Cutting instruments have gone through immense changes over the period. The band saw is the current result after a wide range of testing and modifications. It is a versatile tool designed to cut not only wood but also PVC, glass, metals, and much more.
It consists of a blade which has sharp-toothed metal bands stretched between wheels. With the help of band saw, you would get a uniform cut because of the even distribution of the teeth on the blade.
There are a wide variety of band saws available out there in the market, and this comprehensive guide of the best band saw reviews would help you in selecting the product suitable for you.
Best Band Saw – Comparisons
Our Picks for the Best Band Saw
Band saw is a wonderful device. Though it costs you a lot, they are the ideal cutting devices for users who use these devices regularly. They reduce long term maintenance costs when compared to other regular saws.
Here we review the best band saws available out there in the market. The comprehensive guide will help you choose the band saw suitable for you.
1. Laguna Tools MBAND1412-175 14 x 12 Bandsaw
This band saw has the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) has certification, and undoubtedly it fulfills the safety goals. The saw has a pyramid spine along with cast iron wheels. It has an illuminated (backlit) power button for better control.
The iron cast wheels are designed in a sophisticated manner. They are balanced electronically to give superior stability. These wheels are installed with one-piece polyurethane tires. This design enables the wheels to last longer than any other conventional wheels.
Along with the wheels, the heavy-duty stand adds to the stability and rigidness. Even under a full extension, the saw provides a smooth performance with minimum flex, thanks to the superior worm gear and pinion.
For superior handling, the saw has double windows that will enable you to check tension and tracking.
The iron fencing and the dust port will make the cleaning process easy after cutting the wood. Other prominent features include a 12inch resaw capacity, 13 5/8 inch throat capacity, 8 x 13 inch cast iron turion, micro-polished table surface, ceramic guides for the blade and magnetic guards for the same.
You can install the flood-light as an add-on if you intend to get more light in your work area.
2. JET JWBS-14DXPRO 14-Inch Deluxe Pro Band Saw Kit
Its 1¼ HP motor produces a cutting speed of 1500 to 3000 SFPM (Surface Feet per Minute). For precise cutting capacity, the saw has a retractable blade guard built into the device. It moves the blade from zero to 12 inches with which you can cut both smaller and larger blocks with high precision.
The table of the saw is sturdy and designed to tilt right (45°) and left (10°). At the height of 43.5 inches, you can work on almost any size of the material you want to cut through.
The precision ploy-v belt system offers two variable speeds (1500 and 3000) to meet your requirements of cutting. Its quick release blade method enables adjustments at a faster pace.
One of the best features of this device is that it has a blade guide post along with a rack and pinion gear. This feature enables adjustment during the procedure giving precise and accurate cuts.
To ensure your safety, Jet has provided an easy view window with which you can know the exact position of the blade during work. The enclosed stand ensures you to carry all the required tools along with band saw. You need not frequently move out of the working space; all you need to do is place all the tools in the stand so that you can grab additional tools whenever necessary.
The high-tension spring system of the device will make this device run efficiently for more extended periods.
One major flaw of the device is the lack of fencing system by default. You need to buy it separately if you want to avoid tedious cleaning procedures after cutting.
3. RIKON Power Tools 10-324 14 Inch Open Stand Bandsaw
The design of the saw allows you to use it on an open stand as well as on a bench top. Note that the stand must be bought separately. Don’t get fooled by its smaller design and moderate price. It delivers best in class performance equivalent to many premium range devices.
The saw has upper and lower ball-bearing blade guides along with thrust bearings which reduce the friction and increase the life of the cutting blade. It also ensures a smoother operation during the procedure.
While many premium range band saws fail to include a rip fence, Rikon provides an extra tall rip fence with 6-inch-high re-saw bars to support for the wood that is being re-sawn, which is a plus point.
The rack and pinion guide will ensure precise cutting depths. All you need to do is turn the knob to your desired location to get better results. For cutting height management, the device includes a scale marked in inches.
