed during our research that the saw is hard to get started on the first cut and that the blade does tend to bend under force. There are not a lot of complaints but there are enough for us to flag them to our readers.

Presch Hand Saw

This is a smaller saw at 450mm (17.7") and weighs 0.91 lbs (0.42 Kg) - also known as a foxtail saw and made to fit inside most tool boxes.

It is designed to be used by joiners and carpenters for the fine cutting of wood including laminates

It has  a mild steel blade with 11TPI - the blade also has an integrated centimetre ruler along the top of the blade (up to 30cm)

It has a non-slip soft grip handle

90% buyer satisfaction based on 300+ online buyer reviews

WE LIKE

  • 70 out of 100 buyers give this a 5 star review
  • An ideal choice for finer work and those who want to have a very neat finish to their work
  • UK buyers say this saw is very accurate and great at straight line cutting
  • Buyers say the grip on this saw is excellent and makes cutting a great deal faster and easier

WE DON'TLIKE

  • 4 out of 100 buyers give this a poor review
  • More expensive mainly due to the increased number of TPI

Our Opinion: We like this one and it fills a gap for many buyers. Tenon saws are better for really fine cuts. However they are short in length and this saw fills that gap when you need a fine cut on larger pieces of wood. This is also a better choice for those of us who prefer neat and tidy cuts rather than speedy rougher cuts.

Buying Tips for a Hand Saw

Just below we explain what to look out for when buying a hand saw. They aren't complicated tools and they aren't that expensive. Nonetheless, they do cost money, and anything that helps our readers spend that wisely is worth knowing.

Do you really need a hand saw?

Power saws like circular saws, jigsaws, mitre saws etc are now more affordable than ever. The question is, do you really need a hand saw. We would strongly recommend that you do buy and own one of these. They aren't expensive and they are just really handy.

They can be used to get rid of a few annoying branches or shrubs quickly, and are easier to find and use to do quick cuts of wood. Rather than the hassle of pulling out and setting up a power saw, the hand saw will do the job. It isn't something we would reach for to build a fence, but it might be handy to cut the top of a post that the power saw can't.

The length of a hand saw

The most popular lengths of a handsaw are 20" and 22" (500 and 550mm). You can also get them in other sizes but the vast majority of people will buy either one of the above sizes. Does the length of the blade really matter?

When you use a hand saw properly you become very good at developing a long stroke action. That way more of the teeth come into contact with the material that you are cutting. That is a much better cutting action that doing short stab like strokes. That short stroke only works the centre of the blade teeth and wears those out faster.

The length of the stroke is determined by how far you can move your arm backwards and then forwards. People with longer arms, usually taller people, will get a longer stroke so a 22" saw will suit them better. It won't make a world of difference but every little helps.

Blade Types

All blades on hand saws are made from some type of steel. They can be mild steel or carbon steel. The better saws will have some sort of lacquer on them as that helps prevent rust, and also makes the saw slide easier when sawing. The more important thing to understand is that you want some movement in the saw blade, but not too much.

If you have ever used a hand saw, you may notice that when you apply force, the blade may shift to one side. You tend to find that with really cheap pound shop saws. That is because the blade is just to thin. At the other side of this is that you don't want a thick blade that is inflexible as that can just stick when cutting.

Most hand saw blade are 1-2mm thick and that is ideal.

Hand Saw - Teeth Per Inch (TPI)

Most hand saws have around 7-8 TPI which is ideal for general purpose DIY work and jobs around the home and garden. Joiners and carpenters will own one of these and they will also own finer cut hand saws with more teeth per inch.

A saw such as the Stanley 2-15-599"Jet Cut" Fine Hand Saw will have 11 TPI and this can be used when a really good finish is required. Most DIY people don't need this type of saw unless they want a perfect finish.

For cutting trees, hand saws tend to have anything up to 7TPI and the teeth are often referred to as "shark teeth." This type of hand saw tends to cut on both the up and the down strokes.

Hand Saw Hanging Hole

Most hand saws will have an elliptical shaped hole at the toe of the blade. This allows you to hang the saw up on a nail or screw in your shed or garage. This is not that big a deal but it does make it that little bit easier to store.

How to use a hand saw properly

The short 2 minute video below shows you how to use a hand saw for the best efficiency of cutting. There are also a couple of useful tips to stop the saw from bending and to stop it from sticking.

General Purpose Hand Saw Summary

We would always recommend owning a hand saw as it is just a really useful general purpose tool. If you are not sure which one to get, then go with the Iron Jack as it is cheap and does an excellent job. If you really want a hand saw for trees or branches, then go with the Stanley model as that one is best for that.

Most DIY people will have one of these and a general purpose hand saw is all that you need. Joiners and carpenters are the only people who will want to have a range of hand saws in their tool kit. For most of us something basic is ideal.

The Saw Guy


We review the different types of powers saws on the UK market. We do a lot of research to make sure we bring you the very latest information and reviews on the full range of mitre, circular, chop, reciprocating and jigsaws.

Enda McLarnon

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