Best Band Saw: Improve Your Carpentry Skills
Build and design your own wood crafts with these powerful band saws.
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BY Scott Roepel / LAST UPDATED ON June 28, 2021
Every shop needs a band saw. This tool brings so much versatility to the table that it makes it hard to believe you ever lived without one. If you’re dealing with lumber, crosscuts and rip cuts are on the agenda. Swap the blade, and you’re ready to tackle metal. Better yet, it’s hard to find anything that a correctly set up bandsaw won’t cut through.
The name comes from the blade’s configuration—it runs in a continuous band-like loop. This distinct layout gives the bandsaw the ability to make smooth cuts in straight or irregular patterns. Its design is also ideal for dealing with particularly thick materials. Of course, what a bandsaw can do relies heavily on the type of blade you run. But the model specs are what determines if it’s right for your shop. That’s why we want to give you a quick rundown of your options.
This device has a varying blade speed between 1,520 and 2,620 FPM. It’s rather quiet when compared to other saws. It also comes with a stand.
- It includes a built-in work light for better visibility
- Plus, the table is developed out of durable and thick cast iron to prevent scratches
- It’s hefty and can be difficult to set up by yourself
- The saw isn’t as thick as others, and the machine may slightly vibrate during operation
This band saw has a blade speed of 2,800 FPM. The machine is lightweight and can be carried and set up easily.
- It includes an LED work light for improved vision
- It also features a large dust port to keep the area clean
- It’s not designed for industrial workshops but works great at home
- The motor can also heat up quickly
With a cut capacity of 2½ inches, this band saw can cut a 2-inch SCH 40 pipe. Its LED work light makes it easier for you to work in dark environments.
- It comes with a premium XR 5.0Ah lithium-ion battery that keeps it powered, allowing you to work for longer
- It is compact and lightweight, hence portable
- It’s hard to get replacement blades from Dewalt
- The machine is not very durable and its motor may stop working after a few months
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Benefits of Band Saws
- Less waste. A band saw has narrow blades and a smaller kerf compared to other saws. These features minimize waste, like the quantity of sawdust produced. If your job involves cutting a lot of products, you’ll save money because your costs will go down.
- Precise cutting. Bandsaws are ideal for cuts that require a lot of precision. The machine’s thin blade allows you to have greater control over the saw. Features such as blade tracking and dual-bearing blade guides make for a more precise finish.
- Versatile. These saws are not limited to a particular material. They can cut wood, meat, timber, or metal. When using a band saw, your creativity is unlimited and you can tackle new projects with ease. Band saws also have blades of different widths and sizes. A thicker blade is best for tough materials while a thinner one is ideal for more delicate work.
Types of Band Saw
A standalone or floor-standing bandsaw is precisely as you would expect. It’s a saw mounted to a frame that allows the unit to stand on its own at the proper height. The significant advantage of this design is that it typically allows you to work more freely and cut larger workpieces. While that is true, it is essential to read through the specs to ensure the model you’re looking at will do the jobs you need. These do take up a considerable amount of space in the shop but are irreplaceable for some jobs.
A benchtop bandsaw is intended to mount on an existing workbench, saving you space around the shop. That said, they may not be able to work with larger workpieces, but that does depend on the configuration. The sizes and capabilities of these models can vary greatly. Some can nearly rival the performance of a standalone unit, some are super compact and ideal for delicate or small projects, there are also variants in between.
Bandsaws you can carry to the job site also exist. These are ideal for making miscellaneous cuts to materials when you don’t have the option to bring them to a benchtop or standalone model. As you would expect, these are subject to all the benefits of modern power tools. That means that many highly efficient, cordless models share batteries with devices within the same line.
JPW Industries owns JET Tools. It was established by Leslie P. Sussman. JET Equipment was first produced in 1958. The company began as a small business selling manual chain hoists and trolleys. These were sold from its shop in Tacoma, Wash. In the 1980s, JET ventured into metalworking products. After five years, it launched woodworking products. The company now produces all of its products and no longer imports products. Get to understand how JET technology has transformed the industry with the JET JWBS-14DXPRO 14-Inch Deluxe Pro Bandsaw.
Grizzly industrial has been the go-to brand for quality machinery at affordable prices since 1983. It’s offerings are abundant as it caters to hobbyists and tradesfolk of many walks of life. The Grizzly Industrial 9-Inch Benchtop Bandsaw makes it easy to see why many love the brand.
Nick Anton founded WEN products in 1951 with the intention to combine electricity and tools. Its headquarters are in Elgin, Ill. For many years, the company has been designing and producing high-quality everyday tools such as electric jigsaws, miter saws, chainsaws, and wet wheel sharpeners. Its aim is maintaining quality while keeping products affordable. WEN introduced random orbital technology which is now used in many polishers, waxers, and buffers. Get the WEN Two-Speed Band Saw for your next project.
