One of the tricks of modern life is that we sometimes see a power tool and automatically think it’s the right one for the job at hand. However, manual tools still work, and in some situations, they’ll be faster or more accurate than the power tools that replaced them.
Of course, it can be hard to search for traditional tools online. Take Japanese saws, for example. There are lots on the market, some claiming deep history and others pretending to have it. With so many to sort through, it can be hard to tell which one is best for you.
Our reviews cut through the noise so you can consider only the best products. Plus, we show you the best and worst attributes of each, so you can make a well-informed decision when you’re ready to buy.
|Ryoba 9-1/2" Double Edge||1.7mm||4.60/5|
|Japanese Mini Dozuki|
|Gyokucho 770-3600 ||0.5mm||4.20/5|
The SUIZAN Japanese Pull Saw Hand Saw Ryoba is easily the best Japanese pull saw available. It’s the pinnacle of Japanese saw-craftsmanship, with a blade that is just .012 inches thick, providing excellent precision. With the handle included, it weighs just 5.6 ounces. That’s light enough that you may sometimes forget you’re holding it.
You can also order replacement blades for this saw, which isn’t always possible with Japanese saws. So, if a blade wears down, you won’t have to invest in an entirely new tool. That’s a good thing since this is one of the most expensive saws of its type. However, given the excellent craftsmanship, it’s easy to see how this is one of the best Japanese hand saws you can get in the West.
The Ryoba 9-1/2″ Double Edge Razor Saw has impulse-hardened teeth, combining ancient design with modern production techniques to create an amazing tool. These teeth last a long time, are less likely to break, and hold their edge better than lower-priced tools of similar design. This model weighs just 6.4 ounces, so it’s a tad heavier than our top choice, but still very light overall. Plus, it comes with a very long handle, so you can use two hands to cut once you have the saw started.
While this saw performs very well when used with soft woods, it sometimes struggles when used with harder woods. Still, this tool is a combination of tradition and modernity leading to a great overall saw.
If you’re looking for a very high-quality Japanese saw at a low price, you’ll love the Japanese Mini Dozuki Panel Saw. It comes with a reinforced spine that will lessen the load on the rest of the blade. Plus, it weighs just 3.84 ounces, or roughly half of what the top two picks on our list weigh.
Part of that is due to the fact that it only has one blade. That blade is better for crosscuts, though it’s of high enough quality that you should be able to do short rip cuts as well. Since it’s about half as expensive as the top two models on our list, this one is the best value for the money, and it’s a tool that will satisfy most people.
The Dozuki “Z” Saw is famous in Japan, and there are lots of reasons to love this blade. It comes with a reinforced spine, which takes some of the pressure off the very thin blade and lets it cut freely. The blade is also replaceable, so if you ever break it or use it enough to wear it down, you’ll be able to replace it for a fraction of the cost of a new saw.
It weighs 6.1 ounces. That’s on the heavy side for Japanese saws, but it does come with a longer handle that you can use two hands on. What drops this model to fourth is that it is quite pricey, and you can get two-bladed saws for less than what this one costs on its own.
The Gyokucho 770-3600 Razor Ryoba Saw gives you two blades for what you might spend on a saw with just one blade. While the rubber handle isn’t as nice as the bamboo ones many users associate with Japanese saws, it keeps the price down and works just fine. With the two blades, you’re able to rip and crosscut with this saw.
However, the teeth density is low on both the cross and rip cut sides. That can lower your precision overall. That problem is made worse by the fact that this thin saw has a lot of give to it. While this is a decent saw, you need to have very steady hands to get the most out of it, and novice users will struggle with it.
The SUIZAN Japanese Hand Saw 6 inch Dozuki Pull Saw is another good saw from SUIZAN. It comes with a reinforced spine, which brings some stability to this super-thin saw blade. The blade is also replaceable, so if you need a new blade in the future, you’ll be able to replace it inexpensively.
This blade is designed for making dovetails, so it’s far better at crosscuts than it is at rip cuts. The handle is also made from plastic, and that gives it a somewhat cheap feel that many people dislike. Overall, this is a good saw, but it has some shortcomings that make it the wrong choice for some situations.
