Diy House Help

Hacksaw Blades – Comparison, Cutting Guide, Tips

How to choose a hacksaw blade
Image Credit: DeWALT

Get the best cutting performance, and the most versatility, from a hacksaw by using a blade that is best matched to the project and material to be cut.

1) TPI = Teeth Per Inch
2) Material thickness – not diameter – relates to blade TPI.
3) Use a pocket rule or digital caliper to measure material thickness.
4) This hacksaw blade chart is a general guideline, but closely matches all brands of blades. To find specific blade and material thickness recommendations for a particular blade manufacturer, check product packaging for a similar chart.
Material Type TPI Material Thickness
Thick Metal & Wood 14 1/8″ – 1/2″
Heavy Metal, Wood, & Plastic 18 1/8″ – 1/2″
Medium Metal, Wood, & Plastic 24 3/32″ – 5/16″
Thin Metal, Wood, & Plastic 32 less than 1/8″
Glass, Ceramics, Marble, Fiberglass and Steel Carbide Rod
Frequently Asked Questions
  • The lower the TPI…the larger the gap between teeth…and the longer the tooth – This allows more material removal and clean-out with each saw stroke, thus saving cutting time.
  • The higher the TPI…the smaller the gap between teeth…and the shorter the tooth – This allows the blade to cut thinner material thicknesses without excessive resistance, which can lead to the inability to cut altogether (ref. FAQ section regarding 32-TPI hacksaw blades).
Hacksaw blade tooth (TPI) comparison
Blade Brand + link Purchase
Bahco
Klein
Lenox
Milwaukee
M.K. Morse
Nicholson
Stanley
Starrett
Blade Packs
Bahco (TPI 18-24-32)
DeWalt (TPI 18-24-32)
1) Cut thick metal 1/8″ – 1/2″ (3.2mm – 12.7mm), including: steel, rebar, stainless, aluminum, and brass.
2) Cut U-channel / C-channel, etc. with a minimum wall thickness of 1/8″.
square bar vector art
round bar vector art
steel plate vector art
angle iron vector art
structural steel vector art
Square Bar Round Bar Plate Angle Structural

For the majority of homeowner projects, a 14-TPI blade will have little to no purpose, which may explain the limited availability (finding 14-TPI blades in stock at local home improvement stores may not be possible, and many of the hacksaw blade brands don’t offer a 14-TPI blade). However, a tradesman that needs a hand saw for heavy metal cutting may want to experiment with a 14-TPI blade compared to using a 18-TPI blade.

Note 1: A hacksaw fitted with a 14-TPI blade effectively cuts tree branches and wood framing material. Alternative saws for cutting similar material would be a hand saw or folding saw.

Note 2: A Lenox 14-TPI blade has a minimum thickness rating of 1/8″, whereas a Morse 14-TPI blade has a minimum thickness rating of 3/16″. We tested both brands of blades to find the truth in these guidelines.

  • The Lenox 14-TPI blade effectively cuts 1/8″ thick material, as stated.
  • The Morse 14-TPI blade struggled to cut below 3/16″ and is ineffective in cutting 1/8″ thick material.
1) Cut thick metal 1/8″ – 1/2″ (3.2mm – 12.7mm), including: steel, rebar, stainless, aluminum, and brass.
2) Cut tubing, U-channel / C-channel, etc. with a minimum wall thickness of 1/8″.
3) Cut wood 1/2″ and larger.
4) Cut PVC 1/2″ and larger.
square bar vector art
round bar vector art
steel plate vector art
angle iron vector art
round tubing vector art
Square Bar Round Bar Plate Angle PVC / Tubing

A 18-TPI can cut thick material as well as a 14-TPI blade, but with less effort and smoother cutting.

1) Speed tests are an estimation based on variances of trying to maintain a steady hand cutting rate. Multiple tests were done to create an average.
2) New Lenox hacksaw blades were used for consistency.
Material 14-TPI 18-TPI
1/8″ Steel U-Channel 27 sec. 30 sec.
1/2″ Rebar 24 sec. 26 sec.

Note 1: A hacksaw isn’t the ideal choice for cutting wood, but for random projects where precision cutting isn’t needed, a hacksaw will get the job done, e.g. cutting a tree limb, demoing a small wall or building structure.

Note 2: A 18-TPI blade cuts through PVC tubing, whether trying to cut and remove existing plumbing, or cutting new PVC to length for a plumbing project. E.g. replacing a garbage disposal, sump pump, or an outdoor drainage project.

Note 3: A DeWALT 18-TPI blade has a material thickness rating of 1/4″ – 1/2″. Most other 18-TPI blades have a minimal material thickness rating of 1/8″, which the DeWALT 18-TPI blade cut effectively too. A confusing discrepancy in DeWALT’s 18-TPI nominal material thickness recommendation.

1) Cut thick metal 3/32″ – 5/16″ (2.4mm – 7.9mm), including: steel, stainless, aluminum, and brass.
2) Cut tubing, U-channel / C-channel, etc. with a minimum wall thickness of 3/32″.
3) Cut wood 1/16″ and larger.
4) Cut PVC 1/2″ and larger.
square bar vector art
round bar vector art
steel plate vector art
angle iron vector art
round tubing vector art
Square Bar Round Bar / Dowel Plate Angle PVC / Tubing

A 24-TPI comes standard on hacksaws and from our tests offers the most range. The tooth count and size isn’t too small nor too large.

Note 1: Lenox rates their 24-TPI blade to cut 3/32″ thru 5/16″ for hardened materials, but a wider range of softer materials can be cut.

  • Cutting PVC with a 24-TPI blade is just as effective as using a 18-TPI blade.
  • Cut lumber and wood dowels from 1/16″ and thicker.

Note 2: Use a power or hand miter saw to make highly accurate cuts. I recommend the Nobex Champion 180 miter saw for many reasons, including: quick and precise cuts without the dust of an electric miter saw. Great for indoor projects!

1) Cut metal up to 1/8″ (3.2mm), including: steel, stainless, aluminum, copper, and brass.
2) Cut U-channel / C-channel, etc. up to 1/8″.
3) Cut rigid copper tubing and conduit.
4) Cut wood 1/16″ and smaller.
square bar vector art
round bar vector art
steel plate vector art
angle iron vector art
round tubing vector art
Square Bar Round Bar / Dowel Plate Angle Tubing

A 32-TPI blade is a must when cutting thin material, e.g. electrical conduit and copper pipe.

Use a 32 TPI hacksaw blade on rigid copper tubing and conduit

Note 1: A 32-TPI blade is rated to cut material up to 1/8″ material, but a 24-TPI blade cuts just as effectively and faster for materials above 3/32″ (roughly).

Note 2: A hacksaw (even with a 32-TPI blade) isn’t an economic solution to cut gutter material. The ultra thin material and slow movement of hand sawing causes the teeth to get hung up. For best results when cutting gutter and downspout material use a circular saw with a metal cutting blade.

Recommended
Blair Hole Cutters
Blair sheetmetal, steel, spotweld, and plastic hole cutters
1) Rotabroach Cutters are for precision holemaking in sheet metal, frame materials, and plate stock up to ½” thick, whether Mild Steel, Stainless Steel, or Aluminum.
2) The Holcutters are for producing holes up to 3″ diameter in sheet metal, rubber, gasket or fiber materials, and some plastics up to ⅛”.
3) Available as kits or individual cutters and accessories.
Blair Equipment
Buy Direct
Shop Online