Table of Contents
- Best Metal Chop Saw Reviews 2019
- Makita LC1230 12″ Metal Cutting Saw – Best Seller
- DEWALT DW872 14-Inch Multi-Cutter Saw – Top Pick
- DEWALT D28715 14-Inch Quick-Change Chop Saw – Best Metal Chop Saw for the Money
- Evolution Power Tools EVOSAW380 15-Inch Steel Cutting Chop Saw – Runner Up
- MILWAUKEE ELEC TOOL 6177-20 14″ Cut Off Machine – Also Consider
- Best Metal Chop Saw Buying Guide 2019
Best Metal Chop Saw Reviews 2019
Though woodworkers may get most of the attention due to the easier barrier for entry, metalworking is just as rewarding and often more lucrative a field. Of course, you still need high-end tools to complete metalworking jobs, and none are more fundamental than the metal chop saw. That is why we have put together a list of the 5 best metal chop saw reviews of 2019. We also provide a helpful buyer’s guide and FAQ, so you can make an informed decision. The Makita and DEWALT stole our show, but they are also pretty price. Keep reading to find out which is the best deal.
Makita LC1230 12″ Metal Cutting Saw – Best Seller
Makita has long been one of the leading manufacturers of professional-grade power tools in the world. With a history that stretches back over a century to the beginning of WWI, the company has managed to maintain a stellar reputation far longer than most of its competitors. Interestingly, Makita actually got its start as a manufacturer of electric motors, though this unexpected specialty has ended up serving them well in the long run. This is because Makita focuses primarily on electric power tools and is well-known for producing far more force from a similar electric motor than their peers. That said, the company might go a bit overboard with its focus on power, but that does not impact the metal chop saw market too much. As such, it is easy to see why the Makita is our best selling product reviewed.
Mostly Great Cut
Unlike most other power saws, metal chop saws have a tendency to be far less variable in terms of their function and features. Instead, the best metal chop saw will almost invariably provide a superior cutting action, though this is not as straightforward as it might at first seem. With the Makita metal chop saw, this begins with a 15-amp motor, but that is fairly standard for the market and not terribly indicative. On the other hand, what is more important is the fact that the Makita LC1230 metal chop saw puts out the second-most horsepower, allowing it to cut with greater torque than most other products on our list. On top of that, the LC1230 metal chop saw also has a blade speed of 1700 rpms which nearly ideal for most metal cutting applications. That said, the Makita metal chop saw does come up short in one important area which is maximum cutting thickness. In fact, the Makita LC1230 metal chop saw has the smallest maximum cutting thickness on our list at only 4 ½”.
It is worth noting that the smaller cutting thickness is generally not that big of a deal since the majority of metal chop saw cutting applications involves cutting metal sheets or tubing. On top of that, Makita went ahead and made sure that their metal chop saw will be able to outlast their competitors. This starts with the inclusion of easily accessible motor brushes which will eventually wear out regardless of the manufacturer. However, by positioning the brushes in an easily accessible position, you can actually make the necessary repairs by yourself at home, rather than having to take the Makita LC1230 metal chop saw to a repair shop. Even better, Makita ensured that you will not have to worry about other components failing either as this product uses a metal blade and sparks guard. Finally, the base is made of cast aluminum which is not only strong but also allows the Makita metal chop saw to come in at a much lighter, and more portable, weight than many of the other products we reviewed.
- Is a lighter metal chop saw
- Has a blade speed of 1700 rpms
- Has a quick-release components
- Is easier to maintain
- Has a cast aluminum base
- The blade guard is made of metal
- Is the most expensive metal chop saw reviewed
- Has the smallest maximum cutting thickness reviewed
DEWALT DW872 14-Inch Multi-Cutter Saw – Top Pick
DEWALT is likely one of the more recognizable names in the power tool manufacturing industry. Aside from the fact that it is almost a century old and is easily one of the oldest continuous power tool manufacturers in the world, it too is considered one of the premier professional-grade power tool manufacturers. That said, it is important to note that following the company’s buyout by Stanley BLACK+DECKER, the brand has taken a different approach as of late. Instead of focusing on pure performance, DEWALT has shifted towards offering a wide range of additional convenience features while still offering legitimate professional-grade performance. Still, this does mean that the DEWALT DW872 is not necessarily the best-performing metal chop saw that we came across, but it is still a great option and worthy of our top pick.
While professional contractors and metalworkers may not necessarily be used to convenience features, that does not mean they do not appreciate them when given the chance. This line of work is hard enough as it is, and anything that can make the job a little bit easier is a welcome addition. In response to this, the DEWALT DW872 metal chop saw figured on improving the one area where the user is liable to get the most bang for their buck: the handle. While most metal chop saws employ some form of a D-handle, the DW872 metal chop saw is one of the few that is expertly designed to be as ergonomic as possible. This allows you to make dozens, if not hundreds, of cuts a day without feeling it in your wrist, like with some of their competitors. On top of that, this DEWALT metal chop saw also provides an incredibly durable steel base, though this does have the unfortunate side-effect of also making it the heaviest metal chop saw that we reviewed too.
