best band saws

Best Band Saws for Woodworking – Top 5 Review & Buying Guide

When looking for a band saw, it is important to know that the decision you make is what will determine the value of your investment. Most of these products aren’t that cheap, and to get value for money, you would want to ensure that the product you invest in is the best in the market and can meet your needs. After going through the review, you will know exactly what to look for in the best band saw, the things to avoid, among other important information that you may need to know.

here is our list of top 5 best band saw on the market:

  1. JET JWBS-14DXPRO 14-Inch Deluxe Pro Band Saw Kit
  2. WEN 3959 2.5-Amp 9-Inch Benchtop Band Saw
  3. Shop Fox W1706 14" Band saw with Cast Iron Wheels & Deluxe Aluminum Fence
  4. Rikon 10-305 Bandsaw With Fence, 10-Inch
  5. WEN 3962 Two-Speed Band Saw with Stand and Worklight, 10"

​JET JWBS-14DXPRO

Our Rating: 4.8/5

#Top Pick#

  • Fast adjustments
  • Large table

​WEN 3959

Our Rating: 4.6/5

  • Lightweight
  • Affordable price

​Shop Fox W1706

Our Rating: 4.6/5

  • Easy to use
  • Easy blade changes

​Rikon 10-305

Our Rating: 4.6/5

  • Powers through soft woods

​WEN 3962

Our Rating: 4.7/5

  • Two speeds
  • Excellent work light

JET JWBS-14DXPRO 14-Inch Deluxe Pro Band Saw Kit

  • 2 speed poly v belt drive system
  • Built in 12 inch resaw capacity for cutting large wood pieces
  • Easy to view blade tracking window
  • Newly designed upper and lower cast iron frame for increased length and rigidity
  • Blade guide post with rack and pinion adjustment
JET JWBS-14DXPRO

The best machines should come with unique features and design, and this is what jet JWBS is all about. The band saw has a massive capacity, making it a good option when ripping pieces with a height of up to 12 inches. It also has a retractable blade guard to maintain safety. The blade guard is adjustable from 0 to 12 inches. The tool does all these without the use of a riser block. This helps save on time, especially if you are working on projects of different sizes.

Jet JWBS has a large table measuring 15’’ by 15’’. Blade adjustments are also easy and fast. The tool has an easy-view blade tracking window which ensures that you align the blade exactly how you want it. The only downside of the machine is lack of a rip fence. This can be beneficial since some manufacturers tend to include poor quality fences. You therefore have to purchase the rip fence separately. All in all, Jet JWBS is a powerful and high quality band saw that makes it possible to handle large projects with less hassle.

Pros

  • Fast adjustments
  • Large capacity
  • Easy-view blade tracking window
  • Large table

​Cons

  • Rip fence is not included

WEN 3959 2.5-Amp 9-Inch Benchtop Band Saw

  • Create cuts up to 3-1/2 inches deep and 9 inches wide
  • 2.5amp motor rotates the blade up to 2500 feet per minute
  • Spacious work table that bevels up to 45 degrees
  • Comes with a 2 year warranty
  • Has a rip fence as well as a miter gauge
WEN 3959

WEN is a US based company that is also known to produce some of the best machines in the market. WEN 3959 band saw is made with high quality materials and powered by electricity. It can be a good option for both newbies and professional woodworkers. Whether you are forming holes, cutting lines on wood, you can trust the machine to handle the task effortlessly.

The package also comes with various accessories, including a motor and blades that can be used to cut and make design patterns on wood. It can cut through different materials like plastic, metal and wood. The tool is also easy to set up, and can be suitable for both small and medium projects. The motor, however, may not support huge projects that require more power. You can easily switch the blades to suit your projects.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Spacious work table
  • Various setting accessories
  • Affordable price

​Cons

  • Limited speed for large projects
  • Loose miter gauge
  • Rough working table surface

Shop Fox W1706 14" Band saw with Cast Iron Wheels & Deluxe Aluminum Fence

  • Cast iron blade wheels frame and table
  • 1725 rpm
  • Blade speed 1500 and 3200 FPM
  • Blade guide upper and lower
  • Quick change blade
  • Maximum cutting height 6 inches
Shop Fox W1706

The company is also among the few brands that design high quality and affordable power tools. Shop Fox W1706 has a convenient size and aside from the price, the machine also has convenient features that are only available in more expensive models.

Among these features are cast iron upper and lower wheels, quick release blade tension, extruded aluminum fence and rails and enclosed cabinet stand with storage. It also has a deluxe miter gauge to ensure precise angles and perfect cross cutting. The machine comes with a dust port which is connected to a dust collection system to ensure that your workplace remains clean.

