What is the Best Bow Saw? For Cutting Trees and Logs (2023)

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A bow saw is an essential tool for keeping your yard looking its best and is helpful for campers and woodworkers. 

However, many are poorly made and can break after a few uses. This is why our experts have tested a few of the best bow saws available so you can easily choose what suits your needs.

Premium Option
Bahco 10-24-23
Editor’s Choice
AGAWA BOREAL21
Budget Option
GreatNeck BB24
Bahco 10-24-23
AGAWA BOREAL21
GreatNeck BB24
• 24-inch blade
• Knuckle guard
• Tension adjustment
• Ergonomic Handle
• 21-inch blade
• 1-year warranty
• Knuckle guard
• Foldable
• 24-inch blade
• Lifetime Warranty
• Also a hacksaw
• High cutting depth
Premium Option
Bahco 10-24-23
Bahco 10-24-23
• 24-inch blade
• Knuckle guard
• Tension adjustment
• Ergonomic Handle
Editor’s Choice
AGAWA BOREAL21
AGAWA BOREAL21
• 21-inch blade
• 1-year warranty
• Knuckle guard
• Foldable
Budget Option
GreatNeck BB24
GreatNeck BB24
• 24-inch blade
• Lifetime Warranty
• Also a hacksaw
• High cutting depth

Reviews of the Top Bow Saws

1. Agawa - Boreal21 - 21 Inch Folding Bow Saw

Although Agawa bow saw models are a little expensive, they are worth considering if you need a high-quality saw for outdoor projects.

What we like about this bow saw is its 21-inch blade being held in place by a robust yet lightweight anodized aluminum frame, and it is built for aggressive cutting with good capacity. 

This tool that users can fold up and store in their backpacks is very portable. The Agawa Boreal21 is protected in a sturdy sheath that prevents accidental deployment. If you don’t have a place in your pack, you can sling that sheath over your shoulder instead.

What We Like

What We Don't Like

2. Bahco 10-24-23 Bow Saw

The next saw on our list has a frame and a blade that is made to resist the harsh conditions of a construction or farm environment.

We found it perfect for home use or taking to the campground. High-quality steel is used in this Bahco 10-24-23 bow saw‘s construction, and it is coated in a high-impact enamel paint that keeps it from rusting.

What we like the most is the knuckle guard, a unique addition to a bow saw. There’s also a fantastic tensioner built right in, so you can fine-tune the blade tension to your liking.

What We Like

What We Don't Like

3. GreatNeck BB24 24 Inch Bow Saw

If you’re in the market for an excellent bow saw but want great value for money, consider GreatNeck BB24.

The GreatNeck BB24 bow saw offers the most bang for the buck. Mainly because even at the lowest pricing point, you get a 24-inch blade made of durable and shock-resistant S-2 steel.

Precision is ensured by the tension adjustment and the tubular steel frame. You get a massive 6.5-inch cutting depth in addition to its massive frame. What we like best is that despite its reasonable price, you still get a lifetime warranty.

What We Like

What We Don't Like

4. Truper 30255 Steel Handle Bow Saw

Compared to other brands of bow saws, Truper is relatively new. However, this is still a wonderful alternative if you need a powerful saw in your garden.

The Truper 30255 bow saw comes in a strong but lightweight structure. In addition, it has a knuckle guard, which should be standard equipment on any modern saw but is sometimes overlooked.

It has a steel blade that measures 21 inches in length and is held in place by a cam lever tension system. According to our research, Truper builds its bow saw with a high-quality tubular frame to boost its sturdiness further.

What We Like

What We Don't Like

5. Spear & Jackson B9824BOWSAW

The oval section tubular steel frame of the Spear Jackson 24 Predator B9824 Bow Saw provides strength and stiffness, while the ergonomic soft feel handle features a built-in hand guard for your protection.

You can modify the blade tensioning mechanism to make longer, cleaner cuts quickly or to replace the blades fast.

Each bow saw has standard peg tooth blades, ideal for slicing through dry wood and other hard materials. It’s constructed from top-notch materials that not only look great but also last a long time and provide excellent functionality.

What We Like

What We Don't Like

6. Sven-Saw 60th Anniversary Engraved 15" Folding Saw

We like that the Sven-Saw 60th Anniversary Engrave Folding Saw is made specifically for travelers because it boasts a special folding design. The anodized aluminum grip and back bar are weatherproof and durable, and they won’t erode or rust. 

With its 15-inch blade made of Swedish tempered steel, the Sven-Saw has been hardened but is still lightweight enough to carry and is up to any task at the campsite.

It works wonderfully for cutting logs lengthwise, removing bushes from hiking or biking paths, grooming snowmobile routes, and clearing weeds from the backyard. Triangular bow saws are stronger than other bow saw models or shapes, and the Sven saw is proof.

