Table of Contents
- Best Band Saw Reviews 2019
- Best Band Saw Buying Guide 2019
Best Band Saw Reviews 2019
Whether working on a highly complex project with numerous, small pieces or simply recutting a workpiece, you need a saw that can make an especially precise cut. While handsaws offer incredible precision, they are also time-consuming and require a great deal of effort. This is why we have put together a list of the 5 best band saw reviews of 2019. On top of that, we also included a helpful buyer’s guide and FAQ so that you can feel comfortable making an informed decision. While the JET and Grizzly stole our show, they are definitely a good bit pricier, but you have to keep reading to find better deals.
JET JWBS-14DXPRO 14-Inch Deluxe Pro Band Saw Kit – Best Seller
Though it may not be considered one of the older companies in the power tool market at large, JET actually has one of the longer histories on our list. Interestingly, Jet actually started as an airline accessory tool and wench manufacturer. In fact, Jet has far more experience producing pneumatic and metalworking tools than it does woodworking tools, but once they entered the market, they quickly developed a solid reputation as a professional-grade manufacturer within that realm as well. That being the case, it is still a bit surprising that the Jet bandsaw is the best-selling product on our list, though for reasons that have nothing to do with its quality. Actually, the fact that this is the best-selling bandsaw we reviewed is a testament to the quality of this product.
More than Most
Bandsaws are a bit different than most power saws in that they are often used for precision work as opposed to general or rough cuts. Because of this, you need to factor in far more than just basic cutting power as you might with other types of power saws. That said, the JWBS-14DXPRO bandsaw is no slouch in these areas either as it comes equipped with the most powerful motor we saw at 1 ¼ hp. Still, since this motor definitely puts out more power than all of the others we reviewed, you also want to make sure that it can maintain a steady cutting action. The Jet JWBS-14DXPRO bandsaw accomplishes this with a cast iron table and redoubles this effort by making the frame from cast iron too. As if that were not enough, Jet further ensures you do not have to worry about the precision of your cuts with a dual ball-bearing blade guide. Of course, all of this power and precision comes at a cost, and the Jet JWBS-14DXPRO is easily the most expensive bandsaw on our list. Another element of potential “cost” is the fact that this is also the largest bandsaw that we reviewed which means you will similarly need a larger workshop to properly house it.
As the old saying goes, “the devil is in the details,” and Jet seems to have taken that aphorism to heart considering the attention to detail paid to the JWBS-14DXPRO bandsaw. While plenty of this bandsaw’s quality can be attributed to some of the more marketable aspects, there are just as many minor features which set this product above and beyond its competitors. For instance, while this is certainly not the only belt-driven bandsaw on our list, it is one of the few that uses a poly-v belt drive system. This allows the Jet JWBS-14DXPRO bandsaw to maintain a steadier cutting action without the belt slipping or transferring vibration as much as some other types of drive. On top of that, the Jet bandsaw also makes it a point to include a high-tension spring that is able to switch from providing a stable cutting action to releasing the blade for a change quickly and effortlessly.
- Has a cast iron table and frame
- Is the largest bandsaw reviewed
- Has dual ball-bearing guides
- Has a poly-v belt drive system
- Has a high-tension spring
- Has a 1 ¼ hp motor
- Is the most expensive bandsaw reviewed
- Requires a larger workspace than most
Grizzly G0555LX Deluxe Bandsaw, 14″ – Top Pick
Grizzly is another company that earned a reputation as a manufacturer of professional-grade power tools for both metalworking and woodworking. That said, Grizzly has not been around for nearly as long as some of our other reviewed products with a history of about 3 ½ decades. On top of that, Grizzly is more of a wholesaler than a traditional branded manufacturer, but they are still known for making high-quality products. It is worth noting that among the professional-grade workshop tool manufacturers, Grizzly is not necessarily known as the best, but they also make it a point to sell their products for less than most of their other competitors. When you consider that the Grizzly G0555LX manages to provide a bandsaw with more than enough power and precision at a significantly lower price point than other professional-grade brands, it is not hard to see why we rated it our top pick.
With Great Power
While the Grizzly does not necessarily top our list as the most powerful bandsaw reviewed, that honor going to our best-seller, it does still offer an excellent power rating. At 1 hp, the Grizzly G0555LX bandsaw is still easily the second-most powerful bandsaw on our list. When you combine this with a 14” saw blade that is capable of making 45-degree bevel cuts, the Grizzly bandsaw offers pretty much everything you need. It is worth noting that this bandsaw does not offer near the cutting capacity as our best seller with only a 6” maximum cutting height. Another point of nuance worth making is that, though the Grizzly G0555LX is made in China, it is at least made in Taiwan which has quickly become one of the top tiers of Chinese manufacturing, long since thrown off the reputation it once had in the 1980s. On top of that, G0555LX bandsaw is not the best product to deal with when something goes wrong as the warranty provides no true guarantees.
