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Scroll saws are an integral part of any tool collection, allowing you to make clean cuts and carve intricate details with extreme accuracy. The most important feature of a scroll saw it its ability to let you make very tight and accurate curved cuts.
If you don’t mind the analogy, whereas a jigsaw is more like a hatchet, a scroll saw is like a scalpel. You need a scroll saw to make precise, accurate cuts across a variety of surfaces.
We’ll start by sharing some things to keep in mind if you’re planning on buying a new model or upgrading your old one. We also provide our selections for the best scroll saw available.
- Our Top Scroll Saw Reviews
- Best Scroll Saw Overall: Dewalt DW788 1.3 Amp 20” Variable Speed
- Best Scroll Saw for the Money: Shop Fox W1713 16” Variable Speed
- Best Scroll Saw for Beginners: WEN 3920 16” Two-Direction Variable Speed
- General International Power Products 16″
- Dremel Ms20 Moto-Saw Variable Speed Compact
- Scroll Saw Features and Considerations
Our Top Scroll Saw Reviews
The right scrolling saw for you will depend on your specific needs and budget. Below, we provide our comprehensive scroll saw reviews. Since a lot of the features depend on whether you’re a beginner or more advanced user, we’ve broken our reviews out accordingly.
You’ll find our pick for a top rated cheap scroll saw, along with the best overall option. Our star rating is 1-5, and is based on the following factors: saw power, precision, versatility, and features.
Best Scroll Saw Overall: Dewalt DW788 1.3 Amp 20” Variable Speed
The Dewalt DW788 Saw is one of the best scroll saws available on the market. It’s a bit pricier than other options, but it also offers speed, silence, and accuracy.
The design of the Dewalt DW788 arm is the main reason for its impressive cutting capabilities. A double parallel-link arm design helps to reduce vibration and noise as you work, allowing you to create more accurate cuts.The machine’s arm is also able to move for easier operation. The arm lifts so that blades can be easily threaded through materials, allowing you to make interior cuts. It also pivots from the back of the saw to the front, minimizing movement for smoother operation.
This is a large reason that the Dewalt is the highest rated scrolling saw model on our list. No cut is too tough for this saw. Professionals consistently choose this Dewalt for its extremely precise cutting capabilities.
- Smooth and accurate
- Double parallel-link arm
- Adjustable arm and table
- Tool-free blade changes
- Cast iron base table
- Extremely sturdy
The front of the saw’s liftable arm is home to its dust blower, power switch, speed adjustment panel, and blade-tensioning lever. This allows you to make necessary adjustments without having to move the machine. A tool-free blade clamp lets you change out blades quickly and easily. It takes just seconds to switch your tool in between cuts, helping you to work more efficiently. The mechanism is also stronger than in models such as the Shop Fox W1713.
Unlike other models such as the General International Power Products or the Shop Fox, the Dewalt DW788 has an oversized 20” cast iron base table that’s big enough to support larger-scale projects.
This large table serves multiple purposes. First, it gives you a larger cutting space to work through your cuts. Perhaps more importantly, though, is that its mass helps to reduce vibrations, making your cuts more accurate.
- Throat Depth: 20″
- Motor Power: 1.3 amps
- Weight: 56 lbs
This saw’s table is also adjustable, beveling 45 degrees to both the left and right to make angled cuts easy from any direction. While this isn’t an essential feature, it adds a lot of convenience. You’re less likely to have to go grab your Mitre Saw as you do your work.
Unfortunately, this table’s larger size also means that it takes up a significant portion of most standard garages. It’s also heavy as well, weighing over fifty pounds. The Dewalt DW788 Saw might not be the best choice for someone with limited floor space.
No doubt – in our testing, the Dewalt DW788 is by far the best scroll saw. You’ll pay a pretty penny for it, but you’ll get an amazing and versatile
- Double parallel link arm design dramatically reduces vibration and noise for extremely accurate cuts
- Exclusive tool free blade clamps allow blade changes in seconds. Depth of Cut (inches): 2 inch
- On off switch, electronic variable speed, flexible dust blower, and blade tensioning lever all...
- Arm design pivots from back of the saw to front, shortening the arm movement for smoother, quieter...