What We Like

What We Don't Like

7. Bahco 10-30-51 30-Inch Ergo Bow Saw

Whether you’re a forest ranger or a contractor, this model will come in handy. The thicker-than-average frame of the Bahco 10-30-51 bow saw provides the extra strength it needs to endure harsh conditions. 

We find this saw easy to control, which is also powder-coated to add a layer of protective plastic skin to prevent rust. All included are options for green and dry wood cutting blades, a knuckle guard integrated into the handle for all-day comfort, and a fine adjustment for optimal blade tension.

Longer bow saws are good for slicing through heavy sections of lumber or cutting through branches with a wide width.

What We Like

What We Don't Like

Bow Saw Buyer's Guide

Frame

Traditionally, a wooden frame is used in bow saws. Today, steel tubing, a strong and long-lasting material, is commonly used to construct the frames of bow saws. Although they rust easily, they typically have a plastic-like powder coating that serves as protective skin. [1]

Aluminum is common for folding bow saws. It is not as durable as steel, but it is much easier to carry on a camping or trekking trip. Furthermore, color bow saws come in various colors, so you can easily spot them in your work area.

Weight and Portability

Consider the bow saw’s portability if you, for whatever reason, foresee the need to take it with you. A simple way to tell is to weigh your saw; a bow that weighs 400–500 grams will be much more useful than one that weighs 800 grams.

Some saws are designed to be lightweight and collapsible, making them convenient for use when traveling.

Bow Saw Shape and Length

Short bow saws, typically measuring around 17 inches in length, are better suited to smaller tasks such as trimming thin branches, pruning small trees, and trimming attractive plants. For more strenuous tasks, such as tree felling and fuel generation, a longer bow saw is preferable.

Particularly among the more compact models, saws might take on a triangular shape rather than a traditional bow. Because of this, you can easily maneuver them into tighter locations to trim bushes and trees.

Blade Type

It’s possible to find saw blades with either a raker or a regular peg tooth blade. Knowing the differences between these blade types will allow you to make an informed decision based on your specific cutting requirements.

Peg Tooth

They are used to chop through dry wood because of their single-tooth design, which is effective on both the back and the forward stroke.

Raker Tooth

A bow saw with a blade is ideal for cutting through green or wet wood. They make it simple to cut through green or wet woods by retrieving the sawdust from the cut.

A few high-end variants have interchangeable blades that can switch between peg and raker configurations. 

Changing blade types is as simple as removing the current blade and switching it over. A saw with a thin blade that you can switch around is a great addition to anyone heading to a construction site.

Therefore, it is crucial to examine the bow saw model’s blade design and select one suited to your needs.

Teeth Per Inch

The blade’s cutting efficiency is measured in teeth per inch (TPI). Use the saw with the most teeth if you want a clean cut. Sawdust becomes caught in the gullets and spaces between the teeth of a blade with a high TPI, which can cause the blade to overheat or delay the process.

There will be a wide variety of teeth per inch (TPI) in the bow saw’s blade, from 3 to 14. Low TPI is best for greenwood, while high TPI is best for lumber. Sometimes a maker will specify a cutting preference but not the TPI.

Blade Material

Bow saws are unique because they can cut wood with both a pull and a push stroke, but this is only possible with freshly sharpened blades. Use blades created from stainless steel or hardened carbon steel if you want them to last a long time, be strong, and maintain their edge.

If you must use carbon steel, treat the blade so it won’t rust. At the same time, stainless steel can keep its edge for a longer period and perform more efficiently. The blade will wear out eventually, no matter what you use it for, so you’ll have to replace it occasionally.

Be sure to evaluate your sawing needs, enhance the blades and choose the best blade material accordingly.

Cutting Depth

Check the depth of cut offered by the bow saw to indicate its cutting performance. The maximum diameter of a tree or branch you can cut with a bow saw is equal to this depth. 

The typical cutting depth is 4 or 6 inches, while a deeper cut is preferable in larger trees. A larger bow is needed for a deeper cut, which compromises the tool’s portability.

Intended Use and Wood Type

It’s important to choose the best bow saw for the job, as some blades work better on fresh, young wood, and others are ideal for more seasoned wood. 

While saws for green wood have rake-like teeth that are larger to prevent clogging with softer fibers, bow saws have finer, sharper teeth that can shear through stronger materials.

Handle Design and Grip

The handle should feel good in your hand, provide adequate grip and support, and include an integrated hand guard to prevent injury. It will prevent your knuckles from getting scraped as you work, and keep your hand in the position even if you start sweating.