Sturdy and Precise
With bandsaws, the cutting power, while important, is nowhere near as important as the precision of the cut. The Grizzly G0555LX bandsaw makes it a point to provide a number of features to ensure that you do not have to worry about this, first and foremost the inclusion of a cast iron table. While the stand is not also cast iron, it is at least made of heavy-duty steel, though this has been known to bend if handled roughly. Once the bandsaw is set up, you can further relax as the wheels and base have all been computer-balanced to prevent any wobble from vibrations. The blade runs through an all-ball bearing guide to keep the cut straight and accurate and even offers the fastest cutting speed on our list of 3100 fpms.
- Is the largest bandsaw reviewed
- Has a 1 hp motor
- Has a cast iron frame
- Has a computer-balanced frame
- Has all-ball bearing guides
- Has a heavy-duty steel stand
- Is a more expensive bandsaw
- Has a terrible warranty
WEN 3962 Two-Speed Band Saw with Stand and Worklight, 10″ – Best Value
WEN is a brand of high-end consumer-grade power tools that has actually been around about as long as half the other companies on our list, around 6 decades. In that time, the company has gone from a small, niche brand to a global one that services market across the world. To this end, WEN seeks to balance the performance of a capable consumer-grade power tool with competitive pricing, something we personally feel has been achieved in spades with the WEN 3962 bandsaw. While it is not the absolute best-performing bandsaw we came across, it is more than capable for most tasks and even offers professional-grade specs in a couple of key areas. This better than expected specs at a reasonable price point easily makes the WEN bandsaw our best value product.
To be clear, the WEN 3962 bandsaw is not going to blow anyone away with its power, but that does not mean it is not still impressive in other ways. For instance, even though the WEN bandsaw only offers a 10” blade, it is still able to provide a full 6” cutting capacity, putting it on par with bandsaws that are almost 50-percent larger and well-within the professional-grade cut capacity. On top of that, the WEN 3962 is also the only consumer-grade bandsaw we reviewed which offers multiple cutting speeds, allowing it to be used for cutting a wide variety of different materials. That said, the WEN’s top cutting speed of 2620 fpms is definitely a bit on the slower side and may present some issues when trying to cut the densest of hardwoods. Of course, you can simply slow down your feed rate to alleviate this issue, and the cutting speeds present no issues when trying to cut softer materials like plastic or metals.
Bells and Whistles
Of all the bandsaws we came across, none of them offer the wealth and range of additional features not directly tied to the cutting quality that the WEN does. While this may seem a bit unnecessary to old-school purists, there are plenty of DIYers who will appreciate these features of convenience. A prime example of this is the fact that the 3962 is the only bandsaw on our list that comes with an onboard work light, providing plenty of visibility for making precise cuts. Even better, to ensure that your cuts are indeed precise, the WEN bandsaw also features a solid ball bearing operation to let the blade slide effortlessly through its cutting action. As if that were not enough, the WEN 3962 bandsaw also keeps every user in mind with its 3-in-1 dust port that connects to vacuum hoses of 1 ¾”, 2 ¾”, and 4” in diameter. It is worth noting that even though the 3962 bandsaw is made for the average consumer, its size will require a larger workspace than may be expected.
- Is a less expensive bandsaw
- Comes with a work light
- Has a 3-in-1 dust port
- Has 2 cutting speeds
- Has a 6” cutting depth
- Has a solid ball bearing operation
- Requires a larger workspace than most
- Is a less powerful bandsaw
Rikon 10-305 Bandsaw With Fence, 10-Inch – Runner Up
Rikon is a bit unusual in the sense that it is not actually its own company but is instead a brand owned by Billerica Tool Work Inc. On top of that, Rikon is actually the newest power tool manufacturer to make our list having been founded in 2012. While this does not necessarily mean that the company is subpar, there are definitely some elements of improvement that older, more established brands have already made that pushes the Rikon bandsaw down our list into the runner up position. Still, there are some features worth noting that might drive you to choose this option over the others on our list, though it should certainly be for niche purposes.
