Table of Contents
- Best Cold Saw Reviews 2019
- DEWALT DW872 14-Inch Multi-Cutter Saw – Best Seller
- Makita LC1230 12″ Metal Cutting Saw – Top Pick
- Evolution Power Tools RAGE2 Multi Purpose Cutting Chop Saw, 14-Inch – Best Cold Saw for the Money
- Evolution Power Tools EVOSAW380 15-Inch Steel Cutting Chop Saw – Runner Up
- JET J-F225 1-Horsepower 115-Volt 225mm Single Phase Manual Bench Cold Saw – Also Consider
- Best Cold Saw Buying Guide 2019
Best Cold Saw Reviews 2019
Whether you are professional metalworker or just a DIYer who has a few projects needing attention around the house, cold saws can provide a wealth of opportunity. That said, cold saws come in a couple of different forms, and it helps to know what you are getting into. That is why we have put together a list of the 5 best cold saw reviews for 2019. We supplement this list with a helpful buyer’s guide and FAQ, so you can make an informed decision. The DEWALT and Makita are our best performers, but you have to keep reading to find our best deals.
DEWALT DW872 14-Inch Multi-Cutter Saw – Best Seller
- Multi-Cutter offers versatility by cutting a wide variety of materials including ferrous and non-ferrous metals
- Utilizing a carbide tipped blade allows the depth of cut to remain constant throughout blade life
- Multi-Cutter cuts 4 times faster than chop saws and 8 times faster than portable band saws in 2-inch by 2-inch by 1/4-inch angle iron
It should make plenty of sense to even the inexperienced that a DEWALT takes our best selling spot considering that this is one of the most well-known brands in the power tool market across the globe. However, it is important to remember that, while DEWALT was once noted for being a top-tier, American-made, professional-grade power tool manufacturer, times have changed. For one, this brand is no longer made in the USA following its acquisition by Stanley Black & Decker and its manufacturing offshored to China. That said, it is still the professional-grade lineup of the power tool conglomerate and has recently been making strides towards reclaiming its position as one of the premier power tool brands on the market. In this instance, there are some things that most metalworkers would probably prefer changed, but thankfully, few of them are functional in nature or affect its actual cutting performance.
Great Cutting Capacity
It does not really matter from which perspective you look, the DEWALT DW872 cold saw is easily one of the best products when it comes to cutting capacities. You can judge this based on the potential or actual physical measurement and the result is the same: the DW872 cold saw outperforms pretty much every other competitor on our list. When looking at the physical capacities, the DEWALT cold saw tops our list, and the market class more broadly, by providing the largest maximum cutting thickness that we found at 6 ½” which is a full inch and a half thicker than the next closest product. Beyond the sheer depth of cut, the DEWALT DW872 cold saw also offers more raw cutting power than any other product we reviewed as well. For one, the motor may provide the industry-standard 15-amps of power, but it also puts out a list-leading 4 hp or cutting torque too. When you combine this with a blade speed of 1300 rpms, you get a cold saw capable of cutting through both ferrous and non-ferrous metals with ease.
A Solid Build
When you consider the sheer cutting capacity of the DEWALT cold saw, a product with such a solid build is basically an embarrassment of riches. That said, this might also explain why it is one of the more expensive cold saws that we reviewed as well. Outside of the cutting power, the DW872 cold saw also made it a point to provide a cutting experience that is much more convenient than a number of other options available. This starts with a fairly straightforward approach by including a horizontal D-handle that is ergonomically designed to reduce the amount of stress felt when making numerous cuts throughout the workday. Of course, this ease of design is extended to much more than just the handle’s action which follows in line with the DEWALT parent company’s consumer-centric philosophy. For instance, the DEWALT cold saw employs a quick-lock vice for easy setup of cuts as well as a patented Quick-Fence for making adjustments on the fly. From a more fundamental perspective, the DW872 cold saw also offers a better design with the inclusion of solid steel for the base. Though, this does have the unfortunate side-effect of making the DEWALT cold saw one of the heavier products we reviewed too.
