Seeking the best folding saw? Our team of experts examined over 40 options and then purchased the top 9 models for extensive side-by-side tests. We realize how challenging it can be to find the right product, so we examined each saw in detail so that we could share with you our findings on quality and durability, handle construction and ergonomics, blade sharpness and strength, sawing performance, and packability and features. Whether you use a saw for cutting firewood, hunting, as a survival tool, or simply for yard work pruning purposes, we compared each saw guided by the sole mission of helping you quickly and painlessly find the best saw for your needs.Folding saw not exactly what you're looking for? Check out our reviews of the best multi-tools and our favorite pocket knife.
|Price||$36 List||$25 List|
$24.44 at Amazon
$82.00 at REI
$25.54 at Amazon
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|Pros||Lightweight and packable, elegant quality design, Virobloc safety ring||Aggressive curved blade, ergonomic, bi-colored grip, fast cutting action||Easy to assemble, very sharp blade, strong and open frame geometry||Ergonomic handle, high carbon steel blade||Fast and smooth cutting, compact and lightweight|
|Cons||Limited to smaller logs||Too aggressive for smaller branches||Handle is a bit uncomfortable, heavier and bulkier than smaller folding saws||A bit heavy with case, slow cutting time||Blade broke while testing, small handle|
|Bottom Line||A very high quality French saw with a lightweight wooden handle and a slick locking mechanism||A very quick saw with an ergonomic handle and a curved, razor sharp blade||An easy to assemble, sharp, and open frame saw for larger diameter cuts||A solidly-constructed saw with a strong blade, indented grip, and sturdy carrying case||A compact hand saw with smooth cutting action that would benefit from a more durable blade|
|Rating Categories||Opinel No. 12||Corona RazorTooth||Agawa Boreal21||Wicked Tough Hand Saw||Silky PocketBoy 170mm|
|Sawing Performance (30%)|
|Quality and Durability (20%)|
|Handle Comfort and Ergonomics (20%)|
|Blade Sharpness and Strength (20%)|
|Features and Packability (10%)|
|Specs||Opinel No. 12||Corona RazorTooth||Agawa Boreal21||Wicked Tough Hand Saw||Silky PocketBoy 170mm|
|Blade Material||XC90 carbon steel||Impulse-hardened high carbon SK-5 steel||Steel||High carbon steel||Chrome-plated|
|Handle Material||Beech Wood||Bi-molded plastic/rubber||Fiberglass reinforced nylon||Aluminium, rubber||Non-slip rubberized|
|Weight||4 oz||9 oz||18.7 oz||8 oz||7 oz|
|Available Sizes||4.7", 7"||7", 8", 10"||15", 21", 24"||7"||5", 6.75"|
Best Overall Folding Saw
The Corona RazorTooth is a compact, aggressive, and fast saw. Its simple locking mechanism secures the sharp blade open while you're sawing or closed while the blade is stowed. The locking mechanism is cleverly placed at a far enough distance from your hand that it isn't likely that you will press it when using the saw. The ergonomic co-molded handle practically grabs your hand with its soft rubber grip, and there is also a large triangular-shaped opening to attach a lanyard to. The razor-sharp curved blade is super aggressive, with a 7-inch 65Mn spring-steel blade with a triple ground tooth pattern for penetrating tough bone and wood. This saw cut through a 4-1/2-inch diameter log in just 24 seconds, the fastest in our testing. The aggressive blade and ergonomic handle also noticeably reduced sawing fatigue. We found this saw to be the most fun to use, and we didn't want to put it down.
Whether you are cutting firewood or trimming branches, the Corona will make quick work of your task at hand. It comes in either 7-inch, 8-inch, or 10-inch blade lengths, for cutting 3-inch, 4-inch, or 5-6-inch diameter branches, respectively. The curved blade might be too aggressive for cutting smaller branches and is designed to cut with a pulling motion. Other than that, the Corona cuts fast, is as sharp as it looks, and exceeded our expectations.
Best Bang for the Buck
Rexbeti Heavy Duty
The Rexbeti Heavy Duty comes with an SK-5 steel blade with staggered, triple-cut teeth, a long rubber handle, and a lifetime warranty. Despite being one of the lowest-priced saws we tested, it performed super well, cutting through a 4-1/2-inch diameter log in 1 minute, 4 seconds. This saw's 11-inch long blade has no trouble shredding through 6 to 7-inch diameter branches. The locking mechanism is bright orange, making it simple to distinguish from the black handle grip, keeping you from accidentally folding or unfolding. For cutting larger diameter logs, the Rexbeti performs well and won't cost you an arm and a leg — as long as you're careful while sawing.
