Hole saw RPMs so you cut the perfect hole
Published November 7, 2018


Using the right speed, or RPM, will extend the life of your hole saw and give the perfect cut

Excessive speed builds heat and heat destroys cutting tools and when we cut too fast we lose control and accuracy of our cutting operation. That’s why the information is critical to extending the life of your power tools and accessories and cutting the perfect hole—every time.

Bi-metal hole saw cutting fiber cement (HardiePlank) too quickly and burning

The trick to cutting perfect holes in any substrate is getting the RPMs right

Modern hole saws offer various cutting profiles that allow us to cut a wide variety of materials. Bimetal hole saws will allow us to cut all manner of wood and metal products; diamond hole saws are suited to tile and masonry; and carbide tipped are best for high speed wood and fiber cement. However, each substrate hardness and density varies and needs to be cut at the correct speed to provide a precision cut and extended tool life.

For example, as the hole saw diameter increases, the speed, or RPM, should decrease; and harder, denser materials need to be cut at slower speeds. By following these guidelines you will reduce heat build up and hole saw burn out.

What the hole saw RPMs mean or how can I gauge the speed of my drill?

Although portable drills do not come with a speed gauge, most provide variable speeds and many even offer dual speed transmissions for a wider range of speed control. For example, if your drill is rated at 0 to 3,000 RPM and the suggested cutting speed is 1,500 RPM then simply run your drill at half speed. If you are cutting through very hard material such as steel or ceramic tile and the suggested speed is 300 RPM then simply drill very slowly. When cutting hard materials slow speeds will give you more control as well. There is nothing worse than having a diamond hole saw slide across a granite tile and destroy the surface just because we were impatient and cutting too fast.

NOTE: DIAMOND HOLE SAWS

Note that when using diamond hole saws not only is a slow speed important but it is critical that you use water as a cooling lubricant while cutting. This not only keeps the cutting edge cool but also helps remove dust and debris from the cut.

Diamond hole saw cutting porcelain tile

Recommended bimetal hole saw RPMs for cutting wood, aluminum, mild steel, and stainless steel

BIMETAL HOLE SAWS

RECOMMENDED HOLE SAW SPEED RPM

SIZE

WOOD

ALUMINUM

BRASS

MILD STEEL

STAINLESS STEEL

Bimetal 3/4"  

3000

690

600

460

230

Bimetal 7/8"  

3000

585

520

390

195

Bimetal 1"  

2700

525

470

350

175

Bimetal 1 1/8"  

2700

450

400

300

150

Bimetal 1 3/16"  

2400

425

380

285

145

Bimetal 1 1/4"  

2400

410

360

275

140

Bimetal 1 3/8"  

2400

375

330

250

125

Bimetal 1 1/2"  

2400

345

300

230

115

Bimetal 1 5/8"  

2100

315

280

210

105

Bimetal 1 3/4"  

2100

295

260

195

95

Bimetal 1 7/8"  

2100

270

240

180

90

Bimetal 2"  

2000

255

230

170

85

Bimetal 2 1/8"  

2000

240

210

160

80

Bimetal 2 1/4"  

2000

225

200

150

75

Bimetal 2 3/8"  

2000

220

190

140

70

Bimetal 2 1/2"  

1800

205

180

135

65

Bimetal 2 9/16"  

1800

200

175

130

65

Bimetal 2 5/8"  

1800

195

170

130

65

Bimetal 2 3/4"  

1800

185

160

125

60

Bimetal 2 7/8"  

1800

200

175

130

65

Bimetal 3"  

1800

170

150

115

55

Bimetal 3 1/8"  

1500

165

140

110

55

Bimetal 3 1/4"  

1500

155

140

105

50

Bimetal 3 3/8"  

1500

150

130

100

50

Bimetal 3 1/2"  

1200

145

130

95

45

Bimetal 3 5/8"  

1200

140

120

90

45

Bimetal 3 3/4"   

1200

135

120

90

45

Bimetal 3 7/8"  

1200

135

120

90

45

Bimetal 4"  

1000

130

110

85

40

Bimetal 4 1/8"  

1000

120

110

80

40

Bimetal 4 1/4"  

