drywall saw

What Is A Drywall Saw?

If you have spent much time in the world of DIY home repair, then you are likely familiar with the task of hanging drywall. While such projects tend to be labor-intensive, significant hardship can be saved simply by using the correct tools for the jobs. 

Of today’s most common drywall tools, few items are as handy or highly regarded as the drywall saw, or jab saw. But what, exactly, is a drywall saw, and what role does such a cutting tool play in the process of hanging drywall?

Simply put, a drywall saw is a hand tool used to cut drywall or other similar materials. A knife of this construction features a serrated saw blade and a curved or sweeping wooden handle.

Alternatively, some higher end drywall saws feature custom soft grip handles. In the majority of instances, a drywall saw utilizes a bi-metal or carbon steel blade. 

In most instances, a drywall knife is used for making smaller, more intricate cuts, such as those that outline an electrical outlet. These compact hand saws are of substantial value in situations where the use of power tools proves impractical.

Read on to learn more about drywall saws, as well as how such drywall tools are used.                                                                                                                                                                       

What Is A Drywall Saw Used For?

As their name would suggest, drywall saws are used primarily for cutting sheets of drywall, gypsum board, or wallboard. More specifically, a drywall saw is designed to easily forge smaller, more intricate cuts, such as those that are required to inset cut-outs for power outlets and switches.

Interestingly enough, drywall saws are also commonly referred to as compass saws and keyhole saws.

Drywall saws prove quite capable of parting wallboard with ease, thanks in large part to the saw’s specialty blade. Saws of this nature typically feature blade lengths ranging from 5”-7”, with a measurement of 6” being most common.

These blades carry a TPI rating of 6-8 teeth per inch and are often arranged in a crosscut configuration.

It is worth mentioning, however, that drywall saws are seldom the best choice when attempting to make larger cuts in drywall. In such instances, a drywall utility knife or a reciprocating saw makes a far better choice.

Also, unlike many cutting utensils, a drywall saw is not commonly used for cutting wood, or for completing any other similar woodworking chore. Instead, saws of this nature are largely reserved for use in drywall-related home improvement projects.

Type Of Drywall Saws

There are many different types of utility knives currently in use, all of which carry their own merit. The following are several of the most commonly used knives, for drywall-related use.

Utility Knives

utility knife

Many DIY specialists remain fond of their utility knives, even when making rather precise drywall cuts. Knives of this type prove valuable, due to their compact design, and high level of portability.

Utility knives are also capable of making extremely accurate cuts, in the hands of a studious craftsman.

Jab Saws

jab saw

A jab saw is much along the lines of what one often envisions when thinking of a drywall saw. Tools of this type typically feature a rubber or wood handle, along with a blade averaging 6”-12” in length.

A jab saw tends to be well suited for use when making outlet/switch cut-outs.

Reciprocating Saw

Reciprocating Saw

A reciprocating saw is a power tool that drives a blade in a forward and aft motion. Reciprocating saws prove quite popular in the world of drywall prep, due to the speed at which they cut.

However, much damage can also be done if used in a haphazard fashion.

Circular Saw

Circular Saw

As you might have guessed, circular saws are used for cutting circles, such as those required for the routing of wires. This type of saw is rather portable and creates perfectly round holes with relative ease.

Circular saws tend to be a favorite of skilled tradesmen who are focused on creating a seamless finish.

Spiral Saw

spiral saw

A spiral saw is a power tool capable of quickly carving through drywall, with the use of specialty bits. This tool tends to be highly effective at making various cuts in drywall, including those that are somewhat unconventional in nature.

From squares to circles, the spiral saw can cut it all.

What Can I Use If I Don’t Have A Drywall Saw?

In the event that you do not have a drywall saw at the ready, yet need to fashion a series of precise drywall cuts, a cordless spiral saw can prove extremely handy. A saw of this type can easily zip through drywall, leaving behind expertly fashioned cut-outs. 

Alternatively, compact rotary tools, such as a Dremel tool, can be used to accomplish many of the same tasks as a drywall saw. These tools not only make quick work out of soft materials such as drywall but also typically feature a comfortable grip, to minimize hand fatigue.

What To Look For In A Good Drywall Saw?

Irwin ProTouch Drywall saw

A quality drywall saw should feature an ergonomic handle and a premium blade that possesses unsurpassed durability. A saw of this nature should also come backed by a class-leading warranty, thereby providing consumers with additional peace of mind.

One such saw, which exhibits each of the above-mentioned qualities in abundance, is the Irwin ProTouch Drywall saw. This saw features aggressive triple-ground teeth, and an ultra-comfortable rubberized grip, making it well worthy of its modest retail price.


A drywall saw is undeniably handy and can be employed when attempting to tackle a number of home improvement projects. A saw of this configuration takes much of the guesswork out of drywall prep and affords one much greater control when attempting to prepare cutouts for various wall receptacles.

At the very least, a drywall saw is more than deserving of a rightful spot within any craftsman’s tool kit.