Many would argue that a band saw is still not as versatile as a router when it comes to ideal tools for woodworkers, but to be honest, it is not far behind. If you are new to the woodworking business or an intermediate, a band saw is essential to be added to your tools. Here is a quick guide for you that will help you to know everything you need to know about bandsaws – which ones are really good in performance and worth buying, what are the key features to look out for in a band saw and what are the pros and cons to each bandsaw that we will review for you below.
Powermatic PM1500 1791500 Bandsaw
Powermatic is indeed in the only company that provides with a lot of choices if you are looking for a bandsaw in the 14-inch category. And not just that, Powermatic is also considered as one of the best bandsaw making companies. The Powermatic PM1500 1791500 bandsaw is considered its best manufacturing so far and the best 14-inch bandsaw available in the market today. It offers more capacity than many other bandsaws available in this category. It features a 14.5-inch wide throat and 14 inches re-saw.
In terms of safety and accuracy, the bandsaw is not left behind and is closely connected with Powermatic’s T-square and accu-fence that provides maximum safety and accuracy to this tool. The Powermatic PM1500 1791500 bandsaw also comes with a positive locking pressure adjustment that makes the bandsaw extremely easy to use. The side plate is big enough, so the bandsaw can be used in both vertical and horizontal positions and can conveniently suit the needs of the users. In terms of some of its other features, the motor is integrated with a magnetic switch that keeps the bandsaw safe even if there are electric fluctuations at the site. The motor comes with a 3HP capacity that is big in this category.
- Powered with features of bigger bandsaws
- Comes with a 3HP capacity
- Can be shipped directly from the manufacturer
- Offers great stability, safety, tension and power
- Provides 100 per cent accuracy on the job.
- Offers unconventional aesthetics
- Can feel heavy if you are a first timer.
JET JWBS-14DXPRO 14-inch deluxe pro bandsaw kit
Woodcutting requires you to tackle tough re-sawing tasks and that is where the Jet JWBS-14BS-14DXPRO bandsaw does the best job for you in comparison to its competitors. This is perhaps one of the best 14-inch bandsaws known widely for its versatility and performance.
This bandsaw comes with a big cast iron frame that helps in an increase in power supply and adds to the overall rigidity and strength of the bandsaw. Its great design also aids in making re-sawing jobs very easy to accomplish. It also offers a high-tension spring design that renders the bandsaw the popularity it rightly deserves. Its cutting capacity offers a 13.5-inch width and 12-inch height and its built-in retractable blade makes the Jet bandsaw even more noticeable as it helps in easily moving between zero and 12 inches.
Some of its noticeable features are its built-in 12-inch re-sawing capacity that helps in cutting big pieces of wood. It also offers an easy-to-view blade tracking window and comes with the blade guidepost that has a remarkable pinion and rack adjustment. The stand is enclosed with an extra storage shelf and an easy-to-access door.
- Extremely easy to assemble
- Is extremely well balanced
- Offers quiet and steady work
- Can last longer and be used for longer durations of time
- Easy to replace blades.
- Band gauge that is factory installed does not offer good quality
- Can be difficult to order replacement parts
- The instruction manual lacks clarity.
Laguna Tools MBAND1412-175 14 x 12 Bandsaw
With its unconventional looks and feature-packed performance, the Laguna Tools MBAND1412-175 bandsaw has made its place to be one of the best bandsaws in the market, in fact in the top best five bandsaws. This bandsaw offers a 13/4HP motor with a capacity of 60Hz along with an impressive 115V voltage. It comes with a 6-feet long cord that helps in working at locations where the power source is at a distance from our working station.
The Laguna Tools MBAND1412-175 bandsaw is CSA certified and has a direct one-touch on and off switch that comes with a safety key as well for full protection. The pyramid spine along with its steel frame makes this bandsaw one of the best ones available in its price range and one that will last for ages. Some believe that the Laguna Tools MBAND1412-175 bandsaw was designed for the occasional re-sawer as it comes with a European frame, lots of storage capacity that is ideal for re-sawing. The guide system found on this one is the same that one would find on the other high-end Laguna Tools bandsaws and that just adds to the appeal of this affordable bandsaw.
The ability to run the bandsaw on a 100V power can allow you to move it around your workshop easily and quickly.
- Offers amazing value for money
- Is perfect for re-sawing jobs and cutting 12-inch wide hard maple
- Has a helpful and accessible resource team
- Is a big powerful tool.
- Is some delivery issues from the manufacturer
- User manual is not so great.
Grizzly G0513ANV 2 HP Bandsaw Anniversary Edition, 17-Inch
To celebrate their 30th Anniversary, Grizzly combined the best of what two of their bandsaws had to offer with an amazing color scheme to develop the G0513ANV 2HP bandsaw that they claim is their best bandsaw out of all the ones they have manufactured so far. This Grizzly bandsaw is a 17-foot heavy bandsaw with a strong 2HP motor that cuts through a maximum of 12-foot of wood. Its 16-1/4 foot throat is big enough for most applications if you are an intermediate or a starter with woodcutting.
