Best Band Saw 2017
In this best band saw guide we will we will walk you through all the most important questions you’ll have before buying one of these machines. We will discuss band saw price ranges and what you can expect to get within your budget. We will talk about the best types of saws, blades, and which band saws are best suited for different types of jobs.
Woodworking enthusiasts consider the band saw to be one of the most underrated power tools despite its unmatched cutting precision and versatility. It allows you to do simple cutting jobs and even create detailed designs out of wood and other materials such as metals and plastic.
Best Band Saw (Comparison Table)
Top Rated Band Saws
This 14-inch saw is described as being for small workshops and furniture businesses. It features a cast iron body frame, table and pulleys making for a sturdy machine. It uses a 93 ½ blade and has a blade speed of 1,800 to 3100 rpm. and offers a one year warranty.
Users liked how the machine is made for heavy duty work but still thought higher end band saws would be better for industrial workloads. The Grizzly fulfilled most owner’s work demands such as resawing maple and teak wood making it a great choice for the money. They also commented on how changing blades of the machine was easy; a great thing for hobbyists and beginners.
It features various speed settings at 85, 130, 180 and 285 feet per minute depending on the material being cut. Like the Grizzly, it is designed for heavy duty use with its sturdy construction of heavy cast iron. However, this Jet band saw is a lot more expensive than the first one on our list.
This band saw can operate both vertically and horizontally. It easily cuts through a variety of materials with owners being able to use it for cutting aluminium and stainless steel. Due to its consistency in performance, people who’ve brought this machine highly recommend it to others, especially those with woodworking shops who are looking for a great band saw to invest in.
One problem some users pointed out is that the coolant tends to drip off the blade creating a puddle on the work floor which might be a hazard.
This next model is a 10-inch, portable, bench top band saw. It is described as having all the features of a full-sized band saw despite its relatively smaller size. It comes with a 1/3 HP motor and a cutting speed of 2,780 feet per minute. One of its most enticing features is its generous 5-year product warranty.
Some users complained of the machines unflat base which they thought defeats the purpose of it being a bench top band saw. But seeing past that, owners agree that the machine works very well and liked its great quality build.
They also liked how the saw’s adjustment mechanisms are user-friendly. Owners concluded that the Rikon 10-305 is one of the better 10-inch band saws for its price.
Best Band Saw For The Money
This 9-inch, 2.5 Amp Saw is ideal for beginner woodworkers. It’s pretty cheap compared with other models on this list. It cuts through a variety of soft to hard woods. And it’s capable of cutting out irregular shapes and stripping lumber down to thinner pieces.
What’s more, it’s equipped with an LED light so you can easily see what you are cutting. It’s also relatively light at less than 40 lbs so it could be a bench top or portable machine if needs be.
Most owners of this band saw are very pleased with it. They liked how the machine made little noise or vibration and the fact that it offered plenty of power when needed.
One user described how this saw cut through buffalo horn like a hot knife through butter. Most users recommended this saw for hobbyists and homeowners to use for craft and repair jobs.
Best Portable Band Saw
This saw also features a work light that allows users to work in areas that are poorly lit. It is backed by a 5-year warranty from the manufacturer.
One of the owners commented on how his contracting business uses about 10 of these Milwaukee band saws on a daily basis. He highly recommends the saw and says its great for everyday use. The one issue he raised is that the tension in the blade tends to loosen over time.
Best Band Saw For Woodworking
Powermatic is one of the most respected brands on the market and this model lives up to its reputation (and price point). Like previous band saws reviewed, the Powermatic is equipped with a light for better visibility while you’re cutting.
It also features a chip blower which ensures a clean, visible cut. Another great feature is its easy-to-read tension gauge which indicates blade width increments.
Users particularly liked the sturdy build of the machine from its blade guard to the fence. Owners of the Powermatic agree that it’s an outstanding piece of woodworking machinery which they would highly recommend for others to buy.
The only catch is the setting up of the machine which is made more difficult by vague instructions from the manual.
