Best Band Saw Reviews (May 2019): A Complete Woodworking Buying Guide
Have you ever wondered how people make cabriole legs for the table? The only possible way to do so is to use the best band saw to make curvaceous cuts. That’s how you create such an aesthetic table.
Besides cutting curves, a band saw is also capable of cutting square corners, making relief cuts, resawing thick wood, and shaping circular designs. Those are what you can accomplish with the help of a band saw.
However, there are plenty of manufacturers in the band saw an industry that leaves you to wonder what you should purchase. In addition, there are many types of band saws in the market. Moreover, there are various complicated things when talking the features of each band saw.
Best Band Saw (May 2019): Top 5 Picks & Reviews
So you can see that there are many questions awaiting answers. Therefore, to make thing easier for you, I have created a list of the top rated band saws to help you make a decision. For each type of band saw, I’ll pick out the best one based on the price and the performance. I hope this information will be helpful for you.
This is a stand mounted band saw suitable for small wooden workshops to cut curves or slice large pieces into smaller ones. A stand mounted band saw is usually inexpensive, thus making it the best woodworking bandsaw for small projects. With the 2.5 amp motor power, this is an ideal band saw for wood.
Vision support – Are you working under a low light condition? You will not suffer from this problem anymore thanks to the articulating LED work light that illuminates the cut line and grants you the brighter visibility.
Once I was secretly making a wooden horse for my sweet child under my garage. But the problem was that the place is not bright enough. I drew a curved line on the wood piece but ended up seeing nothing. And if I had used too much light, I would have caught my kid attention and it would not have been a surprise to him.
Thanks to this LED light, I was able to get it done. It was not the best wooden horse (it didn’t even look like one) but the point is that I succeeded to keep working secretly and surprised my kid.
Versatile & Powerful - SKIL 3386 comes with a 2.5 amp motor helps you cut through any type of materials from thin to thick wood or metal without diminishing in power. This is basically the best woodworking band saw.
I use this band saw to cut oak and mahogany and it cuts butter. However, when cutting metal, please pay attention that it can only cut non-ferrous metals such as copper, aluminum, tin, nickel, and zinc. Other ferrous metals like iron and steel are not recommended.
Easy angle and height adjustment – For quick angle and height change, the manufacturer attaches a rack and pinion table adjustment for hassle-free adjustment.
Easy crosscut – This is why I love this band saw. Unlike other band saws, it has a miter gauge provides more precision when performing crosscuts.
Precision support – Likewise, a rip fence is also something that does not often appear in a band saw. It would be time-consuming to make an accurate cut line without a rip fence. So you should pay attention to this feature when purchasing a band saw.
Moreover, the rip fence is removable. You can always remove it for more free space and put it back when necessary.
Dust collector – Nothing worse than inhaling all the dust and debris from wood or metal. Thankfully, with the dust port, I could easily attach a vacuum hose and suck every piece of debris out of my working environment.
Safety button – This is a safety switch to prevent the accidental start of the band saw. If you have kids at home, this feature is ideal to protect them from being hurt.
Easy blade tracking – This band saw has a transparent window allowing you to keep track of the blade while the saw is running. They call this feature EZ View Blade Tracking. This way you can easily monitor the position of the blade, and adjust it in a timely manner if it is out of alignment.
Wobbling blade – Sometimes, the blade is wobbling a lot. Consequently, it might affect your accuracy so try tweaking on it immediately if you see the blade’s wobbling.
Too much vibration – Because of the lightweight, the band saw appears to be flimsy. As a result, it produces a lot of vibration while running. Therefore you need to be a little bit more careful to not lose control to the vibration.
Can’t stand high pressure – When I applied too much pressure on the blade, the motor stopped working. To get it running again, I had to use less force.
Skil 3386-01 band saw cutting 2 inch red oak. via Mike Lee
Frankly speaking, this band saw is just doing an okay job. If you use this band saw for wood working, it will be fine. However, if you are cutting metal, the motor might not give you a satisfying result. In addition, you’d better use anything other than the included blade if you are cutting metal. I would recommend getting a band saw for metal or band saw for steel to serve your purpose.
