The 7 Best Band Saws for 2018 - Shape, Saw, and Smooth Like a Pro

 

Table of Contents

The 7 Best Band Saws Reviewed
  7. WEN 3962
  6. SKIL 3386
  5. Rikon 10-305
  4. WEN 3975
  3. Powertec BS900
  2. Milwaukee 2429
  1. Makita XBP02Z
Band Saw Buying Guide
Band Saw Safety Tips

Whether you're a professional woodworker or a DIYer, a good band saw is a precious addition to your workshop.

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These are versatile tools that have the ability to create complex angles and can cut out straight lines as well as close-fitting curves. Band saws are comparable to no other saws in terms of flexibility.

That's not just our opinion, but also that of the Woodworker's Guild of America.

Designers and manufacturers offer lots of options when it comes to band saw products. This is where many potential buyers run into trouble. Choosing the best band saw for your woodworking needs can be difficult with so many options available on the market.

We have extensively tested the best band saws at our expansive workshops as well as talked to most manufacturers and traders to get specialists' viewpoints. We have also gone through numerous customer reviews to see which models served best and which did not.

Here is our impartial list that we compiled following the testing and views from experts and customers.

Best Band Saw Reviews

7. WEN 3962 Two-Speed Band Saw with Stand and Worklight, 10''

 
 

This Wen 10-inch is a little band saw that is scientifically designed with nice features that normally only come with more expensive options. Its 3.5 Amp motor is powerful enough to operate at either 1520 or 2620 FPM. When this power is transferred to its two-speed saw, it will effectively glide through boards with deep cuts of up to six inches.

It comes with a spacious 14 x 12 ½ inch table that can be beveled up to 45° allowing you to make a variety of angled cuttings. It also features 10-inch wheels that are equipped with ball bearings which allow a long-lasting smooth operation.

Also, Wen 3962 is fitted with a flexible work light that allows you to illuminate your working surface through an autonomous switch. So you don't need to be in the light or get a different source of light. With a sturdy fence for making straight cuts, the WEN 39622 is certainly a good product that comes with high-end features at a very affordable price.

Specific Features

  • Two-speed operation
  • Variety of blade options
  • Bevel cuts from 0° to 45°
  • Full 6-inch resaw capacity
  • 3.5 amp motor
  • 72–inch blades
  • 3-in-1 dust port
  • One bare tool
  • Weighs 73 pounds
  • Size: 10 inch
  • 2-year warranty
  • Throat capacity of 9 ¾ inches

Pros

  • High-quality cuts
  • Comes with miter gauge
  • Includes a flexible work light
  • Easy to assemble

Cons

  • Tedious adjustments
  • Not great for beginners

6. SKIL 3386-01 2.5–Amp 9"

 
 

The Skil 3386 is specifically designed for those who can't afford high-end band saws yet want a feature-rich product. It's constructed with high-quality body materials.

It also comes with an LED work light that automatically picks the cutting line at any time you are working, even in a poorly lit workshop. With the 1 ½ inch dust port, you can be sure to focus effectively without straining your eyes while avoiding being nagged by sawdust.

The Skil 3386 is also equipped with an adjustable rip fence and a miter gauge. The rip fence helps you to guide the workpiece to create a straight and accurate cutting while the miter gauge allows you to make excellent crosscuts.

Specific Features

  • 2.5-amp motor
  • 9–inch throat capacity
  • 2800 FPM blade speed
  • Rip fence and miter gauge
  • Cutting height of up to 3 ½ inches
  • 59 ½ inch blade
  • 1 ½ inch dust port
  • Bevels angle of 0° to 45°
  • Work light

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Rip fence for accurate cutting
  • Easily adjustable table
  • 2.5 amp motor is powerful enough for regular cutting
  • Well-lit cutting line
  • 3-year warranty

Cons

  • Single motor only works best with timber
  • Lightweight thus not stable enough

5. Rikon 10–305 with Fence, 10"

 
 

The Rikon 10-305 is great if you need more working area. It offers 33 ¼ x 21 x 15 ¼ inches of a cast iron table.

With a 3.5–amp motor and a blade speed of 2780 FTM you are sure to have excellent cuts. As such, the Rikon 10-305 is the best choice for woodworkers who need a spacious bandsaw table with high performing features.

Specific Features

  • Cast iron table
  • Rip fence
  • Micro-adjustable guidepost
  • Solid steel design
  • 1/3 HP, 3.5 amp motor
  • 1 ½ inch dust port
  • 70 ½ inch blade
  • Edge facing thrust bearings
  • 4–5/8 inch cutting capacity

Pros

  • Durable with cast iron table
  • Easy cleaning with a dust port
  • Stable with heavy and sturdy construction
  • Easy tracking adjustment
  • Adjustable rip fence up to eight times

Cons

  • No stand included
  • No miter gauge included

4. WEN 3975 5" Metal–Cutting Benchtop Band Saw

 
 

The WEN 3975 is specifically made for those who want to make easy cuts of metal materials like steel, copper, aluminum brass among others. With a powerful 4.5 amp motor, cutting metal has been simplified.

