Best Band Saws – Ultimate List And Reviews You Should Read

What’s the best bandsaw for the money, or for the job? One of the 2 probable questions in your head just now. Here at the Bandsaw Center we’ll answer these questions for you, through our band saw reviews. You’re reading this page because you’re presumably interested in buying yourself a new bandsaw for your tool shop and want to get the best product for your needs but also for your pocket.

Best Bandsaw For The Money?

So what is the answer to this? It depends on several things, such as what you’re going to need it for, how much use you are planning and more questions. It’s no good buying a small portable machine if you’re wanting to work on jobs that need a 14” cutting blade. There again, you don’t need a saw mill size machine if you’re just working on small weekend projects around the home. The old adage “you get what you pay for” is especially true of the band saw.

More than any other tool, quality makes a big difference in band saw performance. If you’re looking for best band saw, you must look beyond the sales hype to choose a saw that fits your needs. There are so many band saw reviews on the internet, but not a single place or site dedicated to talking about this kind of saw, pros and cons of a model, advice and tips, etc. So we’re here to help you discover what’s the best bandsaw for the money that is suitable for your requirements. Like the lathe, the bandsaw is a skill-intensive machine.

Ultimate List of Band Saws And Reviews You Should Read

Since you are cutting freehand, you can feel how the machine is performing. The band saw should run smoothly and cut thick material without resistance or vibration. If the saw vibrates, either there is something wrong with the setup, or else it is not a good piece of equipment.Which saw you buy naturally depends on your plans for it and your budget. But because the band saw requires skill to cut well, you will also want to compare features carefully to find the machine that suits you best. In this buying guide, we’ll run down all the systems and parts of the machine and explain what your choices are, and what you might be trading off.

Bandsaws for woodworking are available in a variety of sizes and prices, and you can find quite a few great model online or offline. Band saws range in size from small portable bench-top units to large industrial heavyweights. There are 3 basic styles of band saws: bench top, stand mounted, and floor model, further differentiated by wheel size, throat size, and number of wheels. As we mentioned previously, the most common design is the 14-inch two-wheel saw. Its 14-inch diameter wheels yield a throat width of 13 inches between the column and the blade, as shown below.

Bench Top Saws

Bench top or as they’re often called table top saws are the smallest and can be mounted directly on a worktable or on a purchased or shop-made stand or cabinet. Bench-top saws are typically lightweight and have wheel diameters in the range of 8 to 12 inches. They are ideal for small projects and small workshops. One characteristic of these saws is that the motor is mounted directly to the unit, so there is no belt system below the table. Although typically small and lightweight, there are exceptions, such as the 12-inch Jet, and the 14-inch Shop Fox. For a number of years, bench-top saws were manufactured with the three-wheel design, but those models have been discontinued. Remember that a three-wheel saw offers the widest throat in the least amount of space, but the design has drawbacks: It is more difficult to align the wheels and track the blades, and some users report premature blade wear.

Bench top or as they’re often called table top saws are the smallest and can be mounted directly on a worktable or on a purchased or shop-made stand or cabinet. Bench-top saws are typically lightweight and have wheel diameters in the range of 8 to 12 inches. They are ideal for small projects and small workshops. One characteristic of these saws is that the motor is mounted directly to the unit, so there is no belt system below the table. Although typically small and lightweight, there are exceptions, such as the 12-inch Jet, and the 14-inch Shop Fox. For a number of years, bench-top saws were manufactured with the three-wheel design, but those models have been discontinued. Remember that a three-wheel saw offers the widest throat in the least amount of space, but the design has drawbacks: It is more difficult to align the wheels and track the blades, and some users report premature blade wear.

Stand Mounted Saws

Stand Mounted Saws - Ultimate List of Bandsaw And Reviews

The stand-mounted model is characterized by the familiar 14-inch band saw with the cast-iron frame and stamped steel stand that is either and open frame or an enclosed cabinet. The motor is usually mounted in the stand under the saw and is connected by a drive belt to the lower wheel. The 14-inch size is adequate for most woodworking tasks and is the most popular size sold.

These bandsaws are so popular because they’re very versatile, small, and relatively inexpensive. Although these saws all look very much alike, their quality varies widely, with price being a reasonable indicator of quality.The 14-inch saw market is very competitive, and the imported saws have pressed prices downward. Prices vary widely, so it is worth researching a purchase. Thanks to the internet, now you can even find the lowest price online without charges for shipping.

Portable Band Saws

Yes, as the name implies these are portable machines, ideal to take on site for contractors and professional workmen alike. There’s some awesome products from highly respected manufacturers within this category. Best Portable Bandsaw Makita we can give you pointers for these, if your preference is Makita, but if you’re in the De Walt camp then read here for our suggestions if you’re wondering the Best Portable Band Saw DeWalt.