Traditional wooden saws have a grip made from a frame, but newer metal saws have a grip on only one side. The handle locks the blade into place, which is a tensioning device. 

Using the saw is easier. A D-ring is installed inside the blade to prevent the user’s hand from sliding.

They can also be held securely with a pistol grip, which extends around the metal bow to provide a slightly rough surface and prevents the user’s hand from slipping. In addition, you’ll need to grasp the frame properly with some other bow saw since they don’t come with a grip.

Knuckle Guard Design and Protective Sheath

Consideration of the saw’s handle is crucial. It’s meant to be used in a smooth, back-and-forth motion, transferring the user’s strength from the arm to the blade. 

Because of the pull and push motion required for cutting with these saws, it’s important to find a model with a good grip and a comfortable handle.

When applying force during cutting, the user’s fingers and knuckles touch the trunk or wood branches. The handle of your bow saw must include this knuckle guard to protect your hands from injury during the sawing operation.

Tension Adjuster

Blade tension is sensitive to various environmental conditions, including temperature and humidity. You may counteract this effect by regulating the blade’s tension, which is conveniently included on most current bow saws.

With this function, you can always adjust the tension to the ideal level for the task, resulting in clean, accurate cuts. Since bow saws loosen up over time, the tension adjuster is a must for extending the tool’s life and usefulness.

Price and Warranty

Depending on the brand, size, warranty, and blade length, a price of a bow saw may vary. But what’s important is to pick a model that strikes a good mix between your cutting needs and your available funds.

You need the saw to continue to work just as well after a long period as the other gardening equipment in your garage. Therefore, it is always a good idea to examine the guarantee provided by the bow saws.

Some bow saws come with a lifetime warranty, providing you with greater security and reliability than the standard 1-year guarantee.

The Bow Saw: A Quick History and Why You Need It

A bow saw, also known as a buck or swede saw, is commonly used in woodworking—several earliest instances of this type of saw date back to ancient China and the early Roman Empire.

In place of the wood frame of older models, modern bow saws typically include a tubular metal construction but otherwise perform similarly. A metal blade is kept tight and ready to make a clean cut by a curved, triangular, or square frame.

You will eventually need one if you have trees or large, thick-trunked bushes on your land. While these implements are powered by muscle rather than electricity, there are instances when a chainsaw is just unnecessary.

Even with practice and careful planning, small-diameter trees can be felled with a bow saw. These lightweight, agile alternatives can avoid the hassle of chainsaw maintenance and the swaying movements of larger axes.

How to Use a Bow Saw?

Staying Safe When Using a Bow Saw

Wear protective apparel

Work boots or shoes that are completely waterproof, thick gloves, and sturdy, long pants are also essential.

person wearing protective gear

Make sure you're carrying it safely.

Saws use a strong wire, a chain with teeth, or a solid blade to cut through tough materials. Saws should be stored in the center of their metal frames, with the cutting edges pointing downward. Extend the saw’s handle to someone else so they can use it.

Prepare the cutting area.

Kids and animals shouldn’t be in the area. You shouldn’t leave the saw lying about where it could be stepped on or tripped over.

Use the protective sheath.

After you’re done sawing, place the blade back into its sheath for safety.

FAQ

What's the difference between a folding saw and a bow saw?

A folding saw’s blade is wider and made of sheet metal; it stretches from the handle and collapses back into the handle for storage and portability. A folding saw may be handled with one hand and is ideal for trimming branches no wider than two inches.

How tight should I adjust my bow saw's blade?

The bow saw’s blade must be rigid enough to prevent it from sliding over the pins but flexible enough to allow for some bending. You can adjust the blade of your bow saw for a snugger fit using the mechanism at its tip.

How do I sharpen a bow saw's blade?

Their blades are simple tools that require little upkeep. Using a flat file, first, sharpen the teeth while the blade is held vertically; then, using a three-sided file, give each tooth a final sharpening and check that its base is flat.

Our Top Pick For a Bow Saw: AGAWA - BOREAL21

Our top pick for the best bow saw is the Agawa BOREAL21, an easy-to-carry bow saw that is both lightweight and compact when folded. It is a sturdy and lightweight option for a saw that won’t let you down in the wilderness or at home. 

Besides, it sports a 21 inches blade length with a high cutting capacity and an aggressive design and is the best high-end bow saw we’ve used. 


Interesting Read: The Best Backpacking Saw in 2023

Robert Johnson is a woodworker who takes joy in sharing his passion for creating to the rest of the world. His brainchild, Sawinery, allowed him to do so as well as connect with other craftsmen. He has since built an enviable workshop for himself and an equally impressive online accomplishment: an extensive resource site serving old timers and novices alike.
Robert Johnson
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