Concrete sawing is a vital aspect of a successful concrete installation process. Yet few people understand the tools most commonly used to perform this operation. Whether you currently work in the concrete industry, or are simply a curious amateur, if you would like to learn more about how concrete cutting is accomplished, read on. This article will answer three common questions about concrete cut-off saws.

What exactly is a cut-off saw?

Unlike other concrete cutting tools, many of which are either driven or pushed along, a cut-off saw is a hand-held tool. It accomplishes its cutting using a circular blade, one made out of either diamond plated steel or composite resin. Unlike regular circular saw blades, those used by a cut-off saw are designed to withstand enormous amounts of resistance and stress. Where power source is concerned, there are four different options: gasoline, hydraulics, electricity, and air compressors.

What is the best type of saw to use?

Each of the four cut-off saw power sources has its own set of pros and cons. If power is the most important factor, hydraulic saws are the best bet. Hydraulic systems are capable of generating massive amounts of force, while keeping saw weight to a minimum. Yet the intricacies of the hydraulic system means that amateurs often have trouble handling this type of cut-off saw.

Those who want a simpler sawing experience may opt for a cut-off saw that utilizes pneumatic force generated by an air compressor. Not only is this type of saw easier to handle, but, because air compressors are a common feature of most job sites, it doesn't require additional equipment.

Gasoline cut-off saws are simpler still. Free of encumbering hoses and cords, they also offer the advantage of increased portability. An adequate fuel supply and an increased amount of maintenance are the principal drawbacks of gas-powered saws.

Last but not least are electric cut-off saws. These are easily overlooked because they provide the smallest amount of power. Yet they are also the most lightweight option, as well as the least noisy. This makes them especially advantageous for those working in small, reverberant areas. Here the sound levels generated by other types of saws can be quite deafening.

What should I know about using a cut-off saw safely?

Cut-off saws are no different than other forms of heavy construction equipment in that there is always a risk of injury. To keep such risk at a minimum, never use a blade that was not specifically intended for cutting concrete. Those who are tempted to save money by using circular saw blades of a similar size put themselves at a much greater risk. That's because such blades are much more likely to result in kickback, causing you to lose control of the saw