Abrasive Chop Saw vs Acetylene Blowtorch

When it comes to cutting metals, there are a couple different choices; an abrasive chop saw and an acetylene blowtorch will both get the job done, but which one to use is determined by different factors. The size of the piece of metal you need to cut, the thickness, the exactly type of metal you are cutting are all things that can factor into your choice. Whether you choose a blowtorch or chop saw, make sure to observe all safety precautions. Wear welders glasses when using the blowtorch, and safety glasses and ear plugs or construction ear muffs when using the chop saw. 

Abrasive Chop Saw

The abrasive chop saw works, as implied by its name, by cutting through metals in an abrasive fashion. Since they are usually mounted on work benches or pre-installed stands, they are not very mobile. As such, you have to move the material you need cut to the saw, rather than the other way around. This necessitates being able to conveniently move the piece of material you are cutting, so it needs to be small or light enough that you can maneuver it to the saw blade. Assuming mobility is not an issue, an abrasive chop saw is a good choice for almost any metal you need to cut. Aluminum can be hard to work with since it is softer than other metals, but the abrasive chop saw works by applying heat to the metal to soften it while it cuts it. Manufacturers make blades specifically for aluminum, however. Depending on the size and thickness of what you need to cut, you may need to use an abrasive chop saw, since an acetylene blowtorch may have trouble with extremely thick metals, depending on the size of the flame it produces. 

Acetylene Blowtorch

Acetylene blowtorches work by combining oxygen and acetylene gas to produce a high-heat flame that is capable of cutting through most metals. It has a number of advantages over an abrasive chop saw. An acetylene blowtorch is much lighter and more maneuverable than an abrasive chop saw, so you can use it for more projects without having to worry about whether you are able to move the area you need to cut. They are also cheaper overall and require less maintenance and care, although you do need to refill the gas container when it empties. You may not be able to use the blowtorch on some softer metals, since the high temperature will melt it. Aluminum is one example where it would be better to use an abrasive chop saw with the proper blade.


As far as safety concerns, both the blowtorch and chop saw have high risks involved that must be taken care to prevent. The chop saw spins at high speeds, and the blow torch produces an extremely hot, focused flame. Be sure to use proper safety equipment when operating either.