What You Will Get Here
- What Is a Scroll Saw & Why Use It?
- Things to Consider When Looking for the Best Scroll Saw
- How Did We Pick the Best?
- Our Top 10 Product List
- Best Overall: DEWALT DW788 1.3 Amp 20-Inch Variable-Speed Scroll Saw
- Best Budget Scroll Saw: Dremel MS20-01 Moto-Saw Variable Speed Compact Scroll Saw Kit
- Best for Basic Patterns: WEN 3920 16-Inch Two-Direction Variable Speed Scroll Saw
- Best Scroll Saw for Beginners: Shop Fox W1713 16-Inch Variable Speed Scroll Saw
- Best for Multipurpose Usage: Rockwell BladeRunner RK7323 X2 Portable Tabletop Saw
- Best for Intarsia: Jet 727200K Scroll Saw With Stand
- Best for Large projects: Delta Power Tools 40-694 20 In. Variable Speed Scroll Saw
- A List of 2 Other Scroll Saws We Reviewed
- List of Other Products We Tested
- Scroll Saw Uses Tips
What Is a Scroll Saw & Why Use It?
In case you're not familiar with the scroll saw and wondering what is a scroll saw, this is a small size saw designed to make perfect curves as well as edgy inscriptions and patterns. It features a blade that reciprocates its movement instead of continuously rolling.
Another trait you notice on this tool is its heavy-duty properties despite the small size. However, you can extract its blades and insert it in a predrilled hole. This flexibility allows the saw to cut internal and recessed surfaces without the need to craft an entry slot.
Additionally, the blade of a scroll saw blade is fine and has compact teeth that allow you to intricately delicate curves with high precision. Typically, scroll saws will enable you to pivot its work table which significantly improves its accuracy.
Saws have other advantages, such as a work light to illuminate even the smallest workpiece. Further, they have variable speed; hence you can enhance the engraving details without going off the track. Finally, the attached dust container helps keep the work surface clean and tidy.
In the best scroll saw brands, you will notice that they vary significantly in sizes. A scroll saw size here depicts the distance from the blade to the end of the saw frame. Hence, you can find saws as small as 12-inch to as large as 30-inch.
Generally, a scroll saw 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 3-D fractals, make marquettes as well as collage-type artistry.
There are two main types of scroll saws. Picking either of these depends on the nature of the project you want to do as well as materials you would be manipulating. The project should guide on how powerful your scroll should be.
Perhaps the most significant consideration is the throat of your scroll saw. The throat depth is the size of the scroll saw. The larger the project material, the bigger the scroll saw’s size you should pick and vice versa.
Things to Consider When Looking for the Best Scroll Saw
Many factors determine how efficient and effective a particular scroll saw is for various scroll saw applications. Placing these criteria for all the scrolls saws, we managed to develop a schedule of the best scroll saws reviews. These are discussed in details below.
1. Precision and Performance
Scroll saw 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.
A scroll saw depends on its blade for all its functions. Depending on the materials your plan to work as well as the level of precision, you need to select the best 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, your scroll saw reviews should consider the scroll size. 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 the 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 scroll saw 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: The best scroll saw for metal needs this type of 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 the scroll saw blade. 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 a scroll saw. For many domestic projects, an engine with one to two amps is sufficient. Industrial scroll saws, on the other hand, need more power due to the demanding projects they undertake.
Vibration levels emanating from a scroll saw 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, you need a scroll saw with muffled motors to reduce vibrations. Further, you become more accurate by reinforcing your worktop to withstand vibrations.
But you need the best scroll saw 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 scroll saw 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
There are many classes of scroll saws. Using simple scroll saws for beginners 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 woodwork professionals. 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 scroll saw with a stand. These contents could be fixed or 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
- 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 scroll saw that can adequately store the various blades after use
- Quick clamps: Blades with quick clamps are gaining popularity. They allow secure fastening and unfastening to the scroll saw
- Blade rocker arm type: When engraving patterns, it’s this component that directs the flow. A scroll saw can have an arm pivoting the blade to perform the necessary maneuvers. Choose a scroll saw 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 in scroll sawing. It’s vital for pinning down the workpiece, hence ensure better manipulation during work.
Each scroll saw is different. As such, you need to follow the manufacturer's instructions regarding the safe application of these features.
How Did We Pick the Best?
Scroll saws are well situated to perform intricate cuts rather than daily straightforward splitting and planning tasks. Besides, it is small and compact, with virtually noiseless operations. Again, its blades are small and non-lethal.
Apart from performances, many have accessories that help make work easy and convenient. It’s not uncommon to find scroll saws with foot pedals, dust harness, and variable speed controls. These and other special features make each brand unique.
For these reasons, just like the band saw, it’s a preferred tool for avid amateur woodworkers and decorators. But this doesn’t mean that professional interiors designers and contractors don’t require them.
It’s against the above background that I pinned my review of the top rated scroll saws. For a span of over thirty-two years, I have tried and tested about fifty different brands and sizes of scroll saws, undertaking projects from delicate miniature artistic imprints to massively extensive redesign. My extensive experience using scroll saws for various activities justifies my expertise.
But my professional aptitude notwithstanding, I have consulted all caliber of scroll saw users. They range from vocational community level woodwork enthusiasts to highly reputable interiors contractors. All these gave their personal experiences with the scroll saws they have used for all projects – big and small.
With these opinions, I with my team member have further spent months researching and testing various scroll saw brands. We undertook the painstaking process to independently verify questionable claims and clarify any issues that are not well established.
In the process, our thorough assessment helped us weed the less impressive saws and to concentrate on those that performed well. Hence, this work has culminated into the production of this well-researched, and highly informative document on the scroll saw buying the guide.
Accordingly, I have applied the various criteria mentioned in the next subheading to review and rank the top scroll saws in different categories.
Our Top 10 Product List
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 scroll saw ratings.
The different distinction range from the best scroll saw for beginners to the best scroll saw for the money. Here are the top ten contenders making into our ranking list.