What is the Best Chop Saw for Metal? (2022)

Makita LC1230 on working table

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A chop saw can chew through metal without any snags, but there are a lot of factors to consider before you can find the perfect fit. The blade, the construction, and the operation all need to be tested. Our team of contractors has done all the work and compared some of the best options to save you time and money. 
Premium Pick
Makita LC1230
Editor’s Choice
WEN CM1452
Budget Option
PORTER-CABLE PCE700
Makita LC1230
WEN CM1452
PORTER-CABLE PCE700
• Carbide-tipped blade
• Lock-off button
• Fast-release vise
• Quick-release support fence
• Ferrous and non-ferrous metals
• 15-amp motor
• Quick-release vise clamp
• Various cutting capacities
• Affordable price
• 15-amp motor
• Quick-release clamp
• Robust and durable steel base
Premium Pick
Makita LC1230
Makita LC1230
• Carbide-tipped blade
• Lock-off button
• Fast-release vise
• Quick-release support fence
Editor’s Choice
WEN CM1452
WEN CM1452
• Ferrous and non-ferrous metals
• 15-amp motor
• Quick-release vise clamp
• Various cutting capacities
Budget Option
PORTER-CABLE PCE700
PORTER-CABLE PCE700
• Affordable price
• 15-amp motor
• Quick-release clamp
• Robust and durable steel base

Reviews of the Top Chop Saws for Metal

1. WEN CM1452

One of the best chop saws for metal in terms of the type of metal and cutting capacity is by far the WEN CM1452. The chop saw can face off against ferrous and non-ferrous metals alongside plastics and wood. 

The WEN chop saw also has rectangular, round tube, and steel plate cutting capacities that open many opportunities for its users.

The metal-cutting chop saw comes with a carbide-tipped blade that can spin up to 1450 RPM (revolutions per minute) powered by a 15-amp motor. The metal chop saw is so easy to use with a quick-release vise clamp on a low-vibration cast aluminum base. 

What We Like

What We Don't Like

2. Makita LC1230

Makita is a brand known for higher prices but exceptional quality. The Makita LC1230 is an example of the brand’s masterpieces and it gets through metals without leaving any burrs, just clean and smooth cuts.

Repetition is easy with the LC1230. There is a fast-release vise onboard that secures the material for fast and repeated cutoffs. Plus, the operation of the LC1230 is very straightforward, which makes it our contractors’ top recommendation for beginners. 

The quick-release support fence can pivot 45 degrees for miter cuts and there is a lock-off button for your convenience.

What We Like

What We Don't Like

3. PORTER-CABLE PCE700

Corded electric metal chop saws are more powerful than ones that operate on batteries, and the Porter Cable PCE700 metal-cutting chop saw from Porter-Cable can power a blade up to 3800 RPM. The 15 amperage motor is to thank for the power, and the quick-release material clamp will make sure your metals are secured in place. 

You can get an adjustable angle fence to support precise angles and miter cuts up to 45 degrees. Cutting metals can sometimes lead to sparks, which is why the brand added a spark deflector on the Porter-Cable chop saw to protect you and maintain a clear line of sight.

What We Like

What We Don't Like

4. WEN CM1446

Our team will be perfectly honest, they were pleasantly surprised by the quality and performance of the WEN metal chop saw. The Wen CM1446 can also handle both ferrous and non-ferrous metals and has various cutting capacities similar to our team’s top choice.

With the metal-cutting saw comes a 66 TPI (tooth per inch) carbide-tipped steel blade that can spin at speeds up to 1450 RPM with the help of the motor of 15 amps.

The heavy-duty and very sturdy steel base keeps the entire unit balanced and leveled as you power through metals. The metal chop saw comes with a 45-degree adjustable fence, a hold-down chain, and a 2-year warranty.

What We Like

What We Don't Like

5. DEWALT D28715

The DeWalt metal cutting chop saw has a 5.5 HP motor, which also has 15 amps to provide more overload capacity to the user. The performance and durability of the unit are better than many other saws on the market. 