Best Cordless Band Saw
This saw can cut 5-inches deep and is equipped with a powerful 10 Amp motor with variable speed control for specific materials and tasks. It is described as being packed with little details to make your work easier like an LED light, ergonomic grip and easy maintenance.
It features externally replaceable brushes which allow you to make repairs with little fuss. The machine comes with a 3-year warranty.
Owners of this saw love the durability of the blades that come with it. The blades last for months, even with intensive use cutting mild steel and aluminum. They also liked the variable speed which made cutting different materials a lot easier.
However, some owners criticized the machine’s casing which could have been stronger. Owners of this saw highly recommend it saying that it is a commercial grade tool which cuts through softer metals like butter.
Best Band Saw Buying Guide
What distinguishes a band saw from other types of saws is its blade which comes in the form of a bendable metallic band that is stretched and attached to two pulleys which facilitate its movement through wood, metal and other materials.
A band saw can only be as versatile as its saw blade so considering which type of blade you’ll use is as important as choosing the body type of a band saw. We’ll have a separate section on band saw blade guidelines at the latter part of this guide.
Another advantage that band saws have over other saws is that there is no danger of kickback. This enables for safe freehand cutting using the tool. Also, the band saw blade runs from top to bottom making for clean and consistent cutting.
Band Saw Prices
Band saws aren’t exactly small tools (though there are portable types which we will also discuss in this guide) so they are fairly pricey. Though handheld and portable types go for around $200, good band saws for woodworking and metal cutting cost from a thousand up to a few thousand dollars depending on the brand and size making the choice of model to buy a very important one.
This guide is designed to help you find a great band saw to invest in, one that will serve your needs and last you long into the future. We have included a few thoughts on metal and woodworking band saws for a variety of choices but we’ll focus on helping you find a band saw primarily for cutting wood.
We’ll look into different types of band saws and what types of jobs they’re best suited for. Then we’ll have a short guide on band saw blades discussing all the important factors you need to be aware of including blade folding and blade sharpeners.
Different Types Of Band Saws
Before considering which type of band saw you’d like. We recommend first determining which size would best work for your needs. A band saw’s size is measured in inches according to the diameter of its wheels or pulleys. People at Craftsy.com recommend a 14-inch band saw as a minimum for small furniture making shops although 16-inch band saws would be better.
Meanwhile, 18 to 20-inch band saws are recommended for those planning to take on larger work. But band saws below 14 inches may still be sufficient for hobbyists and enthusiasts.
Metal Band Saws
As the name implies, this type of saw is ideal for cutting metals. They can even be used to cut out new blades for other band saws. However, they are mainly used for cutting metal stock down to smaller and more manageable sizes. It may also be used in filing and polishing metal in product finishing.
Given this saw’s ability to cut through hard metal, it follows that it may also be used to cut wood making it versatile. It’s downside, though, is that it requires more maintenance and features such as a coolant which keeps the blade cool.
Wood Band Saws
This is another type of saw that is a more popular choice for both amateur and professional woodworkers. Within this type lies three more subcategories:
- Head Saws
- Double Cut Saws
Head saws are large band saws used primarily to make the first cuts on logs. Their blades are often of the 2 to 3 inches tooth space type ideal for cutting through thicker and harder material. We’ll talk about tooth space more when we come to the topic of blades.
Resaws come next with their main use of cutting wood into further smaller pieces usually against the timber’s grain.
Double cut saws get their name because of their double-edged blade having teeth on both sides which prevents the blade from getting stuck in the material.
Horizontal Band Saws
These are ideal for cutting through longer materials but not for cutting out intricate shapes like curved lines. However, they make for quieter tools and have great precision when cutting straight lines.
Vertical Band Saws
With horizontal band saws, the material to be cut is held stationary while the blade does the moving. The opposite happens with the vertical sort. Instead of the blade moving, it is the material that is moved around making the cutting of detailed shapes possible. It is also capable of precision straight cuts making it more versatile than the horizontal band saw.