Read more here on portable bandsaws.

Which is Better?

So which is the best band saw, a bench-top saw , portable saw or a stand-mounted saw? With certain exceptions such as the Shop Fox, bench-top saws are not only small but also lightly built. If you intended to use the saw only for small work, perhaps as a supplement to a scroll saw, a bench-top saw could be an inexpensive solution. But if you have the workshop space, spring for a 14-inch stand-mounted machine. It will do everything the small machine can and a lot more besides. So which is better, a stand-mounted saw or a floor model machine?

It depends entirely on the type of work you intend to do. The 14-inch stand-mounted saw is a general purpose workhorse, but, even with the biggest blade it can accept, it is underpowered for resawing and making boards from small logs. If you plan to do a lot of heavy work, you’ll soon wish you had a larger machine. So which is better, the big old cast-iron behemoth or the European design with a smaller footprint? The modern steel-frame saws are every bit as solid and stable as their cast-iron cousins. The cast iron dampened the vibration that resulted from crudely cast parts, whereas the new machines have extremely well-engineered and well-balanced parts, with bearing guides, many handy features, and easy-to-reach controls.

The European wheel design has less crown, which facilitates using wide blades for resawing. Throat depth was important for the older saws because many were used in pattern making shops for making large patterns. Nowadays, the emphasis seems to be on a smaller footprint saw that will very accurately rip and re-saw, and the European saws fits those requirements, as shown below. Large steel-frame saws have been so popular that a number of Asian imitations have become available, though with mixed reviews. Some of these clones look like the originals, but they may weigh only half as much and may be grossly under powered. It really pays to do your research when considering a steel-frame saw because looks can be deceiving.

Buying a New Band Saw

Best Bandsaw For The Money

Buying a new saw has several advantages, just like buying a new car. You can get exactly what you want, or at least what you think you want. You get service and a warranty, and a current model that has parts readily available. You also get the peace of mind of knowing the history of the saw so you know it wasn’t abused or broken and welded.Research and compare tools before you buy.

Here are some questions to consider:

1. What’s your budget?

2. How long is the warranty?

3. Can you buy an extended warranty for additional peace of mind?

4. Upon unpacking, if the band saw is defective, what’s the procedure, and who pays to transport the machine to a service center?

5. How many miles to a service center?

6. How many years into the future will parts be available?

Because a band saw is older or industrial doesn’t guarantee that it’s a better choice than a new one. Recent models often have advantages, such as ease of adjustment, safety features, better guides, and better choice of accessories.Perhaps the biggest consideration in deciding whether to buy new versus used is your time. Acquiring and fixing older equipment is a hobby for some. But if your real interest is woodworking and you want to get on with it, spending the summer attending machinery auctions may be a waste of your time, not to mention the hours you will spend moving a large used machine, installing it, getting it running, and adjusting it so it can do the work you have in mind.

Buying a Used Band Saw?

The alternative to buying a new is to buy a used piece of equipment. Theoretically, one can save a lot of money. Occasionally, equipment in good working order can be acquired at a fraction of the cost of brand-new machine. The downside is that you have to have a good knowledge of band saws to be able to evaluate a used one. Buyer beware! There are a lot of “great deals” in the back corner of shops gathering dust because the machine needs work or parts. If you buy one of these, you may never get the “bargain” to be a working machine. Personally we think that the best band saw is a brand new one, complete with full warranty.

If a machine is not making sawdust in a month, it was a mistake, not a bargain. Of all the woodworking machines, band saws are probably the most frequently abused. Band saws do wear out, and a machine from a shop or a factory may be for sale because it would be too expensive to fix. In a commercial setting, a machine often can be replaced for less than the cost and hassle of repairs, especially if it is simply worn out. One or two custom-made repair parts may exceed the price of a new machine. A missing part or parts is often the deal breaker. The essential part may no longer be available, or it may require very expensive custom fabrication. It is easy to romanticize about old big equipment, but the reality is that newer equipment, and band saws in particular, have better designs, better bearings, better dust collection, better guides, and better guards.

This is especially true since the advent of the steel-frame saws. Our opinion is you’re going to be possibly looking at a money pit, by buying a used machine. Unless it comes with a fully recorded service history, you know how many cuts it’s made, how long the motors been used, then the super purchase where you saved an initial $500 could cost you $600 in a couple of months when the engine has burned out as it’s been flogged to death for 4 years non stop by the previous owner. So once again, welcome to the Band Saw Center and happy reading and shopping!

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