Whether you’re an electrician, plumber, or DIYer, choosing the right tools is not only time-efficient but cost-effective as well. For a model, working with the best hole saw for cutting thick metal is both faster and effortless when making passages like that for air vent pipes. Usually, such routes require a hole wider than 4 inches, which is quite challenging to make with a regular 3/8 inch bit.
With a proper hole saw, however, it become very easy and it won’t cost you much if you already have a drill. The saw is just like bits that you connect to drill chuck, only it’s a cylindrical cup with a serrated edge.
Is A Hole Saw Worth A Buy?
Well, that’s a straightforward yes. If you already have a drill in your home, it’s even simpler as it’ll be just like buying the boring bits. The saws are available in various sizes and from different materials, ranging from the inexpensive carbon steel to carbide.
Technically, carbide is the best for cutting thicker metal as it’s a higher compressive strength than steel. Thereby allowing it to operate at higher speed without getting hot and wearing down. Still, a carbide hole saw is quite versatile in applications due to its toughness. So, you won’t need to worry be it you’ want to cut plastic, concrete, plywood, or any other timber material.
Even so, carbide is not cheap and that’s the reason most saws are made of steel, then tipped with carbide cutting edge. If on a tight budget, therefore, you can go for a hole saw made of bi-metal HSS [high-speed steel], such as cobalt. Only remember it’s softer than a carbide tool, and the areas of application will vary.
Remember To Check the Blade and Arbor
Apart from the size and material, a hole saw is available in different teeth setting. Just like any other sawing tool, some models come with Triple Chip Grind teeth while others feature pointy teeth. Although you can consider either one, the former is usually the best when cutting non-ferrous metals.
Besides the teeth setup, the hole saw you’re using has to perfectly fit in the arbor of your drill. Also called a mandrel, the arbor is mostly hardened steel and its function is to clasp the cutting blade in place. Also, it’s the part to hold the pilot bit at the center and provide extra stability for better performance.
Of course, it’s optional to use this center bit, but it’s certainly useful in ensuring you get a precise cut.
Top 7 Best Hole Saws For Cutting Thick Metal (Best Picks)
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Top-Best Hole Saws For Cutting Thick Metal
Given that the market has numerous models and designs of hole saws, it’s can be daunting to choose the right one for the job. Here is a short selection that you can include on your to-buy list so that you can choose the best tool for your project.
1. EZARC CHS-25M Hole Saw Cutter
As simple as it may sound, this piece is our number #1, following its high efficiency and effectiveness. It comprises a rugged stainless steel body, with carbide teeth inserts to allow easy cutting on both soft and hard materials. The teeth take a triple chip grind design, which allows faster cutting while effectively removing the chips.
With up to one-inch cutting depth, this saw allows you to make holes on a thick piece of metal easily and effectively. It comes with an arbor to secure on your drill chuck, plus a pilot bit to allow a precise cut without unnecessary movements on the surface.
The hole cut is available in varying diameters, ranging from 22mm to 54mm. Hence, it’s fairly impossible not to find a size that suits your needs.
- It comprises a sturdy body with carbide teeth. Thus longer lasting
- Can cut a wide range of materials, including stainless steel, thick metal, and high alloy steel
- Features optimized tooth geometry to allow high precision and smooth cutting
- Includes an arbor for easy connection to the drill
- Comes with a replaceable pilot bit to enhance stability and offer guidance
- Can work with cordless drills
- The drills are calibrated to avoid confusion while working
2. Starrett KDO414-N Diamond Grit Hole Saw
This is another spectacular product that you can get to bore holes in thick metals with. It’s a bi-metal saw that consists of a sturdy steel body and a synthetic diamond grit teeth. Hence, very effective in cutting not only hard steel but also fired ceramics and concrete.
The tool makes 2-inch deep cuts and it’s available in various sizes, starting from 1 inch to 25/32 inches. As such, it’s very simple to make up your unique kit by buying one saw at a time.
Despite its brilliant effectiveness, this hole saw doesn’t come with an arbor to mount to the drill. As such, you will have to purchase it separately or use the standard 1/2” size if you have it with you.
- It has exclusive diamond grit teeth that are super strong and durable
- You can use on tough materials, including hardened steels
- Available in over 30 different sizes to choose
- Delivers clean and precise cuts
- Functions best at a speed of 150 to 300 RPM
- Offers 2-inch deep cuts
- Non-corrosive and easy to clean
- The saw is calibrated to guarantee higher efficiency while working
What we don’t like about it:
Regardless of its shining beauty, this does not come with the mounting arbor or pilot bit. Hence, you will have to purchase them separately.
3. LENOX  Hole Saw w/ Arbor
Versatile, effective, and affordable. These are three words that we can simply use to define this saw. It has a quality steel body and sharper pointy teeth that can cut most of the materials, including hardwood and metal.
