Patented in 1809, the concept of a band saw seemed like a great idea – a mechanical saw with a durable blade to cut a variety of stock quickly and efficiently. It would revolutionize lumbering, metalworking, and woodworking. Early prototypes failed, mostly due to blade flexing, an inability to produce strong enough blades, and the weakness of the solder used to bind saw components. In less than 50 years, manufacturing technology caught up with the idea, and the era of the band saw was born. Today’s best band saws are available for different needs at various price points.
The Best Band Saw
Grizzly G0555LX Deluxe Band Saw
If you are in the market for one of the best band saws for woodworking, the Grizzly G0555LX Deluxe offers the kind of features you might expect in a much more expensive model. Able to rip wide stock thanks to a 1-horsepower motor, it does so with little deflection or blade drift.
An update to the venerable Grizzly G0555 bandsaw, the newer model also is a metal cutting band saw which has some frills that would cost significantly more elsewhere. These include computer balancing, a durable T-shape fence design made from extruded aluminum, a miter gauge, and magnifying window, and upper blade guides that are even more useful thanks to a rack-and-pinion guidepost. Other nifty features include blade speeds between 1800 FPM and 3100 FPM, a table that tilts 45 degrees to the right and to the left by 10 degrees, and a 4-inch dust port. Make sure you also check our guide to the best cordless drills.
Computer-balanced rubber tires and cast-iron wheels.
Certified to meet CSA C22 standards.
Blade speed: 1800, 3100 FPM.
Weight: Approximately 246 lbs. shipped.
- Weight247 pounds
A mini version of Rikon’s popular 10-345 and 10-325 models, the 10-305 is well made, affordable, and an ideal choice for anyone on a budget perusing band saws for woodworking. Even with its economical price, this band saw can perform surprisingly precise cuts from a sturdy piece of 4 x 4 poplar, for instance.
As a table band saw, the 10-305 can pull double duty for an owner of a larger vertical band saw who may not have time for multiple blade changes. Instead, the 305 makes it simple. Add a one-eighth inch blade and it works great as a scroll-cutting unit with power to spare. Its included quarter inch wide blade handles chores nicely, too.
Compact size – only 32 and a half inches tall.
Cut capacity of 9-5/8 inches wide by 4-5/8 inches high.
Weight: 66 lbs.
- BrandRIKON Power Tools
- Weight76 pounds
A premium vertical band saw the JWBS-14DXPRO will handle any piece of wood you need to cut. Whether you are a professional or a casual woodworker, this saw is sought after thanks to its accuracy, consistency, and power derived from a one and a quarter horsepower motor. Another desirable trait is its ability to cut through many kinds of materials of varying density, all without any hiccups.
Durable and built to last thanks to its cast iron frame and wobble-free table, the JWBS-14DXPRO has a monstrous cutting capacity (13 and a half inches), plus a poly v-belt drive system that nearly guarantees a perfect cut every time. If you spend a lot of time woodworking and generating dust and debris, you will surely appreciate the large four-inch dust port on this wood band saw. Our handy stud finder reviews feature more great products like this.
Easily viewable blade tracking window.
909-inch cutting depth.
Convenient storage bench built into the table.
Built in and retractable blade guard.
Weight: 258 lbs.
- Weight258 pounds
Highly affordable and user-friendly, even professionals will appreciate the craftsmanship and materials that have gone into this vertical band saw. It is durable because most of its components are made from steel and aluminum, while the included stand is solidly built to ensure wobble-free operation. Thanks to a two-speed motor, the WEN 3962 easily cuts through many wood species with little effort.
This band saw boasts other features you will appreciate, like 72-inch blades anywhere from one eight to one-half inch in size, a spacious work table, and ball-bearings in the 10-inch wheels to ensure smooth operation regardless of how often you move the unit. For detailed cuts, the WEN 3962 handles bevel cuts from zero to 45 degrees and has a six-inch re-saw limit.
Blade speeds: 1520 and 2620 FPM.
Motor: 3.5 amp.
Dust port: 3-in-1 for different hose sizes.
Includes work light, fence, and miter gauge.
Weight: 73 lbs.
- Weight73 pounds
A professional-grade, metal cutting band saw, the G0561 is completely mobile even at a hefty 343 lbs. It is compact, yet powerful and can cut through many wood species and metals with relative ease. The G0561 has a versatile design and large table, able to cut rectangular stock at seven by 12 inches, and round stock by seven inches.
If you work in a crowded workspace, you will appreciate the ability to move this band saw about freely, thanks to cast iron wheels made with shielded ball bearings. And there is no need to worry about durability or the frame getting banged up in your work environment – the wheels, bed, and body frame are all constructed from cast iron. The G0561 also has a nifty safety feature – the blade automatically shuts off after each cut. Find more great products like this by checking out our guide to the best circular saws.
Motor: 1 horsepower.
Coolant capacity: 2 and a half gallons.
Hydraulic down-feed control.
Cast iron construction.
Fully lubricated and shielded ball bearings.
Weight: 343 lbs.
