Hack saw vs. Hand saw

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If you are a DIY fan, you must have come across these hand tools at some point. Both this tools are versatile and can be used to cut a number of things. Whether you are working with wood, plastic or even metals, these are the best tools for the job. At times, they are often confused and used interchangeably due to the similarities they share.

Their versatility also means one tool can easily replace the other in some instances. Therefore, it often comes as a shock to many people to learn that they may have been using the wrong tool. The main difference between the hand saw and hack saw is the intended purpose of each tool. They also have distinct shapes and structures.

Hack saws are ideally for cutting plastic and steel materials while hand saws are best tools for cutting wood materials. Due to their hard blades and ability to cut through steel, hacksaws can be very versatile and cutting through wood would be a walk in the park. It is like hot knife through butter, quite literary, though with a bit of effort.

Also Read: Top 5 Handsaw Recommendations

Both the hand saws and hack saws have blades that can be changed. While hacksaw blades come in a variety of blade densities and are readily available, the handsaw blades are not as readily available.

In this article we will compare and contrast the Hacksaw vs. the Hand saw and learn a few things about them. After reading it you should be able to appreciate the differences as well as the unique functions each saw is made for.

In addition, you will have learnt some of the functions that both these saws can share without any qualms. Having your hand saw do a function not intended for it can damage its blades even when it carries out the function well.

What are the differences between the Handsaws and the Hacksaws?

Though there are a number of reasons that clearly differentiate the handsaw vs. the Hacksaw, the main difference is usually their functions.

This leads to a number of differences and contrast in characteristics such as the materials they have to be made of, the shape of the saw, their size and how they can be used.

Let us now look at the unique characteristic of each saw:


  • Is used primarily for cutting wood
  • Their blades are usually thicker
  • The blades are also lighter and less dense
  • The blades are not as readily available as the blades for hacksaws
  • Most of the time they have wooden or plastic handles
  • The handles have a distinct shape that is more of rectangular and not bow shaped like the hacksaws
  • The blades are removable.


  • They have a bow shaped metallic frame
  • Their blades are thinner
  • Are used predominantly for cutting steel and plastic materials
  • The frame can be adjusted to fit different blade lengths
  • The tooth density ranges from 14 to 32 teeth per inch
  • Blades are made from high speed steel material or the high carbon steel

While hacksaws are mostly used for cutting through metals and plastics, the handsaws are used mostly when cutting wood. Hacksaws also come in a bow shape handle; the handsaw has a distinct handle shape which is mostly made of wood or plastic or both.

Their blades are also distinctly different. For the handsaw, they have a broad blade which is attached to its handle. On the other hand, the hacksaw has a thin blade which is attached to the bottom part of the bow like frame.

The hacksaw blades come in 300mm and 250mm available in two qualities. They have the high speed steel and high carbon steel blades. These blades are of higher quality and are durable since they last longer. The high steel blades tend to take more time to wear out and have high quality.

When it comes to availability, the handsaw blades are not as easy to find as compared to hacksaw blades. However, some high quality handsaw blades can be sharpened when they are worn out. Hacksaws are available in three main types the rip saw, buck saw and the crosscut. They can easily be differentiated by the teeth angle on the blades.

Hand saw blades have two main blade angles. 60 degrees angles blades are for cutting hard woods while the 45 degrees blades are meant for the soft woods.

Hack saws have a higher TPI ratio as compared to the hand saws.

While hack saws all have a similar design across with little specializations, the handsaws have a high number of specialized saws forms designed for specific functions. Another difference also comes from how the saws work when carrying out their tasks. The hack saw tends to rely on strength and density of their TPI to cut through metals. The hand saws on the other hand rely on two major factors. The blade tooth angles and their TPI to cut through wood.

In summary, when contrasting the hack saw vs. the hand saw, the difference will mainly come from the structure and purpose of the saws. Though hack saws can also cut through wood, it will be a step down to its work load.

In the long run it will be expensive since you will be using a tool designed for a higher work load on light duties. On the other hand, using hand saws to cut plastics or metals will wear then faster hence you will be replacing the blades more often.

Add to the fact that their blades are relatively harder to find and you will be adding yourself another set of unnecessary tasks.

Using a saw for the wrong task therefore turns out to be counterproductive. The blades will be damaged or blunted quickly.

Related: How to Keep Your Blade Clean

The Similarities between Hack saws vs. Hand saws

As much they have a number of differences, these hand tools also have a number of similar characters. This is especially when it comes to their functionalities and applications when in use.

Here are some of the similarities shared by the hack saws and the hand saws.

  • Both of them are hand held tools
  • They are both saws
  • They are both manually powered. They do not need electricity to use, you only need arm strength and you are good to go.
  • They share similar safety precaution steps and procedures when in use
  • They are both specialized for cutting specific materials
  • They are both used for specific type of cuts

In recent times, both these tools have been replaced by powered tools

When you take a closer look at the hand saws vs. the hack saw, you will notice they are basically similar in many ways. All of them require a blade to carry out their tasks. The blade is actually the main part of these saws without which they are no longer useful.

In addition, they both rely on TPI to function.

Both tools are hand held. If you can move your arm, you can comfortably use both saws. Both these tools also have a motorized alternative that carries out the similar functions. The motorized option however, is quicker and less tiring.

Both tools have similar safety precaution requirements and procedures. The risks of injury from both saws are similar. You will get a nasty cut from their serrated blade blades. The injury will not look different regardless of the type of saw. Since the injury risks are similar the first aid procedures and treatment will be same.

The bottom line is, putting aside the materials that this saws cut and what they are made of; you will notice they are similar. Basically they use the same technology and procedure to achieve their task. They rely on having a metallic blade in the material you want to cut. Move it forward and backwards and you will have your cut.


Knowing the similarities and differences of the hand saw vs. the hack saws is beneficial for many reasons. Apart from using them correctly, you will make them serve you best since you are using them for the task they love most.

Learning the basic differences will also enable you know how best to look after your tools. This will make last longer and increase their durability.

Knowing the materials the hand saw and hack saw are made of is also beneficial. This is because you will know how best to store and maintain them to avoid damage or effects from natural factors like rusting and other forms of corrosion.

I hope this article has been an eye opener for you. Now that you know the difference and similarities between your hack saw vs. the hand saws put your knowledge to practice.

Both saws have unique ways on how they should be held. The hack saws have to rigid but the hand saws can be flexible. Remember that when you using your hack saw, long strokes give the best results. On the other hand, short strokes work better for hand saws.

From now on, do not use your hack saw to cut wood materials or your hand saws to cut something other than wood.

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