With this saw, you can cut various materials other than wood such as plastic, alloy materials, foam, and composite. Note that you must not use this saw for cutting metals which contain iron. It is designed for non-ferrous metals only.
The Rikon band saw has 1/3 HP which is on the lower end the tilting the table can be little troublesome. It does not provide variable speeds required for cutting different materials.
4. Grizzly G0555LX Deluxe 14 Inch Bandsaw
Grizzly’s table is made by precisely ground cast-iron. It gives all the stability you need during the operation. To avoid reverse thrust, the blade has thrust bearings. The table has cast iron wheels which are balanced by using digital technology.
Grizzly provides a durable and sturdy T-shaped aluminum re-saw fence along with a magnifying window and a miter gauge. Most band saws provide iron fence provide an iron fence which isn’t adjustable but the fence in this band saw is made of aluminum which can be adjusted according to the blade lead.
Certain premium band saws do not provide cast iron wheels for the saw within the package. You need to buy them separately. Grizzly doesn’t want to leave their customers to dismay. Hence they have included the computerized cast iron wheels by default.
For accurate cutting, the rack and pinion gear guide the upper blades. The device is manufactured in Taiwan and has CSA certification. Users will have difficulty in moving the equipment since it has massive 247 pounds weight. Portability is a challenge with this band saw.
It is not as expensive as other premium band saws, and it is ideal for hobbyists, occasional, and professional users. You can cut wood, and non-ferrous metals with this band saw. If you want to cut ferrous (iron) metal, Grizzly sells a separate set of blades designed for this purpose. You can replace those blades with default one.
5. Shop Fox W1706 14 Inch Bandsaw With Cast Iron Wheels & Aluminum Fence
The device grabs your attention by its stylish looks and elegant design. Not only the design, but its features are also the best in the industry. Similar to the Grizzly, Shop Fox provides the computer balanced cast iron wheels by default.
One of the best features of this band saw is the deluxe miter gauge. It will guide you (and the blade) to get precise cutting thereby minimizing the loss of material. You can do perfect angle and cross cuts without any difficulty.
The miter gauge has a scale, and you can adjust it to 30 degrees plus or minus. You can adjust the scale in your position of choice, and it can be locked correctly in that position.
Shop Fox provides a cast iron table for superior stability. You can tilt the table 45 degrees right and 10 degrees left according to your convenience.
The device has a deluxe aluminum fence that provides excellent support to the work. There is a cabinet integrated to the cast iron stand of the band saw which can be used as storage space for various tools that are required during the process.
Other prominent features include a quick-release blade tension, ball bearing guides for upper and lower blades, dust port (4 inches), fence scale along with magnifying window, and 1 HP motor.
The blade has variable speeds, i.e., 1500 and 3200 surface feet per minute (SFPM) required for cutting various materials. Similar to the Grizzly, this band saw weighs a lot (304 pounds), and you will find it difficult in moving the device.
6. Delta 28-400 14 in. 1 HP Steel Frame Band Saw
These pulleys are designed to maintain tension easily. Coming to the specs, the band saw has a 1 HP motor with two variable speeds. It provides 1620 and 3340 SFPM speeds to cut wood and other non-ferrous metals.
The unit is made with a heavy-duty steel frame which eliminates flexing during operation. Its aluminum trunnion table gives superior durability for extended periods.
As stated earlier, the unit has a two pulley wheel for easy tension maintenance. These wheels are also made of aluminum and coated with rubber. You can guide the blade for precision cutting with the help of these wheels. There is a dust brush on the lower wheel to keep the wheels clean during the work.
Delta steel frame band saw has precision ground cast iron table which has a T-slot miter. You can tilt the device 45 degrees to the right and 3 degrees to the left. The positive stop of the tilt is 90 degrees. To enable smoother operation, there is a poly-v belt included in this band saw.
