Best Band Saws Reviewed in Detail
Band saws are a must have tool for a broad range of professionals such as handymen, craftsmen, carpenters, professional woodworkers and enthusiastic Do-It-Yourselfers in all parts of the world. Their precision and usefulness are a few of the factors that most endears them to these groups of people. Top models feature very intricate designs and offer way more impressive features compared to cheaper models. The successful completing of a cutting project, regardless of whether it is crosscutting, curve-cutting or ripping, rests heavily on the build quality, performance, reliability and convenience of your selected band saw. Which inevitably brings us to the question of choosing the right band saw for your project.
While there are several factors you can take into account, besides the few ones mentioned above, your primary consideration needs to be the material you intend to cut. The design and engineering of band saws make them ideal for cutting through different materials a few of which are: metal, meat, glass, plastic, and most commonly, wood. As a consequence, it would be important to thoroughly evaluate your every day needs to allow for making an informed choice. In this post, we do our best to walk you through the best available band saws to help you make an informed decision.
Our Top 3 Picks
- DeWalt DWM120K
- SKIL 3386 9-Inch
- WEN 3962 10-Inch
Criteria for Choosing the Best Band Saws
Given that the frame is solely responsible for holding all the components of a band saw in one place, it pays to go for the best the market is offering. Compromising or settling for a cheaper frame will definitely be expensive in the long run. There is a high likelihood that the cheaper versions utilize either wood or plastic in some of the most vital parts meaning that in case you accidentally drop the band saw, it will not withstand the consequences of the impact. Chipping and denting will also occur much faster even with regular use. For perspective, top model band saws feature either a cast iron frame or a welded steel frame. The advantage of choosing a welded steel frame band saws over their cast iron counterparts is that they are equipped with high power motors with much greater horsepower levels.
Size of Motor
A majority of band saws have motors ranging between 1/2-horsepower and 1-1/2-horsepower. A higher horsepower automatically translates to a greater cutting efficiency since it will not have to struggle to get the job done. It is perfectly reasonable not to know your power requirement, which makes it all the more important that you understand the purpose of which you will be using the saw. A motor with a horsepower of between 1/2 and 1 is perfect for cutting through soft woods and other types of timber commonly utilized for crafting. More demanding work, on the other hand, such as cutting wood for building cabinets, will necessitate the use of a stronger motor with a horsepower around the neighborhoods of 1.5 to prevent the motor from burning out. Several band saw offer a variable speed functionality which is nonetheless only important if you are considering sawing through tougher materials like metals and PVC.
Band saws have wheels both at the top and at the bottom and are made from cast iron or alloy. Most professional woodworkers and expert Do-It-Yourselfers prefer cast iron wheels over alloy wheels, because of their ease of generating momentum which stabilizes the cutting process and greats assists in compensating for the inadequate optimal power in some band saws. Aligning the wheel is essential for the optimal performance of the band saw and takes just a couple of seconds. A typical wheel is spoked. Wheels with a greater number of spokes are better at reducing vibration and therefore ensuring a quieter and smoother sawing.
Band saws that offer optimal performance are those capable of cutting at speeds of approximately 3,500 Feet per Minute. A few bands have a variable speed feature allowing you to choose a slower or higher speed setting depending on the stock you intend to cut. You however, have to contend with the need to change the belt every time you change speeds and frankly, there is no big difference between the efficiency of these two speeds to warrant that kind of work.
The three fool proof ways of achieving a straight track are making sure you have exhaustively fine-tuned your saw, that the blade has the right level of tension and that you use a blade earmarked for straight cuts. Using a blade to cut curves tends to leave it tracking to one side in addition to altering the set of its teeth. A saw’s frame should be capable of supporting the 15000 Pounds per Square Inch required a blade measuring 1/2-inches. Luckily, most band saws have handy knobs for adjusting the tension. To reduce the drag suffered by blades while slicing through wood, ensure the resultant saw dust is reduced in a quick and efficient fashion by selecting the most appropriate tooth settings.
10 The Best Band Saws
1. DeWalt DWM120K
It packs incredible power. It has a high power 10-Amp motor capable of effectively and smoothly handling the toughest and most complicated cutting, cross-cutting, and ripping jobs, you are going to throw its way. Running on such a powerful motor, it is no surprise that the band saw effortlessly achieve Strokes per Minute of between 100 and 350. The band saw similarly comes with an impressively deep cutting capacity of 5 x 5-inches for circular objects like pipes and 5 x 4.75-inches for 4-sided materials and very fast speeds that allow you to finish your project within a fraction of the time it would take most other models.