Best Scroll Saw for the Money: Shop Fox W1713 16” Variable Speed
Like the WEN 3920, the Shop Fox W1713 Saw is another one of the top saws for scroll work that you can find on the market today. It includes variable speed control to let you cut seamlessly through different materials and accepts both pinned and pinless blades.
- Moderately priced
- Variable speed control
- Compatible with both pinless and unpinned blades
- Sturdy construction
- Cast iron base table
- Adjustable holding shoe
- Two-way dust control system
- Flexible work light included
The machine’s pinless connector can be difficult to work with, unfortunately. The mechanism can be finicky, making it difficult to change out blades. It’s also not designed to hold up as well as the rest of the saw and is prone to breaking.
Fortunately, the rest of the machine is much sturdier. The arm is thick enough to withstand relatively heavy use, and the table is made of strong cast iron. Many connections that are weaker on other models are also made of heavy metal material. This is a great metal cutting saw option.
If you want to hold your material in place as you work, an adjustable holding shoe allows you to secure it in place without causing any surface damage.
The Shop Fox takes great care to keep your workspace clean as you cut using a two-way dust control system. A nozzle built into the machine blows sawdust away from the line or your cut, while a dust port connects to a shop vacuum to keep debris contained.
- Throat Depth: 16″
- Motor Power: 1.2 amps
- Weight: 31 lbs
The Shop Fox’s table is also adjustable, with 45 degrees of tilt that allows you to get more precise cuts, especially when working on fine detail. You can safely position your workspace using a lock knob and power switch. Our favorite feature of the Shop Fox is how incredibly accurate this saw is.
This brand has found a way to keep the saw from vibrating very much, making your cutting quite a bit easier (and more accurate). And isn’t that the whole point of the saw in the first place?
Wen 3920 vs Shop Fox W1713
At this point, you might be asking what is the big difference between the Wen (reviewed above) and the Shop Fox. And its true – they both have very similar feature sets. You’ll find the same motor power, same throat size, same cut depth and virtually the same weight. And, the Shop Fox is typically 50% more expensive than the Wen…
Where the Shop Fox is significantly better than the Wen 3920 is in cutting accuracy. Shop Fox does a much better job reducing vibrations while the saw is on, thus making it a lot more accurate through its cuts. In the end, both models have adequate features, but the Shop Fox excels in scroll accuracy.
A nozzle built into the machine blows sawdust away from the line or your cut, while a dust port connects to a shop vacuum to keep debris contained.A gooseneck work light is included with this model so that you aren’t limited to where you can use it. You can comfortably see what you’re doing at night, in the garage, or in other dim lighting.
If you can upgrade your budget, either the Shop Fox or the Dewalt make great options. However, the Dewalt is double the price of the Shop Fox, and so if you’re being mindful of your budget, we’d go with the Shop Fox.
As we outlined above, the Shop Fox brings with it an adequate set of features, similar to some of the other budget options we reviewed. However, for a modest increase in price, you get an incredibly high level of cutting accuracy. If you think you’ll be doing a decent amount of scroll work, spend the extra money for this model, as it will pay you back in dividends.
- 1/8HP, 1.2-Amps, 110-Volt, 60Hz motor
- 16-Inch maximum cutting width
- Includes a gooseneck work light, dust blower and dust port
- Plain or pin blades
Best Scroll Saw for Beginners: WEN 3920 16” Two-Direction Variable Speed
**Spoiler alert: we love this saw as a fantastic budget-consious option** As one of the best budget scroll saws, the WEN 3920 Saw offers quality and durability for a very reasonable rate. Beginners tend to appreciate its user-friendly design, while advanced carpenters like the versatility of the frame.
This saw boasts a unique blade holder designed to hold both pinned and unpinned blades. You can also easily change the direction of your cut by turning pinned blades 90 degrees using a tool-free system. A removable pinless blade holder keeps blades safely in place during operation, but the locking mechanism is not the sturdiest. The blade tends to vibrate in place, and the removable unit wears out quickly.
- Tilting of 45 degrees left
- Holds both pinned and unpinned blades
- Tool-free blade changes
- Variable speed control
- Strong base
- Foot lock clamp
- Flexible LED light
- Built-in blade storage
- Good with thin materials
The WEN 3920 can be set to a range of speeds, from 550 to 1600 strokes per minute. It’s easy to change the speed for different cuts using a convenient knob located on the front of the machine.
