Saw Styles

Worm Drive
The motor is in line with the blade, delivering enough torque to carve up wet lumber or saw through concrete, which makes a worm drive ideal for framing or major renovation jobs. With the handle farther back, a user can better resist kickback and steer the 16-pound saw through long rips. As on most full-size worm-drive saws, the blade of this Skil HD77 sits to the motor's left — in easy view for right-handed users.

Sidewinder
The motor sits alongside the blade, making for a lighter (11 pounds or less) saw, which is more maneuverable over a long day than a worm drive. The helical gearing on higher-end sidewinders, such as this Milwaukee 6390-20, beefs up the torque, making these models worthy competition for worm drives.

Small Sidewinder
Weight, balance, and handle size are all key features to consider when choosing a saw that fits you. For a slight-bodied person, a small pro model like this 7.7-pound Makita 5740NB may be more appropriate than a full-size sidewinder.

Cordless
Battery-driven models have increased in size as their power packs have gained voltage, making them convenient tools out in the field or when the electricity's not on. This Bosch 1660K sports a 6 ½-inch blade and a 24-volt battery — the largest in its class. However, cordless models still have limited run times and generate less torque than corded saws.

Trim Saw
For finish work or paneling, Norm Abram prefers a small trim saw; blades range from 3½ to 412 inches. This Porter-Cable 314, with a 4½-inch blade, is the one worm drive on the market — all others are sidewinders.



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