The general purpose hand saw is the most popular type of hand saw and one that most home owners will be familiar with. This can also be called a panel saw, rip saw or even just a wood saw. If you don't own one of these, then you probably should. They are great for general purpose cutting and sometimes it is just as quick to use one of these than go to the bother of setting up a power saw.

The construction of a hand saw is basic as they literally have a handle and a blade. The handles will either be made of plastic or wood and some may have a soft grip with finger grips. These are not expensive to buy and the typical general purpose hand saw costs around £10-£15 in the UK. You can buy them at any DIY store and there are lots of choices online.

Just below we show you the parts of a typical hand saw, and we have then checked out the top 5 best selling hand saws that are currently available on the UK market. Underneath those, we have a full buyer's guide, if you are someone who likes a lot of detail.

“Over the years we have used hundreds of hand saws for a whole range of tasks. No one saw will do every single task, but a good quality hand saw is great for general purpose wood cutting. You may also a slightly different one if you want to do fine cuts, or to use when cutting breeze blocks or trees.”

Just below we have shown you the names for the various parts of a hand saw. As you can see they are a very basic tool that has a handle with a steel blade attached and teeth on one side of that blade.

best hand saw uk

Top 7 Hand Saws in the UK

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We have listed just below the best 7 hand saws currently available on the UK market:

  1. Spear & Jackson B98SF Predator Second Fix Saw - Best Seller UK (Our recommendation)
  2. Stanley 515289 FatMax Heavy-duty Handsaw - Best Heavy Duty hand saw
  3. Irwin Jack Plus 880 Universal Handsaw - Cheapest hand saw
  4. Spear & Jackson B9822 Predator Universal Saw - Best for DIY
  5. Draper 82196 Venom First Fix Double Ground 8PPI Handsaw - Best hand saw for Plastic, Plasterboard and planed timber
  6. Barbarossa 20” 500mm Pro Hand Saw - Popular UK buy
  7. Presch Hand Saw - Best for fine cuts and laminates and fits most tool boxes

1. Spear & Jackson B98SF Predator Second Fix Saw - Best Seller

Spear & Jackson B98SF Predator Second Fix Saw

This saw is 20" (550ml) long and it weighs 0.45 Kg. It is available in a number of models for fine finishes to standard finish cuts. It can also be bought with a blade that can do laminates, UPVC & plastic or for cutting insulation blocks.

  • This saw has what is classed as a rigid blade which greatly reduces whip actions and minimises vibrations.
  • This is one of the highest buyer rated and best selling hand saws on the UK market right now.
  • The fine finish saw has 10TPI
  • When I used this one, it was really sharp, fast and left a really neat finish.

PROS

  • 77 out of 100 buyers give this a 5 star review
  • A very good quality general purpose saw as it can cut anything from branches to planed timber
  • This is a very sharp saw and the teeth are hardened to make it last longer.
  • This is excellent value for money

CONS

  • 2 out of 100 buyers give this a poor review
  • A couple of buyers said they wished it had a cover

Check Amazon UK. Average Price: £9. Gets a 92% buyer satisfaction rating from 3,000+ buyers

Our Opinion: The number of reviews tells us that this saw sells really well and it's another very good choice for general DIY. This is a good saw if you are working with framing, decking and general wood cutting around the home and garden. Spear & Jackson are a well recognised British brand, and this saw is a strong seller for them.

2. Best Heavy Duty Hand Saw- Stanley 515289 FatMax Heavy-duty Handsaw

Stanley 515289 FatMax Heavy-duty Handsaw 22-inch

This saw is 22" long (550mm) and it is also available as a 20" (500ml) and it weighs 0.53 lbs (0.24 Kg)

The saw has a 7 TPI which means it is designed for fast heavy duty cutting of wood, and also trees and branches

The teeth have also been hardened to improve the lifetime of the saw, and they have also been grounded to make them really sharp and tough

The entire purpose of this saw is about the speed of cutting and it is really fast and with the minimum of effort

The handle is solid and the back of the saw blade can act as a 45 and 90 degree guide.

