arbored vs non-arbored hole saw

Arbored Vs Non-Arbored Hole Saw

Hole saws are one of the most useful pieces of tools in a workshop, and countless people and workers use them in their everyday life. While there are several types of hole saw available, the discussion for today’s topic is the differences between an arbored and non-arbored hole saw.

So, we are going to take a brief dive into the details of arbored vs non-arbored hole saw and the benefit of both types.

Important Parts of a Hole Saw

What is an Arbored Hole Saw

The arbored hole saw has an arbor situated at the center, also known as a pilot drill. This is a drill bit that does a smaller hole in the surface first, and then the hole saw makes the bigger hole. This arbor keeps the hole saw central, and keeps it more stable while making the hole.

Arbored Vs Non-Arbored Hole Saw - Which One is Better? 1

Key Features:

  • Guiding Drill also known as an arbor
  • Pilot drill guide the hole saw to accuracy
  • Pilot drill keeps the hole saw stable while cutting
  • Good for people with all level of experience

What is a Non-Arbored Hole Saw

Non-arbored hole saw has no arbor in the center, there is only the saw which starts drilling directly onto the surface.

Due to having no pilot drill, a non-arbored hole saw starts to drill directly onto the surface and the cutaway piece turns out to be completely round and with no hole or scratch on it. If the purpose is to use that piece onto the project or for any other work, a non-arbored hole saw does the perfect job at it.

Arbored Vs Non-Arbored Hole Saw - Which One is Better? 2

Key Features:

  • No arbor or central drill
  • Cuts directly onto the surface
  • The cutaway pieces are intact and round

Comparison Chart – Arbored vs Non Arbored Hole Saw

FeatureArbored Hole SawNon-Arbored Hole Saw
Central DrillHas a central drillDoesn’t have a central drill
LongevityCentral drill last longer than the hole sawLast similar to arbored hole saws
EfficiencyTakes time to set the right arbor and then the sawOnly the saw needs to put on the drill
Guiding PlateRequires no guiding plateRequires guiding plate for accuracy
UsabilityAnyone can use it easilyRequires experience to cut accurately
Pilot HoleMakes a pilot holeNo pilot hole, the cutaway piece remains round and intact
StabilityStable to cut holesRelatively less stable

Difference Between Arbored and Non Arbored Hole Saw

The main difference between an arbored and non arbored hole saw in design, performance, and the result is stated below in brief details.

Central Drill

Central drill, also known as the arbor, plays a really important part in hole cutting with hole saws. In arbored hole saws, the central drill reaches the surface first and makes a pilot hole which eventually helps the hole saw to cut with more accuracy.

Non-arbored hole saw does not have a central drill or arbor, therefore the saw reaches the surface without being in contact beforehand, and cuts directly.


This is somewhat similar in both cases, both arbored and non-arbored hole saws have the same hole saw. The difference comes in the arbor. An arbor or central drill is made to last many times longer than the hole saw, but eventually, at one point it wears down and needs to be replaced.


The user needs to set the right-sized arbor along with the right sized hole saw on the drill before starting the cut on the surface or the project. On the other hand, the non-arbored hole saw users need to just pick the right sized hole saw and can get going. This saves time and also effort in screwing and unscrewing the saws and the drills.

Guiding Plate

An arbored hole saw can start cutting holes based on the drawing. The user just needs to draw the area along with a center mark, and the pilot drill will start drilling on the center mark and the hole saw will start cutting on the designated area. There is usually no guiding plate required.

In a non-arbored hole saw, a guiding plate is required to accurately make a cut on the designated area. The guiding plate sits on the work surface and helps the user to cut in the guided area for accurate results.


Due to the arbor in the center which leads the hole saw, the arbored hole saw is suitable for people with any level of experience, from beginners to experts, anyone can use it with proper techniques.

But on the other hand, non-arbored hole saws are most suitable for experienced workers. As there is no guiding drill, amateurs often make the wrong cut or in the wrong area, therefore expert and steady hands are preferred in this tool.

Pilot Hole

The center drill in the arbored hole saw starts the cutting process by drilling in the center of the desired cutting surface. While this helps with cutting, this also results in the cutaway pieces having a small hole in the middle. therefore, in most cases, they are eliminated from other usages.

Non-aborted hole saw does not make a pilot hole, and the cutaway piece remains intact and round. In most cases, non-arbored hole saws are used with the purpose to get the cutaway piece in intact form.


Due to the center arbor, the hole saw in the arbored variant keeps stable and cutting is more perfect due to the guide drill. On the other hand, the non-arbored hand saw starts cutting directly and all of the stability comes from the hands of the worker, therefore it acts less stable in operation.

Non-Arbored vs Arbored Hole Saw – Which One to Choose?

The answer to this arbored vs non-arbored hole saw question is really simple. Both offer similar yet slightly different results and required efforts.

  • If you want a quick and stable hole on the work project and don’t need to use the cutaway pieces, use the arbored hole saw.
  • If you need the cutaway pieces and don’t mind spending extra effort to set up the guiding plate, use the non-arbored hole saw.

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