Last updated: 16/10/2022

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Today, at ReviewBox Brasil, we are going to talk about the best options for tico-tico saws and bring you all the tips on how you should choose the most suitable model for your reality. This type of electric saw has a small blade that makes a back-and-forth motion.

The tico-tico saw is ideal for making irregular cuts or with curvatures that cannot be done with other types of electric saws.

If you want to know more about how it works, which are the best models, their prices and also learn how to qualify a fret saw, we can help you with this complete guide. Come with us!


  • The fret saw is a power tool that allows you to make precise cuts. Unlike other types of saws, as you will see and compare here in this article.
  • It can be used for various crafts, cutting plywood, thin wood, aluminium and even some metals.
  • The price of a fret saw starts at around £100 and can go up to £1,000. Therefore, there are options for all the pockets and you will understand the differences along this guide.

The best Fret Saw: Our Picks

Many questions arise when you need to buy a new product. And this guide aims to solve all of them when it comes to fret saws. For now, we want to present you the best models of this type of electric saw. Check out the ranking below:

Buying Guide

The fret saw is a powerful and delicate tool at the same time. It is suitable for cutting various materials, especially wood, but can make very detailed parts.

Continue with us to learn everything about this type of electric saw. By the end of this guide you will know how to choose the perfect model for you.

What is a fret saw and how do I use it?

A fret saw is a power tool in which a blade makes a back and forth motion up and down. You move it with your hand to make cuts in almost any shape.

With it, you can work with many different types of cuts, especially those that need more freedom for curvatures and more delicate work, such as crafts.

The sabot saw is a tool that does not require much strength to handle, being more delicate than circular saws or marble saws, for example. Therefore, as it is a more delicate tool, if used incorrectly, it can deform the blade or even break it.

One advantage of this type of saw is that it produces less dust than circular saws. Thanks to this it can be used in your home without making a mess.

If you want to better understand how to use a fret saw, check out the video below. It has several tips on how to make different types of cuts and the necessary care not to damage your fret saw.

What’s the difference between the fret saw and the circular saw?

You’ve already learned a lot about the fret saw, now you may be wondering the difference between it and the circular saw, so we’ll explain how one of these works and help you decide which model is right for you.

First, check out some advantages and disadvantages of the fret saw, when comparing it specifically to the circular saw:

  • Makes detailed cuts
  • Less mess
  • Requires less force to operate it
  • Can”t cut very hard wood
  • Has less power
  • The blade is more delicate and can deform or break

The circular saw, on the other hand, is a tool indicated to make cuts in general, and is often used with wood in civil construction and furniture. The cut is made by a toothed circular saw blade that is usually 18 cm in diameter.

If you intend to do jobs where only straight cuts will be made, the circular saw can be a good option.

The advantage is that it has greater power and can be used for thick wood, such as that used for roofing houses, for example. The disadvantage of the circular saw is that it doesn’t make it possible to make cuts with small details.

Below we have prepared a table highlighting the main differences between fret saws and circular saws.

Tico-tic saw Circular saw
Type of cut Cuts with details Cuts in a straight line
Cutting instrument Blade with back and forth motion Circular saw blade
Ideal for More delicate materials such as plywood sheets Even with thick wood
Cost Prices from £100 Prices from £200

Fret saw or sabre saw?

Like the sabre saw, the sabre saw also has a blade and allows cuts in wood, plastic or iron. The difference is that the blade is on the front and not on the bottom.

The sabre saw is intended for quick cuts and when neither precision nor detailed finishing is required. Because of this, it is a tool more geared towards civil construction and less geared towards craft work.

Buying criteria: Factors to compare different models of fret saws

If you’ve made it this far, you’re already packed with knowledge about this saw, what it does, and its difference and advantages over other tools. But we haven’t come to the end yet. Now, we will explain in more detail the main points to observe when choosing your fret saw. They are

  • Power
  • Battery operation
  • Power voltage
  • Cutting depth
  • Blade material
  • Tilt adjustment


Most fret saws have a power of between 400 and 600 Watts. The models with the highest power reach 750 W.

The higher the power, the less the blade speed loss tends to be when cutting an object. Power is an important point to note if you intend to cut something harder or thicker. It is in these cases that the motor will be most in demand.

Using a fret saw with low power for a hard material, besides slowing down the cut, will compromise the motor’s durability.