Some of the other features that the Grizzly G0513ANV 2HP bandsaw comes with are a deluxe fence, dual four-foot dust ports, European-style blade guides, heavy-duty miter gauge and micro-adjustable geared table. All these features are generally found in bandsaws that are more expensive and high range that this one, but that is exactly what makes this Grizzly bandsaw the choice of many. In addition to all the amazing features listed above, this affordable mid-range bandsaw from Grizzly comes with ISO 9001 factory designation, which just assures the high-quality standards and gives you the peace of mind with this purchase.
- Offers best value in this class of saws
- Comes with a very efficient blade
- Has a wide range of capabilities for an affordable price
- Extremely easy to use.
- Does not come with a good factory default fence
- Is time consuming to remove blades
- The tension gauge is not as good as it claims to be.
Shop Fox W1706 14″ bandsaw with cast iron wheels and deluxe aluminum fence
Manufactured by Shop Fox, this premium bandsaw offers a range of features that are generally found in only the high-end bandsaws for which you need to shed a lot of money. The W1706 14-inch bandsaw comes with cast-iron wheels, aluminum fences, aluminum rails, miter gauge and an optional extension block. It also comes with an extremely powerful motor of 1HP, which operates at 1725 rpm.
This particular bandsaw from Shop Fox comes in a cabinet and has a cast iron supporting base and frame that makes the entire system very sturdy for fixing. Its motor specifications are 110 V/220 V and single phase. The blade is 93-1/2 inch wide and including the extension equals 105 inch. Its cutting capacity is approximately 13.5 inch and can cut a maximum height of 6 inch. It also comes with an optional extension block that can help to increase the overall re-saw capacity of this bandsaw to 12-inch high along with a 6-inch block kit. With its feature-packed list and optional capacity as well, this bandsaw from Shop Fox can be an easy envy for any shop.
- Is very sturdy, very well built and robust
- Comes with a very powerful motor
- Cast iron wheels can withstand heavy duty tasks
- Comes with a very easy assembly.
- Replacing the blades is difficult and time consuming
- Adjusting the blade tension to suit the job is very challenging.
Rikon 10-308 meat saw with grinder, 10 inch
If you are not into serious woodcutting, but are like one who are into hunting or raising farm livestock, this bandsaw is the best bandsaw that you would potentially find in the market that is also easier on the price range. This is no surprise that more meat can easily and safely be cut on a stainless steel sliding table that comes with dual holding fences.
The Rikon 10-308 meat saw can be assembled and disassembled easily and quickly for cleaning and getting back to the meat cutting business. It comes with a built-in grinder that has a special attachment for sausages that helps you in making use of all scrap cuts of the meat and turns that into delicious patties or sausages.
Some of its technical specifications include a 9-5/8 inch throat, maximum cut height of 8-1/2 inch, blade speed of 984 ft/min, table size of 22-7/16 inch by 17-5/16 inch, a grinder with a 4-1/2 inch mouth, a power motor of 3/4HP and with 110 V. The Rikon 10-308 meat saw with grinder offers a strong body that is made up of heavy-duty gauge steel sheet, comes with a sliding stainless steel table with ball bearings. Its cast aluminum wheels are sturdy and offer precise balance.
- Is extremely easy to assemble and diassemble
- Has a sturdy and well-balanced body
- Has a built-in grinder and a sausage attachment
- Comes with a five-year warranty
- Can be shipped directly from the manufacturer.
- Is hard to maneuvre
- Cleaning is painful as many parts have to be dismantled
- Does not cater for larger pieces of meat
- Motor rating is not ideal and less that many competitors.
Grizzly G0555 The Ultimate Bandsaw, 14-Inch
When Grizzly launched this new bandsaw in the market they called it the Ultimate bandsaw because they claimed that they have loaded this bandsaw with features that are either not available or are optional in many other competitive bandsaws available in the market in the 14-inch segment and priced similarly.
Grizzly is perhaps the only company in the world that produces such a vast range of bandsaws and with this particular bandsaw they have kept their legacy alive. The Grizzly G0555 Ultimate bandsaw if CSA certified and meets CSA 222 2 #71.2-08 and UL 987-7th standards. It has a very sturdy construction with a cast iron frame and comes with aluminum wheels that are computer balanced for maximum stability and have rubber tires for that extra grip. Some of its other features are that it comes with a heavy gauge stand made up of steel and precision-ground table made up of cast iron.
Changing blades on the Grizzly G0555 ultimate bandsaw is not very challenging and comes as a breeze with the help of a level where the blade tension can be released quickly. Blades come with adjustable speeds of 1500 and 3200 FPM.
