Can a Circular Saw Cut Metal?

Woodworkers use a circular saw blade and other cutting devices when cutting wood and wood composites.

But can a circular saw cut metals like aluminum, angle iron, mild steel, and stainless steel?

Traditionally, DIYers use a hacksaw, but the rise of power tools provided them with more accessible and faster ways to complete the task.

One of the most sought-after power tools these days is a circular saw, which comes in different varieties depending on your material.

Today, we’ll discuss the metal-cutting circular saw and the different blades you can use to complete the task.

Table of Contents

    What’s a Standard Circular Saw?

    A standard circular saw is a power tool fitted with an abrasive or toothed blade for cutting various materials through a spinning motion.

    This machine is initially designed for cutting logs and can be either mounted on a table or handheld by the user.

    With the vast array of blades available for various applications, it is now one of the most versatile tools in the industry.

    In addition, circular saw users can adjust the depth and height of their cuts, adding to their flexibility.

    This high-performing machine and its affordability make it an in-demand power tool among DIY enthusiasts and professionals.

    An Overview of Metal-Cutting Circular Saws

    A circular saw is designed for cutting metals and can cut through these tough materials using different cold-toothed blades.

    This device is also known as a cold saw machine because it allows the blade and the material to stay cool during the process.

    The blade produces metal chips, and these absorb the generated heat as the blade rotates at high speed during the metal-cutting process.

    Also, a circular metal-cutting saw helps eliminate burrs and reduces discoloration, hazardous dust, and sparks.

    The device consists of an electric motor, a gear system, and a circular saw blade.

    Controlling the spinning rate of the circular blade while maintaining a consistently high torque is possible through the AC vector drive, electric motor, and gears.

    By contrast, metal-cutting saws have lower RPMs, giving them more efficiency when cutting metal.

    They also use smaller blade sizes, reducing the RPM further and providing more control to the user.

    For security and safety, the workpiece is clamped firmly to prevent it from moving during the cutting process.

    After understanding how a circular metal cutting saw works, knowing the correct blade type for a particular material is vital.

    Types of Circular Saw Blades for Metal

    You can use a wide range of alloys and metals for your projects that require cutting, but you can’t use just any blade. That is why we are here today.

    We want you to know what blade to use for what metal type.

    Not only that, but you must also remember that a metal-cutting saw has a different design from a wood-cutting tool.

    If you’re thinking about ease of use, as you should, there is an open motor housing on a wood-cutting saw compared to the collection bin on metal circular saws.

    This design prevents metal chips or shavings from entering and causing damage to the machine.

    can a circular saw cut metal

    Ferrous Metal Blade

    Cutting mild steel as thick as 3/8 inches is more manageable with a ferrous metal blade.

    Depending on your preference, you can get either an affordable steel tooth or expensive but durable carbide-tipped blades.

    During the process, wear your safety glasses and gear while keeping others away from the flying hot metal chips as safety precautions.

    Metal Cutting Diamond Blade

    You can reject abrasive grinding discs that cut slowly, wear down quickly, and shrink in diameter while in use.

    Try the diamond metal cutting blade instead that can cut through ferrous metal. It cuts cleaner and faster, lasts longer, and wears down slower.

    A metal-cutting diamond blade is ideal for cutting aluminum, iron, rebar, steel, sheet metal, and similar materials.

    Non-ferrous Metal Cutting Blade

    You can make accurate cuts on aluminum angles, rods, trims, or tubes using a non-ferrous metal cutting blade.

    This cutting disc is also ideal for other non-ferrous metal materials like brass and copper.

    Other Tools and Techniques for Cutting Metals

    We have established that a circular saw can cut metal using the specialized blades mentioned.

    Below is a list of tools you can use with the right blade to achieve precise metal cuts for your project:

    Angle Grinder

    An angle grinder, as its name suggests, is a powerful tool you hold for cutting, grinding, and polishing.

    Initially, manufacturers made angle grinders using abrasive rigid discs. As the years passed, attachments, cutters, and interchangeable power sources became available.

    Generally, an angle grinder is fitted with a side handle and an adjustable blade guard so you can use both hands for balance.


