What You Will Get Here
- The Band Saw & Its Different Types
- Things to Consider When Looking a Band Saw
- How Did We Pick These Band Saws?
- Our Top 10 List
- Our Top Choice: WEN 3962 Two-Speed Bandsaw
- Our Benchtop Choice: Rikon 10-305 with Fence
- Our Vertical Choice: Grizzly G0555LX Deluxe Bandsaw
- Our Portable Choice: DEWALT DWM120K 10 Amp 5-Inch Kit
- Our Budget Choice: SKIL 3386-01 2.5-Amp 9-Inch
- Our Compact Choice: Milwaukee 2429-21XC M12 Cordless Kit
- A List of 4 Other Band Saws We Reviewed
- Other Tested Products
- Safety Tips
- Cleaning & Maintenance
The Band Saw & Its Different Types
Consider this as a beginner class as I will explain the different types of band saws for you. They come in different sizes and shapes but it is even more important to know as to what it does. The band saw is a tool which is used for cutting wood in different shapes. It is made of a metal band which can turn around, and allow you to cut the wood smoothly.
In fact, it is even used for cutting metal and other materials. It consists of a long and highly sharp blade which is stretched between wheels. There could be two or more wheels in this tool. How does it work? The metal goes round and cuts the metal or wood. You will find a number of portable bandsaws in the market, and that is precisely why you need an expert opinion here.
Now that you are aware of the uses, let us understand the types which are available.
- Horizontal - Both professional and amateur carpenters choose this variant because it has the ability to cut longer materials and have different utilities. However, it does not have the ability to cut unusual, interesting and complicated shapes. For this purpose, the vertical variant is used.
- Vertical - This is a versatile type of band saw which has the power to cut unusual and interesting shapes. This powerful tool can cut straight lines like a PRO and is considered to be the right choice for those who wish to cut through the material fast enough. This variant is also known as contour saw. The highlight of this variant is that it has a built-in welder. We would suggest this variant for contour cutting or intricate detailing.
After the cut is complete, the machine turns off for the safety of the operator. The benefits include:
- This one is quieter in comparison with the other variants
- Precision is ON-POINT
- Turns off automatically
- It can cut plastic, metal, and wood easily
- The risk of injuries is less
- Metal - If you are cutting tough metal, then this variant can be put to good use. Of course, they require maintenance but come with added benefits. These fall into two categories - vertical and horizontal.
- Wood - This one is a versatile pick and both amateur and professional carpenters use this. There is a subcategory under this which includes:
- Head Saw
- Double Cut Saw
Each of these is designed for a particular use.
- Meat - Typically made of stainless steel, the meat saw is easy to maintain. The meat saws are great buddies of a butcher! You can find most of the butchers possessing this tool in their shop. It creates a perfect cut for steaks and lambs!
- Portable/Hand-held - The portable ones have become a popular pick! If you want something on the go, then this option is right for you. These are used for cutting irregular shapes, curved lines and even cuts straight edges. There can be some workplaces where you cannot transport the heavy machine and that's where the hand-held/portable saw comes into play.
Things to Consider When Looking a Band Saw
I have mentioned some of the factors that you must go through before buying a band saw. Take a look!
1. Intended Use:
What do you plan to do with the new band saw? Firstly, you need to figure out as to why you are purchasing the band saw. With a purpose in mind, buy a band saw which suits your requirement. If you are buying a versatile band saw, it opens up a world of possibilities. The most common use of a band saw is resawing, cutting unusual shapes, and even ripping lumber. One can cut many materials with this machine. It is up to you as to what purpose you need it for! If the work requires complicated cuts, then a vertical saw will be your pick. Choose a band saw as per your need, and do not go by what others have to say.
2. Frame & Construction:
The frame holds all the constituents of the band saw together. That's precisely why you need to invest in something which is sturdy and durable. While the wooden or plastic frame is less expensive, there are some decent and reasonable band saws which come in a better quality frame. You must choose a frame made of welded steel or cast iron.
Although the cast iron frame was much more popular in smaller shops, professionals have started using a band saw with a heavy welded steel. The rectangular frame makes the latter look elegant and does not take up much space. You need to choose the frame as per the weight and even the height of your store/shop. Always choose a sturdy material for the frame because it will not wobble while the saw is doing its work.