- Is very easy to change blades
- Can accept blades from the size 92-1/2 inch to 93-1/2 inch
- Comes with very easy assembly
- Offers great accuracy
- Offers great value for money.
- The tensioning knobs are little tedious to work with
- Can take a while in cutting boards or wood of 12 inch or more.
WEN 3962 two-speed bandsaw with stand and work light, 10 inch
The Wen 3962 two-speed bandsaw with stand and work light comes with 10-inch blades that can glide through six-inch deep boards. It comes with a 3.5 AMP motor and a throat size of 9-3/4 inch. The bandsaw is capable of using 72-inch blades ranging from 1/8 to ½ inches and can be used for both powerful and very intricate and detailed cuts. The bandsaw comes with a spacious work table that measures 14 by 12.5 inch, which can be easily swiveled up to 45 degrees.
Its two-speed bandsaw operation is suitable for two speed levels – 1520 or 2620 fpm. The 10-inch wheels come with ball bearings that allow for smooth operation and life-long durable performance. The stand is extremely easy to assemble and can elevate the bandsaw without compromising any work space. This bandsaw is one of the best bandsaws in this price range that can take on more wood than many other 10-inch bandsaws are not capable of handling.
Some of the additional accessories that the Wen 3962 two-speed bandsaw comes equipped with are a flexible work light that helps you to work under any light conditions and at any time of the day, a sturdy fence that helps in creating straight cuts and a 25-inch stand that lets you work with an elevated bandsaw.
- Comes with a two-year warranty
- Has a worldwide network of and access to skilled service technicians
- Offers a friendly phone support line
- Work light is an added advantage
- Is very easy to use.
- Is challenging to use with tight cuts
- Changing blades is difficult and time consuming.
POWERTEC BS900 bandsaw, 9-inch
If there is a bandsaw that takes full marks in offering flexibility and convenience to its users, the Powertec BS900 bandsaw wins all hearts. Not only this, this brand name of Powertec is synonymous with an age-old history of superiority, class and performance.
The Powertec BS900 bandsaw is light and small and its compact size fits most work stations where space is an issue. Its light structure allows for mobile applications so you can move it where ever you go if you are the one who has multiple work locations. The motor size is small and is capable of producing 0.5HP at 2.5 amps and 1725 rpm and is deemed perfect for light materials such as wood and thin plastic. The small motor hardly produces any sound that makes this bandsaw one of the most ideal ones in the market.
Some may feel that its 9-inch blades rotate slowly but the cuts are so accurate, you will never complain. The bandsaw comes with quick release levers and blade guard adjustments that make this tool extremely easy to use and maintain.
- Is very effective for household applications
- Is one of the best ones for beginners
- Produces very little noise and is environmentally friendly
- Is highly versatile
- Is a great buy at an affordable price.
- Has a small motor size
- Does not have any rip fence
- Is not suited for heavy-duty professional/commercial jobs
- Replacing blades is not easy.
SKIL 3386-01 2.5-amp 9-inch bandsaw
If your wish list for buying a bandsaw comprises one that is powerful, durable and also practical, nothing can beat the SKIL 3386-01 9-inch bandsaw. This is one bandsaw that despite having small blade size, gives you accurate and clean cuts without losing any power.
This particular model from SKIL comes with a signature motor of 2.5 amp. This type of motor is extremely powerful, which means that it can cut through a variety of metal and wood. This is a feature that many big bandsaws fail to offer and this makes this bandsaw one of the best bandsaws available in affordable pricing in the market.
The SKIL bandsaw comes with a rip fence as well that allows for clean and accurate cuts. The fence is also removable so you can put it on when you need it and remove it when you don’t need it. The bandsaw is also light weight so you can move it to your changing work stations and still get the most out of your SKIL bandsaw. One of the best features of the SKIL bandsaw is its LED feature, using which you can also brighten your dull work space and practically work at any time of the day or under any light conditions.
- Is extremely lightweight
- Comes with a detachable fence that is extremely useful
- Offers a kid-friendly safety button
- Cuts precise shapes
- Offers adjustable table heights and angles.
- Is not suitable for big commercial/industrial uses
- Does not offer much clearance between the back of the saw and the blades
- Sometimes moves very slowly.
So now that you have an idea of which are the top 10 bandsaws for you to consider for your next buy, let us consider what the key features are that you must look for when buying a bandsaw.
Key things to consider in a bandsaw
When it comes to choosing a bandsaw, you will have to make some smart choices:
A good bandsaw must have solid, heavy and cast iron wheels. This helps in balancing the bandsaw when in operation and creates a powerful effect contributing to a steady and strong cut. On the rim of the wheels are rubber tires that keep the blades on track. When you are using your bandsaw for heavy re-sawing, you need steel frames so the tires sit flat on them that help the blades to track 1 inch or more easily. Incorrect wheels on your bandsaw can result in complications during your cutting operation and can also lead to injuries or low-quality outcome. Thus it is important for your bandsaw to have properly maintained and quality wheels on.
