I’ve been a long-time user of carbide reciprocating-saw blades as I do a lot of metal cutting. Electricians rely on good carbide blades when cutting EMT, IMC, and Rigid Metal Conduit as well as Uni-strut and a whole host of other metal materials. How does THE TORCH stack up? Let’s take a look.
To start off it is worth noting that this is the 6-inch version of this blade. There is also a 9-inch version, both come in handy depending upon the thickness of the material you’re cutting. The drawback of the 9-inch model is that most of your cutting will occur within the lower 4-inches of the blade, meaning the top 5-inches goes mostly unused. This is alright, but the 6-inch blade is really all you need for most metal-cutting you’re going to do as an electrician – which helps since there is a good little jump up in price for the longer 9-inch model.
This blade, like most carbide blades, is very stout. You can tell that it is far thicker and more rigid than it’s bi-metal counterpart. Carbide is a special alloy of 2 other types of metals that when combined create a much harder metal. The tooth-count is much lower than a bi-metal blade because when cutting thick metal you really want the teeth to breath and allow as much air-circulation around the metal as possible. Heat and vibration are the two things that kill blades more than anything else.
This may seem counter-intuitive if you’re used to your average bi-metal blades having 18-24 teeth-per-inch, but once you strap this bad-boy in and cut with it you will see very quickly what the difference in performance is.
After putting this blade to the test on 2 different test-subjects, I was surprised with how similar it is to the Diablo carbide blades of the same class. I did not get the chance to do a side-by-side comparison, so I’m not willing to say who’s is better, but my preference is still Diablo. That being said this blade performs as it should when cutting galvanized Rigid Metal Conduit, and 1-5/8” Uni-strut.
None of the teeth cracked or ground themselves down after cutting both of these heavy-duty pieces of metal. It is worth mentioning that I start sawing slowly at first, then after a groove is formed I ramp the speed up to max. I do this with all of my blades because heat and vibration is what kills blades. If you can start your cut at a slow speed it doesn’t heat the blade up too quickly, and once a groove is started, the blade won’t dance all over and vibrate the teeth. All around it is a better method for keeping your blades sharper, longer.
I’m extremely happy with this blade. I have both the 9-inch and 6-inch versions, and I use this blade along side my Diablo Carbide anytime I’m cutting through thick metal. I give this 4.5/5 stars for it’s performance, rigidity, and reliability. This blade will wear out quickly, like all of them do, if you apply too much pressure to your cuts, or allow the blades to bounce around and get too hot too often. And these are not as cheap as a bi-metal blade so you really want to take care of these puppies or you’ll kill your wallet.