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7 Best Bow Saw In 2019 - Ultimate Buying Guide with Reviews

A bow saw is a staple tool to have in one’s workshop, tool bag or on site. The saw is a metal frame, bent in the shape of a bow, hence the name. Bow saws are ideal for cutting wood in DIY projects or small branches off trees in your garden. The crosscut nature of the blade makes them an efficient tool and the width also means deep cuts can be made with limited effort. They are sturdy in nature and easy to use.

With so many different options available to you, it can be difficult to choose the best bow saw for you or the job at hand. Here I have reviewed seven different brands of bow saw so you can make the best decision about which one to add to your tool box or garden shed.

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Product Name

Dimension(in)

Size (in)

Weight (lbs)

Price

Bahco 10-24-23 Bow Saw with Ergo Handle

28.9 x 9.4 x 1.1

24"

1.65

Truper 30255 Steel Handle Bow Saw

1 x 9.1 x 24.8

21"

1.33

Agawa Canyon - BOREAL21 Folding Bow Saw

24 x 4 x 4

21"

1.2

BAHCO 332-21-51 Pointed Nose Bow Saw

1.1 x 25.6 x 8.5

21"

1.45

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Great Neck Saw BB24 24" Bow Saw

27.2 x 0.8 x 8.5

24"

1.13

Agawa Canyon - BOREAL21 Tripper Kit - Folding Bow Saw

21 x 0.1 x 1

21"

2.2

Gilmour 21-Inch Bow Saw 521

1 x 7.5 x 24

21"

1.2


The 7 Best Bow Saw On the Market

 1. Bahco 10-24-23 Bow Saw with Ergo Handle

Engineered in Sweden, this bow saw has been designed to lessen the pressure needed to make deep cuts.  The Bacho can make ¾ inch deep cuts with next to no pressure being applied to it. This effortless sawing makes heavy tasks a lot easier to accomplish!

If the effortless sawing wasn’t enough, the ergonomic handle makes the entire job feel far more comfortable than other alternatives. This saw is a delight to use and even after a long day cutting deadfall, you don’t feel the impact in your hands or wrists. This is because, even given its size, the saw is relatively light, this lightness with the ergonomic handle make it a delight to use.

The Bahco has been designed to live its life in a tool bag or box on construction sites. The design is one that allows it to be manhandled and still work efficiently and effectively. The engineers understand the rugged work environment that construction sites can bring and have developed this bow saw accordingly.

Things We Liked

  • Ergonomic handle for maximum comfort
  • Deep cut with limited pressure applied
  • Long blade, making large jobs easy
  • Light, so easy to use
  • Built to withstand construction site life

Things We Didn't Liked

  • Due to length can be difficult to use in close quarters.
  • Easy to over tighten and warp the blade

 2. Truper 30255 Steel Handle Bow Saw

This Truper saw has been made to cut thicker logs than other bow saws. The high steel arch makes it possible to saw your way through deadfall without ever reaching for your chain saw. The length and width of the blade helps limit the amount of pressure needed when you are using, so you can continue using it for longer!

It boasts a cam lever tension system which is excellent at keeping the blade in place and at the correct tension. This little addition means you don’t have to worry about adjustments half way through a job or at the end of the day. The mechanism is brilliant at keeping everything where it should be.

This bow saw is built for life in a potting shed or workshop. It is designed to be a home based tool that doesn’t get moved around from construction site to construction site. In truth, it is a great addition to have when cutting branches and felling small trees. The ergonomic handle is a plus too, as it makes all the chores at home that little bit easier and more comfortable.

Things We Liked

  • Heightened steel arch so you can cut thicker logs
  • Good for working in tight and small areas
  • Cam lever tension system
  • Ergonomically designed hand grip
  • Good strong and sharp blade

Things We Didn't Liked

  • Performs better on hardwood than soft
  • Not durable enough to spend its life moving from construction site to construction site.

