The Best Handsaw for Woodworking: Complete Reviews with Comparison

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A handsaw is an essential tool for any DIY enthusiast and professional woodworker. It’s practical, portable and relatively compact compared to other cutting tools like the power saw. DIYs particularly love it for its cutting versatility. You can use it to trim tree limbs; cut floor boards and hardwood lumber, and make detailed joinery work.

Apart from its cutting versatility, it is an excellent cutting tool for when you have a power outage. Because of the different types of handsaws, it is important to consider the pros and cons of each tool before buying one. Here are five of the best woodworking tools you should consider:

Comparison Chart

GreatNeck N2610 – 26 Inch 12 TPI Crosscut Saw, Hardwood Handle, Wood and Tree Saw Hand Saw
31SefgMz31L. SL500
IRWIN Tools Universal Handsaw, 15-Inch (1773465)
41oPoPJBZzL. SL500
WilFiks 16” Pro Hand Saw, Perfect for Sawing, Trimming, Gardening, Pruning & Cutting Wood, Drywall, Plastic Pipes & More, Razor Sharp Blade, Comfortable Ergonomic Non-Slip Handle
31K5DEME9BL. SL500
Vaughan BS240P Pull Stroke Handsaw
41YQ6Lq8PZL. SL500
STANLEY FATMAX Hand Saw, 15-Inch (20-045)

Detailed Product Info & Reviews


1. GreatNeck 26-Inch Cross Cut Hand Saw

The handsaw is an excellent buy for people who fell trees thanks to its sturdy and durable construction. It is equipped with a blade that measures 26 inches and is made of high-quality carbon. As such, it can cut both hardwood and softwood materials.

Additionally, the saw has special teeth designed to clean cut removals when cutting the wood. The teeth have a similar construction as those of a ribbed saw enhancing the saw’s ability to cut rough and forceful surfaces.

Product Highlights

  • Weather-resistant handle
  • 10 TPI
  • High carbon steel blade
  • 26-inch blade

What I Like

It is the best handsaw I have worked with. I found it suitable for lots of woodworking applications and delivered great results. It could cut through thick blocks of wood with great ease thanks to its 10 TPI and 26-inch long blade. The handle is made of weather-resistant stained wood which enhances its aesthetic appeal.

What I Don’t Like

I found the GreatNeck Hand Saw a little heavy for my liking. While the hardwood handle enhanced its durability it added to the weight of the saw.

What We Like

  • ​Ideal for indoor and outdoor woodworking applications
  • ​Weather-resistant handle
  • ​Sharp teeth for cutting lumber
  • ​Excellent for aggressive cutting applications

What We Don’t Like

  • ​The blade feels a bit stiff
  • ​Too heavy for light tasks

2. IRWIN Tools Universal Handsaw

31SefgMz31L. SL500

​It is an upgrade from the standard Irwin handsaw. As such, it now delivers faster cuts with less binding and works on a range of materials (laminate flooring, hard and soft woods, PVC and vinyl). Irwin handsaw comes equipped with triple-ground teeth that eliminate binding and increase the cutting speed three times.

Additionally, its tapered-pitch nose enhances stability for each stroke and boosts clearance when penetrating the material. Its blade is rather tick to deliver fast, more controlled cuts. Irwin Tools Handsaw is ideal for professionals and DIY wood cutting as it can perform aggressive cutting tasks and intricate cuts that need more control.

Product Highlights

  • Cuts three times faster
  • Uses universal tooth grind
  • Tapered-pitch nose
  • Thick blade coated with water-based lacquer

What I like

I tested this 15-inch Universal Handsaw on a range of materials. Upon trying it on some 1×4 pine, I found that it cut pretty fast; faster than other saws in my toolbox. I also used the saw to trim a PVC pipe and the results were more than satisfactory. Its handle design provided a pretty comfortable design which added to its value.

What I don’t like

I wish the saw was equipped with a better edge protection as the one included in the kit does not last long. If the cutting edge is not protected the handsaw becomes ineffective.

What We Like

  • ​Firm grip
  • ​Weather-resistant handle
  • ​Stable throughout the cutting task
  • ​Excellent for aggressive cutting applications

What We Don’t Like

  • Not ideal for making long cuts​
  • Can’t cut hardwood​
  • ​Can’t be resharpened

3. WilFiks 16-inch Pro Hand Saw

41oPoPJBZzL. SL500

​The handsaw is fitted with a long, sturdy blade measuring 16 inches. It is made of high carbon steel, a material known for its flexibility and durability. Additionally, it has a soft non-slip handle that enhances comfort even when working for long hours.

Its teeth are induction hardened hence remain sharp even after continuous use. The feature also ensures you make smooth and precise cuts fast.

Product Highlights

  • Anti-slip grip handle
  • Induction-hardened
  • Cuts wood, wallboards, plastic pipe and plywood
  • Cuts 50% faster
  • Thick blade
  • Three cutting facades to hasten cutting pace

What I Like

I discovered this handsaw at a time when I was working on long projects (5-8 hours a day). It met all my cutting requirements particularly due to its ergonomic design. The anti-slip feature on the handle made working on the long-hour projects a breeze. Also, the size of the handle has been designed to fit any hand size and deliver the perfect cutting angle. It also felt pretty lightweight.