- Has the largest maximum cut thickness
- Has a blade speed of 1300 rpms
- Has a 4 hp motor
- Is an ergonomically designed cold saw
- The base is made of solid steel
- Is easier to use
- Is a more expensive cold saw
- Is a heavier cold saw
Makita LC1230 12″ Metal Cutting Saw – Top Pick
- 4 x faster cutting in light pipe, angle iron, tubing, conduit and channel than abrasive cut-off saws
- Powerful 15 amp motor @ 120 volts. Quick release support fence adjusts 0-45° for miter cutting. Maximum cutting depth of 4-1/2 inch with...
- D-shape handle for easy gripping
While DEWALT’s reputation as one of the best professional-grade power tool manufacturers may have waned and become a title to be reclaimed, Makita never lost its place in that market once claiming it so long ago. In fact, Makita is right up there with our best-selling option as one of the oldest and most experienced power tool manufacturers still in the race. However, Makita definitely takes a completely different approach to its design philosophy than the other professional-grade brands on the market. This likely has a good bit to do with Makita’s origin as a maker of electric motor for professional mining purposes, but it carries over perfectly when applied to electric power tools as well. In fact, Makita is widely known as one of the more consistently powerful power tool brands regardless of the product category in question. Thankfully, this reputation holds true with the Makita LCS1230 cold saw, making it the top pick for our list.
An Excellent Motor
As with any product that is going to take the top spot on our list, the Makita LCS1230 cold saw is able to provide some serious cutting power, though this option does have some downsides which are conspicuously absent from our best-selling product. Most prominently, the Makita cold saw actually has one of the smaller maximum cutting thicknesses that we found at only 4 ½”. However, what the LCS1230 cold saw lacks in maximum cutting depth, it more than makes up for with Makita’s specialization and the thing their products truly hang their hat on: the electric motor. From a pure specs perspective, this is easily one of the most powerful motors on any cold saw that we reviewed with the industry-standard 15-amps. That said, the more impressive, and important quality to the Makita motor is the fact that it puts out 3 hp or torque cutting power. Still, Makita’s focus serves the user even more since they recognize the inherent limited lifespan of a brushed electric motor. In order to accommodate this need, the Makita cold saw actually positions the motor caps in a more easily accessible area, so you can change any worn out motor brushes without having to completely disassemble the entire product.
An Efficient Build
As a professional-grade power tool manufacturer, Makita seems to understand better than most some of the areas that will provide trouble over the long haul and makes it a point to provide features which account for these facts. That said, this also means that you should expect to pay a little bit more for the professional-grade products that Makita provides. Still, this can be seen as an investment over time, and the LCS1230 cold saw takes time into further account with other elements of their design. First, the Makita cold saw continues to extend the lifespan of its cold saw by using cast aluminum as the material of its base. This allows the Makita LCS1230 cold saw to offer a base that is nearly as strong as steel but significantly lighter. In fact, this single design choice allows the Makita cold saw to come in at the lightest weight we reviewed which is great if you need to move the product from jobsite to jobsite. On top of that, Makita further takes into consideration the “time is money” adage with other features aimed at increasing your workflow. For making fast cuts to multiple workpieces, the Makita cold saw comes equipped with a quick-release vise. On top of that, to help keep your cuts moving at a rapid pace, the Makita LCS1230 cold saw also sports a quick-release support fence.
- Has a blade speed of 1700 rpms
- Is the lightest cold saw reviewed
- Has a 3 hp motor
- Has a cast aluminum base
- Is easier to use
- Is easier to maintain
- Is a more expensive cold saw
- Has a smaller maximum cut thickness
Evolution Power Tools RAGE2 Multi Purpose Cutting Chop Saw, 14-Inch – Best Cold Saw for the Money
- Multipurpose, cuts steel, aluminum, wood and plastics using a single blade
- 1800-watt/15-Amp motor
- 1450 RPM no load
Evolution Power Tools is definitely an interesting company on our list and is the only one we found that got its start in the UK. However, with a history that is nearing 3 decades, this should not be considered an upstart or newcomer to the scene. In fact, Evolution Power Tools is actually one of the companies we found that actually specialized in manufacturing metalworking power tools before moving onto other categories. Though, it should be noted that the company does now make woodworking tools as well as an odd assortment of home goods, so they are not exclusively focused on this market. Still, without the same brand name recognition that some of the other products on our list can lean on, they have to make a name for themselves in other ways.
