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There’s more than one way to work on lumber or metal. In fact, the right saw to use when working on a woodworking project or metalworking project depends on the type of cuts you need to create.
A table saw is great for long, straight cuts. A lightweight portable table saw is even better. But if you want to cut curves, you’ll need to find the top band saw instead of a table saw. We’ve put together this comprehensive buying guide to help you find the right machine for your needs.
- Our Best Bandsaw Reviews
- Best Bandsaw Overall: JET 14″ Deluxe Pro Band Saw Kit
- Best Bandsaw for the Money: WEN 3962 Two-speed Band Saw with Worklight and Stand, 10″
- Best Cheap Band Saw: SKIL 2.5 Amp 9″ Band Saw
- Most Powerful Bandsaw: Grizzly G0555lx Deluxe Band Saw
- Best Entry Level Band Saw for Metal: WEN 3970 Metal-cutting Band Saw with Stand, 4″ x 6″
- Best Professional Bandsaw for Metal: Grizzly G0555LX Deluxe Bandsaw, 14’’
- Best for Intricate Cuts: Rikon 10-305 Bandsaw with Fence, 10-Inch
- Bandsaw Features and Considerations
Our Best Bandsaw Reviews
We put together a list of the best band saws, from least expensive to most expensive tools. As you might guess, you get more features and benefits at the top end of the price range. But those pricier tools aren’t always the top pick for every woodworker.
Best Bandsaw Overall: JET 14″ Deluxe Pro Band Saw Kit
You might feel some heart palpitations when you take a look at the price of the JET 14″ Pro Band Saw. With so many acceptable, considerably less expensive options out there for each user, why would anyone sink more than a grand into a band saw?
Well, for starters, the JET bandsaw is bigger than any of our other recommended products. It has a 15 by 15-inch cutting table and a offers really deep cutting of 12 inches. It has quick release tension and blade adjustments, so you aren’t left spending hours fine-tuning or fiddling with the saw.
In addition, this JET saw comes with a blade tracking window that makes it easy to check where you’re cutting. It also has ball bearing guides on the upper and lower work area, which help to ease friction and make sure you have a smoother cut.
The JET jwbs-14dxpro 14″ saw is powerful, containing a 1 1/4 horsepower motor. This is the most powerful one you can read about in our reviews of the best bandsaws. It also features a built-in retractable blade guard and a blade guide post with rack and pinion adjustment.
Like other floor models, the JET jwbs-14dxpro is made to last a long life with a durable and strong cast iron table, which ensure it will withstand years of regular use in a workshop. The machine has the ability to take a range of blade sizes, from 1/8 to 3/4 inch wide.
Although it can offer you up to 12 inches in cutting height, the saw is fully adjustable. That makes it a good pick for both larger cutting projects and smaller, more delicate ones too.
If you’re just a hobbyist, you’re probably not going to shell out for the JET tools. But if you’re running a full-on woodworking shop or are looking to take your cabinet or furniture making or another woodworking hobby to the next level, this can be the band saw that helps you get there.
- Power: 1 1/4 HP
- Weight: 258 pounds
- Large depth of cutting
- Built-in Retractable Blade Guard
- Sturdy cast iron frame construction
- Easy window tracking to view the blade
- Easy blade tension adjustment
- Floor model with storage in the base
- Blade guide post with rack and pinion adjustment
- Built in 12 Inch resaw capacity for cutting larger pieces of wood
- 2 speed poly v belt drive system
- Newly designed upper and lower cast iron frame for increased strength and rigidity
- Easy to view blade tracking window
Best Bandsaw for the Money: WEN 3962 Two-speed Band Saw with Worklight and Stand, 10″
If you’re ready to take your woodworking to the next level with the best value for your money, but still want an affordable saw option, the WEN 2 Speed Band Saw with Stand and Work Light, 10″ might be just the thing for you.
A sort of hybrid between a benchtop band saw model and a floor model, the Wen comes with a stand. It’s more compact than the average floor model, with a throat of 10 inches. It offers depth cutting of 6 inches and works with blades from 1/8 inch to 1/2 inch in blade width and 72 inches long.
