Walk Behind vs Hand Saw

By Deb Amorde

What’s Best? A Walk-Behind or Hand-Held Concrete Saw?
You’ve got a job to do and are wondering if you should use a hand-held or walk-behind saw. Which one is going to be the best? When deciding, it’s important to know exactly what your job will entail. The following are some factors to consider.

The Basics
A concrete saw is a power tool used for cutting concrete, masonry, brick, asphalt, and other solid materials. It can be a hand-held cut-off saw, a walk-behind saw or even a diamond chainsaw. It may be powered by gasoline, or in certain cases, electric motors.

Important Considerations

  •  What diameters of diamond blades can the concrete saw accommodate?
  • What arbor size are you running?
  • What blade/cut quality are you looking at?
  • The match of the saw blade and the type of concrete you’ll be cutting (asphalt, reinforced by metal bars, concrete with aggregate, etc.)
  • Do you want high-speed cuts?
  • Is longer lifespan important?
  • Horsepower - the bigger the horsepower, the bigger impact the blade will receive when cutting.

Handheld Saws
In general, you want a handheld concrete saw for its portability. Short, quick cuts that don’t require specific accuracy generally allow for handheld options. Here are a few options when it comes to these saws.

Cut-off machines: this tends to be the go-to choice for most concrete cutting jobs. Typically available in 12” or 14” sizes and can be powered by a two-stroke gas engine, a hydraulic power unit, an air compressor or an electric motor. Click here to see one of the industry’s leading models from Norton Clipper. Or learn more about why it’s so unique with this short article.

• The choice of power source depends on the application. Electric saws are popular because they're lightweight, less noisy and simpler to use than other types of cut-off machines. Check out our electric saw selection from Diamond Products. However, they’re not as powerful and can take longer to complete a job.

• Hydraulic saws, on the other hand, have the highest power to weight ratio. They're convenient because most contractors have a hydraulic power unit on hand, but they're more expensive and less forgiving than a pneumatic saw.

• Pneumatic saws are also convenient since air compressors are ubiquitous on job sites. Operation is simple and has fewer potential hazards. Pneumatic saws are lightweight and simple to maintain as well but can be more expensive to use due to the need for a compressor and the diesel fuel to power it.

Diamond chainsaws: a diamond chainsaw is a tool designed like a wood-cutting chainsaw. The chain on a diamond chainsaw incorporates diamond segments that are laser welded to the chain in place of the cutting teeth typical of a chainsaw used for wood. The diamond segments essentially create a grinding action that wears away the concrete, brick or other aggregate material.

• The chainsaw is designed to actually plunge nose-first into the material and has the ability to cut more than twice as deep as a 14-inch circular blade.

• Because a diamond chainsaw uses a guide bar with a long narrow flat surface, the saw can provide a deeper cut with no overcut, allowing the operator to make square corners. They are also useful in creating odd-shaped cuts in material.

• These are typically deemed the most dangerous option available and are only used by highly skilled operators.


Walk-Behind Saw
Walk-behind saws are large power tools used to cut concrete or masonry stone. Traditionally used on sidewalks, asphalt, concrete driveways, basement floors, warehouse floors, highways, or any application that requires sawing of horizontal concrete or asphalt. Walk-behind saw blades range from 14" all the way to 32.”

If a walk behind is what you need to add to your fleet, we’d highly recommend these options from Diamond Products