    Initially, a hacksaw is made for cutting metal pipes fitted with a fine-toothed blade. It is a versatile hand tool that uses the regular back-and-forth sawing motion.

    It has a comfortable C-shape handle and can use various blades for different applications.

    Jigsaw Tool

    A jigsaw tool is designed for cutting through pipework, sheet metal, and wood via the squeeze trigger strategically placed in the handle.

    Like other power tools, jigsaws offer different features. The standard model with the correct blade can handle most DIYers’ jobs.

    If you need to perform heavy-duty metal cutting, you must use a sturdier professional model.

    Miter Saw

    A miter saw is another circular saw variety ideal for cutting various types of metal when fitted with the right cutting blade.

    However, it’s typically designed with an open motor housing where metal chips can enter and damage your device.

    Cover the opening with a cloth by securing it with tape while cutting metal, then remove it to prevent overheating.

    You can use a wood backer to secure the aluminum or other metal in place while cutting to minimize flying shards. It’s the perfect tip when you are working on thin-walled workpieces.

    Oscillating Tool

    A metal-cutting blade fitted on an oscillating tool is an ideal option when making a horizontal cut in a tight space.

    It effortlessly cut-off automotive bolts, a corroded mounting nut on faucets and toilets, nails, and plumbing pipes.

    Rotary Tool

    Stainless steel comes in different varieties; some are more challenging to cut than others.

    You can use a rotary tool with a metal-cutting abrasive disc for small jobs, while an angle grinder works excellently on more significant tasks.

    Reciprocating Saw

    A reciprocating tool finishes demolition work when crowbars and hammers can’t do it. 

    It is a small handheld power tool that allows you to mount different attachments according to the task.

    You can just install a metal-cutting blade, and you will have a machine-powered hacksaw where the saw moves back and forth to cut through the material.

    With the right blade, a reciprocating saw can cut angle iron, bolts, nails, pipes, and rods.

    Score and Snap

    Many contractors use the score-and-snap technique to create precise cuts of aluminum flashing and siding.

    It is an ideal way of getting precise cuts on any light gauge sheet metal like aluminum and steel.

    You can clamp or hold a square or straightedge near the cutting marks and use the tip of a sharp utility knife to score a line. Then, bend the sheet of metal back and forth to snap it.

    Tin Snips

    You can cut hardware cloth and metal lath using tin snips. It is an inexpensive tool you can use for cutting metal.

    Generally, the thicker the metal gauge you need to cut, the more prominent the tin snip tool you use. In addition to different sizes, it also comes in various styles.

    Safety Tips for Cutting Metal

    Every time you cut or grind metal, hot and sharp tiny metal chips or shards fly everywhere. Here are a couple of safety tips to avoid burns, cuts, eye injuries, and more.

    • Read the safety precautions you see on the blades and machines before starting a task.
    • Wear the appropriate gear and accessories, like a face shield, a pair of gloves, hearing protection, long sleeves, pants, protective shoes, and safety glasses.
    • Let the freshly-cut metal cool before touching it, even with gloved hands.
    • Speaking of gloves, always wear a pair to prevent getting cut with sharp edges.
    • Ensure that the metal is clamped securely before cutting.
    • Keep bystanders away from the cutting machine to prevent possible injuries. If they need to be there, advise them to wear the proper safety gear.
    • Make sure you keep your tools well-maintained. Check for signs of damage or wear on cables, consumables, and switches.
    • Ensure your metal-cutting blade is sharp to keep it from jumping and slipping on the workpiece surface.
    • Don’t rush while working, or you increase the risk of injury.

    Can a Circular Saw Cut Metal?

    Can a circular saw cut metal? We cannot provide a straight yes or no answer due to different factors.

    Generally, you can use a standard circular saw to cut through metals, provided it is fitted with the right blade.

    However, one of the significant drawbacks of a standard circular saw is its blade speed, which is way beyond the recommended rate for metal cutting.

    Also, each machine is designed differently to protect its components from the cutting debris from the materials they are cutting.

    So, if you can choose, it is best to use the suitable device according to its specific purpose.

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