What makes a good Diamond Blade?

Posted by on February 21, 2006

What is it that makes one diamond blade better than another? I’ve wondered that from time to time, but I hadn’t ever really taken the time to find the answer until recently. It seems that Diamond Blades are much simpler to understand than I expected, and brand names don’t mean as much as I thought they did. While names like MK Diamond are still considered to be some of the best, the generics are getting to be very competitive in performance and priced much better.

Segment Color
Pictured above, you can see 2 diamond blades, one on top of the other. What isn’t necessarily obvious is that the segments are different colors. If you look at the edges of the blade where the diamond is contained, you will notice that one is very silver and one is a bit more copper colored. This is due to different materials used in creating the blade. The silver colored ones are much harder and will last longer, while the copper colored ones actually contain bronze or copper. Bronze and copper are softer metals which will wear out much quicker. The difference in price can easily be 4 times as much for the silver colored blade, but the tougher materials are well worth it in many cases.

Segment Size
In the above picture, you will notice that the segments (both blades are copper colored) are very different in thickness. Obviously, having more material will make it last longer. But does that mean that the blade with the wider segments is more expensive? In the same brand, yes. However, these 2 blades are not the same brand. In fact, one is a generic which we have found to be very good quality. If you look at both 4-1/2″ diamond blades in a comparison chart, you can see that the specs are identical. Our testing has shown that the performance is pretty close, too. The only difference is the life of the blade due to the thicker segments, which actually favors the less expensive generic.

Green Concrete
Green concrete is a very special animal. Freshly poured concrete is much more abrasive than concrete that has been sitting for a long time. We’ve brought in a generic diamond blade for green concrete as well which fits the leading green concrete saw. The unique opening works with that triangle arbored saw which we can’t say by name due to trademarks and patents. We’ve tested these and have found the generic blades to be at least as good as the much more expensive name brand blades. Again, the name brand ones are good, but the price vs. performance really favors the generic.

What’s not a factor in quality?
The main things which I found to not be important in choosing a diamond blade are the brand and the price. In that comparison example earlier, even if the generic lasted 1/2 as long it’d be a better value, but it actually lasts longer for less than 1/2 the price. Quality and a bargain at the same time… that’s a very good combination if you ask me.

One Response to What makes a good Diamond Blade?

  1. Jeff Durgin

    While you are on the right track with some of your information, there is considerably more necessary to guage the quality of a diamond blade.
    First, the color does not necessarily determine quality. A bronze color generally means a softer bond, but a softer bond is required for cutting harder (less abrasive) materials. In addition, there are other soft metals that can be substituted for brass such as nickel which is silver in color. The point is that the best granite blades made will have a bronze looking bond, and a cheap nickel bond may appear as high quality.
    The next issue regards segment height, or thickness as you referred to it. An 8mm tall segment with the correct metallic bond and a high quality diamond can out last blades with 15mm tall segments by two to one. Usually, the taller segment blades are low cost imports made to look impressive. I’d be glad to dispel any of the myths regarding diamond tools if you like. I have been in the industry for over 15 years and heavily involved in designing and specifications.