At my old shop, we went through table saw and circular saw blades so quick that we started to pay to have them sharpened. One day when I needed to pick up a new CS blade, I wondered if they are universal and interchangeable with each other. Recently, I did some research of my own to find out how versatile these blades really are.
Are circular saw blades universal and interchangeable? Since circular saw blades come in so many different shapes and sizes, and are made for alternate purposes, they are not universal and interchangeable with just any circular saw.
If you have ever required the use of a circular saw for any task, you might have asked yourself if the blades are interchangeable. How convenient are these tools really for home projects? Keep reading to find out everything you need to know.
Are Circular Saw Blades Universal?
A circular saw is a certain type of power saw that holds a circular blade that is shaped like a disk. The disk has a variety of teeth all around it, depending on what kind of blade it is, and rotates rapidly while cutting into the targeted material.
Circular saw blades are not universal, for a variety of reasons. Take a look at the list down below to learn why these blades are not fit for every saw.
Why Circular Saw Blades Are Not Universal:
- Come in different sizes
- Made for cutting specific materials
- Different circular saws need special blades
Circular saw blades are not universal because the blades themselves come in a lot of different sizes. This can include their diameter as well as the amount of teeth they possess around the disk.
Additionally, each circular saw blade is made for cutting into specific materials, which we will get into within the next couple sections.
Finally, different types of circular saws need blades that will fit them properly. Every circular saw that exists on the market is not the exact same size, and therefore, will not fit the same sized blades.
Types of Circular Saw Blades
So, now that we’ve established that circular saw blades are not universal, let’s get more into detail about one of the reasons why.
As mentioned before, circular saw blades are not universal due to the different sizes, shapes, and categories that they will fall under. Additionally, some blades will be specially fit for certain circular saws.
The list below will explain the different types of circular saw blades briefly, or you can keep reading this section to get all the details.
Types of Circular Saw Blades:
- Fine-Tooth finish
- Abrasive wheel
Circular Saw Blade Categories (Most Common):
- Wood cutting
- Metal cutting
- Tile cutting
- Light-gauge material cutting
All of these common types of circular saw blades fall under certain categories, which indicate what type of materials they are able to cut through. In general, circular saw blades will usually work with wood, metal, tile, and light-gauge materials such as laminates and plastics.
Wood-cutting circular saw blades include crosscut, ripping, combination, nail-cutting, finish/paneling, and dado-cut.
A crosscut circular saw blade will allow the user to perform a “crosscut” on the wood, or in other words, cut across the grain of the wood. The ripping blade, on the other hand, makes larger and rougher cuts with the gain of the wood. This particular blade should not be used on plywood.
Finish or paneling blades are ideal for plywood, laminates, plastics, and other light-gauge materials. If you will be cutting into wood that has a lot of constructive objects in it, such as nails for example, you will be better off using a nail-cutting blade.
Additionally, dado-cut blades allow the user to perform dado and reboot cuts into wood, also known as groove cuts.
On the contrary, metal cutting circular saw blades, usually called “metal-cutting”, are able to smoothly slice through metal objects. Abrasive wheel and dry-diamond blades can also be used for this purpose.
Dry-diamond circular saw blades can also be used for masonry materials, as well as the abrasive wheel.
Circular Saw Blades – Do The Teeth Matter?
When it comes to using a circular saw blade, the amount of teeth that appear around the blade will determine a few things about how the saw will cut into the materials.
Circular Saw Blade Teeth:
- Can be anywhere from 14-120 teeth
- Less teeth = faster and rougher cut
- More teeth = slower and smoother cut
Each type of circular saw blade will be ideal for their own individual project, whether they are made for cutting into metal, tile, or wood. In addition to knowing what type of circular saw blade is right for your project, you will need to carefully choose the tooth count in order to gain your desired results.
In general, circular saw blades can come in varieties that have anywhere from 14 to 120 teeth around the blade. The amount of teeth around the blade will determine how smooth the cut is and what it can cut into.
Circular saw blades with fewer teeth will usually be able to cut through materials very quickly. However, the cut will often come out looking rough and choppy. This is due to the fact that the teeth are spread out widely around the circumference because there is a small amount of them in total.
On the other hand, circular saw blades that have more teeth that are closer together all around the blade will yield a smoother cut. The fine teeth on these types of blades will produce these results much slower than their counterparts, however.
How to Choose the Right Circular Saw Blade
Now that you’ve learned almost everything you need to know about the interchangeability of circular saw blades as well as the different types of blades that are out there, you might be wondering how you will be able to choose the right blade for your upcoming home improvement project.
Fortunately, you’ve come to the right place for this information. Skim through the simple step-by-step guide down below, or read to the end of this section or more details.
How To Choose The Right Circular Saw Blade – Step By Step:
- Identify what type of material you will be cutting into
- Choose the main category of circular saw blade (wood, metal, etc.)
- Confirm the correct blade size you will need for your circular saw
- Decide what type of cut you would like
- Locate a saw blade with the correct amount of teeth (fine or wide)
The first step of choosing the right circular saw blade will be to identify what type of material you will be cutting into. This will help you generalize the category of blade that you will need to purchase.
For example, if you know you will be cutting into wood for this particular project, you will need to narrow your search into the category of wood-cutting circular saw blades.
Before you get too far into the purchasing process, you will need to make sure that you know the exact blade size you will need for your circular saw. While all saws are different, one of the most common blade size is seven and one-fourth inch (7 1/4”).
Now that you know the type of circular saw blade you are after and what size you are looking for, you will need to specify the type of cut you would like.
As mentioned in the previous section, the different amounts of teeth will yield different results when cutting into any material. So, if you are looking to roughly chop up your material with no focus on the lines, you will want to look for a blade with the least amount of teeth.
Alternatively, if you are anticipating a very smooth and neat cut, you will target a circular saw blade with a large quantity of fine teeth.
How many teeth does a circular saw blade have?
The amount of teeth on each individual circular saw blade will vary, depending on what it will be used for. In general, the more teeth a blade has, the sharper and smoother it will cut. For example, a 10 inch blade that is meant for cutting wood will usually have around 24 teeth, and will be able to quickly cut down on material following the grain.
Can a metal cutting blade be used for wood?
There is a reason why different circular saw blades exist for the purpose of cutting into metal and wood, so it would not be a good idea to interchange these two types of blades.
Can a diamond blade be used to cut metal?
Diamond blades are actually ideal for cutting ferrous metal in place of metal-cutting discs that quickly wear down and decline in quality. While they can be used to cut almost any type of metal including iron and strong bolts, the diameter of the blade must be shrunk during use. This is why diamond blades are preferred for this purpose.