This band saw features a compact design that makes it easy to store and transport giving you unlimited access to your powerful machine at home as well as at your job site. It comes with an onboard vise which provides a firm grip while the ball bearing blade guides offer a reliable operation.

It also features a variable speed operation which allows the blade to rotate from 125 to 260 ft. per minute giving you perfect cuts on different sizes. You can cut a 24 square inch of steel in a snap of a finger.

Specific Features

  • Adjustable blade speed
  • Pre-installed 56 ½ x ½ inch blade
  • 4.5 amp motor
  • 2–year warranty
  • Bevels angle of 0° to 60°
  • Cuts pipes up to 5 inches diameter
  • Cuts Rectangle materials of up to 5 x 4 7/8 inches

Pros

  • Powerful motor for excellent and quick cutting
  • Affordable
  • Larger bevel angle

Cons

  • Not durable
  • Bad build quality
  • No adjustments

3. POWERTEC BS900, 9"

 
 

The Powertec BS900 is best for those who want versatility. With a blade width ranging from 1/8 inch to 3/8 inch, you will be sure to have the most flexible re-sawing and scroll cutting. It is equipped with patented blade guard adjustments that allow you to quickly change the blades.

It also features a 2.5 amp motor that is capable of attaining 1727 RPM - just enough for quick and efficient cuts. The aluminum die casting table is slightly heavy to offer the required stability for a band saw of this caliber. You can confidently buy this machine knowing that you are going to have excellent deep cuts of up to 3 5/8 inches at 90°.

Specific Features

  • Blade guard adjustment
  • Quick release blade tension
  • 2.5–amp motor
  • Aluminum die casting table
  • 9–inch throat depth
  • Bevel angle of up to 90°
  • 62–inch blade

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Powerful motor for excellent cuts
  • Easy cleaning with a dust port
  • Wide bevel angle

Cons

  • Not durable
  • Not strong

2. Milwaukee 2429–21 XC M12 Cordless

 
 

The Milwaukee 2429 is particularly made for those who want flexible one-hand cuts. It features a compact size with the lightest weight than any other cordless band saw.

It also features a powerful motor that cuts ¾ inch EMT in 3 seconds and up to 150 cuts per charge. It comes with blade tension and blade tracking adjustments. Besides, it meets the OSHA guarding requirements thus appropriate for one hand use.

Specific Features

  • One-handed cuts
  • Blade tension adjustment
  • LED Light
  • Powerful motor
  • Battery powered
  • Adjustable blade tracking
  • 5-year warranty

Pros

  • Lightweight for one hand use
  • Convenient to use with batteries
  • Flexible
  • Great-quality

Cons

  • A bit expensive
  • Not very powerful

1. Makita XBP02Z 18V LXT Cordless Portable Band Saw

 
 

The Makita XBP02Z is a cordless portable option. It comes with 18V LXY Lithium – Ion battery that is the fastest to charge in its category. It is built with a high-torque motor that can be applied to a variety of metal materials.

Its compact design and light weight makes it easy to work with even with one hand. Besides, its ergonomic shape fits like a glove and reduces operator exhaustion. It features an LED work light that illuminates your work area for more efficient cuts.

With a variety of applications, this unit is perfect for metal building, plumbing, electrical and HVAC installations among other professionals who require the best portable band saw.

Features

  • 6 setting variable speed control dials
  • Cutting speed of 275 – 530 ft./min
  • Weight 14.3 lbs
  • 18V Lithium-Ion series
  • Adjustable foot protects

Pros

  • Well-built
  • Good battery life
  • Easy blade change
  • Great cuts
  • The best portable band saw

Cons

  • A bit expensive
  • Still too heavy for some

What to Consider When Buying a Band Saw

 

Why do you need to buy one?

First, ask yourself why you want a band saw and what kind of materials you will work with. Once you answer these two questions, it is time to think about space. If you intend to buy one for occasional use, you will choose one that does not take up a lot of space. A lightweight machine will also be an ideal option as it allows you to conveniently move it.

 

Construction

Here, two major areas are to be considered – the build quality of the frame and table.

Good band saw tables are constructed from steel or cast iron which is heavier to minimize vibrations while increasing stability. They are longer-lasting than plastic and aluminum types.

 

Motor

The motor is one of the major components that determine what material you're going to cut. Even if the band saw motors are electric, their power is rated in terms of horsepower.

Anyone that is rated below 1.0 HP is definitely a small band saw. However, they are still great when it comes to less busy workshops and even some iron cutting or special re-sawing.