The bulk of WEN’s 16” saw is fairly heavy-duty, including a stable base and a cast iron table bevels up to 45 degrees to the left. These features make it easy to create clean, precise cuts every time.
While the WEN 3920 cuts thin materials well, it isn’t able to handle anything more than 2” thick. It’s best to stick to projects that involve softer woods, plastics, and laminates.
In addition to a strong base, a foot-lock clamp helps to prevent any unwanted shaking or sliding, which is really helpful.
You can ensure that your materials stay in place so that every angle you cut comes out completely accurate.
- Throat Depth: 16″
- Motor Power: 1.2 amps
- Weight: 27.5 lbs
The WEN 3920 Saw comes with a number of additional built-in features that aren’t offered by more bare-bones models such as the Dremel Ms20. This saw includes a built-in flexible LED light to help you work in low light conditions as well as convenient onboard blade storage.
We love this option as the best of cheaper scrolling saws. It’s got everything you want for basic scroll work, including a sturdy, cast iron base and a good range of variable speeds.
- Unique design accepts blades in two directions (standard and 90 degrees) to allow for infinite...
- Variable speed goes from 400 to 1600 strokes per minute ; Motor : 120Volts, 60 Hz, 1.2Amps
- Spacious 16-by-11-inch table bevels up to 45 degrees to the left for angled cuts
- Cuts wood up to 2 inches thick with a 16-inch throat depth in the standard position
General International Power Products 16″
If you’re looking for a top rated inexpensive scrolling saw, the General Intl. BT8007 is a standout, as it offers many of the same features as more high-end models without the price tag.
You can set any speed between 400 to 1600 strokes per minute depending on your material of choice by using a dial located towards the front of the machine. That 400 SPM number is the lowest you’ll find in our cheaper options, meaning that this is a great option for thicker woods where you need to go slowly. The dial is easy to access and doesn’t require you to reach around dangerous or moving parts.
- Variable Speed Control
- Tilt 45 degrees left
- Easy access dial
- Dust collection port
- Flex-neck LED light
- Sturdy cast-iron frame
- Good for small projects
The General International 16” saw is compatible with both pinned and pinless blades, allowing you to work with a variety of materials. It can only cut sections up to 1.9″ deep, however, so it’s best saved for smaller jobs.
A dust collection port helps to keep the area around your workstation free of debris as you work. This not only saves you time cleaning up later on, but also helps to prevent irritation in the lungs. The port fits a standard 1¼ inch hose.
If you have a dark workspace, it can be dangerous to operate power tools like this. The General International 16″ model comes with a built-in flex-neck LED work light to allow you to work in dim lighting conditions safely.
- Throat Size: 16″
- Motor Power: 1.2 amps
- Weight: 24 lbs
The General Intl. Saw is heavier than other inexpensive similar saws such as the Dremel Ms20, but it’s also sturdier. A robust cast-iron frame holds up against wear and tear throughout the saw’s lifetime, making this one of the best scroll saws for budget-conscious folks.
This GI saw is a fantastic entry level, budget-focused option. We love its throat size and cut depth, and it has a very low variable speed setting, making it a great option if you’ll be cutting thick, hardwood. This low speed setting also makes it great for working slow, and makes for a great starter scrolling saw.
- PRECISION CUTTING - Up-front dial allows setting the exact cutting speed choice for processing...
- INNOVATIVE DESIGN - "First to market" and design Flex-neck LED work light, Patented blade holder...
- KEEP THE JOBSITE CLEAN & SAFE - Saw dust collection port for standard 1-1/4 in. hose, Saw dust...
- HIGH-POWERED CUTTING - 144 Watt, 120V~60Hz, Amp: 1.2, No-load Variable Speed: 400-1600rpm, Easy...
Dremel Ms20 Moto-Saw Variable Speed Compact
The Dremel MS20-01 is designed to be a multi-purpose DIY tool that not only functions as a stationary saw but also detaches from its base to become a portable coping saw.A tool-free mechanism allows for quick blade changes whenever you need to make a new cut, while a convenient auto-tensioning feature keeps the blade taut and ready to operate.