While the DEWALT DW872 metal chop saw cannot boast the same quality of cut that our top-rated option does, it still provides one of the superior cuts we found. First, the powerful 15-amp motor spins the blade at an appropriate 1300 rpms which is great for keeping the metal cool and preventing burs. On top of that, setting up your cuts is also easy with multiple convenient features focused on this task. It is worth noting that this is actually one of the metal chop saws which uses a plastic blade and sparks guard, so you will need to be a bit more careful when moving it to prevent cracking or breaking. First, the DW872 metal chop saw allows you to set your workpiece quicker than most with a quick-lock vice that holds the metal securely in place. Then, the quick release-fence allows you to go from 90-degree straight cuts to a 45-degree angled cut in no time. Finally, the DEWALT metal chop saw offers the thickest maximum cut at 6” in diameter which is a full ½” thicker than the next closest competitor.
- Has the largest maximum cutting thickness reviewed
- Has a blade speed of 1300 rpms
- Has a quick-release fence
- Has a quick-lock vice
- Has an ergonomic handle
- Has a solid steel base
- Is a more expensive metal chop saw
- Is the heaviest metal chop saw reviewed
DEWALT D28715 14-Inch Quick-Change Chop Saw – Best Metal Chop Saw for the Money
It may seem a bit odd that DEWALT would occupy the second and third spots on our list, but this is actually fairly common and entirely in line with how DEWALT approaches the power tool market. As the professional-grade lineup of the largest power tool conglomerate in the world, Stanley BLACK+DECKER, DEWALT has the luxury of providing a wide range of similar products with slight variations to appeal to the largest range of consumers it can. In this instance, DEWALT decided to approach the metal chop saw from a different angle altogether and opted for a model that focused on an entirely different method of cutting metal. Thankfully, with the backing of a larger company, the DEWALT D28715 was able to do so at a significantly lower price than the other metal chop saws rated higher than itself. For this reason, we consider it to be the best choice for the money.
Not Cutting It
It should be noted that the DEWALT D28715 metal chop saw is definitely an entirely different breed of power tool than the other products on our list. For one, this is actually the only product we reviewed which does not use blades with teeth and instead uses the more traditional grinding blades. This has a couple of important implications, first and foremost being that it actually removes more of the workpiece material than a standard toothed blade. That said, this DEWALT metal chop saw still managed to produce a power tool that leaves the cut face smooth and cool to the touch when finished. On top of that, the D28715 metal chop saw also features one of the larger maximum cutting thicknesses we reviewed at 5”. Still, another disappointing element of this budget-friendly metal chop saw is the fact that it is not great at the common 45-degree angled cuts. In this instance, it has more to do with the fact that the fence used to hold the workpiece in place has too much give and will regularly wiggle out of place during the cut leaving you with a crooked cut.
Of course, if you do not have much need to make a 45-degree angled cut, then the DEWALT D28715 metal chop saw has a number of advantages over its competitors. Just like the other DEWALT products on the market, the D28715 metal chop saw uses a great D-handle design to help prevent awkward angles and user fatigue when making numerous cuts over the course of the day. On top of that, this is actually the lightest metal chop saw that we reviewed which allows you to take from job site to job site as needed. What makes this all the more surprising is that the DEWALT D28715 metal chop saw did not skimp out on its materials either. Specifically, the D28715 metal chop saw uses the same steel base as other DEWALT chop saws without increasing the overall weight. Even better, this DEWALT chop saw also provides a metal blade and sparks guard to further increase the product’s durability.
- Is a less expensive metal chop saw
- Has a solid steel base
- Has a larger maximum cutting thickness
- Is the lightest metal chop saw reviewed
- Has an ergonomic handle
- Has a metal blade guard
- Not great at angled cuts
- Does not use toothed saw blades
Evolution Power Tools EVOSAW380 15-Inch Steel Cutting Chop Saw – Runner Up
Evolution Power Tools is a company that has largely flown under the radar, but it actually deserves a fair bit more recognition than it has gotten. For our list, in particular, Evolution Power Tools is noteworthy based on the fact that it is the only company we reviewed which actually got its start manufacturing metal fabrication power tools. To be fair, the company has only been around for a little over 25 years with its founding in 1992, but it has been successful enough to expand into products beyond its initial scope. In fact, Evolution Power Tools has even won the Charles Godfrey Award for Innovation from Professional Builder magazine. While it may then seem a bit odd to find the EVOSAW380 metal chop saw so far down on our list, it comes down to being a bit more specialized in terms of its market.
