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Bow saws have come a long way since their first use. New models are stronger, more durable, and some are even collapsible, meaning that there are more features than ever that you have to consider when shopping for what used to be a fairly simple tool. Advertisers don’t help with this issue, as they’re generally happy to overload their product descriptions with jargon and information that doesn’t help you know how good the bow saw really is.
It’s not always easy to shop online, but that doesn’t have to be the case. We believe that there are a lot of good bow saws on the market today and that a well-informed customer can figure out which model is right for them. So, we created these reviews of some of the best bow saws of 2020, as well as a buyer’s guide to walk you through some of the things that you should pay special attention to while you browse.
|Filzer Buckster BBS-1||Lifetime||4.70/5|
|AgawaCanyon - BOREAL21|
|Great Neck Saw BB24||Lifetime||4.80/5|
The Bahco 10-24-23 is our pick for best bow saw. While the frame remains the same, you can order with either a dry wood or green wood blade. If you already know you’re going to need the ability to do one of these tasks but not the other, then you’re in luck. Even if you need to both, you can order the other blade that you need separately, which makes this a versatile tool. The frame itself is lightweight and sturdy and should last you a long time.
This model comes with a knuckle guard, which is a surprisingly rare feature on a bow saw. It also comes with a great tensioner which allows you to easily adjust the blade tension to exactly what you want it to be. The one knock on this model is that it comes with a subpar blade cover that’s hard to easily and safely put on the blade for storage. However, that’s a relatively minor complaint, and this model is easily one of the best you can find on the market.
The Filzer Buckster BB-1 is the runner-up on our list. It’s a bright-orange model, which means it will be harder to misplace when you fold it down from its full working configuration to a much smaller travel form. When in its travel configuration, it’s the rough shape and size of a large baton, which makes it great for adventures out into the woods where you don’t want to be lugging a large saw along.
It’s made from a lightweight aluminum frame, which means you’ll want to take it on the road with you, and has an 18” blade which is just the right size for cutting logs for campfires. This model is one of those tools that you’ll love using. What ultimately keeps this model out of first place is that it comes with a proprietary blade that you can’t get replacements for from a third party. And, the manufacturer’s replacements are expensive. If they were to lower their prices or allow competition on replacement blades, this model would easily shoot the top of the list.
The Truper 30255 is our choice for best value. It comes with a sturdy frame that manages to be strong without being super heavy. It also comes with a knuckle guard, which is something that should come with any modern bow saw, but sometimes isn’t. This model also comes with a quality tensioning system, which enables you to make sure that you’re always getting a high-quality cut while you work.
Something to note is that this model comes with a blade for cutting green wood only, and it doesn’t come with a blade meant for dry wood. You also can’t order a replacement blade that would work with dry wood, so make sure that you’re going to be working with green wood before you buy. This model is also inexpensive relative to the others on our list, so given all of its upside, it makes for a high-value buy that should keep you happily cutting away for a long time.
The BOREAL21 from Agawa Canyon is a lightweight and compact bow saw that folds down into a small and easy-to-carry package. When you need to be able to trust your saw not to let you down on backcountry trips or during work around the home, this saw is a reliable and easily portable tool that you can count on. With an auto-tensioning blade and the ability to unfold and be ready for use in seconds, this saw provides simple use and storage in a high-quality package. It has earned our pick as favorite high-end bow saw, though it’s accompanied by a price tag that’s also high-end.
This simple saw from Great Neck is a basic, no-frills bow saw. It’s a 24” model, giving you ample stroke length. Made from S-2 steel, it provides strength and durability. Combined with the simple two-piece design, this is a stout and sturdy saw. It’s also inexpensive, since it has none of the extra features that have become somewhat “standard” on saws in a slightly higher price bracket. A few of these features are rather important, however, to keep you comfortable and safe while making cuts. No knuckle guard means you’ll need to be careful of your stroke depth. If you go too far, you’ll end up busting your knuckles — at least you’ll only need to learn that lesson once!
