ARS Pocket Saw (SA-210DX): Product Review
A high quality saw that easily fits in your pocket.
Available on Amazon
If you’re thinking about pruning some of those big branches that are too large for hand pruners and even 2-inch capacity loppers, what do you use? How about the ARS Pocket Saw (SA-210DX)? As folding hand saws go, it’s one of the shortest and lightest ones I’ve tested. But don’t be fooled by its size – it has plenty of cutting power. Sometimes good things do come in small packages.
- Adjustable Tightness of Blade to Handle: Yes (either with a Phillips or straight bladed screwdriver)
- Special Features: Lanyard or hook hole at end of the handle
- Cutting Direction: Pull stroke
- Blade Locking Mechanism: Swing lock
- Overall Length: 13½ inches
- Folded Length: 8 inches
- Blade Material: High carbon steel (marquench hardened)
- Blade Plating: Chrome plated
- Curved or Straight Blade: Straight
- Blade Teeth Design: Triple grind geometry (ARS call it Turbocut®)
- Replaceable Blade: Yes
- Weight: 4¾ oz.
- Can Blade Be Sharpened: Yes, but not recommend. Achieving the proper teeth angle is extremely difficult and improper sharpening will ruin the blade.
In this short video, see how the ARS Pocket Saw performs, why its small size is an advantage, and how the locking mechanism works.
Like the other ARS saws I tested (such as the SA-G18HL & SA-GA18L), the packaging for the ARS Pocket Saw (SA-210DX) saw includes a see-through plastic cover and a cardboard placard.
STRONG SAW BLADE
ARS offers this pruning saw with a high carbon steel blade that’s marquench hardened.
Conventional hardening of high carbon steel involves dipping the heated steel into a bath of oil or water until it cools.
The marquench hardening process used by ARS takes things beyond the typical quenching process. It’s a “hot bath quenching process that subjects the material and the outer coating to the same hardening transformation and cooling temperatures throughout the process. The hardened steel is then tempered at a specific temperature for exact time to achieve the hardness suitable for ARS quality blades”.
See this article for more details on blade materials and hardening.
COMFORTABLE HANDLE, GOOD GRIP
The saw handle has a molded knob on the end that helps stop your hand from slipping off the handle. The knob isn’t as pronounced as that found on some of the longer saws I tested, but it’s more than adequate for a very secure grip.
Add that to the ridges molded into the handle and you have a comfortable handle that’s easy to grip and doesn’t slip, even when powering through tough cuts. I normally prefer a rubberized handle to prevent slippage, but that just isn’t necessary on this ARS saw.
BLADE LOCKING MECHANISM & BLADE TO HANDLE TOLERANCES
ARS saws have a “swing lock” that holds the blade in the open position; unlike other types of locking mechanisms, it doesn’t also lock the blade in the folded position. The lock is quite secure; I experienced no “play” (back and forth wobble between the blade and the handle) with the blade in the locked open position.
The blade can easily be tightened to the handle with either a Philips or flathead screwdriver.
Although the tension was fine when I received the saw, I decided to tighten it a little bit to prevent the saw from opening unexpectedly. I was worried that the swing lock wouldn’t keep the saw in the closed position and I didn’t want to accidentally cut myself with the extremely sharp teeth. With the screw tightened up just a bit, I had no problems with the saw opening (honestly, the saw would probably have stayed closed even if I hadn’t tightened it).
THE SHORTEST HAND SAW I TESTED
When folded, the saw is only 8 inches long, making it a good inch shorter than other saws I reviewed. It’s so short that it fits easily in a hip pocket or shorter back pocket. That’s why they gave it the name “pocket saw”.
I used the ARS Pocket Saw extensively to help clear trails at the Coronado National Forest, where I was a volunteer. As you can see in the photos, this saw has been used a lot. I made at least a thousand cuts of saplings, branches, and deadwood. It was a perfect carry length for the sack that I have attached to my backpack.
This saw also makes a great camping saw because of its shorter length and easy stowability.
- Ease of Cutting: Start of cut is extremely easy. Very easy pull stroke
- How Clean is the Cut: Very clean
- Cutting Speed: Super fast
The Pocket Saw makes the same fast, clean cuts as the other two ARS saws I reviewed. Granted it can’t cut through materials as large as the 9 – 9 ½ inch saw (folded length) can, but it performs like a champ on smaller material.
It has a straight blade, which makes it excellent for cutting if you’ll be using it between hip and shoulder height (see why here).
The saw blade has an over-pronounced tooth offset that aides in cutting performance and wood chip expulsion.
The chrome-plated blade helps prevent rusting, as well as the buildup of sap and wood resins. However, as with any plating, it can begin to wear off after extended use, especially around the cutting teeth. When you notice the blade color becoming duller, it means the chrome plating is wearing off. And once the chrome is gone, the steel blade will rust.
To prolong the life of your folding saw, it helps to give the blade a light oiling and squirt a little lubricant in the area where the bolt goes through the blade and handle, as well as the locking mechanism. My favorite lubricant is Tri-Flow®.
And, of course, don’t get your saw wet (if you do, dry it thoroughly right away).
Always wear eye protection when using a pruning saw. We recommend (Wiley-X). Safety glasses help prevent sawdust from falling into your eyes when cutting over your head or on a windy day. They also protect you from flying metal in the event that a saw blade snaps (and they can if bent at extreme angles). And don’t forget a sturdy pair of leather gloves. These saw blades are extremely sharp. One slip and you’ll likely be on your way to the hospital. Enough said. Be safe.
ARS offers a limited lifetime warranty against “craftsmanship errors and material defects” only.
Of all the saws I’ve reviewed, this is one of my favorites. I particularly like its shorter length, which makes it easy to slip into a pocket or backpack. Just like its bigger brothers (ARS SA-G18HL and SA-G18L), this is a superior quality tool. Everything works exactly as it should and performs at the highest level, including the comfortable, non-slip handle design, the marquench hardened blade, swing lock blade locking mechanism, adjustable tension, and aggressive cutting capability. It’s more expensive than the other folding handsaws I tested but I’m a tool-for-life kind of guy and would rather pay for quality than have to buy another saw. If you do a lot of pruning, want a small compact saw and want one of the finest quality, best-cutting saws on the market today, then the ARS Pocket Saw (SA-210DX) will do the trick.
WHERE TO BUY
ARS tools can be difficult to find in retail outlets so your best bet is to purchase the ARS Pocket Saw (SA-210DX) from Amazon.
It is also available from the ARS distributor Wood-Avenue.com for $22.61 (shipping of $9.76). Wood-Avenue also offers a replacement blade for $14.65. Amazon offers the same blade for $28.89.
Last update on 2019-04-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
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