Typically used for straight cuts on metal and similar materials, chop saws are the basic workhorses you’ll likely find in a job site or shop. Compared to miter saws that have a bevel and crown molding feature (and are mostly for woodworking), chop saws, as the name implies, only chop up your material as precisely as possible so you can cut it depending on your needs for your project.
Below are some of the best chop saws by checking out its specs. It’s up to you to decide which of these bad boys will be the best for your needs.
My number one pick would be the DeWalt DW872 14-Inch Metal Cutting Saw due to its good cutting capacity of 5-3/16 inches (round) and 4-1/2 x 6-1/2 inches (rectangular) so you will easily adapt to any material. With its 15-amp 4 HP motor, it will handle overload problems efficiently without compromising on tool lifespan.
Its 14-inch carbide-tipped blade has 66 teeth will easily go through rebar and lumber due to its special design that doesn’t get hot after a finished cut. It has a 45-degree Quick-Fence feature that will allow angular cuts, unlike typical metal cutting saws, so you will be more flexible at work.
Aside from that, it keeps the material in place using the quick-lock vise, which is adjustable depending on the size of the material. There is also an ergonomic handle that will help with productivity and comfort.
With a wheel arbor size of 1 inch, it has a no-load speed of 1,300 RPM, a length of 21 inches, and tool weight of 47 pounds. It also has a spindle lock that allows you to safely remove the blade and make quick changes on the go. It is backed by a 3-year warranty from DeWalt.
Things I Like About This Product: The maximum cutting capacity is sufficiently good for iron/rebar and the ergonomic handle will make the cutting saw easy to grip.
Things to Keep in Mind Before Buying This Product: The no-load speed is not that high compared to most chop saws.
A slightly smaller option in terms of blade size would be the Makita LC1230 12-Inch Metal Cutting Saw. With a max cutting depth of 4-1/2 inches and a carbide-tipped blade, this one has a 45-degree quick-release support fence that enables easy miter cutting. Its 15-amp motor can cut up to 4 times faster compared to abrasive cut-off saws when working with angle iron, light pipe, and the like.
I like that it has a d-shaped handle that will help the user to get a better grip on the tool for stability and safety. Accidental starts won’t happen due to the lock-off button, which also adds to its safety features. For debris collection, I like the convenient shavings collection tray for easy management. Blade change is also simple using the socket wrench that can be stored on the base of the chop saw.
Another convenient function is the quick-release vise that allows easy on-and-off for the material for repetitive tasks. At 1,700 RPM for its no-load speed, it has a large cast aluminum base and a 1-inch arbor size. The motor brushes are also easily accessible outside of the tool so there’s no need to disassemble the chop saw when maintenance is necessary.
Things I Like About This Product: The d-shaped handle makes the tool comfortable and stable while the socket wrench allows for easy blade changes.
Things to Keep in Mind Before Buying This Product: The no-load speed is a bit low compared to most metal cutting saws.
If you want a faster cutting speed, the Porter-Cable PCE700 14-Inch Chop Saw takes the cake at 3,800 RPM on its 15-amp motor. It has replaceable brushes for easy maintenance while the quick-release material clamp will allow fast productivity when making repetitive cuts. There is a miter adjustment for the cutting fence (up to 45 degrees) for convenience and accuracy.
Stability is backed by its heavy-duty steel base while the spark deflector will make it easier to look into your material without getting blinded. In this way, the line of cut can be seen, allowing for fewer mistakes made when cutting the material in question.
Blade changes are also done in a simple way using the spindle lock to save you time and effort. It has a max cutting capacity of 4-3/4 x 5-1/3 inches for rounded objects. With a 1-inch arbor, this chop saw weighs 32 pounds and can handle up to 4 inches of PVC piping. It has an 8-foot power cord and is backed by a 3-year limited warranty.
Things I Like About This Product: It has a higher cutting speed than most chop saws of its class. The spark deflector will also make it easier to see the line of cut without annoyance when working with metal.
Things to Keep in Mind Before Buying This Product: It has a slight side to side movement but nothing too alarming to make it tip over.
The Makita LW1401 14-Inch Cut-Off Saw is a strong competitor with a 15-amp motor that delivers 3,800 RPM, which is also high-speed compared to others. With a 450-degree fence adjustment, it has 3 adjustments for material cutting locations. What I like is the power button that can be locked off using a two-stage mechanism to secure it in place without getting in the way of your work.