The tool is an upgrade of a previous lineup and it features a thicker wall to ensure durability and slower wearing out. It comes with an arbor to connect to the drill chuck and a pilot bit to hold the tool at the center.
The bi-metal hole cutter has a diameter of one inch and it can cut up to a depth of 1inches. Hence, you can use your piece of metal without any challenges.
- It has a fairly dense body to allow minimal teeth loss and enhances durability
- You can use a variety of materials, including plastic, wood, and metals
- Has an exclusive speed slot to allow easy removal of the slug
- Regulars lesser power to use
- Comes with its arbor and a pilot bit
- It has a one-inch diameter and 1-9/16 inch depth
- The saw is very affordable
What we don’t like about it:
For this one, there are two issues we don’t like. One is that the pilot bit is quite weak and bends easily. Secondly, the saw wears faster on hardened steels.
4. SUNGATOR Bi-Metal HSS Hole Saw Kit
If indeed you enjoy playing with metals, this piece can work very well for you. It comprises of a set of ten hole cutters, each featuring different sizes to use in different situations.
The saws have a top-quality denser bi-metal construction to enable use in thicker metals without wearing out faster. Still, their teeth are sharp and pointy, which is a perfect combination for cutting your materials smoothly and cleanly.
The entire toolset is so easy to use and it comes with multiple arbors that you can use to mount to your drill chuck. All the components are neatly held in a solid plastic case that you can easily carry to your working area. Hence, you won’t need to worry about losing any of the small parts.
- The kit consists of ten holes that you can use in different situations
- Each saw has a sturdy, thick bimetal body to assure extended use
- Features sharp, pointy teeth that deliver clean high-precision cuts
- Has a cutting depth of up to 2 inches
- Comes with multiple mandrels for easier mounting to the drill
- There are also pilot bits to allow a comfortable sawing without sliding sideways
- All the saws have calibrations to avoid confusion while working.
What we don’t like
The pilot bit tends to become loose now and then. So, you will need to check every time before using it.
5. Milwaukee 49-22-4025 General Purpose Hole Saw Kit
This is another piece that can help make your metalworking experience smooth and very productive. It comprises thirteen saws that you can use to make holes of different sizes of your desire.
With a high-speed steel bimetal design, the item is effortless to use and control. The body is sturdy and it has two slots to enable easy removal of the slug with a screwdriver. Furthermore, there are two mandrels and drill shanks to offer a better grip on the material surface without sliding.
All the components come packed in a lovely plastic case that has a handle. So, you can easily move around with it without compromising anything.
- The hole saw set has a rugged bimetal body, with sharp pointy teeth
- It can cut through a variety of materials including, metal and wood
- Has two-slot design to remove the slug
- Comes with multiple mandrels to allow easy mounting to the drill
- Can cut material of up to 1½ inch thickness
- Has ¼ inch center shank to guide your cutting position
- The entire set is surely affordable and durable.
What we don’t like
Although they are worth the price, the hole saws have a welded body which can cause some imprecision on certain materials.
6. EZARC Carbide Heavy Duty Hole Saw
The product is another selection that you can build your own top-grade hole saw kit without difficulties. It is available in a variety of sizes, ranging from 1-½ to 4- ¾ inches.
The saw features a super tough steel body, with thin kerf carbide teeth. Thus, it cuts materials precisely and smoothly without using much effort. Still, the tool can be used on a variety of metallic surfaces, including brass, cast iron, and mild steel, due to its high tensile strength.
Although it’s not very deep, you can cut a metal thickness of up to a half-inch without difficulty. The saw come with a quarter-inch pilot drill shank and an ejector spring. So, you won’t need to worry about instability or slug removal.
- It features a top-grade steel body and carbide cutting tips. Hence, it guarantees extended use
- The teeth take the triple chip grind form. Hence, cuts faster and with high precision
- Features high tensile strength to support faster cutting without heating up
- Comes with a center drill bit to prevent sliding on the surface while working
- Includes an ejector spring for easier slug removal
- Available in various sizes to better serve your needs
- The hole saw can cut both light and hard metals.
What we don’t like about it:
The tool lacks size markings, plus it’s relatively shallow. Hence, you can’t use with metals thicker beyond ½ inch.
7. Milwaukee 49-22-4025 General Purpose Hole Saw Kit
Even though it’s the last on our list, this saw is another piece you will enjoy working with. It’s made of high-speed steel and double tooth design that has sharper geometry for faster cutting.
The hole saw is available as a single product, with a wideness of around three inches. Its interior is 2-inch deep. So, you can use on a 1¾ metal thickness without any struggles. There is even a multiple slot design that you can use to remove the unwanted waste while using a screwdriver.
Sadly, the saw doesn’t come with either a mandrel or pilot drill bit. Hence, you will have to buy them separately or connect with yours if you do own.