- Acts as both a scroll & coping saw
- Tool-free blade changes
- Great variable speed control
- Fast clamp base
- Dust port adapter
- Accessories included
- No 45 degree tilt
Variable speed control allows you to safely cut through a variety of materials without damaging your saw or its blade. The Ms20 is able to cut through wood, plastic, laminate, and a variety of metals.
This scroll saw is much more lightweight and portable than others in its class, allowing you to use it just about anywhere. A fast clamp base lets you attach the unit to tables, workbenches, and work surface. Setup is simple, though the included directions are somewhat unclear.
If you kick up dust as you work, a dust port adapter can help you to keep your workspace clean. You can prevent sawdust from building up in the air around you and getting into your eyes, nose, and throat.
- Throat Size: 10.5″
- Motor Power: 0.6 amps
- Weight: 5.3 lbs
The Dremel is one of the best scroll saws on the market for its value. It’s a good choice for homeowners working on a budget, offering much of the quality of more expensive models such as the Shop Fox at a fraction of the price.
The Ms20 has a very small throat size in comparison to the other scroll saws reviewed here. For the price, this is to be expected, and Dremel makes up for it with all of the accessories they add.
Despite its lower price, the Ms20 includes several accessories in the box. In addition to the saw itself, you get an MS50 side cutting blade, four MS51 wood & plastic blades, four MS52 fine wood blades, an MS53 metal blade, and a vacuum adapter. This saw tends to work best with thin materials. The blades have difficulty making clean cuts through thick surfaces or particularly tough metals and plastics.
- Dust port adapter keeps line-of-sight clear and work space clean
- Auto tensioning quick-change mechanism for easy accessory change and optimal blade tensioning
- Detachable coping function for handheld use to take the tool to the work piece
- Variable-speed control for optimal cutting in a variety of materials
Scroll Saw Features and Considerations
Most people are aware of the obvious things you can use a scroll saw for: fine scroll work, such as fretwork and bookends, are perfectly suited for the fine, precise cutting capabilities that this saw is built for. It can also be great for:
- Furniture: If you’re building furniture, you can use the saw for rounding out dovetails, and you can also use it for mortise-and-tenon template designs. Scrolled wood can be added to the exterior of a piece of furniture, adding an elegant and ornate look to an otherwise drab piece of furniture.
- Glass for Table Top: If you have a table that you would like to add glass to, a scroll saw can help you cut the glass accurately. Most notably, if the table has any curves, this saw is the perfect tool.
- Inlayed Pieces: Any woodworking piece that requires inlaying can make use of the scroll saw. For example, this decorative cheese board featured below makes use of inlay.
- Marquetry: A scroll saw is great for adding detailed and sophisticated cut pieces of veneer to furniture to upgrade the look and feel.
Finding the best scroll saw for the money can be a challenging task. Here are the most important things to consider when selecting a top quality model.
There are several key components that go into deciding on the overall size of your saw. We’ll review each in-depth:
Throat size is the distance from the blade to the back of the scroll saw. It is important because the maximum project size is twice the throat size of the saw you are working with.
For example, a 16″ scroll saw can cut a piece of wood that is 32″ in length.
- Most homeowners only need a model around 15” to 20” for DIY projects. The most common size in this range is the 16” model, and will probably work just fine if you’re a beginner woodworker.
- You can find models up to 30” in size, but these are generally reserved for industrial settings. You really don’t need anything larger than 20″ for the vast majority of projects. If you want to go big, our advice is to look at a 20” or 21” model.
Thickness of Cut
Generally speaking, the scroll saw is not the saw of choice for cutting thick material. This tool works wonders at achieving intricacy and precision, but it isn’t set up for thick cuts.
It’s rare to find one that cuts material thicker than 2”. There are several factors for this. For starters, this type of saw does not have a powerful enough motor to push through thicker material. In addition, the blade and its tensioning is not set up for thicker cuts.
You’ll be spinning and adjusting the material quite a bit as you cut, and a small work table will continually make your life more difficult. Tables that are around 16” will be adequate, with high end models topping out at 20”.
When it comes to durability, you need your work table to be reasonably heavy and made from strong material, such as cast iron. Not only does a strong material extend the life of the table, but it is able to smooth out the vibrations of the saw so you can easily work with cutting the wood.
Aluminum or cast iron work table’s are both ideal materials, and wood should be avoided. You can wax a metal table to make it easier to slide the woodwork across the table.