But if you are planning to be cutting hardwoods and metals regularly or carry out numerous re-sawing of broad materials, then it is important to consider a more powerful band saw, something like 1.5 HP or 2.0 HP.

 

Wheels

Wheels are yet another important element and will significantly influence the kind of product you will want to buy. Though it seems insignificant to many, it will impact the manner in which your saw behaves and cuts materials.

The interior wheel may either be made of cast iron or aluminum, with aluminum being significantly lighter. Also, the weight of the wheel really matters.

The heavier wheels will tend to provide more inertia which is then transferred to the blade allowing it to cut while maintaining a constant speed to give a consistent cutting. So give attention to the wheels you intend buying.

 

Blade Tension Pointer

A blade tension pointer or indicator will help you set the right tension required for a specific blade. This is important because if the tension of a particular blade is way too high, the blade will tend to wear out rather faster or even break, whereas when it is set lower than required, the blade may veer off track or not cut in a straight line.

So, buying a band saw with a blade tension pointer is very crucial. Since most tension pointers tend to be inaccurate by either measuring too low or too high, you would possibly never know until you use it. Never hesitate to ask for a demonstration for the model you intend to purchase.

 

Frame

A frame is where a band saw and all other components are built. The frame of a bandsaw plays a key role in the way the saw will cut or behave while cutting materials. A frame can come in welded steel, die-cast or cast iron.

Comparing these three styles, I would prefer cast iron since it not only strong but also heavy, thus will give you adequate stability.

Additionally, the frame is what holds up everything else in the to give it firmness. And when cutting at a high rate a lot of vibration can be produced which can be transferred to the blade. Certainly, if you buy an unstable unit you are likely to produce a bad quality cutting, so be keen to choose a stable bandsaw frame.

 

Blade Guides

Blade guides help you to set the two blades in order to have your preferred cutting. These blades are located next to the blades for easy and quick manipulation to maintain the blades in a vertical, square and does not turn while cutting process.

The most common styles of blade guides are made from ceramic and sealed bearing. Regardless of the material used, considering a good set of blade guides will ensure you produce a quality cut and better control of the blades.

 

Bevel Capacity

This is a feature that enables the band saw table to tilt to desired angles in order to make a beveled cut. Owing to the manner of the design the table can only tilt to the right up to 45°. However, some are capable of making a normal tilt of less than 10° to the left side.

It is crucial to consider a product that makes a precise beveled cut and returns to square easily when adjusted. Choose one that is easy to make adjustments so that you feel more confident when using it.

 

Dust Collection

It is ideal to consider band saws that feature dust collection ports. You wouldn't wish to scatter dust all over your workshop whenever you are working. In order to have an easy time cleaning your workshop, it is important to hook a dust collection system to the dust port.

Basically, a 4-inch port will expel more dust compared to a 2 ¼ inch port. So if you pick the bigger one the better. Connect a vacuum so as you don't end up with sawdust everywhere in your workshop - and in your lungs.

 

Safety Features

To a larger extent, band saws are considered safer when compared to other kinds of saws owing to their lack of kickback. Essentially, a band saw blade cuts continuously in a single direction eliminating the risk of a kickback that is common with rotating blades.

However, the greatest danger here is getting a cut. If you receive a cut, the injury is normally severe due to the effective and fast cutting blades. Fortunately, all models worth your money come with a blade guard.

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Tips on How to be Safe When Using a Band Saw

  • Ensure the safety guard is pulled down to around 1/8 to ¼ of the clearance inch just above the material being cut. This will not only minimize the extent to which the blade might cut you but also it will bring the top guides and bottom guides near each other. As such, the blade guides can effectively control the blades.
  • Ensure that you read the manual guide in order to know better the model you have bought and how you can use it without harm. This is important even if you have previously used units of the same kind.
  • When cutting, be sure to move your material along by pushing with all your fingers on top of it rather than bracing your thumbs behind the material. You can use a block or a push stick when you making a cut close to your hands.
  • Ensure you use the right blade for the cutting you going to make. For example, use a thinner blade when cutting tight curves and a wider when carrying out other processes like re-sawing.
  • Ensure the blade is sharp enough before use. Normally, you tend to push harder when cutting with a blunt blade. It is not good to exert more pressure on the machine as this will interfere with its stability and your overall safety.
  • You should know that the blade never comes to a complete stand just the moment you turn it off. It can continue gliding for some time. So be certain the blade has stopped coasting before placing your hand near the blade.
  • Ensure you put on protective clothing like a dust mask and safety glasses before you start your operations.

Conclusion

While we have disclosed most of the features to consider while buying the best band saw for your needs the end game is very simple. Your budget is the most determining factor when it comes to buying these machines.

Once you have a budget, you can quickly narrow down to the kind of machine you can buy. Think about your space and then look at the buying tips we have covered here. Whichever one you pick bear in mind the safety and buy a pair of safety glasses and always use them whenever you operate your saw.

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