There is a 4-inch dust port installed on the unit which makes the cleaning process easy after the job is done. Along with the pulley wheels, there are two ball bearings (upper and lower) to guide the blade to produce perfect angle cuts.
Though the unit weighs 165 pounds, it is not as massive as other band saws which are difficult to port or move.
7. WEN 3962 Two-Speed Band Saw with Stand and Worklight
WEN 3692 is compatible with 72-inch blades with which you can make complex yet precision cuts. The table is spacious enough to carry on the work seamlessly. You can tilt it as far as 45-degrees.
As in Delta, WEN also has dual pulleys but are hidden in the cover. These two pulleys provide two variable speeds for cutting different materials. There is a 3-in-one dust port which helps you to fit different sizes of dust hoses.
A solid fence enables you to get accurate and straight cuts. To cut in certain angles, there is a miter gauge. The best feature of this band saw is the bevel table which enables the user to cut under the angle. You can cut as deep as 6-inches in any material you name (except ferrous metals).
A good bag of accessories is included in this band saw. There is flexible light which will illuminate your workspace. The fence, miter gauge, and dust port are additional accessories which are mentioned earlier.
When compared to other band saws, WEN provides the best features for the price. It is an affordable band saw that has all premium range of features.
The downside is the variable speed of the motor. It is a pseudo mechanism, which means you cannot adjust the speed with the help of a push button or any other tweak. You must change the belt on the pulleys to attain different speeds.
This can be tedious when you work with a single material that requires different types of speeds in cutting. Another issue is the power of the motor. It is not as powerful as expected.
8. WEN 3939 2.8-Amp 9 Inch Benchtop Band Saw
The saw has a 2.8-amp motor which generates a speed of 2460 SFPM. It is compatible with 62-inch blades with a width between 1/8-3/8 inches to produce accurate and sophisticated cuts.
This band saw has similar features to WEN 3692, but the difference is it is the smaller and cheaper. Since the saw is small, you can carry this easily anywhere you like. To move the device, it has a carrying handle.
It weighs 44 pounds, and it won’t cause any trouble for portability. It is an ideal band saw for hobbyists and occasional users.
The work table of this unit measures 12×12 inches and can be tilted to 45-degrees. There is a miter gauge which helps you to deliver superior and accurate cuts. Along with miter gauge, there is a dust port and a fence which enable you to produce straight cuts.
The ball bearings of the blade prolong the life of the saw so that you can use it for many years. You can get deeper (3 to 5/8 inches) and broader (9-inches) cuts with this band saw.
WEN 3969 does not have variable speed motor, and the power of the motor is also not as powerful as other high-end devices. But you can’t expect more in an affordable band saw.
9. POWERTEC BS900 Band Saw, 9-Inch
The quick release blade tension system is the patented feature of Powertec. It helps you to change the blades without any haste.
The ½ HP motor can cut most of the materials, but it is suitable for softer materials. You can cut through the wood without many troubles. It has a table with rack and pinion gears with which you can tilt up to 45-degrees.
The 2.5 amps motor will generate a speed of 1725 SFPM. Though this is not the best in the class, it will do the job without causing many troubles. Its table is made of aluminum die casting which is tough and will withstand all the forces.
In its standard position (90 degrees), you can cut up to 3 to 5/8 inches whereas at 45-degrees the depth will be 2 inches. It is not as good as other premium devices, but it can be the ideal device for occasional users.
The Powertec band saw weighs 50 pounds, and it can be easy to carry it. Sadly, there is not carrying handle or support. It does not have a fence and dust collecting system. You will find yourself in a mess after you finish the cutting job.
The power of the motor is also very low. Many manufacturers provide 1 HP or more powerful motor, but surprisingly this band saw has ½ HP motor which is way below the standard requirements. You may find difficulty in cutting which pieces of lumber.