Portable Or Handheld Band Saws
This type of saw is ideal for people who need their tools with them on different locations outside the home or workshop and for cutting large pieces of material that are too big or heavy to bring to a stationary band saw. Being cheaper and more versatile, portable models are popular among amateur woodworkers and DIYers.
How to choose a band saw blade
Different band saws require different blades. Metal band saws need either blades of carbon tool steel or bimetal blades. Of the two, the first one is more economical to have as it can cut anything up to the hardness of mild steel.
Meanwhile, if you want a blade that will last longer and can cut harder metals such as stainless steel, you might want to go with the bimetal blade.
Carbon tool steel blades may also be used for vertical wood band saws. Aside from that you can also use Premium Gold carbide impregnated blades which are designed for heavy production and fast cutting.
The next thing you’ll want to consider is how tight you need your blades to be able to turn. Would you be cutting complicated shapes or just straight lines? Check out this handy table by supercutbandsaw.com for more information.
Finally, you should know which tooth pattern you’ll need for your blades. As a general rule for wood band saws, blades with fewer teeth per inch are faster but provide a rougher finish. It is the opposite for blades which have more teeth per inch. They’re slower but leave your wood with a finer edge cut.
Some Popular Band Saw Blades
This blade is great value for money as it is really built to last. It can cut through both soft and hard wood even
plastics and other non-ferrous metals making it versatile. The blade is also designed for fast cutting in straight lines so if you plan on doing intricate cutting a different blade would suit you better.
This Vermont blade is produced for cutting metals using a bench top band saw making it suitable mainly for home workshops. It is capable of turning a minimum of one inch radius and leaves a fine cut but is relatively slow.
As the name implies this blade is designed for portable band saws. It boasts of being heat and wear resistant making it last longer. Not only that but the blade contains 8% of cobalt and alloy steel backing further making them durable. However, all these features come at a higher price tag compared to other brands.
How To Fold Band Saw Blades
With gloved hands (for protection), hold the blade in front of you with the teeth facing away. Then put a foot inside the loop while lightly stepping on the blade pinning it on the floor. Rotate and lower your hand while still holding onto the top of the blade. The blade will later turn into three coils. And you’re done.
If you need more help you can check out this instruction video by Paul Sellers on YouTube.
Band Saw Blade Tension
The blade tension is the technical measurement of a band saw blade’s tightness. It is important to note that band saws work only because their bendable blades are stretched out over pulleys.
Blades are tensioned by the amount of force per cross section area expressed in pounds per square inch or PSI. Cutting blades (mostly carbon steel blades) are typically tensioned at 12,000 to 20,000 PSI. As a general rule, band saw blades are not to be tensioned over 35,000 PSI.
Band Saw Blade Sharpening
As we know, quality blades can be costly and sharpening will be one of the key to making your blades last longer. Most enthusiasts recommend a rotary tool used together with a sharpening stone when attempting to re-sharpen dull blades.
Some of the top rated rotary tool kits on the Internet are the Black & Decker RTX-B 3-Speed RTX Rotary Tool Kit and the Dremel 220-01 Rotary Tool Workstation Drill Press Work Station with Wrench with more people preferring the Dremel. Both of these come with a variety of attachments you can choose from depending on your sharpening needs.
Band saws are great tools to have especially if you’re into woodworking. It makes freehand cutting easy and precise. It can also be just as versatile when cutting other materials aside from wood for your other projects.
Finding a band saw will rely greatly on what you need it for. There are plenty of models available at different price points. But if you’re a beginner wood worker, we suggest that you invest in portable or bench top band saw as they offer versatility and are fairly lighter on your bank account.
It is also important to know which kinds of blades you might need and how to store them. Finally, part of having a band saw is maintenance of blades. We hope we’ve helped you with some of our rotary tool recommendations.
That’s it for now. If you have any more questions you can get in touch and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can!
Categorised in: Power Tools