Home » Tools » Cabinet Tools » Toe Kick Saw Alternatives For Removing Subloors

Woodworking Tips & Guides

Toe Kick Saw Alternatives For Removing Subloors

Updated: January 22, 2023
Cutting thick laminate or subfloor near cabinets requires a saw that goes right up to the toe kick edge. Learn about toe kick saw alternatives in this guide.
Toe Kick Saw Alternative Oscillating Tool
Our content is reader supported. When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

Toe Kick Saw Alternatives For Removing Subloors

BUDGET: C.E. TOE KICK SAW

Buy

CHICAGO ELECTRIC TOE KICK SAW

Budget Friendly, Flush Cut Saw

TOP ALTERNATIVES:

  › OSCILLATING SAW: DEWALT CORDLESS

  › OSCILLATING BLADES: WOOD ASSORTMENT PACK

  › MULTI-TOOL: COMPACT DREMEL

Remodeling a kitchen often requires cutting up and removing old floors. 

But, as many DIY’ers find (and contractors know), removing a subfloor that was put in before the cabinets is a common part of the job.

While you can remove trim easily the problem of cutting close to cabinets is often a challenge as toe kicks do not allow traditional power saws into the tight space. Which either planned or un-planned leaves DIY’er looking for alternative solutions.

Rather than invest in this specialty saw, we’ll show you a few power and hand tools that will do the job. And be useful later so your investment is worthwhile.

toe kick cutting challenges

Obviously the track saws, circular saws and jigsaws you own aren’t made to fit under a toe kick.

Which leaves any alternative to the traditional toe kick saw to tackle:

  • Maximum height of 3-1/2 inches
  • Flush cutting to the toe kick
  • No damage to face of the cabinets
  • Controlled depth of cut to not damage the subfloor
  • And, speed of removal

Fortunately, for small jobs on thinner floors there are a few options that will allow you to skip the expense of another tool.

Regardless of the tools chosen, an option may DIY’ers take is removing the toe kick and then carefully installing it again.

Warning: these alternative tools may damage the face of the cabinet toe kick if not used properly or if the toe kick is not removed. Consult a professional if unsure.

Alternative #1: Oscillating Tool

Dewalt Cordless Oscillating Tool

If you don’t own an oscillating tool and plan to remodel, build or redo a deck or just plain do a lot of DIY jobs this tool is one you won’t regret investing in. 

It is also arguably the best toe kick saw alternative as it is both powered and when properly used can remove even thicker subfloors. However, you’ll want a few blades including a semi-round and straight blade for corners. 

Reasons to Pick

  1. Allows for flush cuts when equipped with proper blade
  2. Re-usable for future projects
  3. Suitable for larger projects
  4. Blades can cut thru metal nail or staple heads

Reasons to Pass

  1. Cost of another tool
  2. Larger jobs where this tool works, but is too time consuming
  3. You aren’t comfortable risking damage to the toe kick 

Lastly, if your project will involve adjusting door jamb heights then this saw will work for both the subfloor under the cabinet toe kick and around doors or other trim.

Alternative #2: JAPANESE SAW

Japanese Saw

Shown: SUIZAN Japanese Saw (Amazon)

Woodworkers know that flush cutting dowels, making dovetails, or even starting holes in the center of wood require a Japanese saw. 

Which makes this saw an option for cutting toe kick on small jobs where there is minimal risk of hitting nails below the flooring surface. 

Reasons to Pick

  1. Perfect flush cuts
  2. Minimal risk of damaging toe kick face
  3. Small jobs of up to four to six feet of cabinet kick space

Reasons to Pass

  1. Large jobs
  2. Subfloor with nails (common)
  3. Time required for manual tool option

The biggest risk in attempting a Japanese saw is hitting just one nail will severely damage the intricate teeth on this saw.

Of note, Suizan is a top manufacturer of Japanese saws and this is a great tool for cutting shims or door jambs.

Alternative #3: Multi-Tool

Rotary Tool

Shown: Compact Dremel Rotary Tool (Amazon)

With millions of DIY’ers either owning or eventually acquiring a Dremel a small-job alternative for patient use and thin subfloor is a rotary tool. 

Equipped with rotary saw blades and a bit of patience its possible to cut floors close enough to finish the job with (more patience) a chisel.

Reasons to Pick

  1. Budget
  2. Smaller jobs

Reasons to Pass

  1. Will not work in thick subfloors
  2. Time consuming
  3. Does not cut flush

Alternative #4: Drill Saw Blades

Rotary Drill Saws

Shown: Rotary Drill Saw Blades (Amazon)

If using an existing tool and just getting “close enough” is ok, then a small saw blade attached to a drill might be just the solution for smaller jobs.