While the SKIL saw is an option for complete beginners, the WEN Band Saw has features that will delight both newbies and more experienced woodworkers. It has a somewhat powerful, 3.5-amp motor, a miter gauge, a rip fence, a dust collection port, and a work light.
Along the 3-in-1 dust port, the rip fence and miter gauge, the WEN also comes with a 3/8 inch blade with 6 TPI (teeth per inch). You also have the option of choosing between two blade speeds when running the saw, 1520 feet per minute or 2620 fpm to get the job done.
One of the features that make the WEN not so great for absolute beginners is that it’s a bit picky when it comes to blade installation and adjustment. If you don’t get the tension on the blade just right when you put it in the saw, you’re not going to be happy with the results
It might take a bit of trial and error to get the tension right. That means it can be worth your while to do a few test runs and to adjust the blade after each test if you aren’t satisfied with the juice or the quality of the cut.
- Power: 3.5 amps
- Weight: 73 lbs
- Strong motor
- Rip fence for increase accuracy
- Decent performance
- Two blade speed options
- Incredible 5-year warranty
- 3.5 amp motor creates cuts up to six inches deep and 9-3/4 inches wide
- Uses 72-inch blades anywhere from 1/8 to 1/2 inches in size
- Spacious 14-1/8 x 12-1/2 inch work table bevels up to 45 degrees
- Operates at two speeds of either 1520 or 2620 FPM
Best Cheap Band Saw: SKIL 2.5 Amp 9″ Band Saw
The SKIL 9″ Band Saw is our favorite starter model for someone in a budget. This machine has been designed specifically with the needs of beginner woodworkers in mind. That means this machine has several features that allow you to make smooth, perfect cuts, even if it’s the first time you’ve ever used a power tool like this.
One of those features is the EZ View blade tracker, which helps you keep the blade aligned. The work table of this unit is also easy to adjust as needed, from 0 to 45 degrees.
To help guide you as you cut, the SKIL band saw has a rip fence as well as a miter gauge.
Along the rip fance and miter gauge, the SKIL model also includes several nice-to-have features, such as an LED light that illuminates the workspace. The LED isn’t a must-have unless you regularly work in quite dark or poorly lit areas.
Another nice feature is a 4-inch dust port that suctions away sawdust as you work. This dust port helps you keep the workspace neat and tidy. Again, that feature shouldn’t make or break your decision to get the SKIL saw but can tip the scales in its favor.
The best band saws work with blades measuring from 1/8-Inch to 3/8-Inch in thickness and from 59 1/4 to 59 1/2 inches long. This machine comes with a blade, but you might find that you want to install your own, better blade right out of the box.
Perhaps the most important thing to note about the SKIL band saw is that this machine is an entry-level product. If you’re looking for a high-powered saw or if you want something that will slice through hardwoods or metals like they are butter, you are going to be disappointed with this one.
But if you’re in the market for your first band saw and have a few small projects you want to try out, this is the saw for you.
- Motor Power: 2.5 amps
- Weight: 37.9 lbs
- Compact size
- Rip fence to guide your cuts
- Ideal for beginners
- Rip fence for straight, accurate cuts; 6 TPI band saw blade cuts through a variety of wood materials
- Articulating LED work light for better view of work piece and cut line
- Features a 1-1/2 inch dust port that keeps work area clear of dust
- Rack and pinion table adjustment for quick angle and height adjustments
Most Powerful Bandsaw: Grizzly G0555lx Deluxe Band Saw
The Grizzly Deluxe Bandsaw might be the band saw for you if you’re looking for more power, more durability, and a large cutting size. This machine has a 14-inch throat and a 6-inch cutting depth. The cutting table measures 14 by 14 inches and tilts 45 degrees one way and 10 degrees the other.
This Grizzly G0555lx Deluxe has a 1 HP motor that works at two speeds, 1800 FPMand 3100 FPM. This translates to an 11 amp motor when you plug the saw in to a 100 outlet, or a 5.5 amp motor when you plug this machine into a 220 outlet. The blade size for the saw is 93 1/2 inches and anywhere from 1/8 to 3/4 inch wide.
