6 Best Metal Chop Saws – Top Picks & Reviews 2024
Metal chop saws, also known as abrasive saws, are powerful power tools for cutting through rebar, pipe, and other metals. They provide a precise and accurate cut, are durable enough to last for years without having to replace them, and are as easy to use as possible.
Although a metal chop saw is very similar to a miter saw, “choppers” need to be sharper, and they need to excel in the details like power, torque, and revolutions per minute (RPM) to ensure that you are getting the best tool for the job.
We have compiled a list of the best metal chop saws, having tested and reviewed dozens of available models. We’ve found the best, the worst, and those that offer the best value for money, even if you’re on a tight budget. Using our metal chop saw reviews, you should be able to find the best model for your metal sawing requirements.
A Quick Look at the Winners of 2024
|Makita LC1230 Metal Chop Saw
|DeWalt DW872 Metal Chop Saw
|Evolution EVOSAW380 Metal Chop Saw
|MK Morse 9” Metal Cutting Circular Saw
|Evolution RAGE4 7¼” Metal Chop Saw
The 6 Best Metal Chop Saws
1. Makita LC1230 Metal Chop Saw – Best Overall
The Makita LC1230 has a 15-amp motor that produces 1,700 RPM, which is plenty of power for slicing through 2×2 box tubing with ¼-inch wall thickness. Whereas most abrasive saws can get hot in a hurry, the carbide-tip-toothed blade reduces cutting time and sparks and stays cool. Everything about this saw is designed to make your job as effortless as possible, and it succeeds brilliantly.
The marriage of high RPM and a toothed blade reveals accurate, quick, and precise cuts, free of burrs. It comes with a D-shaped handle for easy gripping. A lock-off button to prevent accidental starting is a necessary safety feature that other models don’t include, but the LC1230 has one. The toolless adjustments on the fence are well-designed and implemented.
The only complaint is the chip collector tray only catches about 10% of the chips (metal shavings). The rest wind up on the table or floor. It’s not a fatal flaw or anything, just annoying. To conclude, we think that this is the best overall metal chop saw of the year.
2. DeWalt DW872 Metal Chop Saw
The DeWalt DWS872 went head-to-head with our top pick for the first three-quarters of the game, but like so many, it faded in the fourth quarter. We expect a metal saw to make smooth, straight cuts with no burrs. Cutting should require minimal pressure on the handle, whether it’s wood, plastic, heavy pipes, or solid bars.
The DWS872’s 15-amp motor, 1,300 RPM, 14-inch carbide blade, and lack of a metal chip tray are neck-and-neck with the Makita LC1230. Likewise, it’s a quasi-professional saw that’s great for homeowners and craftsmen.
The fatal flaws don’t appear until later in the game. The clamp fence doesn’t have a strong grip, and the angled mechanism doesn’t have the Makita’s range of beveled cuts. It’s game over when you compare prices; this saw is more expensive with fewer features. The DW872 is still a great saw, and people who write online reviews seem to love it, but they probably haven’t had a chance to use the Makita.
3. Evolution EVOSAW380 Metal Chop Saw – Best Value
The Evolution EVOSAW380 has a 15-inch blade, a 15-amp motor, and a high-torque gearbox. It cuts through metal pipes and more. It stays cool, produces very few sparks, and does all of this without needing coolant. The Evolution has an aluminum base, which keeps the weight down, but it isn’t as sturdy or strong as some of the other models on the list.
It is another model that includes a chip tray, but it doesn’t do an effective job. There isn’t a quick release on the fence clamp, either. Adjustments must be made with a set of hex wrenches (included in the box), lengthening the change operation from a few seconds to several minutes of finicky effort.
The low cost and beneficial features of this metal cutting chop saw, as well as the power of this model, make it our pick as the best metal chop saw for the money. The aluminum base and oddly complex clamp mechanism prevent it from being higher on the list.
4. MK Morse 9” Metal Cutting Circular Saw
The MK Morse CSM9NXTB portable 9-inch circular saw has an LED guide light to ensure straight lines, and its 11-amp motor produces a lot of cutting power for something that is surprisingly portable. It can also cut 0-45 degree bevels, which is better than some of the other models on this list.
The cold cut saw produces minimal sparks, heat, or burrs, while customers suggest that the chip tray of this saw performs better than some of the more expensive models on our list. Because it is a circular saw, the design of the handle is essential, and the MK Morse doesn’t disappoint with a comfortable, well-designed handle that prevents user fatigue and ensures that you can keep cutting for longer.
5. Evolution RAGE4 7¼” Metal Chop Saw
The Evolution RAGE4 is a reasonable chop saw for those on a really tight budget. It has a 10-amp motor, which powers a small 7¼-inch blade. The RAGE4 is portable and much lighter than most other models, but it also limits its potential uses. Most buyers will be looking for something with a larger blade.
It is priced lower than virtually all other models, and it is a good choice for those with a small workspace. It can also cut through plastic, wood, aluminum, and other metals without having to change the blade out, and when cutting metal, it produces very few sparks, so it’s safe.
