Warehouse Address:
15939 Industrial Parkway
Cleveland, OH 44135
Phone: 216-433-7171

Billing/Mailing Address:
16000 Commerce Park Drive
Brook Park, Ohio 44142

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What Are the Different Types of Metal Cutting Saws?

What Are the Different Types of Metal Cutting Saws?
July 29, 2021

When it comes to choosing the right saw for your industrial or production needs, there are so many factors to consider. Allset Machinery understands that this sometimes complex decision-making process can be overwhelming, so here we discuss some key features and details to make things easier for you.

We will give you key data on several kinds of metal-cutting saws that we stock and sell.

Metal-cutting saws that Allset sells:

  • Vertical and Horizontal band saws
  • Upcut saws
  • Circular cold saws
  • Chop saws


Band saws utilize a continuous blade in the form of a band which then rotates around two wheels. They can be used for a wide range of cutting tasks, including:

  • Cutting metal stock down to smaller, more manageable sizes
  • Filing and polishing the metal to finish the product
  • Cutting pipes and bar stock to length

Band saws do generally require extra maintenance stemming from their additional built-in features. Coolant keeps the blades cool and lubricated while brushes and brush wheels can help to keep metal chips away from the blade. Band saws can cut through a wide range of materials, making them a must-have in large-scale and hobbyist operations alike.

Vertical Band Saws

Vertical band saws are typically freestanding and may be set on a bench or mounted on a floor stand. Vertical band saws can be used to cut wood or metal, depending on the blade you’re using. The saw is stationary and the blade is running while the operator manipulates any material being cut. Blade width, material, and operator experience will all help to determine the intricacy of cuts. Vertical band saws make it possible to cut through bundles of metal rods and lengths of conduit, while still enabling operators to create intricate patterns.

Vertical Band Saws: Pros and Cons

PROS: Because you are able to move the object you’re cutting while using a vertical band saw, you can achieve a wider range of cuts and more precise work than you could with hand-held options. Vertical band saws often include a blower to lower blade temperature and make for a cleaner work surface, and can possibly include a built-in welder. Because vertical models are generally smaller and more affordable, they fit perfectly in a personal shop that doesn’t require a high production output.

CONS: Any vertical band saw will be limited by cutting capacity – the width and depth of the throat. This limitation will naturally restrict the actual size and types of material that can be cut. The clamping system differs from horizontal models also and can result in comparatively less-precise cuts. Since the saw is stationary, it doesn’t have the range of use of a horizontal model and if used improperly can open operators to more potential for injury.

Horizontal Band Saws

The horizontal metal band saw is generally used to cut the stock down to size, whereas the vertical saw can be used for more intricate jobs such as filing, polishing, and contour cutting.

If you have enough space in your workshop and coin in your pocket, investing in one of each would be ideal. This would save from changing your vertical/horizontal around each time, and a machine specifically crafted for one use is going to be of higher quality than one with shared capabilities.

The horizontal band saw works with larger pieces of stock so is likely to suit the functions required for a higher production workshop. Although those points should be considered, they still don’t completely determine whether you should have one or the other.


Just as the name suggests, upcut (or “up cut”) saws conceal the blade until the moment of cutting. Once the operator pushes the correct buttons, safety mechanisms will engage and cutting can begin. These powerful saws produce accurate results and make fast work of cutting non-ferrous metals. Saw blade feed can be hydro-pneumatic and this type of saw can perform both miter and straight cuts.

Upcut Saws: Pros and Cons

PROS: Upcut saws allow for high production volume, thanks to speedy and accurate cutting abilities, the capacity for large blades, and higher horsepower. Upcut saws also make it easier to cut smoothly through thicker rounds, squares, and bundled or stacked materials. Protective hoods not only house the blade, but also work to contain flying chips. These and other layers of built-in safety redundancy features can reduce the potential for injury or accident, serving as an affordable way to help keep operators safe.

CONS: All in all it’s hard to list disadvantages associated with the use of upcut saws. If a workforce is particularly averse to involuntary safety precautions, this type of saw may present some minor inconvenience or lack of direct control.


Cold saws are a classic option for metal cutting. They typically comprise a blade and motor connected to an arm that is set to a pivot point, enabling the spinning blade to move down vertically through the material being cut. As do other saw varieties, cold saws chip material as the blade spins, effectively transferring the heat generated from the cut. Liquid coolant is used also, both to regulate the temperature of the material and lubricate the teeth of the blade. They can be used to achieve accurate cuts on many different shapes, including rods, tubes, and extrusions. Use cold saws for a variety of larger and heavier metals, and to execute both straight and angled cuts.

