The band saw is one of the essential and most versatile woodworking tools you could possibly have in your workshop. Some of you might think of it to be a product for cutting curves, designs and other intricate details on the wood, but that is not completely true. The best band saw will help you cut through even some of the thicker wooden logs with complete precision and efficiency. It does not matter whether you are a carpenter, a professional renovator, or a DIYer like most of us, a band saw is one of the important products for you to have at your workshop.
The ability to cut quickly with very less waste is something every professional and DIYer desires. Once you have decided to buy the product, the next step in the process of finding the most reliable and top-notch band saw is to find the one that suits you the most. This product is not cheaper by any means; hence, your investment should not go for a toss. Therefore, go through this article and understand more about the product, its uses, factors to consider when buying one and finally check out reviews of some of the best band saws.
What a Band Saw is Used For?
A band saw offers the performance and convenience of a jigsaw and a table saw, so you have one equipment that does the job of two, a perfect combination to have. Without this saw, your workshop won’t be complete, such as the importance of buying one. This power equipment is mainly used for cutting irregular shapes, including curves and straights. The tool is also used extensively for rip cutting, resawing, crosscutting and even full log cutting. Horizontal type of band saws is effective in cutting long wooden logs into smaller ones efficiently. There is hardly any other tool that could match or do the intricate cutting duties that this saw delivers.
One of the major advantages of using this saw over any other woodworking tool is that it delivers the smoothest cuts of all. These saws can also be used to cut metal and other similar products simply by altering the blade used in it. You won’t experience any kickback during cutting like you do with a table saw and this is one of the great aspects of this saw. Some models of these saws are even used for cutting meat. An all-round performing saw such as this is a must-have for woodworkers. Let us look at some of the band saw products available at your disposal:
Top 10 Best Band Saws 2020
1. DEWALT DWM120K Band Saw
DWM120K from DEWALT is a monster when it comes to performance, and for a portable saw such as this, it does pack a punch. We call it the pocket rocket, and DEWALT being one of the leading manufacturers of power equipment, has made this product ideal for handling all your residential woodwork tasks. This band saw is powered by a 10amp motor and delivers a cut depth of 5 inches. The motor also comes with 2 variable speed settings, which can be used for cutting specific materials. Blade tracking adjustment prolongs the durability of the blade. The blade guide rollers come with double bearing, which also improves durability.
Amongst some of the extras that you get in most, herein DWM120K you get an LED work light which helps you focus on the job site and know about the status of the work precisely. The front handle is adjustable and can be adjusted according to your comfort. The rubber bumpers give you much-needed protection during tough tasks. The product weighs just 15 pounds and comes with a hanging hook, so you should have no problem storing it. The only major drawback of this DEWALT DWM120K is its price tag, which is higher compared to most of the band saw models that you get in the market.Pros
- Compact and sturdy design.
- Variable speed adjustment.
- LED work light.
- Lack of a trigger lock.
- It doesn’t include a stand.
- The storage case is not up to the mark.
2. Makita XBP02TX Band Saw
Makita is another well-known brand in the power equipment industry and they offer several different products under different saw categories. Their band saws are made to deliver sheer quality and performance. The Makita XBP02TX is a cordless band saw powered by an 18V LXT Li-ion battery pack. For a cordless saw motor, this delivers good power on the whole. At just 14.3 pounds, it is one of the lightweight models. This is a dual battery setup and comes with a charger.
The motor powering this model is designed by Makita and has a capacity of 530ft/min, which is great. The centrally mounted grip is rubberized and offers excellent grip and control to perform precision cuts. The variable speed control dial comes with a 6-speed adjustment feature, which no other model offers in this category. The over-torque safety control helps keep the motor under check. LED work light helps keep the workspace lit up in dark. You can even use a 14 TPI saw blade in this saw. The company is offering a 3-year full warranty on the saw, which should cover most of the minor damages you might face.Pros
- Centrally mounted rubberized grip.
- 6-speed adjustable control dial.
- Over torque control safety feature.
- Dual battery setup.
- LED work light.
- The blade size is small.
- It is not light enough in weight compared to other portable models.
