IRWIN Universal Handsaw Review

Universal Handsaw – Fast Cuts – Fine Finish

The folks at IRWIN Tools sent me their all new Universal Handsaw to test out. Now you might be wondering what can possibly be new and exciting about a handsaw and I’m happy to say engineering has finally caught up to one of our oldest trusted tools! The folks at IRWIN Tools have completely redesigned the geometric design and orientation of the handle with respect to the cutting surface to produce a very effective cutting tool.

Universal Handsaw Features

  • Unique Handle Design – The patent-pending unique handle-to-blade design, combined with the patented universal triple-ground teeth, completely eliminates binding and cuts three times faster than traditional handsaws through virtually any material.
  • Patented Universal Tooth Grind – The patented universal tooth grind rapidly removes material, delivering the speed that’s expected from a coarse-cutting saw with the fine finish of a fine-cutting saw in most standard building materials.
  • Comfort Grip Handle – The comfort handle is constructed of a high density resin and molded into an ergonomic grip.  This handle is lighter than traditional handsaws resulting in less hand fatigue.
  • The Blade Profile – The blade profile has a tapered-pitch nose for improved clearance through materials and stability with every stroke.
  • Thick Body Blade – The thick body saw blade is .85 mm thick with a water based lacquer coating, delivering a faster, more controlled cut.
  • 90° and 45° Markings – The 90° and the 45° angle markings are fast and convenient features, providing a reliable straight edge for quickly marking work surfaces.

Here’s How It Performed

I’m always skeptical when someone says a new product can do something faster and better than a product that’s been around since our forefathers. So forgive me if I was a bit skeptical about the claims that this saw can cut up to 3 times faster than a traditional handsaw. My test wasn’t all that scientific but I managed to time myself cutting a piece of yellow pine with this new saw and one of my trusty traditional wood gripped handsaws.

The IRWIN Universal Handsaw was definitely faster and smoother than my traditional handsaw. Was it 3 times faster? No…but it was almost twice as fast and definitely very easy to cut with. This saw definitely binds less and feels more efficient with each stroke of the blade.

Handle Geometry

As you can see in the photo above the handle on the new IRWIN Universal Handsaw is mounted much lower on the blade compared to my traditional handsaw. This actually moves the line of force closer to the cutting edge which should result in less torsional force on the blade. The saw sure looks strange but it really works!


There is one feature on this saw that I was disappointed in. Then handle is made of a plastic resin which I’m really not a fan of. In fact, I highly doubt the plastic will hold up to the rigors of construction especially if it ends up on a construction jobsite. IRWIN touts the light weight plastic handle as a benefit to reduced fatigue and I say give me a solid wood handle so the darn thing will be the last handsaw I buy.

I really wish tool manufacturers would stop trying to use inexpensive plastics for parts that scream good old wood, steel and cast.

Overall Impression

I’m very impressed with the innovative design of the IRWIN Universal Handsaw. I absolutely love seeing tried and true designs improved in this way to create even better tools. While I’m not a fan of the plastic handle it’s certainly not going to stop me from saying this is such a great new design that you really should consider picking one up. I’d give this tool two thumbs up if they would just give me a good old fashioned wood handle. Priced at just $18.99 for the 15″ model and $21.99 for the 20″ blade they are a great value.

Where To Buy

The new IRWIN Universal Handsaw is available at home centers, hardware stores and industrial construction distributors. You can also buy them online at several locations including the links below from Amazon.

About the author

Todd Fratzel

Todd Fratzel is the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of Tool Box Buzz, and the President of Front Steps Media, LLC, a web based media company focused on the Home Improvement and Construction Industry.He is also the Principal Engineer for United Construction Corp., located in Newport, NH. In his capacity at United he oversees the Residential and Commercial Building Division along with all Design-Build projects.He is also the editor of Home Construction & Improvement.

@tfratzelTodd Fratzel

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  1. Jim

    Thanks for the review. Is it safe to assume that this saw, like other new little saws, cannot be resharpened?

    1. Todd Fratzel

      Jim – I’m not sure. Let me reach out to IRWIN and ask them to comment.

    2. Todd Fratzel

      I’m told:

      “No, the saw has a patented tooth grind to IRWIN. If someone attempted to resharpen the saw the performance would be reduced greatly.”

  2. Cool lookin saw Todd! I just added your feed to my new site I hope you don’t mind me using your logo as the feed avatar.

    Thanks for the great reviews and valuable info!


    1. Todd Fratzel

      Greg – Thanks for letting me know. I don’t mind at all the way you’ve done it. You give a link to the article and to our site so it’s all good. Thanks for stopping by.

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