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16 Best Ways to Cut Metal with Hand & Power Tools

By: David S. Miles | Last Updated: January 21, 2024

There are many ways for cutting metal.

So, if you are going to cut this hard material you have a lot of opportunities.

Here we are going to share with you some of the best ways to cut metal, depending on the type of metal, the quantity and the experience level you have.

The most important thing we have to mention is that you have to take safety precautions. Cutting metal may be a hard and dangerous task, so you should always be careful with that. You should wear a face shield, ear protection, safety glasses and more.

Best Ways to cut metal with hand tools

And here are the best ways to cut metal without using a power tool. Yes, there are some, and many people choose them over the power tools when they don’t want to start a machine and want to do some quick work.

1. Using Tin Snips

The tin snips are not expensive handheld tools that can make straight cuts, curved cuts and circles. They are perfect for cutting soft metals such as copper and aluminum. The tin snips are the best when it comes to cutting sheet metal, surds, metal roofing or cutting gutters.

They have sharp blades, so they leave a smooth edge. To use them you have to hold the tin snips as you would hold a pair of scissors, then you have to open the blade as much as possible and make the long cut.

2. Using a Hacksaw

The manual hacksaw is one of the first metal-cutting tools. This is one inexpensive, and quite easy option for cutting metal. Most oftenly, the hacksaw is used for small projects such as home improvement needs.

It is cheap, and it has good versatility, which makes it one of the tools that every DIYer, hobbyist, or professional has in his home. They are perfect for beginners, since they do not require specific technique to use.

It is important to mention that the hacksaw has an interchangeable blade set-up. So, you have to use a metal-cutting blade if you don’t want to break it. It is a messy tool, so smooth cuts may not be made.

3. Using Hack chisel

The chisel is another inexpensive way to cut metal, and you most likely have it around your utilities. The chisel should be hard enough to puncture steel, but it has to be an option for straight cuts and curved cuts.

It is time consuming, and it is hard to make a smooth cut with a chisel. Furthermore, it is a messy way to cut metal. In order to use it you have to draw the line where you want the cut, then chisel through the metal.

4. Using a Utility Knife

One of the quickest methods that a professional uses to cut metal is the utility knife. To actually do that you will need some practice, since it is not an easy task. Furthermore, it may be dangerous, since there is a risk of blade slipping.

When you are using a utility knife, you should wear safety protection such as gloves and glasses. Many people use this method to create customized cuts in aluminum, when they don’t want to start the power tools.

5. Using a Bench Shear

One of the most portable tools we have in our list is the bench shear. It is not only portable, but it can also handle larger metal pieces. These tools are designed to cut metal without losing an ounce of leverage.

It is not hard to use it, however, you may need some experience. It is used by professionals and DIYers. It may be dangerous, so you better keep your fingers away from the blade, since it is very sharp and can cut you even if you are wearing gloves.

Best ways to cut metal with power tools

Here we come- the power tools. Of course, they are one of the most popular ways to cut metal, since they are powerful tools and they can cut any material with ease. Here are the best of them:

6. Using a Nibbler

The nibbler is the upgraded version of a metal-cutting hand held tool. Most of the professionals are very familiar with it, but most of the DIYers do not know about it, which is sad, since it is a very useful tool.

The nibbler has a high capacity and can easily make clean, high-speed cuts without being very noisy. You can use it with almost any material, but keep in mind that when using it your workplace will be full with metal filings. So, make sure you have cleaned them up, since they may be dangerous.

If you want to work with a nibbler, you better think about the tasks you are going to accomplish with it. You can get a nibbler in a different spice, and at a different price. Do some research on that.

7. Using an Angle Grinder

The angle grinder is the tool which is used most of the time by professionals and hobbyists when it comes to cutting metal. Why? Maybe because these tools are easy to use, and most of them are pretty affordable, which makes them very attractive for non-professionals.

It can be used with thick stock, but better used with thin materials if you want to avoid a kickback. However, kickbacks are a common situation when it comes to the angle grinders.

Furthermore, these machines are known for their versatility. Most of the angle grinders can be used with different blade types, so you can cut more than a line of metal. This makes them a very good option.

8. Using a Circular Saw

The circular saw is most often used for slicing through wood, but surprisingly, you can use this machine for metal cuts. So, if you have the right blade you can make the perfect cuts on metal with a circular saw.