All in all, the competitive advantage of this band saw is the price. At this price range, you probably won’t be able to get anything better than this band saw. Of course, there are flaws in an expensive band saw so I won’t complain much. Anyway, I recommend this band saw for the tight-budget woodworker with a small workshop.
Rikon 10-305 is a bench top band saw that has slightly more power than a stand mounted band saw. The band saw is both portable and fixed over a pedestal or on a table. This type of band saw is heavier thus more sturdy and stable. Obviously, it costs more than a stand mounted band saw but it will worth the money.
Sturdy and Durable – The all-steel construction is what makes this band saw cost twice the others. The frame is surely much stronger than the plastic frame from other manufacturers.
In addition, there is a 13.75 by 12.5 inches cast iron table for a large and sturdy work surfaces. The table generates only a minimal amount of vibration that gives you almost absolute control over the band saw.
Powerful but Quiet – The manufacturer equips Rikon 10-305 bandsaw with 1/3 horsepower motor that runs quietly yet sufficiently to withstand heavy-duty tasks. Even though the motor specification might look underpowered, the band saw can cut smoothly through cherry, pine, and oak wood.
To test its power capacity, I even try resawing large pieces of wood with this tool. It squared up 10 pieces of 4x4 poplar wood in a row without decreasing in power. Each piece was exactly 1/64 inches thick along the entire length, no more or less.
Apparently, the band saw can cut precisely despite the somewhat low power. At that time, I was totally convinced that this band saw is anything but weak. Not to mention that the advantage of the mellowed down motor is that it is super quiet. I have never received any complaint from my neighbors about the noise of this band saw.
Easy assembling – The saw comes partly assembled, so you have to put on a few more parts to make it run. Luckily, everything essential steps are included in the manual, you just need to follow it strictly.
The accessories include a fence, a fence guide rail, a lower trunnion, a table and a bag of loose parts. It took me 5 minutes to put them all together. I did it without using any tool, it only uses wing nuts thus I could easily tighten every part with my bare hands.
There are two adjustments that do not require a tool to adjust. They are the angle, fence tension, blade tracking and upper guide adjustment.
- Angle adjustment - It’s really easy to get the angle cut with this band saw. You just need to unlock the trunnion under the table, tilt the tabletop until you get the desired angle, lock the trunnion back up to assure the position.
- Fence tension adjustment – You can adjust the fence tension by simply adjust the front locking lever. Particularly, you turn it counter-clockwise to loosen it up, and you turn it in the opposite direction for tightening it up. Be careful not to pull it back out of adjustment by making it too tight.
- Blade tracking adjustment – The blade needs the track in the center of the upper wheel. There are two things you need to adjust, the upper wheel and the knob at the back of the upper wheel. The knob’s function is to tilt the wheel forth and back.
Now, you need to adjust two of them at the same time. Your left-hand spins the wheel until it gets right in the center, and while doing that, your right-hand turns the knob to adjust the wheel back and forth. Once you’ve done adjusting, lock down the knob.
- Upper guide adjustment – When using the band saw, you want the upper guide to be as close as your work pieces as possible to keep the blade tracking correctly. In particular, you need to raise the upper guide lever up and down. After that, you turn the knob to raise the upper guide up or down.
So as you can see, the adjusting process requires no tool at all. The manufacturer tries to make the mechanism as simple as possible.
Easy blade change – Changing the blade is as easy as adjusting. On the top compartment, there is a door. To open it, you just need to turn two knobs nearby. Now you change the blade, close the door, and mission completed.
Dust collection system – There is a built-in dust bag to store all the dust and debris for a clean working environment.
Safety lock – To keep children safe from this saw, make sure to unplug the lock-out switch whenever you leave home so that the kids won’t turn it on while you are not around.
No adjustment for 1/8 inches blade – You can put the 0.125 inches blade on, but you won’t be able to adjust it. However, the problem is that, if you put the blade on anyway the blade may get dull prematurely. The reason is that the rear roller guide bearing can’t reach far enough forward, leaving the outer bearing riding on the teeth causing the blade to dull quicker.
