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Best Chop Saws of 2019

Best Chop Saw Reviews of 2019

Best-in-class
Makita LC1230

Makita LC1230 12″ Metal Cutting Chop Saw

Best industrial-grade chop saw

This heavy-duty machine can cut all types of metals and withstands the most demanding applications.

#1: Makita LC1230 Review

Whether you’re working in constructions or need a powerful chop saw for your home renovation, the Makita LC1230 surely knows how to deliver performance. It is designed for metal cutting and comes with a 12-inch cold-cut blade.

Be it iron, tubing, light pipe, or conduit; this chop saw cuts through it with high precision and minimal deburring. The blade that comes with it is not the best for cutting stainless steel, but the tool is compatible with specific heavy-duty blades you can use for the purpose.

Thanks to a shaft lock system, changing the blade is also super-easy. We also like the adjustable guide plate that allows for convenient miter cuts at up to 45-degree angles.

Leaving freshly cut metal pieces cool to the touch, easy to handle, and highly performing, this is undoubtedly the best chop saw for heavy-duty applications.

Best value
Evolution RAGE4

Evolution Power Tools RAGE4 TCT Multipurpose Cutting Chop Saw

Best multipurpose chop saw

This versatile machine cuts a multitude of materials and is ideal for contractors and enthusiast DIYers.

#2: Evolution RAGE4 Review

If you want to cut more than metal, but still need a chop saw capable to handle heavy-duty applications, the Evolution Power Tools RAGE4 is the best choice for the money. It comes with a multipurpose blade that can cut metals, wood, and plastic.

This blade might not be the best for tougher metals, but you can always replace it with a specific metal cutting blade from the manufacturer. Designed for heavy-duty demands, this chop saw is also compatible with masonry diamond blades, and it can cut through concrete or tile.

The blade diameter is slightly smaller than Makita’s, a thing that makes it perfect for bolt trimming, slicing rebar, and other tradesman applications.

Just like our best-in-class, it is compatible with cold-cut blade types; it produces clean cuts and no sparks. Compact and portable, this chop saw is perfect for both DIYers and professionals.

Also great
DEWALT D28710

DEWALT D28710 14-Inch Abrasive Chop Saw

A great alternative

Less expensive chop saw utilizes an abrasive blade to cut through most metals and other materials.

#3: DEWALT D28710 Review

If you don’t mind a bit of spark and dealing with some burring aftermaths as long as you can save a buck, check out the DEWALT D28710.

This heavy-duty chop saw is perfect for a variety of applications, from metal to masonry cutting. Just know that it utilizes an abrasive blade that doesn’t produce very smooth results.

Like our top picks, this chop saw can make 45° miter cuts and features a quick-lock vise designed to hold the material securely while cutting. We also like that it has an adjustable spark guard.

Compatible with a wide range of abrasive wheels, easy to handle, and equipped with onboard blade change wrench storage, this chop saw is a great alternative for professionals on a lower budget.

Best budget
PORTER-CABLE PCE700

PORTER-CABLE PCE700 14″ Chop Saw

Best budget chop saw

An inexpensive abrasive chop saw ideal for home workshops and occasional use.

#4: PORTER-CABLE PCE700 Review

Similar to the DEWALT but less expensive, the PORTER-CABLE PCE700 is a great chop saw for lighter-duty applications.

Coming with a 14-inch abrasive blade designed for metal cutting, it can deal with most ferrous and non-ferrous metals. It doesn’t have quite the power of our other picks, but it’s still powerful enough to satisfy most hobbyists.

A spark deflector and quick release material clamp will surely enhance your safety, and we also like its heavy steel base that adds stability during operation.

Outputting decent performance considering its price, it surely is a great choice for those in search of a low-cost chop saw.

What is a chop saw?

A chop saw is an aggressive type of circular saw designed for industrial-grade applications. It can cut through most kinds of raw materials, including metal, wood, plastic, and even masonry.

This tool is often employed in construction or home renovation projects, and it is commonly used for cutting reinforcing bars, wood with metal in it, pipes, paving slabs, and other hard materials.

Types of chop saws

If you’re a construction worker or contractor who deals with heavy-duty cutting, you must first decide which type of chop saw is right for you. There are two types of chop saws to consider.

  • Metal chop saw: It is a specialized type of chop saw designed specifically for metal cutting. It is ideal for welders, metal workers, and metalworking hobbyists. These machines rotate the blade at lower speeds and output higher torque, a thing that makes them less suitable for cutting softer materials including wood and plastic.
  • Multipurpose chop saw: Working at higher speeds than metal chop saws, these tools are ideal for cutting a wide variety of materials, from wood to metal and plastic. Most of them come with factory multipurpose blades, but they tend to perform better when used with blades designed for the application (wood, metal, or abrasive blades). These chop saws are more suitable for domestic use, but also for contractors who have to cut through a wide variety of materials as part of their work.

