View Full Version : Chop saws

04-25-2008, 11:43 PM
Lets talk chop saws. I am at the point of buying 1. I have the mechanical hacksaw which is the bee's knees for heavey work. Now I am looking for something to do light work and angles. Is the Dewalt at $199 much better than the Hitachi for $135 or the Black and Decker$120? I like Dewalt. My wood saw has stood the test of time well. Anyone happy with their Harbor Freight $99?

What say you all?


04-26-2008, 12:06 AM
Don't even bother.. I used an abrasive chop saw in my HS for years.
The dust from them things is GROSS! And very unhealthy!
I bought a 4X6 H/V saw and rarely used my chopsaw.

04-26-2008, 12:17 AM
i have used the hitachi for over a year, with abrasive and the carbide insert blade for aluminum, couldnt be happier

04-26-2008, 08:53 AM
I have to agree with Torker, I gave away my chop saw after finally getting a
4x6 band saw.
Nasty dusty and messy.
Used one for years and was never excited about it.

Bill Pace
04-26-2008, 09:01 AM
Dont forget ------ LOUD!

Its hard to beat the little 4x6 in home shop use.

04-26-2008, 09:13 AM
like others said, haven't used mine in ages but when i next do it will be outdoors - sprays grit everywhere

04-26-2008, 09:21 AM
I have a Rigid 14" chopsaw from the big orange store-
Excellent machine and has served me well for years now.15 amp motor.
I also have a 5x6 bandsaw. If I had to choose just one it would be the bandsaw. But I use my chopsaw all the time. For hardened steels the bandsaw does not stand a chance. Angle iron,pipe etc the chopsaw is much faster.


04-26-2008, 09:21 AM

with a NRR of 30 solves the noise problem, but doesn't do much about the mess.

Another downside is the horrible burrs that remain after the cut is completed. The time spent removing the burrs is usually more than that saved by using the chopsaw.


04-26-2008, 09:47 AM
You chopsaw users forgot to mention the extreme heat generated by abrasive cutoff too. JIM

04-26-2008, 09:49 AM
Thanks for the info so far. I know about the dust and noise. Use a 5 hp stationary model at work all the time. Please contiue to let me know what brands you are happy with and what are a awaste of money!


04-26-2008, 10:38 AM
I have a Makita that's held up well for years. Don't know if they have cheapened up the recent models or not. I liked the Makita vise adjustment, you can flip from rapid sliding adjustment to fine screw adjustment. Maybe they all have that feature now, when I got mine it was pretty much exclusive to Makita.

I have a bandsaw and a chop saw and still use the chop saw for smaller pieces and as mentioned earlier, for hardened material. Messy yes, but I don't use it that often for it to be a problem.

I don't think "Buy American" can apply here, since I don't think there are any US made chop saws.

04-26-2008, 10:44 AM
I'm saving my nickels for one of these NON abrasive saws;


Rookie machinist
04-26-2008, 10:45 AM
I have had good luck with the dewalt and makita. The company I work for uses them both and we beat the sh!! out of them and they hold up well. The rigid is nice but its heavy and can be a pain if you move it alot.

04-26-2008, 11:33 AM
I have the Rigid as well; it's cut a lot of metal. Yes, it's loud and noisy, but for tubing, pipe, etc, it's much much faster and easier to use than the 4 x 6.

The 4x6 is ideal for whacking 8" off a 2" diameter bar, but for tubing of 1/8" wall the chopsaw is fast.

And yes, it's an outside-only tool, like the smoke wrench.

- Bart

04-26-2008, 11:50 AM
DeWalt or Makita, either one would be good. My Makita is more than 20 years old and except for the cord (the insulation began to deteriorate @ around the 15 year mark) it's been great.

04-26-2008, 12:00 PM
The one at the school is a Makita. It works pretty well even after seeing a lot of hard use by inexperienced users.

I wish it wold make compound cuts without having to put shims under the pieces, but I doubt a compound cut type would have held up as well as the simpler version.


04-26-2008, 12:20 PM
+1 for the Rigid. My son beats the crap out if it and it doesn't miss a beat.

04-26-2008, 01:10 PM
don't use the chop saw on anything that will locally harden at the cut. I made the mistake of using one on 1045 and then tried to mill it with a custom ground milling cutter - dead milling cutter. Also, watch factory ends on 1045 as the mill used chop saws for cutoff. Band saw 1/2 off end before cutting to length. the mill end is HARD. Gave my chop saw away. Peter

04-26-2008, 01:18 PM
I have used chop saws profesionally for 30 years. All the 120v portable ones I have used seem to be pretty good. If I was buying one it would be the Milwaukee.

Wear at least a dust mask when operating, or better yet a respirator. I will never use a chop saw if a bandsaw, portaband , power hacksaw or cold cut saw is available and will do the job. Chopsaws are dirty, nasty tools , I hate them!

04-26-2008, 01:32 PM
Mark61...I chose the Ryobi from the big orange store a couple of years ago and have been very happy with it's performance. At that time it was $125 where all the other brands were over $150. From my experience with other Ryobi tools that I have purchased I figured it would be as good as the more expensive brands and, so far, I was right.

As for the noise and mess, I have a small bench outside the shop that I use for nasty jobs. Not a big problem. I am still looking for a good used horizontal bandsaw, like the Kalamazoo we had at work.

04-26-2008, 02:02 PM
Yup, they're messy, and noisy.

But for certain jobs, they can't be beat, like cutting up angle iron, which tends to be rough on bandsaw blades, or cutting hardened materials...

+1 on the Dewalt, I bought mine used cheap, and aside from some dinged threads on the clamp(which I still haven't fixed:( ), it works great.


04-26-2008, 02:17 PM
...or cutting hardened materials...

That's the key to deciding whether to use an abrasive vs toothed saw. The abrasive saw shines (and leaves less burr) on hard nasty materials that the little 4x6 would run away from weeping for its mommy. Conversely, they don't do so well with soft materials like low, or even medium, carbon steels and aluminums, brasses and so on.

I've used the HF at home and the Milwaukee at work. I found the latter to be a good performer and very robust. The HF... well... uhmmm, not much to say about that one.

Alistair Hosie
04-26-2008, 02:21 PM
I have makita ! I think there stuff is tops over Dewalt anyday, good price very well made, and go on forever.My 2 cents worth :DAlistair

04-26-2008, 04:18 PM
After I got my DeWalt Multicutter carbide chop saw, the little bandsaw went dark for like 2 years. I never fired it up once. The carbide saw was faster, doesn't throw the nasty abrasive grit of an abrasive saw, and is quieter than the abrasive saw. It also leaves a decent finish in the cut--certainly as good as the little bandsaw.

Recently I rigged up a table for the bandsaw and it has come back into use for little small finicky things that the big chop won't do. It is also capable of cutting really large pieces the chop won't do either, such as a 6" cast iron blank I used to make a backplate for a lathe chuck.

It'd be tough for me to choose just 1, but if I had to, it would probably be the carbide saw.



04-26-2008, 04:24 PM
what about these evolution 'rage' cutoff saws, they seem ok although i like my old 'brown' with coolant, just keeps on cutting, HSS blade that gets resharpened for about $20

04-26-2008, 07:32 PM
Thanks for the input! Going to make some time to ride to town that has all the big box stores and make a purcase either Dewalt , Mikita or Ridgid. Will give plenty of attention to the Ryobi since it is at HD also.