Blade guide twists out – Sometimes the blade twists out of square even when the wing nut is tightened. It requires some disassembly to adjust it. You might need some tool to loosen the screws. If it does not help, take it to the warranty service center for help.
Can’t resaw large object – If you are going to resaw something larger than 4.625 inches, I have bad news for you. In other words, you cannot resaw anything larger or equal to 2x6 inches wood pieces.
RIKON 10 305 10" Band saw Overview via ToolSELECT.com
What I love about this band saw is the quietness since I don’t want to kill my eardrums with the noise. The motor of this band saw, despite being mellowed down, still perform very well.
In addition, I love the simple mechanism designed for newcomers. This is the first time I have ever seen a useful instruction from the manufacturer. Adjusting and assembling are quite easy.
As I already mentioned, I choose the best product based on the price and the performance. Accordingly, I pick the one that I think is the best of its class, and Rikon 10-305 is one of them. I recommend this tool for woodworking with large pieces of wood.
This is a similar band saw to Rikon 10-305. However, the feature that distinct between two band saws is that WEN 3962 operates in two-speed mode. In addition, this band saw comes with a stand and a work light. Even more, the price of this band saw is also very competitive.
Two-Speed Operation – There are two-speed operations, you can run the blade at either 1520 or 2620 FPM (feet per minute). Depend on the sizes and the materials of your object, the speed will vary.
Normally, the change of speed involves moving the drive belt to a secondary location on the pulleys of the drive pulley and motor pulley.
Usually, the primary speed that is closer to 3,000 FPM (2,620 FPM) is used mainly for cutting wood. It is applicable for all cutting wood tasks regardless of the blade width or tooth configuration on the blade.
The secondary speed is lowered to nearly half of the primary speed, used to cut non-ferrous metals like copper, brass and aluminum and perhaps some very mild, thin steel. If you are going to cut metal, make sure to get yourself the best band saw blade for steel or metal.
Variable blade option – You can equip the band saw with 72-inches long blades anywhere from 1/8 to 1/2 inches in size, depending on your purposes.
This is where this band saw wins points over the Rikon 10-305, WEN 3962 works perfectly with 1/8 inches blade; you can adjust it anytime you want without any problem.
Large table and Steepest bevel scale – The band saw comes with a large table of 14 by 12.5 inches. You can make an angle cut up to 45 degrees with the cut depth of 6 inches.
The table has grease on it to prevent corrosion and rust. Actually, this is pretty important because the rusted or corroded table will affect the performance of the entire band saw.
Large resaw capacity – You can cut through 6 inches wood with just a single pass thank to the power of the 3.5 amp motor combined with 9.75 inches throat.
3-in-1 dust port – The 3-in-1 dust port fits various hose sizes ranging from 1.75, 2.75 and 4 inches. Correspondingly, you don’t need to worry about getting the exact hose size to fit the dust port.
Durable – Even though the manufacturer has already tried to minimize the cost as much as possible, they still manage to enhance the durability of the band saw. High-quality ball bearing allows smooth operation and extends the life of the band saw for dependable service.
Useful additional accessories – To illuminate the cutting line, there is a work light attached to the band saw for the clearer sight of work. In addition, you also receive a sturdy fence for straight cuts and a miter gauge for angle cuts.
Save spaces – To help you save spaces, the manufacturer includes a stand so that you don’t need to put the band saw on your work bench. You might need to assemble the stand together with the band saw but the process is quite easy. Thanks to it, you can have spaces to store other necessary stuff.
Inexpensive – The band saw only costs around 250 bucks which are lower than Rikon 10-305. If you spend enough time to look for a bargain, you can even purchase it at a lower price. Mine was a good example, I got one for 199 bucks and free shipping. My effort spent on looking for good deals actually paid off at that time.
Bad customer service – The tech support attitude really turned me off. When I first unboxed this band saw, I noticed that the shaft was not visible at the bottom wheel. And what worse was that there was no retaining clip.
Realizing the problem, I called the warranty service center to ask for a solution. I talked to them for like 15 minutes and they did not understand anything I said. As a result, I tried to take a picture and sent it to them.
