Reviews

Best Scroll Saws: Complete Basic Detailing Projects with Ease

Create intricate shapes on tough material with these scroll saws

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BY Norah Tarichia / LAST UPDATED ON October 7, 2019

A scroll saw is a handy tool for your garage or workspace that helps you add a creative touch to the materials you cut. Scroll saws can be used by beginners and professionals alike. They are perfect for curving out basic patterns on wood and metals. Our scroll saw review will guide you through everything you need to know about some of the best options on the market.

Best Overall
DEWALT Scroll Saw
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Summary
Summary

A 1.3-amp parallel link scroll saw that’s extremely energy-efficient.

Pros
Pros
  • Solid and durable construction. 
  • Flexible cast iron table. 
  • Makes little vibration when working. 
  • Maintains the utmost accuracy for high precision cuts. 
  • Eliminates the need for sanding afterward. 
  • Can be used on a wide range of material. 
  • Safe and comfortable.
Cons
Cons
  • Expensive. Can get noisy at high speeds. 
  • May have blade alignment problems.
Best Overall
DEWALT Scroll Saw
Best Value
WEN Scroll Saw
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Summary
Summary

A unique and user-friendly scroll saw that accepts blades from two mounting angles. 

Pros
Pros
  • Reasonably priced.  Includes a movable LED work light. 
  • Features an onboard storage for blades. 
  • Adjustable speed. 
  • Can take both pinned and pinless blades. 
  • Designed to promote dirt-free cutting. 
  • Includes a foot-lock pump to limit movement. 
Cons
Cons
  • Too small for large cuts. Not designed for making internal cuts. 
  • Not designed for heavy-duty cutting jobs.
Best Value
WEN Scroll Saw
Honorable Mention
Delta Power Tools Scroll Saw
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Summary
Summary

A variable speed power tool with a strong and adjustable cast iron table. 

Pros
Pros
  • Includes a tool storage compartment. 
  • Features a work light and a convenient stand. 
  • Fairly noise free. 
  • Easily accessible tensioning mechanism. 
  • Adjustable speed. 
  • Lets you work with a wide range of materials. 
  • Equipped with a dust blower. 
  • Easy assembly. 
Cons
Cons
  • Stand and work light sold separately. 
  • The centering blade may be a bit wobbly. 
  • Inefficient customer service from Delta.
Honorable Mention
Delta Power Tools Scroll Saw

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Benefits of Scroll Saws

  • Intricate details. One of the primary reasons to use a scroll saw is for the finer detail points of your work. With its versatility, lighter weight, and precision, you can get the exact look you want with very little after work. 
  • Better finish. The scroll leaves very fine, and typically smooth, edges to your work. This reduces the need for a lot of sanding after you are done. 
  • Enhanced control. You are able to control the motion of the scroll saw using a foot pedal, so both of your hands are free to more accurately move the workpiece to cut along your desired path. By using both hands and feet in tandem, you can craft truly intricate pieces. 
  • Space saver. Due to the typically smaller size and lighter weight of scroll saws, it will not take up much space. 

Types of Scroll Saws 

Parallel Arm 

The parallel arm is the most common type of scroll saw you are likely to come across. They consist of a motor attached near the back of the arms, and the two arms will always remain parallel to each other. The C-arm variant uses a solid “C” shaped arm, so the blade is mounted between the two ends of the “C.” Well-known brands Hawk, Excalibur, and DeWalt use a parallel link type, which has rods in the upper and lower arms that are “pushed” by the motor to achieve short articulated arms which hold the blade. 

Rigid Arm 

The rigid arm scroll saw was really popular up until about the 1970s, but now it has next to no production. You may still find it in used shops or refurbished at pawn shops. It has a single-piece cast iron frame where the blade is attached to a pitman arm on the bottom. That pulls the blade down while a spring on the upper arm pulls the blade back up again. The problem with the design is that the blade tension changes with every stroke, making it harder to cut fine detail. 