3. Milwaukee 2429-20 Band Saw
Milwaukee is another leading power tool manufacturing company and its products have high standards, which is why they are part of this list of the best band saw. The Milwaukee 2429-20 belongs to the cordless sub-compact category and the cuts delivered by this particular model are comparable to that of the industry made cuts, which speaks volumes about the performance delivered by the saw. If your workspace is confined, then this compact model should be your perfect companion. Rebar cutting is the specialty of the product and it does the same with precision.
The LED work light might hamper your view to a certain extent initially, but once you start getting used to the operations of the model, you should not face any such problem. The product has a cutting capacity of 1-5/8 inch. As far as dimensions are concerned, it is 6.9 x 11 x 7.1 inches, and at a weight of just 6.6 pounds, it is lighter and easy to operate. Just like all the Milwaukee models of band saws, even this one adheres to all the OSHA safety guidelines.Pros
- Portable and lightweight.
- One-handed cuts are possible but not recommended.
- The battery pack is capable of delivering almost 150 cuts per full charge.
- Battery and charger do not come with the saw and need to be purchased separately.
- Performance lag has been experienced by a few customers.
Also Read: 5 Best Portable Band Saws 2019 (Top Picks)
4. SKIL 3386-01 Band Saw
Skilsaw is one of the leading saw manufacturers and this particular model of 3386-01 9-inch saw is a great tool to have at your workshop. This unit comes under the vertical stationary band saw category. The power is delivered to the blade by a 2.5amp motor at the rate of 2800 SFPM. You can operate a 6 TPI blade that is 1/8 to 3/8 inches. For quick and easy height and angle adjustments, you have a rack and pinion assembly. This is an added convenient feature that allows you to make multiple cutting jobs without compromising on comfort.
These band saws are heavier than all the portable models we have discussed in our reviews so far, so don’t be shocked seeing the 37.9 pounds weight of the SKIL 3386. The speed delivered by the motor does not come with adjustments, hence you are left with a single speed setting to handle all kinds of cutting tasks, which is a drawback. The cutting capacity of the model is just 3-1/2 inches. The 3-year industrial warranty that you get with this product is great.Pros
- Rack and pinion for quicker height and angle adjustments.
- The rip fence is accurate.
- Sturdy design and build quality.
- LED work light for an excellent view.
- The power rating is lower than its competitors.
- It cannot handle hardcore tasks.
5. WEN 3975T Band Saw
This particular model from WEN, the 3975T, is a specifically made saw to cut metal only, which means if you need a band saw to cut metal, then this is the product to have. All kinds of metals, including aluminum, brass, copper, steel, etc. can be cut precisely using this model. The powerful 4.5Amp motor delivers a blade speed of 125-260 ft/min. The variable speed adjustment feature lets you control the blade speed within this particular range.
The blade you’d find in this model is 56-1/2 inches in diameter and has a thickness of 1/2 inch, which is considerably bigger than most other blades you can find in this category. Just like most of the benchtop saws, this one is also portable, so you will have no problem moving it around. The beveling blade lets you make bevel cuts ranging from 0 to 60º. The frame is solidly built and with an overall weight of 45 pounds, this is one of the lightest for cutting metal.Pros
- Great motor power.
- Sturdy frame design.
- 2-year manufacturer warranty.
- Bevel blade with 0 to 60-degree beveling range.
- No safety adjustments or convenience features.
- Durability is also a cause of concern.
6. Bosch BSH180-B14 Band Saw
Bosch is one of the most popular and trustworthy brands in the tools and manufacturing industry. They are known for their high-quality premium products that deliver superior performance on all grounds. The Bosch BSH180-B14 is a portable saw that comes with a CORE18V battery, BC1880 fast charger, and carrying case, all of which make it a complete package. If you are looking to buy a band saw for your personal use, then this model should be your perfect choice. The CORE18 Li-ion battery pack is capable of giving you the ability to make 250+ cuts in full charge. This particular battery pack is leaps ahead of the conventional 6Ah battery in terms of performance.
The quick charger lets you charge the battery pack at lightning speeds, with 80% charge achieved at just 41 minutes and a full charge at 55 minutes. The 18V motor delivers a cut-rate of 530 surface feet per minute, which is great to make cuts of up to 2-1/2 inch. The variable speed trigger lets you adjust the speed according to the cutting task. The LED illuminated work light helps in precision cutting in the dark. The product comes fitted with a blade of the length of 2.5 inches. Bosch BSH180-B14 weighs just 7.1 pounds, which makes it handy.Pros
- Comes loaded with battery, charger and carrying case.