PROS

  • 83 out of 100 buyers give this a 5 star review
  • Delivers very fast cutting for the rough cutting of wood such as 2 x 4s, sheets of plywood or trees and branches
  • Many buyers bought this to cut through garden sleepers and all seemed pleased with the results
  • Other buyers bought this to cut branches for a wood store and again all of those were pleased with the outcome

CONS

  • 1 out of 100 buyers give this a poor review
  • It isn't suitable where you need a fine or neat finish
  • It is a lot more expensive that other brands

Check Amazon UK. Average Price: £34. Gets a 94% buyer satisfaction rating from 600+ buyers

Our Opinion: With 7TPI the cut is going to be rough but when it comes to doing heavy duty sawing, that really doesn't matter a great deal. The vast majority of buyers sing the praises of this hand saw and there are little to no complaints about the quality of it. This is a very good hand saw from the well known Stanley tool brand that does exactly what it says. When I used it certainly rips through the timber and the finish is good enough without being a fine finish.

3. Cheapest Hand Saw - Irwin Jack Plus 880 Universal Handsaw

IRWIN JACK PLUS 880 Universal Handsaw 20'' (500mm)

This saw is 20" (500ml) long and it weighs 0.92 lbs (0.42 Kg)

  • The blade is made from top quality C75 steel and has an 8 TPI which means it is designed for fast heavy duty cutting of wood, and also trees and branches
  • The teeth have been triple ground to make them really sharp and tough
  • The entire purpose of this saw is about the speed of cutting and it is really fast and with the minimum of effort
  • The handle is solid and the back of the saw blade can act as a 45 and 90 degree guide, and also has a finger rest

PROS

  • 74 out of 100 buyers give this a 5 star review
  • The cheapest on the UK market from a very good brand
  • Many buyers, including professionals, use this as it is cheap to replace when the teeth do wear out and stops them having to sharpen a more expensive handsaw
  • This is a good choice for general DIY
  • A number of buyers used this on trees and branches to good effect.

CONS

  • 1 out of 100 buyers give this a poor review
  • Will bend too much if forced so slow and steady sawing is required

Check Amazon UK. Average Price: £7. Gets a 92% buyer satisfaction rating from 1,400+ buyers

Our Opinion: Irwin tools are usually expensive but this saw is the exception to that rule. Most of the writers here on our website use this one as it is just a good saw at the lowest price. Some buyers get a couple of these, one for their garage/shed and one for their toolbox. It works best when long steady strokes are used rather then trying to force the saw through the wood.

4. Spear & Jackson B9822 Predator Universal Saw - Best for DIY

Spear & Jackson B9822 Predator Universal Saw, 22" x 8pts

This saw is 22" (550ml) long and it weighs 0.45Kg

  • This is a great choice for general use when cutting all types of wood including all types of timber, hardwood, chipboard and MDF
  • It has a 45 and 90 degree angle guide
  • We really like the grip on this saw and it also is very comfortable when using the saw even for longer periods of time

PROS

  • 78 out of 100 buyers give this a 5 star review
  • A very good quality general purpose saw as it can cut anything from branches to planed timber
  • This is a sharp saw and the teeth are hardened and last for a good length of time.
  • The cuts are clean and ideal for most DIY tasks in the home or garden

CONS

  • 2 out of 100 buyers give this a poor review
  • A couple of buyers didn't like the handle

Check Amazon UK. Average Price: £14. Gets a 92% buyer satisfaction rating from 3,000+ buyers

Our Opinion: The number of reviews tells us that this saw sells really well and it's another very good choice for general DIY. This is a good saw if you are working with framing, decking and general wood cutting around the home and garden.  I liked this one as it cuts through the wood quickly and very cleanly.

5. Best for Plastic, Plasterboard and planed timber - Draper 82196 Venom Handsaw

Draper Venom 550mm 8PPI First Fix Double Ground Tool Box Wood Hand Saw

This saw is 22" (550ml) long and it weighs 0.79 lbs (0.35 Kg) It is also available as a 350mm length and a 500mm length.

  • The blade is made from good quality SK5 carbon steel and has an 8 TPI which means it is designed for fine and neat cutting -  This saw will do finer cuts on planed timber such as skirting, banister rails etc
  • The teeth have been double ground to make them sharp and tough and the blade has been coated with an ultra-tough lacquer protecting the blade from corrosion whilst easing friction when sawing
  • The handle has a soft grip and the back of the saw blade can act as a 45 and 90 degree guide, and also has a finger rest

PROS

  • 71 out of 100 buyers give this a 5 star review
  • A very good quality general purpose saw as it can cut anything from branches to planed timber
  • This is a sharp saw and the teeth are hardened and last for a good length of time.
  • The cuts are clean and ideal for most DIY tasks in the home or garden

CONS

  • 3 out of 100 buyers give this a poor review
  • A couple of buyers didn't like the handle

Check Amazon UK. Average Price: £9. Gets a 90% buyer satisfaction rating from 2,500+ buyers

Our Opinion: The number of reviews tells us that this saw sells really well and it's another very good choice for general DIY. This is a good saw if you are working with framing, decking and general wood cutting around the home and garden. Draper are a British brand who make a range of affordable tools for those in the trade or for home use.