 3. Agawa Canyon - BOREAL21 Folding Bow Saw

The Agawa Canyon is the adventurer of the bow sawing world. This nifty bow saw folds up onto itself without the user having to touch the blade. Previous compact bow saws have always had to compromise between weight, size and function, the Agawa Canyon has met these compromises head on

The Aqawa is super light at a weight of 1lbs 1oz and folds up onto itself, so it can easily fit into a backpack or a small tool bag. It is ideal for hikers and construction workers alike. It is super easy to assemble and dissemble with no screws or parts that need removing and replacing. The weight of the saw is very light and it can fold up rather small considering.

The blade is exceptionally sharp and ready to chew through downed trees and timber alike. There is no need to be overly concerned about the rigidity of the saw as the lock in mechanisms and tensioners ensure the blade is kept at tension.

Things We Liked

  • Super compact
  • Exceptionally light
  • Very sharp
  • Rugged and hard wearing, designed for life outdoors.
  • Easy to assemble and dissemble without ever touching the blade

Things We Didn't Liked

  • Although it is rigid, it is not as rigid as a solid frame bow saw
  • Requires maintenance to ensure moving parts keep moving

 4. BAHCO 332-21-51 21" Pointed Nose Bow Saw

The Bahco pointed nose saw has been designed with small spaces in mind. The 21 inch blade and small arch make it ideal for working in small areas or on a roof. The design makes it a wonderful tool to use where other bow saws wouldn’t fit.

The quality manufacturing of it means it’s ideal to have around the house. It will fulfil all your awkward pruning needs as it can reach spaces that other bow saws would struggle. The low profile arch also helps the saw be more compact than others available on the market.

The tool is built to last, the solid steel construction means that the saw is durable and able to live a rugged life. It can be taken onto site rooftops without fear that it will be damaged in transit.

Things We Liked

  • Solid steel bow
  • Fantastic for small space working
  • Low profile bow means it can cut awkward angles
  • Ideal for gardeners and workmen alike
  • 21 inch exceptionally sharp blade

Things We Didn't Liked

  • Standard blade is only good for hardwood
  • Regular maintenance is required to ensure smooth working

 5. Great Neck Saw BB24 24" Bow Saw

This is one of the larger tools on the market. With a blade measuring 24 inches, it is for big jobs that smaller bow saws just aren’t able to do. The chrome alloy tube makes the saw very light and easy to manoeuvre given its size.

The length of the blade really makes this saw worthwhile, especially for cutting deadwood or felling trees.  The blade the Great Neck comes with is exceptionally sharp and ready to go as soon as you unpackage it!

Whilst this saw isn’t built for a life of being in a tool kit and moving to and from different construction sites or being taken up on a hike. It is a nice tool to use and an honest product, it is well made for a bow saw with a bigger blade.

Things We Liked

  • The great neck is a big bow saw
  • The length of the blade means you don’t have to resort to getting your chainsaw out for bigger deadwood.
  • Sharp blade
  • Very light
  • Ideal for felling bigger trees

Things We Didn't Liked

  • Chrome alloy construction means it is not as durable as other steel alternatives.
  • No cam lever tension system, so tensioning must be done by hand.

 6. Agawa Canyon - BOREAL21 Tripper Kit - Folding Bow Saw

The Agawa Cayon is the ideal saw to take away hiking with you. The Tripper kit extends this use further. It comes with a durable sheath, to protect the blade and your bag or tool box.

The manufacturer now has added the Sidney Rancher blade into this kit. The super aggressive blade features hardened points for extended use and push pull points to make your cuts even deeper and more efficient.

The set includes the same Agawa Canyon I reviewed above, so we know that this is a fantastic bow saw that really didn’t compromise on performance, weight, size and function. By adding a handcrafted exceptional blade into the mix, it takes this bow saw to another level.

Things We Liked

  • Exceptional Craftsmanship of the saw and all other components in the kit.
  • The Sidney Rancher is handcrafted by experts and ensures quality and rigidity
  • The canvas sheath has space to store extra blades
  • The kit when folded and packed takes up very little space in a backpack or tool box
  • High arch for cutting larger deadfall or timber

Things We Didn't Liked

  • Blade is geared towards hard wood.
  • Needs maintenance to ensure all moving parts stay moving.

