10 Best Band Saws of 2020 - Reviews & Buying Guide
A bandsaw is among the most versatile equipment present in a workshop. Bandsaws make both, straight and curved cuts and an operator should try and make sure that he goes for the best band saw for one’s requirements. With a band saw at one’s disposal, one can easily make rip cuts, cross- cuts, resaws or making thin slices across the thickness of a job. Similarly, one can cut thin veneers, bevels, circles, curves and tenon cheeks.
Choosing among the bandsaws available could be complicated for a potential buyer. While being versatile, one band saw likely meets an operator’s requirements better than the other. A professional may prefer to go for a band saw that features a powerful motor, and the depth-of-cuts is large. A high fence is another one of the features that work nicely for a professional’s requirements. Similarly, if cutting bowl blanks are a part of one’s work, then bandsaw that allows an operator to track the path of a narrow blade is important.
Similarly, a DIYer may prefer to for a compact and lightweight bandsaw for home renovation project he undertakes occasionally. We have put forth this guide that gives hobbyists and professionals an insight among the top band saws available, to help with the selection process.
Our Top 3 Recommendations
The 10 Best Band Saws
1. DEWALT Portable Band Saw (DWM120K) - Top Pick
DEWALT DWM120K has a 10 amp motor. Adjusting the speed is simplified with the use of a variable speed dial. It varies in the range of 100-350 spm making quick cuts. When working with round stock, the cutting capacity is 5 inches while with rectangular stock, the cutting capacity is 5 by 4-3/4-inch.
DEWALT DWM120K comes with a range of features that simplify operations for a worker and make the processes more comfortable and accurate. There’s an integrated hanging hook to easily suspend the saw after use. The odds of damage to castings or front handle are mitigated. They also have ergonomic grip options and an LED light to indicate the cut line and see the cutting area clearly even in poor light conditions. An adjustable material guide helps set up the saw for optimal performance. Other prime features of the saw include rubber bumpers and a serviceable steel shroud. They keep the equipment safe throughout and ensure durability.
In the box are hex wrench, kit box and standard 44.875- by .500- by .020-inch blade.
2. WEN 3962 Band Saw with Stand - Best Overall
WEN 3962 is an ergonomic band saw that features a 3.5-amp motor combined with a 9-3/4 inch throat. The saw glides through boards easily and cuts holes of a depth of six inches. It is an equally good option for intricate or powerful cuts and works on more wood than other band saws. It is the best band saw for heavy-duty work. Similarly, as it fits in a variety of dust collection hoses, the equipment is hygienic for operators and delivers a prime performance in varied circumstances.
For smoother and reliable operation, the equipment features 10-inch wheels with ball bearings. The 25-inch stand makes the band saw’s height adjustable. A flexible work light illuminates the job, while a sturdy fence helps make straight cuts. The best part about WEN 3962 is that it keeps the user fatigue at lower levels.
3. DEWALT DCP580B - Great Value
A brushless motor keeps the efficiency of DEWALT DCP580B high. When under load, maintaining the speed becomes easier. Among the most important specifications of DEWALT DCP580B is a rebate capacity of 5/64″ and 3-1/4″ width capacity with 1/256″adjustments. The planer weight is 6.7lbs and the battery power is 20V.
DCP580B is a bare tool. Among the top features of DCP580B is a brushless motor with the power of 32,000 cuts per minute. The no-load speed is 15000 rpm. The removal rate is fast as well. Similarly, the parallelism of cuts is made easier with precision-machined front and back aluminum shoes.
The band saw also has a kickstand which lets the planer rest safely over the work surface. The equipment comes with a user guide that further enhances usability and troubleshooting. Other accessories that come with DEWALT DCP580B are a wrench and a guide fence. The battery and charger are separately sold.
4. JET JWBS-14DXPRO
JET JWBS-14DXPRO is a 14-inch deluxe band saw. The product has been designed in entirety to comply well with the requirements of present-day woodworkers. Among the prime features of the equipment is a huge cast-iron frame. With higher power, re-sawing is easier to do. JET JWBS-14DXPRO also has a new high tension spring design, to deliver a powerful performance following repetitive use. The equipment is durable and long-lasting.