The vice adjustment doesn’t require tools to work with, allowing easier material clamping and security. It also has a spark guard to keep your eyes on the material without getting distracted. The cutting capacity is up to 5 inches of round stock, 4-11/16 inches of square tube, and up to 4 x 7-5/8 or 2-3/4 x 9/18 inches of rectangular tubing.
Since it is only 37 pounds, it is not too heavy compared to most chop saws. The ergonomic handle will make the user feel comfortable while the chain keeps the head downwards when you’re moving the tool.
Changing the cutting wheel is also a breeze due to the spindle lock and socket wrench. It is backed by a 1-year warranty and a 30-day satisfaction guarantee.
Things I Like About This Product: The chop saw is lightweight and easy to hold while the heavy-duty construction for the arm, fence metal, and spring will make it durable for long-term use.
Things to Keep in Mind Before Buying This Product: The 45-degree cuts of the fence isn’t as accurate as with other chop saws.
The Milwaukee 6177-20 14-Inch Chop Saw has a 15-amp 4 HP motor that has a 1-inch arbor size. With a speed of up to 3,900 RPM, it is one of the fastest in its class. The cutting capacity is up to 5 inches pipe with a pivoting fence angle of 45 degrees. Due to the handle-type trigger, holding the tool will become easy for long hours.
With a weight of 40 pounds, it has 3 rubber feet that will ensure stability when you’re working on any cutting task. It is applicable for use in sheet metal, piping, angle iron, rebar, and tubing. It has oversized wheel guards to keep you from getting material debris. Moreover, it has a spindle lock button that simplifies blade changes even when you’re wearing work gloves.
The vise clamp also has a straightforward design that makes adjustments easy depending on the material that you have. It is backed by a 5-year warranty.
Things I Like About This Product: The rubber feet will maintain its stability while the fast cutting speed of 3,900 RPM will get the job done easily.
Things to Keep in Mind Before Buying This Product: It is only for an abrasive blade (not a carbide blade) because of its fast speed. If you previously have carbide blades then they’re only usable on the slower chop saws (like the ones I mentioned at the top).
Yet another high-speed unit is the Metabo HPT CC14SFS 14-Inch Metal Chop Saw, which can run at up to 4,000 RPM using its 15-amp 2,000-watt motor. I like that it has a quick-lock and release vise mechanism that makes shifting materials a breeze when you’re in a hurry. For the miter function, it will cut up to 45 degrees in two directions and it will handle rebar, shaped steel, pipe, and up to 2 inches of square tube.
The unit comes with a hex bar wrench for installing the blade. Its weight is only 37.4 pounds so it is not that heavy compared to most chop saws in the market today. It also has a soft-grip d-handle to lessen user fatigue.
Made with a portable design for easy transferring between job sites, it has a spark guard that is adjustable for safety purposes. Another plus point in its safety repertoire is the trigger switch with a lock-off button. Changing the wheel is also simple due to the spindle lock and the carbon brushes are easy to access outside of the tool.
Things I Like About This Product: It has a fast cutting speed versus chop saws of its class. The trigger switch, lock-off button, and spark guard will provide user safety and comfort.
Things to Keep in Mind Before Buying This Product: The blade cover doesn’t have a roller for convenience/safety. The cutting disc included is not that accurate but you can easily buy a different one for it.
Ideal for dry cutting, the Evolution S355CPSL 14-Inch Metal Cutting Chop Saw has a carbide-tipped blade and a 45-degree miter function. Due to the tungsten-carbide construction, it will less likely create sparks, allowing you to easily manage your material and maintain visibility. It can be used for steel, stainless steel, aluminum, and thin steel with the right blade.
With a 10-foot power cord, the speed is at 1,450 RPM since it uses a carbide blade. It has a 15-amp motor and a head lock down pin feature along with a carry handle for portability. Due to the chip deflector, it will make clean up simple and fuss-free for the operator. It even has a v-shaped block that will further secure any square or round tube material.
The integrated tool storage makes blade changes fast and easy while the ambidextrous trigger has a textured grip for comfort. It is backed by a 3-year warranty.
Things I Like About This Product: It has securing material, such as a v-shaped block, to ensure round and square tubes don’t move an inch while you’re cutting them. The tungsten-carbide composition of the blade will give it fewer sparks that will distract your work.
Things to Keep in Mind Before Buying This Product: The speed is not that high even for a chop saw that uses a carbide blade.