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Easy to set up
  • Solid cast iron table
  • Convenient storage in the base
  • Easy blade changes
  • Cast iron wheels with tires already installed

​Cons

  • Rip fence does not lock down solidly

Rikon 10-305 Bandsaw With Fence, 10-Inch

  • Solid steel design
  • Cast iron table
  • High quality rip fence
  • 1/3HP motor
  • Micro adjustable guide post
Rikon 10-305

If you work on smaller projects, Rikon 10-305 is one of the best tools to have. The machine does not have enough power to handle harder woods. But if you only specialize in softer woods, there is no point in investing in a machine with excessive power and pay huge amounts for it. One amazing feature about Rikon 10-305 is the oversized cast iron table and steel frame.

The machine is built of plastic and does not vibrate as much as other band saws. It also has an adjustable handle to help achieve cleaner cuts. Compared to other units, Rikon 10-305 does not have a lot of features. It is a simple tool that works well for smaller projects that requires softer woods. It has a small dust port, which means that you may have to do more clean up after usage.

Pros

  • Quality parts
  • Powers through soft woods

​Cons

  • Undersized dust port
  • Cannot work on hardwoods

WEN 3962 Two-Speed Band Saw with Stand and Worklight, 10"

  • 3.5 amp motor
  • Spacious 14-1/8 x 12-1/2 inch cast aluminum work table
  • Operates at two speeds of either 1520 or 2620 FPM
  • 2-year warranty
  • Uses 72-inch blades anywhere from 1/8 to 1/2 inches in size
WEN 3962

This is one great machine with incredible value and can make great cuts. The machine comes with a highly adjustable table which can tilt up to 45 degrees, making it possible to handle any type of project at hand. It is compatible with any type of dust collection system. It can take a relatively longer time to set up the tool. Blade change is also harder compared to other units. But once you set it up correctly, it can prove to be among the most powerful and straightest cutting units in the market.

Pros

  • Two speeds
  • Beveling table
  • Excellent work light

​Cons

  • Hard initial set up
  • Difficult to change the blades

The Benefits of Using a Band Saw

Generally, band saws consist of a moving steel belt with a serrated edge. The structure also has a blower that is designed to remove dust collected after finishing your cutting tasks. The tools are mainly used for woodworking, metalworking and lumbering.

Since the machines can work perfectly when cutting tight curves, it can be suitable for a wide range of wood projects, which includes the creation of wood furniture, gift boxes, shelving, making ornamental pieces among other uses. Band saws are ideal for both domestic use and small to medium businesses. That said, here are some of the top benefits of using band saws.

They Cut Irregular Shapes

If you have a project that requires you to cut wood at acute angles, a band saw can be the perfect tool for you. You can get completely smooth cuts with the tool, regardless of the angle you are cutting.

Can Work on Different Materials

Band saws work on a wide range of materials which includes wood, timber, metal among others. This means that you can work on different types of wood, which also opens new doors to creativity. Specific blade sides are suited for certain tasks, which is important that you choose the right blades depending on the type of material you are working with.

Easy to Make Straight/Cross Cuts

When using other tools, it may take a lot of focus, attention and care to make straight or cross cuts. But this is not the case with a band saw. The miter gauge will allow you to make precision cuts with less hassle. The blade tracker adjustments and dual bearing blade guide rollers also keeps things steady. This helps achieve smooth and straightforward lines.

Less Wastage

Another advantage of using a band saw is that it leads to less wastage. The saws have a smaller ‘kerf’. Since they have narrow blades, the amount of sawdust produced also reduces.

Energy Efficiency

Most people prefer vertical band saws for small business and domestic uses. These saws use less power compared to wood and metal cutters. There are therefore considered as energy efficient tools. The saws can therefore be handy for woodworkers who want to lower production costs.

Band Saw Buying Guide

It is convenient to shop online, but you will also come across a wide range of products, making it difficult to make the right decision. This buyers guide will ensure that you get the right saw that can meet your needs.

band saw buying guide

What are the different types of band saws?

Band saws are available in different shapes and designs. Each of these tools is designed to serve a specific purpose, meaning that they all come with unique selling points. Band saws are among the most versatile tools, having the ability to cut through any type of materials. The main types of band saws available include:

Metal Band Saws

These are the ideal tools to use if you want to cut metal materials. They are available in two main categories:

  • Vertical band saws
  • Horizontal band saws

You can use a horizontal band saw to cut the material down to size, and a vertical band saw for more complicated tasks like polishing, filling and contour cutting. These saws also require extra maintenance since they have other additional features like a coolant to keep the blades lubricated and brush wheels to prevent metal chips from getting stuck on the blade.

Wood Band Saws

Wood band saws are popular among professional woodworkers. They are versatile machines that can be used at the workshop and timber mills. They can easily cut through hardwoods and softwoods, including those with larger diameters. Since these saws have a smaller ‘keft’, only a small portion of the timber gets wasted.