3. Motor & Power:
Regardless of the types of saws you use, the size of the motor matters here. If you are buying a professional model, it will be larger with different speed settings. For home models, you will find 3/4 to 1 HP motor. HP refers to horsepower here. If you are a woodworker, the different speed settings should not matter much to you because you would require a slow speed to cut hard plastic and rigid metals.
If you have a setup at home, then a band saw with 0.5 or 0.75 HP will meet your requirements.
- Variable speed control - Look for a motor which offers variable speed setting. However, this may not be of much use for the woodworkers as they can make good use of a slow speed for harder cuts.
- Bevel capacity - This refers to the utmost bevel cut the band saw can actually make.
- Blade guides - The blade guides keep the blade on track while making a cut. This will give you a cleaner and precise cut.
When you buy a band saw, look for a rip fence which allows you to cut safely, neatly, and evenly. It is a metal bar in the machine which runs parallel to the band saw blade.
The throat is basically the distance from the vertical frame of the body and the blade. In simple terms, the distance can find out the thickness of the cut that can be done on the saw. In a nutshell, the manufacturers sell their model by referring to the 18-inch band saw as the throat measurement of the model.
Consider buying a band saw with steel, aluminum allow or cast-iron table. It should tilt approximately 45 degrees! This will help you get a perfect angled cut. As for the length and width, it should be 16-inches approx. Look for a table with a miter track.
8. Blade Width:
When you are choosing a blade, you need to consider the blade width. Since there are two major types of saw - horizontal and vertical, the width will differ. For vertical band saws, it can range from 1/8 or even 1. For the horizontal ones, you would need to ask your manufacturer because most of them can only support a fixed blade width. Measuring your bandsaw blade correctly will help you get the best out of it.
This really depends on the frame you are choosing. If you opt for a plastic or wooden frame, the saw will be lighter. However, there are chances that it will wobble while cutting a wood log. When you are buying a plastic frame, the pulley size should not be more than 12 inches. This is because the plastic cannot carry heavy weight!
10. Dust Port:
When you are cutting wood, a dust collection port is necessary. Most of the band saws for woodworking actually have this feature. You can look for a model which has a built-in dust port which can be easily connected to the vacuum you own.
11. Availability of Parts:
When a blade breaks or any other important part gets damaged, an efficient customer care service can help. Ideally, look for a brand who provides spare parts for replacement. If there is difficulty in finding a replacement or new parts for the machine, give it a skip.
12. Price-to-Quality Ratio:
You paid a hefty price for a heavier material frame, but the product does work as efficiently. This totally depends on the usage and how well you maintain it. It is not full-proof that you buy a power saw for a high price and the quality will be excellent. It is always necessary to consider your requirements, budget and even check the reviews before investing in a such type of saw.
How Did We Pick These Band Saws?
It has been have over 7 years that I've been in the furniture business and I was born in a family of carpenters who were/are well-conversant with various tools. The personal experience counts, but I have done extensive research on different types of saws and have used most of them. Most of the bandsaws listed in this post have been personally used by me and my staff.
After discussing the pros and cons of each of the products, my team and I came up with a list of the top band saws out there. As a prospective buyer, you may be wondering whether these tools are just meant for woodworking or one can cut metal as well. I have mentioned tools which can be used for both of these purposes! My belief is that versatility counts because you do not have to buy different band saws for different uses.
We spent a considerable amount of time on web research. The products have been picked from Amazon itself so that the prospective buyers could find them easily. After going through the ratings and reviews on different platforms, I have made a list and double-checked whether my colleagues and I have used them or not. Also, we have checked whether the products meet the check-list of features or not.
It took a lot of time to narrow down the choices because there are thousands of products out there but not each one of them can give you the perfect cut or the precision that you require. In fact, we even got the chance to speak to the existing users and their valuable feedback helped us to narrow down the choices.
Finally, we came up with this list that contained tools from different brands. Before we start with the reviews, it is advisable to take a quick look at the 'things to consider' section for better understanding. This will help you to become a wise buyer, and not have half-baked knowledge about band saws.
Our Top 10 List
Since we have carefully curated the list for you, you will find the top band saws on the market. It covers the detailed review, pros, cons and the basic specifications of the tool. We made sure that the list contains bandsaws which have the necessary features which a band saw must possess. Let us take a look at the much-awaited list now!