A hacksaw blade is available in 5 different configurations to best match the material to be cut.
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|Material Type||TPI †||Material Thickness ‡|
|Thick Metal & Wood||14||1/8″ – 3/4″|
|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|
Cutting Tips and Test Results
The lower the TPI…the larger the gap between teeth…and the longer the tooth = a more aggressive cut with each saw stroke to improve cutting efficiency.
The higher the TPI…the smaller the gap between teeth…and the shorter the tooth = a finer cut without excessive resistance. Too much resistance can lead to the inability to cut altogether.
A 14-TPI blade is going to be the best option for cutting through the thickest of materials.
|Square Bar||Round Bar||Plate||Angle||Structural|
A Lenox 14-TPI blade has a minimum thickness rating of 1/8″ (3.2mm), whereas a Morse 14-TPI blade has a minimum thickness rating of 3/16″ (4.8mm). We tested both brands of blades to find the limitations of these guidelines.
The Lenox 14-TPI blade effectively cuts 1/8″ thick material, as stated, whereas the Morse 14-TPI blade struggled to cut below 3/16″ and is ineffective in cutting 1/8″ thick material.
A 18-TPI blade is suitable for thick materials, but can also cut smaller diameter material when a 14-TPI blades starts to provide too much resistance.
|Square Bar||Round Bar||Plate||Angle||PVC / Tubing|
14-TPI blades aren’t readily available at major home improvement stores, but 18-TPI blades are. We performed a few tests, several times over, to compare the efficiency of a 18-TPI vs 14-TPI blade when cutting materials, or materials close to, that may be used for home improvement projects.
|1/8″ Steel U-Channel||27 sec.||30 sec.|
|1/2″ Rebar||24 sec.||26 sec.|
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.
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″.
The DeWALT 18-TPI blade was just as effective of cutting material thicknesses down to 1/8″ as the other blades in our testing. A confusing discrepancy in DeWALT’s 18-TPI nominal material thickness recommendation.
A 24-TPI blade comes standard with the purchase of a hacksaw, and from our tests, offers the most range. The tooth count isn’t too small nor too large.
|Square Bar||Round Bar / Dowel||Plate||Angle||PVC / Tubing|
Lenox rates their 24-TPI blade to cut 3/32″ thru 5/16″ for hardened materials, but we found that a wider range of softer materials can be cut, e.g. cut lumber and wood dowels from 1/16″ and thicker.
Cutting PVC with a 24-TPI blade seemed just as efficient as using a 18-TPI blade.
A 32-TPI blade is the ideal choice when cutting the thinnest of materials.
|Square Bar||Round Bar / Dowel||Plate||Angle||Tubing|
Why a 32-TPI blade is needed to cut thin wall materials like electrical conduit and rigid copper pipe.
A hacksaw (even with a 32-TPI blade) isn’t a viable option 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 or power miter saw with a metal cutting blade.
Hacksaw Blade Brands
The following brands of hacksaw blades weren’t put through stringent long term cutting tests and comparisons, but certain brands of hacksaw blades stand out after years of personal use.
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