There are many types of saws available on the market and you can quickly ask yourself hundreds of questions about which saws to choose from and for what? Welcome to the world of cutting equipment. If you are lost, continue to read, we'll try to clear this up here.
The hand saw
The most underestimated saw and yet a tool that can save your life in many situations. For the hand saws, don't beat about the bush, it's a basic tool to have in your woodworker arsenal, and like any basic tool, it should be the best possible one: effective and durable over the long run.
We recommend the Japanese saws that are easy, accurate and fun to use. Since we started to work with one, we have never used another hand saw again. They are perfect for any wood pallet work.
- Use for game in the field or when buying meat from a local farm
- It's the perfect saw for breaking down large portions like big game, pork and beef
- Easily cut meat into manageable sizes for processing
- Highly visual, Orange rubber handle is easy to spot + grip
- Ergonomic handle efficiently saws through dense bone
- Clever blunted tip eliminates risk of puncturing delicate areas
This saw is probably the most versatile one in terms of compact & portable machines: you can more or less do everything with it, you just have to watch out for possible chips in the wood. We mainly use a jigsaw for curve cutting and cutting from the inside of a piece of wood. A jigsaw is very useful for precise cutting.
How to choose a jigsaw for pallet wood cutting: There are many different options to look at before making your choice. As different speeds possible, possible blade inclinations etc...
But if you only have to look at two things as a DIY enthusiast, it would be the following:
- Look at the blade attachment system, the easier the better.
- Take it in hand to see which one is the most comfortable.
Best jigSaw for every budget
Yo help you in your quest for the best jigsaw, we reviewed three of them in 3 different pricing categories – budget, mid-range, and a top shelf to make your choice a little more simple.
Best "budget" jigsaw: SKIL 4395-01 5.5
The 4395-01 (lovely name no?) jigsaw is a budget jigsaw made by SKIL. The price of the SKIL 4395-01 jigsaw is under $50 but offer enough power and versatility for non-professional uses. It has a high user rating and many positive reviews which make it worth considering.
What do you get?
Starting with the power, you get a 5.5 Amp motor accordingly with speed up to 3200 RPM. In our opinion, you will have enough power for cutting through plywood, press boards, hardwoods, pallet wood, 2×4’s etc easily. It's an ideal jigsaw for most projects like decking, around the house jobs or any wood pallet projects.
Below are the cutting capacities:
- Hard Wood: 1-3/8"
- Soft Wood: 2-1/4"
- Aluminum: 1/2"
With the orbital action, you’ll be able to adjust the aggressiveness of cut depending on the material you working with and the cut you want to make.
Like other models, and even if it's one of the cheapest jigsaws, it features tool-less blade change and accepts T and U blade shanks. A couple of features have been added for easier working like a stable foot system that allows the footplate to shift forward for more stable and controlled starts. This is really helpful as we all know that starting an edge cut does not allow for much foot and a material contact surface which makes quite difficult to keep the base square to the material.
Another added feature is a custom molded tool rest design to prevent a blade from damaging the material.
The Skill 4395-01 jigsaw is a bit heavier. It could be a flaw when working for longer periods of time but it's not really meant for frequent use but more for occasional DIY projects. In return, you get a sturdy tool without too much vibration.
Dual bevel cuts range is 22.5°/45° so it gives you a bit more choice than the basic saw and the soft-grip handle adds more comfort and control.
- Powerful 5.5 Amp motor
- Stable foot design-for more controlled starts
- 4-Position orbital cut control for fast or smooth cuts
Best "mid-range" jigsaw: Bosch JS260
This mid-range jigsaw model JS260 from Bosch features a powerful 6 Amp motor and variable speed in the range of 500 -3100 RPM. Variable speed dial found in a trigger sets maximum speed and accelerator trigger controls operating speed during operation. This can be very handy as you’re able to change the speed as you go up to maximum set speed.
What else you get with this saw?
The Bosch jigsaw JS260 has 4 orbital action settings for different cutting applications, an aluminum gearbox, and an insulated cover. Also, this jigsaw is equipped with an ergonomic top handle and 2-finger trigger for a comfortable grip.
The Bosch jigsaw also comes with a low-vibration plunging design and an always-on dust blower that keeps your cut line clear.
The blade clamp accepts T-shank blades but does not accept U-shank type. Changing blades is easy with a tool-less blade change system. You simply rotate the blade ejector and the clamp ejects the hot blade. Although this is pretty useful, some users experienced difficulties with this feature.
This saw is lightweight but it still has a solid feel and it's well constructed. It is well balanced and doesn’t vibrate too much, thanks to the earlier mentioned low-vibration plunging design. The heavy gauge steel footplate allows for dual bevel adjustment up to 45° with an use of Allen key.
