7 Best Survival Saws in 2020

The best survival saw you can buy today is the Corona RazorTOOTH Folding Pruning Saw. This survival saw comes with a curved 10-inch blade that packs 6 teeth per inch and latches securely into a compact form for easy carrying.

To help you choose the best survival saw for backpacking, wilderness exploring or emergency preparedness, we’ve evaluated the top rated folding saws and compared models from brands like Silky, Bahco and Sven to see which ones made the cut when it comes to versatility, cutting ability and ease of carrying. These portable saws can make life easier on the trails and can even be a literal lifesaver in case of emergencies in the wild. Designed to be used one-handed and to take up minimal space in your gear, they allow for cutting branches and brush for firewood and can help you construct a shelter. They’re good for non-emergency uses around the yard too, like pruning small trees and flower bushes. Read on for more on this high quality folding saw and the rest of our picks for the best survival saw you can buy.

Top 7 Best Survival Saws

 #1  Corona RazorTOOTH Folding Pruning Survival Saw

Award: TOP PICK

WHY WE LIKE IT: A sharp blade with up to 6 teeth per inch and a slight curvature, it cuts more smoothly and quickly than most similarly sized folding saws. It also has a secure safety latch that still allows for one-handed operation.

Pros
  • Ergonomically designed handle for added comfort
  • Impulse hardened teeth for long-wearing sharpness
  • Secure safety latch
Cons
  • Larger than some of the everyday carry survival saws on our list
  • Lacks the ability to easily carve large logs

One of the most versatile survival saws on our list, and our pick for the best folding saw for backpacking, this 10-inch pruning saw gives you a good sized curved blade that can handle logs up to about 5-6 inches in diameter without much trouble. This is bigger than most of the survival saws on the market can comfortably cut through.

The blade is made of high quality steel with impulse hardened teeth, and in long term testing it holds up better than most survival folding saws. This means you can also use the RazorTooth pruning saw for regular tasks around the yard, as well as wilderness uses. Bring this survival knife along with your best disaster first aid kit the next time you go camping.

 #2  Sportsman Pocket Chainsaw 36 Inch Long Chain Survival Saw

Award: HONORABLE MENTION

WHY WE LIKE IT: With a 3-foot long chain made of high carbon steel, this pocket chainsaw is durable enough to handle larger cutting tasks than most survival saws can handle, such as cutting enormous branches.

Pros
  • Great for large branches
  • Easy to resharpen chain blades
  • Durable cross stitched nylon handles
Cons
  • Less versatile for small tasks than a folding saw
  • Requires two hands

Both a versatile survival saw and a handy gardening tool for long term pruning uses, this pocket chainsaw from Sportsman comes with a substantial 36” blade, making it more practical than a folding saw for sawing through logs larger than six inches in diameter.

It’s also a high quality tool, with a chain made from high carbon steel and heat treated teeth, along with a set of sturdy cross stitched nylon handles for long term durability. Unlike most folding saws, this pocket chainsaw is pretty easy to resharpen, too. You can sharpen the chain on any standard grit chainsaw sharpening block. It folds up to a compact size for carrying and makes an excellent choice for best bushcraft saw as well as a good survival saw. This is the best survival saw to buy if you need to cut down larger branches or trees.

 #3  Silky Professional BIGBOY 2000 Folding Survival Saw

Silky Professional BIGBOY

Award: BEST FOR BRUSH CLEARING

WHY WE LIKE IT: This folding saw stands out with a longer reach than most others in its class. The blade extends to 14.2 inches, and with its extra large teeth it gets through tough branches more easily.

Pros
  • Chrome plated blade for added durability
  • Low angle curve speeds up cutting process
  • Non slip rubber grip
Cons
  • The design is not that compact, though it is only 1 lb
  • More expensive than the REXBETI Folding Saw

As the name implies, this is one of the larger folding saws on the market. It’s highly functional however and you just may find it’s worth the space it takes up. This survival saw packs a hardened steel chrome plated blade with a low angle curve for speedier and cleaner cutting, along with extra large teeth to get through harder branches.

The blade is 14.2 inches long, and it can saw through more tangled brush or thicker branches than a smaller folding saw can handle. However, with a 14-inch handle, it isn’t as easy to use one-handed as the RazorTooth, unless of course you have enormous hands. If you love outdoor gear, you might also like the best emergency blanket.

 #4  Skyocean Pocket Chainsaw Survival Saw

Award: MOST PORTABLE

WHY WE LIKE IT: Compact and lightweight design, this pocket chainsaw rolls up into a six-inch package and yet can cut through branches nearly a foot in diameter. It’s great for backpacks.

Pros
  • Compact and easy to pack
  • High carbon steel chain
  • Durable paracord handles
Cons
  • Less convenient to use than a folding saw
  • Not as smooth as the Sportsman pocket chainsaw

If you’re looking for an inexpensive and very easy to pack pocket chainsaw for a wilderness emergency kit, this model fits the bill thanks to its minimalist paracord handles and tough, high carbon steel chain. While it may not be as smooth in action as the more expensive Sportsman chainsaw, it can cut impressively large branches and fits in a very small 6-inch package.

Its size and cutting ability make it a good camping and backpacking saw, though using one of these flexible manual chainsaws has more of a learning curve for beginners than with a folding saw or bow saw. You have to get into the rhythm of pulling back and forth on the handles, and cutting through wood with a pocket chainsaw requires more physical strength than using a fixed-blade saw. If you’re taking this along on your next hunting trip, also take a look at the best compact binoculars.

 #5  The Friendly Swede Folding Survival Saw

Award: MOST COMPACT

WHY WE LIKE IT: A compact folding saw with a handy paracord loop, this is both a useful survival tool for wilderness journeys and a good gardening and pruning tool to have around the house.

