Pros and Cons of Having More Teeth on a Saw Blade

When you need to cut wood you can do it manually using a handsaw or with a table saw. Both of these options are completely valid and you can make clean cuts using either with experience using the tools. However, with so many options in saw blades, it often becomes difficult at choosing one. There are saw blades with a lesser teeth count than others. Though you will see woodworkers swear by its quality. Then there will be others who will tell you choosing one with a higher teeth count will be better. To help you avoid any confusion, we will go through the pros and cons of having more teeth on a saw blade.

Having more teeth on a saw blade is not always the best option. It all falls down to the type of cut you want to make. If you are ripping wood then a blade with low teeth count will do a faster job. You can rip wood with a high tooth count blade as well but it will take more time. For cross-cutting wood, it is always suggested to use a blade with a higher teeth count. It allows the saw to cut cleanly without the wood grain putting up too much resistance. It can be slower but the results are much cleaner.

Saw blades come in either a high tooth count, low teeth count, or combination. A higher teeth count usually refers to having 60-80 teeth on the blade. While a low teeth count is usually around 24-40 teeth. These are much cheaper and have deeper and longer ridges in between each tooth. A higher teeth count saw blade can be used for ripping wood too, not to mention it does a cleaner job since more teeth prevent splintering and chipping from the edges. However, it also takes more time to make a cut and not to mention it costs more too.

Is it Really Better to Have More Teeth on a Saw Blade?

It is definitely better to have more teeth on a saw blade, the reason being that it provides much cleaner results compared to one that has fewer teeth. Though it all boils down to the amount of money and time you are willing to spend on cutting wood. A lesser teeth count blade will cost you less and rip wood faster. Though when it comes to cross-cutting, you will need a blade with a higher teeth count. Also, usually people use a miter saw or a table saw with a miter gauge for cross-cutting.

When you cross-cut you are cutting against the grain compared to ripping wood where you are cutting with the grain. Wood is easier to cut when you are cutting with the grain and it puts up less resistance. On the other hand, when you are cutting wood against the grain, it takes more time and wood puts up much more resistance as you are cutting through the fibers instead of in their direction. For a job like that, a blade with more teeth count is usually the best option.

Is it Better to Have a Saw Blade with More or Less Teeth?

It is better to have both saw blades at hand as both have different functionality. For ripping a lot of wood at a fast pace, use one that has fewer teeth. When you want clean and accurate cuts without splintering or when you are cutting through the grain instead of in the direction of the grain, then a higher teeth count is the preferable method. Though if you want to stick with one type of saw blade instead of changing it from a higher to lower teeth count and vice versa, then go for a higher teeth count one.

Pros and Cons of Higher Teeth Count Saw Blades


  • Cleaner cuts without any splintering.
  • Cuts easily through the grain without much resistance.
  • Can be used for ripping boards or cross-cutting.


  • Expensive.
  • They take more time to cut wood.

A saw blade with fewer teeth will do the same job as one with a higher teeth count. It will cut wood just the same, it will rip wood faster as well. However, the cuts aren’t as clean, there is always slight splintering at the edges. You can always sand or mill those boards that you rip to remove the splintering edges. Also, these aren’t suitable for cross-cutting as they will splinter the wood a lot near the cut.

Pros and Cons of Lesser Teeth Count Saw Blades


  • Faster cutting time.
  • Less expensive and very reasonably priced.


  • Splintering at edges after cuts.
  • Not suitable for cross-cutting.

Another notable thing to mention is that when it comes to laminated boards or plywood, the best way to go is a higher teeth count blade. A low tooth count saw blade will chip the laminate on the board and ruin the fine edges. A higher teeth count saw blade will make a quick job of laminated board. In plywood the wooden sheets are placed in alternate grain directions, so you end up cutting in the direction of the grain and through the grain at the same time. To make sure the cuts are clean, using a higher teeth count saw blade is the perfect option.

How Do You Tell If a Saw is Rip or Cross Cut?

As we said before, ripping is when you are cutting in the direction of the grain. So you are basically ripping the grain apart rather than cutting through it. A cross-cut is exactly that, it means to cut through the grain instead, which is harder to do. A miter saw is usually the one that is used to cross cut as it has a fence that is suitable for the job. On the other hand, a table saw is usually equipped with a ripping fence that helps in ripping wood instead.

Also, a higher teeth count blade is used for cutting through the grain or to make a cross cut. This is because the higher count of the bladed teeth digs and cuts into the fibers with much more ease. A blade with a lower teeth count will struggle and end up splintering the wood at the edges. However, for ripping wood it does a much faster job since there is lesser resistance by the wood as you are going with the grain.

Final Thoughts

When cutting wood, it is important to understand the kind of cut you are making. If you know the kind of cut you are going for, it becomes very easy to choose a saw blade. Just remember that a higher tooth count blade is more expensive, but gives finer results. It can do the job of a lower tooth count blade to rip wood as well. Though you do end up paying more, and it is a slower process. If you are planning to rip a lot of boards, just switch a lower tooth count blade as it will save you much more time.

Martin Swizz

Hi! This is Martin, I like to research, experiment, and learn new things related to wood carving and other kinds of woodworking.

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