Some older tools require a lot of close attention to maximize your results, and the Topman Japanese Woodworking Flush Cut Saw fits in that category. It weighs just 3.2 ounces, and since trim saws are used to even out pieces, not cut them, it’s extremely flexible. Consequently, it’s a tool with a single, well-defined purpose, and it excels at that.
However, those looking for a general-purpose blade will be disappointed. The blade is relatively short, and the flexing will be too extreme for some people. Still, if you’re looking for one of the top flush cut saws on the market, you’ll love this one.
The Caliastro Japanese Ryoba Style Hand Saw owes part of its design to tradition, while the materials in its handle clearly take a more modern bent. The handle is more durable than that found on most Japanese saws. It also comes with two blades, one for ripping and one for crosscuts, so you get good value for the money.
Unfortunately, it’s relatively heavy, even for a two-sided blade. You can find Japanese saws that weigh half as much without sacrificing any strength. It’s also thicker than your typical Japanese saw, which leads to a wider kerf. While this tool isn’t terrible, most people will be able to get better value for the money.
The DEWALT DWHT20215 Single Edge Pull Saw attaches a Japanese-style blade to a comfortable Western-style handle. The end result is that you get a decent cutting experience, but it’s going to be the easiest on your hands of any of the tools on our list. Unfortunately, it only has 14 teeth per inch, so it’s not the best for crosscutting or ripping.
You also can’t order replacement blades, so if you break it or wear it out, you’ll have to buy a new one. This model’s saving grace is that it’s very inexpensive, so you can replace the entire thing for less than you’d spend on replacement blades for similar Japanese saws.
The Shark 10-2205 Trim/Detail Double Edge Saw is a very Western take on a traditional Japanese saw. It comes with two blades. One is 19 TPI, while the other is 24 TPI, giving it excellent overall power for crosscutting and ripping. It’s also relatively compact compared to some of the other models on our list, so if you’re looking for a good travel saw, this might be a good choice.
However, because of its small size, you can only use one hand to pull, which limits your overall power. It also has a weak connection between the blade and the handle, and many users complain about the blade separating from the handle mid-cut. With a big problem like that, this tool ends in last place on our list.
The SUIZAN Japanese Pull Saw Hand Saw Ryoba is the best Japanese saw here due to its very thin blade, light weight, and the availability of replacement blades. The Ryoba 9-1/2″ Double Edge Razor Saw has impulse-hardened teeth, a light weight, and a long handle, which earn it the second spot on our list. In third is the Japanese Mini Dozuki Panel Saw. It has a reinforced spine and a very low weight, but its best feature is its very low price, which earns it the title of best for the money on our list.
The Dozuki “Z” Saw comes next, with its reinforced spine and replaceable blade. Its high price keeps it out of the top three. Next is the Gyokucho 770-3600 Razor Ryoba Saw, which has two blades and a good price, but suffers from low teeth density and lots of flexing. The SUIZAN Japanese Hand Saw 6 inch Dozuki Pull Saw takes sixth place with its reinforced spine and replaceable blade, though it’s not great at rip cuts and has a plastic handle. In seventh, the Topman Japanese Woodworking Flush Cut Saw is designed for flush cuts and does them well, but is too short and flexible for general use.
The eighth place belongs to the Caliastro Japanese Ryoba Style Hand Saw. It has a durable handle and two blades, but at the cost of being thicker and heavier than most tools on our list. The DEWALT DWHT20215 Single Edge Pull Saw has a comfortable handle and a good price, but its low teeth per inch and lack of replacement blades drop it to ninth. In last place, the Shark 10-2205 Trim/Detail Double Edge Saw has excellent TPI on both blades and has a compact form, but you can only use one hand for cutting. It also has a weak, and possibly dangerous, blade-handle connection.
We hope that our reviews have helped you get a better understanding of Japanese hand saws, and that you can now find the one that’s right for your next project.
Related tools articles:
Hi there! My name is Adam and I write for HealthyHandyman. I have a great passion for writing about everything related to tools, home improvement, and DIY. In my spare time, I'm either fishing, playing the guitar, or spending quality time with my beloved wife. You'll also often find me in my workshop working on some new project!