- Value for money.
- BC1880 fast charger.
- Variable speed trigger.
- Not suited for handling heavy-duty tasks.
- Aluminum construction is not durable.
7. WEN 3962 – Best Band Saw
Another top-notch band saw in our discussion is the 3962 model from the brand WEN. In terms of functionality, it is similar to the SKIL model we have discussed earlier. This saw delivers a throat width of 3/4 inches and is a great tool to have, especially for cutting through hardwoods that are 6-inches in thickness. WEN has a huge fan following especially in the power equipment market and the brand has managed to pack in a lot of exciting features to make this an attractive buy. The 3-in-1 dust port adds convenience, as it fits in a wide range of dust collection hoses.
The 2-speed variable adjustable trigger helps you switch between two different speeds, 1520 and 2620 FPM. The WEN 3962 gives you the option of using 72-inch blades that are in the range of 1/8 to 1/2 inches, which is perfect for cutting intricate details with precision. The 3.5Amp motor is capable of cutting through thick wood with ease. For a saw that is compact in dimensions, at just 20 x 25 x 58 inches, it handles large cutting tasks without any problem. Storing it should not be a problem at all. The miter gauge and rip fence help you achieve accurate cuts. The ability to use different blade sizes on a sturdy band saw is the one everybody needs.Pros
- 2-speed controller.
- 3-in-1 dust collection port.
- Powerful motor and multiple blade size functionality.
- LED work light.
- Reflections from the work light have been a cause of concern for a few customers.
- There are not many adjustable features.
8. Grizzly G0555 Band saw
Grizzly G0555 is a well-built band saw and can be easily identified by its strong cast iron frame construction. This frame makes it one of the sturdy saws to work on. The saw comes with a 2-speed adjustable setting, allowing you to change between speeds for respective cutting tasks. The cast iron wheels are computer balanced, as a result of which you can achieve precision cuts.
The G0555 weighs around 195 pounds, which shows how strong the frame is and its ability to handle all kinds of load. With respect to dimensions, this is 24.5 x 17.5 x 66.5 inches, and for a fairly large band saw, it is a great addition to your commercial or all-purpose domestic workspace. It has a cutting throat capacity of 13-1/2 inches and a maximum cutting height of 6 inches. As mentioned in the product topic, this is the ultimate saw you might ever need, but this one doesn’t come cheap, so make sure to understand your requirements before making the purchase.Pros
- Cast iron frame gives it much need stability.
- Adjustable fence.
- The windows come with the magnifying feature, allowing you to have a clear look at the workspace.
- Ball-bearing blade guide.
- Cast iron wheels are computer balanced.
- Underpowered compared to similarly made models.
- Dust collection is not great.
- Neither portable nor lightweight.
9. JET JWBS-14DXPRO Band Saw
JET JWBS-14DXPRO is one of the best band saw models in the market and it gives you all the features that a carpenter or renovator would want in a saw. The 1-1/4 HP motor is capable of delivering excellent power for cutting. It has a resawing cut capacity of 12 inches, which means you can cut large-sized materials without any fuss. The high throat width and bigger wheel size are the two main factors that help you achieve this feat. The saw can be used to cut through wood that has a max thickness of up to 13-1/2 inches.
The saw is mounted on a tilting table that can be tilted to different angles, such as 10º and 45º. This particular feature is perfect for making a wide range of angular cuts as per your requirement. It uses a cast iron frame just like the Grizzly we reviewed earlier, which makes it one of the durable saws. The blade tracking window lets you have a clear view of the job. At approximately 256 pounds, this is one of the heaviest saws we have reviewed so far, so moving it once installed is going to be tough.Pros
- 2-speed trigger.
- Cast iron frame.
- Class-leading 5-year manufacturer warranty.
- Guideposts can be retracted.
- No LED work light.
- Replacement parts are expensive and sometimes hard to come by.