The cutting capacity is 13.5 inches in width and 12 inches in height. A retractable blade guard moves by 12 inches. This comes with a 15 X 15-inch work table that moves 45 degrees towards the right. It stands at a height of 43.5 inches. Features such as the poly-v belt add precision and safety. An enclosed stand helps reduce clutter. This comes with an easy access door. In the package are the band saw, table, base, trunnion, and instructions.
5. WEN 3959 Benchtop Band Saw
WEN 3959 is a band saw that is powerful while being compact. It cuts holes that are 3½ inches deep and 9 inches wide. WEN 3959 features a 2.5-amp motor. The ¼ inch blade rotates at 2500 feet per minute.
The equipment uses 59-1/2 inch blades in the width range of 1/8th to 3/8th of an inch. Both, intricate and powerful cuts are easy to make. The work table is spacious and can make bevel cuts of up to 45 degrees.
WEN 3959 comes with accessories such as an adjustable blade guard, a rip fence that helps make straight cuts and an onboard 2-1/2 inch dust port. The dust port makes the equipment more hygienic for use.
6. SKIL 3386-01 Band Saw with Light
SKIL 3386-01is the top band saw for chopping lumber into thinner pieces and cutting irregular shapes. Professionals and DIYers as well can use the equipment. SKIL 3386-01 comes with an LED work light attached to the assembly, so one has a precise idea of the job one is working upon. This makes the equipment an essential workshop tool as one can operate it in bad light conditions as well.
A few of the other prime features of SKIL 3386-01 include a miter gauge for crosscuts and a rip fence for straight cuts. Apart from the SKIL 3386-01 band saw, the package includes a rip fence, miter gauge, and a blade.
7. WEN 3966T Band Saw with Stand and Worklight
WEN 3966T is a powerful tool and the perfect workshop companion. This is a 14-inch tool that features a 9.5 amp motor with a 13-3/8 inch throat. The equipment uses blades that are 100-3/4 inches.
Prime features of WEN 3966T are a miter gauge for making angled cuts, a fence that helps make perfectly straight cuts and a sawdust collection drawer that is easy to empty. Ball bearings keep the machinery operation smooth. The equipment is durable and a versatile band saw that features two speeds, 1420 and 3280 FPM. WEN 3966T makes holes that are 13-3/8 inches wide and 8.85 inches deep. A spacious work table, 21-1/2 x 15-3/4 inches can be swiveled by up to 45 degrees. A 3-in-1 dust port fits varied hoses, 1-3/4, 2-3/4, and 4 inches.
8. Milwaukee 2429-21XC
Milwaukee 2429-21XC is a cordless saw which simplifies its use away from a source of power. The equipment length is 11” and it works over a voltage of 12 V. But it may not be the best choice for elaborate projects as it makes 150 cuts in a single charge with XC battery. Being lightweight, it does not tire the hands at all. Alternately, Milwaukee 2429-21XC can be maintained at a workshop and be used every now and then, when one feels that user fatigue is limiting one’s working capacity. The end to end kit comes with a battery charger and a case that brings ease to usage. Blade Length: 27” x ½” x .020″.
The kit contains 18 TPI Sub-Compact Band Saw Blade, M12 Sub-Compact Band Saw, M12™ XC High Capacity REDLITHIUM Battery, M12 Lithium-ion Battery Charger and a carrying case.
9. Rikon 10-305
Rikon 10-305 is the preferred band saw of woodworkers and hobbyists alike. It is preferred by DIYers who do not need too much power for their projects. The equipment has a strong steel design which adds to the durability.
Another scenario wherein Rikon 10-305 is the greatest band saw is when the workers do not have sufficient space for a band saw of larger dimensions. The equipment features a large blade tension knob. A quality rip fence comes in as a part of the package, which can also be removed for free handwork. But miter gauge and steel stand are made available separately.
The 10” band saw, Rikon 10-305 features an edge facing thrust bearings, and the assembly involves a 2″ tall fence. Rikon 10-305 has a 1/3HP motor, and a 4-5/8″ re-saw capacity. This delivers sufficient power for cutting pen and bowl blanks.
Rikon 10-305 works over a large cast iron table. There’s a micro-adjustable guidepost that allows the table to be raised and lowered easily. A 2-1/2 inch dust post keeps the work area dust free. It is used for shop vacuum hookup.