Efficiency is the middle name of the DeWalt DWM120K seeing as it a highly customizable tool. You have the option of adjusting the speed to a higher setting if you need to complete a project much faster or choose a lower setting if you are more concerned with precision. Another factor that will dictate your preferred speed is the type of material you intend to cut, whether it is wood, plastic, or metal. The band saw incorporates excellent blade tracking ensuring all the pieces and components are properly aligned leading to the slow wearing of the blades, saving you a significant amount of resources and time in the process. Replacing a worn-out blade takes a matter of seconds as all you have to do is utilize the lever which significantly simplifies and eases the whole process.
To finish off, the band saw comes with a useful LED light which, other than effectively illuminating the cutting line, keeps you from coming to harm when using the machine in the dark or under poorly-lit conditions. The factory-fitted hang hook makes it possible for you to hand the band saw at any place you deem to be most accessible. Lastly, you get a limited 36-month warranty from the day of purchase to cater for the replacement or repair of parts or components that malfunction naturally within this period.
A powerful 10-Amp motor ideal for light to heavy-duty operations
Easy monitoring of blade tracking
Convenient 4-inch dust port for clean cutting line
One has to separately buy the mobility kit
2. SKIL 3386
Very few band saws have the flexibility of the SKIL 3386. The saw's aluminium table, measuring between 12 and 11-3/4-inches, comes with a tilting adjustment capability making it possible for you to cover between 0 and 45-degrees to make that challenging and complex cut. Since it is a 9-Inch machine, it does not encounter even the slightest problems cutting through 3.5-inch wooden planks or hardwoods measuring 1.5 by 6-inches. You will not believe how easily the band saw cut through several smaller pieces of wood all from 3.5-inches.
There are a bunch of other equally important features aimed at making the band saw a more versatile and easy-to-use tool. Its holders, for instance, are made from hard rubber to securely hold down the workpiece. The machine comes with a 1-1/2-inch dust port that does a wonderful job clearing dust and other debris from your cutting piece, leaving your workstation dust-free and clean. There is a precision-guided LED light ensuring you do the cutting precisely and correctly by illuminating your workstation and cutting path in case you are working in a dark setting. The SKIL brand deeply appreciates the significance of accuracy when it comes to making smooth cuts. To make the dream a reality, the band saw comes bundled with a smooth rip fence to ensure you don't transcend the cutting line, hence enhancing your productivity.
It is not just the SKIL 3386 9-Inch band saw and its vital internal components that feature an industrial-grade construction. The blades the machine uses are made to last for a substantial amount of time and show minimal signs of wearing off even after repeated use. The wide availability of SKIL 3386 compatible blades greatly increases your options, plus the machine comes with a Quick Release features allowing you to replace worn out blades easily.
Powerful motor for deep and wide cuts
Has a useful LED light for extra illumination
Lightweight and portable
Poor quality blades
3. WEN 3962 1
iT comes with a fence that sits securely on top of the table and incorporates a measuring system you can use in ensuring the perfect alignment of things to allow for repeated cutting of thin pieces. Furthermore, the band saw has a sufficient 6-Inch clearance to allow for resawing of large pieces. It is worth noting that the performance of the motor does not suffer any more than is necessary even when it is handling larger, heavier pieces. The band saw is capable of cutting boards with a depth of 6-inches and a height of 9 3/4-inches using 72-inch blades ranging from between 1/8-inch to 1/2-inch.
iT has a few drawbacks worth bringing to your attention. Even though the saw has an LED lighting for providing you with better illumination when working under poorly-lit conditions, its location is not helpful at all making it less than useless. Additionally, you have to exercise extra caution when setting up and using the resistance knob as it lacks markings for use as reference points. Lastly, for you to change speeds, you will have to loosen the motor and manually move the motor to another location to achieve the speed you desire. Other than these setbacks, the WEN 3962 band saw is a joy to work with, providing you with unrivalled exceptional and reliable performance.
An additional feature that makes the WEN 3962 band saw stand out are the 3-in-1 dust port which comes handy for keeping debris and other dust particles away from the blade by simply attaching a shop vacuum. Should your unit suffer normal wear and tear within the first 24 months of purchase, you are covered by warranty and is therefore guaranteed of out-of-pocket repair or part replacement.