6. Milwaukee 6177-20 Cut Off Saw
The Milwaukee 6177-20 is reasonably priced for a metal chop saw that boasts a powerful 15-amp motor and claims to cut up to a 5-inch metal pipe. It has a lightweight and portable design, which should make it easier to move from worksite to worksite. While this saw might be helpful for hobbyists, it does not perform well as a professional cutting tool.
It is poorly built with a flimsy and unstable base; there have been multiple reports of the saw burning out even after just a few uses, and it is virtually impossible to cut square. There have also been multiple reports of users finding it very difficult to adjust or lock the clamps and other mechanisms of the unit. There are far better options out there, even for the price.
Buyer’s Guide – Choosing the Best Metal Chop Saw
A metal chop saw is a very powerful saw used to cut through lengths of metal tubes and strips of metal. They are used in construction, home improvement, and DIY projects and can even be used to create metal sculptures.
Cold-cut saws cut slowly and need a powerful motor to retain the speed without cutting out or failing the cut. They also need to be robust because they will vibrate, which can cause damage to the saw, the base, and even the table. Importantly, you should also consider the saw’s safety features to ensure you get the model that is right for your needs.
The size of the chop saw blade determines its cutting depth and the length of cut it can produce. Sizes vary from less than 9 inches to 15 inches or more, and the size you need will be determined by how you use the saw. A 12-inch blade should be sufficient for home use, but commercial owners will want a 15-inch blade to make easy work of even the most challenging materials.
Fast cutting isn’t that important when cutting metal. Low but consistent speed will serve you better. Not only does this ensure a more accurate cut, but it reduces the burrs and sparks that are created. Burrs can be challenging to clean up and clog the saw machinery, and sparks can be terrifying when your face is close to the cutting disc. This also means you must keep a clean and debris-free workspace to prevent fire.
Power is arguably more important because you want a lower cutting speed from a metal chop saw than you would from a wood saw. A low-powered saw will slow down when it is cutting through challenging material. It might even cut out, and the motor is likely to burn out with regular use. Look for machines with decent power that can maintain slower speeds regardless of what you’re cutting.
If you need to connect or join two or more pieces of metal pipe or tube, you need to use beveled cuts. They enable you to create cross joints, and they make the welding process easier while giving you a stronger joint. Beveled cutting angles aren’t possible with all metal chop saws, so if this is an essential feature of your metalwork, ensure that your saw includes angled cutting features.
Depending on how you use your metal saw, a range of additional features can be found in metal chop saws. Some help ensure clean and accurate cuts, while others provide additional safety during use. Such features include:
- Laser guides – Laser guides or LED guide lights allow you to project a straight line onto the cutting material, enabling you to create an arrow straight cut. This can be especially useful for beveled cuts but is also helpful for sawing perpendicular to the edges.
- Guide arrows – Guide arrows are a more basic and manual method of ensuring straight cuts. The arrows do not project, so they still require a keen eye from the saw operator.
- Trigger locks – Trigger locks prevent accidental activation of the saw. They ensure you don’t accidentally turn the saw on while guiding or measuring.
- Chip trays – Chip trays can be found on quite a few models on our list. They are meant to collect any burrs and chips made while sawing. In our experience, very few of these trays perform well at gathering all the debris, but they can make cleaning up a little easier.
- Carbide tipped blades – These are considered much higher quality than standard metal blades. They offer precision and ensure a clean cut even at slow speeds, which are preferred with this type of saw. They will also last much longer, negating the need to buy replacement saw blades regularly.
Portability is essential to some owners. If you work on different sites and take your chop saw with you, you will want something that is reasonably easy to transport without sacrificing build quality. Conversely, you don’t have to worry about portability if you do all your metal sawing in one place.
Always ensure that you work in an area with reasonable ventilation when using this type of saw. As the saw grinds against the metal cutting surface, it heats up and produces noxious fumes. An open area should be enough to allow fumes to dissipate before you inhale them, but an active ventilation system is designed for the specific purpose of exhausting these fumes away from the work area.
- Fire safety – All chop saws create heat. Even those that throw off minimal sparks still create a very hot surface around the cutting area. You should always have an extinguisher on hand, but ensuring a clear work area with a space of about 6 feet around the saw will help prevent fires in the first place.
- Physical safety – It should go without saying that a metal chop saw can cause serious injuries, and it can also damage work areas and anything in the vicinity of the saw. As well as following safety measures and using any included safety features such as blade guards and trigger locks, you should also ensure that the base can be secured to a table or won’t wobble around during use because this is a serious hazard that can cause damage and injury.
We think that the Makita LC1230 is the best metal chop saw we’ve reviewed. Everything about this saw is well-designed, works the way it should, and saves you time and money. This saw will have a place of honor in your shop for years to come. The Evolution EVOSAW380 earns the position of “best value” among the chop saws we reviewed. While it has a few issues with the base that kept it out of the top two, it cuts through metal with speed and accuracy. For the budget-conscious, this is the chop saw for your workshop.