Meat Band Saw

These saws are used to cut and carve different types of meat. They are made with stainless steel material, making it easier to clean and maintain. The saws are mainly used by butchers and meat lovers.

Horizontal Band Saw

Horizontal band saws are mainly used to cut longer materials. They can be used by both newbies and professional carpenters. They are however, not ideal for cutting curved lines and complicated shapes. The band saws offer extreme precision and are accurate when cutting straight cuts. They can also cut different type of materials, like wood, metal and plastic with ease. Another benefit of horizontal band saws is that they are quieter compared to other saws.

Vertical Band Saws

These saws do not move. It is the material that moves through the blades when cutting. Vertical band saws are also versatile. They can create complicated shapes and lines and perform precision cuts. The saws can cut through different materials, and they also have brush wheels for safety and to ensure that the chips do not get stuck in the blade.

Factors to Consider When Purchasing a Band Saw

Our review of the 5 best band saws will give you an idea of what exactly you need in a band saw and help you make an informed purchasing decision. Band saws are no different from other power machines, which mean that you also have to look at all the features you need to ensure that you get the right product to meet your requirements. There is a wide range of tasks that you can handle using a band saw, which is why we have compiled a generalized advice about the best features that should be looking for when purchasing the tool.

Shopping For Value

A powerful tool tends to be expensive, but it doesn’t mean that the tool will guarantee great value. There are cases where people have spent a lot in equipment, only for it to break down after a few months of usage. As much as the tool is still being covered with a warranty, you may have to spend a lot of time for follow ups, and the time wasted is money lost.

What you need to keep in mind is that just because the machine is expensive doesn’t mean that it can function as you expected. Again, a cheaper option also doesn’t mean that the machine is less efficient.
Rather than focusing more of the cost of the tool, it is important to consider the value that you will get out of the investment. Many aspects of the machine will determine how valuable it is. But there are only 3 important features that you should pay close attention to:

  • Ease of usage
  • Durability
  • The ability to handle the projects you have

Durability

durability

Band saws make cuts with the use of a blade under very high tension. Once you set the machine, all the body parts are subjected to stress. The same applies when the machine is at rest. If the bad saw is made with the wrong or poor quality materials, be sure that it won’t last long. It will only subject the blade to more strain, leading to flawed cuts. The lifespan of the blade will also reduce leading to increase cost of operation in the long run.

Which materials should you consider?

When you purchase a band saw, it is likely to come with a cast iron table. If it doesn’t, do not even think twice. Some band saws also have frames that are also cast iron. The material is in a position to handle the stress the stress put on the band saw. If you invest in a poor quality machine, chances are that the tool is made of aluminum or rolled steel body. Some are even made of frames that are partially plastic. Basically, the better the frame quality the more durable the product is.

Ease of use

Power tools that are hard to use can be annoying. Even if they will get the job done, such tools are always frustrating to use. The best band saw should be easy to use and ensure that you handle your tasks in the minimal time possible. You should especially pay more attention on how easy it is to change the blade. If you have different types of materials that you need to work on, you will have to frequently change the blades depending on the materials you want to cut. Again, using the blades frequently will lead to wear and tea, which means that you will have to change them out.

Ease of use

Generally, the more you use the saw, the more you will need to change the blades. Some band saws have simple designs, making them easy to change the blades while there are others that can be quite challenging. If it is complicated to change the blades, you will have to use more time that could otherwise be spent on other important tasks. But when it is easy to change the blade, you will spend limited time on the process.

Your Projects

Which projects do you intend to handle with the band saw? Remember that you will have to change the blades depending on the type of project that you want to work on. But still, each band saw comes with different features that determine how efficient it can handle the project at hand. If your main aim is to cut softer woods, you don’t have to spend huge on a machine with excessive power. That may not be the best choice for such tasks.

This is because the blade speed may be too fast to damage the piece rather than helping achieve quality cuts. The saw can also affect your ability to control the process, leading to accidents and injuries. Most of these powerful units also have large blade heights and bigger tables. So if your only intention is to work on softer and smaller pieces, the excess space won’t be of much help. As a matter of fact, you will only be paying more for features that you don’t really need.

But things will be completely different if you are working on larger pieces or harder woods. Of course you will need extra space, and a more powerful tool. The main issue is to figure out what you intend to use with the saw. It will then be easier to find a tool that can meet your job requirements.

Ease of Assemble

The machine you invest in should also be easy to assemble. If you have never assembled a band saw before, do not expect it to be a straightforward process. This doesn’t mean that band saws are the most difficult power tools to assemble. But you may need more time. There are some band saw models that come when they are already assembled, which makes it easier to put the parts together. Such models can save you a lot of time and frustrations.

Power

When searching for the best features to look for in a band saw, power is probably the first important feature that you might come across. Just like other tools, power is also an essential feature in a band saw. All band saws have an electric motor, but the most important thing is to determine the type of motor that will be convenient for your projects.