At this point on our list, there should pretty much be an expectation of something that might drive you away from selecting this product, and for the Rikon, it is definitely the frame. Essentially, the Rikon bandsaw’s frame is not that durable and has been noted by numerous customers for bending when putting additional weight on it, especially when leaning. Granted, this is poor technique in the first place, so you can chalk it up to user error, but it is still a bit disappointing as many craftsmen and DIYers alike may lean on larger power saws. It should be noted that the table is made of cast iron and will not suffer from any of these issues, nor does the frame transmit motor vibrations to the workpiece of the cut. On top of that, Rikon has simplified the assembly process compared to most of its competitors and is easier to build for the uninitiated than some.
While the build quality is solid with good technique and questionable with poor technique, the cutting action is at least good. That said, the cutting action should definitely be understood to be good, not great. Part of this has to do with the fact that this is the least expensive bandsaw we reviewed with only a ½ hp motor and a single cutting speed of 2780 fpms. To be fair, the cutting speed is generally solid for the overwhelming number of woods you can buy at your local hardware store, but it will not be as effective for some of the more exotic hardwoods and will definitely present issues for softer materials like plastic or metal. The 10-305 bandsaw, while not the strongest, does at least present a precise cut and even allows you to make exceptionally slight adjustments with its micro-adjustable guidepost. On top of that, this is one of the more compact bandsaws we found, allowing you to house it in a smaller workshop than many of its competitors.
- Is a less expensive bandsaw
- Is a fairly compact bandsaw
- Has a micro-adjustable guidepost
- Has a cast iron table
- Is easier to assemble
- Is a fairly precise bandsaw
- Is the least powerful bandsaw reviewed
- Not the strongest frame
POWERTEC BS900 Band Saw, 9-Inch – Also Consider
While not the youngest company on our list, strictly speaking, POWERTEC is still a fairly recent addition to the power tool market having been founded in 2007. That said, the company does at least specialize in manufacturing woodworking power tools at some of the lowest prices around. Of course, that also means that the company is noted for products that do not meet the standards of professionals and will often fall short of DIYers. In this sense, you should definitely look at POWERTEC as a rock bottom budget option to be used only if you cannot afford anything better. That is not to suggest that it is the worst bandsaw on the market, but there is definitely a reason that it comes in at the bottom of our list.
Not everyone has a large workshop to house their tools in or to use for large woodworking projects, but that does not necessarily mean they have to do everything by hand. In this instance, the POWERTEC bandsaw is likely your best bet as it is by far the most compact bandsaw that we came across. On top of that, this is also the lightest bandsaw that we reviewed, though that quality can technically cut both ways as most bandsaws rely on their weight to help absorb some of the vibrations generated from the motor and cutting action. To make matters worse, this bandsaw does not use the standard cast iron table to further dampen vibrations, but it does at least use die-cast aluminum which will help prevent any bending or flexing while in use. It is also worth noting that this is largely a big part of the reason that the BS900 bandsaw is also the least expensive option that we included, though that still does not make it the best value.
Easier to Use
One sure-fire way to identify a consumer-grade product is to look at how complicated its functions are. While professionals and master hobbyists have no issue with complex and nuanced functions, beginners and amateurs are usually intimidated at best and outright ignorant of these higher-order functions at worst. Thankfully, the POWERTEC BS900 bandsaw uses a patented blade change system that does not require tools and is simpler to align than many of its competitors. On top of that, this is also one of the easier bandsaws on our list to assemble, requiring fewer tools are fastening points to set up. On the flip side, the negatives of the POWERTEC bandsaw will definitely limit its versatility and overall functionality as it has a less powerful motor at only ¾ hp. Still, the biggest concern with this model is the fact that it only offers a maximum cutting depth of 3 ⅝” which is by far the smallest on our list.
- Is the least expensive bandsaw reviewed
- Is the most compact bandsaw reviewed
- Is the lightest bandsaw reviewed
- Has an aluminum die-cast table
- Has a convenient blade change
- Is easy to assemble
- Is the smallest bandsaw reviewed
- Is a less powerful bandsaw
Best Band Saw Buying Guide 2019
While the need for good cutting power is undeniable for any power saw, it is not necessarily the most important quality for a bandsaw. That said, there are few things more frustrating in a workshop than using a saw that struggles to make the necessary cuts on your workpieces. However, bandsaws are a bit unusual when trying to judge their power level, primarily because manufacturers do not have a standardized measurement. Part of this comes from the fact that bandsaws are generally used by experienced woodworkers and are thus often rated in terms of horsepower, as is fairly common for other large, cabinet power saws. That said, many consumer-grade power tool manufacturers enter the bandsaw market at one time or another and usually carry with them their own rating system, which just so happens to often use amperage as opposed to horsepower. Then, sadly, there are some unscrupulous manufacturers that seek to confuse consumers into purchasing substandard products and use one rating or another for purely marketing purposes. As it is, you will generally want to get a bandsaw that comes with a ¾ hp or about 5 amps.
