Chainsaws are widely used by professionals and homeowners alike. While many homeowners use this tool to cut firewood, prune trees, and remove tree stumps, many professionals also use chainsaws for demolition and construction purposes. However, many people have wondered whether chainsaws can cut through metal. 

Can You Use A Chainsaw To Cut Through Metal?

Some professional-grade chainsaws fitted with the right blade can cut through metal. Most traditional, over-the-counter chainsaws are not powerful enough to cut through metal, and its dangerous to try to do so.

Home-grade chainsaws are lighter models that tend to be used around the home for tasks like cutting firewood, pruning trees, and removing branches. 

chainsaw brandisawyer 18 can a chainsaw cut through metal

Unfortunately, the small size of home-grade chainsaws makes them unsuitable for cutting metal materials. On the other hand, professional-grade models are larger and more powerful since they’re designed to withstand professional heavy-duty uses. Due to this, some professional chainsaws can be used to cut through some metal materials. 

Professional-grade models should only be used to cut metal for short periods. Ultimately, chainsaws are not designed to cut through metal materials and are primarily used for tasks related to cutting wood. While chainsaw chains usually have hardened steel teeth, the chain isn’t strong enough to properly cut through metal – which risks damaging the tool or causing an injury!

Are There Any Risks When Cutting Through Metal? 

Many dangers are associated with using a chainsaw to cut through metal, including damaging your chainsaw and possibly injuring yourself. While these risks are more likely when using a budget chainsaw to cut metal, they can also happen when using professional-grade chainsaws for prolonged periods.

  • Chain Damage: Using a chainsaw to cut metal will dull the chain very quickly, requiring you to constantly resharpen or replace the chain. New chainsaw chains are not cheap either. You also risk the chain breaking while cutting through metal. 
  • Engine Damage: Cutting abrasive materials like metal will force your chainsaw to exert more power, which places more strain on the engine. Due to this, you risk overheating the engine, which can damage internal components. Only powerful motors, like a 50cc chainsaw, can handle metal cutting for short periods.
  • Flying Sparks: When your chain is damaged by cutting metal, the chipped and broken teeth on the blade can cause sparks to fly while operating the chainsaw. Ultimately, this poses both fire and burn risks. 
  • Injury Risk: Trying to cut through abrasive materials like metal and concrete will cause chips to fly, which can cause injuries – especially if you’re not wearing the proper protective gear while using your chainsaw!
  • Possible Kickback: Trying to cut materials like metal can cause your chain to get derailed from the guide bar, which risks a possible kickback from your tool. Kickback causes the chainsaw to become difficult to control, which can injure you. 

Alternative Tools For Cutting Through Metal

Since there are many risks of using a chainsaw to cut metal, you may be wondering about alternative tools you can use! From air saws to reciprocating saws, here are eight alternatives to consider for cutting through metal!

1. Air Saw

Air saws are one of the most precise tools used for cutting thin pieces of metal. These tools are powered by air compressors, making them lightweight and easy to handle. Unlike a chainsaw, you won’t need to worry about a motor burning out! You shouldn’t use an air saw to cut through thicker metals. 

2. Band Saw

A good portable band saw functions in a similar way to chainsaws. Instead of a chain rotating around a bar, band saws use a continuous blade loop that’s mounted on two wheels. While you shouldn’t use a band saw to cut thin sheet metal, it is safe to use a band saw to cut thicker pieces of metal. 

band saw brandisawyer 01 can a chainsaw cut through metal

3. Chop Saw

A chop saw is a widely-used woodworking tool used to make straight cuts. You can cut easily cut thick pieces of metal with a chop saw by installing an abrasive cutting wheel. Any chop saw can be fitted with a cutting wheel suited to metal. 

4. Circular Saw 

Circular saws are another woodworking tool that can be fitted with blades suited for cutting metal. While you shouldn’t use this tool for cutting metal sheets, you can use a circular saw to make clean cuts through most metal materials. 

5. Grinder 

Grinders use an abrasive wheel to cut through abrasive materials like metal. You can even use a grinder to cut through metal sheets and rods! Angle grinders are best suited for cutting unfinished metal and making rough cuts. 

6. Hacksaw

Hacksaws are manually operated, making them one of the most affordable tools for cutting metal. This tool consists of a handle and a replaceable blade that can cut metal. While hacksaws require a fair bit of elbow grease, they’re versatile tools that can make straight cuts in almost any metal material!

7. Jigsaw

Your jigsaw can help you cut metal when you install a blade suited to cutting metal! You can use a jigsaw for cutting fine detail and curves in thin and medium sheets of metal. Unfortunately, you can’t cut non-sheet metals with a jigsaw. 

8. Reciprocating Saw 

Also known as a Sawzall, a reciprocating saw is widely-used for demolition since it can cut through metal. A Sawzall is one of the most powerful and aggressive saws available on the market, which is why it can cut everything from sheet metal to flat stock. Due to this, reciprocating saws are ideal for rough cutting. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Are There Chainsaws That Can Cut Metal? 

While some professional-grade chainsaws can cut through certain metals for short periods, it’s not recommended to use a chainsaw for cutting metal. Chainsaws should only be used to cut wood. An alternative tool can be used to safely cut through metal materials. 

What Are The Best Tools For Cutting Metal?

While you should avoid using your chainsaw to cut metal, there are many power tools that are up for the job – including angle grinders, chop saws, and hacksaws. The following YouTube video demonstrates how different tools can be used to cut through metal materials!

13 Ways to Cut Metal

Conclusion

Chainsaws are designed to cut through wooden materials and shouldn’t be used to cut through metal – especially home-grade models. While some professional-grade chainsaws can be used to cut metal in short bursts, any chainsaw can be damaged or cause an injury when used to cut metal. Due to this, you should use an alternative tool designed to cut metal!

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