What I Don’t Like

Despite all the great features of the WilFiks handsaw, I realized the saw wilted after some time due to the thin construction of the blade.

What We Like

  • ​Smooth handle and firm grip
  • ​Makes both pull and push strokes
  • ​Can make deep cuts
  • ​Blade provides greater control when cutting

What We Don’t Like

  • ​Wilts after prolonged use

4. Vaughan Pull Stroke Rip Handsaw

31K5DEME9BL. SL500

​The brand is known to produce high-quality hand tools and this Pull stroke rip handsaw is no exception. It is specially designed to pull and not push stroke action hence an excellent option for demanding woodworking jobs.

Its blade is pretty thin (0.022 inches) delivering fast and accurate cutting results. Additionally, it has 17 TPI and the tri-edge teeth have been hardened to retain sharpness. As such, you are sure to make straight cuts every time. The handsaw is ideal for medium woodworking tasks like finishing and trimming.

Product Highlights

  • 17 TPI
  • 0.033-inch kerf
  • 0.022-inch thick
  • 8 inches long
  • Pull stroke action

What I Like

I particularly like the 0.033-inch wide kerf that enhanced its versatility. The handsaw was effective in cutting small logs and branches making relatively clean cuts. I also loved the fact that the saw came with a blade guard to protect the teeth during storage.

What I Don’t Like

Its size and construction made this handsaw ideal for small cutting tasks only. I had to purchase a different handsaw to cut large branches and logs.

What We Like

  • ​Firm grip
  • ​The blade is rust-resistant
  • ​Blade is removable
  • ​Fast and accurate cuts

What We Don’t Like

  • ​Buckles in hardwood
  • ​Not suitable for heavy-duty cutting jobs

5. Stanley 20-045 Cross Cut Hand Saw

41YQ6Lq8PZL. SL500

​If looking for an affordable and functional handsaw for woodworking, Stanley’s Cross Cut Hand saw is a great buy. The handsaw cuts comes equipped with Sharp Tooth Technology that enables it to cut 50% faster than conventional saws. It has a 9 TPI thick steel blade that penetrates all kinds of wood and plastic.

What’s more, its teeth are induction hardened to ensure they remain sharp five times longer than regular blade teeth. It is this feature that makes this blade ideal for making quick lumber cuts. Its rubber grip is pretty firm and easy to control when working on hardwood. The back of the saw can also be used to make 45 and 90-degree angles for making hassle-free measurements.

Product Highlights

  • 9 TPI blade
  • Sharp Tooth technology
  • Cutting speed 50% higher
  • Induction-hardened teeth

What I Like

I found it pretty easy to work with this cut cross handsaw. The ergonomic design of the grip reduced slippage and enhanced comfort throughout the exercise. I also loved the thick construction of the blade as it reduced binding when cutting wood.

What I Don’t Like

I needed to sharpen this blade regularly after continuous use. This particular feature reduced the effectiveness of the handsaw despite its induction-hardened teeth feature.

What We Like

  • ​Affordable
  • ​Enhanced cutting performance
  • ​Five times sharper than regular handsaws
  • ​Has a firm grip

What We Don’t Like

  • ​Needs sharpening after prolonged use
  • ​Not ideal for cutting hard wood

Buyer’s Guide

Buying a handsaw for woodworking entails a range of factors. You see handsaws for woodworking are designed for different woodworking tasks. For example, handsaws used to cut frames are different from those used to make precision wood cuts or cut curves. We look at essential factors one should consider:

The Type of Handsaw

There are different types of handsaws for the different woodworking applications. Using the right type helps avoid teething problems and prolongs the life of the tool. The most common types include:

The Universal hand saw

Also known as the general purpose hand saw is the type of saw most people are familiar with. It has different types of teeth for the different types of cutting. Universal handsaws with large teeth make cutting easier though the cut edge is a bit rough.

Fine-toothed saws, on the other hand, are ideal for making more precise cuts. The larger the teeth, the faster one is able to cut a piece of wood.

Tenon Saw

This kind is suitable for making more controlled cuts. It is much smaller than the average handsaw and has a thinner blade. Since the saw cuts using push stroke, the blade needs to be reinforced to avoid buckling when cutting.

A brass spine is added to the back of the saw to add weight and support it. The reinforcement keeps the blade tension allowing it to make fine kerfed cuts while keeping the saw from making extremely deep cuts.

The Jab Saw

It has a long, pointed blade to allow the user to work on hard-to-reach spaces. The jab saw is designed to make curved and straight cuts in the middle of a panel.

Japanese Saw

This kind has a fine-toothed flexible blade that bends to make it easy to access difficult-to-reach places. The Japanese saw is ideal for making precise flush cuts. They use the pull stroke method which requires minimal effort.

