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When are diamond blades worth the extra money, or required?

I've been dry-scoring to 1/3rd thickness different types of pavers for a couple small 20-30sqft projects around the house, using the $2-$3 composite 7" masonry blades from Home Depot in a 'disposable' (but yet to wane or fail) light weight 10 amp $26 Drill Master circular saw from Harbor Freight.

Takes some time and requires rotating through different depth settings, but works fine. If I were to start a big project, I'd look into a wet saw. But for now, dry cutting next to a 20" box fan is ok.

What would be the advantages of switching to a diamond blade?

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Diamond blades aren't that expensive and cut much more quickly. They're much thinner, for one thing. I wouldn't use anything else.

However, doing so with a circular saw won't gain you much. Maneuverability is poor, meaning you're stuck cutting through the material in a big bite. A 7" angle grinder is the ticket. You can slide it back and forth and cut with much more control.

  • thinner cut = less dust and quicker cutting. Like that! But my 2" masonry chisel wouldn't fit in the kerf. Do you score or cut through? – Ralph May 24 '17 at 16:53
  • I cut through or from both sides to blade depth. Takes about 10 seconds to cut a driveway paver. A tap with a hammer finishes it, and a little cleanup with the wheel knocks down any bumps. – isherwood May 24 '17 at 16:54
  • If I switched to through-cuts from 1/3rd scores, I'd end up creating at least as much dust and the time savings would not be as great. What are the criteria for a good drycut diamond blade? – Ralph May 24 '17 at 17:39
  • You'll have huge amounts of dust regardless, but the time savings will be substantial. Just look for a reputable brand. I bought a basic one from the big box and it has cut dozens of pavers without showing much wear at all. – isherwood May 24 '17 at 17:42

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