900

120

110

80

40

Bimetal 4 1/2"  

900

105

100

75

35

Bimetal 4 3/4"  

900

95

92

75

35

Bimetal 5"  

800

90

90

65

30

Bimetal 5 1/4"  

800

85

85

60

25

Bimetal 5 1/2"  

800

85

85

60

25

Bimetal 6 “

700

75

75

55

25

Bimetal 6 1/4"  

700

75

75

55

25

Bimetal 6 5/8"  

700

70

70

50

25

Bimetal 7 7/8"  

700

65

65

40

20

NOTE:

Cutting ceramic, marble, glass, granite, slate, terrazzo, and fiber cement is not recommended with a bimetal hole saw.

Recommended carbide tipped hole saw RPMs for wood and fiber cement

CARBIDE TIPPED HOLE SAWS

RECOMMENDED HOLE SAW SPEED RPM

SIZE

WOOD

FIBER CEMENT

Carbide Tipped 3/4"

3000

3000

Carbide Tipped 7/8"

2700

2700

Carbide Tipped  1"

2700

2700

Carbide Tipped  1 1/8"

2700

2700

Carbide Tipped 1 3/8"

2400

2400

Carbide Tipped 1 1/2"

2400

2400

Carbide Tipped 1 3/4"

2100

2100

Carbide Tipped 2", 2 ⅛”, 2 ¼”

2000

2000

Carbide Tipped 2 1/2", 2 9/16”, 2 ¾”, 3”

1800

1800

Carbide Tipped 3 3/8", 3 ½”

1500

1500

Carbide Tipped 3 5/8"

1200

1200

Carbide Tipped  4"

900

900

Carbide Tipped 4 1/8"

900

900

Carbide Tipped 4 1/4"

900

900

Carbide Tipped 4 5/8"

900

900

Carbide Tipped 4 3/4"

900

900

Carbide Tipped 5 1/2"

800

800

Carbide Tipped 6 1/4"

700

700

NOTE:

Cutting aluminum, brass, mild steel, stainless steel, ceramic, marble, glass, granite, slate, and terrazzo is not recommended with a carbide tipped hole saw.

Recommended diamond hole saw RPM 

DIAMOND HOLE SAWS

RECOMMENDED HOLE SAW SPEED RPM

SIZE

CERAMIC + MARBLE

GLASS

GRANITE + SLATE + TERRAZZO

Diamond 3/16"

400*

100*

400*

Diamond 1/4"

400*

100*

400*

Diamond 9/32"

400*

100*

400*

Diamond 5/16"

400*

100*

400*

Diamond 3/8"

400*

100*

400*

Diamond 1/2"

400*

100*

400*

Diamond 3/4"

400*

100*

400*

Diamond 1"

400*

100*

400*

Diamond 1 1/4"

250*

100*

250*

Diamond 1 3/8"

250*

100*

250*

Diamond 1 1/2"

250*

100*

250*

Diamond 2"

150*

100*

150*

Diamond 2 1/2"

150*

100*

150*

Diamond 3 3/8"

100*

100*

100*

Diamond 3 5/8"

100*

100*

100*

Diamond 4 3/8"

100*

100*

100*

*Indicates that water is required for cutting

NOTE:

Cutting wood, aluminum, brass, mild steel, and stainless steel is not recommended with a diamond hole saw. Diamond holes saws can be used to cut fiber cement, but carbide tipped hole saws are preferred.

Exchangeable to save you money and save the planet

Like all EAB Exchange-A-Blade green exchange products, our bimetal, carbide-tipped, and diamond hole saws are fully exchangeable—you buy it, you use it, and when you bring it back to the store where you bought it, you’ll get a credit towards the purchase of your next EAB hole saw. A limited number of these  hole saw products are also available in our non-exchangeable brand, Stay Sharp.


About Exchange-A-Blade hole saws 

Exchange-A-Blade hole saws are market leaders in quality and value. They can be used to cut  holes in wood, ferrous and non-ferrous metal, ceramics, marble, glass, slate, granite, and fiber cement products. They are available in a wide variety of sizes and come in a Professional and Industrial quality.