A folding saw is a human-powered hand tool that is light and versatile with myriad potential applications. Folding saws can make a big difference in the quality of the outdoor experience for campers, hunters, bushcrafters and backpackers, and will facilitate work for loggers, landscapers and those in the construction trades.
There are scores of folding saws on the market today, each one with its own set of pros and cons. We put them to the test and concluded that the 10 you will find below are the best folding saws of 2021.
1. Mossy Oak 3 in 1 Folding Hand Saw
The Mossy Oak 3 in 1 Folding Hand Saw leads off our list because it embodies everything we want in a portable hand saw. It’s light and compact, which makes it a good choice for outdoorsmen. The handle grip is comfortable and true. And it comes with three blades: one for wood, one for metal and one for plastic.
Whether you need to clear brush in the yard, build a duck blind, or construct an emergency shelter because bad weather has closed in on your backpacking trip, this saw will answer the call. And just to ramp up the convenience, it also comes with a durable nylon sheath with Velcro closure that can be worn on your belt.
2. Silky Katanaboy Professional Folding Saw
If you need a folding saw to down trees, cut firewood, or clear a path through the underbrush the Silky Katanaboy Professional Folding Saw is an outstanding choice. The blade is a full 1/2 meter in length, with lots of hungry teeth that are perfect for larger projects. Despite its length it’s still light and versatile and can easily be stowed away in a backpack for emergency use.
The blade is fashioned from Japanese carbon steel and manages to achieve a nice balance between rigidity and flexibility. The handle allows the user to obtain a firm, two-handed grip for serious cutting. And the teeth are taper-ground which enables them to plow through wood like a hot knife through butter. The Katanaboy is for those who think big.
3. Silky Zubat Arborist Professional Hand Saw
The Zubat Arborist from Silky is designed for cutting small to medium size branches, removing saplings, harvesting firewood and other, similar tasks. It features a 330mm full-tang blade with oversized teeth and an aggressive arch that multiples the effects of each stroke. This is a great saw for landscapers, bushcrafters and hunters, though it’s certainly not limited to them.
Remarkably, this saw weighs a scant 2/3 of a pound and can be comfortably lashed to your calf to be ready for whatever challenge may present itself. Or you can slip it into your backpack for a long haul. The sheath is light but durable and the handle comfortable and ready for any conditions. It’s not cheap, but it’s well worth the modest financial stretch.
4. Bahco Lap-Knife Laplander Folding Saw
Bahco’s combination of folding saw and multipurpose survival knife is one of the best on the market. The folding saw features a coarse blade that’s ideal for cutting branches and small trees, or building shelters and removing trail obstacles. The teeth are razor sharp out of the box and the saw blade is coated with an effective layer of rust protection.
When folded up the saw is a mere 9 inches in length, which makes it a good choice for backpackers and hunters who often walk many miles per day and need to minimize the size and weight of their armory. The knife is not quite the equal of the folding saw. But it’s perfectly serviceable as long as you don’t expect too much from it.
5. Primos Folding Saw
The Primos Folding Saw is just over 11 inches long when folded and tips the scale at a trim 1/2 pound. It has one of the most comfortable, weather-ready handles out there and has long, hungry teeth that make short work of branches and small trees. This is an excellent choice to bring along on a backpacking or hunting trip as it will help you erect a shelter in no time flat.
The balance of this folding saw when open is outstanding and the rubberized handle ensures you get a solid grip even in a pouring rain. When taken together with the corrosion resistant carbon steel blade these components create more than a tool. They create an ally. You’ll never be alone in the wild when you have one of these slung from your backpack.
6. Corona Razortooth Folding Pruning Saw
The quality of the current generation of folding saws is something to marvel at. And the Corona Razortooth Folding Pruning Saw is a prime example of that. Everything about the design from handle to saw blade tip is designed to facilitate fast, effective cutting.
The balance of the saw is top-notch. The blade is fashioned from Japanese SK5, high carbon steel that is both light and durable. The triple-ground teeth on the blade slice through branches without blinking. The blade locks securely in place, and you’re able to adjust your hold to maximize pressure. You also have your choice of 7, 8 or 10 inch blades.
7. Flora Guard Folding Hand Saw
The Flora Guard Folding Hand Saw might be the best overall value on our list. It’s large enough to handle good size branches, yet small enough to be slung from your belt. The handle is all-day comfortable, and the blade has deep, serious teeth that are hardened for fast cutting and long life. The blade can also be sharpened multiple times to extend its practical life.
The blade locks into two different positions, depending on your needs. And when we say ‘locks’ we mean it locks securely so you can cut even big branches with confidence. The rubberized handle provides multiple angles of attack and ensures the saw won’t slip out of your hand when the weather gets gnarly.
