My first interaction with a scroll saw was about 30 years ago. It was a brief encounter but had a lasting impact on my life. I was visiting my uncle when I stumbled on his workshop searching for my baseball.
My uncle noticed that my baseball bat was old and too large for my ten years. So he immediately mentioned that he could craft a suitable replacement using a piece of timber. He worked on the new play tool quickly. During this process, I noticed the scroll saw handled a complicated task with much ease.
I couldn’t believe that such small and compact equipment could work so meticulously. All that time, I couldn’t hide my thrill on noticing that these cutters could cut, carve, engrave, smooth, split, and even mold my new baseball bat. The bat got a smooth finish. What amazed me most was that the power tool could also inscribe my initials on the bat!
When thanking my uncle for his impromptu gift, I asked him how he quickly managed to work on such a difficult task with so much ease. He just smiled pointing at his tool while nodding. Deep in thoughts, he eventually stated that his instrument was one of the best scroll saws that he had been working with for years.
Why you should trust us
The authenticity of a product review depends on three major factors — details of features, practical testing data (facts), finding the position of the reviewed item by comparing it with its peers. The Drillly team hits all these tree factors carefully in a bid to attain the trust of the readers.
Firstly, our decade-long presence in the industry enabled us to follow the technological evolution of such power tools. We track details of the drilling and cutting tools from not just what's on the paper, we have the luck to use them practically as well since some of our team members are experts from wood and metal cutting industries. Apart from that, we do extensive research on our reviewing units to find out their true price-to-value ratio. Our field testing reveals the unit's utility to a greater extent. Since we cover a wide range of sample units, the comparison and contrasting of features make a more reliable understanding of their real ranking.
Nonetheless, our objective yet detailed analysis of our reviewed products helped place us among the top online reviewers. It must be noted that we have no connection with any power tool brand for unethical bragging. Our aim is to bring facts to the table so our readers can make the best use of our buyer's guide.
How did we choose these products?
Primarily, we made a 30-hour long intensive online research to jot down our initial list of 25 scroll saws based on their ratings, features, and the reliability of their brands. Then we started our field-testing of these items for collecting practical data. The Drillly team and a group of volunteers participated in the field-testing session that went on for about fifteen days.
The testing session helped us categorize the products based on their distinctive features and promises. Furthermore, we took notes from online user reviews for adding a wider perspective to our research. Based on their overall performance, dynamics, versatility, quality of build materials, design language, handling, and accuracy, we were able to shortlist the final 10.
However, our journey did not end there. We consulted with industry experts for their opinions on our list and their positive feedback reconfirmed our choices. The purpose of our hard work was to serve our audience with factual details regarding the reviewing units. Hopefully, our buying guide will help you make the right choice.
Our top 11 Best Scroll Saw
You now understand the underlying factors that would guide you to determine your most appropriate scroll saw. We have classified them using the criteria specified in the ‘Things to consider…’ section of this review.
Here are the top ten contenders making into our ranking list.
What is a scroll saw?
In case you're wondering what is a scroll saw, this is a small size electric or pedal-operated saw designed to make perfect curves as well as edgy inscriptions and patterns. Unlike its manual version, a fretsaw, it features a blade that reciprocates its movement instead of continuously rolling. Another trait you notice on this power tool is its heavy-duty properties despite the mini frame. The blade attached to it has compact teeth that allow you to intricately delicate curves with high precision. You can find hand scroll saw models as small as 12-inch to as large as 30-inch. Typically, it will enable you to pivot its work table which significantly improves its accuracy. This machine has variable speed; hence you can enhance the engraving details without going off the track.
Generally, this machine is more suitable for crafting designs and pattern than simple straight cuts. It’s used primarily for creating curves and joints. The scroll can also produce dovetails as well as intarsia projects. Apart from the above, you can make more specialized contours from the inside of the workpiece besides piercing slots of various diameters. It’s also perfect for homecrafts, 3-D fractals, make maquettes as well as collage-type artistry-- I'm a big fan of Sue Mey, by the way.