Variable speed feature for versatility
Powerful 3.5-Amp motor for exceptional performance
3-in-1 dust port to keen workplace and stock clean
Comes with useful LED light for additional illumination
Difficulty making adjustments and blade changes
4. DeWalt DCS371B
In spite of its compact and small stature, the DeWalt DCS371B band saw does not offer you slobby performance. It has a high power motor that delivers astounding speeds of 540 Feet per Minute which means it cuts through pipes, plastics, metal, and wood with the blink of an eye. The band saw has a maximum cutting capacity of 2-1/2-inches which frankly pales in comparison to that of its bigger brother, the DWM120K. The band saw nonetheless offsets this difference by providing you with a larger face plate which is of great assistance in securely and tightly holding the workpiece. Like most band saws in this class, the DCS371B is equipped with a useful LED light to enable you keenly monitor your progress while cutting different pieces in places where lighting is a problem. You have a very clear line of sight with this band saw since your hands will be away from the centre enabling you to see the blade at all times.
Powerful motor for excellent performance
Minimal cutting depth
A little heavy
5. Rikon 10-305
The solid-steel frame of the band saw stops it from bucking whenever the engine is started and also does an impressive job keeping the subsequent vibrations to a minimum. The band saw has a cutting capacity of between 4-inches and 5/8-inches, allowing veterans and beginners alike to achieve a very price cutting. Further proof of the ingenious craftsmanship and engineering of the Rikon 10-305 is its intuitive and user-friendly design that enables novices to manage challenging and impressive cutting within a few hour of familiarizing themselves with it.
It is fitted with a sufficiently large cast-iron table coming in at 13 3/4 x 12 1/2-inches, for supporting your workpiece while you’re doing the cutting. To keep the user safe from harm, the band saw comes with a safety paddle switch that promptly stops it from running when it is not engaged. You can change the height of the guidepost by simply turning a knob and also swap cutting blades quickly and effortlessly. Your workstation will always remain spotlessly clean with the machine’s four-inch dust port that instantly whisks away the dust generated by cutting.
The band saw has its fair share of flaws, like any other machine. In spite of its greatness, it lacks the hassle-free operation of the other top models on this list. For instance, most professional woodworkers and Do-It-Yourselfers have noted with concern that it takes a great deal of time and effort to assemble the band saw. Part of the reason is the difficulty of ensuring a perfect perpendicular alignment the cutting blade and the surface of the table.
Consequently, most novices will have to incur the extra cost of seeking professional assistance in putting the band saw together, which means you cannot start cutting immediately the band saw is delivered. Nevertheless, after successfully assembling the unit, you will have a great time using the unit for several years to come. And true to its name, the band saw is bundled with an aluminium rip fence allowing you to ensure the stability and tidiness of your cuts, which eliminates the need to purchase one separately.
Ease of assembling and use
Removable rip fence
Lacks LED light
6. JET JWBS-14DXPRO
Other than durability and strength, the other important highlight of the JET JWBS-14DXPRO band saw is its surprisingly high blade speed. The brand saw has an astoundingly powerful 1.25-horsepower Totally Enclosed Fan Cooled (TEFC) motor with a variable speed feature allowing to select choose speeds of between 1500 Feet per Minute and 3000 Feet per Minute. As these figures indicate, the brand saw has all the power you need to finish the most demanding and complex cutting tasks you may have. Unlike other brand saws, this one has its motor mounted on the lower saw frame instead of the base cabinet, thereby making it relatively easy to adjust the tension belt and change speeds. Speeds of 3000 FPM is adequate for most of the cutting you intend to do, but for tougher applications such as resawing, 1500 FPM is recommended.
It is no slob when it comes to performance. The band saw has the power to cut through different materials with the utmost ease, irrespective of their density or whether they are metal, wood or plastic. Its versatility is further informed by the ease with which it cuts planks with a width of 13.5 inches and height of 12 inches. The design allows you to raise or lower the level of the blade to give you adequate space for laying materials of varying densities beneath for cutting.
In spite of the rigidness, its table is nevertheless quite flexible. The table measures 15 inches x 15 inches and is adjustable to 10-degrees to the left and 45-degrees to the right making turning it around and changing its direction to an angle of your choice very easy. To make the brand saw even more versatile, the manufacturers included ball bearing guides above and below the table. The ball bearing guides do an amazing job reducing the severity of friction and consequently increases the shelf-life of the brand in addition to enhancing performance.
