Best Band Saw Reviews & Buyers Guide 2018
When it comes to cutting wood, you need a saw that can deliver high-quality results in a variety of situations. The best band saws offer precision and versatility that you can’t find with other machinery, which is what makes them such a valuable part of any workshop.
Part of the reason that band saws are so useful is that they can cut both wood and other materials. You can also operate them at different speeds and cut all kinds of shapes with ease. Today we’re going to be looking at the top band saw models out there. Let’s see what they have to offer and how they can help you with your next project.
Comparison of Band Saw 2018
WEN 3962 Two-Speed Band Saw (Editor's Choice)
DEWALT DCS371B Band Saw
SKIL 3386-01 Band Saw
DEWALT DWM120K Deep Cut Band Saw (Editor's Choice)
Makita XBP02Z Band Saw
DEWALT DCS374B Band Saw
Recommended 8 Best Band Saw Reviews
1. WEN 3962 Two-Speed Band Saw with Stand
When picking out a band saw, there are a few different elements you have to pay attention to first. One of the most crucial is whether or not the unit can stand on its own. As we’ll see on this list, there are several different options - you can choose one that has legs like this model, or a benchtop or portable machine instead.
Having feet is useful because it provides extra stability and it doesn’t require any additional tools or equipment. When you buy a benchtop model, you have to secure it into place, and a portable bench saw doesn’t have the same capabilities. As long as you have the space for it, we recommend a saw with a stand.
Another useful feature of this machine is the fact that it operates at two speeds. You can choose between 1520 or 2620 rpm, making it a viable choice for cutting a wide variety of materials. It uses 72-inch blades, and it has a large work surface on which to operate.
The table is helpful because it allows you to create bevels up to 45 degrees, and it comes with a fence and a miter gauge for measuring.
- Dual speed settings for efficiency
- Operates at 1520 or 2620 rpm
- Multiple blade sizes available
- Cuts up to six inches deep
- Uses 72-inch blades
- Work table offers bevels up to 45 degrees
- Self-standing band saw
- Work light built-in
- Three-in-one dust port
- Fence for stability
- Miter gauge included
- In rare cases, the blade will not track correctly
- Fence guide may not stay secure to the table
2. DEWALT DCS371B MAX Lithium-Ion Band Saw
When looking at band saws, the majority of them are built to be used in a workshop. That means that they are designed to be stationary and semi-permanent. However, if you’re working out in the field and you need to make a clean cut, you can’t use one of those saws to get the job done. Instead, you will need something like this unit from DeWalt.
One thing that’s nice about this model is that it’s battery powered. It uses a 20-volt system, which provides ample power to cut through a variety of materials.
Usually, portable band saws like this are helpful for cutting pipe or other components that can’t be removed otherwise. Also, you get more stability, and a cleaner slice with a band saw than you do with a reciprocating saw.
What we like about this unit is that it’s well balanced and it comes with a soft grip handle. Since you have to be careful when cutting, this attention to detail ensures that you don’t get tired as easily and you can get better results overall.
When cutting, you can adjust the blade tracking to fit your needs, and it comes with an LED so that you can see what you’re doing. The LED also has a 20-second delay so that you don’t lose the light when you pull off the trigger. Finally, this saw comes with DeWalt’s standard three-year warranty.
- Battery-operated band saw
- Compact and lightweight design
- Cuts up to 2.5 inches
- Soft grip handle for stability
- Expertly balanced to reduce fatigue
- LED work light for visibility
- Blade tracking adjustment
- Dual bearing blade guide rollers
- Built-in hanging hook for storage
- Tool-free blade change
- Battery not included
- No variable speed
3. SKIL 3386-01 2.5-Amp 9-Inch Band Saw
If you’re looking for a benchtop band saw that’s both affordable and reliable, then you will appreciate this model from Skil. This is considered a consumer-grade machine, which means that it’s not built for professional use. Nonetheless, it offers some excellent features, and it’s perfect for the casual user or DIY enthusiast.
When it comes to power, this saw only has one-speed setting. While that does make it harder to switch between materials, that also means that it’s a simple plug and play model. As soon as you lock it down on your table, you’re ready to go. It uses a 2.5 amp motor, and it operates at 3200 rpm.
The table is easy to adjust, thanks to its rack and pinion adjustment system. You can customize the angle and height of your cut in seconds. It also comes with a fence and a miter gauge so that you can make precise measurements.
