The Best Drywall Saw in 2018

If you’re working with drywall, it’s important to invest in the basic tools you’ll need. One of the most important of these is the saw that you’re using. Whether you’re cutting things down to size for a corner, making the perfect butt joint, or just patching a hole, you’re going to need some sort of saw.

We’ve gathered together some of the best saws for drywall around, so let’s take a look and figure out what kind of saw you’ll need.

Harry , Homethods Author
Harry

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Top 3 Best Drywall Saws

DEWALT DWHT20123 2-in-1

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4.8/5 Rating

If you’re looking for just one tool to take care of most of the heavier cutting you’ll be doing with drywall, this 2-in-1 folding saw has you covered.

The tool has both a rasp and a saw tucked away safely inside the handle. This makes for double the fun, you’ll be able to make short work of almost any hole you have to cut.

The handle is rubber over plastic and well designed, particularly for a folding saw.

This would be the greatest drywall saw of all time, but there’s one minor flaw the washers allow for a small amount of lateral play in the blade which can be disastrous for some applications.

On the other hand if you need a light-duty saw for outlets and switches on occasion, this is exactly what you’re looking for. 

Pros
  • 2-in-1 design
  • Great handle
  • Compact, folding design
Cons
  • Small amount of side-to-side motion in blade

Shark 10-2206 Rockeater

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4.7/5 Rating

The Rockeater is a fantastic jab saw, doing all of the basics better than almost any other blade. It’s a bit pricey, but it can make short work of even the toughest drywall.

The first thing you’re likely to notice is the sharpened tip which will let you get through almost any size of drywall. The bladed portion of the tip runs all the way back to the teeth.

The teeth themselves are diamond ground and extremely sharp, rather than the stamped teeth you’ll find on cheaper tools. Add in the plastic grip with a cross guard and wrist strap and you have a tool which is meant for some serious use.

The blade is 6” long, extremely aggressive, and will live up to it’s name.

Overall, the Rockeater is the best basic jab saw around, bar none.

Pros
  • Extremely well crafted blade
  • Cross guard on the handle
  • Superior punch tip 
Cons
  • No extra features

Milwaukee 48-22-0304

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4.7/5 Rating

If you’re looking for the cleanest cut you can manage, this saw from Milwaukee is sure not to disappoint. The main draw here is the rasping blade which will ensure that you make a clean cut every single time.

In addition to the unique blade, you also have an amazingly comfortable rubber and plastic handle which will keep you from hurting your hands while you’re getting at things.

The rasp holes on the side of the blade can be used to quickly correct minor deviations in cuts that will rapidly occur over the course of a job, making this a superior tool.

If you only want to use one tool for taking care of most of your drywall problems, you won’t be able to do much better than this one.

Pros
  • Rasp on blade
  • Great, ergonomic grip
  • Well-made blade
Cons
  • No cross guard
NameHandle TypeExtra FeaturesRating 
Stanley 20-556 6-InchRubber and PlasticSpecially hardened teeth4.9
Milwaukee 48-22-0304Rubber and PlasticUnique rasp/blade combination4.8
Shark 10-2206 RockeaterPlastic with CrossguardSharpened “punch” tip4.7
DEWALT DWHT20123 2-in-1Rubber and PlasticFolding tool with rasp included4.7
Stanley 15-206 JabWooden HandleNone4.3

What is a Drywall Saw?

Drywall saws come in a few different configurations, but the most commonly used one is definitely a jab or keyhole saw. These are small, hand-held saws which can make short work of drywall despite being hand tools thanks to their aggressive teeth.

The most common configuration is a fairly thin, tapered blade with a handle and often a sharpened tip. Even those which aren’t sharpened taper to a thin point allowing you to move through a relatively small hole in order to start the cut you’re planning on making.

Thankfully, drywall is a relatively soft material and if you don’t go stabbing at the studs in the wall you’ll be pleased to know that most drywall saws are going to last for a long, long time.

What Are the Different Types?

At the end of the day, most jab saws are pretty much alike but the little details can make all of the difference when you’re actually working with one.

Some keyhole saws lack a sharpened tip, in this case you’ll have to use a drill to get in there. Honestly, you might want to do anyways for anything that requires a lot of precision but being able to just punch through the drywall is a nice feature in many cases.

The main differentiation will be between folding saws and straight saws for most people.

Folding saws are exceptional for the craftsman who isn’t always working at home or just doesn’t like to leave saws lying around. They’ll fit easily into a tool bag without cutting anything, and you’ll find that they’re quite often very sturdy.

