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Have you ever had the need to make a perfectly circular cut into a hard surface like marble or ceramic? Luckily, there’s a tool for just that: the hole saw. This unique device can quickly make a hole in nearly any surface or material. It’s perfect for installing things like pipes, light fixtures, and hoses.
Hole saws are a popular item among those working in construction, plumbing, and masonry, as well as DIY enthusiasts. They’re efficient, easy to use, and have a vast range of practical uses. In this article, we’ll go through all you should know about hole saws and how to select the best model.
- 1 Key Facts
- 2 Ranking: The best hole saws on the US market
- 3 Shopping Guide: Everything you need to know about hole saws
- 3.1 What exactly is a hole saw?
- 3.2 What parts make up a hole saw?
- 3.3 What are bi-metal hole saws?
- 3.4 What types of hole saws are available?
- 3.5 Primary uses of each kind of hole saw
- 3.6 What are the best speeds for hole saws?
- 3.7 How do you operate a hole saw?
- 3.8 Do I always need to lubricate the hole saw?
- 3.9 Advantages and disadvantages of hole saw use
- 3.10 Advice for proper hole saw use
- 4 Shopping criteria
- 5 Summary
- Hole saws feature a cup-like attachment that forms the actual hole. Depending on the particular shape of the attachment on your saw, you will be able to drill to various depths.
- Some especially hard materials, including ceramic and concrete, may require the use of lubricating liquids like oil or water to facilitate the cut.
- It is recommended by most manufacturers that you utilize a drill will variable speeds in order to make hole saw cuts.
- Hole saws require special care for extended use, particularly models with diamond-coated teeth.
Ranking: The best hole saws on the US market
There is a wide range of hole saws found on the US market. Because there are so many options, it can be difficult to know which one is right for you. To help you get started, we’ve selected five of the best hole saws available.
No. 1: DEWALT D180002 Bi-Metal Hole Saw Kit
DEWALT is a premiere manufacturer of industrial power tools, and this nine-piece kit won’t let you down. Cut any size hole you need with the kit’s unique deep-cut design and reinforced backing plates that help prevent warping and damage to the saws.
The DEWALT D180002’s M3 steel construction can put up with whatever workplace wear-and-tare you might face, and the kit even comes with replacement parts and its very own carrying case for transport and added protection.
No. 2: Meterk 17-piece Hole Saw Kit
This Meterk hole saw kit is made of heat-treated and blackening-treated carbon steel, boosting performance, rust protection and durability. It’s ideal for cutting through softwood, plastic plate, and thin PVC board.
The kit comes with 13 different saw blades, two mandrels, an installation plate, a hex key, and more—a complete set of everything you need to get started on your DIY work.
No. 3: Uxcell Diamond Coated Marble Glass 6mm Hole Saw
This Uxcell saw set contains six 6mm silver tone, diamond-coated metal hole saws that are perfect for cutting accurate holes into glass and tile, as well as porcelain, granite, and ceramic.
These saws are most suitable for use with an electric drill, and with six pieces to the set, it’s bound to get you through a handful of your most important projects.
No. 4: GoSports 6″ Hole Saw
This heat-treated, carbon steel alloy 6″ hole saw blade from GoSports cuts smoothly through wood, drywall, plaster, and thin metal. Its construction-grade build is tough enough for repeated use and has a non-binding clean edge design.
The bit attaches easily to any 3/8″ drill or bigger, and its blade depth is 7/8″, perfect for DIY projects like corn hole boards, air ducts, light fixtures, and more.
No. 5: Milwaukee 13-piece Hole Dozer Kit
Milwaukee’s 13-piece hole saw kit is ice-hardened and cryogenically treated for up to 50% longer life. It also has optimized tooth form for faster cutting and bi-metal construction that improves water resistance.
This kit is a great value for any DIYer or contractor looking for a tool that is not only durable, but also easy to use and easy to handle.
Shopping Guide: Everything you need to know about hole saws
Hole saws are essentially an attachment or extension that you use with an electric drill or screwdriver to create holes of various sizes. They are simple and versatile, making them a popular item in any comprehensive tool kit. Here, we’ll go over all you need to know about hole saws.
What exactly is a hole saw?
Hole saws may also be referred to as hole cutters, and they are a common tool used by carpenters, builders, and electricians. They are ring-shaped and can quickly make circular holes in a range of materials like glass, plastic, asbestos, plaster, fiberglass, ceramic, tile, marble, granite, and also metals—both ferrous and non-ferrous.
What parts make up a hole saw?
It is important to note that a hole saw cannot function by itself. The hole saw provides only the cutting component, so you will need to attach it to a motorized tool such as a drill in order to operate it. When attached to a drill, the motor is used to spin the saw.
Below, we lay out the most important parts of any hole saw:
- The cylinder or cup: This is the most critical part of a hole saw, and it usually made of carbon steel. One end has a serrated edge for cutting, while the other will attach into your drill or another motoring device.