Other highlights of this band saw include the articulating LED light, which you can position however you like for maximum benefit. Also, it has a 1.5-inch dust port to help keep your work area clean. Finally, it comes with a three-year limited warranty.
- Rip fence included for straighter cuts
- Benchtop model
- Articulating LED light for visibility
- 1.5-inch dust port keeps the table clean
- Rack and pinion table adjustment
- Offers beveling options
- Relatively lightweight and easy to install
- Ideal for both wood and metals
- Cuts up to 3.5 inches thick
- Miter gauge for easy measuring
- Only one-speed setting
- Rubber tires may break under pressure
4. DEWALT DWM120K Deep Cut Portable Band Saw Kit
Although we like the comfort and convenience of having a battery-operated band saw, you don’t get the same level of performance or reliability as you would with a corded model. In this case, we’re looking at the Deep Cut Band Saw from DeWalt.
With a 10-amp motor, you can cut through a lot of durable materials. This saw is designed to power through steel and other metals with ease. You can adjust the speed to create a cleaner cut - the saw can go from 100 to 350 strokes per minute in seconds.
What we also like about this saw is the safety precautions that come with it. First, it uses rubber bumpers to ensure that you don’t damage anything while you're working. Second, it has a steel shroud so that metal bits and sparks won’t cause any problems.
This saw is also ergonomic. It has an adjustable front handle so that you can work at a variety of angles, and it’s expertly balanced to provide more stability and control. It even comes with a hanging hook so that you can store it quickly.
Speaking of storage, this model also has a rugged carrying case. This offers protection when it’s not in use. As with all DeWalt products, it also comes with a three-year limited warranty.
- Durable carrying case included
- Works on round or rectangular stock
- Rubber bumpers for safety
- Steel shroud protects your hands and body
- Ergonomic design and balance
- LED light for better visibility
- Hanging hook for easy storage
- Variable speed settings
- 100-350 strokes per minute
- Multi-position front handle for convenience
- The blade that’s included may dull easily
- In rare cases, the rubber tires may break under stress
5. Makita XBP02Z Cordless Portable Band Saw
Because portable band saws are usually built to cut through metal pipes, you need to make sure that your model is capable of handling all of the materials you plan to cut through on the job. In this case, we like the Makita Cordless Band Saw because it offers so much more power and precision than most other units in its class.
When comparing the speed and efficiency of band saws, the Makita outshines the competition. It has six different speed settings, and it can go from 275 to 530 feet per second. This is more than fast enough to cut through plastic, stainless steel, and other metals you may encounter.
The size and weight of this saw are also excellent. It’s less than 15 pounds with the battery (not included, unfortunately), and it’s balanced to help reduce fatigue. You can work at a variety of angles without getting exhausted after a few minutes. It even has an adjustable front handle to give you more stability while working.
- Six-setting variable speed trigger
- Operates between 275-530 feet per minute
- Protective bumpers built in
- Weighs less than 15 pounds
- Adjustable front handle
- Balanced to reduce fatigue
- The high-torque motor is more reliable
- No battery included
- No trigger locking mechanism
6. Bare-Tool Milwaukee 2629-20 M18 Cordless Band Saw
When comparing different portable band saws, the brand you pick can make a big difference in the reliability and performance of the unit. Although we like DeWalt and Makita, we have to say that Milwaukee has a somewhat better reputation when talking about cordless power tools.
What we like most about this band saw is its compact and lightweight design. At just 10 pounds, you can work in almost any environment without getting tired. It also has soft grip handles, and it’s perfectly balanced to give you a better grip at any angle.
The other cool thing about this machine is that it’s drop resistant. Since working with a portable power tool always comes with a risk of dropping it, knowing that it's built to withstand such things is a relief. Also, it uses rubber bumpers to ensure that you don’t damage anything while you’re working.
Other features that come with this saw include an LED work light, a blade ejection system for quick changes and a five-year limited warranty. The only thing you don’t get is a battery, which seems to be par for the course with these units.