Miter saw vs. chop saw

Due to the similar design of the two, many people wrongfully believe that a miter saw and a chop saw are different names of the same tool. However, the only thing the two have in common is that they are both circular saws that cut from top to bottom due to their drop-down style.

Traditionally, chop saws were characterized by big, 14-inch blades and could only perform straight 90° angle cuts, whereas miter saws came with smaller 10-12 inches blades and were designed for miter cuts (hence their name).

Trying to meet the needs of most consumers, manufacturers today propose a wide range of chop saw sizes; most of them are also capable of performing miter cuts. The main difference between the two tools is the higher torque of the chop saws, which are still designed for industrial or heavy-duty domestic applications. Miter saws, on the other hand, are designed for woodworking.

Miter saw

Chop saw

Primary application

Woodcutting

Metal/heavy-duty cutting

Blade size

7.25 – 12 inches

7.25 – 14 inches

Blade type

Wood

Metal/multipurpose/abrasive

Typical power

15 amps

15 amps

Specialty

Miter cuts

Straight 90° angle cuts

Suitable for

Woodworking, framing, molding projects

Cutting rafters, studs, joists, trusses, metalworking

Other circular saw types

Miter and chop saws are just two of the many types of circular saws. Depending on the application, you might also want to consider the following:

  • Handheld circular saw: Commonly called circular saw, this handheld tool is the most portable type. It can have a traditional or plunge design, and it is usually used for woodcutting, framing or flooring, soft metal cutting, and even tile cutting with an appropriate abrasive blade.
  • Tile saw: Also called a wet saw, this type of circular saw is designed specifically for cutting tiles and ceramic. It works with an abrasive blade that is cooled with water, and it is ideal for tile workers.
  • Table saw: Another versatile type of circular saw, the table saw is perhaps the most popular type used on job sites. It is usually employed to cut wood, but with the right blade, it can also slice through plastic, metal, and even tiles. Most table saws come with stands, are compact, and fairly portable.
  • Cabinet table saw: Designed for heavy-duty woodworking, this type of circular saw is often found in professional shops. Due to the large working area, such a saw is ideal for cutting large wood boards, but also other sheet materials including metals and plastic.

Abrasive vs. cold cut chop saw

Chop saws can be divided into abrasive chop saws and cold cut chop saws, based on the type of blade they use. Some models are compatible with both abrasive and cold cut blades; however, abrasive chop saws tend to use bigger blades, usually with a diameter of 14 inches.

Cold cut chop saws vary in size from mini chop saws equipped with 7.25-inch blades to regular size tools equipped with 12-inch blades.

Chop saw blades

Like we already mentioned, chop saws can have either abrasive or cold cut (typically tungsten-carbide-tipped) blades:

  • Abrasive blades: Similar to the wet tile saw blades, they are made from diamonds embedded in a metal mesh. These blades are designed for grinding rather than cutting and are usually used for industrial applications, including stainless steel and masonry cutting. They tend to produce a lot of sparks and the grinding action also heats up the material during the process, that’s why they are rarely used for lighter-duty or domestic applications. Indeed, many experts advise newbies to first learn how to use a chop saw with a cold cut blade before using the abrasive type. Abrasive blades usually produce rough, burred cuts.
  • Cold cut blades: These are carbide-tipped blades that equip most high-end multipurpose or metal cutting chop saws. They are designed to spin at higher speeds and produce less friction. Thus the material remains cold to the touch during the process. The cuts are also cleaner and smoother, with minimal deburring. Manufacturers make a wide range of multipurpose or metal cutting cold cut blades, but they might struggle to cut very hard metals, such as stainless steel. They are also more expensive than the abrasive blades.

Other essential features

A few other essential features can make or break the deal, especially if you plan to use the tool for high-volume applications. Here are a few things you should look after:

  • Ergonomic handle: The best chop saws on the market have ergonomic D-shape handles that are easier to maneuver for a longer time.
  • Chop saw stand: Necessary especially if you want to use the chop saw on a job site. It provides a stable surface for your saw. Most miter saw stands are also compatible with chop saws.
  • Spindle lock: This feature ensures a quick change of the blade. Some chop saws also have an onboard wrench storage space.
  • Spark deflector: An important feature if you plan to use your tool with an abrasive blade. This component keeps the blade away from the work area.
  • Miter adjustment: Most chop saws can also perform miter cuts, usually in the 0-45 degrees range. The miter adjustment rail ensures cut accuracy.
  • Lock-off button: An essential safety feature that prevents you from starting the machine accidentally.
  • Safety features: Other important safety features include overload and overheat break.

The best chop saw for the money

Best value
Evolution RAGE4

Evolution Power Tools RAGE4 TCT Multipurpose Cutting Chop Saw

Best multipurpose chop saw

This versatile machine cuts a multitude of materials and is ideal for contractors and enthusiast DIYers.

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