Another great feature missing from the BB24 is the lack of an ergonomic handle. If you only use your saw rarely and for short periods, then this may not be a deal-breaker. If your saw sees a great deal of use, though, you may want to look for one that will have these key features instead.
The Sven saw features a unique folding design. This saw is designed specifically for backpackers to take out into the backcountry. Available in 21” and 15” models, this saw is lightweight and small, so it will fit in a crowded backpack. The frame is crafted from aluminum, and the blade is made from tempered Swedish steel. The higher quality materials also mean that it’s a rather expensive saw.
Unfortunately, this saw’s unique concept does not seem to always play out in reality. It doesn’t hold together well enough to depend on. To make matters worse, folding it down requires taking apart the entire thing. For a saw designed for backpackers, this seems like a terrible oversight. Loose pieces getting lost in your backpack will make it difficult to use the saw when it’s needed most. A single piece lost on the forest floor, and your tool becomes useless.
This saw is advertised as both a tree saw and a limb pruning saw. It is equipped with two 21” blades. One is for cutting green wood and the other is for dry wood. It includes an ergonomic handle design to make it more comfortable for your hands, though the plastic seems a bit cheap. A handguard protects your knuckles while in use. This saw features a twisting blade tensioner system to help get the blades tight. For what you get, it does seem a bit overpriced. It also doesn’t include a sheath that can help protect your blade and lengthen its lifespan.
This 21” bow saw from Black+Decker sits at a low price point. Unfortunately, it is built with a craftsmanship that equals its low-end price tag. It does have certain features that you’d like to see in a saw, including an ergonomic grip and a knuckle guard. The soft grip is said to absorb shock and vibration, though it doesn’t really seem to make a difference.
The major drawback to this saw is that it simply doesn’t cut wood. The blade that comes installed on this saw is too thin and flimsy and just does not work well for its intended purpose. If you upgrade to a better blade, this saw will work just fine. But that’s an added expense that takes this saw into a completely different price bracket. Despite the well-known name of Black+Decker, this tool doesn’t live up to the reputation.
Bow saws can come with two different kinds of blades. Some models come with raker tooth blades which are designed to cut through wet, green woods. Others come with more standard peg tooth blades that are designed to work with dry woods. It’s important to figure out which kind comes with each bow saw model and make sure that you get one that will suit your needs.
Many local factors, like heat and humidity, can affect the tension in your blade. Most modern bow saws come with a tension adjuster which allows for you to compensate for this effect by adjusting the blade’s tension. This feature allows you always to have the right tension for the job at hand so that you get the most straight and precise cuts possible. Bow saws also weaken over time, so the tension adjuster will help keep your bow saw tight long into the future.
You’ll want to research what kind of protective sheath comes with your bow saw. Protective sheaths extend the life of your bow saw’s blade by protecting it from some of the elements while it’s not in use. If a model doesn’t come with a protective sheath or comes with a low-quality one, you may want to look at a different model.
Another feature that you should look out for is ergonomic handles. More and more tools these days are paying more attention to ergonomics, which is a good thing. Finding an ergonomically-designed tool will be a good investment for your hands in the long run, even if it isn’t quite a deal-breaker on its own.
Other saws we have reviewed:
The Bahco 10-24-23 is our favorite bow saw, due to its great knuckle guard, lightweight frame, and excellent tensioning system. The Filzer Buckster BB-1 is the runner-up, and comes with an excellent collapsible, lightweight frame, and is only kept out of first by its replacement blades. The Truper 30255 is our choice for best value, with its excellent knuckle guard and great price. All of these bow saws would make an excellent choice. The good news is that you now get to figure out which one will give you the longest, most frustration-free life.
Hopefully, our reviews of these bow saws have helped you understand what makes for a great bow saw. Armed with that information, you should be able to find the model that is right for you.