8. Silky PocketBoy Folding Saw
While we’re on the topic of compact folding saws we need to talk about the Silky PocketBoy Folding Saw. Silky specializes in folding saws (as you may have surmised from their multiple appearances on our list), and this is our favorite of their compact models. The saw blade is only 6 3/4 inches long but with 7 aggressive teeth per inch, it’s not messing around.
The chrome-plated blade is rust resistant and slices through branches all day long. If you’re in the backcountry and the weather is closing in, you’ll be able to whip up a shelter in no time using the PocketBoy. Keep one in your workshop at home and you’ll find a hundred things to do with it around the house.
9. Sven-Saw 15″ Folding Saw
The Sven-Saw 15” Folding Saw is short on looks but long on performance. It’s a great choice for landscapers, linemen, rescue workers, loggers and others who anticipate the need to fell moderate sized trees or clear large branches from roads, lots, power lines, or trails. It provides an outstanding blade length to weight ratio and folds down quickly to slip into any backpack.
The company has been producing high-quality saws right here in the US for more than 60 years. They’re serious about quality control, and work hard to keep costs down. This folding saw is well-thought out, light, tough and durable, and has a bright red handle so as to prevent it from getting lost.
10. Silky GomBoy Curve Professional Folding Saw
Silky snags one last position on our list with their GomBoy Curve Professional Folding Saw. The GomBoy features a 10 inch blade fashioned from Japanese SK4 high carbon steel. The impulse hardened teeth slice through branches, while the contoured, rubberized handle ensures a good grip in all weather conditions.
Landscapers, hunters, hikers, and more will find a lot to like with the GomBoy Curve Professional Folding Saw. Build quality is beyond reproach, the blade pulls itself through wood, and the whole thing folds down and slips away into a hardened plastic, weatherproof case.
Why do You Need a Folding Saw?
Because you’re smart, you love the outdoors, you have well-developed survival skills, or you want to develop your survival skills. A folding saw is way more practical than most people think. They’re often way smaller than most folks think as well which means they can be easily carried for long distances. So if you love camping, hunting or backpacking you should seriously consider taking a folding saw with you. It will just make your experience that much easier, safer and more rewarding.
But folding saws are not just for taking into the wild. If you have a wooded lot they’re also an essential home maintenance tool. They’ll allow you to remove dead or dying trees, prune healthy trees (1) to keep them that way, clear brush, cut firewood and much more. And if you keep one in your car you can rest assured that you’ll never be stranded by a downed tree.
What are the Benefits of a Folding Saw?
Folding saws are portable. As fast and effective as chainsaws are you can’t exactly sling one from your belt or put one in your backpack when you go camping. They’re just too heavy (2). But you can do that with a folding saw. They’re so light and compact you can bring one along on your next backpacking or hunting trip. That way if you need to cut wood for a fire, build an emergency shelter, or even build a duck blind you’ll be ready.
Folding saws are easy to use. With a chainsaw the slightest slip can result in catastrophic injury. You still have to be smart when using a folding saw, but the potential for mishaps is greatly reduced. These saws are extremely easy to use. All you do is take them from their sheath, unfold them and you’re ready to go.
Folding saws are quiet. We don’t mean to be dumping on chainsaws but let’s face it, they’re some noisy so-and-sos. The average chainsaw produces 109 decibels. That might not seem like a lot, but consider it only takes about 2 minutes of exposure to that level of sound before you start doing damage to your ears (3). Folding saws don’t make a sound until you actively engage the wood. Even then they’re quiet as talking.
Folding saws are environmentally friendly. Folding saws aren’t powered by fossil fuels. They don’t pump out noxious exhaust fumes. And, as we mentioned, they don’t fill the air with noise pollution. They’re an environmentally friendly way to get the work done that needs to be done. And, by the way, they also happen to be really good exercise.
Folding saws are affordable. A good chainsaw is going to cost you $100 to $300. Sometimes more. Plus, you need to pay for gas to run it. Or, if it’s electric powered, for the electricity to recharge it all the time. Folding saws cost just a fraction of what a chainsaw costs, and there is no need to pay for gas or electricity. Your folding saw is also likely to last just as long as your chainsaw.
Folding saws are versatile. Folding saws are one of the most versatile tools the enterprising survivalist or bushcraft (4) enthusiast can have in their arsenal. They can be used to topple trees, clear brush, cut wood for a fire, build an emergency shelter, build a trap for game and many other things. If you had to choose between a folding saw and a survival knife, you’d be hard-pressed to argue against the folding saw.
What Should I Look for in a Folding Saw?