Unfortunately, these small saw blades can’t be attached without a screw protruding on the end. Forcing, as you can guess, the saw blade to be about 1/8-inch from being flush.

Warning: this tool will damage the face of the cabinet toe kick if not used properly or the toe kick removed. 

Reasons to Pick

  1. Budget
  2. Smaller jobs where a slower approach is allowed 
  3. Thinner subfloor

Reasons to Pass

  1. Will not work in thick subfloors
  2. Time consuming
  3. Does not cut flush

Alternative #5: CUTOFF SAW

Cutoff Saw

Shown: Genesis 3-inch (Amazon)

If power for larger jobs and budget are a priority then a cutoff saw that gets “close enough” to let you finish the job with a chisel is an option.

Reasons to Pick

  1. Inexpensive
  2. Can tackle larger jobs
  3. Chiseling or other labor to finish job is acceptable
  4. Shield helps prevent damage to toe kick

Reasons to Pass

  1. Flush cutting required
  2. Large jobs may require multiple discs

Frequently Asked Questions

How deep does a toe kick saw cut?

Toe kick saws will cut layers of laminate or floor up to 3/4″ of an inch thick. If these saws cut deeper, they risk damaging the subfloor below.

How tall is a toe kick?

The standard height of a toe kick is 3-1/2 inches tall and 3-inches deep

Can a toe kick saw cut tile?

Unless equipped with a blade made for ceramic, a toe kick saw is generally only used on wood. Instead of cutting the ceramic, scoring and then breaking the tiles up to the edge of the cabinets is often preferred.

Conclusion

With cutting under a cabinet a specialty task, there isn’t a direct toe kick saw alternative. And while there are options it is often best to forgo the extra few dollars and just use a saw that will do a professional job.

SaleBestseller No. 1
3-3/8 in. 6.8 Amp Heavy Duty Toe-Kick Saw
120 Reviews
3-3/8 in. 6.8 Amp Heavy Duty Toe-Kick Saw
  • Designed for cutting away subfloors from...
  • Great for cutting underlayments under toe kicks
  • 4 cutting depth positions: 3/16 in, 3/8 in, 1/2...
  • Trigger switch with safety button
  • Easy access brush replacement
Bestseller No. 2
Bon Tow Kick Saw Kit (78-777)
7 Reviews
Bon Tow Kick Saw Kit (78-777)
  • Cuts flush to wall
  • Max depth: 3/4"
  • 2 HP 11 amp motor
  • Comes with carrying case and carbide blade...
  • Comes with carrying case and carbide blade...
SaleBestseller No. 3
3-3/8 in. 6.8 Amp Heavy Duty Toe-Kick Saw Special
16 Reviews
3-3/8 in. 6.8 Amp Heavy Duty Toe-Kick Saw Special
  • Designed for cutting away subfloors from...
  • Great for cutting underlayment under toe kicks
  • 4 cutting depth positions: 1/4 in, 3/8 in, 5/8 in,...
  • Automatic guard return
  • Trigger switch with safety button
Bestseller No. 4
Floor King� Continuous Diamond Rim Saw Blade...
3 Reviews
Floor King� Continuous Diamond Rim Saw Blade...
  • Devotion to consistently providing the highest...
  • Solutions for manufacturers, fabricators, display...
  • U.S.A. Corporate headquarters and warehouse,...
  • Commitment to offer the highest consistent quality...
  • Industrial grade
Bestseller No. 5
Crain 2-3/4 In. Toe-Kick Saw Blade
5 Reviews

Last update on 2023-01-22 at 21:40 / Images from Amazon

  • About the Author
  • Latest Posts
( Woodworker )

Eric has been a professional woodworker for over thirty years and has worked in small cabinet shops making everything from kitchen cabinets to hand-made furniture. Now working from a home woodworking shop Eric is sharing his passion for woodworking, tool advice and how-to knowledge from his Minnesota-based woodshop.

Leave a Comment

Need Wood?

Subscribe for a FREE directory to 300+ hand-selected local and online hardwood retailers.

How To Make a Cribbage Board

Learning how to make a cribbage board can be as easy as cutting a piece of wood to length, using a template to drill the holes and applying a simple finish. In this guide learn the tips and tricks to making this classic game.

Read More »
Festool DOMINO Joiner Alternatives

The Best Festool DOMINO Alternatives

While there is no replica or copycat of the Festool DOMINO there are a few tools that make a loose tenon joint. in this guide learn what the alternatives to the popular Festool DOMINO are – and why you should invest in this hand-held engineering marvel.

Read More »

Disclaimer: DIY projects can be dangerous, hire a professional (link to Home Advisor) if unsure.