- Battery-operated model
- Weighs only 10 pounds
- Ergonomic design for stability and comfort
- Tool-free adjustable shoe
- Rubber bumpers for safety
- LED work light built in
- Drop resistant materials
- Soft grip for reduced fatigue
- Heavy-duty construction
- Blade ejection system for efficiency
- Battery is not included
- In rare cases, the unit may overheat
7. DEWALT DCS374B 20V Max Deep Cut Band Saw
If you liked the features and benefits offered by the Deep Cut Band Saw, but you prefer to have a cordless model, then here is your answer. This unit made by DeWalt provides the same level of performance without being tied by a power cord.
Since this unit operates on a 20-volt battery, it can work harder and last longer than most other cordless saws. Also, it’s faster to recharge them because they’re made by DeWalt. Unfortunately, this model doesn’t come with a battery, but you can add one to your order without any issues.
Using this saw is a bit easier than the corded Deep Cut, thanks to the larger handles and softer grip. The front handle is still fully adjustable so that you can work at any angle, but the rear one is better suited for longer periods of cutting.
- Large five-inch throat
- Variable speed trigger for efficiency
- 20-second delay LED light
- Adjustable front handle
- Soft grip for comfort
- Hanging hook for storage
- Thick rubber bumpers for safety
- Weighs 16 pounds
- Adjustable speed dial is in an awkward position
- Battery life can be limited
8. WEN 3959 2.5-Amp 9-Inch Benchtop Band Saw
Our final model is yet another winner from Wen. We like this brand because they offer such high-quality machinery, and this is a perfect example of a benchtop band saw. Although this unit doesn’t provide as much power or performance as the one at the beginning of this list, it’s ideal for most wood cutting projects.
The 2.5-amp motor allows you to work at a speed of 2500 feet per minute. While we would prefer an adjustable speed trigger, this is fast enough for most woods and metals. You can cut up to 3.5 inches deep and nine inches wide, making it both spacious and accommodating.
The table is also excellent. It comes with a miter gauge and a fence for measuring, and you can adjust it quickly and easily. It’s larger than most other benchtop models, so you can work on bigger pieces without having to get a table extension.
- Operates at 2500 feet per minute
- Spacious work table for larger projects
- Offers up to 45-degree beveling
- Fence and miter gauge provided
- 2.5-inch dust port for easy cleaning
- Benchtop model
- Nine-inch throat capacity
- Uses 59.5-inch saw blades
- Integrated ball bearings for smoother operation
- Only one-speed option
Not as powerful as other units
How To Choose The Best Band Saw for the Money
Typically the size of the blade saw you look at is going to be measured by the diameter of the wheels. The throat width is most likely going to be one inch less and it defines the widest board that is able to be passed between the blade and the column and the resaw capacity is the maximum height that can be cut.
If you are just using it for small jobs, a 14 inch minimum for the blade saw should be perfect. A 16 inch is going to be better and you can even go with a 18 or 20 inch model if you happen to find a need for one of the larger blades on the market. In terms of the height, you should look for a 12” height at the minimum.
When it comes to the frame design of the band saw you are looking at buying you should understand that your choice is going to come down to either a cast iron or a welded steel.
In general, you should try and find a frame that is made from a heavy steel. It is becoming more and more popular as time goes on and it is easily recognized by the rectangular frames that you have probably seen at some point.
WheelsIf you go with an option that gives you a quality steel frame then you can count on it having a heavy, cast iron wheel that helps to create a flywheel effect to give you a strong and steady cut at all times.
The blade actually tracks on rubber tires on the rum and most of them are flat or nearly flat so that they can easily track blades that are larger in width and used for heavy resawing.
If you look just behind the wheel, you’re going to see a thick spring that has already been adjusted to help maintain proper tension of the blade at all times.
When you go to make your decision, chances are good that you will not be able to easily determine the quality of the spring but you can still tell if one is included. If a well-made spring comes with your purchase, it can be a great indicator that you are buying a well-made, quality band saw.
One of the other important considerations for you to keep in mind is the guidepost that actually comes with an upper blade guide and a blade guard.
It can easily be adjusted using a rack and pinion so that you can ensure it accommodates the thickness of the wood you are going to cut. You need to make sure that the precise setting of the guide is always the same with the blade.
This is a tough topic to cover because there is quite a bit to keep in mind here but you need to remember that the blades are massive when it comes to band saws and they move incredibly fast, yet we actually seem surprised if they don’t cut accurately.
When the blade is cutting the wood, it can move and wiggle and do all sorts of weird things, which is why we have blade guides. Make sure you get a blade guide that will keep the blade straight and steady no matter what you are cutting.