Length and thickness of the blade – The length and thickness of the blade you get will be driven by a few considerations. First off, what do you intend to use it for? If you are going to use it exclusively to cut firewood you’ll want a thick, heavy blade. If you plan to take your folding saw camping or hunting the blade can be lighter and more modest in size. Remember, not all folding saws are the same. They can be quite large and heavy, or small and light enough to hang from your belt.
Size and weight – If you want a folding saw to take hunting, camping or hiking the size and weight will be important. You don’t want something that’s going to weigh you down. Or something that has to be stored in a particular, inconvenient way. You want to just slip the saw into your backpack or sling it from the outside and forget about it. If, however, you only intend to use the saw around the yard, then weight and size become less pressing concerns.
Cutting capacity of the blade – Whether the saw blade is straight, curved or circular the cutting capacity (5) indicates the size of the log it will effectively cut. For instance, if a folding saw has a cutting capacity of 8, that means it can handle any tree trunks, branches or beams with a diameter up to 8 inches. The cutting capacity you need will therefore be dependent on how you intend to use the saw. For camping purposes a smaller cutting capacity will do. For clearing trees you’ll need something with a higher cutting capacity.
Configuration of the teeth – The intended use of a saw will depend in large part on the configuration of the teeth (6). As a general rule, the more teeth per inch the finer the purpose of the blade. In other words, a blade with only a few large teeth per inch is intended for bulk cutting of soft wood. While a blade with lots of teeth per inch is intended for finish work, or cutting hardwood. For an all-purpose saw you’ll want something in between.
Type of grip – The effectiveness of the folding saw will be dependent on how effectively you can transfer the energy your body is producing to the blade. The shape and type of grip has a lot to do with that energy transfer. A poorly designed grip will cause a lot of energy to be wasted. A well-designed grip will enable you to get the most out of every hack. It’s also important that you are able to obtain and maintain a firm, steady grip in all weather conditions.
Do Folding Saws Require a Lot of Maintenance?
Not really. Maintenance for folding saws mostly comes down to developing some common sense habits, like cleaning off the blade after every use. In most cases that can be done with a damp cloth. If the blade has some oily residue on it, wipe it down with some denatured alcohol, then finish cleaning it with the aforementioned damp cloth and let it dry before folding it up and sheathing it. Also, keep in mind that, once folded up, many of these saws are quite compact in nature. That means they’re easy to set down and forget about. Always make sure you put the saw away immediately after each use so that you don’t lose it.
Can the Blade be Sharpened on a Folding Saw?
Of course. Most saw blades can be sharpened. Although some, like hack saw and jigsaw blades aren’t worth the bother. Some folding saws come with replaceable blades, so sharpening the teeth isn’t an issue. For others though, sharpening makes both practical and financial sense. Sharpening the teeth is usually a pretty straightforward affair (7) that can be done by most people who have an hour or two to spend on the project. If you don’t have time hardware stores will often sharpen your saw blades for you for a small fee.
Which is Better, a Curved or Straight Blade?
It depends to some degree on what you plan to do with the folding saw. As a general rule curved blades are preferred for things that require an extended reach, like pruning trees. Straight blades are often preferred for things done up close and personal, like cutting a fallen branch, or cutting a board. That said, there is certainly a degree of personal preference involved too. So whichever you’re more comfortable with is the one you should choose.
Are All Folding Saws Pretty Much the Same?
Yes and no. With folding saws, as with just about everything else, you tend to get what you pay for. More expensive folding saws may resemble cheaper saws, but they are typically fashioned from higher-quality materials fitted together to more exacting tolerances. Cheaper saws will often have blades that rattle around or break easily, as well as handles that are made of plastic and are uncomfortable to hold for very long.
How do I get Resin off a Blade?
There is such a thing as saw blade cleaner, and it will indeed get your blade clean when used as directed. But the truth is you don’t really need it. All you need is a bit of denatured alcohol (8) and a toothbrush. Either soak the blade in the denatured alcohol or dip the toothbrush in it and scrub the resin off the teeth, or do both. Once the blade is free of resin, wipe it down with a clean damp cloth and let it dry before folding it up.
Can I Use a Folding Saw to Cut Trees?
You can, but you will need to make sure the folding saw you buy has a cutting capacity that is sufficient for the tree or trees you have in mind. You will also want to make sure your blade has fairly large, coarse teeth with perhaps 5-10 teeth per inch of blade. If the tree in question is hardwood, you’ll want a saw blade with smaller, finer teeth.
The Bottom Line
A folding saw is a versatile hand tool with numerous potential applications for camping, hunting, backpacking, bushcraft and home maintenance. Landscapers, loggers, construction workers and others will also find plenty of ways to put a folding saw to good use.
If you’re looking for an affordable, environmentally friendly way to enhance your outdoor experience, the folding saw is a tool you should have in your truck, backpack or toolbox. Use the information in the above buying guide to help you determine which folding saw is right for you.