The DeWalt D28715 is designed for speedy use with a keyless blade change system, a quick fence adjustments system, and a quick-lock vise. The steel base is extra wide to accommodate larger pieces of metal and improve stability and the D handle is ergonomically improved to reduce fatigue. 

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What We Don't Like

Chop Saws for Metal Buyer’s Guide

Chop saws for metal can be fickle, so users need to consider a variety of factors to make sure the tool is ideal for cutting metal. From the blades, to the ease of use, there are a ton of things that plays into the cutting process. Our team has kindly outlined the most important ones below.

Size and Portability

Metal chop saws are all around the same size, but they are not all the same in terms of portability. There are corded and cordless models available, but the power will differ. Are you a professional contractor or just a passionate home DIYer? 

A professional will require a heavier duty model that may be heavier. The best chop saws for metal will have carrying handles just to make transportation easier. Lock-down pins are also a very nifty part of the design that will make transport more secure.

Before your purchase, make sure that the power tool can fit into your workshop or job site and be lightweight enough to move around if you need a mobile tool.

Motor Power

We mentioned that the cordless and corded types will influence the motor power of a metal chop saw. Since we’re talking about a metal chop saw, you need quite a powerful motor to get through metal. Our construction engineers recommend at least 15 amps. As for the horsepower, our experts recommend at least 4 HP. 

In general, corded models are more powerful, and this is a fact that extends to other power tools as well including the miter saw, portable band saws, and cold cut saws (a circular saw with a cold blade). 

The motor power needs to be high, but the speed of the blade is debatable, which brings us to the next section. 

Speed

Are faster metal chop saws on the market always better? The best metal chop saw won’t have a certain speed or motor power, but rather, it will have what’s perfect for you.

Higher speeds can get through materials faster, but you do need a certain pace to get through tougher materials such as metal. However, faster speeds will generate more sparks, so that’s a risk you have to keep in mind. The right speed of your metal chop saw blade will also depend on the type of blade, which we will discuss in the next section.

The speed of a blade is RPM, or revolutions per minute, and the higher the number the faster the blade. Our testing team found 1450 RPM to be a good baseline, and there is no limit on the fastest speed because it all depends on what you’re cutting. However, 3800 RPM is a good cap.

Blade Type

If there was just one thing to look out for when purchasing the best chop saw for metal, our experts would say it’s the blade. There are 2 main types of blades you can use on your metal chop saw, which are the cold cut blade and the abrasive blade. 

Abrasive blades are abrasive, which means they have a more heavy-handed approach to the surface. This will lead to more spark generation which increases the need for a spark deflector and some sort of cooling process. 

The surface of the material after your abrasive blade gets through it will be very hot. If all that sounds very negative to you, then our contractors suggest going for a cold cut chop saw.

A cold cut chop saw has a cold saw blade, which reduces sparks, if any at all, and the metal will remain cool after the cut. A cold saw blade is not high friction, which means they can go faster to get the job done quicker and save you time.

One other glaring difference between a cold blade and an abrasive blade chop saw is the maintenance. An abrasive chop saw blade will end up in the trash once it dulls, but you can sharpen a cold blade and give it new life. 

Both blade types work the same way, in which they are mounted and lowered onto the surface of the material. As we mentioned, the speed is also affected by the type of blade. Abrasive chop saw blades operate at higher speeds, hence the higher friction and more sparks, while cold blades are slower. Blades on an abrasive wheel can get up to 3800 RPM, while cold blades are much lower.

Cold saw blades are better for smoother finishes and more delicate operations with much less tooth damage in comparison to abrasive wheel blades. The type of blade you choose hinges on the type of cut you want and the material. Will you be cutting wood, use it to cut metal sheets, a steel pipe, or even plastic [1]? No matter what your answer is, our experts always suggest going for high-quality blades.