If you are using thin sheets of plywood, plastic or aluminium, you don’t need to worry about the power of the fret saw. These materials have low hardness and will not put much strain on the motor during cutting.

But for thick wood, iron, steel or ceramic, the ideal is to work with machines with higher power. By doing so, you will not compromise the durability of the fret saw and you will have greater speed when making the cut.

Galpão onde estão mostradas prateleiras com madeiras de diversos tamanhos, a maioria de grande espessura.

If you intend to make cuts in thick woods, power is a factor that should be observed. (Source: NYTimber / Pixabay)

Battery operation

Working with a battery operated fret saw is certainly more convenient than using another model that needs to always be plugged into an outlet. The reason is that the power cord can get in the way when making the cut, especially when the piece to be cut is large.

You will need to ensure that the cord is long enough to allow you to make the movement. You will also need to keep it well away from the blade to avoid any accidents.

The use of batteries to power portable tools, such as the fret saw, is a big trend. In recent years there have been many launches of battery powered drills, circular saws and screwdrivers. With the fret saw, it’s no different.

Certainly one of the main reasons is the popularisation of lithium-ion batteries, a type used in a wide range of electronic products. This type of battery guarantees good charge capacity, takes up little space and is lighter than batteries of other types.

One concern with the battery is that it can run out of power before the job is done. To avoid this problem, many fret saws come with two batteries. When one battery runs out, simply remove it and put the other one in. Changing batteries is quick and easy.

The main disadvantage of battery powered fret saws is the price, which increases when compared to models that run on the mains. The battery models start to appear in the range of £500.

Power voltage

Practically no battery operated fret saw works in 110 or 220 volts. The positive point is that most models have versions in both voltages available in online shops, just choose the right option for your region.

In the case of battery models, most of them have a bivolt charger. Because of this, you can charge batteries in both 110 and 220 volt outlets. Anyway, it is recommended to confirm in the product description if this is the case.

Cutting depth

The cutting depth is the size that the blade reaches during operation of the fret saw. It serves as a basis for choosing the maximum size for the material thickness you are going to cut.

The general recommendation is that the depth of cut should be at least one centimetre greater than the thickness of the material you intend to cut. For example, if you use a board that is 3 centimetres thick, the depth of cut should be at least 4 centimetres.

In the case of entry level models, the depth of cut is approximately 5 centimetres. Some models can have a greater depth, up to 13 cm.

It is worth mentioning that in some products, the cutting depth may depend on the material used. For example, there are models that can be used with wood up to 5 centimetres thick and steel of only half a centimetre.

The reason for the different depth of cut is the hardness of the material. It is not difficult to imagine that a very thin sheet of steel is harder than thicker wood.

As the motor power of the fret saw is usually low, it is not sufficient to cut hard materials with great thickness and is only suitable for thin plates of hard materials such as steel.

Blade material

The choice of blade material of a fret saw is quite important if you have in mind to cut harder materials. Generally speaking, the harder the material used in the construction of the blade, the harder the material to be cut can be.

The main metals used in fret saw blades are as follows:

  • High carbon steel: this is a mixture of iron with carbon and manganese. This type of blade is the cheapest and is used for wood and plastic. The disadvantage is that it is fragile and wears out quickly;
  • High speed steel: can cut harder materials than high carbon steel, but is less flexible. It can be used for wood, plastic, aluminium and iron. Its disadvantage is the possibility of deformation due to the heat produced during cutting;
  • Bimetal: it is a combination of the two previous materials, usually high speed steel is used in the teeth of the blade and high carbon steel in the body. These blades have good durability and are capable of cutting the same materials as the high speed carbon steel blade;
  • Tungsten carbide: can cut the hardest materials. Its composition takes tungsten and carbon. The disadvantage is that it is usually more expensive. It can be used to cut ceramic materials.

Tilt adjustment

Allows you to adjust the angle of inclination of the base of your fret saw. With this adjustment, the blade can make a diagonal cut.

When increasing the cutting angle, you have to remember that the cutting depth of the fret saw will decrease. Because of this, you will not be able to cut very thick objects with a high tilt.

Most models of fret saws are tilted in steps of 15 degrees up to a maximum of 45 degrees.

(Featured image source: bricoydeco / Pixabay)