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.
|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|
- 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).
|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 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.
|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.
|1/8″ 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.
|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!
|Square Bar||Round Bar / Dowel||Plate||Angle||Tubing|
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.