I will try to tread lightly here as I know so many are more proud of
their tools than even their own children.
First of all, it certainly depends on what you are using the blades
for. For my regular work, I only use the Freud Diablo blades in my
circular saw, and have one for my 10" miter saw. They are great blades
and to me at $10 - $14 for the 7 1/4" blades, they are to me a
However, I do not use them for chopping up the demo crap from the job,
or for demo in general. For that I use the HF blades one of my old
Bosch circulars saws and if I hit a nail I just close my eyes (even
with safety glasses) until I an through.
I also use the HF blades with great success when cutting in ridge vent
on a roof, especially if it is a retrofit.
I have a couple of really nice blades for my 12" mitre saw, and some
crappy ones. When we are building a deck, I use the crappy ones. They
get gunked up with sap, all the moisture in the pressure treated stuff,
and sometimes catch a loose knot. No Forester or any other blade will
last too much longer than a bad blade because of the conditions. When
I cut large crown molding with the same saw, the blade is changed to
But... if you use a Forester or another premium blade (still bang for
the buck to me is the Freud) in a miter saw, you will be surprised at
how long they will last. Equally, you will be surprised at how long a
middle of the road blade will last if you are using it for trims,
moldings, and just off and on. I have found no HUGE difference in
blades as far as how long they stay sharp in a miter saw. But there is
a big difference in the quality of cut. Sometimes, you do actually get
just what you pay for. A cheap blade may only be held to loose
tolerances and it will show up as a crappy cut with splintering and
tearing of your wood.
I agree with Teamcasa on this:
<<I would be willing to bet that my Ridge Carbide or Forrest
<<will still be cutting better after the same footage ripped by 10 HF
When I am >ripping< a lot of material, I only use the best blades I can
get. The heat buildup, and the inherent nature of ripping really
dictates that you get a quality blade that is held to close tolerances
so that you don't have those one or two tooth "fliers" that will
generate a lot of excess heat when ripping since they are not cutting
in line with the rest of the teeth. And one of the things that you pay
for in a quality blade is accurate blade set.
You should get blades designed for your intention. I have about 50-60
blades off all sorts of quality and sizes in the shop at any given
time. That way when I need to start a project, likely I will have what
I need at my fingertips.
If you are a hobby guy or a serious hobby guy, I would personlly buy a
good middle of the road blade and learn how to cut with it. I don't
agree with buying the best you can afford; if you haven't tuned up your
miter saw, or if you are using a cheap table saw with a mediocre fence,
you wont reap the benefits of a $250 blade. If you cut sappy wood and
the blade rusts overnigt, you will be pissed. If you cut wood that has
a lot of silicates, or something that is highly resinous like cabinet
grade MDF, you will dull a great blade for no reason. It is like using
a fine Samurai sword to cut up cardboard boxes. And if you burn your
blade or warp it (from binding) while trying to learn to use it, you
will be in tears if you actually ruined it. It just takes one cut.
Oh yeah... HF blades are the true definition of throw aways. Don't
sharpen them, throw them away when they are dull. Questionable brazing
of the teeth, low grade carbide (C2) and hit and miss manufacture don't
make them worth fooling with when their duty cycle is over.