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Cutting guide and tips for hacksaw blades
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How to choose a hacksaw blade
Image / DeWALT

Cutting guide and tips for hacksaw blades

A hacksaw blade is available in 5 different configurations to best match the material to be cut.

Disclosure: Some links in this article may earn us an affiliate commission if you decide to click and purchase. However, the information provided is not sponsored or influenced by obligations to any manufacturer or seller.

TPI = Teeth Per Inch
Use a pocket rule or digital caliper to measure material thickness.
Disclaimer: This hacksaw blade chart is a general guideline and material cutting thicknesses may vary per manufacturer. To find specific blade and material thickness recommendations for a particular blade manufacturer, check product packaging.
Material TypeTPI †Material Thickness ‡
Thick Metal & Wood141/8″ – 3/4″
Heavy Metal, Wood, & Plastic181/8″ – 1/2″
Medium Metal, Wood, & Plastic243/32″ – 5/16″
Thin Metal, Wood, & Plastic32less than 1/8″
Glass, Ceramics, Marble, Fiberglass and SteelCarbide Rod

Cutting Tips and Test Results

For better cutting precision and ease of cutting during our testing, we found a basic miter box, and in some cases, one-handed bar clamps to be of great assistance.

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.

Hacksaw blade tooth (TPI) comparison

A 14-TPI blade is going to be the best option for cutting through the thickest of materials.

1) Cut thick metal 1/8″ – 3/4″ (3.2mm – 19mm), including: steel, rebar, stainless, aluminum, and brass.
2) Cut U-channel / C-channel, etc. with a minimum wall thickness of 1/8″.
3) Cut tree branches and wood framing when a hand saw or folding saw isn’t available.
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structural steel vector art
Square BarRound BarPlateAngleStructural

Tested

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.

Conclusion

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.

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.
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Square BarRound BarPlateAnglePVC / Tubing

Tested

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) 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.
Material14-TPI18-TPI
1/8″ Steel U-Channel27 sec.30 sec.
1/2″ Rebar24 sec.26 sec.

Tested

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.

Tested

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″.

Conclusion

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.

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.
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angle iron vector art
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Square BarRound Bar / DowelPlateAnglePVC / Tubing

Tested

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.

Tested

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.

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
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Square BarRound Bar / DowelPlateAngleTubing

Tested

Why a 32-TPI blade is needed to cut thin wall materials like electrical conduit and rigid copper pipe.

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

Tested

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.

Preferred

More Options

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