Below are the cutting capacities:
- Hard Wood: 5/4"
- Soft Wood: 2-11/16"
- Aluminum: 3/8"
- Mild Steel: 3/16"
The only complaint with this Bosch JS260 jigsaw is that the splinter guard is hard to install. Other than this minor complaint, it’s a durable, sturdy basic jigsaw from Bosch that will give a very smooth and detailed cut even in tight corners.
- Toolless blade-change system - Fast insertion, blade ejection lever eliminates need to touch hot blade. Most secure jigsaw clamping system
- Four orbital-action settings -different blade strokes for smooth to aggressive cuts
- Variable speed - Dial sets maximum speed and accelerator trigger controls operating speed
Best "top-shelf" jigsaw: Bosch JS470E
The Bosch JS470E jigsaw is a top handle model. It features a powerful and heavy duty 7 Amp motor with variable speed in the range of 500 up to 3,100 RPM. This amount of power will allow you to cut through almost anything from furniture grade plywood to the hardwood.
To ensure speed is maintained, Bosch has developed a constant response circuit so you never have to worry about inconsistencies in performance and accuracy.
In addition, this Bosch JS470E jigsaw has 4 orbital action settings for smooth and aggressive cuts in a variety of materials.
Below are the cutting capacities:
- Wood: 5-7/8"
- Aluminum: 7/8"
- Mild Steel: 3/8"
A variable speed dial on the back controls the maximum speed settings. An accelerator trigger controls the operating speed. Also, this Bosch JS470E has an ambidextrous lock-on button so you’ll be able to use the locking feature for steady long cuts and reduced fatigue.
If you need bevel cuts the sturdy die-cast aluminum foot with steel insert will let you adjust the angle up to 45° either side. A small drawback you still need an Allen key to do it as in JS260 model. The robust footplate and industrial design are able to withstand the toughest working conditions, including a drop that causes the tool to land on a footplate arm so you don’t have to worry about damaging your tool.
Another great feature is the multi-directional blade clamp that has a superior grip of T-shank blades - but it does not accept U-shank type - so you won’t have any problems with blades falling out. Changing blades is easy with the One-Touch blade change system so there is no need to touch a hot blade. You simply push a fast blade insertion and ejection lever and the clamp ejects the hot blade.
Built with an aluminum gearbox and with an insulated cover and thanks to the internal precision control, this tool plunging system is designed for low-vibration to enhance accuracy and extremely smooth operation.
The Bosch JS470E jigsaw is pretty heavy, which in our opinion is a good thing. It means that it will cut accurately without wobbling, not to mention it being rather quiet for such a powerful jigsaw.
The precision and accuracy of this jigsaw make it perfect for any do-it-yourselfer or professional crafter.
Nevertheless, there are a couple of drawbacks. Some users complained about the lack of a LED light which should be an obvious feature for a saw in this price range. Others had a problem with square cuts either straight or curved but you have to know that this a jigsaw. It’s a handheld tool that compromises between a straight line and free-hand cutting.
Its precision mostly depends on the blade you use, your working surface and most of all on your hands and your experience. There are better tools for precision cutting like scroll or band saws or for straight or angled cuts like table or miter saw.
Overall this Bosch JS470E jigsaw is a solid tool with a good design that compromises high-end features and overall cost.
- CONVENIENT: Featuring a tool-less blade-change system and fast insertion with a blade ejection lever that eliminates need to touch hot saw blade
- 4-in-1: Four orbital-action tool settings provide different blade strokes for smooth to aggressive cuts for taking on the toughest cutting tasks
- CONTROL: Variable speed dial sets maximum speed and accelerator trigger controls operating speed. Features an ambidextrous lock-on button for steadiness and user comfort
Here is a comparative table of the three jigsaws presented above:
The table saw
This saw is the most versatile of the so-called "stationary" machines, and the one that is most likely to cause you to lose a finger or a hand, so be very careful when using a table saw. It allows the wood to be cut both along its length and width (with a suitable accessory). If you only have the budget for one "circular" type saw, buy a table saw.
How to choose a table saw for pallet wood: Look at the ones with the most stable table (the fence should have the same size as the table and should be able to fix on both sides of the table) with an accurate fixing system. Also, take care at the size of the table or the possible adjustments of the table (we know Bosch & Dewalt table saws are adjustable) in order to be able to work with big pieces of wood.