When it comes to band saw for woodworking, you’ll find that the size of the table is not very important and just about any size table is going to work for you. If you want to make sure you get the right one, you should ensure it is a heavy cast iron table that can easily be adjusted to different angles.
In general, it would be really helpful if you could find a heavy fence that has a simple adjustment mechanism. If you want, you can go ahead and buy an aftermarket fence that allows for micro adjustments, but you may find it is not necessary for you to do so.
What Can You Do With a Band Saw
For the most part, band saws are great for cutting a variety of shapes in wood and metal. When you need to make cuts that aren’t straight, a band saw is going to be your best option in the workshop.
The reason you would want to use this machine instead of a jigsaw or a scroll saw is that it offers more power and better handling. You can’t get as much detail, but there is less of a risk that the blade will snap while working.
What we like most about band saws is that you can cut a wider range of woods. Smaller saws have to be used with thin materials, but a band saw can power through thick pieces with ease. Since the saw blades are usually wider and have more teeth, you can use them for all kinds of projects.
Some examples of pieces that you can cut include table legs, particle board, sheet metal, PVC pipe, and lumber slabs. In fact, it’s easy to resize lumber into smaller shapes with this kind of saw, thanks to its smooth operation.
Portable Band Saws
Another thing about band saws is that they can be portable as well. Unlike stationary units, these devices are built to cut through pipes and other metal pieces. Anything that can’t be removed without cutting should be handled with a band saw.
While you could use a reciprocating saw for cutting pipes, they don’t offer the same level of control. That being said, the band saw is somewhat limiting because you can’t reach into smaller spaces to cut.
Overall, band saws are perfect for a wide variety of projects. You can cut thick pieces of wood or metal, and sometimes plastic.
What’s a Good Price for a Band Saw?
Even though there are a lot of different features to pay attention to when picking out the best band saw for the money, we understand that the cost is usually a deciding factor. As such, we want to provide you with a handy pricing guide to help you make a final decision.
Portable Band Saws
Since these are handheld tools, they are much more affordable than full-size saws. For the most part, you can find a decent portable model between $200 and $400. That being said, keep in mind that most battery-operated units don’t come with a power source. Thus, that can be an additional expense to consider.
Benchtop Band Saws
These models require that you have a tabletop or a bench for them to work. Again, since they aren’t full-size units, they can be much more affordable by comparison. As a rule, benchtop band saws will cost between $250-$700. Usually, more reliable and well-built saws will be at the top of this range.
If you’re a hobbyist, you don’t need perfection, but if you work with band saws a lot, then you want something that won’t break down easily.
Self-Standing Band Saws
Overall, these units are going to be the most expensive. However, you can find semi-permanent models that aren’t as high-powered. In that case, you can save several hundred dollars. That being said, cheaper saws are not going to provide the same level of performance.
Typically speaking, full-size band saws will be around $1000-$1200. On the low end, you can find some for less than $500 if you shop around.
How to Set Up a Bandsaw
Since there are several different kinds of saws available, setting it up will vary based on how it’s built. Here’s a brief overview of the various elements involved in getting your band saw to work.
Installing the Blade
The way that this machine works is that it runs a circular blade around two wheels. The length of the blade will vary based on the size of the unit, so make sure that you buy ones that are compatible.
Usually, band saws will allow you to change blades without using a specialized tool. In this case, you remove the old blade and install the new one. To do this, you will have to run it through the system and then latch it into place. Once it’s locked, you’re ready to go. Don’t turn the machine on until you’re sure it’s locked.
Tracking the Blade
Many of these machines will allow you to adjust how straight the blade is. This process is crucial as a crooked blade can snap or create uneven cuts. Most models will have an adjustment knob for easier maneuvering. Make sure that the blade is correct before you activate it.
Many band saws come with a fence. This piece provides a solid backing on which to place your material so that you don’t create an uneven cut. Adjusting the fence is simple, and you can usually move it forward or back, as well as from side to side.
If you want a band saw that can handle any project you’re working on, then we have to say that the WEN 3962 is the best option. It has the most power and easiest operation of any that we’ve seen.
However, if you need a portable band saw, then the DeWalt Deep Cut (corded) is going to be the right choice. Although the cord can get in the way, you get more power and cleaner precision as a result.