10. Milwaukee 6232-21
Milwaukee 6232-21 is a Chinese made product that is easy to use. It is an 11A Port Band Saw. Milwaukee saws are known for their performance and reliability and make the standards in industrial metalworking.
Milwaukee 6232-21 features the job site armor technology that makes it all the more durable. The equipment is made using a proprietary composite material, wherein the crush zone barriers ensure rugged protection. Similarly, a gear protecting clutch boosts gear and motor life. High impact forces caused by blade lock-ups hence cause minimum damage to the machinery. The tool also has a new debris protection system in place. It ensures that the pulley lasts long and removes debris while usage. The equipment features a slimmer motor housing that enhances a users’ line of sight. The machinery is well-balanced, which makes it more comfortable for use.
An adjustment from an extended shoe to no shoe can be made in seconds with a button actuated tool-free design. The band saw blades are separately sold.
Buying Guide for the Best Band Saw
The prime capability a band saw is associated with is carving nice patterns and a deeper focus over precision. Irrespective of the classification a band saw is subdivided into, it is going to include a blade or tension tracking, a motor and a blade. The speed is measured in FPM, which is feet per minute.
Corded and Cordless band saws
When a professional or a DIYer chooses to invest in a band saw, he has a range of selections to choose from at his disposal. One of them is corded band saws and cordless band saws.
An example of a corded power saw is SKIL 3386-01 Band Saw with Light. A cordless band saw will be workable in the absence of a power source. Milwaukee 2429-21XC is a cordless band saw. It is a particularly handy tool for DIYers, who can use the equipment easily for their home renovation projects. It is more of a practice tool with a limited capability for live projects. In the workshop scenario, where continuous cutting is needed for a longer number of hours, Milwaukee 2429-21XC may not be the great band saw to go ahead with. Milwaukee nevertheless is a well-recognized brand that comes up with the finest of hand tools and the excellent band saws.
The brand is reliable and the consumer testimonials speak of the products’ quality. Hence for light-duty work, Milwaukee 2429-21XC is a preferable tool. The consumers who use Milwaukee 2429-21XC frequently have high satisfaction rates. Their projects are completed nicely in stipulated turnaround times. For workshop projects as well, Milwaukee 2429-21XC is a preferable tool for small projects.
With the quality and balance of the equipment, user fatigue levels stay towards the lower side.
Classification by blade operation
The design of a band saw could be as a blade which is powered by a motor, a blade that travels using wheels and a blade exposed to make cuts.
DEWALT DWM120K features a blade powered by wheels, a dual bearing blade and a variable speed dial for varied applications. It is compact machinery with an LED light, which enables a clear view of the Jobsite.
Similarly, JET JWBS-14DXPRO features a retractable blade guard for additional safety. It may be classified as a band saw that exposes the blade to make cuts. This renders the ability to work on smaller and larger jobs alike and makes the band saw versatile.
Overall, JET JWBS-14DXPRO is the excellent band saw for the varied features it makes available for user safety, ease of operation, countering user fatigue, the accuracy of jobs, precise cuts, and a powerful operation following a long duration of use.
Finally, DEWALT DCP580B is a band saw that features blades powered by a battery.
Freestanding band saws
A few of the band saws are available either in a freestanding or a cabinet form. They make a fine choice for professional or personal use and feature a powerful re-sawing ability. They are powerful and useful for a variety of projects.
WEN 3966T Band Saw with Stand and Worklight is an example of a free-standing band saw.
Features of the table: bevel and throat size
The table is an important component of a band saw, and one makes cuts over the table. Frame materials for band saws are cast iron and steel. Both are durable. Cast iron frames may offer a higher resistance to deformation under stress.
JET JWBS-14DXPRO has a cast iron frame while Rikon 10-305 has a strong stainless steel frame.
Bevel is the angle to which a table can be tilted towards left or right. JET JWBS-14DXPRO and Rikon 10-305 either have a tabletop that tilts by 45 degrees to make bevel cuts. This helps in making angled cuts.
Another common accessory of top band saws includes an adjustable lamp or light, which helps a user trace the path of a blade and work in bad light conditions. DEWALT DWM120K, DEWALT DCP580B, SKIL 3386-01 and WEN 3962 are some of the great band saws that come with a work light.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is a band saw?