With a longer blade comes less rigidity, which we noticed while testing the Rexbeti. Compared to triangular frame saws which provide a lot of support for the saw blade, the Rexbeti's blade doesn't quite have the stiffness necessary to cut bigger logs. That being said, it is rigid enough to make the cut, so long as you focus on starting your cuts straight and plumb. It probably isn't the best saw to take on overnight backpacking trips due to its weight and bulk, but for car camping or yard work, it should suit your needs very well.
Best Lightweight, Compact Folding Saw
Opinel No. 12
The Opinel No. 12 has a simple, elegant design and was one of the highest quality saws we tested. Weighing in at under 4 ounces, this lightweight saw comes with an attractive and ergonomic French beechwood handle. The carbon steel blade comes in either a 5-inch or 7-inch length, designed to cut up to 3.15-inch or 4-inch diameter branches. The Virobloc safety ring designed by Marcel Opinel in 1955 locks the blade in both the sawing and folded positions. You might be pleasantly surprised at how quickly this small saw slices through the wood; at 20 seconds per 2-1/2-inch diameter branch, you'll have a fire going in no time.
Although it is a bit pricey for such a small saw, we were impressed by the high quality of the Opinel. The blade's length somewhat limits its use, so it might not be the best choice if you're looking to cut larger-diameter pieces of wood. However, if you're looking for a lightweight, compact saw to take on a backpacking or hunting trip or to do some simple yard work around the house, look no further.
Best Triangular Frame Saw
Out of the open frame saws we tested, the Agawa Boreal21 was the easiest to assemble. Once assembled, it was the fastest open frame saw, cutting through a 4-1/2-inch diameter log in just 30 seconds. It is also pretty lightweight, coming in at 18.7 ounces for the 21-inch saw (also available in 15 inches and 24 inches). The hardened stainless steel blade comes with an anti-rust coating and has double-pointed rakers between sets of teeth which clears wood chips and fibers as you saw. The handle folds and snaps into place during assembly, without even needing to touch the blade. When unfolding, the spring action does fling the blade out suddenly, necessitating some caution during disassembly.
The ease of assembly and rigid, trapezium-shaped frame construction make the Boreal21 a breeze to saw with. During our testing, we discovered that a trapezium-shaped frame geometry is superior to a triangular frame geometry because it increases your range of motion while sawing. While it is a bit more pricey than some of its competitors, the quality construction, ease of use, and sharp cutting action might just pay off in the long run.
Toughest Folding Saw
Wicked Tough Hand Saw
The Wicked Tough Hand Saw definitely lives up to its name. This burly saw comes with a Wicked high carbon steel blade, which has a heavy gauge that resists bending and breaking. Its rugged cast aluminum handle is wrapped in a rubber grip with indentations for fingers, making it ergonomic and high friction. Surprisingly, its cutting time was on the slower side, at 1 minute, 16 seconds to saw through a 4-1/2-inch diameter log.
Sometimes we get what we pay for. The Wicked is a bit pricy, but its construction is also a bit beefier. It also comes with a scabbard that is pretty darn tough for tree work when you want your saw securely stored but easy to access. Unfortunately, the saw and the scabbard are somewhat heavy, so this combo pack probably isn't the ticket if you're looking for a lightweight hand saw. However, if you like burly gear that you can beat up, and weight isn't a concern, this saw was the toughest of them all.
A Reliable Triangular Saw
Sven-Saw Folding Saw
The Sven-Saw has been made in the U.S. for almost 60 years and is outfitted with a super sharp blade made of Swedish steel. Once assembled, this was one of the fastest triangular frame saws, cutting through a 4-1/2-inch diameter log in just 35 seconds. It is also pretty lightweight, coming in at under 14 ounces for the 21-inch saw (also available in 15 inches). The hardened, anodized aluminum handle and back bar folds into a flat rod shape, which slides nicely into the side of your backpack. The handle protrudes below the sharp blade, allowing you to saw efficiently using both hands. With a triangular geometry, the frame is quite rigid, and a wingnut allows you to tighten the blade to your preferred tension.
The assembly process for the Sven is time-consuming and a bit awkward. The back bar and blade unfold and insert into the handle but have to be simultaneously lined up correctly, a task that would be much easier to accomplish if you had a third hand. Then, you tighten the blade with a wingnut, which you hopefully didn't lose in the snow-covered forest. But if you did, you're still good to go since the Sven-Saw comes with a spare wingnut. Luckily, the time lost in assembly is probably saved in cutting, which is a pure delight with the Sven-Saw. You might really like this saw if you're looking to make lots of cuts and want a rigid saw that reduces fatigue over time.
