The 5 Best Folding Saws In 2020 That Will Impress You

Maybe you’re looking for a saw that you can easily take with you on a hike. Or maybe you need a chainsaw backup plan. Whatever the reason, you need a folding saw and don’t want to buy a random one. You need a quality saw that will serve you well. Luckily for you, I’ve done so much research that the word ‘folding saw’ makes me lose my appetite. So here you have it: the 5 best folding saws that won’t let you down.

 

The 5 best folding saws

Silky KATANABOY

Who’s it for?

Basically, this is the perfect folding saw for anyone who loves samurais and ninjas. However, keep in mind that this katana – excuse me – folding saw weighs 2 pounds (0.9kg) and has a folded length of 25.75 inches (65.4cm), so it may not be the best choice for backpackers.

On the other hand, it can serve well as a powerful saw to use in areas where chainsaws are prohibited, or just to have a chainsaw backup. It obviously doesn’t cut as fast as a chainsaw, but still does a pretty good job and will undoubtedly impress you. You can use this saw for many purposes such as pruning, trimming, cutting branches/trees or maintaining your garden.

Although it has a low TPI (teeth per inch), it still manages to cut hardwoods such as oak without any problems. This saw doesn’t care what the job is, it devours everything on its path.

Pros

  • Great chainsaw backup / alternative
  • High-quality SK4 carbon-steel ensures durability and strength
  • Impulse-hardening process provides very sharp teeth for a long time
  • Coating prevents rust and provides ease of cleaning
  • Taper-ground teeth to ensure smooth cutting
  • Reliable locking mechanism for both in opened and closed position
  • Grippy handle provides enough place for 2 hands
  • Comes with a black nylon bag with a carrying strap, which makes it able to carry it on your back

Cons

  • Expensive because of high-quality features
  • Not compact and maybe too heavy for backpacking
  • Awkward to use it on small branches due to its size
  • Impulse hardened teeth cannot be re-sharpened

 

Its impressive blade

I’m only reviewing the one with a blade of 500mm (19.7inch), but Silky also offers one with a 650mm(25.6inch) blade and even one with a 1000mm(39.3inch) blade. All three are terrifyingly huge and some safety gloves are recommended.

The Katanaboy its 2mm thick blade is made of high-quality SK4 high-carbon steel, which reflects in its price. SK4 basically stands for great toughness and improves its cutting capabilities. There’s a protective coating that prevents rust and makes it easier to clean your blade. You really don’t have to worry about rust formation with this saw for the first couple of months/years (depends on how much you use it). However, due to extended use, the coating wears off, which gives rust the option to develop. Then it’s time to take care of your blade, click here to jump to ‘how to take care of your saw’.

 

Its scary teeth

Its large teeth and low TPI (4) provide rough cuts at a high speed. They are taper-ground, which means they become progressively thinner from the teeth to the back. This is an important feature for such a big saw as it ensures smooth cutting without the blade becoming stuck.

Then there’s also the impulse-hardening feature. This is some type of hardening process which involves both heating and cooling the blade at very precise intervals. This is another useful feature as it makes the teeth up to 3 times as strong as non-hardened teeth, which means they stay sharp for a longer period of time. However, it’s worth mentioning that you can’t sharpen these teeth due to the impulse-hardening process. So when the teeth become dull after some years, you’ll need to buy a replacement blade.

 

Its unique locking mechanism

It has a rotary button that can be used to close and open the folding saw. Pushing it makes it able to close the folding saw, and by rotating it you can adjust its tension so that you lock it in open and closed position. This video shows you the locking mechanism and also has some good clips of this saw in action.

Using a Japanese saw

Some people bend or break their blade and blame Silky for it, while it’s their own fault. This can only occur if you use the saw incorrectly. Japanese saws, like the Silky ones, only cut on the pull stroke and have a thin blade. When you push the saw forward, there should be no downward pressure applied at all. You may even want to apply a slight lifting pressure. Down pressure should only be applied on the pull stroke.

If you don’t understand what I mean, maybe this video could help you further.