A Great Value
When looking at cold saws, it will become quickly apparent that this is not a product category for the faint of heart. Few are the cheap cold saws which can still provide a good enough performance to justify even a lowered cost. That said, as the best cheap cold saw we found, the RAGE2 more than accomplishes this task while still offering more than some of their competitors. For instance, this is one of the few cold saws on the market that is actually rated to be used for cutting more than just different types of metals. While some of the other options on our list can be outfitted to cut stone, the RAGE2 cold saw is also able to cut wood of various types, including wood with metal fasteners embedded within them. To be fair though, a big reason why this Evolution cold saw is able to provide a great product at such a great price is the use of stamped steel in its construction. This is why we considered it the best cold saw for the money. As opposed to the cast bases that we generally see, stamped steel is far more likely to damage if dropped or fallen and will also suffer more from vibrations.
Considering how much you generally expect to pay when getting a cold saw, even with other saws made by Evolution Power Tools, it is both admirable and impressive that the RAGE2 cold saw is able to provide such a robust cutting action. For one, this Evolution cold saw has the second-largest maximum cut thickness that we reviewed at 5 ⅛”. However, what is definitely more surprising is that fact that this is also one of the more powerful cold saws we found. While the motor offers the standard 15-amps of output found in most cold saws, it actually ties for the second-best cutting power with 3 hp of torque. To be fair, a good bit of this likely relies on the inclusion of Evolution Power Tool’s hi-torque gearbox used in a wide range of their products. That said, something always has to give when it comes to cheap cold saws, and the RAGE2 cold saw is no different. In this instance, the substandard base is compounded by the inclusion of adjustments which are difficult to engage and disengage, slowing down your overall workflow.
- Is the least expensive cold saw reviewed
- Has a thicker maximum cut thickness
- Is a lighter cold saw
- Can cut the widest range of materials
- Has a 3 hp motor
- Has a hi-torque motor gearbox
- Is made of stamped steel
- Is more difficult to use
Evolution Power Tools EVOSAW380 15-Inch Steel Cutting Chop Saw – Runner Up
- Dry metal cutting Chop saw; cuts metal with minimal heat or sparks and doesn't require coolant
- 1800 watt / 15 amp motor with high torque gearbox; reduces motor load and improves steel cutting performance
- Heavy duty cast aluminum base; for industrial metal cutting
In an interesting quirk with the evolution of language over time, the term “chop saw” was originally intended to refer to a simple, radial arm circular saw. However, with the advent of miter saws and their numerous iterations, the term chop saw is rarely applied to that specific class of power saws anymore. That said, Evolution Power Tools seems to be taking a trip back in time by labeling their EVOSAW380 cold saw a chop saw. To be fair, there is actually a fairly good reason for this owing in large part to its incredibly versatile functioning, but this still contributes to both its position on our list as well as its inclusion outright.
When judging a cold saw’s applicability, it is important to remember that this applies not only to the product’s capabilities but to the user’s as well. To take that consideration one step further, beginners generally need to get more bang for their buck for expensive power tool investments to be worth their while. To this end, the Evolution cold saw makes it a point that their chop saw can chop more than just metal. While most cold saws can cut a wide variety of metals as well as other softer materials like plastic, the EVOSAW380 is one of the few cold saws that we found that can also reliably cut wood too. Keep in mind, the Evolution EVOSAW380 cold saw will still be somewhat limited in this respect, especially when compared to other woodworking power saws, but the full line of wood cutting blades combined with the 1450 rpm blade speed makes this one of the more versatile saws that we found.
Mostly Solid Performance
Considering that the EVOSAW380 cold saw is one of the less expensive options on our list, it then only makes sense that some of its cutting capacity is a bit more limited than other products we reviewed as well. First, the maximum cutting thickness is not the worst on our list, but it is nowhere near the market average at only 4 ¾”, though it is only about ¼” off of the industry average. Still, the motor is also a bit on the underpowered end of the spectrum with on 2 ½ hp or torque, though this torque is still provided by a special hi-torque motor. What this means is that the total cutting torque output might be a bit lower, but it is also far less likely to suffer a drop when actually put against a load.