 7. Gilmour 21" Bow Saw 521

The Gilmour 21 Inch Bow Saw has been designed with pruning in mind. The tapered nose means you can easily get this little saw into tight and awkward spots without having to strain yourself or damage your tools.

The steel tubular frame means the saw has some weight behind it, so when you are using it in tight spaces. You don’t need to apply loads of pressure to get the cuts you need

The tapered nose design makes this saw ideal for your garden. Whilst it may not be as durable as other bow saws, it is fantastic when cutting back bushes, rouge branches and pruning. This saw is brilliant for odd jobs around the home. It isn’t designed to live the life of a rugged work tool, but it is an honest product with a good length blade.

Things We Liked

  • tapered nose design
  • Good height on the bow
  • Nice narrow tapered end makes it ideal for pruning
  • Fantastic to work with in small awkward spaces
  • Enough weight behind it to make cutting at awkward angles easy

Things We Didn't Liked

  • Manual adjustment on the tension of the bow
  • Blade needs maintenance to ensure smooth operation

Why Do You Need A Bow Saw?​

Bow saws are not the most versatile of tools at your disposable, but they are very good at what they do and that is cutting wood. These machines are ideal for cutting logs, fallen trees, lengths of timber and branches. But why would you choose a bow saw over a chain saw?

Well, there are many reasons for this. Firstly, a bow saw is exceptionally light and portable. You can buy bow saws that are specially designed to be packed into backpacks and taken hiking, or light weight compact saws that are ideal for pruning. Most if not all are made with a hollow, tubular arch, again making the saw light and portable.

The chain saw by comparison is exceptionally heavy and need to be used with extreme caution and precision. Chain saws are heavy and require large amounts on man power just to hold them. They are very labour intensive by comparison and by the time you’ve set up the chain saw, put fuel in and got ready, you could have already done the job with a good bow saw.

Chain saws also cost money to run; you need petrol or other type of fuel to get it going, whereas bow saws just need elbow grease. Even though the market is flooded with chain saws, buying a quality one that serves your needs is expensive. Chain saws also can’t be used in confined areas, unlike the bow saw. The emissions from the petrol engine can be harmful if used in an enclosed space. And, they are far bigger than our humble bow saw which can fit into tight and compact spaces with no hassle.

What To Look For When Purchasing A Bow Saw?

Longer & Sharp Blades

A good bow saw is dependent on what you want to use it for. If you are looking to cut larger trees or branches, look for saws with longer blades and higher arches. These features mean that you are able to work with bigger logs or trees, the bigger the arch, the bigger the area you are able to cut. The longer blade makes it far easier to cut bigger items, you will need less pressure on the blade to make a deep cut. Look for saws with ionised sharp blades, this will make your life easier and they will also last longer.

Smaller Arch For Compact Area

If you are looking for a bow saw that can work in smaller, more compact areas or have a tree with branches grouped closer together, a saw with a smaller arch and tapered nose is the one for you. These types of saws often come with smaller blades as the entire tool is smaller. The tapered nose makes it easier to get the saw into smaller spaces and makes the entire process of working in confined areas easier. The smaller tapered nose bow saws are a must for any gardening enthusiast or any construction worker who needs to cut small items.

Choose Blade According To Wood

With both these saws, you need to consider what type of wood you will be cutting. Most bow saws on the market come readily equipped with a blade that is geared towards cutting hardwood, such as oak or beech. When these blades cut soft wood, they can become bogged down and stuck, which can ultimately damage the teeth or the blade as a whole.

Choose Green Blade

Look for a saw that either comes with a ‘green blade’ (a blade which is designed especially for cutting soft wood) included. Apart from that, you should purchase a saw that is a common enough size so that you don’t have any troubles when looking for a green blade.

Safety Considerations

With any bladed tool you need to make sure that you use it correctly and within the manufacture’s guidelines. You don’t want to cause yourself an injury through improper use or not following how to use one.

