Best Folding Saw for Portable Cutting Power

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If you’re in a rush and want to find out what the best folding saw is, we recommend the Coghlan folding saw.

The best folding saws have a variety of uses, covering everything from firewood preparation, to pruning, to shelter building. They’re incredibly versatile tools, but some definitely work better than others for certain tasks.

So how do you know what will suit you the best, and what even constitutes a good folding saw to begin with? We’ve laid out everything that you need to know below, covering the features that you should look out for, and some of our favorite saws for camping and backpacking.

In this article, we’ll be reviewing the following best folding saws:

Intended Use

yellow gloves hand saw cutting through branch

Before we dive into the details, let’s take a step back and look at how you plan to use the folding saw. Since you’re here, I assume you want to bring it to a campsite or some other outdoor location. Will you be backpacking with it? If so, weight and size are something to pay attention to, as a saw that’s large and heavy is unsuitable for long expeditions.

How often do you plan to use it? If you only pull it out once in a blue moon, you can get away with purchasing something cheap. However, if you want to get a lot of use out of it, you’ll need to spend the extra money on something that’s higher quality.

On that same train of thought, sawing up larger pieces of wood is much different than trimming up some small branches. Will a two-handed saw be overkill for your purposes, or do you need something that large to cut through certain objects?

Number of Teeth

The number of teeth on your saw blade directly influences the type of cut that you’ll end up with, as well as how long it will take you to make it. As a rule of thumb, the more teeth you have per inch, the cleaner your cut will be. Of course, the opposite is true as well: the fewer teeth your saw has, the rougher the cut.

The tradeoff takes the form of time and effort. More teeth might equal a cleaner cut, but it will take you much longer to saw through your branch or log. Fewer teeth will cut through the material much faster.

Safety Mechanisms

red bow saw sitting on a log in the forest

Having a way to secure any blade is essential for safety. All of the best folding saws have a locking mechanism, though the number and style may vary. Some only have one locking mechanism, which keeps the saw secure when it’s extended. Others have one to lock the blade when it’s extended, and another to lock it when it’s closed. What you choose will depend on how comfortable you feel handling a blade, and what features your desired style has to offer.

The nature of the locking mechanism tends to differ as well. On some folding saws, all you have to do is push a button, and the blade will pop open. On others, there’s a latch for you to operate.

Push or Pull?

You don’t have to worry about this one very much, but it’s still worth looking into. Does your saw cut on the push or the pull? Folding saws almost exclusively cut on the pull, which gives you much more control over what you’re doing. Just remember not to pull too hard, otherwise you might damage the saw or get it stuck in the wood.

Don’t know whether your saw is a push or a pull? Just look at the teeth – if the sharp side is facing the handle, it’s a pull. Likewise, if the sharp side is facing away from the handle, it’s a push.

Durability

small saw cutting through the trunk of a tree

Any gear that you use outside is going to take a beating. Especially a saw, which is constantly grinding and cutting through something as tough as wood. It’s no good if you get halfway through your project, only to have a tooth on the saw (or the entire blade itself) snap or bend, rendering the tool unusable.

The blade should be made from high quality steel, and the handle should be comfortable and durable. Ideally, there won’t be any plastic on the saw, as that would become a very obvious weakness by default. However, some manufacturers like to cut corners on durability for the sake of creating something affordable. In my opinion, it’s not a fair tradeoff, and I would always recommend spending a little more for something that will last longer.

Ergonomics

Sawing is a very hands-on task, and the last thing you want is to lose your grip or get blisters after pushing and pulling for several minutes. Proper ergonomics are essential for comfortable sawing over long periods of time, reducing the amount of fatigue that you’ll feel in your hand and forearm.

Some things to look out for are indentations for your fingers, as these prevent your hands from sliding across the handle. That being the case, you won’t need to grip as hard, allowing you to conserve your strength for longer. The handle should be well shaped, and a good size, fitting your hand comfortably.

Best Folding Saws – Reviewed

SILKY F180 Folding Hand Saw

  • Blade Material: Steel
  • Handle Material: Steel/Rubber
  • Length: 16.14 Inches
  • Weight: 5.3 Ounces

For campsite chores, the Silky F180 will quickly become your new favorite tool. Small and lightweight, it only weighs 5 ounces, and measures in at 16 inches when fully extended. You’ll notice that the blade itself is fairly thin, which I believe contributes heavily to the reduction in weight. Perfect for backpackers or people who don’t want a massive saw taking up space in their gear storage, I’d recommend it to anyone who needs to cut branches roughly 3 inches in diameter.

The thin blade might be nice to reduce weight, but I’d be careful about how aggressively you use it. There haven’t been too many reports of the metal bending or breaking, but it’s a very real possibility with something this thin and delicate. As long as you don’t overexert yourself, and let the saw do the work, you shouldn’t have any problems.

In terms of price, it’s a little cheaper than average. Which is a little surprising, given the feature that come built into it. Like most folding saws, the F180 has a locking mechanism, but what separates it from the crowd is how many locking mechanisms it comes with. You can secure it into two different cutting angles, giving you some flexibility in how the tool is used. While the blade might be somewhat fragile, the saw as a whole far exceeds expectations, making it one of the best options for the price.