A band saw is a power saw. It features a long and sharp blade that has a long band of toothed metal. The blade is frequently stretched in between two or more wheels. Band saws can cut a variety of substances and are frequently used for metalworking, woodworking, and lumbering.
What is a band saw used for?
A band saw will cut curves, even in thick lumber. It can be used to crosscut short pieces or to rip lumber. Band saws are frequently used to cut irregular shapes. They are also used for re-sawing. Re-sawing is ripping lumber into thin slabs.
When would I require a band saw?
One of the cases wherein a band saw is exceedingly helpful is when one needs to chop thicker material. When the thickness of the material that needs to be chopped exceeds 3 ½ inches, a band saw is the best choice to go ahead with.
How will a band saw work?
To set up a band saw for a cut, the operator first lifts the saw. Then the material to be cut is placed under the saw. The saw is then turned on. The blade will descend the material slowly as it makes the cuts.
Alternately, when using handheld band saws, the operator manages the rate at which the blade descends the material.
What are some of the top features I should look into when I buy a band saw?
One should keep the depth of the cut and the throat in mind. The depth of the cut may be defined as the distance between the table and the upper blade guides. This defines the thickness of the material that a band saw can cut.
Another feature that an operator should keep in mind is the throat. The throat is the distance between the blade and the vertical frame section of the body of the saw. This determines the width of the cut that can be made. So when one mentions a 10” saw, it the throat of the saw that he is referring to. The motor’s power is another factor that an operator should keep in mind.
How tight should a bandsaw blade be?
A bandsaw blade should be high tension. This will allow the bandsaw to produce uniform cuts and straight cuts. This is a particularly important feature when the stock is thick or dense. In general, for a common carbon steel blade, the tension should be in the line of 15,000 psi to 20,000 psi.
Why do I sometimes face problems with cutting straight using my band saw?
This could be due to one of the many problems. The most common among them are using a blade that is crooked, loose blade tension, improper feeding or not using a workpiece guide.
One of the ways of overcoming the problem is a miter gauge or a rip fence that helps make straight cuts.
There are cases wherein an operator applies too much force using the band saw for making a cut over a job. This is more than the force required, and hence it causes a band saw blade to twist. It is then possible that the cut made is slightly crooked and not perfectly straight.
Similarly, if a blade is dull, it stands a higher chance of twisting as more surface area of the blade’s edge is countered with the pressure from the job. So the overall pressure over the blade is more. Odds of making a cut crookedly are higher in this case.
In case you come to realize that the band saw is harder to push, or the blade has twisted to an extent, it is preferable to replace the band saw blade. The equipment will then be primed to deliver its best performance.
Another case wherein a blade is more likely to twist is when the blade tension is low. One of the ways of checking the blade tension is by pushing the blade towards one side by using a gloved finger. If you can push it by more than ¼ of an inch, you should tighten the blade.
Band saws are versatile and help with making cuts over a range of jobs and materials. Going for the right band saw for your requirements helps. Maneuvering the machine nicely is an equally important part. A range of band saws simplifies the maneuvering part. A few even come with a small window in the upper housing, which makes it easier to see the blade tension gauge. This makes it easier for one to track the path of the blade over the job, and make accurate cuts. JET JWBS-14DXPRO and WEN 3966T are two of the band saws that feature a small window in the upper housing of the equipment.
A work light in the equipment body is also going to reflect on the accuracy of the cuts. This allows an operator to use the equipment in poor light conditions. SKIL 3386-01 Band saw and WEN 3962 are a few of the band saws that come with a work light.
To use a bandsaw, the very first step is to set up the machine well. This makes the equipment sturdy while the motor operates. One must make sure that the blades of the band saw are sharp and in a prime working condition, as this reflects over the efficiency of the projects. Having a steady hand is one of the factors that ensure that the edges are cut straight.
It is a fine idea to leave behind some additional material that is cut during the smoothening process. But if one has a good experience working with band saws, this may not be required. Similarly, when making curvatures, it is a fine idea to go ahead with smaller relief points. Cutting the curve is hence divider into smaller tasks, and the job winds out smoothly.
It is then important to make sure that one adheres to the safety practices involved with using a band saw.