Also Read: Best Horizontal Band Saws (5 Top Picked)
10. RIKON 10-306 Band Saw
RIKON is another key player in the woodworking tool manufacturing industry and has been at the forefront of delivering premium high-quality products to its potential customers. The RIKON 10-306 is the successor of the successful 305 models which has been used in several domestic workspaces. This model is designed to be compact and fits smaller workspaces, so the cutting ability delivered by the product will also be in a limited range.
The RIKON 10-306 is a 10-inch saw with many features, including twin speed setting, tilting tabletop, blade guides require no tools, quick release blade tension lever, adjustable rip fence, tracking windows, paddle ON/OFF safety switch, blade tension knob adjustment, dust port, and a sturdy hanger. The 1/2 HP motor delivers enough power to handle all small to medium cutting tasks. The rip fence helps in making accurate cuts. All of these features make it feature-rich and this is all you can expect to get from a deluxe band saw. It is 35.4x18x12.7 inches in dimensions and weighs just 83.3 pounds. Compact dimensions and lighter weight let you store it away when not in use.Pros
- Excellent value for money product.
- The blade speed is excellent.
- 2-speed setting.
- Low power.
- Cannot handle large scale jobs.
Whenever you are in the market looking to purchase a product, first and foremost you must make yourself fully aware of the product category, its uses and understand how important it is for your workshop. In this guide, we will try our very best to give you all the information you might ever need to purchase the band saw that serves your purpose.
Band Saw Types
This saw can be classified under two different categories, namely vertical and horizontal. The difference between these two models is in the material feeding, i.e. whether the wood or material to cut is fed or the blade. They might be different in terms of functionality and purpose but they operate using the same band saw principle.
- Horizontal Type
In this particular type, the workpiece i.e. the material that needs to be cut is positioned stationary and the blade that cuts it is fed using swing arm. This design is useful in cutting tougher and larger quantities of wood efficiently. If you are in need of a tool to cut in volumes, then this type of saw should be in your workshop. These saws are used mainly in the metal cutting industry as they have become the best replacement product for hacksaws.
In some horizontal types, the work holding piece is rotational, thereby provides the ability to make angular cuts, and so on. On the downside, these saws can be used for making straight cuts and are not suitable for handling curves and other intricate cutting duties. Horizontal band saws are suited only for commercial purposes because they are larger and expensive.
- Vertical Type
This should be the type that most of the domestic users would be looking to buy unless you have large scale cutting duties. This works in just the opposite way to what we discussed with respect to the horizontal type, i.e., the blade is fixed and it circulates and the material that needs to be cut is fed to the circulating blade. Circular cuts can be done easily using this type of saw, thus it is also termed as a contour saw. Vertical type of band saw needs to be operated carefully, as you are the one feeding the wood to the blade, so make sure to follow all the safety guidelines and precautions.
- Combination Type
In this particular type of band saw, you have the option of setting the saw in both ways and according to the job you have in hand, you could either transform it into a vertical type or horizontal type. Some of you might think that this should be the saw of your choice, but don’t get into conclusions before knowing more. They have their cons, one of the main drawbacks being in the respective operation benefits. It does well neither as a vertical type nor as a horizontal type, which is not something you’d need. This particular saw can be chosen only by enthusiasts and DIYers who predominantly need straight and curved cuts.
Based on the operating position of the band saw, they can be classified into benchtop type and floor standing cabinet type.
- Floor standing cabinet – This type of saw is larger in size and equally heavier. They are designed to handle tough woodcutting jobs. These are preferred by professionals since they are more stable and offer more control over any woodwork, but in terms of price, they are expensive.
- Benchtop – This type of saw is inexpensive, compact and ideal for domestic purposes. Few benchtop models even come with a stand to place and perform the woodwork. If you want stand-in models that do not come with it, you can buy it separately.
The size of the band saw should be considered because some of you might have a lot of space, whereas most of us won’t have enough operating space at our workshop. There are several portable options available that are best suited for people who don’t have a lot of space. If you have lots of cutting jobs, then you can buy an oversized one. Know your job requirements and buy the most suitable product.
Every band saw is supported by a frame that helps keep the power equipment stable during operation. A cast-iron- or steel-based frame offers excellent support and sturdiness. An aluminum frame does not deliver good support. Some low-cost models even come in plastic frame construction, which is not suitable for handling heavier workpiece.
