Best band saw reviews 2018
RIKON 10-324 14-Inch Open Stand BandsawIndustrial-grade motor built for performance
Top-notch band saw capable of handling a wide variety of professional and amateur applications.
RIKON 10-324 Review
The RIKON 10-324 is perhaps the best band saw you could come across if you’re looking for superior performance and unparalleled reliability. Driven by a powerful 1.5HP dual volt motor and boasting two convenient blade speeds (1,445 FPM and 2,950 FPM) this workhorse is capable of handling all woods and other materials including non-ferrous metals and plastics.
An easy-to-use knob allows for a quick adjustment of the cutting depth while an inch scale permits an accurate setting of the guide heights. The cutting performance is ensured by the 111-inch long blades; the cutting capacity of 13-5/8-inch wide and 13-inch high benefits most woodworkers while the extra tall rip fence gives additional support to the workpiece. With high-end performance and an attractive price point, the RIKON 10-324 delivers all you could wish from a top-end machine.
WEN 3962 Two-Speed Band SawTwo speeds and 72-inch blades
A smooth operation and extended lifespan ensured by the reliable ball-bearing mechanism.
WEN 3962 Review
When performance and convenience meet, the result can only be a best-value product capable to withstand years of intense use and professional workshop demands. The WEN 3962 is a machine that raises to the expectations thanks to a powerful 3.5-Amp motor that powers reliable 72-inch blades and create cuts up to 6 inches deep and 9.75 inches wide. The dual speed operation at 1520 FPM or 2620 FPM boosts versatility while the spacious work table is easy to tilt up to 45° for bevel cuts.
Additional features thought for the operation comfort include a convenient work light and a 3-in-1 dust port compatible with an assortment of collection hoses. Furthermore, the machine even comes with a stand which is quite handy if you don’t want to sacrifice any space on your workbench. Capable of delivering intricate and powerful cuts on a variety of materials thanks to the highly performing motor, the WEN 3962 is no doubt the best band saw for the money you could have in your workshop.
Rikon 10-305 Bandsaw With FenceSteel frame and cast iron table
Mid-range band saw ideal for amateur woodworkers comes equipped with safety paddle switch.
Rikon 10-305 Review
The RIKON 10-305 is a mid-range band saw ideal for a home workshop. It won’t withstand heavy loads or industrial demands but it can handle almost all types of wood and many alternative materials thanks to the reliable 3.5-Amp motor that outputs 0.33HP.
The unit boasts a solid construction that includes a sturdy steel plate frame and a heavy-duty cast iron table which provides an ample working surface of 13.72 x 12.5 inches. A removable rip fence enables hands-free operation while the micro-adjustable guide post is easy to raise and cast down.
The 70.5 inches blade is slightly smaller than the one on our best-value pick and is capable of providing a cutting depth of 4.625 inches. Ideal for hobbyist applications yet strong enough to withstand occasional sessions of intensive use, the RIKON 10-305 makes a perfect second-best pick.
WEN 3959 9-Inch Benchtop Band SawPerfect for home use
A budget-friendly band saw constructed for DIYers and enthusiast beginners.
WEN 3959 Review
Whether you need a band saw for your garage workshop or a reliable entry-level tool for learning, the WEN 3959 could be the right machine for you. Powered by a 2.5-Amp motor that drives the blade up to 2,500 FPM, this band saw withstands moderate use and mid-duty demands. It has a cutting capacity of up to 3.5 inches deep and 9 inches wide and is developed with the DIYers in mind.
The unit supports smaller 59.5-inch blades of all sizes between 0.125 and 0.375 inches and is capable of cutting intricate and powerful cuts alike. Another advantage of this powerful tool is the generous workspace ensured by a reliable 12.25 x 11.875 inches table that can be beveled to 45°.
Similar to our best-value pick, the WEN 3959 boasts a smooth operation thanks to a ball-bearing mechanism while the fence guard, dust port, and adjustable blade guard ensure an outstanding user experience – all you could wish for from an entry-level tool.
2. Why invest in a band saw?
Band saws can cut through non-ferrous metals, plastic, composite, and an array of other materials, while the high-end models can even cut through hard metals.
Contrary to the popular belief, the band saw can’t replace the table saw in a DIYer’s or woodworker’s workshop but complements this tool by performing operations a table saw can’t do, like cutting intricate shapes and thick workpieces.
Therefore, this tool is essential for most hobbyists and professionals looking to upgrade their woodworking game.
3. Different types of band saws
Band saws can be essentially divided into two categories, based on their construction.
- Benchtop band saws: Characterized by a compact size. These units are designed to be mounted on the bench top but due to their smaller size can only accommodate shorter blades; reasonably priced, these models are often preferred by home users and beginners.