- Weight343 pounds
A powerful vertical band saw the 10-324 is highly desired by professionals and DIYers alike for many reasons, including a generous 13-inch re-saw capacity and onboard 115-volt outlet to plug accessories into while working. Competitively priced, this is one of the best band saws available at its price point. If speed is your thing, you will appreciate a motor that generates two blade speeds (1445 and 2950 FPM), and the ability to swap blades easily thanks to a quick-release blade tension.
As one of Rikon’s most popular models, the 10-324 has earned its praise with its durability, versatility, and ease of use. At a fairly svelte 215 pounds, this vertical band saw is relatively easy to move, even without wheels.
Cutting capacity: 13 inches.
Large cast iron table.
Hinged blade guard which includes a sight window.
Motor: 1 and a half horsepower.
Weight: 215 lbs.
- BrandRIKON Power Tools
- Weight215 pounds
Economically priced, the SKIL 3386-01 is a table band saw whose diminutive appearance belies some unique strengths. Once unboxed, the unit is ready to go and is tailor-made for beginners, thanks to the ease of use and straight forward feature set. If you are a beginning woodworker or someone with a limited budget, this band saw is highly recommended. Thanks to its compact size, it will fit on nearly any flat surface.
The 3386-01 comes with a one-speed motor, but it is powerful enough to cut many wood species plus some metals. One nifty capability any user will appreciate is its articulating LED light, which means it can be fine-tuned and adjusted as needed. Don’t forget to also check our guide to the best wood axes.
Table dimension: Table Dimension: 12 inches by 11- and three-quarter Inches.
Includes a six-tip blade, miter guide, rip fence.
Maximum cutting capacity: three and a half inches.
Weight: 36 lbs.
- BrandCHERVON NA/SKIL
- Weight36.4 pounds
A metal cutting band saw, the WEN 3970 is a good option for people on a budget thanks to its feature set and ease of use. Because the blade can operate at different speeds, this model can handle different materials – copper, brass, aluminum, steel, and more. One feature a plumber may be interested in is its ability to cut pipes more than four and a half inches in diameter, or rectangular pieces up to four inches by six inches in size.
Another unique feature is the option to turn this band saw into a vertical band saw quickly and with little effort. This is useful and typical of what many have come to expect from WEN band saws.
Motor speeds: 80, 120, 200 FPM.
Corded power source: 4.6 amp.
Weight: 108 lbs.
- Weight108 pounds
A vertical band saw loaded with great features, Laguna’s latest model is a worthy investment for anyone – professional woodworker or novice – looking to purchase a machine for the long haul. Like others from Laguna, the MBAND1412-175 14 x 12 Bandsaw steps to the winner’s circle when it comes to reliability, durability, and stability.
With its heavy steel frame and wheels, the 1412 is a model of stability and can handle heavy items to cut which may otherwise cause wobble issues with lesser band saws. The 1412 is marketed as a wood band saw, but also can cut metal with the proper blade. One unique feature you may appreciate is its illuminated stop switch, which other brands do not often include. If you are a passionate handyman, check out our guide to the best tool belts.
Blade length: 115 inches.
Re-saw capacity: 12 inches.
Motor: One and three-quarter horsepower.
Table tilts: Right, 45 degrees; left, seven degrees.
Weight: 267 lbs.
- Weight267 pounds
A durable, portable band saw from a near-legendary manufacturer, the Milwaukee 6232-21 is a great addition for a casual woodworker looking for a reliable, trustworthy band saw for quick jobs. With a best-in-class cut capacity of five by five inches, plus Milwaukee’s Job Site Armor Technology, the 6232-21 is designed for optimal performance.
One of the best features is its lightweight design. At slightly more than 14 lbs., this band saw can easily be taken from location to location with little effort. Because it is made from proprietary materials and includes crush zones to protect the blade during and after an operation, you do not have to worry about the Milwaukee 6232-21 being damaged if you toss it into the back of your work truck when going to a job site.
LED light to illuminate work surface.
Included carrying case.
Warranty: 5 years.
Motor: 11 amp.
Job Site Armor Technology for increased durability.
Weight: 14.5 lbs.
- Weight21.9 pounds
Band Saw Buying Guide & FAQ
How Did We Choose The Best Band Saws
We looked at many factors. We wanted to find a portable band saw, something sturdier that could work as a floor standing bandsaw, and everything in between. Our criteria took into consideration the needs of a casual, first-time woodworker, professional craftsmen, and trades-people working on the shop floor. Other notable factors included:
- Customer Reviews
Features To Look For In A Band Saw
Use–A common feature of the best bandsaws on the market is versatility. Like many tools in your tool chest, a band saw is expected to pull double duty with little mess or fuss. Need to trim larger pieces of stock into something more manageable? Check. Do you need to make intricate cuts for fine woodworking? A band saw has you covered. Two areas where a good bandsaw excels is woodworking, ripping, and metal cutting.
Motor–The type of cutting or ripping you expect to do will help inform your decision when choosing a bandsaw with the right motor. If you are doing general re-sawing or cutting thinner wood, then a wood band saw with a 1 to 1-1/2 horsepower motor is enough. Cutting of exotic hardwoods or pieces of lumber requires a sturdier motor, likely something in the 3 horsepower range and access to a 220-volt power source.