One of the most important components of a bandsaw is its guidepost. A guidepost is the area of a bandsaw that contains the blade guard and the blade guide assembly. Depending on what the thickness of the wood is that you are planning to cut with the bandsaw, the guidepost can be adjusted using a pinion and a rack. This is important as the precise setting in the guidepost allows for clean and accurate cuts.
Behind the wheel and towards the top of the frame in the bandsaw is the spring that helps in maintaining and adjusting proper blade tension. It is mostly impossible for you to check the quality of this spring, thorough research and reading the manufacturer’s manual can help in assessing its quality. This is important as the performance of a bandsaw is a lot dependent on the blade tension that in turn is affected by the quality of the spring used.
Blade guides are an important part of a bandsaw and they help to keep the blades in their true place so the cut is always clean, precise and accurate. When blades interact with wood, they tend to shift, distort or drift and this is where blade guides play an important role in keeping them on track. Quality of these blade guides is what can make or break a deal when it comes to average versus high-performing bandsaws. Different types of blade guides are Euro style guides, steel guides, guides with roller bearings, etc. When you cut something with a bandsaw, there are two reactions – forward movement of the wood and the rear movement of the blade. This results in twisting forces that are countered and controlled by the blade guides. For a bandsaw to work perfectly, these blade guides must be of good quality and must be firm so they can be adjusted accordingly.
A heavy fence is all that you need for most of your woodcutting work. However, in some cases detachable fences can work wonders and come very handy especially for small home jobs. Most bandsaws can also work with aftermarket fences that can be separately bought and come with micro-adjustable mechanisms.
For most woodworkers, they are least worried about the size of the table. In most cases a 16-inch by 20-inch table top can suffice for most woodworking jobs. Sometimes you also get separate support stands in the market that can increase your table top. Ideally, your table top should be made up of heavy cast iron and should allow for adjustment with different angles.
Choosing the right blade for your bandsaw is also equally important to get the most out of your bandsaw. The different tooth patterns that sit with blades are skip tooth, hook tooth wavy set and raker set. Different tooth types perform differently depending on what type of wood you will be cutting using your bandsaw, so it is important to study well how each type of tooth is suited for different types of jobs – for example, hook tooth blades are widely used for non-ferrous metals and hardwood. Skip tooth are used for softer metals, while wavy and raker tooth blades are suited for ferrous metals.
Band wheels are used to transmit power of the motor to the blade. It is important for the wheels to be well balanced to reduce vibration and precise blade tracking, and that is where band wheels play a crucial role in the overall performance of the bandsaw.
Most bandsaw frames are made up of welded and folded sheet steel. Frames are important to provide a rigid and a strong framework that helps in withstanding stresses when the blade is tensioned. When the frame of the bandsaw lacks sufficient strength, the bandsaw will distort under load and pulls the top and bottom band wheel boxes altogether.
As a good motor is at the heart of any machine, the same applies to bandsaws as well. The performance of a motor must always be considered when buying a bandsaw as it must be big enough to complete all intended tasks. When a motor lacks power, it can cause the blade to slow down or stop completely in the middle of a task, which can be very irritating and cause a lot of time wastage.
The main reason you would buy a bandsaw is to cut logs of wood and ripping down billets. Ripping requires a decent amount of horsepower. A motor with less than 1HP will have a hard time with wood blanks.
So basically some quick things that you must check before buying your new bandsaw are as follows:
- Blade rollers and blade guides must be firm enough so they have no room to play and move around.
- Anything that is 6 inch or less in cutting height will probably not suit most of your woodcutting requirements. Cutting height is basically the distance between the saw table and the top guide, which decides the size of the wood that can easily be cut using the bandsaw. Six inch is the bare minimum for any wood turner.
- Consider bandsaws that are fitted with at least a 1HP motor – the bigger the better.
- A two-wheel bandsaw works better than a three-wheel bandsaw. In a two-wheel bandsaw, the blade changes direction only two times and this increases the life of the blade at least 1/3 times to that of the blade in a three-wheel bandsaw.
So what is the verdict?
A bandsaw is one of the key components of any workshop that deals in wood work. In fact, many would say that a bandsaw is actually the first tool that you must purchase for your wood workshop and while you are still learning the art. When you are buying a bandsaw, the important things to consider are the jobs that you will complete with the bandsaw, how much you will be using it in day, do you need a stationary or a mobile bandsaw, what features are most important, is your use mostly household, commercial or industrial and how much are you willing to pay, etc.
Once you consider what all matters to you, you will be able to choose a bandsaw from the top ten above that will best meet all your needs and gives you the peace of mind.