Ease of putting together
Ease of replacing blades
High-end motor with minimal vibration for smooth, quiet operation
Poor quality band gauge
7. Rikon 10-325
For optimal performance, it comes with a commercial-grade rip fence and a re-sawing bar which, among other things, ensure you don’t cut past the cutting line and that all the parts of the machine are aligned accordingly for precise cutting. It goes without saying that a proper alignment is essential both for the smooth working of the band and for keeping yourself safe throughout the cutting. The fact that the machine’s wheels feature an all cast-iron construction and are precision-balanced means that not only will your blade cut uniformly through the workpiece, but also that it will have an enhanced stability which in turn increase your productivity.
Using it is easy and straightforward even for beginners who have never handled a band saw before. The machine comes with a useful viewing window to enable you to monitor the blades while you're setting them up and also when they are in operation. There is a Quick Release Blade Tension that allows for the easy and quick changing of worn out blades in addition to changing the tension on blades by either tightening or loosening them to match your requirements. The dust port comes handy for removing dust and other debris generated by cutting, leaving you with a clear view and clean workpiece.
High-end rip fence for precise cuts
Indiscernible vibrations for smooth, quiet cutting
Impressive cutting capacity of 13-inches
Confusing instructions in user manual
8. Craftsman BAS230
It has a powerful 0.25-horsepower 2.5-Amp motor providing abundant power at 2460 Rotations per Minute for tackling a broad array of cutting tasks such as crosscutting, ripping in addition to other light-duty applications such as resawing hardwoods. The tool has a blade measuring 3/8-inch in width and Teeth per Inch of 6, meaning that it will give your wood a professional-quality cut and a considerably cleaner kerf. The band saw furthermore has a sufficiently wide and durable table made from cast-alloy meaning that it has no problems at all supporting bigger workpiece. Another feature that really sets it apart is the fact that the surface of its table is completely ribbed, which makes the brand saw a practical tool by being of great assistance in keeping sawdust away from the workpiece. So, apart from having a cleaner workpiece, your workstation will be similarly clean and conducive.
It utilizes ball-bearing thrust bearings and steel pin friction side guides both at the top and below the table to make the running blade stable. A majority of woodworkers and expert Do-It-Yourselfers prefer steel pin friction side guides over ball-bearing thrust bearings due to the relative ease of adjusting them. Furthermore, compared to ball-bearing thrust bearings, they perform a better job of making the blade stable throughout cutting. However, the plastic guide post on which the upper guides of the band saw mount are prone to deflecting with relative ease and are therefore likely to break if they are hit by a significant blow.
The Craftsman BAS230 is quite easy and convenient to use. It comes with a bunch of features aimed at making your work effortless and fun. The Height Adjustment feature, for instance, allows you to increase the height of the table up to 3 5/8-inches making it possible to execute the most complex cuts. Additionally, flexibility can be attained by tilting the table to a maximum of 45-degrees.
Ultra-strong and durable and welded frame
High-end motor for effortless cutting
Height adjustable feature
An expensive machine
9. POWERTEC BS900
The BS900 is fitted with a powerful 0.5-horsepower, 2.5-Amp induction motor drawing a 120V charge and capable of effortlessly powering through light to medium-duty cutting applications. Considering that it is a 9-incher, it can achieve cuts of approximately three inches. With the tables' dimensions coming in at 31-1/2 x 18 x 12-inches, you have plenty of space for holding the largest work pieces. The tool provides you with a quick blade release functionality allowing you to quickly change or replace blades without necessitating the use of any extra special tools. As you would expect, tilting the table to up to 45-degree is possible with the inclusion of rack and pinion adjustment feature. Subsequently, you can accomplish all complex and challenging cuts from any position with less straining on your part.
It has a bunch of other additional features aimed at making it a convenient use. One such feature is the ergonomic design that significantly increases your working experiencing by ensuring the handle are comfortable as they have rubberized, soft grips to encourage continued use. Additionally, it is fitted with a keyed switch for preventing the motor from accidentally and causing you any harm. The blade tracking window is a great addition helping you to be aware of the position of the blade at all times so that you don't bring your hand anywhere near its path. All these features, plus much more, when properly followed, makes the BS900 one of the safest and user-friendly band saws you can get.