There are two main types of these saws--pin-end and Plain (or flat end). Picking either of these depends on the nature of the project you want to do as well as the materials you would be manipulating.
Scroll Saw - A Comprehensive Buying Guide
What is the best scroll saw on the market? It actually depends on your requirements. Here are some basic points that you should know before getting one.
1. Precision and Performance
Scroll saws are meant for intricate projects. Further, they work on delicate, expensive, and fragile materials. Most of the time, the work is slow; hence a high level of precision is paramount. You don’t want to waste time on projects.
This tool depends on its blade for all its functions. Depending on the materials you plan to work with and the level of precision, you need to select the right type of blades for the works carefully.
Different blades have specific functions. Therefore, select a suitable blade to help you work more efficiently. The details of various types of scroll blades suitable for specific assignments are in a subtitle below.
2. Platform and dimensions
Another important feature you should check is the working surface. Is it firm enough to support your workpiece? Further is it stable to withstand the motor vibrations? Besides, is it smooth to produce even curvatures of your project?
Therefore, you need a thick, wide, and stable working area. An ideal space for most jobs is range from 16- to 20-inch.
3. Throat size
Apart from the spacious worktop, you should consider the scroll size of your tool. This dimension refers to the width of a working plank a saw can grab. The throat size determines the largeness of an object it can cut. So the more extensive the throat size, the bigger the working piece it can accommodate.
The scroll performs many varied tasks. These activities are possible due to the different types of blades. Below are the different kinds of blades you find in any scroll saw.
- Pinned and pinless blades: These are the two broad classifications of scroll saw blades. A pinned blade has holding pins on both sides of the blade. Pinless blades use clamps to hold the blade in position.
- Wood blade: This is the standard blades popularly used for woodwork. It features asymmetrical teeth set wide apart. The spacing is designed to clear the accumulating sawdust between the teeth during the sawing process.
- Spiral blade: This types of blade features swiveled teeth. They form a patterned twist from one side to the other.
- Metal blade: This blade type is designed for metalworks. So its teeth are thicker and the spacing between is narrower than the wood blade. Its teeth pitch (distance between two teeth) is also shorter. The design is meant to grate tough steel pieces better.
- Steel blade: Metal cutting requires these blade. A steel blade is a toughened variation of the metal blade. It’s designed to rip harder metals and concrete pieces.
- Skip tooth blade: As the name suggests, the gap between two teeth are wider than the regular blades. It's meant for heavier wooden materials.
- Diamond blade: This is the rare blade and probably the strongest of its kind. It’s primarily designed to cut glasses.
- Two-way tooth blade: This blade features a dual teeth configuration – up and bottom side of the blade. It can cut both upwards and downwards. It’s designed for special cutting.
5. Blade tensioning
Blade tensioning is an important function when working with a scroll saw. It allows you to either fasten or loosen the blade depending on the speed you desire. You should check a scroll for a prominent and easy-to-access tensioning button.
6. Motor and vibrations
The motor rating determines the power of this power tool. For many domestic projects, an engine with one to two amps is sufficient. Industrial models, on the other hand, need more power due to the demanding projects they undertake.
Vibration levels while working affect its efficiency, with a more powerful motor generating greater vibrations. Look for motors that have muffled vibrations. Further, you become more accurate by reinforcing your worktop to withstand shakes.
Unfortunately, a powerful motor also creates greater vibrations. If your work is intricate, use your machine with muffled motors to reduce vibrations. Further, you become more accurate by reinforcing your worktop to withstand vibrations.
But you need a machine to undertake your intricate projects fast. When your work involves converting hard materials your motor should withstand the excessive grind. But for general use, a motor with 1 and 1.5 amps is just adequate.
7. Variable control speed
Speed control is an essential feature for any scroll saw. You should consider a model with different speed levels. Consider a device with knobs that are easily accessible for faster switching. The speed dial should range from 100 strokes per minute to 2000 spm.