Size aside, what sets the Grizzly G0555lx apart from the others is its construction. While lower priced band tools might have some or mostly hard plastic components, you’re going to find sturdy and strong cast iron table and parts in this particular saw.
Its frame, table, and wheels are all made from cast iron. Plus, those cast iron wheels are computer balanced. The durable construction means you’re going to get the best cuts possible from the band saw, without irregularities or unevenness.
Like other band saw models, the Grizzly G0555lx does include a dust collection port to keep your workspace clean. But the dust collection port might not be as deep as you’d expect, so you might find yourself having to reattach the hose more frequently than you’d like.
Despite this little flaw in the dust collectin port, the Grizzly G0555lx is a good pick if you’re looking to up your band saw game and are looking for a vertical saw that cuts a range of different types of wood.
- Motor Power: 1 HP
- Weight: 229 lbs
- High powered 1 HP motor
- Decent size
- More blade options than lower priced models
- Cast iron frame construction
- Ball bearing blade guides
- Deluxe heavy-duty stand
- Upper and lower ball bearing blade guides
- All ball bearing construction
- Includes 3/8-Inch blade
Best Entry Level Band Saw for Metal: WEN 3970 Metal-cutting Band Saw with Stand, 4″ x 6″
While vertical band saws can be great for woodworkers, if you’re looking to work metal, a horizontal model might better meet your needs. The WEN 3970 Metal-Cutting Band Saw can go through pipes of up to 4.5 inches in diameter. It also cuts rectangles measuring up to 4 by 6 inches.
It works on steel, copper, aluminum and brass pipes and has three blade speed options: 80, 120, or 200 FPM.
Perhaps most importantly of all, the WEN horizontal model can easily convert into a vertical one, giving you the most range and flexibility, not to mention, the best bang for your buck.
To convert the saw to a vertical model, people just need to lift the saw head up and reposition the blade. There’s also an attached work table you can use to position the material you’re cutting.
In the horizontal position, the saw features a beveling vise that lets you go through metal at an angle from 0 to 60 degrees. If you’re cutting a pipe, you can make 45-degree cuts in materials as thick as 3.5 inches. When cutting square materials, you can go through 3.5 by 3.5-inch materials at 45 degrees.
If you’re considering the WEN horizontal model, it’s important to note that it’s best for smaller jobs. If you’ve got lots of big, thick metal pipes to go through, you’re not going to be happy with this one.
- Motor Power: 4.6 amps
- Weight: 108 lbs
- Cuts horizontally and vertically
- Made for metal
- Flexible cutting area and size
- Automatic shut-off turns the band saw off after a cut has been completed
- Capable of operating in both vertical and horizontal positions
- Adjust the blade speed to 80, 120 or 200 feet per minute for compatibility with a variety of metals
- Beveling vise helps create cuts anywhere from 0° to 60°
Best Professional Bandsaw for Metal: Grizzly G0555LX Deluxe Bandsaw, 14’’
The Grizzly G0555LX is a must-have tool for large metal workshops that handle precision jobs. The Grizzly G0555LX saw features a 1 horsepower motor powerful enough for most light metal and woodwork applications.
In terms or durability, the sturdy power tool features a durable cast iron construction that provides large surface support and exceptional stability regardless of the material being cut. This model also comes with a miter gauge that features an aluminum fence for precise measurements.
Moreover, its magnifying window provides seamless calibrations and adjustments, while its computer balanced cast iron wheels allow for improved stability. The Grizzly model also provides an impressive 12-14 inches resaw capacity, thanks to its large cutting depth and powerful motor.
Additionally, the heavy-duty power tool combines excellent performance with superior engineering to make sure you get accurate results. There is also a dust port to help you keep your working environment tidy. However, it may take you a while to calibrate and set up this saw due to its size.
Although the G0555LX saw may be bulky, it’s an excellent power tool that can help you handle all your woodworking and metal projects with ease.