- Is a less expensive cold saw review
- Has a hi-torque motor gearbox
- Is an ergonomically designed cold saw
- Has a cast aluminum base
- Can cut the widest range of materials
- Is easier to use
- Is a heavier cold saw
- Is a less powerful cold saw
JET J-F225 1-Horsepower 115-Volt 225mm Single Phase Manual Bench Cold Saw – Also Consider
- Manually cuts from 0-45 degrees left
- Bronze worm gear and hardened ground worm screw gear box in an oil bath
- Control handle with a safety spring loaded trigger switch to start or stop the machine
It might seem a bit odd for Jet Tools to be this far down on our list, but that should not be considered an outright indictment of the cold saw itself. Instead, JET takes a completely different approach than the rest of the companies on our list by utilizing a throwback design that offers different strengths and weaknesses compared to the other products we reviewed. That said, JET’s history and commitment to metalworking still clearly shines through with the JET J-F225 cold saw. However, you will definitely need to consider whether or not you are comfortable with some of the limitations this older design carries with it.
Built to Last
A lot of more experienced metalworkers might say “they don’t make them like they used to anymore,” and that statement has likely never applied more than for the JET J-F225 cold saw. While there are some additional systems included with this model, even the very motor design employs an older form of design which, while not necessarily the most powerful we saw, is still incredibly reliable. First, the Jet cold saw makes it a point to utilize a worm drive system throughout its internal construction. This is important because it allows the J-F225 cold saw to maintain a fairly robust cutting power despite having the lowest appreciable hp torque. Still, this quality was not simply thrown together haphazardly as the worm drive gearbox is complemented with a worm screw as well. In order to make sure this rigorous engineering approach does not breakdown under the pressure and strain placed on it, the JET cold saw also bathes the gear works in an oil flood, further reducing the wear and tear on the internal components.
Old School Consideration
There is really no getting around the fact that the JET cold saw is a bit of a blast from the past with the inclusion of numerous features you will not readily find on some of the more modern products in the market category. However, it should be noted that “old school” does not necessarily mean that it is less effective, though the argument could be made that it is less convenient. A big part of this dichotomy stems from the fact that the J-F225 cold saw is the only product on our list that still uses a coolant system. Other cold saws on our list account for heat by altering the blade speed so that you do not need to worry about a coolant system. However, the JET J-F225 cold saw keeps its blade rpms low to maintain a higher degree of precision and includes the coolant system to make sure the cut face stays cool throughout the process.
- Has a worm drive gearbox
- Has a worm screw gearbox
- Has an oil flood gear works
- Has a double self-centering vise
- Has a solid coolant system
- Is a safer cold saw
- Is the most expensive cold saw reviewed
- Has less all-around cutting capacity
Best Cold Saw Buying Guide 2019
This specification can be a bit tricky to pin down, because the rating that most other saws use to inform the customer to their general cutting power, the motor amperage, does not really change much from product to product. Instead, most cold saws employ a powerful 15-amp motor, but they do have another spec that differs greatly. When trying to gauge a cold saw’s cutting power, a much better metric than the motor amperage is the torque horsepower. While few power saws are able to generate significant amounts of hp without a large, stationary cabinet design, you can still figure out what works for you. In this instance, you will want to look for a cold saw with at least 2 ½ hp, though there are some designs which allow you to get away with less. On top of that, it is also a great idea to find a cold saw whose motor is explicitly designed to both generate torque and deal with high-resistance loads.
There are two primary ways that a cold saw lives up to its name and those are with the use of specialized blades or with coolant systems. Coolant systems are the classic style of accomplishing this task and can be a bit messy while also increasing the overhead to run the machine. That said, they are also fairly effective at their task and allow for a much slower blade speed which increases the cut’s precision. On the other hand, specialized metal cutting blades have come a long way and are generally able to accomplish this task without much fuss. They are known for providing clean cuts without burrs and keeping the temperatures low, though they do have a tendency to introduce more vibration into the cut.
