Selecting the Right Number
Of Saw Blade Teeth

Find the best number of teeth for your saw blade.

Why does having the right number of saw blade teeth matter?

Generally, blades with more teeth will provide a smoother, finer cut while blades with fewer teeth will provide a rougher cut.

But, more teeth is not necessarily better because the blade may not be able to clear the cut material efficiently, leading to a slower cut. Blades with more teeth tend to run hotter and cost more.

How to find out the number of saw blade teeth required:

The number of teeth required is largely dependent on:

  • The thickness of the material being cut; and
  • The type of cut

As a general rule:

  • Never less than 2 teeth engaged with the material being cut
  • 3-5 teeth for ripping wood
  • 5-7 teeth for cross cutting or when cutting sheet material such as plywood

Ripping wood:

Ripping can often be performed with a higher tooth count blade providing that the feed rate (speed that the material is pushed into the blade) is reduced to allow the saw blade adequate time to clear the cutting chips.

Generally, ripping uses:

  • 10-inch blade (24-30 teeth)
  • 12-inch blade (less than 40 teeth)

Cross-cutting wood:

Mitre saws are often used for cross-cutting and are usually fitted with a blade with a higher tooth count. This will give a cleaner finished cut.

Generally, cross-cutting uses:

  • 10-inch blade (60 teeth)
  • 12-inch blade (80 teeth)

Combination Cuts:

If the table saw is fitted with a Combination blade this will minimize the number of blade changes required, but overall reduce the quality and speed of cuts.

Generally, combination uses:

  • 10-inch blade (50 teeth)
  • 12-inch blade (60 teeth)

Another factor to consider is the type of saw. The choice for table saws varies based on whether the timber is being ripped lengthwise or crosscut, and if the saw is being used to cut sheet material such as MDF or plywood. Alternatively, a number of blades can be kept with the machine and changed over as required, a ripping blade for ripping and a crosscut blade when crosscutting!