Blade–The heart and soul of any saw, the blades for a band saw are identified by the number of teeth per inch, the thickness of the blade, and its width. Some blades are made specifically for wood; others, for heavier materials such as metal.
Frame–When looking at a band saw, it is important to consider the materials used for the frame. In nearly all circumstances, you want the frame to be made from steel, aluminum, or cast iron. Cheap, “value store” models with plastic anything should be avoided.
Wheels–Look for solid rubber wheels that feature steel ball bearings. Because some band saws weigh several hundred pounds, certain models that are considered mobile only benefit from durable, long-lasting wheels.
Bland Tension Indicator–This is a device which is designed to measure the tension of the band saw blade. Do not take its importance for granted, as it is always critical in deriving peak performance from the saw. If you work often with a band saw and have invested significant money in a higher-end model, then go all out and buy a blade tension indicator if one is not included with the saw.
Bevel Capacity–This refers to the maximum angle or bevel cut that the band saw can accommodate. A bevel cut is normally achieved by adjusting the angle of the cutting table. This type of cut is important for finish carpentry.
Work Light–A nifty feature included with many saw models and other power tools is an attached work light. Ideally, look for a model with an articulated LED light – one that can be adjusted at different angles to you clearly see the work surface and saw blade in action.
Blade Guides – This is a simple but important component of any band saw, as it ensures the saw blade keeps on track while cutting wood or other materials. Some vertical band saws and other models include blade guides above and below the cutting surface for increased blade performance.
Dust Collection – Most band saws today include a dust port to the side or the rear of the machine which directs dust and other particulates out of the unit while in use. Ideally, the dust port on your band saw can accommodate different vacuum hose sizes for maximum efficiency.
Safety Features –Nothing protects you from working with band saws like common sense but, thankfully, manufacturers do not leave safety to chance. Most band saws, whether a hand-held band saw or a vertical band saw, include common safety features like wheel covers, a blade guard, the ability to adjust blade tension, and auto shutoff mechanisms, among many others.
Types Of Band Saws
Essentially there are four types of band saws: Benchtop, Vertical, Horizontal, and Portable.
Benchtop–This is a type of band saw that generally has a small footprint and can function when placed on a table top or other small, flat surface. It obviously has its own work surface and is normally transportable without much effort.
Vertical–This kind of bandsaw is notable for its vertical cutting position, powered by an electric motor and belt transmission. The vertical band saw is versatile, able to handle not only cutting simple stock, but also polishing, filing, and intricate contours. All is made possible by adjustable blade speed, and the blade rotating on a fixed track between the drive wheel and the idler wheel. This allows the blade to cut into the side of the stock.
Horizontal–This type of band saw is normally the largest available and is recognizable because it is floor mounted. Most of these are professional grade, heavy duty, and are made to cut solid steel, tubing, and irregularly shaped or sized materials. This kind of saw also features a belt-and-pulley design.
Portable –This can mean different things to different people, but a portable band saw is one that is easily transportable by one person. A model that weights 200 or 300 pounds or more, even with steel wheels, is not considered portable.
Bench Top vs Floor Standing Band Saw
A floor standing band saw is considered the go-to saw for professionals with commercial cutting needs. More powerful, this type of vertical band saw can cut significantly larger pieces of stock than a bench top saw. It also is more expensive but offers greater table size, positioning options, and a larger overall workspace.
By contrast, a bench top saw can do much of what a floor standing model can handle, but at a smaller scale. Easier to transport and less expensive, a bench model has thriftier power requirements and may be a good option for someone in the model for a basic wood band saw.
Band Saw Maintenance Tips
Any kind of tool or machinery can benefit from regular maintenance. If you want to ensure the life and usefulness of your band saw, consider these tips:
- Make sure the wheels turn freely. If damaged, they will need to be replaced.
- Purchase a tension meter to ensure the blade operates at the right tension. Besides contributing to safety, this also extends the life of the machine.
- Use blade guides so the blade operates properly and cuts precisely.
- But a chip brush. This is used to keep wood chips and other debris out of the guides.
- Make sure blade guides are properly installed and do not show signs of wear or damage. If so, they must be replaced.
- Lubricate and clean the blade and other moving parts.
Band Saw FAQs
Q: What is a band saw?
A: A band saw is a mechanized device that uses a long, toothed blade made from metal which is stretched between a belt and multiple wheels. It is used to cut wood, steel, and other materials. Band saws come in different shapes and sizes and are used in woodworking, lumbering, and metalworks.
Q: Will I need a specific saw blade for certain cuts?
A: While there are regular, general purpose band saw blades, it may be necessary to invest in purpose-specific blades. For instance, smaller width blades are used for smaller radius cuts, while larger width blades can be used for near straight-line cuts or re-sawing.
Q: Can I use my band saw to cut metal?
A: Yes, most band saws can cut metal depending on the type of metal and its thickness. Some band saws, given their motor size, and other factors, are more capable of cutting metal than some other models. To be sure, review your saw’s user guide for more information.
Q: Can I sharpen my band saw blade?
A: Yes, but it is not advisable unless you have experience doing this. Please consult your blade technical guide for safety tips and more information.