Circular Cold Saws: Pros and Cons

PROS: Cold saws are versatile, able to cut both soft and hard metals, making for an all-around great option for many production needs. For high-production and repetitive projects, accurate tolerance and finish are vital to the final product. Cold saws can achieve that with variable blade speed and feed rates. When cold saws are operated and maintained correctly, sparks, discoloration, and dust are significantly decreased as well. Size, hardness, finish, and practicality are some key factors to consider.

Materials cut by a cold saw will not retain heat in the final product, increasing efficiency and reducing chance of injury. Additionally, cold saw blades – generally high-speed steel (HSS) or tungsten carbide-tipped (TCT) – can be sharpened many times. This increases cost-effectiveness and should the blade need to be changed entirely, downtime is minimal.

CONS: Because cold saws transfer heat into the chips, those bits of metal can be very hot and create a potential for injury from burns. For very small-scale (lengths under 0.125” (3.175 mm)) and fine cutting, or when using tubing with very small diameters, cold saws might not be the best option. The necessary hardness of the blades that allow for accuracy can also make them brittle and susceptible to damage from shock or vibration. They are also costly to replace. Cold saws can result in increased kerf – material loss due to blade thickness. This can eventually reduce overall production rates and increase costs. And though cold saws can cut most metals, they cannot cut very hard metals, such as those harder than the blade itself. Bundled cutting is also limited to very small diameter parts.


The cutting method behind the abrasive chop saw is removing material through grinding and wearing away. Abrasive chop saws often feature a tabletop-style construction with a fixed base that could employ a built-in clamp to secure cutting materials. The cutting wheel and motor are generally mounted on a pivoting arm. Cutting discs or abrasive saws may be crafted using diamond and cubic boron nitride.

Abrasive Chop Saws: Pros and Cons

PROS: Blades on chop saws turn very fast, allowing for quick cutting of even very hard metals. Because of this, chop saws can tear through large quantities of materials and the need to change blades is reduced. Abrasive chop saws are economical options for shops that need to get through large amounts of metal cutting in a short period of time. This tool will easily become the most efficient and frequently used equipment on site.

CONS: Chop saws are fast, but that also comes with a loud, messy, and hot operation. That can make chop saws hazardous if they’re being used in an area that contains flammable substances, and also mean that cut materials can’t be used until they cool down. Abrasive chop saws also lose accuracy when they gain speed and can lead to less-than-clean cuts. Resulting burrs and additional squaring up will increase processing time. Softer metals aren’t well suited to chop saws, since the blade’s grinding action can cause them to gum up the blade, rendering it useless. Once chop saw blades are worn down, they cannot be sharpened and will require replacement.

What Materials Can Be Cut?

Metal cutting saws are meant to be able to handle a variety of materials. Variables of course will come into play, and every material will have ideal cutting requirements and blade design. Here are some commonly cut metals:

  • Mild Steel - Chop Saw
  • Stainless Steel - Chop Saw
  • Aluminum and non-ferrous materials - Chop Saw or Upcut Saw
  • Copper - Chop Saw
  • Brass - Chop Saw
  • Metal Bars and Solids - Abrasive Saw
  • Wire Rope - Dry Cutting Saw
  • Tube and Pipes - Dry Cutting Saw
  • Structural Steel - Dry Cutting Saw
  • Hydraulic Hose - Fast Dry Cutting Saw

Please reach out to our knowledgeable team for suggestions on the best solution for your metal cutting needs. Allset Machinery is here to help you find an efficient way to get the job done.

Metal Saw Safety

Every type of metal cutting saw is a powerful, industrial tool. They can each be dangerous in their own way, and inexperienced or inattentive users are especially at risk. Allset Machinery encourages customers to use appropriate PPE, safety equipment, and related protocols. Be sure to inquire about additional features and factors such as motor size and cutting capacity – these model-specific details can make the difference in ease of use and smooth operation.

Allset Machinery: Cleveland’s Source for High-Quality Used Industrial Metalworking Equipment

At Allset, we pride ourselves on offering saws of all kinds to satisfy businesses’ metal cutting needs. And because we provide high-quality used and preowned equipment, we can also offer customers affordable options. The equipment we have available is able to cut most types of metal, commonly being used in production, maintenance, fabrication and countless other applications.

Peruse our saw options online and contact us for more information. Please feel free to ask any team member for help in selecting the best model of metal saw for your business’s needs – reach out today!


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Warehouse Address:
15939 Industrial Parkway
Cleveland, OH 44135
Phone: 216-433-7171

Billing/Mailing Address:
16000 Commerce Park Drive
Brook Park, Ohio 44142

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All Rights Reserved 2024, Allset Machinery
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