Updated: June 8, 2015
Best Masonry and Concrete Saws:Builders, whether carpenters, masons, stoneworkers, or tile workers, need the best tools for the job in order to produce satisfying, durable, and aesthetically pleasing results for themselves, their families, and/or their clients. The outcome of any given project depends largely on the skill and knowledge of the person wielding the tools, but it is also very difficult to achieve optimal results if you do not have quality tools and materials. But you know all this. What you may need help with, though, is choosing these tools. If there is one thing that the internet, home stores, box stores, and hardware stores have given us, it is choice. We will take a look at the best concrete and masonry saws so you can choose the right tools for your jobs. Some of the smaller wet/dry masonry Makita saws will run your $300 while the larger, more expensive MK Diamond concrete cutters will set you back $1000's.
Best Masonry Saws - People have been building with brick, in one form or another, as far back as 7500 BC. Whether it was sun-baked clay or today's kiln-fired ceramic bricks, the results are durable, solid, and beautiful. Today, brick facades are increasingly common as homeowners seek to upgrade the look and value of their homes. Many, also, are turning to brick because today's bricks use 70 percent less energy to produce than just 40 years ago. Most brick kilns - 80 percent - are powered with clean-burning natural gas or bio-based materials, and brick itself is made from natural and abundant resources. It can also be reused. So the surge in green building is helping the brick masonry field tremendously. Likewise, stonework is benefitting for the same reasons. Now you just need a saw to cut them. You can choose from brick or block saws, which need to have a great deal of brute strength and stability, and handheld saws, which are used for more precise work. Brick and concrete saws are typically gas or electric powered: if you work in more rural areas, you may want to go with a gas saw. You can't use these indoors because it emits carbon monoxide. If you want to work inside, electric is far safer, and if you want a portable saw, you need a good, solid, stable stand. Here are some other factors to consider:
*Weight of the saw. Some of them are extremely heavy. Good for stability, not so good for operating eight hours a day.
*Blade style. Can it be changed easily and inexpensively?
*Will the saw be easy to maintain and clean?
*Is it comfortable for you to use?
*Is this a wet saw or dry saw? Dry saws make quicker cuts, but they create a lot of dust which can be harmful to the masons. A wet saw keeps down the dust but cuts take a bit longer to make.
Experts usually suggest that you go with a table saw instead of a handheld because of the superior stability and safety. A good brand to look at is MK Diamond. They create a wide line of diamond blades and equipment for all types of masonry work. The level of sophistication depends on your needs and your budget. At the high end, you have the MK 5005T, which received rave reviews from both editors and consumers at Amazon. The MK 5005T is capable of cutting through an 8-inch x 8-inch x 16-inch concrete block in just one pass. This has a precision screw feed mechanism so precise cutting depth can be achieved. It also features a foot pedal control so you are hands-free, a 20-inch blade capacity for 8-inch cuts, stay-level blade guard for great coverage, adjustable water supply for blade protection, an open-back design for larger pieces, and a 1-year limited warranty. This is a big, heavy duty saw ideal for block cutting with a heavy duty price. It costs a bit under $4500 on Amazon (see the MK 5005T 460-Volt 3-Phase Wet Cutting Block Saw here). MK Diamond also designs saws ideal for brick cutting, such as MK 2001 Electric Brick Saw. This has a submersible water pump, toggle switch that changes the powered engine from 115v to 230v, pulleys aligned for precision by machine for power and durability, on/off switch, 5-inch depth of cut, cast aluminum components and steel frame, recoil spring for faster cutting and better comfort, rip guide, an adjustable water supply for blade protection, and a 1-year limited warranty. This is a tabletop design and it goes for about $1600. RECOMMENDED - You can browse the top selling concrete and masonry saws online here.
Walk Behind Concrete Saw:Those are do heavy duty work (out in the field) on the streets, such as cutting concrete, need a walk behind cutter and the MK Diamond 159346 MK-CX-3 R 6 Horsepower 14-Inch Gas Walk-Behind Concrete Saw is a top bet. MK is the brand to look at when you are talking about tougher jobs. This model features a 14" blade capacity with the ability to cut up to 5 5/8" deep. The 6 HP Robin motor provides all the power you need. See all the top rated walk behind concrete saws here.
Wet Masonry Saw:Handhelds can also be very useful masonry tools. Makita, a world leader in power tool technology, makes small wet or dry saws that cost from about $120 to $300. Let's take a look at the 5-Inch 4101RH Makita Saw. This is a wet masonry saw with a strong 7.9AMP motor. It can cut at depths of up to 1 3/8-inch at a 90-degree angle and up to 13/16 at a 45-degree angle. This little wet saw features a cover which prevents water from entering the motor, a ground fault circuit interrupter plug, 15 feet of tubing, a water pressure regulator, and a water valve. For small work, it can be quite handy, and it costs about $300. Check out the Makita masonry cutter saws here.
If you notice, these choices are all electric, which allows you to work with them inside job sites. If you prefer a gas-powered model, MK Diamond makes several great models like the MK Diamond MK-2005GPRO, available at online retailers and masonry suppliers. It costs about $2600 and features a 5-inch depth of cut, powerful 5.5HP engine that absorbs shock well, self-priming centrifugal water pump that is belt-driven, precision machined pulleys, on/off switch, cast aluminum components and steel frame, cast aluminum blade guard and steel water tubes, recoil spring, rip guide, adjustable water supply for blade protection, and the good MK Diamond 1-year limited warranty. You should note that this cannot be shipped to California because of emission laws. These are just a few models, but in general, you can rely on small Makita saws for small, precision projects, and there is no better name than MK Diamond for your bigger, brute-force-requiring needs. And while these saws provide plenty of power, they are also well engineered to cut with precision and accuracy. A good rule when you are considering a masonry saw, whether a specifically brick or concrete saw, is quality. Budget is important, but safety and quality count. A cheap saw will provide less accurate and less pleasing results, and they may even be dangerous to the operator. It is better to spend more so you get more - and so you can keep all digits and limbs intact.