Pros
  • Compact and easy to pack
  • High carbon steel chain
  • Nylon loop for easy belt attachment
Cons
  • Not as heavy duty as the Silky bushcraft saw
  • Struggles with large branches

A tough and durable high quality folding saw, this 8-inch model from The Friendly Swede comes with a sturdy high carbon steel blade, powder coated black for a long lasting finish. It has seven teeth per inch, giving you a fine, precise cut.

Among the best survival saws for general purpose bushcraft and even game preparation, this versatile little saw is also easy to carry on your next expedition. It folds up to be just over 9 inches long and comes with a paracord loop on the end of its ergonomic molded plastic handle. This makes it one of the easiest survival saws to pack and carry with you, however the small blade makes it a chore to cut through larger branches with this saw. Compare this with the best hatchet to determine what you need for your wood cutting needs.

 #6  REXBETI Folding Survival Saw

Award: BEST FINE-TOOTHED

WHY WE LIKE IT: This folding saw features a high carbon steel blade and sharp teeth with 7 teeth per inch for a smooth, even cut. It folds up for easy carrying and has an anti-slip rubber handle.

Pros
  • Non slip rubber handle for a more secure grip
  • Cuts branches up to 6 inches thick
  • Less than 12 inches long when folded
Cons
  • Blade lacks anti-corrosion plating
  • Not as compact as the Gerber folding saw

This relatively fine-toothed folding saw has a straight blade and folds up into a total size of just under 12-inches. With an 11-inch blade, it’s not as long as the Silky pruning saw, but it can still cut through a medium sized branch up to about 5-6 inches in diameter without much fuss.

This is primarily a one-handed saw, and it does have a nice, rubberized nonslip grip on the plastic handle, helping with ergonomics and comfort, in addition to giving you extra security in bad weather bushcraft and emergency survival situations.

 #7  Gerber Exchange-a-Blade Folding Saw

Award: BEST ON A BUDGET

WHY WE LIKE IT: Simple and easy to carry, this seven-inch folding saw has replaceable, interchangeable blades for different types of wood, in addition to coming in at a budget-friendly price point.

Pros
  • Compact, just over 7 inches folded
  • Versatile for different types of wood
  • Blades made of tough, high carbon steel
Cons
  • Too small for large logs and branches
  • Not as useful for pruning as the Silky Professional saw

Among the smallest on our list, this Gerber survival saw adds versatility thanks to its interchangeable blades. It offers both a coarse-toothed blade for wood and a finely serrated blade for cutting bone. This makes it one of the best survival saws for backpacking and wilderness adventure.

Not big enough to cut through large logs or branches, it won’t tackle the kind of bushcraft tasks that something such as the Silky professional or the Sportsman pocket chainsaw will, but it’s one of the easiest to carry of any folding saw on our list, and offers added utility for hunting and wilderness use. Plus, if you’re on a budget, this multipurpose small saw gets more jobs done for the price of a single tool thanks to its handy interchangeable blades.

How We Decided

In order to select the best survival saws, backpacking saws and bushcraft saws, we only included models that were easy to carry, had a good reputation for durability and could cut through a three inch branch in under half a minute.

We limited our search to folding saws and pocket chainsaws that were no bigger than 15 inches when stored. This is to make sure they can fit outside a backpack, on saddle bags or even clipped to a belt loop.

We only included saws with tough, heat treated or forged steel blades, for long lasting sharpness. A powder coat or stainless finish helps the teeth stay sharp. Easy sharpening was considered a bonus.

As far as performance, we only picked saws that were capable of getting through a three inch branch in under half a minute. This ensures that a survival saw lives up to its name and provides significantly more utility than a knife.

Best Survival Saw Buyer’s Guide

Features to Consider

  1. Blade Material
    When choosing the best bushcraft saw or backpacking saw, pay attention to the blade material. Forged or heat treated, high carbon steel is the standard for high quality bush saws, balancing light weight with hardness and durability.
  2. Teeth Coarseness
    A coarser saw, that is, one with fewer teeth per inch, has an easier time moving through wood, but with less “bite,” giving you a rougher cut. Fine toothed saws take more strokes to get the job done but leave a smoother cut surface. Fine saws are also preferable for butchering game and cutting bone.
  3. Non-slip handle
    The best survival saw is likely one that is easy to hold on to in any kind of weather or environment. Look for rubberized grips, stitched nylon or even braided paracord handles.
  4. Folding Saw vs Pocket Chainsaw
    Both a folding saw and a pocket chainsaw can be compact enough to carry with you on wilderness adventures, with the pocket chainsaws being slightly smaller when packed, but less convenient to use in a pinch.

Survival Saw FAQs

What is the best folding saw?

The best folding saw to buy depends on your needs, and specifically what types of wood you need cut. For versatile bushcraft and shelter building uses, consider a medium grain folding saw with a slight blade curvature, which helps get through thicker branches faster.

What is the best pruning saw?

When looking for the best pruning saw, make sure you consider a saw that is capable of handling the size of branches you need to prune. A general rule is that a saw can comfortably cut through a branch half the size of the blade.

What is the best Silky saw?

Silky Professional saws typically are considered high quality products, and it’s hard to go wrong with any of them; just make sure you pick the size and style that works for your needs.

Who are the best saw manufacturers?

Among the best rated saw manufacturers are Silky and Husqvarna, along with general cutlery brands such as Gerber and Sportsman. Sven and Bahco survival saws and bushcraft saws are also highly rated.

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Ryan Mcbride

Ryan McBride is a writer based in Los Angeles. He has contributed work to magazines and sites including Gayot, Spy, Paper, Ladygunn, 3AM and the Crab Creek Review. He writes consumer reviews, essays, science and tech journalism as well as literary and art criticism.

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