The Methodology: What I Considered When Picking the Chop Saws Featured Above
So, how did I pick the chop saws mentioned above? Here are some factors in my decision (and you should use them in choosing as well):
1. Blade material
Two blade materials are commonly used for chop saws: carbide and abrasive. Carbide blades are typically used for units that only have a slow no-load speed, such as 1,000 to 2,000 RPM. On the other hand, abrasive blades are meant for the fast speeds of around 3,000 to 4,500 RPM for tougher jobs.
You should consider which chop saw to get depending on the type of blade you have in mind, which will work with different kinds of materials.
2. Cutting speed
As I mentioned above, cutting speeds are related to the blade material. If you choose a 1,000 to 2,000 RPM speed, they use carbide blades while faster speeds use abrasive ones. Check your project material and timeframe to see if the cutting speed is enough for you. Choosing the wrong cutting speed for the blade will ruin the material and the motor, especially since chop saws are typically used for metal.
3. Cutting capacity
Know the cutting capacity of your chop saw. Since it is only capable of up and down miter cuts, this may seem like an easy task but the problem lies when you consider various materials such as rebar, angle iron, mild steel, piping, and the like. Check the specifications of the chop saw to know if it is okay to cut a material in a given size or diameter.
4. Material locking mechanism
To lock the material in place, the clamping style should be as secure as possible. This is very important if you are working with piping or anything that is round since it will easily slide off unlike square or rectangular pieces. You will need a tight clamp or locking mechanism if you’re going to work with rebar, piping, and similar materials.
5. Tool weight
Although weight is less of a concern for chop saws since they need more stability, the problem is more seen if you need to move the unit from one area of the job site to another. Most chop saws weigh around 30 to 40 pounds, unlike miter saws that can be as heavy as 50 to 60 pounds. That’s because chop saws are basic cutters whereas miter saws have bevel and crown molding capabilities.
6. Ease of handling
A comfortable handle that’s soft enough to grip for hours will be helpful if you need to operate a chop saw for a long time (or daily). Like with most power tools, an ergonomic and non-slip handle is always helpful to avoid user fatigue and make it easy to control the tool even when you’re wearing gloves.
What’s more, convenient features such as a trigger lock switch will help reduce the likelihood of accidental startup, which is bad for your motor (and your safety). This is going to help a lot if you’re operating with gloves.
7. Blade switching
When you buy a chop saw, you are most likely not going to solely depend on the included blade. If you need to switch between blades, having a spindle lock will speed up this process, allowing you to focus more on the job rather than the blade change. This is also going to improve your productivity if you need to meet deadlines without hurting a finger or arm.
8. Material switching
As a cutting tool, chop saws also need fast material switching if you want to get the job done quickly. A feature that hastens material switching, such as a quick-release mechanism for the vise clamp/grip, would be useful in such situations. When you are performing repetitive cuts, material switching conveniences like that are a plus point in any chop saw.
9. Spark guard
Chop saws are mainly used for metal and steel, such as rebar, piping, sheet metal, and the like. Sparks are going to fly (literally, not figuratively) when you make your cut on such materials so you’ll need a chop saw that has a spark guard. Fortunately, most of my picks mentioned above have adjustable spark guards to keep your material visible to create accurate cuts.
10. Warranty policy
If you want a reliable and dependable chop saw for long-term use, check its warranty policy. Most chop saws in the market have a 3-year or even 5-year warranty because they are meant for heavy-duty use in a shop or a job site. Know which damages are covered by the warranty and where you can avail of it. Most reputable power tool brands such as Makita, DeWalt, Milwaukee, and the like offer good warranty policies.
If you want the best chop saw for most metal cutting tasks, I’d have to recommend the DeWalt DW872 14-Inch Metal Cutting Saw. While the speed might not be the highest, it will be just fine for delicate materials due to its carbide blade. Another similar slow-speed unit is the Makita LC1230 12-Inch Metal Cutting Saw which has a smaller blade. Nonetheless, both of them have a comfortable handle for long hours of use.
For those who are looking for high-speed units, the Porter-Cable PCE700 14-Inch Chop Saw is an option for you, as well as the Milwaukee 6177-20 14-Inch Chop Saw and the Metabo HPT CC14SFS 14-Inch Metal Chop Saw. These use abrasive blades compared to carbide blades so they are more ideal for heavy-duty jobs versus precision work.
The Makita LW1401 14-Inch Cut-Off Saw is a lightweight unit that is ideal for projects involving moving from one room to another. If you often work with tubes, the securing block of the Evolution S355CPSL 14-Inch Metal Cutting Chop Saw will help to make accurate cuts.