For those who have a specific requirement in terms of the depth you need to cut, the cutting depth should be known. The distance between the base of the blade guide and the tabletop of the saw should give you the cutting depth offered by the machine. If resawing is your prime woodwork you plan on handling using the band saw, then the cutting depth measurement is mandatory. Cutting depth is the maximum piece height you can cut using the machine.
The type of blade you use should match the material you are going to cut. It would be of no use if you use an incorrect blade. Different sizes of blades can be used in a single band saw, so make sure to know the size that is suitable in the model you are looking to purchase. The product will have a minimum and maximum blade width rating, which gives you the information on which blade will fit and which won’t. According to the range mentioned in your product, you could use any blade that falls in that range. It is always recommended to have separate blades for handling specific cutting duties.
The teeth form used in the blade determines the type of cut you could achieve. For achieving certain types of cuts, you should use a certain type of blades.
- Rip cuts – Skip tooth blade. Skip tooth blades come in different TPI configurations, such as 3, 4, 6, and 10 TPI.
- 3 TPI – Deep rip cutting and gives a rough swan finish to the workpiece.
- 4 TPI – Best for cross and all-purpose cutting and the blade offers a clean finish product.
- 6 TPI – This blade is perfect for rip cuts to 50mm and crosscuts till 150mm.
- 10 TPI – Perfect for slicing plastic, plywood, etc.
- Crosscuts – Triangular tooth blade
Always make sure that the teeth are sharp enough before starting the woodwork because a rough blade will only lead to improper cuts.
We have discussed the depth of cut, now it is time to determine the maximum width of the cut you can achieve. Throat size is what determines the width of the workpiece you can cut using the saw. It is the distance between the blade’s inner edge and the machine column. For example, a 10-inch band saw will have a throat size of 10-inch.
A band saw that has a large table offers enough control and support to handle even larger cutting jobs. Safe handling is very important in the case of band saws, which is why a larger table is always useful. For those who want to make angle cuts using a miter fence, a larger table is essential. One should also note that handling small cutting duties on a large table might be difficult for those with small hands. For domestic purposes, you might not need a large table.
The motor powering the saw is another important factor naturally because this is what powers the device in performing all the cutting duties. The power delivered by a band saw will normally be in the range of 0.5 to 3HP. Average motor power is more than enough for rip cuts and thin sheet cutting tasks. A high-powered motor is mandatory for resawing and thick wood cutting. A motor that has a power rating of 2HP should be perfect for residential use. You must also note the fact that motor power alone doesn’t determine the cutting capacity, there are several other factors too. Blade quality, lubrication, blade tension, guide roller tension, etc. also play a major role in determining the quality and power of cut you could establish. A well serviced and maintained band saw will be great for handling all types of cutting duties.
The speed at which the motor runs and the blade cutting through the workpiece will vary according to the type of material. Some of the top band saw models do come with variable speed settings, which should be great for handling different cutting jobs. Wood is a softer material, thus you need a high speed saw, and for a harder material such as steel, a slow speed setting is necessary.
The saws run on a single blade at high tension, which creates a stressful environment for both the blade and the saw on the whole. Durable material construction is mandatory for performing all the cutting tasks day in and day out. Blades need to withstand all this stress, to last longer, so make sure that the blade, in particular, is made of premium grade material. If the saw is not made of premium quality materials, you’d be facing a lot of operational difficulties and unwanted service expenses. Cast iron saws should be preferred over aluminum models.
Few band saws come with several accessories and added features, which make them an attractive buy compared to other saws. All these extra features are not mandatory but they provide a level of convenience, which is great for handling even tough woodworking jobs with ease. Some of the convenience specific features include workspace light, quick blade release feature, and onboard storage.
Every power tool these days comes with safety mechanisms of some kind or the other. Some of the safety features that you can expect to get from the band saw are tension controller, pulley wheel brake, dust collector, etc. Some models of the brand come with their own unique patented safety features, so check out what you get.
We have discussed in detail about band saws, their uses, and factors to consider in order to purchase the best band saw for your needs. The review section should have given you insights on specific products. Make sure to take your time to understand your job requirements, product specifications, and how well of a job can the saw handle, and so on before making the right decision. A well-balanced saw which performs like an all-rounder should be ideal for most buyers. And don’t forget – always make sure to follow safety guidelines and precautions when handling power equipment.