Many professionals use the circular saw for making cuts through different kinds of metals, because they have the right equipment. However, not every circular saw can actually cut through metal, so you should read the user’s manual before doing that.

9. Using a Miter Saw

The miter saw has a kind of similar function to the circular saw. However, this machine can cut through metal if it is equipped with the right blades. Even though they are very powerful machines, you should consider some factors before cutting metal.

You have to be aware that the miter saw can throw off a lot of debris, which may be dangerous when cutting metal. These units are strong and can bend thinner stock while cutting. That’s why you better use wood backing when possible.

Last but not least, you should always wear safety protection while cutting metal with a miter saw, since many dangerous situations can appear and you should be prepared and safe. Remember, this is a power tool!

10. Using an Oscillating Saw

The oscillating saw, equipped with a metal-cutting blade, is used for flush cuts into metal. And this is the easiest way to do a piping for example. Even though this is a precise power tool, clear cuts can be hardly done.

If you are working with demolition sites, the oscillating saw is a great choice. Keep in mind that you will most likely need to clamp down the workpiece in order to prevent the tool’s movement.

11.Using a Reciprocating Saw

The reciprocating saw is the favorite of many DIYers, since it is accessible and comes with versatile options which are interesting for beginners and hobbyists. Furthermore, it is perfect for cutting through the metals that the DIYers have to work with at home.

In addition, if equipped with the proper blade, these machines can be used to cut old nails and to slice through thin stock. If your task requires precision, you better use another tool, since the reciprocating saw will make rough cuts.

12. Using a Bandsaw

Yes, some bandsaws can be actually used for cutting metal. Of course, specialized blades are required. Those blades are carbon steel ones, or bi-metal in nature. The bandsaw can be successfully used to cut thick stock.

Many professionals prefer to avoid this method, since it is slow one. Furthermore, blades can not be used with metal for a long time, which makes cutting metal with bandsaws an expensive and slow process.

13. Using Air cut-off tool

The Air Cut-Off tool is a powerful machine that can cut through different materials with ease. Of course, it can be used with metal too, if it is equipped with the right blades. It is used by many professionals, and DIYers.

It is also used in many vehicle repair markets. It can cut off materials quickly, quietly and efficiently. There are different options on the market- some of them expensive, others more affordable.

14. Using Chop Saw

The chop saw is one of the best options for cutting metal effectively. However, they are very expensive tools, especially the ones that can cut through metal with ease. If you are cutting mild-steel, metal or aluminum often, then you better invest in a chop saw and you will be very happy.

Of course, the power tool should be equipped with the right blades if you want to cut metal. It is used mostly by professionals, because of its high price. However, some enthusiasts that have to deal with a lot of cutting metal tasks use chop saws too.

15. Oxy Fuel cutting

Here it comes- one very interesting way of cutting metal by using oxy fuel. This is a chemical reaction between steel and oxygen that forms iron oxide. In other words- controlled and rapid rusting. 

This method can be applied only on metals whose oxides can melt on low points. This method is dangerous and it is not used by many people. Even professionals are very careful with oxy fuel cutting.

16. Using Plasma Cutter

Plasma Cutter is used to perform cutting operations, with the capability of cutting metal with maximum thickness of 1 inch. This way of cutting metal is used by professionals only, since you need experience to actually do it.

The plasma cutter can be used with conductive materials such as stainless steel, aluminum and mild steel. However, copper, titanium and cast iron can also be cut with a plasma cutter.

In conclusion we want to say that there are many ways to cut metal, and most of them include some basic tools that every DIYer has at home. When choosing how you will cut metal, you should do some good research.

Think about the metal, its thickness and material. Think about the task itself and how often you will have to accomplish it. If you need help you better discuss the issue with professionals, since cutting metal may be dangerous. We wish you good luck!

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some tips for cutting metal?

  • Make sure you wear proper safety equipment
  • Choose the right blades for the material
  • Choose the best technique for quality results
  • Read the manual and watch some tutorials.
  • If you need help, always ask a professional!
  • Be careful, dangerous situations may appear.

Is there a material that can not be cut?

Every metal can be cut if the right tool and blade is used. If you really want to cut through metal you should be equipped with the right tools, the right blades and with patience. And of course, with proper equipment.

Which is the best choice for cutting metal as a DIYer?

The best overall choice for cutting metal if you are a DIYer is the chop saw. It is affordable, it is not dangerous and it does not require a lot of experience. Furthermore, many tasks can be accomplished with the chop saw.

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