Solid Cutting Power
Evolution Power Tools may not have the market reach or prestige of some of the other companies on our list, but they know exactly who their consumers are and provide them with an excellent product. In terms of the EVOSAW380 metal chop saw, this begins primarily with the cutting power which is pretty much ideal for a wide variety of metal cutting applications. The powerful 15-amp motor is able to generate blade speeds of 1650 rpms, allowing it to easily cut through workpieces without generating too much heat or burrs. While the cutting power of 2.4 hp is not especially impressive, the Evolution metal chop saw is still able to generate plenty of raw cutting power with its hi-torque gearbox. That said, you may find yourself painted into a bit of a corner as the EVOSAW380 metal chop saw is noted for introducing a bit of wobble into the cut, especially when trying to cut through sheet metal thicker than ¼”.
If you can get past the thickness limitations, the Evolution metal chop saw still offers some solid features to make your job a good bit easier. Keep in mind, the sheet metal limitation is only compounded by the fact that the EVOSAW380 metal chop saw also has one of the smaller maximum cut thicknesses that we came across at 4 ¾” depending on the application. Still, the build quality of this metal chop saw is on par with pretty much any other major competitor we came across. For instance, the Evolution metal chop saw uses a cast aluminum base to offer a good mix of durability as well as general protection from water and other corrosive chemicals. It is a bit odd to not that, despite using the lighter aluminum material for the base, this actually one of the heavier metal chop saws we reviewed. Part of that may be forgiven, however, as the EVOSAW380 metal chop saw also provides a metal blade and sparks guard that is a bit easier to disengage than some of the other products on our list.
- Has a blade speed of 1650 rpms
- Has an ergonomic handle
- Has a cast aluminum base
- Has a metal blade guard
- Has a quick-release vice
- Has a high-torque gearbox
- Has a smaller maximum cutting thickness
- Is a heavier metal chop saw
MILWAUKEE ELEC TOOL 6177-20 14″ Cut Off Machine – Also Consider
Anyone familiar with the power tool industry is almost certain to be surprised to see a Milwaukee this far down on our list. However, Milwaukee is definitely known more for its professional-grade contractor power tools than its metalworking, and that focus shows in this entry. To be clear, this is not exactly the worst option you can go with, but you would do much better by spending a bit more to get an all-around superior metal chop saw. In fact, Milwaukee itself sells a different metal chop saw that is superior to this one in a number of ways, though it is significantly smaller and more limited in scope.
By far the biggest selling point about the Milwaukee metal chop saw is likely the fact that it is the least expensive product on our list. Of course, whenever you make it a point to look for a deal that is too good to be true, you should expect some warts to come with the product. With the Milwaukee 6177-20 metal chop saw, those warts come in the form of precision, or more accurately, a lack thereof. For instance, this is another metal chop we encountered which has issues with the miter bar not being square with the blade and introducing a crooked cut. Of course, if you limit your cuts to straight 90-degree passes, then you will not have to worry too terribly much about this issue. If you are okay with that particular limitation, then you will likely be pleasantly surprised to find that the Milwaukee metal chop saw offers one of the larger maximum cut thicknesses at 5”.
One thing to consider when judging the 6177-20 metal chop saw is that, like some other products on our list, it does not actually use saw blades with teeth and instead relies on an abrasive cut. While this is a standard method used for cutting metal, it also has a tendency to require more skill and leaves the cut face in a condition that requires further finishing. On the other hand, the Milwaukee metal chop saw’s 15-amp motor is actually able to generate the most PT horsepower with 4 hp. Granted, this is a bit less impressive for an abrasive cutter since you still cannot apply more force to the cut without throwing the blade into a wobble, but it does mean that you will not have to worry about the motor burning out quickly.
- Is the least expensive metal chop saw reviewed
- Has a quick-adjust vice
- Has a larger maximum cutting thickness
- Is a lighter metal chop saw
- Has the best pt horsepower
- Has all-ball bearing construction
- Does not use toothed saw blades
- The angled cut is not the best
Best Metal Chop Saw Buying Guide 2019
Metal chop saws can be broken down into two basic types: those that use toothed saw blades and those that use abrasive ones. Traditionally, an abrasive saw blade was generally considered a grinder, but the development of the metal chop saw has seen some hybridization between the two. The primary benefit of using an abrasive metal chop saw is the fact that it is often significantly less expensive. On top of that, the abrasive metal chop saw will rarely require multiple types of blades for different workpiece materials. That said, though toothed metal chop saws may be more expensive and require more types of saw blades, they are also more effective. This is especially relevant when judging how quickly the metal chop saw can make its cut, but it also extends to the quality of the finished cut face.