I was expecting them to get their employees come directly to my place to fix it. But I guessed my standard was too high, they asked me to get a hammer or rubber mallet and bang until the shaft pops out. Then I put the retaining clip on and it worked, yet, it would not stay on.
I thought I deserved a proper retaining clip from the manufacturer. In addition, my point is that in those three days, I was the one who fixed everything on my own. I did not receive any support except the conversation through the phone, not to mention I had to pay for it.
Complicated set up – This is where this band saw losses point to the Rikon 10-305. The first few steps are easy, but the rest are quite complicated. There are no markings in the tension spring for precise ballpark selection.
Not only so, other adjustments on this band saw also don’t have any marks for measurement. Good luck getting the right setting through trial and error.
Flimsy tension adjustment knob – Everything in this band saw is sturdy except the tension adjustment knob. Once I tightened it too much and it broke. It popped right off the top of the shaft, and there was no more tension adjustment for me.
Actually, I got it replaced by the warranty service anyway. However, I need to point this out to let you see that quality of this band saw.
Shop Tools: WEN 10" Band Saw Unboxing and test cuts via Kaged Creations
I would love this band saw so much more if it was not because of the bad warranty service and the complicated setup process. Nevertheless, I got this band saw with much lower cost, so I would not complain much more.
But it is not actually all that bad. You get the two-speed feature which is really useful. Particularly, it would be inefficient if you can’t cut the materials with the appropriate speed.
In addition, you get the stand to save up some spaces for other stuff. So overall, this is a good band saw for the dual purpose including cutting non-ferrous metal and wood.
This is a portable band saw, but don’t judge it solely by the look. It has the powerful motor that can cut through metal. One of the big advantages of this kind is that you can use it right away with very simple and quick set up. The price is a little bit higher than other band saws but it would definitely worth it.
Powerful – Even though this is a portable band saw, you can still experience the power from a 10 amp motor that can cut through any tough object such as wood, metal, and steel.
And by the word steel, I mean hard steel used in steel piers to stabilize house foundation or to raise settled foundations. For softer steel, this band saw cut it like butter without getting bogged down.
Versatile – The range of speed varies from 100 to 350 sfm (surface feet per minute). Moreover, the speed change is quite quick and easy since there is a speed dial allows you to select the appropriate speed for each application. Thanks to the speed dial, you don’t have to move the drive belt or anything else to change the speed.
It is a versatile deep cut saw with the cutting capacity of 5 inches cutting depth when working with round stock, and 5 by 4.75 inches when working with rectangular stock.
Durable – Reducing the times of putting this band saw up and down will extend the longevity of it. Knowing this, the manufacturer attaches an integrated hang hook so you won’t damage the handle or the base this tool.
In like manner, you might notice a serviceable steel shroud, and rubber bumpers to help the saw's guards to withstand job site pressure.
Vision support – This should be a basic feature for every decent band saw. The LED light will help you cut easily despite the low light condition.
Extended blade life – Unlike other band saws, Dewalt DWM120K offers accurate blade tracking adjustment for better blade alignment and reduced wear. Consequently, the blade life extends to a longer period of use.
Easy blade change - In the same fashion, the dual bearing blade guide rollers boost the longevity of the blade support system for long-term steadiness. The blade switch process is very easy; the blade changing lever loosens up the blade tension, making it convenient to change the blade.
Easy maintenance – This band saw also features the replaceable brushes to support you whenever you need a quick repair.
Ergonomic features – The front handle is oversized. In addition, it is adjustable in multi-position creates more hand space. Even more, the ergonomic soft grip back handles coupled with the well-balanced design of the band saw reduces hand fatigue and provides more control.
Best warranty package – This is the best warranty service I have ever seen. You have a three-year limited warranty and one-year free service contract. What’s even better is that you can return the product within 90-days of purchase.
High price – It has very minimal technical fault for me to complain, and that might be the reason why the price is so high. Even though the price is high, you get a durable product that can do every of your desired task. So in the long run, you are not losing anything.
DeWALT DWM120 Deep Cut Band Saw via Tools In Action
Of all the tools on this list, I would not hesitate to say that I love this tool the most. It is sturdy, portable, powerful, and ergonomic. On top of that, it also has the best warranty package. Not to mention that I have seen no complaint about this tool from myself as well as from other users. Overall, I rate this band saw the best band saw on this list.