Why You Should Trust Us
Brian Smith, our primary tester on this project, is a professional internationally certified IFMGA/UIAGM mountain guide. He is also a long-time carpenter and an avid wood stove user. For over twenty years, Brian has used gas-powered chainsaws, electric chainsaws, mauls, hatchets, skill saws, table saws, and of course, hand saws. When he isn't guiding in the mountains, Brian spends a fair amount of time cutting his own firewood for the long winters in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, so he can keep his wood-burning stove nice and warm. And with over twenty years of carpentry experience, Brian has sawed through several different types of wood using various tools. He knows wood, and he knows which tool to use to get the job done right.Our testing of folding saws is divided across five rating metrics:
- Sawing Performance (30% of total score weighting)
- Quality and Durability (20% weighting)
- Handle Comfort and Ergonomics (20% weighting)
- Blade Sharpness and Strength (20% weighting)
- Features and Packability (10% weighting)
After researching over 40 different folding saws, we carefully selected nine of them to review. We then purchased each one and shipped them to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where there are plenty of beetle-killed trees to test saws on. Throughout the entire testing period, we compared and assessed for quality and durability, handle construction/ergonomics, blade sharpness and strength, sawing performance, and packability/features. Each metric was assessed individually, all products were compared to each other, and every metric was noted during actual use. Saws were timed on the same sized logs when possible (which depended on the length of the saw blade), with sufficient rest in between timed sawing. Scores were compiled, and we combined subjective and objective assessments to yield our proven and authoritative conclusions. During all of these tests, we kept one primary objective in mind: finding the best folding saw to suit your needs.
Analysis and Test Results
To help you find the best folding saw for your performance needs and budget, we subjected each product to assembly and disassembly analysis, multiple log cuttings, and timed cuttings. Below we'll delve into the criteria that we rated them on and explain how all the different models compared to one another.
We don't let the price of a product play a role in our assessment of performance, but we do appreciate a good value. Some of our top-rated models, like the Agawa Boreal21 and the Sven Saw also happen to be among some of the most expensive. Boasting high performance-to-price ratios, the Corona RazorTooth, Opinel, and Rexbeti all offer great value.
Quality and Durability
Have you heard the saying, "It's the rider, not the bike?" Well, we hate to break it to you, but the bike makes a big difference these days (especially in the Tour de France). The same goes for saws. Like a bicycle, the quality of the materials and construction play into the durability (and, therefore, the longevity) of the saws we tested. So, we researched the composition of the saw blades and handles, inspected the hinge points, and sawed like mad to help you find a top-notch product.
The top two scorers in this metric earned their high rankings. The Opinel is a beautiful saw whose high quality is immediately apparent, while the Wicked Tough Hand Saw touts the burliest construction in our review. The Opinel's attractive French beechwood handle has a slight ergonomic curve, its high-quality locking mechanism is made out of stainless steel, and its blade is carbon steel with an anti-corrosion coating.
The Wicked also reveals its quality with more of an emphasis on durability. Its high carbon steel blade is taper ground, with a heavy gauge that resists bending and breaking. The aluminum handle is wrapped in a sticky rubber over-mold grip, and the pivot point is strong with its hardened steel lock-pin. With no plastic parts to break, we found this saw to be "wicked" durable.
Handle Comfort and Ergonomics
While this metric overlaps somewhat with our Quality and Durability metric, it's worth sharing our detailed inspection methods and findings with you. We found that the shape and friction of a saw's handle significantly affected our fatigue level over time while cutting wood. A saw with the right sized handle, curvature, and even indentations for your fingers plays a huge role in allowing you to have fun cutting wood for longer periods of time. That means more wood to stoke your fire with, without your forearms feeling like they're on fire too.
The Wicked Tough Hand Saw has the best ergonomic handle that we tested. While the handle's construction is burly, its true advantage is an over-mold rubber grip that is super sticky with indentations for your fingers that allow you to loosen your grip while sawing, thus reducing fatigue. The concept of "barely holding on" is a familiar one to rock and ice climbers, allowing them to "send" climbs they never thought were even possible by conserving energy without over gripping. This concept was beneficial while we tested saws and analyzed handle ergonomics. Even if you're not a climber, you will find that it conserves your strength and energy to use a hand saw with well-designed ergonomics like the Wicked.
With a different handle design that still dominated the ergonomics metric, the Corona Hand Saw has a co-molded, bi-colored handle that is very easy to hold. The defining feature of the Corona's handle is a sharp curve at its base that prevents your hand from slipping. Very similar to the hook on a vertical ice climbing tool, the hook on the Corona allows you to open your grip slightly or hold on a bit loosely to minimize the pump in your forearm while sawing away. The bi-colored black and red rubber handle is designed to match the location of your fingers, with the softer black rubber providing more friction for your fingers to grab onto. Simply hang on loosely and have fun as you watch the aggressive blade of the Corona rip through one log after another.
