What Is a Toe Kick Saw?

Dan Cavallari

A toe kick saw is a type of power tool designed for use in a certain application: the blade is oriented in such a way that it can cut existing flooring underneath cabinets and other low, overhanging structures. The blade extends outward from the tool's handles, allowing the user to orient the blade underneath the cabinet, or in what is sometimes known as the toe kick area. Carpenters are likely to use a toe kick saw when removing flooring in preparation for installation of a new floor, as this tool drastically cuts down on the time it takes to tear up old materials.

Man with a drill
Man with a drill

The blade of a toe kick saw is circular and much smaller than that of a typical circular saw. It is mounted in a perpendicular orientation in relation to the body and motor housing of the unit, though the handle will often be parallel to the blade itself, allowing the user to push or pull the unit along the length of the toe kick with ease. The motor of the toe kick saw spins the blade at a high speed to provide cutting force, and the operation is controlled by a trigger mounted on the handle. In most cases, a shield or housing will be mounted above the blade to help prevent the spraying of debris and sawdust.

The size of the motor will often dictate what jobs can be done with the tool. The usefulness of the toe kick saw can also be dictated by its power supply: some saws are battery-powered, while others require an electrical outlet. Units powered by batteries are versatile because they can be used in any location throughout a home, regardless of access to an outlet, but they are less powerful in general than corded models, and the power can fade as the battery wears. Corded models tend to be more consistent in speed and power, though they can be limited by access to power outlets. An extension cord is usually necessary for normal operation of the toe kick saw.

While this tool is exceptionally useful, it is a very job-specific tool that will not be used very often. Most carpenters who deal with flooring will own a toe kick saw, but the tool may not be very useful for the home do-it-yourselfer. Renting this tool will instead be the most feasible option, as purchasing one can be expensive.

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