8. Table tilt
A tilting work table allows you to slope the working surface to mimic the curvature you are crafting, with higher precision. It also creates a favorable working position, hence allowing you to do more. Accordingly, depending on the type of your project, you need a tilt table with adequate dimensions to support your objects and stay stable once set in position.
9. Ease of use
Using simple scroll saws is easy since they have a few components and their mechanism are standard. They are easy to work on.
But these features grow in complexities and endurance to fit the demanding needs of the pros. Depending on what you want to do with them, consider saws that have quickly accessible controls and features that are simple to manipulate.
One accessory that you may consider is a stand which is usually adjustable.
You may be wondering: How much is a scroll saw? Well, the cost of scroll saws ranges from USD 100 to USD 1000. But most are generally around USD 700.
12. Other notable features
- Work light: This bulb illumines the work for enhanced precision
- Dust collection: Suck the sawdust and leave the worktop clean and tidy, this feature is not available in vintage models.
- Lubrication: To reduce burns and excessive friction, you should lubricate your blade and the moving parts of your machine to avoid breakages
- Blade storage: You need a model that can adequately store the various blades after use
- Quick clamps: Blades with quick clamps are gaining popularity. They allow secure fastening and unfastening.
- Blade rocker arm type: When engraving patterns, it’s this component that directs the flow. This tool has an arm pivoting the blade to perform the necessary maneuvers. Choose a model with one arm that operates as a cam to reduce vibrations
- Raising top arm: An arm that lifts from the top facilitates quick manipulation of fret projects
- Hold Down Foot: Hold down foot is indispensable for a beginner. It’s vital for pinning down the workpiece, hence ensure better manipulation during work.
Each model of this power tool is different. As such, you need to follow the manufacturer's instructions regarding the safe application of these features. However, various scroll saw applications are possible if you know the tool well.
Scroll saw using tips
Your cutting experience will improve if you know how to make the most of scroll saw by taking good care of it. These measures not only allow you to work better but they also enhance the lifespan of your equipment.
Select the right blade
Every material has a suitable blade. Select and use the right blade for any specific project.
Assess the machine before working
It’s recommended that you check the entire tool before you start working.
Powering the machine
Only power on the saw after checking and inspecting all its mechanisms and components. Don’t switch on when you are not ready to begin working.
Variable speed control
Speed control is ideal for adjusting the rate of operations. If you notice any strain in the machine, then you should lower the pace so that it works slower.
Use a firm grip and steady hands
Most of these power tools allow you to work hands-free. This convenience isn't intended for resting but rather to allow you to use both of them to support the project object and manipulate the knobs for better performance. Use your hands to feed and direct wood into the blade.
Utmost attention is required when operating this tool. Monitor the operations and the rates at which the cuts are being made to ensure accuracy and avoid accidents.
Wear protective clothing
Get your eye goggles, ear muffs, and tight-fitting overalls to avoid accidents and injuries. Ensure that the floor is dry and not slippery.
Before you make any blade adjustment, switch off the machine. Ensure the machine is off and the cable unplugged after using it.
You have read the details of 10 scroll saw models that made it to our final list. You must have noted the vital features that you need to consider while selecting your ultimate model. Now you have the answer to your question - what is the best scroll saw with maximum value for money?
To sum it up, if you want the most demanding scroll saw on the market then DEWALT DW788 is your perfect choice. When you aspire to multitask, pick Rockwell BladeRunner RK7323. If you are new to woodwork with a strict budget and little skills, go for Dremel MS20-01.
These three brands have advantages over their competing counterparts in terms of throat width and construction properties. There excellent vibration muffling mechanisms is another significant factor that significantly improves their precision and speed.
Regarding aesthetics, our assessments found these top brands feature state-of-the-art designs. Besides, they also had appealing shapes and extended warranties.
To conclude, the professionals we contacted for this review appreciated our list of products for their value vs. quality ratio as well as safety and performance. And these three picks excelled in all these.