Powered saws are handy, but they can be some of the most dangerous power tools on the market. If you’re looking to purchase any of the various types of power saws available, you’re probably wondering how to evaluate the many options you have for safety. So what’s the safest type of power saw out there?
The safest type of power saw, when used correctly, is the versatile jigsaw. However, each type of power saw is dangerous because it has sharp blades that spin very quickly. Anything that can cut through wood can cut through flesh and bone. It would be best if you were extremely careful when using any power saw.
Although the jigsaw is the safest type of power saw, there are many factors to consider when trying to choose a saw based on safety. The most important thing to remember is that any power saw is very dangerous, especially if used correctly. You should always use the right protective gear when using a saw. Keep reading to find out about power saw safety.
What’s the Safest Type of Power Saw?
The jigsaw is a very safe power saw that’s simple to use properly. It’s lightweight, easy to handle, and has a small blade that is not too close to anything other than your fingers. Other saws, like circular saws, miter saws, reciprocating saws, all have much larger blades that move faster and operate in closer proximity to body parts.
In 2015, there were 4,700 amputations in the U.S. due to contact with a saw blade on either a miter saw or circular saw. That comes out to over 12 per day, and that’s just accidents in which a person has a body part severed. Over 60,000 injuries were resulting from circular or miter saws, according to those same statistics.
There are various types of power saws out there, each of which is intended to perform a different function. Here are some of the most common and most likely for you to run across:
There are plenty of others, but these are the most common (except for the chainsaw, mainly used for chopping down trees and cutting up raw timber) in most home woodworking shops. They’re all dangerous in their own right, but modern technology has developed safety mechanisms designed to help make them safer to use.
How Jigsaws Work
If you’re not familiar with power saws in general, a jigsaw is a small, handheld type of saw that’s designed to cut curves in wood for a variety of purposes. However, you can also use it to cut straight lines, similar to a circular saw, if you have a steady hand or use a guide. A jigsaw’s blade has a small metal bar around it to be a barrier as well.
Jigsaws are a versatile power saw because of how many cuts you can make with them and the fact that they can make both straight and curved cuts with relative ease. They’re not as fast or powerful as a circular saw, but in general, they’re a whole lot safer.
Jigsaws are particularly safe because the amount of saw blade that’s exposed is minimal. Jigsaws typically have a saw blade that’s only two or three inches long, and the amount that extends out the bottom of the saw is even less. The blade also has a vertical movement instead of a circular blade.
Why Power Saws Are Dangerous
All power saws are dangerous because they can cut through materials that are much harder than the human body with ease. These are just some of the things that power saws can cut through:
Except for possibly plastic, each of these other metals is much harder than human bones, and power saws (with the proper blades) can cut through them all. If your skin comes into contact with a saw blade moving at 4,000 or 5,000 RPMs, you’re going to get a deep cut in your body at best.
The Most Dangerous Types of Power Saws
If the smaller jigsaw is possibly the safest type of electrically-powered saw, it’s hard to determine the most dangerous type because there are different risks about each of them. Table saws have blade guards on the top of them, but these blade guards often keep the saw from working properly, so people remove them. Then, they end up losing their fingers or hands to the saw.
Chainsaws are also dangerous because they require a lot more physical exertion to use, and they’re much less stable than a table saw because you’re holding it in your hands. There are thousands of chain saw accidents in America annually. In case you were wondering, the average chainsaw injury requires 110 stitches.
Don’t forget the miter saw, which is yet another dangerous type of saw. This saw sits on a workbench or comes with a stand, and you use the blade to chop wood at various angles. If you hold the wood too close to the blade, you could easily lose fingers or hands, but this saw doesn’t have an opportunity to injure any other body parts.
Of course, saws aren’t ruthless killers that are hunting people down; they’re just inanimate objects that are handy tools when used properly. Millions of Americans use these tools daily with no injuries, but you have to know how to use them properly. We’ll discuss using power saws safely in the next section.
How to Use Power Saws Safely
Using power saws safely is a matter of knowing how to use them and wearing the proper personal protective equipment (PPE) while using them. For any type of power saw, you should, at a minimum, wear the following:
- Ear protection (saws are very loud)
- Eye protection to protect against wood chips or if the blade breaks off
- Dust Mask.
- Closed-toe shoes or boots
- Tighter-fitting clothing (you don’t want loose clothing to get caught in the blade)
See my article on basic safety tips(Article Here)
Besides your clothing and PPE, you should follow a general set of rules no matter which saw you’re using:
- Make sure the surface you’re working on is free from clutter and is sturdy and steady (not a wobbly workbench, for example)
- Ensure you have a surface with firm footing not to lose your balance while using the saw.
- Keep your hands, fingers, and body parts away from the moving blade, and use wood guides when applicable.
- Don’t force the material through the blade to prevent kick-backs
- Read the instruction manual before using it to know how to use the machine properly.
- Unplug the saw before switching blades
Following these simple safety tips can save you a trip to the ER and some painful injuries. Don’t be one of the thousands of Americans who end up in the hospital each year from saw-related injuries; be one of the millions who don’t.
Power saw injuries account for some of the most common forms of injuries when working with tools. Even experienced experts can find themselves with serious injuries if they lose concentration for just a second.
If you’re looking for a safe yet versatile power saw, you should look at the jigsaw. You can make a variety of cuts with it, and it’s one of the simplest and safest tools available on the market. Compared to the chainsaw, the miter saw, the table saw, or the circular saw, the jigsaw can be used for many different woodworking tasks but without quite as much risk.