Pros:

– Lightweight
– Great cutting power
– Locks in multiple angles
– Folds well
– Packs away nicely

Cons:

– Blade is thin and will break if mishandled

Sven Folding Saw – 21″

  • Blade Material: Steel
  • Handle Material: Aluminum
  • Length: 23 Inches
  • Weight: 13.7 Ounces

Uniquely designed, the Sven folding saw is one of my all-time favorites on this list. The first thing you’ll notice is the triangular shape, which provides a strong and rigid structure for the saw. It might look a little awkward to use, but once you have your hands on it, you’ll be amazed by the amount of leverage you get. Especially since you can grab it underneath the blade, certain cutting angles won’t be as tricky as they used to be.

The blade is aggressive, able to take quite the beating before you would notice any signs of wear or damage. It’s said to be able to last several decades (15-30 years) before you’d need a replacement, and I tend to believe that claim. When you’re done sawing, the entire triangle packs away into the red handle, keeping everything secure and out of harm’s way.

Made in my home state of Minnesota, 10% of all the profits are donated to causes dedicated to protecting the environment. It’s a little over 2.5 times heavier than the Silky saw we just mentioned, but that’s not saying much when you’re measuring in ounces. The Sven folding saw still weighs less than a pound, making it useable for campers, and perhaps even the occasional backpacker who doesn’t care about weight as much.

Pros:

– Durable
– Sharp blade
– Great leverage
– Strong shape
– Folds nicely

Cons:

– A bit heavier than average

Agawa Gear BOREAL21 Folding Bow Saw

  • Blade Material: Steel
  • Handle Material: Fiberglass-reinforced nylon
  • Length: 21 Inches
  • Weight: 1.2 Pounds

As the most expensive product in our review, I can see why some of you would want to skip right over the Boreal in favor of something else. But, hear me out on this one, because I think you’ll love it as much as I do.

For starters, it’s very small when packed down. As you can see from the photo, it’s also very narrow, which allows it to slide into tight corners inside your backpack. The weight is a little high, but that’s part of the compromise you make for something this well-designed.

You can extend the blade without ever touching it, which works well for preventing accidents. After it’s been put together, it takes the form of a classic bow saw design with a high clearance frame. With all that space between the blade and the frame, it’s much easier to cut through branches and logs with a large diameter.

If you’ve ever used a bow saw before, you know how much easier it is to generate speed and power. For those late evenings when you need to process wood for fuel, and you don’t have time to waste, this is the tool that you want to have on hand to get the job done.

Pros:

– Fast and powerful
– Folds down small
– High clearance frame
– Sharp and durable
– Good grip

Cons:

– Price

SILKY Bigboy 2000 Folding Saw

  • Blade Material: Steel
  • Handle Material: Steel/Rubber
  • Length: 16 Inches
  • Weight: 14.2 Ounces

The Silky Bigboy really lives up to its name: it’s a big saw designed for cutting big logs. Recommended use is for cutting through logs with an 8 inch diameter or smaller, which is a few inches larger than what the other saws we’ve talked about can manage. The handle is large enough for two hands, and has a rubberized coating that provides a sufficient amount of comfort and grip.

Despite being so large, the overall weight still hovers just under a pound, making it manageable to carry longer distances. It’s also fairly narrow and compact when folded, able to fit inside the tiny crevasses of your pack. There aren’t as many teeth per inch of blade as the Silky F180, so you cut isn’t going to be quite as refined. However, it does allow you to plow through the wood with greater speed, especially since you’ll have two hands to get the job done.

You’ll probably end up using it to cut down saplings and other small trees, but it won’t replace a chainsaw for something bigger. It’s also a little disappointing that there’s no locking mechanism to keep it closed. The blade will drift open, since there’s no resistance, so you’ll have to keep a rubber band around it (or something) to prevent it from opening.

Pros:

– Powerful
– Two handed
– Comfortable grip
– Great for larger pieces of wood
– Compact

Cons:

– Nothing to keep it locked shut

Wicked Tough Folding Hand Saw

  • Blade Material: Carbon Steel
  • Handle Material: Aluminum/Rubber
  • Length: 7 Inches
  • Weight: 7 Ounces

Ironically, the Wicked Tough folding saw is one of the most durable products in our review, despite being one of the cheapest. Or perhaps it isn’t too strange, given the name of the saw. The heavy gauge steel can plow through most tree limbs that measure in at 6 inches in diameter or less. You could tackle thicker pieces of wood, but it would be a lot more time consuming than it’s worth. I also like how there’s no plastic used in its construction, as the handle is made from aluminum, and both the blade and lock-pin are made from steel. The really enhances the longevity of the saw, allowing you to get more than your money’s worth out of it.