10. SKIL 3386-01 2.5-Amp 9-Inch Band Saw
The rack and pinion gears help you to adjust the table at various angles and heights which will help you to generate various types of cuts. There as a secure (EZ) blade tracking system so that you can adjust the blade according to your requirements.
The 2.5-amp motor reaches a speed of 2800 SFPM which is suitable for cutting the wood. There is an LED light which will illuminate the workspace. The rip fence and the miter gauge will enable straight and accurate cuts.
Certain budget-friendly band saws do not provide fence and dust ports. But in this band saw you would get a fence and a dust port. Considering the cost to features, Skil provides more than expected.
There are some obvious flaws with this device. The blade tension release system is not that good. Its blade guides are also not up to the mark especially the upper one. You will find heating issues with the motor while using it. The dust collection vacuum will fail to function occasionally.
Although the band saw does not have much power compared to others, it can cut most types of wood. The suitable blade with this band saw is the ¼-inch 6TPI blade.
Advantages of Using Band Saw
As stated earlier, the band saw is a versatile tool. It gives accurate and uniform cut because of the design of its blade. It has numerous advantages over other cutting machines.
- Unlike conventional cutting instruments, band saw can be used to cut a wide variety of materials. You can use it to cut wood, metal, tubes, PVC, and is even used in the meat industry.
- The band saw is known for its speed in cutting. With the help of the motors, the blade of the band saw cuts any item making the process very fast.
- There are very few instruments that do a precise job at high speeds. Band saw is one among those few devices that do accurate cuttings even at their higher speed rates.
- As the blades of the band saw are smaller there will be less wastage of the materials during the cutting process. Certain other instruments such as a table saw which have larger blades result in a lot of wastage of the elements.
- If you are on fencing task, the band saw is your ideal choice as it produces most accurate straight cuts through the metal which is the perfect cut required to make a straight fence.
- Band saws are equipped with sophisticated features. Certain features such as meter gauge and rip fence help you to get accurate, speed, and precise cuts.
What Makes a Perfect Band Saw
The review list in this article has given you insights regarding the features and uses. It is wise to make a note of the required features before buying a band saw. Certain features such as motor power, bevel, and variable speed are the primary factors which must be considered while purchasing the device.
Let us walk you through the buying guide and the features that make a perfect band saw.
The core element of any band saw is the motor. The power of the motor decides its cutting speed, performance, and resilience. There are numerous companies which provide an engine with high potential.
The ideal motor power for a band saw can be between 1.5 to 2.5 HP (horsepower). If you want to work with various materials other than wood, it is crucial for you to consider buying a band saw that has higher motor power.
There are certain other band saws which have 1 HP motor (even ½) power. These are not suitable for commercial purposes and hence avoid them if you are into carpentry industry.
Although these low powered motors help the saw to cut the wood, they are not suitable for all types of wood and also not ideal for non-ferrous metals.
Blade Tension Release System
For the band saw to deliver a cut, it should be set at certain tension (or pressure). It can be a challenging task for beginners. If the tension is low, the blade will not produce accurate cuts. It will diverge and cannot deliver straight cuts.
In cases when the tension is kept high, the blade are likely to break. It can be dangerous sometimes as the broken blade will fly out due to high tension and might cause serious injuries. There are few band saws which have indicators to let you know the right tension.
This blade tension indicator will be very helpful if you are a beginner. Even though there is an indicator, it is utmost important that you read the instructions manual before starting. It will help you to adjust the tension accordingly.
Wheels are most ignored but yet they are a vital component inside a band saw. These wheels are typically made of cast iron or aluminum. Aluminum is light in weight compared to iron.
These wheels give the required inertia (stability) while working thus enables you to deliver precise cuts even at higher speeds. So, heavier the wheels more excellent is the stability.
The bevel capacity of the band saw is its ability to tilt to either one side or both sides. It is required to deliver intricate and accurate cuts. This is a must-have feature nowadays in band saws.