The main drawback of a folding saw comes with the thing that makes it useful. By their very nature folding tools are less sturdy than fixed ones, even if they lock, and actually have moving parts which can break down over time.

Straight, or fixed saws are what most people working at home opt to use. Since few people are doing constant drywall work around their home for extended periods, the cheaper, sturdier saws make a lot of sense to keep in the garage.

There are also a few saws out there with rasping blades. These are completely unique to working with drywall for the most part, the rasps will help keep the edge smooth as you go along rather than having to file or sand them after the fact.

What’s the Big Deal with Drywall Saws? Can’t I Use Any Saw?

Because gypsum is a soft, crumbly material a lot of folks have tried to use standard wood saws in them over the years. This is a bad idea.

Fine toothed saws, like those used in a miter box or any other standard carpenter’s saw meant for wood will clog, heat up rapidly, and won’t be able to get into the sheetrock with a small hole like a jab saw will.

Using a wood saw means risking both your project and your tool.

The aggressive, large teeth of a drywall jab saw will make short work of drywall in a fairly smooth fashion, without running the risk of clogging or damage.

You’ll also find them to be invaluable for things like cutting out for utility boxes, light switches, and anything else where you’ll need to make a hole in the middle of the drywall. The small “punch” tip allows these saws to get in and out of tight places without having to make an excessive hole to get started.

There simply isn’t a better tool for making smaller incisions in drywall, even power tools can rarely match the precision and speed you’ll be able to complete a task with a keyhole saw.

Features to Compare

Not all saws are created equal, and little changes in their form can make a huge difference when it comes to actually using the saw.

Handles

The first thing to take into account is the handle. Pretty much everything will be secondary to this feature, including the blade itself. If a saw gets uncomfortable quickly, you’re not going to be able use it for very long at a time.

Traditionally, jab saws used wooden handles. These are nice due to the smooth texture, and if they’re ergonomically designed they can be quite comfortable to use. Unfortunately, with modern materials being involved, quite frequently wooden handles are only used on very cheap tools.

They’re certainly usable, but if you have a long job ahead of you you’ll want to spend a little bit extra and get something more comfortable.

Rubber and plastic grips are the new normal for pretty much any tool. The small amount of give in the hardened rubber makes the saws more comfortable to use for a long time.

This comes at the cost of some durability, if the handle is cheaply made, and often they will begin fraying after some time. This doesn’t render the tool broken, however, and only the cheapest will actually fall apart in any reasonable span of time.

Plastic handles are sometimes used as well, often being more ergonomically shaped than those that include leather. These plastic handles are often more abrasive on the skin of the hands, however, so gloves can be essential for longer gloves.

One final thing that should be mentioned about handles is a cross guard. Contrary to popular belief, the cross guard on smaller blades is meant to keep the user’s hand from sliding up the blade, not necessarily to aid in protecting the hand from outside forces.

If you plan to not make pilot holes, you want a cross guard. It will protect your hands. Trust us, you’ll have a painful laceration and a lot of stitches in your future if your hand slips up a saw blade.

Blades

Pretty much all keyhole saws for drywall have the same pattern of blade and roughly the same amount of large, aggressive teeth.

The devil is in the details once again.

A sharpened tip will let you punch through sheetrock easier. Not all of these saws will have a sharpened tip, and while they can often punch through the board, it’s not always going to be pretty.

Holes allow for quicker cooling and faster material removal. Gypsum holds a surprising amount of heat, and even a hand powered tool will quickly get hot if you use it for an extended period. Cooling holes can prevent some, but not all, of this.

Some blades will have a “rasping” feature as well. This is extremely desirable for applications such as cutting around power outlets and switches, since it’ll require less finishing on your part to make things look good.

Extras

Some knives will have a few extra features, which can be either novelty or extremely useful depending on your style of work.

Some will include a rasp, which you can use to clean up the edges without having to switch tools when you’re done. This makes things a little bit quicker and it’s one less thing to lug around on a big job.

Folding blades have their own uses, whether it’s just not leaving an open saw around or folding it down to fit in your pocket while you use another tool.

For the most part, these aren’t always necessary but most people will find some use out of them. There’s no need to make an expensive investment in gimmicks if you’re not going to use them however.

Reviews

  1. http://www.familyhandyman.com/drywall/cutting-drywall/master-the-basics-of-drywall-cutting-drywall/view-all
  2. http://www.bestconsumerreviews.com/jab-saw-reviews/
  3. http://homerenovations.about.com/od/toolsbuildingmaterials/ss/Jab-Saw.htm






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