In all, it is optimized for light to medium-duty projects and for those who need value for their money. Its compact and lightweight design make it an easily maneuverable and flexible tool for cutting, cross-cutting, ripping, curve-cutting, and re-sawing woods, plastic and even metal. Assembling the machine takes a matter of seconds, and it takes up little storage space. Its motor is powerful enough to seamlessly cut through wood to an impressive depth of 3-inches. All these you are provided at an affordable price.
Ideal for light to medium-duty
Offers a smooth and quiet operation
Great control for precise cutting
Offers versatility with its adjusting table
Less power motor
Not ideal for heavy-duty cutting
10. Laguna Tools MBAND 1412-175
It offers you a generously large table measuring 21 by 16-inches for securely holding all your cutting pieces and unleashing your imagination. Because of the incredible stability of the table, you can readily tilt it up to 45-degree without suffering any stability problems. The manufacturer's polishing of the table's surface ensures that it offers very little friction which consequently enhances your productivity and manoeuvrability. The band saw has the same expensive guides normally found on more expensive band saw models.
The guides above the table are of great assistance when you are resawing. The Laguna Tools 1412 band saw comes with a fence which can flip upside-down if you want to achieve greater flexibility required for performing rip cuts. The machine is compatible with 14-inch blades, obviously, and the incorporation of a Quick Release Blade Tensioner greatly eases and simplifies the process of changing or increasing the tension of the blades. You can further increase your efficiency while cutting through different materials by automatically switching to a more suitable blade.
It incorporates a 4-inch dust port conveniently positioned near the guides for the effective removal of dust particles and other debris generated by cutting from the machine, ensuring your view of the cutting is not obstructed in any way. Furthermore, the design of the machine, specifically the addition of heavyweight polyurethane wheels, significantly reduces the severity of vibrations and hence ensure you have a quieter and smooth operation. The fact that it comes with a throat depth of 2-7/8 by ½-inches and is constructed entirely out of steel gives you the impression that it is quite big while in fact, it features a relatively compact and lightweight design. Because of this depth, cutting thick stocks of wood, metal, or plastic will feel like driving a hot knife through a piece of cake.
In all, whenever you are buying a machine you intend to use for a protracted period, never let your choice be influenced by price. In the case of Laguna Tools 1412, you are guaranteed to get the adaptability and ruggedness that every carpenter, woodworker, and DIYers look for in a machine.
High power 1-3/4-HP motor
Quick Release System for adjustment and replacement of blades
4-inch dust ports for a clean working environment
Top-notch build quality
Premium price tag
Poor quality blade
Q: Given the surprisingly fast speeds of the band saws, how do I stay safe when using one?
A: Your first concern whenever you are using a tool of any kind is safety. In the case of band saws, make sure your hands and arms are nowhere close to the cutting line. With typical speeds of 3500 Feet per Minute, losing focus for just a second could lead to the loss of a finger or the entire hand. Throughout your working duration, make a conscious decision to keep the hands on both sides of the cutting line. If your work piece is small, hold it with both hands. Lastly, wear a suitable apron, ear protectors in case you’re cutting metal and eye goggle to protect your eyes from sawdust and other cutting debris.
Q: What are the tips for using and maintain a band saw?
A: The proper use of a band saw is hinged on getting the adjustment correct. Before using the tool, ensure it is sufficiently fine-tuned and that the blade and the guides are in perfect alignment. The only way of making sure if everything is properly aligned is by closing the guard, switching on the machine and observing the tracking of the blade. If there is no contact between the back of the blade and the rear of the blade, then you are set and ready to start cutting. Most band saws offer hassle-free maintenance. Nevertheless, give your band saw a thorough cleaning to get rid of dust and other debris before storing it for future use.
It doesn’t matter what brand saw you choose. Of greater importance is understanding that the first step to buying a most suitable band saw is knowing your needs. Will you be using the machine to cut through softwood, hardwood, metal, plastic, or meat? The next step is familiarizing yourself with your chosen model. Things such as setting it up, using it properly and carrying out maintenance should be a hassle-free activity. Lastly, we cannot highlight enough the significance of keeping yourself safe from any harm by wearing the right clothing and gear. Ear protectors, gloves, appropriate shoes and goggles should be worn at all times when operating a band saw.