- Portable tabletop saw sets up in seconds to cut wood, metal, tile, aluminum and plastic - performs rip, scroll, miter, and inside cuts
- Compact and portable with built-in tabletop handle to carry anywhere - weighs in at less than 15 pounds. No-Load Speed - 3000/minute
- Hold-down guard and splitter cuts wider material, and a larger rip fence for better control and a nice, accurate cut
- Rack and Pinion Fence System Make fence adjustments fast, smooth and accurate
- 32-1/2 inch Rip capacity easily cuts a variety of larger shelving and trim materials. Dust Port Diameter 2-1/2 inches
- 15 Amp motor quickly rips through hardwoods with ease. Flip over ripping fence allows for narrow rip cuts
The circular saw
Ultra-efficient type of saw when coupled with a guide, it allows cutting lengths more or less infinite but it's less comfortable to use than a table saw. Technically, a table saw is a circular saw fix under a work surface. If you need to cut a significant amount of pallet planks, the circular saw is one of the best types of saws for this work.
For the circular saw, we recommend avoiding entry-level products and machines that are too heavy. Don't let the power indicated on the box fool you. In the case of pallet builds, it will not be helpful, a 1200 watt circular saw can cut better than a 2100 watt one if the blade is better, and a low power circular saw will be more comfortable to use as its weight is much lighter.
Best compact circular saw
Compact circular saws are the least intimidating of all saws. They are really helpful for small jobs around the house or when working with wood pallets or any other DIY projects. The choice on the market is limited, though, when looking for a tool that can easily deal with pallet planks.
Below you’ll find the 3 best compact circular saws that have very good reviews.
Rockwell RK3440K VersaCut Circular Saw
If you’re searching for a small but powerful circular saw that’s able to do all kind of DIY works, this is the one you should go for. It’s versatile, great for any kind of cuts from ripped to cross cuts and even plunge cuts. It’s compact size and light weight means that it’s very portable and useful in tight spaces and for most of all easy to use.
Considering the power, the Rockwell RK3440K is equipped with a 4 Amp motor. The blade spins up almost instantly after power on and does a really good job. You obviously can’t expect results like using an 18 Amp sidewinder or worm-drive but this tool is powerful enough to cut through all kind of materials and will be enough for pallet wood.
Rockwell RK3440K compact circular saw is well made. It’s easy to control and its relatively small weight means that it can be used just with one hand without causing any exhaustion in the long term. While this is true it can be a little more tiring when using vertically.
Because of it worm-drive like construction, the blade is positioned on a left-hand side which makes it easier to see your cut line. To make things easier it’s also equipped with a laser for more accurate cutting.
This saw has a dust collection attachment which makes it virtually dust free but even without a vacuum attached the dust is pretty manageable. This saw is surprisingly quiet, the blade cutting material makes more noise than the saw itself.
- A powerful compact circular saw to cut a variety of materials, including tile
- Pivoting metal guard for safe & easy plunge cuts
- Laser indicator to help align the perfect cut
- Eliminate setup time – cut any material directly in place
- Great visibility – dust extraction adapter keeps the cut line free of dust
- Powerful, 4.0 amp, multi-functional, ultra-compact circular saw
- Cuts wide variety of materials such as tile, wood, sheet metal, plastics, flooring, and more
- Ergonomic design with slim grip handle improves comfort and enhances grip and control - guide with just one hand!
Rockwell RK3441K Compact Circular Saw Kit
If you’re ready to move to power tools but not quite confident yet in using full-size saws, this one will be the one you’d want to go for. It has everything you would need for any pallet projects or any wood projects around your house: enough power, easy handling, ability to do bevel cuts and lightweight.
The Rockwell RK3441K has a 5 Amp motor to give enough power to cut through the boards of plywood, hardwood or 2x4s. You only have to remember that because it’s slower than a standard circular saw you should feed the work material a bit slower. But other than that you’ll be positively surprised by the quality of cuts.
We’d like to say that this is the perfect circular saw for pallet projects. No need for a full-size saw, even without experience, you’ll be confident enough to use the Rockwell circular saw.
This compact circular saw is designed for great control and accuracy. It’s lightweight, well balanced and small enough to handle with only one hand. This is important when using for detailed work and tight spaces. And, because the blade is located on a left-hand side it gives you more visibility of your cut.
It also has a dust collection port with vacuum attachment for dust free cutting and will give you excellent results. The Rockwell circular saw is quieter than most 7 1/4 inch ones. Adjustment lever for bevel cuts and depth adjusting is quick and secure.
The only drawback is that some users may have an issue with the grip size and, therefore, difficulty to unlock the trigger with the safety switch.
- Small, compact size for excellent maneuverability & portability
- Slim-Line grip design for comfort, balance, and control
- Maximum blade clearance for best-in-class cutting capacity
- Easy-set depth gauge lever for quick setup and adjustments
- Left-handed blade design for great cut-line visibility
- Built-in dust port & adapter allows you to connect your vacuum
for a cleaner work environment
- Small, thin blade for less tool strain, resulting in full-size
circular saw cutting speed and performance
- Compact but powerful 5-amp electric motor, matching performance of full-size saws at 3,500 rpm
- At only 5 lbs., is 50% lighter than conventional 7-1/4" circular saws, cuts through 2x4s in a single pass
- Left-handed blade design provides remarkable cut-line visibility
Makita SH01W Cordless 3-3/8-Inch Circular Saw Kit
The Makita's 12V max Lithium-Ion cordless 3-3/8-Inch compact circular saw kit has a powerful 1,400 RPM motor which delivers fast cutting of Plywood, MDF, Pegboard, Particleboard, Melamine, Drywall and many more.