If for instance you purchase a 1 horsepower motor band, do not expect it to cut metal since the power will be less for such tasks. You will only be able to cut wood and other smaller parts.
On the other hand, a 1.5 to 2 horsepower can cut any type of material, including metal and plastic with ease. You can choose the type of motor power depending on the type of projects that you want to work on.

Controlling Variable Speed

If you are a woodworker, plumber or metal worker, then you already know the type of speed that band saws have. But this can be quite challenging to newbies. This, however, should not give you the reason to worry. Most band saws have two variable speeds depending on the user needs and the fpm of the blade:

  • Slower speed: This speed is recommended when you need to accurately cut any design or circle.
  • Faster speed: You can consider a faster speed if accuracy isn’t important in the type of material you are working on.

Weight

Weight is also an important feature to consider in a band saw. This can especially be important if you want a portable band saw to be used in different locations. If this is the case, ensure that the band saw is light enough to carry around. This will make it possible to carry out your tasks comfortably without getting tired easily.

If you want to set up the saw in a garage or workshop, then the weight won’t be much important. In fact, a heavyweight band will be more beneficial since it will reduce vibration problems.

Here are some other important factors to consider when purchasing a band saw:

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Band Saws

The common questions below are what we always get from both newbies and professional woodworkers. They can also be helpful for those who have never used a band saw before, but are planning to purchase the tool soon

What can I use a band saw for?

Band saws can be used for a variety of tasks, which include cutting and ripping of wood into thin slabs. When using a proper blade, the machines are also used to cut other materials like metal and plastic. Band saws are among the best tools to use when you want to make curved or irregular shapes. They can also make uniform straight cuts.

What cases my same blades to flip?

If the saw blade flips over the wheel, adjust the blade tracking using the blade tracking adjustment knob. Also apply the correct tension to the blade with the blade tracking wheel. One of the reasons why the band saw blade flips is when the wheel bearings are worn out. It is therefore important to consider if this is the case with your blade and replace the wheel bearings.

Why does the rubber tire fall off?

The rubber tire in a band saw has to tightly fit on the wheel. It might fall off after stretching, meaning that you will have to replace the rubber tire.

The band saw blade isn’t moving?

band saw blade isn't moving

If the band saw blade does not move once the motor starts running, there are three things that you will have to check into:

  • If the blade is loose
  • If the blade is broken
  • If the band saws motor drive belt is broken or damaged

If the problem is caused by a loose blade, adjust the blade tension. A broken band saw blade also won’t move, which is important that you replace the blade. And if the issue is caused by the band saws motor drive belt, you should also plan to replace it.

Why is my band saw slow to make cuts?

If your band saw takes a longer time to handle tasks, confirm if the blade is sharp enough. A blunt blade will always cut slowly compared to a sharper one. If the blade is dull or damaged, you can replace it with another blade. The problem may also occur when the blade is installed upside down. You should thus ensure that the blade teeth face downwards.

Why isn’t the band saw cutting straight?

If you want to make straight cuts using a band saw, use the rip fence to guide the material. There are also other techniques that you can use; like slowly feeding the material into the blade and apply light pressure on the material when pushing it into the blade. This will prevent the blade from making crooked cuts. If the saw does not make straight cuts after this, check if it is damaged or dull and replace it with another blade.

How do I maintain my band saw?

For the band saw to be useful, the most important thing is to ensure that it is frequently cleaned. Start by cleaning the sawdust off the cutting table to make accurate cuts. Saw dust can also build up in the band saws lower and upper cabinet. Ensure that you open both cabinet doors frequently to remove the sawdust. The ventilation slots also need to be cleaned to prevent the motor from overheating.

How do I lubricate the saw band motor?

Most band saws come with motor bearings that are already lubricated at the factory and sealed. They therefore do not require additional lubrication. You may refer to the user manual to comfort whether the band saw motor needs to be lubricated.

Conclusion

There is more to consider when it comes to the purchase of a high quality and efficient band saw. The best thing to do is be conversant with the most important features to look for and find a model that meets your job requirements.

in our review, there are many reasons why JET JWBS-14DXPRO stands out. Thanks to its high capacity table and excellent power, the tool can handle different types of projects with ease. The only problem is that the band saw has a poorly designed dust collector. The second best choice is The WEN 3962. The band saw is a perfect option for experts. Rikon 10-305 is also a great tool to consider if you are working on smaller projects. It however, lacks the capacity to work on large projects.

Hopefully, our review will help you make a prudent decision as far as the purchase of a band saw is concerned. Only shopping can be convenient, but it also comes with some challenges, considering that you have to choose for hundreds of options. We hope that you now know the best band saw model to go for and have your cutting needs met with fewer disruptions.

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