Best Band Saws for Home & Professional Use
If you’re shopping for band saws, then this comprehensive guide we’ve created can help you to choose the right model to meet your needs. The band saw is actually one of the most underrated power tools in existence.
They’re usually not the first tool a novice goes to, even though they’re extremely versatile and their precision is almost unmatched. The band saw’s capabilities greatly surpass that of any miter or table saw.
If you’re a DIY enthusiast or aspiring woodworker, or you plan on setting up your own workshop in your garage, then a good saw is a must, because it will allow you to dive into a wide variety of projects with ease.
Band Saw Buying Guide
This type of saw basically consists of a metallic band or strip that’s wrapped around a couple of pulleys.
- It’s similar to a chainsaw, except this model features a band instead of a toothed chain.
- The blade on this type of saw can be wide or narrow, and it can feature varying tooth densities or the number of cutting teeth per inch.
Quick Tip: The lower the number of cutting teeth per inch, the coarser the cut will be. With a high tooth density, you’ll enjoy a finer cut.
Out of the two pulleys used in this type of saw, one is powered, while the other spins freely, working as the tension adjustment wheel. This means that the user will be able to move the unpowered pulley down or up because it’s attached to the spring system and sliding rail.
When the tension is loosened, the top pulley is moved closer toward the bottom pulley, allowing the user to easily slide the band in and out, or even adjust the chain if it’s aligned incorrectly.
When the tension is increased, the top pulley is moved away from the lower pulley. This works to secure the band in place while also preventing it from slipping out during use.
When there’s too much tension it can prevent the saw from working properly and can even cause the band to break because it puts too much stress on it.
When not enough tension is applied, the band will get jammed or slip in hardwood stocks. The amount of tension that should be used will depend on the saw’s tensile strength.
With this type of saw, you also won’t experience any kickback like you would with a miter saw. Because of this, it’s pretty safe to do freehand cutting and since the blade runs from the top to the bottom, you’ll be able to slice through wood with a consistent, clean cut.
When you resaw a plank or board with this type of saw, the consistent cut ensures that you’ll get a similar and even grain across both faces, which allows you to use both the boards side by side for certain projects such as cabinet doors or a tabletop.
Pro Tip: A band saw’s frame is what holds all of the components together tightly. If you choose a wooden or plastic frame, you’ll succeed in reducing the cost, but the overall quality of the saw won’t be very good. Plastic frames are less sturdy and lighter, but they also usually develop dents and cracks over time, especially if the pulleys are too heavy.
Typically, you shouldn’t exceed a pulley size of twelve inches for plastic framed models, considering anything after that is just too heavy for a lightweight frame to support. With steel sheet or cast iron frames, you won’t have to worry about the saw wobbling when you’re making a cut.
Out of all the frame types, cast iron is the sturdiest and the heaviest. But sheet metal also makes a good choice, but only if it features multilayer sheet support.
Frames that are made from sheet metal should feature at least two separate frames in it or two layers of metal. You should also take a look at the gauge of sheet metal used, in addition to the machine’s weight. A heavier model will remain steady regardless of the type of wood you’re cutting. This will allow you to execute precise, clean cuts.
Depending on the design of the saw, there may be two or three pulleys. If it’s a tabletop or portable saw, then there’s usually three pulleys involved, arranged in a triangular configuration.
One of these pulleys will be highly adjustable in order to decrease or increase the tension, while the other one will be attached to the motor. The third pulley is only used to increase cutting width because stand mounted or tabletop models often feature smaller pulleys or a shorter cutting height.
Many pros recommend looking at the material from which the pulleys or wheels are made of before you buy. If it’s cast iron, then it’s quality.
Typically, alloy is much lighter, meaning it carries less rotational momentum. A heavier pulley will compensate for an underpowered motor, ensuring a consistent, smooth spinning action.
Heavier pulleys also mean you won’t have to worry about the teeth getting jammed like you would with lighter pulleys. Before you begin using the saw, you’ll need to ensure that all of the pulleys are aligned properly.
You can adjust them using the pulley/wheel alignment sidebar.
Does your Band Saw Pack Enough Power?
Are you cutting large wooden stock and hardwoods on a regular basis? If so, then you may need a motor that’s rated at one HP or higher. For home projects, a motor that’s anywhere from .5 to .75 should work out fine.
Quick Tip: Keep in mind that the motor will need to work harder if it’s weaker. When the motor works harder, it tends to generate more friction and heat. So, if the motor needs to push a hundred percent load at all times, you’re not using a saw that will last for long.
If your main workload involves occasionally resawing planks and craft work, then a weaker motor should hold up well. But if you plan on setting up a workshop for creating furniture, then you need to invest in a motor that’s much larger.
Never attempt to force the wood through the saw blade if the motor starts to struggle. This will only result in jamming or stalling the motor. The saw’s feed rate must be adjusted based on the band’s speed and the load on the motor, in addition to the hardness and thickness of the wood.
It’s All about the Band Saw Blade
Now let’s discuss blade guides and blade power.
- Blades tend to deviate from their idle shape and wobble while cutting through wood since it’s not a solid blade but a flexible band.
- To prevent this from happening, blade guides are placed on both sides of the band.
- To prevent the band from moving horizontally when cutting, a thrust bearing is placed behind the band.