The soft grip handle provides increased comfort on the job. The Makita's 12v max Lithium-Ion batteries provide longer run time and lower self-discharge.
This saw is perfect for those tight corners and unusual locations where a more powerful or larger saw would be dangerous because of the danger of a kickback. Even if this Makita cordless circular saw it does not have a lot of power, it's great because you wouldn't have the kickback and the ultrasharp Makita carbide combination blade produces smooth cuts and lasts a long time without resharpening or replacing the blade. It is also very nice and handy for those situations where you only need to make a few cuts and you just grab this saw and cut without having to take the time to get out a larger, heavier saw and plug in a cord.
- Up to 70 Cuts of 1/2″ x 12″ Plywood Per Charge
- Makita-built motor delivers 1,400 RPM for faster cutting
- 3-3/8″ blade delivers a maximum cutting depth of 1″ for a wide range of cutting applications
- Adjustable cutting depth from 1″ at 90° and 5/8″ at 45°
- Tilting base for bevel cuts from 0° – 45°
- Cuts plywood, MDF, pegboard, particleboard, melamine, drywall and more
- Compact design at only 3.3 lbs. for reduced operator fatigue
- Built-in dust blower helps keep the line of cut free of debris for increased accuracy
- Soft grip handle provides increased comfort on the job
- Cuts Plywood, MDF, Pegboard, Particleboard, Melamine, Drywall and more
- Makita-built motor delivers 1,400 RPM for faster cutting
- 3-3/8"" blade delivers a 1"" cutting capacity for a wide range of cutting applications
Here is a comparative table of the three circular saws presented above:
The miter saw/radial saw
The miter saw is one of our favorite saw. The miter saw allows both straight cuts and precise cuts at any angles you want, up to 45 degrees. It's also easy to make a whole series of cuts to the exact same length with a miter saw. The miter saw is must have in any serious workshop.
How to choose a miter saw? Look to take a radial saw and not just a miter saw. What's the difference between both saws? Simple, the blade on the radial saw can move back and forth on the wood, allowing wider boards to be cut.
We recommend buying "brand" radial saws and not the first price ones. The reason? Safety, precision, and comfort of use. On a first-price radial saw, there a lot of chances for the blade protection to not cover completely the blade once the cutting is finished.
- Powerful 15 Amp, 3,800 rpm motor delivers extended power and durability
- Exclusive Back Fence Design cuts up to 2x16 dimensional lumber at 90° and 2x12 at 45°
- Super efficient dust collection system captures over 75% of dust generated.
- 0-52 degree miter angle range to the right & left for increased flexibility
- 0-45 degree bevel range to the left to provide clean and accurate bevel cuts.Thumb actuated positive stops for quick miter adjustments
- 24.2 lbs to facilitate maneuverability and easier transport.Dust collector attachment included to minimize airborne particle
The reciprocating saw
When working with wood pallets, the reciprocating saw is really useful to cut the pallet boards where there are nails, a reciprocating saw has many blade styles that can cut through metal and wood. So, when fitted with a wood/metal blade it becomes one of the best tools to disassemble pallets. Like many cutting tools, the blade is as important as the machine, you can buy a medium range machine but you should mount good & adapted blades on it!
- Tool-Free Blade Change
- Pivoting Shoe
- Maximum initial battery voltage (measured without a workload) is 20 volts; Nominal voltage is 18.
- The 4-position blade clamp allows for flush cutting and increased positional versatility
- Has 1-1/8-Inch stroke length delivers a faster cutting speed
- Variable speed trigger with 0-3000 spm provides increased blade control and faster cut speed
The other saws
There is a huge list of other types of saws. Like the band saw, the pull saw or the scroll saw for example. They are not listed here for the simple reason that they have such a specific use that they are not relevant in a list of versatile equipment for working with pallet wood.
Ok, so now the BIG question: Which one to choose in priority for pallet projects? In absolute terms, the first one you should have is a good hand saw. Then if you plan to buy a power saw, and if it's necessary to keep only and only one, it would be a jigsaw because it can do almost everything. It's not the best saw for everything purpose, but it can do anything you need when working with pallets. If you have a workshop and plan to buy a stationary saw, we would recommend a table saw for its versatility.
The advice quoted in this article are "general" for someone working with wood pallets, it is up to you to see what kind of projects you work the most on, in order to buy the saw(s) adapted to your needs.