Blade Sharpness and Strength
Let's get down to business and delve into blade metrics. After all, the finer points of a saw's blade are what puts them a cut above the rest. Simply put, from a subjective perspective, the Agawa Boreal21, the Sven-Saw and the Corona RazorTooth felt the sharpest while cutting, looked the sharpest, and of course, they all have big teeth.
The Agawa quickly and smoothly slices through logs, thanks to its tight, long blade. With double pointed rakers in between sets of four regular teeth, the blade clears sawdust and wood chunks as you cut. The large trapezium-shaped frame construction gives ample space within to cut larger diameter logs.
The Sven-Saw really shines with a long, very sharp blade that can be tightened to your liking. Manufactured in Sweden, this 21-inch long steel blade tears through wood. A pretty sweet combination that we discovered was to use the Sven-Saw for larger cuts and then swap to the Corona for making quick work of smaller diameter logs.
What differentiates the Corona from the Agawa and Sven saws is the curvature of the Corona's blade. Let's just consider log geometry for a minute. They're round, so a curved blade arguably has more surface area while cutting through a round piece of wood, right? Well, it's just theoretical, but the curved geometry of the Corona's blade could be the reason it was the fastest timed saw in our testing. The Corona's self-cleaning chrome blade is both corrosion-resistant and replaceable for longer life. Additionally, the razor teeth are three-sided for increased efficiency and impulse-hardened for exceptional durability and strength. So if speed is your game, take a look at the Corona's blade.
To test sawing performance with as much objectivity as possible, we timed our cuts for every single saw. However, we quickly realized that the saw blade's length would affect its performance, so we are providing you with four of our top performers in this metric, along with their recommended cutting diameters. Our best advice for you is to start by deciding what the average-sized wood is that you will cut before purchasing a saw. Then, look up the specifications for available blade lengths and the corresponding log diameters that the blade is designed for. Keep in mind that many manufacturers have multiple blade lengths available in the same model saw.
For smaller diameter branches, the Opinel's 5-inch blade (recommended for 3.15-inch diameter logs) performed amazingly well on a 2-1/2-inch diameter log with a cut time of only 20 seconds. It also seemed to cut pretty darn well on a 5-inch diameter log. The Opinel also comes in a 7-inch blade for 4-inch diameter logs.
For medium diameter logs, the Corona is a hands-down winner. The 7-inch Corona blade is designed to cut limbs 3 inches in diameter, but we tested it on a 4-1/2-inch diameter log and it still outshined all the other folding saws, with a blistering time of 24 seconds. The Corona also comes in 8-inch and 10-inch blade lengths.
For larger diameter logs, the Agawa Boreal was our top performer. With its trapezium-shaped frame and 21-inch blade (also available in 15-inch, 21-inch, and 24-inch blade lengths), it sliced through a 4-1/2-inch diameter log in just 30 seconds.
Features and Packability
There are many activities you might want a folding saw for. Cutting firewood, pruning trees and bushes in your yard, backpacking, hunting, kayaking, rafting, canoeing, car camping, four-wheeling, trail work, etc. No doubt, they're very handy. Depending on what you'll be using one for and what method of travel you'll be embarking on, a saw's weight, size, and carrying method will be important during your purchasing process. Since all of the saws we tested scored pretty high in this category, we will describe some various benefits for different-sized models to assist you in picking the right tool for your adventure.
Ounce counters and ultra-lightweight experts will be happy to hear that the lightest saw in our review, the Opinel, weighs in at a mere 4 ounces. If weight is a critical factor, and you require something for smaller limbs (recommended to 3.15 inches to be exact), you'll do well with this compact option. It even features a small round hole to thread a lanyard (not included) through so you can attach it to your pack or yourself.
If an open frame saw is alluring to you, the Agawa Boreal21 folds into a somewhat straight bar configuration that can easily be slid into the side of your pack. While the Sven-Saw does the same, the Agawa Boreal is much quicker and easier to stow away. If you don't mind a larger, somewhat straight saw in your pack, one of these frame saws might be the right choice for you.
We've conducted an in-depth comparison of the best folding saws on the market to assist you in filtering through the seemingly endless options available. We purchased and used each one and had a team of testers consult on our findings. We bring extremely diligent attention to detail in all our product comparisons. Finding the right saw can be critical to cutting efficiently and with ease, and using the one that's right for you might just put a grin on your face.
— Brian Smith
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