- Cabinet or floor standing band saws: Often used in professional workshops and preferred by the hobbyists who take their passion seriously, these units come with a stand that allows for a freestanding installation. Due to their larger size, these machines can handle longer blades and cut through thicker and harder materials.
4. Band saw frame styles
With many brands producing floor standing band saws at attractive price points, many hobbyists turn to this solution when choosing the right tool for their workshop. The associated advantages are many, from the ability to handle a wider variety of workpieces to the possibility to save bench top space. A thing to consider when choosing a floor standing band saw is the type of frame.
There are two frame styles to consider, cast-iron and steel.
- Cast-iron frames: Are perhaps the most popular and boast work tables of up to 14 inches. Ideal for a host of demands, these units are usually equipped with motors rated between 1 and 1.5HP. However, these machines consist of two castings and this construction cuts off their ability to heavy-duty re-sawing.
- Steel frames: Are made from a welded piece of steel and boast a one-piece construction that boosts their resistance. This particularity increases the cutting capacity without compromising on strength, therefore these machines can handle heavy-duty demands in a breeze. Most steel band saws come with work tables in the 12-24 inches range.
5. What motor should you look for?
Another important component of a band saw is the motor. These machines are powered by a broad range of motors suitable for light-duty amateur applications or professional use.
Home use band saws come with motors rated between 0.33 and 1 horsepower and are typically capable of handling general cutting and light-duty re-sawing projects of thinner workpieces. Mid- and heavy-duty projects require more powerful motors typically rated between 1.5 and 3 horsepower.
While the small motors can be plugged into a regular wall outlet, larger motors of 2HP or over may require a 220V electrical supply.
Most band saws on the market come with variable speeds that allow you to adjust the tool’s performance based on the project’s demands. Below, some of the most common speeds used for cutting through popular materials:
- Wood: from 1,000 to 5,000 FPM (feet per minute)
- Aluminum: 1,000 FPM
- Brass: from 100 to 300 FPM
- Steel: 100 FPM
6. Band saw blades
The length and width of the blade determine what materials the machine can handle. Here are a few important things to consider when choosing the right blade.
- Length: Determining the length is easy, all you have to do is read the band saw’s specifications. Entry-level units use blades of approximately 60 inches long whereas the best band saws have blades of over 100 inches long and allow you to handle thicker workpieces.
- Width: The width determines the durability and performance of the blade. Most band saws accept blades of various widths and it is recommended to always use the widest blade possible as it withstands higher pressures without breaking. Blades vary from 1/8 inches to 1 inch but you will have to consult the manual of your specific model to know what blade widths your machine accepts. The only exception is contour sawing, a procedure that may require a narrower blade to cut the desired radius.
- Teeth per inch: A number that refers to the frequency of the teeth in a blade. The TPI value differs between the ripping and the cutting blades. Ripping blades have fewer teeth per inch and work faster but provide rugged results. Cutting blades have more teeth and generate more precise and cleaner cuts, but they cut slower.
7. Types of the band saw blades
The most common types of band saw blades include:
- Regular teeth blades: Are commonly used in amateur and professional workshops. They have straight and evenly spaced teeth with deep gullets in between and are used for general cutting of thinner materials.
- Hook teeth blades: Have larger and widely spaced teeth and deeper gullets and are typically used for coarse cuts through thick wood, hardwood, metal, and plastic.
- Skip teeth blades: Have widely spaced teeth and a shallow gullet and are used for precision cutting on soft wood, non-ferrous metals, and
8. What other features to consider?
Besides all the above, a series of features can improve your user experience and make it easier to use the band saw. Here are a few things the best band saws have:
- The ability to cut at an angle boosts versatility, allowing you to perform more operations with the tool. If you want to benefit from this possibility, look for a unit with a beveling table and adjustable angle of 45 degrees.
- Adjustable speeds must also be considered, as you’ll be able to maximize performance by optimizing your working pace. Most home use band saws come with two speeds while the higher end models can have more than this.
- An onboard measuring guide designed to help operators perform precise cuts.
- A fence guard and a sliding miter gauge are two accessories that add up to practicality, allowing you to perform straight cuts.
- Ball-bearing guides are another desirable feature. Designed to ensure an overall smoother operation, they can increase the user experience.
- Dust management is a tricky thing when working with a saw. The best band saw must have a dust port, ideally compatible with multiple types of hoses. You should also check the possibility to connect the dust port directly to a vacuum cleaner. This feature ensures an effective dust management, keeping your environment cleaner.
- An incorporated work light, preferably with an independent power switch, is another nice feature, as it provides light exactly where is needed.