6. Barbarossa 20” 500mm Pro Hand Saw

Barbarossa 20” 500mm Pro Hand Saw,Perfect for 1st Fix Heavy Duty Sawing

This saw is 20" (500ml) long and it weighs 0.92 lbs (0.42 Kg) It is also available in a 22" version.

  • The blade is made from carbon steel and has an 8 TPI which means it is designed for fast cutting of wood, and can also cut trees and branches
  • The teeth are staggered hard point teeth for longer life
  • The handle is made from ABS plastic with soft finger grips and is slip resistant

They are the only brand we could find who offer a 100% money back guarantee

WE LIKE

  • 68 out of 100 buyers give this a 5 star review
  • Most buyers get this one as they want a hand saw for general purpose use
  • Many buyers thought it was very good value for money
  • Quite a number of people also bought this for branch cutting and were pleased with the results

WE DON'TLIKE

  • 2 out of 100 buyers give this a poor review
  • Can be hard to use as it is quite aggressive
  • Some buyers say it is not that sharp

Check Amazon UK. Average Price: £9. Gets a 90% buyer satisfaction rating from 1,400+ buyers

Our Opinion: We are not that fond of this particular hand saw. It is on our list because many UK people buy it. In our opinion the three above are better choices. We noticed during our research that the saw is hard to get started on the first cut and that the blade does tend to bend under force. There are not a lot of complaints but there are enough for us to flag them to our readers.

7. Presch Hand Saw

Presch Hand Saw 450mm

This is a smaller saw at 450mm (17.7") and weighs 0.91 lbs (0.42 Kg) - also known as a foxtail saw and made to fit inside most tool boxes.

It is designed to be used by joiners and carpenters for the fine cutting of wood including laminates

It has  a mild steel blade with 11TPI - the blade also has an integrated centimetre ruler along the top of the blade (up to 30cm)

It has a non-slip soft grip handle

WE LIKE

  • 65 out of 100 buyers give this a 5 star review
  • An ideal choice for finer work and those who want to have a very neat finish to their work
  • UK buyers say this saw is very accurate and great at straight line cutting
  • Buyers say the grip on this saw is excellent and makes cutting a great deal faster and easier

WE DON'TLIKE

  • 3 out of 100 buyers give this a poor review
  • More expensive mainly due to the increased number of TPI

Check Amazon UK. Average Price: £9. Gets an 88% buyer satisfaction rating from 350+ buyers

Our Opinion: We like this one and it fills a gap for many buyers. Tenon saws are better for really fine cuts. However they are short in length and this saw fills that gap when you need a fine cut on larger pieces of wood. This is also a better choice for those of us who prefer neat and tidy cuts rather than speedy rougher cuts.

Hand Saw Buying Guide

Just below we explain what to look out for when buying a hand saw. They aren't complicated tools and they aren't that expensive. Nonetheless, they do cost money, and anything that helps our readers spend that wisely is worth knowing.

TPI on a Hand Saw

On hand saws, the blades can vary in length, and the number of teeth in the blade is the most important thing to understand when buying one. The number of teeth is usually measured in teeth per inch (TPI)

  • Less than 7 teeth - for coarse cutting of rough wood, and tree branches
  • 7-11 TPI is called a medium coarse cut - suitable for most woodworking jobs and ideal general purpose
  • Greater than 12 teeth is for finer cuts - when you want a neat and tidy finish

Teeth Per Inch

Use

7 TPI

Rough sawn timber, roofing joists, garden posts

8 TPI

Timber planks, hardwood, chipboard, MDF

10 TPI

Soft wood planks, blocks, sheets, planed wood, skirting, architraves, dado rails

13 TPI

Joint cutting, picture frames, tenon joints

14 TPI

Laminate flooring, formica, beading, plastic sills, plastic trims and plastic pipes

15 TPI

Joint cutting, picture frames, tenon joint, pelmets, mouldings, dowels, coving

Do you really need a hand saw?

Power saws like circular saws, jigsaws, mitre saws etc are now more affordable than ever. The question is, do you really need a hand saw. We would strongly recommend that you do buy and own one of these. They aren't expensive and they are just really handy.

