The best handsaw is going to have an ergonomic design, lightweight feel, and the ability to cut through a wide range of materials effortlessly. For ease of use, look for a short blade that is tapered for easier access. The two selections here are ideal for use in manual miter cuts, framing, and yard tasks such as limb cutting. Their short length also means they are easily portable, and can be stored in tool boxes, job bags, or from a pegboard hook in your garage or workshop.
The Fat Max is a powerhouse in a small frame, often considered the best handsaw for general cutting. It features 9 teeth per inch with patented Sharp Tooth Technology for a faster cut in most materials, and the induction-hardened teeth mean you can do more cutting before the teeth begin to dull. To reduce binding, the blade is 15% thicker than traditional blades, and that gives you more stability for straighter, smoother cuts which approach trim quality in soft woods. The extra wide ergonomic handle lets you saw for longer periods without muscle fatigue, effectively letting you get more done with less effort. For easy storage on a pegboard, the blade has a large hole the is perfect for hanging on a peg, and the back is designed to assist you in marking 45 and 90 degree cut angles.
Keep in mind that this handy little saw is specifically designed for crosscutting. You can use it for the occasional trim job, but it will be far more productive as a yard tool, PVC cutter, and general purpose shop saw. The teeth are not designed for excessively smooth cuts, and critical joints may need to be sanded before use. Otherwise, you will find that this is the perfect tool for a wide range of jobs around the home and shop.
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Irwin has a reputation as a quality job site tool, and their universal handsaw follows the pattern as the best handsaw for a high quality finish without sacrificing crosscut power. The blade is designed for superior rigidity, delivering clean, straight cuts on demand, with a taper that gives you more control and clearance. If you need to have a smooth, crisp finish, the Irwin universal handsaw fits the bill. The molded grip is ergonomically designed, and gives the saw a light, balanced feel that reduces muscle fatigue.It only weighs one pound, so it makes an excellent addition to a travel set of framing or woodworking tools. The innovative blade design allows you to hang the saw in multiple positions as well as reducing the potential for binding in hard woods. On the downside, the handle is not as heavy as it could be, and may break if handled roughly. As with most tools, it will last a lifetime if you treat it well.