- Power: 5.5-amp motor
- Weight: 247 lbs
- Solid cast iron frame construction
- Impressive performance
- Large cutting capacity
- Powerful motor
- Sturdy tall fence
- Aluminum fence for close cuts
- Lower and upper thrust bearings and ball bearing blade guides
- Computer balanced wheels with rubber tires
- All ball-bearing construction
- Item may ship in more than one box and may arrive separately
- All ball bearing construction. Cast iron frame. Precision-ground cast iron table.
- CSA certified meeting CSA C22
- Computer balanced cast iron wheels with rubber tires.
Best for Intricate Cuts: Rikon 10-305 Bandsaw with Fence, 10-Inch
The Rikon 10-305 comes with a 10-inch wheel diameter and 9-5/8 x 4-5/8 inches cutting capacity. With this dimension, you can go through wide and thick stock with great ease. It’s also solidly built as the entire frame consists of steel for added durability.
Its 21-inch base also provides a large working area for maximum stability. The solid steel construction does a great job of reducing vibrations to give you accuracy and stability when using this saw. The Rikon 10-305 also has a generous table that can accommodate any type of material.
Additionally, its thick table offers low resistance, while stock can glide easily. Power is not the strongest feature of this saw as it comes with a smaller 1/3 horsepower. However, the Rikon 10-305 is still adequate for slicing through high-density material such as metal sheet at the lowest speed, and low-density materials such as wood.
Overall, the Rikon 10-305 model is an excellent product for creating intricate cuts in plastic or wood. The Rikon 10-305 also provides unmatched precision when making contoured cuts in materials.
- Motor Power: 3.5 amps
- Weight: 76 lbs
- You can tilt the table for versatility
- Solid steel frame construction
- Large cast-iron work table
- 2780 FT/MIN blade speed
- Adjustable guidepost
- 9-5/8 x 4-5/8 inches cutting capacity
- 21-inch base made of steel for maximum stability
- 2.5 inches dust port to keep your cuts clean
- Solid Steel Design- The 10-305 is a scaled down version of the popular 10-345 and 10-325. Frame is...
- Cast Iron Table-Large 13-3/4-Inch by 12-1/2-Inch sturdy work surface, a feature not typically found...
- Rip Fence- A quality rip fence is now included. Easily removed to do free hand work
- Motor - 1/3HP motor provides ample power for cutting bowl and pen blanks
Bandsaw Features and Considerations
A blade guide makes sure the blade remains vertical, square, and does not track or turn when cutting. The guide also consists of three parts: one thrust support and two sides support behind the blade.
The thrust support, in turn, makes sure you don’t push the blade backward when making tough cuts, while the side blade guides prevent twisting and side to side movement. A good blade guide is essential as it will help you keep the control of your blade and quality of your cuts at a high level.
Blade tension is also crucial as the blade tenson will allow you to set the tension on your blade to the right PSI tension. If you set the blade tension too high, the saw blade will wear out within a short period and even break.
On the other hand, the blade may not be straight due to deflecting off track if you set the tension too low. That is why getting the right tension is crucial. However, setting the right tension can be difficult if you don’t have experience setting it.
This is another essential feature that will help you track your cuts easily. A good tracking on the best band saws should provide you with an easy to view window to enhance and speed up your blade tracking experience.
A Blade tracking window will also help you monitor the lifespan of your blade and pinpoint as well as prevent any damages from occurring. However, remember your safety: you should keep your eyes out of a window while cutting to keep them safe.
Why Should You Consider Band Saws?
It might surprise you to learn that the best band saws are controversial pieces of equipment. Plenty of woodworkers, particularly those who are all about doing things purely by hand, claim that it’s an unnecessary piece of equipment.
But then there are those who love their best band saws. These folks would argue that not only should you invest in a top band saw, but that a band saw should be one of the first power tools to buy when you’re getting into woodworking.
Who to believe? Well, it helps to understand what a band saw can do. What sets a band saw apart from other cutting saws like a table saw, is that it allows you to make freehand cuts, according to Bob Vila.
Beyond making too much freehand cuts, a band saw lets you do a lot of neat woodworking tricks, according to Craftsy. You can use it to create veneer, resawing a board to get two thinner, matching panels, and to reset the edge of an uneven piece of wood. You can also use this type of tool to cut shaped legs and arms, and round table tops.