Manufacturers Guidelines

When you purchase your bow saw, it should come with guidelines of how to use it. It will detail the type of wood it is best for, how to make sure the blade is tight enough for use as well as the maximum radios or diameter of timber you can happily cut with it. If you don’t follow the guidelines and cut a log far too big for the saw, you risk not only damaging the saw, but trapping fingers and possibly limbs when trying to remove it.

Blades

Bow saw blades are wide, long blades with jagged teeth, they are ideal for chewing through lumps of wood. But that also means they would be very good at chewing through softer materials such as fingers. When you are changing the blade, never handle the toothed side and follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer.

Preparation

When you are using your bow saw, make sure you are wearing appropriate gear. Gloves are always a good idea as well as solid toe shoes, this can save your fingers and toes from any mishaps. If you’re moving about with your bow saw, walk holding the metal frame with the blade pointing away from your body, this helps to mitigate the risk of you falling on to the blade.

In Use

Always saw away from your body. Don’t stand directly under the branch you are about to saw off from the tree and make sure your hands is well away from the area that you are cutting. These little details could save you a trip to the ER.

Care & Maintenance Of Your Bow Saw

Like any tool, bow saws require maintenance to keep them functioning well and safely. Check your saw before and after use to make sure that it is in good working order.

Pre-use Checks

Check that all the teeth of the saw are still intact and straight. If the saw is missing teeth it may increase the effort needed to complete the task. It can also result in the saw becoming stuck and potential injury from trying to remove it. If the blade has become bent or warped whilst the saw has been stored, look at changing it before use. If you work with a bent blade, the cut may not be as clean as you want it to be, it can also result in pressure points across the blade which can lead to snapping.

Sharpening

If the blade is looking dull or blunt, sharpening is very quick and easy. If the saw hasn’t been used for a while, it is well worth doing as it makes your life easier in the long run. Whilst this can be a tricky task to master, if you have a good blade and good quality saw you want to make sure it lasts. Find a metal file that is a good matching profile for your blade and sharpen it whenever it looks like it needs it.

Rust

If the blade has any rust on it where the bow saw hasn’t been used for a while, it is a good idea to remove it before use to make sure it hasn’t compromised the integrity of the blade. Rust can be removed using a razor blade or wire brush. If the rust is just surface rust, you can use the blade once cleaned. If it has begun corroding, I would be tempted to change it before use.

Post-Use Checks And Maintenance

If the blade of the saw has sustained any damage during use, it is wise to change it before you put it away. This saves time next time you wish to use the saw! You can also lubricate the blade after use. This keeps the rust at bay, especially if you keep the saw in a potting shed. Lubrication is very easy and quick. Just clean the saw well once you have finished using it and apply WD-40 with a cloth to the blade. This 5 minute job after use can give your bow saw extra life; it is well worth the time it takes to make sure the blade doesn’t rust.

Tightening

Be careful not to over tension the blade. Some bow saws come with cam lever systems, so they remain at the correct tension all the time. However, some need to be tightened manually. When tightening, look at the blade (wearing eye protection is advised) and make sure that it is perfectly straight with no kinks or twists. If the blade looks to sag anywhere along the saw, tighten it until it no longer does so. However, if you start to tighten it and it looks as though the teeth are beginning to separate from each other, stop because the tension on the blade is now at its maximum. Tighten the blade slowly and keep an eye on the distance between the teeth and you’ll have a perfectly operating bow saw.

Conclusion

Bow saws aren’t the most versatile of tools, however they are very good at doing one particular job and that is cutting wood, especially trees, branches and deadfall. A good bow saw that is well maintained will last a long time and will do all the jobs that a chain saw can do and more.

The high arched, long blade bow saws are excellent when you are working with bigger lumps of timber. The smaller bladed tapered nose saws are fantastic when you are working in tight, small and sometimes awkward areas.

Both types of saw require good working practises and safety considerations before use, but they offer a cost-effective alternative to chain saws. You can use it in smaller, more compact environments. Follow my tips on how to choose, check, sharpen and maintain your bow saw, so that once you buy it, you can get the maximum out of it!

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