- Arbor: The arbor is basically a shaft that is used to support a rotating part. The arbor can hold a drill bit that bores a centering hole. Not all arbors have a drill bit attached.
- Slots: Slots in the cylinder or cup function to allow chips and dust to escape, preventing an accumulation of debris and any associated problems that could result.
What are bi-metal hole saws?
You will find a wide variety of hole saws available. Some are cheaper carbon steel models while others are more expensive and adapted for particular functions or tasks. The most widely used models are usually bi-metallic.
In bi-metal hole saws, two different types of steel are used to make the cutting edge of the device: high speed steel, which is resistant to wear, and soft elastic steel, which helps the saw absorb impact. The combination makes the saw more durable and allows for versatile uses.
What types of hole saws are available?
Today, you will find a large array of hole saws available on the market. Some are meant for very specific tasks, while others are good for a range of projects. Some have diamond edges, rare diameters or double cups. The right saw for you will depend on your individual needs.
The table below displays the various types of hole saws and their distinctions:
|Type of material||Type of saw||Characteristics|
|By material||Soft materials|| For use with wood or plaster.
Most frequently used for cabinet making, construction, and decoration.
|By material||For concrete|| Best for use with especially hard surfaces.
It’s best to select a high-quality saw.
|By material||For tiles|| Have a diamond edge.
Cuts cleanly without cracks or breaks.
Works with low revolutions.
Use water to cool down the blade and thereby extend its life.
|By material||For metal|| Ideal for all kinds of metals (both ferrous and non-ferrous).
Provide a high degree of cutting quality
Commonly used in workshops.
|By design||Adjustable|| Very practical, because the cutting diameter is adjustable.
Can function in a range of tasks.
|By design||Various|| Set of cylindrical saws in assorted sizes.
Let you create holes of different sizes.
Primary uses of each kind of hole saw
As we’ve mentioned, each kind of hole saw is designed for a different task or material. Still, there are additional factors that should be considered, such as spacing, the type of teeth on the saw, and what the teeth are made of. All of these aspects can impact the function of your saw.
The pitch of a saw describes the number of teeth per inch, or per 25mm. A saw with teeth that are an equal distance apart will be labelled ‘constant pitch.’ Meanwhile, ‘variable pitch’ refers to a saw upon which the distance between teeth varies, helping to reduce vibrations and break sawing rhythms.
Below, you’ll find a reference chart that details the main applications of different hole saws.
|Type of saw||Available diameters||Recommended speeds depending on the material||Maximum cutting depth||Materials it can cut|
|Bimetal, constant step.||14-210 mm||25-3000 RPM||41 mm||Metals, stainless steel, cast iron, brass, aluminum, plaster, non-ferrous materials, wood, PVC.|
|Bimetal, variable step.||14-210 mm||25-3000 RPM||41 mm||Metals, stainless steel, cast iron, brass, aluminum, plaster, non-ferrous materials, wood, PVC.|
|Diamond.||14-151 mm||150-1200 RPM||41 mm||Acrylic, ceramic, porcelain, glass, stone, fiberglass, masonry, brick.|
|Carbide edge.||19-152 mm||20-3200 RPM||41 mm||Formica, fiberglass, plaster, floating floors, wood veneers.|
|Carbide grains.||22-114 mm||100-1000 RPM||41 mm||Non-metallic materials, floating floors, fiberglass.|
|Carbide edge for laminates.||15-100 mm||65-800 RPM||13 mm||Metals, stainless steel, non-ferrous materials.|
|To use with cordless drills.||16-38 mm||70-700 RPM||13 mm||Metals, stainless steel, non-ferrous metals.|
|To use with cord drills.||16-38 mm||70-700 RPM||13 mm||Metals, stainless steel, non-ferrous metals, plaster.|
|Carbide edge, multipurpose.||19-159 mm||300-1000 RPM||54 mm||Wood, wood veneer, formica, plastic, acrylics, plaster, floating floors, glass, fiberglass, ceramics, tiles, masonry.|
What are the best speeds for hole saws?
Hole saws do not all function at the same speed. The speed of a hole saw is measured in revolutions per minute (RPM), and it will vary according to the diameter of the saw. The smaller the diameter, the faster it must spin.
Different speeds are necessary for different materials. For example, cutting wood or plastic requires about 10 times the RPM needed to cut steel. Because of this, we suggest using hole saws with variable speed drills that allow you to adjust the RPM.
How do you operate a hole saw?
Upon selecting the appropriate saw for the project at hand and reading the manual, there is a series of steps that you can follow to ensure the best performance. The following instructions are for general use, and may vary according to the specific task.
This is how hole saws are generally used:
- With a pencil, draw a circle in the spot you wish to drill and put a mark in the circle’s center.
- Insert the drill bit into the drill and be certain that you grip it firmly so that it doesn’t become loose.