Flush Cut Saw

It is an excellent handsaw tool for making flush cuts and finishes on woodwork. Its blade is slightly indented to prevent causing injury when cutting. The saw has 20 teeth per inch and does not scratch the surrounding space when cutting.

Coping Saw

This kind is great for coping molding joints and wood cutting. It has a deep, steel tension frame and a thin blade to help make detailed cuts at extreme angles.

Bow saw

The saw is ideal for cutting large pieces of wood and logs. It is a favorite choice for woodcutters thanks to its large teeth and a steel frame.

Back saw

This kind has fine teeth and thin metal blades hence great for making precision wood cuts. It has a rigid back to keep the saw from bending and the stability required for making accurate cuts on wood joints. The saw is primarily used by cabinetmakers and joiners.

Frame saw

This type is rather old-fashioned. It has a rectangular wooden frame with the blade forming one of the sides. Frame saws use tension to tighten the blade between the arms. When fitted with a narrow blade, the frame can be used to cut curves. Larger blades are used to cut rough boards.

Additional Factors to Consider:


The length of the blade determines its size. Handsaws with short panels have blades measuring 12-20 inches and are ideal for fine woodworking jobs. Those with long blades (24-30 inches) are ideal for general woodworking and cabinet-making.

Type of Cutting

Consider the type of cutting the saw will be used for. The two most common types of cuts in woodworking field are the cross cut and rip. Each type has different cutting requirements. Cross cutting involves making cuts across the grain while a rip cut is made along the grain.

As such, handsaws for cross cutting should have teeth that have been beveled and designed cut through the wood fiber. The saws should have a high number of teeth per inch as well. Handsaws for rip cutting on the other hand, have fewer teeth per inch (4-10) and the teeth are designed to chip the wood. Saws that can perform cross and rip cuts have 8-12 teeth per inch.

Ability to Sharpen

Hardpoint saws remain sharp even after prolonged use. They are hardened to remain sharp but once they become blunt the saw can’t be resharpened. Resharpenable saws allow you to sharpen them once they are blunt hence last longer.

Type of Stroke

There are two main types of cutting strokes: the push and pull stroke. Most saws cut on the push stroke but this action puts the blade under immense pressure. As such, the blades are constructed thicker and with a wide kerf to prevent buckling. Handsaws that cut on pull strokes, have thinner blades to produce a narrower kerf.

Teeth per Inch

The number of teeth per inch determines how well the saw makes fine cuts. Softwood requires saws with a small number of teeth per inch, e.g. 4-6 teeth if using a ripping saw and 10-14 teeth when using a cross cutting saw.

Using a saw with a high number of teeth on softwood develops clogs on the wood. Hardwoods, on the other hand, require saws with a high number of teeth per inch, i.e. 15 teeth per inch for cross cutting saws and 8-10 teeth for ripping cut saws.


(Q) What is the Best Way to Use a Handsaw?

(A) Ensure the thumb and the index fingers are pointing the direction of the cut when holding the saw. The ring, middle and little finger should grip the saw to keep the cut straight. Here are additional tips:

  1. Cutting on a scored line is more accurate than cutting on a marked out line
  2. Utilize the full length of the blade. It allows you to cut the saw more efficiently.
  3. Position yourself so that your body aligns to the line of sight. It helps keep the cut straight
  4. Apply force to the cutting stroke when pulling or pushing the saw only. Light strokes allow the saw to get rid of the waste from the teeth to prevent clogging

(Q) How Should You Maintain a Handsaw?

(A) Ensure the handle is fixed firmly on the blade. A loosely fixed handle makes poor cuts. If the handle is attached to the blade using screws tighten them before use.

Also clean the saw by removing wood waste from the teeth. A quick swipe using light tool oil should prevent rusting. Consider storing the handsaw in a blade protector to keep it safe when not in use.

(Q) How Should I Sharpen a Handsaw Blade?

(A) If your resharpenable saw is getting blunt, e.g., it keeps on getting stuck in wood when cutting; it’s time to sharpen it. You need a saw setter to make a consistent set on the teeth. Begin working on one side while alternating the teeth and proceed to the other.

To sharpen the teeth use a file. You need to clamp the blade in a vice to ensure the blade remains steady when filing. If sharpening ripping teeth, you need to file the teeth across. Sharpening blades with cross cutting teeth is rather different as you need to set the file at 45 degrees. It ensures the cutting edges are maintained.

(Q) How Do You Check The Built-In Tension of a Handsaw?

(A) A saw with good built-in tension should create a slight bow when bent. It is a result of the tension built into the saw by hammering and rolling the middle part.


​The handsaw is an excellent addition to any garage or workshop. Unlike other hand tools you need to invest in a tool that will last a long time. The GreatNeck N2610 Handsaw is our first and best pick due to its construction, versatility and durability. It is an excellent buy for those looking for an all-purpose handsaw or when working on demanding woodworking projects. If looking for a more affordable option, Stanley Cross Cut Handsaw is ideal. It has fast cutting performance and its teeth are sharper than regular saws yet it is affordable.

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