They can be used to get rid of a few annoying branches or shrubs quickly, and are easier to find and use to do quick cuts of wood. Rather than the hassle of pulling out and setting up a power saw, the hand saw will do the job. It isn't something we would reach for to build a fence, but it might be handy to cut the top of a post that the power saw can't.

The length of a hand saw

The most popular lengths of a handsaw are 20" and 22" (500 and 550mm). You can also get them in other sizes but the vast majority of people will buy either one of the above sizes. Does the length of the blade really matter?

When you use a hand saw properly you become very good at developing a long stroke action. That way more of the teeth come into contact with the material that you are cutting. That is a much better cutting action that doing short stab like strokes. That short stroke only works the centre of the blade teeth and wears those out faster.

The length of the stroke is determined by how far you can move your arm backwards and then forwards. People with longer arms, usually taller people, will get a longer stroke so a 22" saw will suit them better. It won't make a world of difference but every little helps.

Blade Types

All blades on hand saws are made from some type of steel. They can be mild steel or carbon steel. The better saws will have some sort of lacquer on them as that helps prevent rust, and also makes the saw slide easier when sawing. The more important thing to understand is that you want some movement in the saw blade, but not too much.

If you have ever used a hand saw, you may notice that when you apply force, the blade may shift to one side. You tend to find that with really cheap pound shop saws. That is because the blade is just to thin. At the other side of this is that you don't want a thick blade that is inflexible as that can just stick when cutting.

Most hand saw blade are 1-2mm thick and that is ideal.

Hand Saw - Teeth Per Inch (TPI)

Most hand saws have around 7-8 TPI which is ideal for general purpose DIY work and jobs around the home and garden. Joiners and carpenters will own one of these and they will also own finer cut hand saws with more teeth per inch.

A saw such as the Stanley 2-15-599"Jet Cut" Fine Hand Saw will have 11 TPI and this can be used when a really good finish is required. Most DIY people don't need this type of saw unless they want a perfect finish.

For cutting trees, hand saws tend to have anything up to 7TPI and the teeth are often referred to as "shark teeth." This type of hand saw tends to cut on both the up and the down strokes.

Hand Saw Handles

Most hand saws have a hard plastic (ABS) handle. These are normally glued on and/or are riveted together. In the better hand saws. this ABS handle will be covered with some type of rubber to give a softer grip. Hard plastic without a cover tends to cause blisters if using the saw for a long time, and here the rubberised grip can make a big difference. Some hand saws, and usually more expensive ones, will have a wooden grip.

As well as the grip, having the handle fit your hand properly is also really important, especially if you have larger hands or want to use the saw while wearing gloves. Always make sure there is enough room to get your fingers through the handle for the best grip.

Hand Saw Hanging Hole

Most hand saws will have an elliptical shaped hole at the toe of the blade. This allows you to hang the saw up on a nail or screw in your shed or garage. This is not that big a deal but it does make it that little bit easier to store.

How to use a hand saw properly

The short 2 minute video below shows you how to use a hand saw for the best efficiency of cutting. There are also a couple of useful tips to stop the saw from bending and to stop it from sticking.

General Purpose Hand Saw Summary

We would always recommend owning a hand saw as it is just a really useful general purpose tool. If you are not sure which one to get, then go with the Irwin Jack as it is cheap and does an excellent job. If you really want a hand saw for trees or branches, then go with the Stanley model as that one is best for that.

Most DIY people will have one of these and a general purpose hand saw is all that you need. Joiners and carpenters are the only people who will want to have a range of hand saws in their tool kit. For most of us something basic is ideal.

Hand Saw FAQ

How to stop a hand saw from rusting?

Always store the saw in a dry cool place where possible. Avoid storing anywhere there is a combination of damp and moisture. (an unheated garage or shed) Clean and dry the saw after use and lightly coat the blade of the saw with a light machine oil or WD40.

How to stop a hand saw from sticking?

Clean the saw after every use as it really only takes a minute or so to do this and keep the blade as dry as you can.  We recommend using a quick spray of WD 40 or light machine oil before cutting as this helps the saw from sticking.

What is the best hand saw for cutting wood?

The best hand saw for cutting wood is the Spear & Jackson Predator

What is the best hand saw for cutting blocks?

The best hand saw for cutting blocks is the Neilsen 20" Masonry Saw. It is a good choice hand saw that cuts concrete, stone, brick and paving. A good choice if you don't own or don't want to buy a power tool. It gets an 84% satisfaction rating and is available on Amazon UK.

What is the best hand saw for cutting trees?

The best hand saw for cutting trees is a bow saw rather than a hand saw.

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