Specifications Katanaboy 500

  • Cuts on the: pull motion
  • Folded length: 25.75 inches (65,4cm)
  • Extended length: 46.5 inches (118cm)
  • Blade length: 19.6 inches (50cm)
  • Blade: straight
  • Weight: 2 lbs (0.9kg)
  • Teeth: XL – 4.2 TPI
  • Blade thickness: 2mm
  • Locking mechanism: open & closed
  • Teeth: taper-ground
  • Material: SK4 high-carbon steel
  • Hardening process: impulse-hardening
  • Chrome plating: yes
  • Saw style: Japanese
  • Sturdy, nylon shoulder bag included

 

Silky PocketBoy

Who’s it for

This folding saw is a really good one to take along on your backpacking trip. It’s light, compact and can be used for landscaping, pruning & trimming, trail maintenance and just general outdoors. You can easily put it in your pocket or use the hard plastic belt case that it comes with.

This folding saw has many different versions based on its teeth size and TPI. Here’s a table that may help you understand the differences between them. Then you can find out which one is the best for you.

Type

TPI (teeth per inch)

Type of cut

Best for

6.8

Rough

Pruning, soft wood, green (wet) wood, particleboard, bone

6.8

Rough

Pruning, soft wood, green (wet) wood, particleboard, bone

8.5

Fine

Soft wood, plastics

8.5

Fine

Soft wood, plastics

16.9

Very fine

Dry wood, hard wood, laminate, plywood

16.9

Very Fine

Dry wood, hard wood, laminate, plywood

It’s worth mentioning that this doesn’t mean that you can’t use low TPI saws for hardwood. It’s harder to cut but still very possible. The best thing to do is to buy different saws for different purposes, but that also means spending more money. If you just want to buy one saw but need to cut all kinds of materials, I suggest you go for one with medium Teeth/TPI.

The Pocketboy 170mm Large Teeth and the Pocketboy 130mm Large Teeth also come in curved versions, which is better for cutting at head-heighth or below your waist.

Pros

  • Light and easy to carry – great for backpackers
  • High-quality SK4 carbon-steel ensures durability and strength
  • Impulse-hardening process provides very sharp teeth for a long time
  • Coating prevents rust and provides ease of cleaning
  • Taper-ground teeth to ensure smooth cutting
  • Many versions with different TPI’s, tooth size, length and blade angle
  • Rubberized handle provides a reliable grip
  • Adjusting tension or replacing blade is possible with a flat screwdriver
  • Second locking position makes it easier to undercut

Cons

  • Sawing big branches may be hard
  • Can snap or bend if not paying attention / used incorrectly
  • Impulse hardened teeth cannot be re-sharpened
  • Does not lock in closed position

 

Its short but qualitative blade

Its small blade is a benefit but also a disadvantage. A Pocketboy is easy to put away and to carry, but cutting branches thicker than the length of the blade is going to be hard. It’s still possible but will take more effort and time.

Just like the Katanaboy, every Pocketboy has a chrome plating, taper-ground and impulse-hardened teeth to ensure rust-resistance, durability and efficiency.

 

Adjustable tension

After some time of using this saw, you may notice that some slack is forming. Fortunately, saws often have a bolt that runs through the handle and blade. With the help of a screwdriver, you can tighten it to remove the slack. You can also loosen it to replace the blade if needed.

 

Two locking positions

One locking position, the ‘normal’ one, allows the blade to lie in line with the handle. The second locking position allows the blade to ‘open’ a bit more. This is handy in situations where you have to undercut because you don’t have to put your hand in an awkward position.

It’s also worth mentioning that the blade doesn’t lock in closed position. However, that’s not really a problem with this saw since there’s a decent amount of friction. You don’t have to worry that it opens on itself in your backpack.

 

Specifications Pocketboy 170mm Medium Teeth

  • Cuts on the: pull motion
  • Folded length: 8 inches (20.3cm)
  • Extended length: 14.75 inches (37.5cm)
  • Blade length: 6.75 inches (17cm)
  • Blade: straight
  • Weight: 7.85 ounces (223g)
  • Teeth: Medium – 8.5 TPI
  • Blade thickness: 1.2 mm
  • Locking mechanism: 2 open positions
  • Teeth: taper-ground
  • Material: SK4 high-carbon steel
  • Hardening process: impulse-hardening
  • Chrome plating: yes
  • Saw style: Japanese

 

Silky BIGBOY

Who’s it for?

As his name suggests, this folding saw has a 14.2 inch (36cm) blade and a total length of 30.11 inches, making it a great alternative for the Katanaboy. This Bigboy weighs 1.25 pounds (0.56kg), which is heavy but very light for its size. Whether its weight is worth bringing on your backpacking trip is for you to decide.