- This assembly is referred to as the guide block.
On a band saw you’ll find a couple of guide blocks, one is located under the table, with the other one is placed above the table. The guides and thrust bearings are typically made of metal. The thrust bearing and lateral guides can be adjusted on both of the blocks with the aid of a screw mechanism that moves the bearings away or toward the band. You can easily check for correct positioning by sliding a piece of paper between the guide bearing and band.
The band saw isn’t a band saw without the band. The band is also referred to as the blade and it consists of a continuous looping saw blade that’s tensioned and wrapped around the pulley system.
This blade spins on pulleys or wheels, making contact with them through a rubber track.
There are several blade types to choose from, some of which are designed to make curvaceous cuts while others are engineered to rip through thick pieces of hardwood.
- Some blades are so thin that the user can make notches or precise dovetail cuts, while other types are so wide you can even saw logs.
- Some blades feature steel teeth, which will allow you to slice through softer metals or wood.
- Others feature carbide impregnated teeth that are hard enough to rip through steel.
Some blades are equipped with as few as one to two teeth per inch, while other models will have as many as twenty-four teeth per inch. Fewer teeth are perfect for cutting through thick wooden blocks or logs. Precise machine or finer cuts will require closely spaced smaller teeth.
Band Saw Types
Vertical models feature a vertical blade. The basic vertical model features a couple of pulleys, one of which is attached to the motor via the belt drive, while the other is idle.
This type of belt is often paired with a variable speed motor, which allows the user to adjust the blade’s speed. the idler pulley is located above the saw’s table, while the drive wheel is mounted beneath.
Quick Tip: To make cuts, the wooden stock is placed in a horizontal manner. The saw’s table can be tilted sideways, backward, or forward. With this type of saw, the user will need to manually feed the stock into the blade.
With horizontal saws, the pulleys are mounted to the frame, lengthwise. The blade is mounted horizontally, with the teeth facing downwards.
- This type of saw is closely related to a chainsaw, with the exception that it’s huge and fixed.
- With a horizontal saw, you won’t have to use much effort when you’re feeding stock into the blade, considering most of the work is done by gravity.
- This type of saw is commonly used for cutting metal blocks, steel tubing or other types of hard material. Unfortunately, the vertical band saw isn’t quite as versatile as horizontal models.
- Making curved cuts and crosscuts are much harder.
- But horizontal saws tend to excel at cutting stock to length, which is why the pros heavily rely on them for resawing and re-edging pipes, tubes, and poles.
Now that you know how these saws work, and the frame, style, and blade options available, you can make a more informed decision regarding which model will work the best for you, based on how you plan to use the saw, the type of materials you’ll be working with and the amount of power you need.
The price will increase based on brand, frame design, HPs, blade design and the type of materials used. Ultimately, for lighter jobs, or occasional work in the garage, a lower priced model should suffice, but if you need a tough saw that can handle heavy, daily use, you’re going to need to invest some serious cash in a saw that can hang with the big boys.
Top 3 Band Saw Comparison Chart
|Product||Warranty||Size / Speed / Features||Summary||Price||Link|
|WEN 3962 Band Saw||Two year warranty||Ten inch |
Tons of free extras
Recommended for experienced users
|Hands down, this is the best ten inch band saw you’ll find on the market. It has plenty of power and value for the money, yet because it’s so tricky to correctly adjust, this isn’t a model we would recommend for beginners.||$$$||Check Price|
|Craftsman 10-Inch Band Saw||One year warranty||Ten inch |
Cast iron work table
Recommended for beginners
|This Craftsman band saw is a great buy for the beginner who wants to tackle some simple jobs around the home. If you’re looking for a saw that can easily rip hardwood, this model simply isn’t up to the job, although it can handle hardwood up to two inches thick fairly easily.||$$$$||Check Price|
|JET JWBS 14-Inch Pro Band Saw||Five year warranty||Fourteen inch |
Recommended for advanced users
|This is a saw that packs some serious power and comes equipped with extra frame height for the best re-sawing capabilities. It’s a model that’s tricky to assemble, adjust and use, and because of this, we only recommend it for advanced users.||$$$$$||Check Price|
WEN 3962 Band Saw with Stand Review
The WEN 3962 band saw with stand is a two-speed model that comes equipped with a standard stock ten-inch blade, fence, miter gauge, and dust port for easy dust collection.
This saw packs quite a bit of power in such a small frame with a 3.5-amp motor. This model is highly adjustable, making it a good option for beginners.
Craftsman 10-inch Band Saw Review
This popular band saw by Craftsman is equipped with a ten-inch blade and a 3.5-amp motor. During initial setup, users will need to spend some time fine-tuning the saw’s adjustments in order to enjoy a better cutting performance.
The saw comes with well-balanced wheels and a solid frame, and an adequate dust collection system that will help to cut down on cleanup.
JET JWBS 14DXPRO Deluxe Pro Band Saw Kit Review
The JET JWBS 14DXPRO fourteen-inch band saw kit is a model designed for the pros. This saw is the perfect addition to any workshop and it packs a lot of power, offering a taller frame that’s perfect for any resawing job.
Adjusting this saw is no easy task, and the overall girth of this machine is nearly twice that of a band saw designed for home use, making this a saw that’s fit for a pro.