This is likely one of the more important qualities to determine, but it can also be one of the more difficult as well. This is because it is a fairly standard practice in the industry to use a 15-amp motor, but this does not mean that all motors are made equally. While most metal chop saws may utilize equal amounts of power, that does not mean they are all equal at transferring that power through to the blade. In this instance, you are going to want to look at the horsepower that the motor generates. This will give you a much better idea of how much cutting power the metal chop saw actually provides. Essentially, the more horsepower the motor generates, generally the more cutting torque it provides with anything over 3 hp being a decent measure.
Whereas a blade speed can be more or less important when judging a wood cutting saw, metal chop saws have a far narrower range. This is because metal is far less forgiving when being cut by a power saw and can even be ruined with the wrong cut speed. However, this issue is further muddied when you consider the different types of metal chop saws. Specifically, an abrasive metal chop saw will need its blade to spin exceptionally fast, generally 3500 rpms or faster. On the contrary, a toothed metal chop saw will need its blade to spin much slower, somewhere in the area of 1500 rpms– give or take a few hundred. If your power saw fails to meet one of these two standards, then you can expect the cut face of your workpiece to require further filing to remove burrs. Things can get even trickier for metals susceptible to hot temperatures as the cutting action can actually warp the cut face.
Why Use a Metal Chop Saw?
As if it were not obvious by the name, a metal chop saw aims to drastically increase the speed with which you can cut metal. This is an important distinction, however, because there are a number of different saws, both hand and power, which are able to cut metal. That said, metal chop saws have some distinct advantages over these other types, though the advantage depends on the type. For one, hand saws are always going to take significantly longer to use and require a great deal more effort– even if they do have a tendency to be the most precise. On the other hand, other types of power saws will usually provide the quickness as ease of a metal chop saw but will regularly fall flat in the precision department.
This is where the metal chop saw comes into play as it is able to provide both benefits in a single package. For one, a metal chop saw will almost always come with a base and vice which are particularly designed to hold metal workpieces– something that is especially important for rounded metal workpieces. On top of that, metal chop saws are generally engineered so that they provide the ideal blade speed as to avoid generating burrs on the cut face and keeping the workpiece cool enough to use right after.
Which Type of Metal Chop Saw?
For the overwhelming number of people, this may seem like a bit of an odd question without having some metalworking experience. However, it is fairly important to consider which type of workpieces you expect to cut most often before making your decision. To be clear, the standard designation for a metal chop saw includes the use of a toothed saw blade. This allows the metal chop saw to cut through the metal much quicker while still eliminating the generation of burrs on the cut face or increasing the temperature. However, this can also lead to a situation where you need half a dozen different saw blades depending on the metal being cut.
The alternative to this type of metal chop saw is the abrasive blade which is actually the more common type of blade used to cut metal. Instead of actually cutting into the metal, the abrasive saw blade grinds the metal down in a clean line. There have been some innovations in the development of abrasive metal cutting blades to limit the creation of burrs on the cut face and keep the workpiece temperature down. However, abrasive saw blades are also generally thicker than toothed blades, requiring the blade thickness to be taken into account when measuring. On top of that, abrasive saw blades do not cut metal as quickly as toothed blades and have a tendency to wobble when forced.
What to Look For?
When comparing metal chop saws, there are a few features that stand out above the others, though these are also often fairly standardized. For instance, the cutting power is one of the more relevant considering the materials, but most metal chop saws use a 15-amp motor. Instead, it is more important to look at the hp generated by the motor as this will help you determine which saw has more cutting torque. Another vital aspect to consider is the blade speed, though this will depend on one which type of metal chop saw you use. An abrasive metal chop saw will need an extremely fast blade speed, while a toothed chop saw will need a slower one.
Outside of the cutting action itself, another important thing to consider is the maximum cutting depth. Aside from the obvious limitations, this specification can place on a metal chop saw, it is also important to remember that this quality will generally vary depending on the workpiece in question. For instance, metal tubing of either circular or rectangular shape will have a “larger” maximum cutting thickness than sheet metal. This is a bit of a misnomer as the metal chop saw will still be limited by the thickness of a tube’s wall, but it can be a bit tricky. If you are looking for a metal chop saw for a professional application, you would do well in making sure it has a horizontal D-handle as this is much easier on the wrist when using the product for extended periods of time.
In the end, metal chop saws may seem fairly similar on the surface, but there are a number of different features both above and under the hood to separate the wheat from the chaff. The Makita may not be the most ergonomic, but it has the best overall cutting action that we encountered. The DEWALT DW872 may not provide the same cutting power or blade speed, but it makes up for this with a much more convenient user action as well as additional features. The other DEWALT, the D28715 is a solid option if you are looking for a great deal and do not mind an abrasive cutter. The Evolution Power Tools is fine if you just need to make 90-degree cuts, but could stand to improve. Finally, the Milwaukee is a bit disappointing, especially for an abrasive metal chop saw, but is the least expensive option on our list.