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.
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.
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.