This may not necessarily seem like the biggest deal, especially for a professional setting, but metalworking has a tendency to be a bit more demanding in some ways than other contractor fields. Specifically, metalworking often creates a far more oppressive climate with the use of torches and other tools which generate significant heat. This can quickly sap even the most stalwart of stamina and almost always induces massive amounts of sweat. In this environment, anything that can lighten the load is a godsend, though cold saws are not necessarily great in this respect. That said, one of the better ergonomic features to look for involves the handle, specifically, a horizontal D-handle will provide an easier engagement without putting a strain on your joints while making numerous cuts throughout the day.
Also, even though a cold saw is considered a stationary power saw and should only be used in such a capacity, that does not mean the saw will have a singular location when not in use. This is especially true if you are working on a project that cuts pipes or other types of tubing. Should you be working in a large warehouse or some other sizable facility, it can help to have a cold saw that is light enough to move around the workspace, so you do not have to worry about lugging heavy metal workpieces to and from the cold saw.
Why use a Cold Saw?
A cold saw is basically any kind of circular saw used for metalworking that employs a toothed saw blade as opposed to an abrasive one. This type of power saw has significant advantages over the abrasive metal saws in that it generates significantly less heat and generally provides a smoother cut. The reduction of the heat is important because most professional metalworking saws need to be able to make their cut and allow the workpiece to be immediately used for its project, generally welding. The smoother cut also allows for an expedited workflow in that you do not have to worry about sanding down rough edges or burrs after making the cut.
It may seem like a cold saw is simply better than a metalworking saw that uses an abrasive blade, and for most instances this is true. However, it should be noted that cold saws are generally significantly more expensive than those which use abrasive blades. On top of that, metalworking saws with abrasive blades also have the ability to provide additional functions, like grinding metal or polishing it. That said, if you work in an industry that regularly makes straight cuts to metal, a cold saw is almost always going to provide a better experience than an abrasive one.
Coolant System or No?
This can be a bit tricky as most classic cold saws necessarily included a coolant system as part of their normal functioning. That said, cold saws with coolant systems were initially developed to account for other engineering limitations. With the passage of time and continued evolution of technology, coolant systems are no longer necessary like they once were. Still, is there a place in the modern cold saw market for a product that uses a coolant system, and what situation calls for such a cold saw? The reason to include a coolant system for your cold saw in the first place hinges on the need to make sure that the metal workpiece can be transferred from the saw to the welding location without having to finish the cut face or wait for it to cool off.
These days, manufacturers simply adjust the blade speed and use more advanced saw blades to account for this heat and to reduce the creation of burrs. Still, cold saws with coolant systems can still find a viable place in the metalworking field, especially for hobbyists and craftsmen. Specifically, most cold saws which use a coolant system have a tendency to spin the blade at lower speeds than those without. The reason for doing so is that a slower blade generally provides a truer and more precise cut. However, you then need to keep the blade cooler than you might otherwise to account for the additional heat generated by this kind of cut.
What to Look For?
While there are a number of different features which can set one cold saw apart from the rest of the pack, most of the time, the cutting capability will be king. That said, there are a couple of different metrics to judge cutting capability by, and they are not all based on the raw cutting power. Still, the raw cutting power of a cold saw is still one of the more important factors, though this can be a bit difficult to judge. Because metal needs to maintain a lower temperature while being cut, most cold saws have a lower blade speed than comparable woodcutting power saws. Likewise, the motors of cold saws follow a fairly common industry standard, so you should look for the torque rating instead.
Outside of the actual cutting action, another quality that often imposes a premium cost on the product and is seen as more important than others is the maximum cutting thickness. This will ultimately determine what your workpiece size capacity is and can make a cold saw useless for your tasks if it is not robust enough. Outside of the cutting capabilities, few other features really matter so much as to sway your decision from one product to another. If you are a professional metalworker and plan to make dozens of cuts a day, it might be a good idea to invest in an ergonomic cold saw.
As we can see, cold saws distinguish themselves from one another fairly subtly. The DEWALT offers by far the best cutting capacities, taking the top spot for both cutting power and maximum cut thickness. While the Makita may lag behind a bit in some respects, it is less expensive and much easier to maintain. Evolution captures 2 spots on our list, one for the best value that we found and the other for offering a wide range of cutting versatility. Finally, if you are looking for an old school approach, the Jet cold saw uses a classic coolant system which allows for the most precise cuts we came across.