I’ve read plenty of metal band saw reviews, and I even borrow band saws from my friends for real experience. Over many trials, I came to a conclusion that Jet 414458 HVBS-56M is the best metal cutting band saw I’ve ever used.
Powerful and Quiet – At first, I thought there was no such thing as a quiet metal cutting band saw. However, this band saw really surprises me. It runs the power of an 115-volt motor (can rewire to 230 volts) producing 0.5 horsepower. Accordingly, you will be able to cut through any tough object.
Despite being so powerful, the band saw operates quietly. I often work in the morning, and from the day brought this band saw home, I have received no complaint from my neighbors at all.
Variable speed – The speed variations emphasize that this band saw specializes in cutting metal. As you can see, the speed range is at 80, 120, and 200 feet per minute which is much lower than the 3,000 feet per minute for cutting wood. Again, the lower the speed, the better it cuts through metal.
Auto-stop – The saw will automatically shut down after each cut, with this feature you will be less likely to get hurt by the saw.
More mobility – The band saw is very mobile, its light weight coupled with two large wheels and a built-in handle make it very easy to move around.
More control – There is a vise that swivels up to 45 degrees along with the 5-inches throat depth on this band saw, both of them gives you extra flexibility and control for each project.
Durable – To extend the lifespan of the band saw, the manufacturer offers a ball-bearing supported blade wheel, adjustable ball bearing blade guides, a heat-treated and ground steel worm gear with the bronze drive gear.
Bad instruction – When I read the line “use provided hardware”, I laughed so hard. What a useful instruction, what was I supposed to do with the pile of bolts/nuts/pieces in the box?
Apparently, a comment like this is not helpful at all. I had to figure out everything on my own through observation and deduction, took me like 3 hours for assembling the band saw.
Short table – Every time I use this band saw, I must sit on a short chair. It’s just 25 inches off the ground if you are at a medium height or lower, than it will be fine.
However, if you are taller like me, it will make you feel really uncomfortable. And apparently, sitting on a chair while using a band saw is not the wisest idea either, yet it is still more comfortable than bending down to work.
Weak legs – As I was moving the band saw, I recognized that the two front legs wobbled and bent a lot. In other words, they are not very stable. Likewise, don’t be hasty when you pick up the head to the vertical position if it pops up too quick both legs will come off the ground. Obviously, the legs need a little more bracing.
Plastic pulley housing – I notice that the pulley housing is made of plastic, which makes me unhappy. Because with the money I paid, I deserve at least a metal pulley housing. However, the plastic seems to be tough enough to do the job, so in the end, it’s just a matter of personal preference.
JET Horizontal / Vertical Metal Bandsaw Demo via JETTOOLSUSA
Only buy this band saw if you really need to cut metal or steel. Because of its specialization in cutting metal, the price of this tool is fairly higher than other band saws. One thing to keep in mind when purchasing this saw, if you could somehow get the engineer from the company to assemble the tool for you, please do it so you won’t get lost doing it yourself. Overall, it’s a durable, powerful band saw for cutting metal or steel.
Best bandsaw blades
Best band saw blades for wood
Best band saw blade for metal
In general, I have introduced to you various types of band saw including bench top band saw, stand mounted band saw and horizontal/vertical band saw etc. If you have read through everything, you must notice each type serves a different purpose, depending on the materials of the cutting object.
To sum it up, you need to combine price over performance ratio and your own need to get the right band saw for you. In my opinion, I rate DEWALT DWM120K the best band saw on this list. I hope you will be able to make your own choice based on this information.
- "Best Band Saw Reviews 2016 - The Complete Guides". Mechanics Tool Stop. N.p., 2016. Web. 18 Nov. 2016.
- "The Best Band Saw - Complete Woodworkers Buying Guide". The Saw Guy - Saw Reviews and DIY Projects. N.p., 2016. Web. 18 Nov. 2016.
- "Top Best Band Saw Reviews (2016 UPDATED EDITION)". Band Saw Expert. N.p., 2016. Web. 18 Nov. 2016.