The band saws which have bevel capacity will tilt 45 degrees to the right, and none to 10 degrees tilt to the left. If you are an advanced user or if you want to use the saw for commercial purposes, make sure that it has good bevel capacity.
As the name suggests, they guide the blade to deliver accurate cuts. There will be two sets (upper and lower) of blade guides in a band saw. They are made of either ceramic or sealed bearings.
These blade guides have three components in each set. One component prevents the reverse thrust of the blade while cutting. The other two components support the blade on both sides so that it won’t flank sideways while you are cutting.
Almost all (even the cheapest) band saws are including blade guides in their devices. These blade guides will help you to maintain the quality of the cut.
Another must-have feature in a band saw is the light. It illuminates the work area so that you can concentrate on details. Even though some companies don’t offer a light by default, they will provide an option to install by yourself.
If you are a workaholic who wants accurate cuts even at the lowest level, make sure it has a light. Most companies provide an LED light in their band saws.
Another addition which helps you to deliver precise cuts is the fence. It is required to make adjustments whenever need while cutting. They are usually made of aluminum which is superior to those made of iron.
It is always a plus point to include a fence as it helps you eliminate the flaws while cutting.
Dust Ports or Dust Collection System
A dust port or dust collection system will remove all the waste that is generated during the process of cutting. A band saw which has this feature will eliminate the tedious cleaning work after the work is done.
Most band saws provide this feature, and it is a must-have feature, especially for regular users. If the dust port has a larger diameter, it means that it eliminates the dust more efficiently.
Some band saws provide 4-inch dust port while some provide 2-inch ones. You must be attached to the vacuum so that the dust is sucked up through the dust port.
Band saws are fairly safe than other saws such as table saws. The only risk with a band saw is the injury. Since the band saws are designed to cut many materials, the blades run at a faster pace. Hence, any injury will be severe.
To avoid such injuries, make sure you read the safety instruction provided in the manual. Wear protective gear such as face mask and gloves. If the material which you are cutting requires your hands getting closer than 2-inches, use a pushing stick or a block.
The blade guard must be lowered before you cut. By doing this, you will allow the blade guides to minimize the risk of injury.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What type of materials a band saw can cut?
A: A band saw is designed to cut any material. There are some exceptions though. Some band saws can cut non-ferrous metals meaning which you cannot use them for cutting iron.
Q: What is the importance of a miter gauge?
A: A miter gauge is used to get precise and accurate cuts. If you are strict regarding details while cutting ensure that the band saw has miter gauge.
Q: Is it ok to replace the blades if they lose their cutting ability?
A: The blades of the band saw can be cheap as well as expensive. You can replace them if they become dull and the cutting efficiency is reduced. Sometimes replacing is not feasible for everyone, instead of replacing use a Dremel to sharpen the existing blade.
Note that you must know how to sharpen the blade. It is better to research about the sharpening of band saw blades. Excess sharpening will reduce the thickness of the blade and might break if the tension is high.
Q: How does the variable speed of the motor affect the functioning of the band saw?
A: A band saw with variable speeds are often used to cut different types of materials. Harder materials require higher speed rates. That is why some band saws provide two different kinds of speeds so that you can adjust accordingly.
Q: How to clean and maintain the band saw?
A: Once the task is finished, power off the unit and. Remove the dust and debris with the help of a blower. Use a liquid rust remover and steel wool to remove the rust from the table. With the help of a clean cloth remove the remaining dust.
Don’t use solvent based materials to clean the band saw. It will damage the parts. After cleaning the table, apply wax on top of the table. Carefully remove the blade from the saw and use rust remover to clean it. You can use a resin remover to clean the other parts such as blade holding area and the wheels.
Selecting the best band saw can be a tough task. In this comprehensive guide, we have listed some of the best products available out there in the market. Note that band saws aren’t cheap, at least most of them.
Some of these band saws are designed for advanced users while some of them are for beginners. Follow through the features and guidelines of the band saw specified by the manufacturer and select your desired product.