Top Brands

SKIL

SKIL became well known for their scroll saws with the Model E. It was the first handheld, portable circular saw and was a trailblazer in the industry. The SKIL product line has expanded since then to include various other power tools and their accessories. One good product is the SKIL 3335-07 16” Scroll Saw.

WEN

Having been around since 1951, WEN is known for innovating new ways to make tools electric. The top quality of their tools is balanced by a fair price. WEN drill presses, sanders, generators, hydraulic cylinders, and scroll saws are known to be of excellent workmanship. We recommend the WEN 3921 16-inch Two-Direction Variable Speed Scroll Saw.

Jet

Jet also makes a great scroll saw. Established in 1958, Jet didn’t actually dive into the woodworking sector until the 1980s. They are also a company well-known for their customer-friendly warranty. Check out the Jet 18" Bench Top Scroll Saw.

Scroll Saw Pricing

  • $100-$300: You will find most scroll saws falling within this price range. Quality, innovation, and brand name will all factor into how expensive it is. 
  • $300 and up: This price range will get into the extremely high-powered cutting end of scroll saws, typically best for those that use them as a profession.  

Key Features

Variable Speed Motor 

This is best for scroll saws you intend to use on a wide range of materials. If you are willing to pay a higher price, one with adjustable cutting speeds will help you optimize your job. 

Dust Blower

Multiple scroll saws are equipped with a dust blower to blow the debris off of your workpiece. This improves visibility and therefore accuracy. It also keeps harmful particles from the saw’s motor. 

Work Light 

Some scroll saws come with a light. While this is especially great if you are working in dim or dark conditions, it always helps improve accuracy to have a bright light centered exactly on the area you are working. 

Tilting Work Surface

If you buy a scroll saw that can tilt, then you can work on your project across multiple angles. This really is a must for those interested in highly complex designs. 

Rip Fence 

The rip fence is a guide to help you cut more evenly and precisely. Most scroll saws come with their own rip fence, but they are also sold separately if needed. They all protect your hands from the saw’s blade, so they truly are a must-have.

Tool-Free Blade Release 

If you choose a scroll saw with a quick-release blade, it will make it much easier to swap out blades. This is useful because different blades are specially designed for different materials and goals. 

Other Considerations

  • Many Blades to Choose From. Unlike other types of saws, there really aren’t any other types of scroll saw to choose from. So instead, there is a huge variety of blades. These include standard, skip tooth, double tooth, precision ground, reverse skip tooth, ultra reverse, spiral, pin end, and crown tooth. Your material and type of job will affect which blade you need. 

Best Scroll Saw Reviews & Recommendations 2021

Best Overall
DeWalt Scroll Saw

The DeWalt Scroll Saw is a 1.3-amp parallel link product. It is known to be highly energy-efficient, making it great for those that like to go green and save money. Highly durable, this scroll saw will last a long time. It vibrates very minimally, so it is easier to control your work. Due to its high precision, you likely will not even need to sand afterwards. Safe on a wide range of materials, it has a comfortable, ergonomic grip. 


However, due to the brand name and top quality, it is quite expensive. Also, when you have the blade going at really high speeds, it can become quite noisy. It has also been reported that the blade can have some alignment issues, making it a bit of an annoyance to work with.

Best Value
WEN Scroll Saw

What sets apart this WEN scroll saw from others is the ability to mount blades at two different angles. This is especially great for those looking for the versatility for high detail work. A reasonably priced product, this scroll saw includes a removable LED light and onboard storage for different blades. It can take both pinned and pinless blades. You can adjust the speed and use a foot-lock pump to limit movement, if needed. The design of the blade is meant to help keep your workspace clean and you safe. 


While it has high versatility, its small size makes it difficult to achieve large cuts or internal cuts. If you need a heavy-duty job completed, this is likely not the saw for you.