High-quality chop saw blades can get through thick metals easier and have a long blade life compared to the alternative. Most chop saws will come with a factory blade, and our team says to look for ones composed of tungsten carbide if possible. 

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Blade Change

Saws such as chop saws, miter saws, saws for tiles, and table saws can be outfitted with different types of blades. You need one for thin metal, one for mild steel, and even one that can chew through metal studs and angle iron. The best metal chop saw will make operation as easy as possible, which includes blade changes.

You want to be able to switch out the blades quickly and easily on these power tools without having to spend too many of your precious minutes. For blade changes, you need to look at the vise. A quick-release and quick-lock vise and keyless blade changes.

There are many chop saws out there that have extra features to make blade changes easier. Some may require a key or wrench, but our team has found keyless options to be the quickest.

Fence

The best metal chop saw will be incredibly versatile, and that is where the fence comes in. The fence is what allows you to position your material at the desired angle. It’s even better if the fence can lock and have clearly labeled indicators at the main angles. 

Spark Deflectors

Spark deflectors are a safety feature, but they are so crucial that our team has chosen to cover them separately. A spark deflector could be a blade guard that also keeps your fingers away from the blade teeth. It keeps the sparks from shooting up at you and makes sure they remain contained. 

It’s very important to have these deflectors if you go for an abrasive blade, but it’s a great feature to have even with cold blades. The best saw options will have an adjustable spark guard that can be replaced as it wears over time. 

Safety Features

Following on the thought of spark deflectors, other safety features you should look for on your saw are a blade guard, metal chip tray, which will collect the metal chips that are generated with each cut. Other than a chip tray, there are also chip deflectors that can control the projection of metal chips.

There are other features for safety such as an auto-shutoff or emergency locks that can make a user feel safer. It’s not just what the chop saw has to protect you, but it’s also the safety gear you don to protect yourself. For example, safety goggles are a must when operating any power tool, but even more so for one that can generate sparks and metal chips. 

Some members of our team stress the importance of a soft start when cutting metals. It can actually be dangerous for a saw to power up at full speed because it increases the chances of kickback of the material. A soft start will not only take the strain off the motor, but it will also protect you. 

Price and Warranty

As you can see from our list, chop saws can come at different prices. You can pick ones closer to 500 or ones that are lower than 200. That is the average range, but our experts remind you that there is always a reason for the price variance. Sometimes it’s due to the brand, other times it’s because of the construction. Ones made of cast iron and heavy-duty steel will definitely prove to be more robust.

Our team’s last piece of advice is to not compromise on the quality for the price. In the long run, a sturdier machine will more than pay for itself. A cheap tool will require replacing and replacement parts much sooner, which will add to the total cost. 

As for the warranty, it’s a protection for your purchase that our experts also put emphasis on. A 1-year warranty is pretty standard, but our team says to look for longer ones. Of course, you shouldn’t base your purchase on the length of the warranty, but it’s a good thing to keep in mind. 

Also, a money-back guarantee, which usually spans 30 to 90 days, will also reinforce the brands’ image and the quality of the product in our minds.

FAQ

What saw is best for cutting metal?

The best saw for cutting metal is the WEN CM1452. This chop saw has 15 amps of motor power with a 14-inch wheel diameter and various cutting capacities. The factory saw is a 66-tooth carbide-tipped blade that can offer enough strength to get through thicker materials. 

Can you use a metal blade on a chop saw?

Yes, you can use a metal blade on a chop saw. Specifically, carbide-tipped blades are excellent for speed and force. Metal blades usually provide cleaner cuts with more accuracy compared to other types of blades. Cold saw blades generate less spark but Abrasive blades have more speed. 

Our Top Pick For a Chop Saw for Metal:
WEN CM1452

The WEN CM1452 is the best chop saw for metal and it really impressed all members of our construction team. It has a powerful motor and lower blade speeds up to 1450 RPM. There are vises and clamps onboard that will keep your metals secure and safe with each cut. There is also a dust port and a dust bin included for easy cleanup.

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 and women. 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