Beyond the motor, your saw needs to have adjustable speed settings and compensation for motor vibration. We’ll walk through each of the factors to look into.
Most decent models will have a motor that sits between 1.0 – 1.5 amps. We have an option in our review under 1.0 amps that does a decent job cutting material. However, even still, you’ll find that other saws with more powerful motors outperform it, and they don’t cost a whole lot more.
With that being said, a scroll saw with a 1.2 amp motor will do great on the vast majority of material and cuts you need to make.
Variable Speed Control
In our opinion, the variable speed settings of the scroll are far more important than the outright power the motor brings.
- Better for cutting light woods (plywood) and metal
- Better for cutting hardwoods
All of the saws in our review have variable speed settings. Most bottom out at around 400 Strokes Per Minute (SPM), and range as high as 2,500 SPM.
Minimizing vibration is very important and should be one of the main factors you take into consideration when purchasing. In our opinion, it is much more important than the power of the saw.
When you picture a power saw, you envision loud, noisy motors that operate a high intensity. However, scroll saws do not fall into this camp. Compared to other power saws, these tools are whisper quiet, even when cutting the thickest of materials.
Double arms help to keep the noise down, as do sturdy tables. Some are just naturally quieter than others due to the style and build of their motor.
Blade rocker arm (or upper arm) allow the scroll saw blade to move up and down. In essence, it is what is responsible for allowing you to make cuts with your saw. Some of these saws come with one arm, others with multiple arms.
Generally speaking, more arms is better, because it helps to reduce vibrations, thus increasing accuracy. A stable upper arm helps a lot.
Parallel Arm Design and Double Parallel Arm
The parallel arm, or double parallel arm, replaced the rigid arm during the 1970s as the common design in scroll saws. This style of arm attaches the motor near the back of the arm to facilitate cutting.
A double parallel arm is exactly as it sounds… two arms sit side by side on the saw, and work together, thus reducing vibrations, leading to a more accurate cut.
A third type of parallel arm, often referred to as the parallel link arm, incorporates rods to move arms for added accuracy. This type of arm is found in our Dewalt scroll saw review, most notably.
Raising Top Arm
In addition to tilting tables, you can find saw models that offer a tilting upper arm. A tilting arm makes bevel cuts easier and more accurate by allowing you to keep your materials flat as you work.
If you plan on doing fretwork, then you may want to consider looking into models with a top lifting arm. A lifting arm makes it easier to make interior cuts in a piece and may include a locking mechanism for convenience and safety.
The work table often will allow for tilting 45 degress, one way or the other. Many only allow for single direction titling, such as to the left or to the right (although most single direction tilting is to the left). Some others will allow for multi-directional tilting, which is both left and right.
A tilting table is usually 45 degrees to one side, and is often know as blade tilting instead. You might ask yourself why it would need to tilt, and the reason is to allow for beveled cuts.
To make beveled cuts, you probably don’t need tilting more than 45 degrees.
Most of the highest rated options come with a handful of additional features. In our scroll saw reviews, we outline many of these, such as lighting, dust blower, lubrication, and a stand.
- Dust Blower: We consider some form of dust blower to be essential.
- Stand: This is great if you’re lacking a spot in your workshop or garage to put your saw.
- Lights: Having a light on a portable, hand saw, such as the jigsaw, can be highly useful.
As it is with so many power saws, the blade you chose for your saw is vital. While they all look the same (or similar) to the naked eye, understanding what makes each type of blade unique will ensure you get the most out of your scroll saw.
You might need to change blades frequently, depending on the type of project you’re working on.
These saws can accept either pinned or unpinned blades depending on the make and model. Pinned blades are thick and used to cut stronger materials, while unpinned (or pinless blades) can make finer cuts.
Blade tensioning speaks to the area of the saw that allows you to tighten or loosen the blade. You adjust the blade tension quite a bit, almost every time you make a cut, especially if you change blades a lot. As such, it is important to consider how easy it is to use and manipulate.
As you can see, there are quite a few features to examine and look into when you are evaluating the best scroll saws. Our scroll saw reviews help you analyze what is important, so you don’t have to do all the deep, time-intensive digging yourself.
We hope our expert advice can help to guide your search and lead you to the perfect saw to add to your garage.