There are three main types of hand-held concrete saws: cutoff saws, ring saws, and chainsaws. We will compare these three styles of tool, examining their relative strengths and the unique capabilities of each.
The most common type of saw used to cut concrete or similar materials are hand-held concrete cutoff saws such as the AGP C14, C16, or C18. Using a circular, center-drive diamond blade to cut the material, they do an excellent job.
Center-drive concrete saws such as AGP C14, C16 are the only type of concrete saw here which can perform dry cutting, while the others are strictly wet cutting only. Some concrete saws, such as the C16 and C18 also have the flush cutting capability, which is quite useful in some situations. Since these conventional concrete saws are, per linear meter, the most cost-effective way to cut, they will always be the type most commonly used, but they do have their limitations. Their biggest limitation is the depth of cut. As the required depth of cut increases, the circular blade needs to be bigger and bigger. Typically, 355 mm diameter blades can cut to about 125 mm depth, 405 mm can cut to about 150 mm, 457 mm blades can cut to about 175 mm. Above that size, it becomes too dangerous for hand-held operation, and a track mounted remote control wall saw must be used. The other problem is over-cuts; since the blade is driven from the center of the disc, there will always be over-cuts on the corners.
Ring saws such as the AGP R13 and R16, with their offset blade drive are a solution to the above limitations. Since the blade is driven from the edge of the ring, rather than from the center of the disc, much deeper depth of cut is possible from any given blade diameter. The R13’s 330 mm diameter blade can achieve 220 mm depth of cut, while the R16’s 405 mm blade can reach an astonishing 300 mm cutting depth! To achieve the same depth of cut with a conventional centrally-driven circular blade would need diameters of about 575 mm and 800 mm respectively, which would not be possible to operate hand-held. Since a ring saw’s blade can plunge past its center point, it has the capability to make a cut without an over-cut on the edge. Ring saws can do all this with only a small increase in cost per linear meter over a conventional saw.
Diamond chainsaws such as the AGP CS11 and CS18 have even more impressive depth of cut capabilities than the other types of concrete saws, which can be a crucial advantage in some situations, especially where you can only cut from one side. Additionally, they have the ability to make very small pocket cut outs without over-cuts. They also have the unique capability to make curved cuts. The main disadvantage of these chainsaws is simply the high cost of the consumables, making the cost per linear meter quite expensive relative to the other methods. Therefore, operators tend to only use their chainsaw when the cut cannot be performed by any other tool, doing as much of the cutting as possible by the circular blade saw before finishing with the chainsaw in a technique known as precutting. This will help to minimize wear to the expensive diamond chain. All three types of saws have their optimal application and depending on the situation, users must choose the most suitable tool which can perform the job in the most cost-effective way. So, the default choice in most situations would be the center-drive cutoff saw, and if there are other special requirements, one of the other tools will be chosen according to one’s needs.