Most notably, a band saw doesn’t have to be used for wood. Some styles are designed to go through metal, for example. You can also swap out the blade on a woodworking saw with a blade designed to cut easily into metal.
Types of Bandsaws
You can group band saws into several distinct categories. First, there are table top or benchtop tools. These are on the small side and need to rest on a bench or table.
Next, there are floor-model band saws. These are larger, usually about the height of an average person. They are self-supporting and don’t need a work table or bench. Floor-model band saws tend to cost a lot more than benchtop models.
Size isn’t the only factor that determines the type. The position of the blade also matters.
Usually, band saws used to cut wood feature a vertical blade. When cutting, you guide the wood around the band saw blade, turning and positioning it depends on the shape and size of the cut you make.
If you are looking for the best metal band saw, you might be in the market for a horizontal band saw. While the material moves when you use a vertical band saw, when you use a horizontal saw, the material stays stationary.
Instead, the horizontal blade works over top of it, slicing its way down. You might compare the action of the best horizontal band saw to a hand saw. The blades move back and forth over the top of the material, eventually slicing all the way through the pipe.
Typically, horizontal band saws cut more substantial pieces of metal, such as big pipes, while vertical saws are reserved for small, more pliable materials. You can find horizontal band saws that are designed for home or shop use, though.
What Makes a Band Saw Unique?
It’s not just the type of cutting it performs that makes a band saw different from other cutting tools out there. It’s also the design of the equipment.
While circular saws and table saws often feature a round blade which has a sharp edge or teeth all around its circumference, a band saw’s blade is more like a metal ribbon. The blade gets wrapped around two or three wheels, which guide it up and down (or side to side, in the case of a horizontal band saw).
If you’re having trouble picturing how that works, think of a film reel or classic reel to reel tape player. Except, replace the tape with a blade. The blade spins around the wheels, moving up and down or side to side, so that it can cut through metal or wood.
Features of a Bandsaw
Along with deciding between a table top or floor-model and a horizontal or vertical band saw, there are a few other features that render the riser block obsolete and accessories users might want to consider.
- Throat. The throat of a band saw refers to the amount of space between the band saw blade and the body of the saw, vertically. How large the throat is lets you know how big of a piece of wood you can cut with the saw. Often, benchtop saws have a throat of 9 or 10 inches. These models can have considerably larger throats.
- Cut Depth. Don’t confuse throat with cutting depth. While throat is the up and down measurement, the cut depth is the distance from the table to the blade guides. It lets you know how thick of a piece of wood you can cut, otherwise known as the saw’s cutting capacity.
- Table Tilt. You should be able to position the table of a band saw anywhere from 0 degrees to the right (flat) to 45 degrees to the right.
- Rip fence and miter gauge. A rip fence and miter gauge can guide you as you cut wood, keeping your cuts relatively straight and even.
- Motor. The more powerful your saw’s motor, the easier it will slice through wood or metal. Usually, band saws for homeowners top out at about 1 horsepower. You might find a tool with enough power designed for professional use.
Price and Cost for Band Saws
You’re likely to see band saws available at a range of different price points. Whether it’s worth it or not to shell out the big bucks for a pricier model depends on your needs and how you’ll use the saw.
If you’re a hobbyist, who wants to make freehand cuts in wood, a lower-priced, benchtop machine will most likely be perfectly adequate for your needs. But if you’re looking for the top metal band saw, you might find yourself shelling out a bit more than a woodworking hobbyist.
The top band saw for a professional woodworker or for a hobbyist who’s hoping to improve his or her woodworking game is going to come at a higher cost. It’s up to you to weigh the features and benefits of each tool to determine which is the top bandsaw for the money.
No bandsaw is going to meet every person’s needs. In fact, depending on your projects and hobbies, you might find that two band saws are better than one. With that being said, we’ve tried to represent every need with a solid recommendation in this buying guide, so read carefully before you buy a new one.
Whether you’re looking for a tool for woodworking or metal projects, knowing which saws offer the greatest cutting power and flexibility and which ones are worth the high price tag can help you make the right choice for your shop.