The Bigboy comes in three versions:

As I mentioned before, bigger teeth and fewer teeth per inch is better for pruning and sawing wet wood. Small teeth with more teeth per inch is better for cutting dry wood and hardwood. So which one is the best for you depends on what type of work you’re going to do.

Pros

  • Great cheaper Katanaboy alternative
  • Comes in 3 types with a different TPI, tooth size and blade curve
  • Long blade makes it able to cut thick branches
  • Impulse-hardened teeth ensure long-lasting sharpness
  • Taper-ground teeth ensure smooth sawing
  • High-quality SK4 high-carbon steel blade ensures durability
  • Chrome plating to prevent rust and provides ease of cleaning
  • Ability to replace the blade or adjust its tension

Cons

  • Inability to lock in closed position
  • Not compact and maybe too heavy for backpacking trips
  • Impulse hardened teeth cannot be re-sharpened
  • Some teeth are exposed in closed position
  • Blade can bend if not used correctly

Locking mechanism

The blade locks itself while cutting down a tree, so you don’t have to worry about losing your 4 precious fingers. However, it doesn’t lock in closed position, which may be irritating for some people.

 

Specifications Bigboy XL Teeth

  • Cuts on the: pull motion
  • Folded length: 16 inches (40.6cm)
  • Extended length: 29.9 inches (75.9cm)
  • Blade length: 14.2 inches (36cm)
  • Blade: slightly curved
  • Weight: 1.25 lbs (0.56kg)
  • Teeth: XL – 5.5 TPI
  • Blade thickness: 1.8 mm
  • Locking mechanism: open position
  • Teeth: taper-ground
  • Material: SK4 high-carbon steel
  • Hardening process: impulse-hardening
  • Chrome plating: yes
  • Saw style: Japanese

 

Corona Razortooth 

Who’s it for

The Corona Razortooth with its 10-inch blade  is an excellent saw and is praised for its durability, weight and ability to cut fast. It only weighs 9.7 ounces (275 grams) and has a folded length of 12 inches (30.5 cm), which makes it a great choice for the backpackers among us. There are also smaller versions available: one with an 8-inch blade and another with a 7-inch blade.

With a TPI of 6 it’s best used for tasks like pruning, sawing softwood, green (wet) wood and particleboard You can also use it to saw hardwoods or dry wood, but that will take some more time since it doesn’t have the optimal TPI for those tasks.

Pros

  • Great value for money
  • Its lightness and compactness make it a great choice for backpackers
  • High-carbon SK5 steel blade ensures lightness and firmness
  • Chrome plating provides protection from rust and eases cleanup of tree sap/resins
  • Curved blade makes it easier to cut at head-height or below your waist
  • Impulse-hardened teeth stay razor-sharp for a long time
  • Adjusting tension or replacing blade is possible
  • Ergonomic handle that is easy to hold onto
  • 3-sized razor teeth provide faster cutting
  • Thumb lever mechanism to lock the blade in both opened and closed position.

Cons

  • Some teeth are exposed in closed position and can tear material like your backpack – to fix this problem, you can use a holster or an old sock
  • Impulse hardened teeth cannot be re-sharpened

Its ergonomic handle

Its quality handle lies well in your hand and is easy to hold onto. At the end of your handle, there’s a hook that helps to keep your hand in place. I really like this feature because without it, you may find your hand slipping off during the pull motion. Normally, you would have to wrap your thumb around the handle in order to maintain a good grip. But this saw has rubber-like material that provides enough grip to place your thumb on top of the saw. This makes it easier to use this saw for long periods of time because you can switch between hand positions.

 

Specifications Corona Razortooth 10-inch blade

  • Cuts on the: pull motion
  • Folded length: 12 inches (30.5cm)
  • Extended length: 21 inches (53.3cm)
  • Blade length: 10 inches (25.4cm)
  • Blade: curved
  • Weight: 9.7 ounces (275g)
  • Teeth: Medium – 6 TPI
  • Blade thickness: 1.15 mm
  • Locking mechanism: open & closed position
  • Teeth: taper-ground
  • Material: SK5 high-carbon steel
  • Hardening process: impulse-hardening
  • Chrome plating: yes
  • Saw style: Japanese

 

Bahco Laplander

Who’s it for?

The Bahco Laplander is an excellent folding saw with a TPI of 7, which provides rough and fast cuts and is perfect for cutting through softwood, wet wood, plastic, particleboard and bone, but can also be used to cut hard or dry wood. You may prefer this saw if you like to make cuts between your shoulders and waist since it has a straight blade. It’s also a pull-and-push type of saw, which means it cuts both on the pull and push motion. This makes it able to cut fast and there’s no risk of bending your blade. Its weight of 6.6 ounces (187g) and a folded length of 9 inches (23cm) make it compact and easy to carry along. This is definitely a great choice for backpackers.