Premium Pick
Delta Power Tools Scroll Saw

With variable speeds and an adjustable cast iron table, this scroll saw from Delta easily makes honorable mention. It is a great space-saver with its tool storage compartment and stand. It is not very noisy, and comes with the benefits of a work light and dust blower. It is good across a broad range of materials, making this saw an easy go-to for all types of projects. 


While the stand and work light are designed to go along with it, they are at an additional cost. The centering blade also is not the sturdiest. Reports of those that went to Delta for issues have resulted in poor customer service. 

Best for Beginners
SKIL 16

The SKIL16" Scroll Saw is great because it's easy to set up and to use, which makes it a good option for beginners. The saw has electronic variable speed control that allows you to cut all types of materials. It has a 16-inch throat to cut thick pieces and a 16- by 10-inch work table that tilts up to 45 degrees for convenience.


Other features include an integrated dust removal system and a dust port to keep dust and debris away from the work surface. There's also an articulating LED work light, so you can properly see what you're doing. The saw also comes with a storage space for blades and a keyless blade change. It's a great value overall.


There have been some complaints that there is a lot of vibration if the saw is operated at full speed. Also, it can require frequent adjustments when you cut wood with various thicknesses.

Honorable Mention
BUCKTOOL 16-inch Variable Speed Scroll Saw

The BUCKTOOL 16-inch Variable Speed Scroll Saw is a smooth, quiet, user-friendly option that features a variable speed 1.2-amp DC motor. It does not bounce around when cutting through ¼- and 1/2-inch boards, and the LED work light helps you see your cut lines. It includes a hands-free pedal switch that allows you to start and stop the saw with your foot, making it easy to drill a hole, change a blade, etc.


It's accurate, and small/tight maneuvers are easy to do. It features a sturdy construction and low vibration, making it a user-friendly option. Other features include a quick-change blade system and blade holder and a heavy-duty 16- by 9-inch cast iron work table that tilts up to 45 degrees for angled cuts. It also includes several add-ons you don’t see on many tools in this range.


One downside is the instructions aren't very good. Also, there have been complaints that the blower is not effective, and changing blades can be a hassle.

Tips

  • Perform regular maintenance to prolong the life of the scroll saw. Lubricate the internal components, clean off dust and debris from the moving parts, and change the blade if it seems blunt. 
  • Always wear protective gear when working with power tools. Wear a dust mask, safety goggles, gloves, and ear protectors. Also, keep your fingers out of the blade’s line of work.  
  • Remember to secure the scroll saw to a workbench or tabletop. Also, lock all handles before powering on the device to limit vibrations when operating at high speeds. 
  • Do not forget to switch off and unplug the scroll saw when it’s not in use. Remove the blades from tension, and store it in a cool and dry place away from children’s reach. 

FAQs

Q: Can I start detailing with a spiral blade?

A: You shouldn't start with a spiral blade since it's hard to control when penetrating a surface, and it may leave a wide gap. Use a straight blade to cut through the material, and change to a spiral blade when you want to add a little artistic detail to the piece. However, it requires more skill to control a spiral blade on softwood. Consider using your free hand to cut with the spiral blade. 

Q: What happens if I don't adjust the blade tension?

A: If you operate the tool with loose tension, you may break the blade since you'd have to apply more pressure to cut through the material. It also makes the blade overheat, and that may dull the blade. The blade might also push sideways and not make a precise cut. It's better to have too much tension than to work with a loose blade. 

Q: How do I prevent the blade from slipping from the blade clamp?

A: The upper clamp often gets slippery when there's oil in the clamp or when the insides get smooth from continued use. New blades typically come lubricated to prevent corrosion, and that can cause slipping of the blades. You can use alcohol to clean the oil from the clamp and sandpaper to increase the grip of the clamp. 

Final Thoughts

Our top pick is the DEWALT Scroll Saw. It’s relatively quiet, a great tool for beginners, and allows for a hassle-free blade change. 

If you are looking for a product that fits within your tight budget, then consider the WEN Scroll Saw.