- It features double ground tooth design with a sharper geometry to cut materials faster
- Consists of thick body and tough high-speed steel to last longer
- Can cut materials that are up to 1¾ thick
- Include slots on the sides to allow faster slug removal
- Offers clean cutting with a smooth edge finish
- The saw is affordable and surely worth its value
What we don’t like about it:
Apart from the fact that it comes without the arbor part, this hole saw features a high-speed steel body. As such, you can use only on soft steel but not hard metals.
Quick Guide: How to Choose Use Your Hole Saw Effectively
As we said earlier, the regular drill bits are definitely not your solution when you need a hole for deadbolt or to pass through pipes. Sadly, it’s very possible to not get the results you were expecting even with the best hole saw for cutting thick metal. Not that you bought an inferior tool, but because you don’t how to use one.
Of course, it’s always nice to use the right equipment for your situation. But, technically, a hole saw is very different from the traditional drill bits. Thus, it can be quite tricky to use one when it’s your first time.
Here are six techniques that you can use to get the most from your product.
A hole saw is as proficient at cutting through metals as it’s when drilling timber materials. Even so, the friction between the metallic surface and the cutting blade tends to be higher. Thereby causing heat buildup and slower cutting on thicker metals.
Therefore, you have to use your hole saw together with cutting oil to lower the friction and cool the blade. This will allow better sawing and ensure your tool last longer. Additionally, the lubricant will help flush the chips out of the kerf and enable faster cutting.
Enlarging Existing Holes
While woodworking or metalworking, it’s possible to cut the wrong hole size at some point. For a wide hole, it’s quite impossible to narrow it down. If it’s the other way round [enlarging], however, we have two different ways you can solve it.
For one, you can mount two hole saws onto the mandrel, with the smaller diameter inside the larger one. The inner saw will be acting as the pilot bit, thus, it has to be exactly the size of the existing hole. A perfect arbor for such application is like StarrettHYPERLINK KA19-N, which you can easily replace the pilot bit with a hole saw.
Another way you can use to enlarge a hole is by first making a larger size hole that you want on a piece of plywood. Then cramp that plywood over the existing hole and cut through the larger hole.
Cutting Through Tough Materials:
Simply, the best way to cut through a tough material is by using a hole saw that has high compressive strength. This will ensure the cutting blade can drill without getting hot and wearing out.
A good example of such a saw is a model rimmed with carbide or diamond grits. They usually are more expensive than regular bimetal types. So, don’t think you’re getting ripped off while at the store.
Back-Up Your Workpiece
While using a hole saw, the blade teeth tend to exit at the back of the material you are cutting. Therefore, you will need to support your workpiece if you need the hole to be clean on both sides; like with a door.
Of course, it’s not a very big deal to do that. You only need to clamp a “sacrificial” plywood under/ behind the material piece you are cutting so that the saw can exist through it.
Fix an Auxiliary Handle
Unlike the regular boring bits, a hole saw can get stuck or snagged and make the drill to “kickback”. If it happens so suddenly, the tool can even yank out of your hands and maybe crash on to the ground.
So, it’s a good idea you improvise an extra side-handle on your drill to get extra stability and prevent the chances of losing your grip.
Finally, Maintain Your Tools
That’s true. It not only promises you a better performance, but also a longer lifespan. One of the ways to do this is cleaning your hole saws to remove the waste that has built up in between the teeth. Thus, minimizing friction and enhancing cutting speed.
Secondly, you can sharpen the blunt saws and if it’s served you enough, just replace it with a brand new one.
Commonly Asked Questions
Which Is the Best Hole Saw?
Genuinely speaking, any hole saw cutter can be considered good, as long it serves your needs. For a model, a tool with carbide or diamond grits teeth is the best choice for you while cutting through hardened steel. A high-speed steel bimetal saw, on the other hand, is an economical solution when on a tight budget.
Can You Use A Hole Saw Without Pilot Bit?
Absolutely, yes. The pilot bit is just an added advantage to make sure you can drill without the tool sliding down or to the sides. So, it’s not a must you use it, even though it will be quite difficult to position your hole saw at the center.
Are Hole Saw Mandrels Universal?
If you’re asking whether you can use any mandrel with every hole saw, that’s a straight no. Hole saws come in various sizes, with the larger ones featuring drive pins to lock the hole saw in place. Also, there are arbors designed for a single hole saw and others that support two of them to widen smaller apertures.
Can A Hole Saw Cut Through Plastic?
Yes, it can. But if it’s thin plastic, you will need to be very careful not to crack or melt it. First of all, you will have to tape where you’re cutting to avoid scratching the surface. Then, you will now need to cut slow, like 150-200RPM tops, making sure your hand is steady.
Well, this is all we have for you today. It’s our hope the guide has helped you choose the best hole saw for your needs. And also you have learned new tricks on how to use your tool for optimal efficacy.
As we conclude, we’d recommend you always protect your eyes whenever you’re drilling metal, ceramic, or any other material. With just a tiny metallic fragment, you can get a serious eye injury, and maybe even render you blind.
So, wearing safety glasses is an absolute must.