Band Saw Pricing
- $100-$200: These are mostly lightweight and compact band saws ideal for one-handed cuts. They are cordless, battery-powered models. The saws are commonly used for woodworking.
- $200-$500: Most of these saws have a handle located at the front or center. They can easily make one-handed cuts. They have an LED light and a blade tension adjuster.
- $500 and up: These band saws usually have a table or a stand. A majority are made of cast iron wheels, frame, and table. They have a powerful motor and can make very deep cuts.
How much power a saw has is one of the first details to take into consideration. This aspect determines how the blade will perform as it cuts. Being gearheads, it’s easy to stick to the rule that more horsepower is always better. But it isn’t always necessary. For the most part, a 1.5 horsepower saw, on the high end of power ratings, is only warranted for larger or hardier materials. If you don’t work with particularly demanding materials, something with .5 HP to 1 HP is perfectly viable.
Size is everything. How big the bandsaw is determines the size of a project it can take on. We’re not just talking about how much space it takes up, though. Blade width and throat size are equally as important. The throat measures the distance between the blade and the frame. This detail determines how deep of a cut you can make and how you can maneuver the piece. The blade width also determines what kind of materials it can work with and the kind of cuts it will make. Good models allow you to use various blade widths, but it’s still a size factor that you want to consider as you shop as all of these characteristics come together to determine what the bandsaw is good for.
The frame is easy to forget about, but it’s a significant part of the bandsaws construction. Whether it’s a standalone, benchtop, or portable model, you can’t risk running with a flimsy frame. This determines how sound the entire assembly is. Considering that you are working with a potentially dangerous power tool, you want to make sure it’s going to hold up through whatever you intend to put it through.
Since this saw continuously moves in a single direction, it’s safer than other saws as there’s no risk of kickback. The best band saw is equipped with a blade guard to protect you from accidental injury. The guard should be positioned with ⅛ to ¼ clearance above the material. Using the proper blade for the cut also boosts your safety. Thinner blades are best for tight curves while wider ones are ideal for tasks such as resawing. When you use a sharp blade, you exert less pressure, preventing any lunging forward.
- Wheels. Bandsaw wheels collaborate with the motor to propel the blade. Their size and weight matter because they affect how the saw operates. Heavier wheels increase inertia, which is transmitted to the blade. This enhances the saw’s cutting capacity by sustaining a steady speed, resulting in clean cuts. Band saw wheels can either be made of aluminum or cast iron. Aluminum is sturdy but lightweight. Cast iron wheels are heavier and more stable. They are ideal for resawing machines or those that cut thick stock. They reduce vibrations and can withstand the tensioning forces produced by larger blades.
- Blade Guides. Their main purpose is to prevent the blade from turning as it cuts. High-quality guides control the blade well and maintain the cut quality. A band saw typically has two sets of blade guides: an upper set and a lower one below the table. They are placed next to the blade to ensure it remains vertical and doesn’t twist. They are made from ceramic or strong plastic. The best band saw has adjustable blade guides.
Best Band Saw Reviews & Recommendations 2021
- Get a band saw with a sturdy and durable frame or stand for it to sit on. This can help reduce wobbles and ensure it can take on more weight.
- Secure the saw properly. Many have anchoring points that allow you to bolt the unit to the floor or benchtop. Doing so keeps the saw in place, making it less risky to cut large workpieces.
- Consider a band saw with a cast iron or steel table for stronger support. Also, find one with a table that can be tilted to provide more angles and versatility.
- A band saw can be loud, so you will need to wear earplugs to protect your ears.
- Consider wearing protective goggles or eyewear so you don’t get sawdust or debris in your eyes.
- Even the thickest and most durable pair of gloves are no match for a band saw. Use extreme caution when operating the machine to avoid cutting or hurting yourself.
- Always inspect blade condition. The blade will get dull with time, and when it does, it can be extremely dangerous.
- Never force the workpiece. Putting pressure on the blade is a safety hazard as it can result in the blade breaking or coming free. Only work with materials you can safely manage.
Q: What is FPM?
FPM represents feet per minute. The measurement is used to describe how many feet the blade can cover in one minute. The higher the feet, the faster and more quickly it can slice through wood.
Q: What kind of band saw do I need?
This will vary on what you are cutting and how often you use it. If you plan on using the band saw for smaller and lighter wood around the house, you can settle for a lightweight one without a stand. These are referred to as benchtop models. If you need to slice thicker wood and want a band saw with more features, then consider a more heavy-duty machine.
Q: Is a one-horsepower band saw a powerful one?
Most band saws will come with just one horsepower, and it’s all they really need. Ones with less are designed to be used around the house for smaller projects. However, you may be able to find saws with more HP that are built to handle more industrial types of wood and workloads.
For a powerful cast iron band saw capable of precise cuts, consider the Wen Two-Speed Band Saw.
Or you can choose the Skil 9-Inch Band Saw, which is a more compact model with an included light at a cheaper price.