At 7 ounces, only the Silky F180 beats it when it comes to weight. It folds down like a pocket knife, easy to store in a compartment in your backpack, or inside one of your pant pockets. With a rubberized handle, it’s comfortable to grip for long period of time, and the finger indentations provide extra traction. The narrow blade has a lot of extra room inside the wide handle, when it’s folded. As such, the blade may wobble when closed, so don’t worry, that’s pretty normal. Wicked Tough just wanted to make the handle wide enough for ergonomic purposes without beefing up the saw blade too much.

It’s worth mentioning that the carbon steel blade will rust when exposed to water over time. I’d recommend sticking to a regular cleaning schedule and giving it a coating of WD40 from time to time to prevent rust from forming.

Pros:

– Very durable
– Affordable
– Fits in your pocket
– Grippy handle
– Finger indentations
– No plastic

Cons:

– Not designed for heavy duty projects

Opinel Folding Saw

  • Blade Material: Carbon Steel
  • Handle Material: Beech Wood
  • Length: 14 Inches
  • Weight: 7.4 Ounces

The Opinel folding saw has to be the most aesthetically pleasing product in our list. It’s the only one that has wood in its design, sporting a beautiful beech handle that looks and feels great. In terms of comfort and ergonomics, I’d say that this saw is second to none.

In terms of performance, you won’t be disappointed by the overall durability and effectiveness of the blade. It comes with a double row of teeth on a 7-1/8 inch carbon steel blade, sharp and powerful enough to saw through any branch with a diameter of 5 inches or less. While the steel is coated with an anti-corrosive, I’d still recommend washing and drying it after every use to prevent rusting.

The saw has a nice curve, and the weight is evenly distributed. Not that there’s much weight to it in the first place, with a mere 7.4 ounces to its name. While it’s a tad expensive, the blade is replaceable, so you’ll probably end up saving money in the long run. No plastic is used in its construction (or packaging) so you can feel confident about the quality and durability, in addition to the reduced environmental impact.

Pros:

– Wood handle
– No plastic in its construction or packaging
– Lightweight
– Durable
– Very sharp
– Comfortable to use over long periods of time

Cons:

– Price

Coghlan’s Folding Saw

  • Blade Material: Steel
  • Handle Material: Aluminum
  • Length: 21 Inches
  • Weight: 15.2 Ounces

Remember the Sven folding saw we mentioned earlier? Well, the Coghlan saw shares a lot of similarities with it, as you can see with the triangular frame. However, the similarities mostly end there, as the Coghlan saw is basically a much-upgraded version of the Sven saw. You’ll pay a little more for it, but looking at the features, I’d say it’s worth it.

To start, there aren’t any loose parts with Coghlan’s folding saw. This is better than what we see with Sven’s product, which has a wing-nut for tensioning and attaching the blade. When out in the field, it’s pretty easy to lose small parts like this, which can create quite the headache.

Given that it all comes in one piece, Coghlan’s folding saw is also much easier to put together. You can do it in a matter of seconds, especially once you’ve had a chance to practice for a bit. Any 21 inch saw blade will fit in it as well, as opposed to Sven, which only accepts proprietary replacements.

Overall, the cutting power of this folding saw is the best out of everything we’ve covered. You’ll pass through 3.5 inch diameter branches like they’re butter, and anything up to 8 inches will be easy as well. The only downside is that you’ll have to slow down and take shorter strokes the deeper you get, because of the triangular framework. But other than that, there’s almost nothing to complain about with this saw, from what we could tell.

Pros:

– Great at cutting
– Comes all in one piece
– Any 21 inch blade can replace it
– Sturdy frame
– Fast setup
– Will tolerate undisciplined cutting techniques

Cons:

– The triangular frame will force you to take shorter stroke the deeper you get

FAQ

What is the Best Folding Saw?

What constitutes the best folding saw is partially dependent on how you plan to use it. However, we believe the Coghlan folding saw is the best all-around option.

Folding saws have a variety of uses, but to some extent, it depends on the saw. Some work well for cutting firewood, other are good for survival situations, while others are reserved for yardwork and pruning. The size and design of the saw you choose will be dependent on how you plan to use it.

So, can you cut down a tree with a folding saw? Well, that’s heavily dependent on the type of saw you’re wielding and how big the tree is that you want to cut down. Generally speaking, saplings can be felled by using a folding saw, though smaller blades will take much longer to get the job done. For the purpose of cutting down trees, we recommend the Agawa Gear BOREAL21 Folding Bow Saw.

Final Thoughts

There are many occasions where it would be helpful to have portable saw on hand. For camping especially, you’ll need something to help you break down firewood for the evening, or something to cut support beams for a teepee or other type of shelter.

For tasks like these, there’s nothing better to have than the best folding saw. A portable cutting tool with a strong blade, durable frame, comfortable grip, and decent weight is invaluable for any serious outdoorsman. That being said, we believe the Coghlan folding saw checks the greatest number of boxes, claiming the title of “the best” out of the saws that we reviewed.


Spencer Yeomans

Spencer Yeomans

A lover of the outdoors, and especially the mountains, Spencer has always enjoyed pushing people to step outside their comfort zones. His mission is to help others get out of their homes to have fun and stay active in nature.

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