- Mount the hole saw on the shaft that runs through the end of the shank and through the opening found at the base of the saw. The drill bit should protrude about 3/8″ past the saw teeth.
- Install the cup saw on the drill. Place the end of the rod on the mandrel and ensure that it fits properly.
- Plug in your drill and align the drill bit with the center of the circle you drew.
- Turn the drill on. Be sure to keep your hand as steady as possible and perpendicular to the work surface. Apply a light amount of pressure. Drill a portion of the hole, and then remove the saw. Repeat the same procedure as many times as needed to finish the task. This technique will reduce friction and prolong the tool’s life.
Do I always need to lubricate the hole saw?
Diamond hole saws, sometimes called diamond drill bits, can be used for both wet and dry drilling, if they have been welded by laser. However, not all materials are suitable for dry drilling. Concrete, cement and other especially hard materials require lubrication with water.
If you don’t lubricate, the excess heat produced during the drilling process can cause the edge of the saw to come loose, reducing its lifespan and negatively affecting performance.
Advantages and disadvantages of hole saw use
Hole saws are popular for a number of reasons, including their efficiency and power usage, as well as their ability to make clean cuts with large diameters.
One disadvantage is that you need a variable speed drill in order to utilize a hole saw. Another challenge is that the cup can get clogged with excess material, if you don’t clean it out properly.
Advice for proper hole saw use
If you’re not a construction professional, these tips will serve you well as you set out to use your hole saw:
- Most importantly, you should follow all of the usual safety regulations such as wearing protective glasses and appropriate clothing. Those with longer hair should tie it up.
- Be sure to read the instructions that come with your hole saw.
- Be patient. Let the saw do its job and make the cut, don’t push too hard. If you see smoke, this might be a sign that your tool is worn or that you’re going too fast.
- To prevent the cup from clogging, be sure to remove all material and leftover residue. Most hole saws will have slots to assist in this regard.
- Should the perforated button stick to the saw, you can remove it using a screwdriver.
- You may want to use a coolant when cutting metals (except cast iron) and ceramics.
- When cutting tempered steel, vitrified ceramics or concrete materials, it is best to utilize hole saws with diamond grains or teeth.
- Cordless drills are not usually powerful enough to support hole saws and should not be used unless specifically manufactured for that purpose.
Hole saws are tools used for making large holes that normal drills cannot produce. You’ll find a wide variety of hole saws available, so be sure to keep these factors in mind when deciding what to purchase.
- Material and thicknes
- Type of teeth or edge
- Suitable drill
Material and thickness
Hole saws are usually designed for drilling into a particular type of material. Metal saws, for example, are made of carbon steel that allows you to drill into ferrous and non-ferrous materials. Other saws are designed for use with wood and softer surfaces. Multipurpose hole saws are commonly used in construction work, and can drill into stone plaster or thin metal sheets. These are also useful for electrical work, including connecting pipes or cables to electrical panels.
As we mentioned previously, the pitch reflects the distance between a saw’s teeth. The length and shape of the teeth are important factors indicating what type of surface you can drill into. Use our table and consult saw manuals to choose the best pitch.
Type of teeth or edge
Another factor that determines which hole saw is best for a specific job is the type of material covering the teeth. Bi-metal saws are best for cutting metals, plastics, and wood. Carbide-tipped saws are better for fiberglass, Formica, and soft materials. And for hard materials like concrete, tile, and ceramic, use a hole saw with diamond-coated teeth or diamond-edged grain.
Manual and cordless drills rarely provide the power required to reach the adequate speed recommended by saw manufacturers. If you do plan to use a cordless drill, be sure to get a hole saw tailored to the drill. When selecting a saw, check the diameter of your drill chuck and pick the correct size accordingly. You wouldn’t want to buy a saw that doesn’t fit your drill!
Each hole saw operates at a different speed, and the speed depends on the diameter of the saw. Softer materials like wood and plastic require a much higher speed, or revolutions per minute, than concrete. For this reason, we recommend that hole saws be used with variable speed drills.
You also need to keep in mind how deep of a hole you intend to cut. Some saws will drill deep holes with a small diameter, and others may do the opposite. Generally, holes with a larger diameter also have less depth. Always assess your needs before selecting the appropriate drill for the task. Don’t pick a long drill bit if you don’t need to make any deep holes.
Hole saws are essentially cylindrical saws meant for cutting holes of a specific depth. They are often used by masons, decorators, carpenters, and electricians.
Selecting the best hole saw for you is not an easy task, since there are so many models to choose from. The ideal saw for you will depend on what projects you’d like to complete. We’ve laid out the various options so that you can pick the best one for you.
If you found this article helpful, be sure to leave a comment or share it your friends and family so they can also find the perfect hole saw.
(Source of the featured image: Alexandr Makarov: 14805039/ 123rf.com)