Pros

  • Great value for money
  • Easy to carry along your backpacking trip
  • Simplistic yet grippy handle
  • Cuts on the pull and push motion
  • Durable coating which provides rust protection and ease of cleaning
  • High-carbon steel provides both firmness and lightness
  • Hardened teeth ensure sharpness for a long time
  • Re-sharpening teeth is possible but hard
  • Thin blade makes it more lightweight and efficient
  • Reliable locking mechanism that locks your blade in both opened and closed position
  • A bolt to easily replace your blade or reduce slack

Cons

  • Need to clean it periodically due to tree sap
  • Possible to bend blade on push motion if not paying attention
  • Easy to lose in nature due to its color

Its simplistic yet effective handle

While it may look like this saw doesn’t have a good grip, that’s not the case. Its ergonomic handle is made of some sort of hard quality plastic (probably ABS). However, plastic doesn’t ensure a good grip, so they also added a rubber over-mold so that it doesn’t slip out of your hand easily.

 

Specifications

  • Cuts on the: pull and push motion
  • Folded length: 9 inches (23cm)
  • Extended length: 15.8 inches (40.3cm)
  • Blade length: 7.5 inches (19cm)
  • Blade: straight
  • Weight: 6.6 ounces (187g)
  • Teeth: small – 7 TPI
  • Blade thickness: unknown
  • Locking mechanism: open & closed position
  • Material: High-carbon steel
  • Hardening process: hardened
  • Saw style: camping saw

 

How to take care of your folding saw

Although these saws are made of high-quality material, they’ll wear out over time if you use them frequently. However, that doesn’t mean you need to throw them out and buy new ones. With some basic care, you can significantly extend your saw’s lifespan.

 

Keeping it dry

This is probably one of the most important rules when it comes to keeping your saw alive. Although most quality saws have a rust-resistant coating, it doesn’t last forever and will wear out faster if you keep your saw wet all of the time. So the little effort of wiping tree sap will do you good in the long run. It seems needless to say that you should never leave your folding saw outdoors.

 

Removing rust

When you notice rust spots developing, you may want to remove these from time to time. The video below shows you how to do that with WD-40, but there are many other ways to get rid of rust.

Oiling it from time to time

It may happen that your folding saw doesn’t close or open properly because of excess sawdust. All you need to do to fix this is:

  1. Separate the blade from the handle by using the appropriate screwdriver.
  2. Remove the excess sawdust with the use of a cloth or maybe even an air compressor.
  3. Spray some oil on the parts where your handle connects with your blade.
  4. Put the blade back in the handle and tighten it with the bolt. Just make sure to not tighten it too much or you won’t be able to close/open your saw anymore.

 

Cleaning your blade

After some time of using your saw, you may notice brownish stuff on your blade. If it isn’t rust then it’s probably a combination of wood resins and tree sap. It’s pretty hard to get it off, but something like this, which is made with the purpose of removing that nasty, will do the job. Citra Solv also does a great job. You can also use things like rubbing alcohol and WD-40, but they don’t do so well.

 

Conclusion

There’s not really a ‘best’ saw among those I have reviewed. It all comes down to what kind of saw you need. If you need one for heavy-duty tasks such as felling trees or sawing thick wood, I suggest you go with the Silky Katanaboy or Bigboy. However, if you need a folding saw that should perform well for less demanding tasks such as pruning, cutting softwood, green (wet) wood, particleboard, bone or plastic, then the Corona Razortooth or Bahco Laplander might be a good saw for you. You can also choose the Silky Pocketboy, but it’s best to pick one with a low TPI and large teeth. If you need to fulfill tasks such as sawing hardwood, dry wood, laminate or plywood, I advise you to buy a Silky Pocketboy with a high TPI and small teeth.

If you need a ‘general’ saw that performs well in all kinds of tasks, you can’t go wrong with the Corona Razortooth because it has an average TPI and teeth size. It also has a medium-sized blade, which makes it possible to saw thick branches, but not be uncomfortable when trying to cut small ones.

 

So that’s it for this review guys, I sure hope I was able to help you make a choice! If you have any questions at all, please contact me through this page, or drop your question in the comments below.

Stay safe and keep exploring!

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