The speed of a bandsaw’s blade is commonly rated in feet per minute, or fpm. While there may be some alternative metrics used from time to time, they generally read as smaller numbers, so manufacturers avoid them as less marketable. That said, the speed of the blade is still an incredibly important factor depending on what material you are trying to cut. This is because harder, denser materials will often require a faster blade speed to prevent the blade from burning the cut face of the workpiece. Conversely, softer materials will require a slower blade speed to prevent the blade from tearing the material. It is important to consider what materials you expect to cut ahead of time as some bandsaw offer multiple speed settings while others do not. If you do get a bandsaw with only one speed setting, you should likely opt for a faster blade speed as this will work better for woods than it will other materials.
While blade speed and power are the qualities manufacturers use to sell their product since it presents an easily digestible number, the blade guides are arguably the most important feature of a bandsaw. Unfortunately, there is no real industry standard as each manufacturer will engineer their blade guard a little bit differently. That said, there are a couple of qualities you can look for to help ensure your bandsaw’s blade guide contributes to precision, rather than detract from it. Easily the most important aspect of this feature is the use of ball bearings as this allows the blade to run smoothly without wiggle or vibration. A blade guide that uses ball bearing construction exclusively will be superior to a hybrid guide, but hybrid guides are not a terrible option if well-machined.
When to use a bandsaw?
Compared to most other power saws, a bandsaw seems like a fairly unusual and potentially intimidating entry in the workshop. While the bandsaw can ostensibly accomplish nearly any kind of cut, depending on the model in question, of course, it is generally used for a few particular purposes. In fact, more than the type of cut you want to make, a bandsaw is better understood, and use, for a specific stage of cut. In this instance, bandsaws are generally used for recuts or finish cuts. This is because bandsaws are noted for being extremely precise, at least as far as power saw are concerned. On top of that, because their cutting action follows a single motion, as opposed to a reciprocal or oscillating one, it does not suffer the same risk from micro splinters that other power saws, and even most handsaws, might.
This means that if you need to make extremely precise cuts on exceptionally small workpieces, a bandsaw, with the proper blocks and stabilizers, is incredibly effective. That said, bandsaws are also great at making organic, or curved, cuts. A quick glance from even a moderately experienced woodworker will note the similarity between a bandsaw’s blade and a jigsaw’s blade. While the cutting action is completely different, the thinness of the blade definitely lends itself to allowing for nonlinear cuts all the same. Though it is far more dangerous to do this with a bandsaw than a jigsaw, so be careful.
Most important bandsaw features
While most power saws rely heavily on their sheer cutting power to derive most of their value, bandsaws are a bit different. Granted, the cutting power of a bandsaw is definitely one of the reasons you would choose it over a handsaw, but the bandsaw is rarely anywhere near as powerful as a table saw or even a miter saw in terms of raw cutting power. This is not to suggest that bandsaws are weak, but they definitely do not have the ripping capacity of a table saw. Instead, a bandsaw attempts to find the ideal balance between cutting power and cut precision.
A big part of this is accomplished with the continuous through cutting action, but there are a number of other features that can further improve this aspect. For instance, the table of a high-quality bandsaw is almost always made of extremely heavy cast iron. While the weight does help quell vibrations a bit, cast iron is also an incredibly dense material which is the primary vibration dampening quality. On top of that, the blade guide of a bandsaw will also greatly impact how precise it can cut, and you should always look for a blade guide that uses ball bearings as opposed to other mechanisms.
Part of the intimidation with using a bandsaw comes from the fact that this type f power saw is known for being a bit more “finicky” than other types. If you turn on a table saw, the expected whine of the spinning blade is pretty much automatic, assuming there is nothing wrong with the electronics. However, because bandsaws are used for such precise work, simply getting the blade to run is not necessarily good enough for the desired task. If the bandsaw is not properly assembled, machined, or calibrated, it easily introduces vibrations into the cutting action that will reduce the precision of your cut.
Easily the most common reason for a bandsaw to develop vibrations that can throw off the blade’s cutting precision involves the wheels. The continuous cutting action of a bandsaw is generated by wrapping the blade around two wheels with a small section of the blade used for the actual cut. When the wheels have an issue with them, the blade that wraps around them will translate that issue, generally through the introduction of vibrations. The two most common issues with the wheels will either be off-center or unbalanced. Wheels that are off-center generally have rubber that was not properly stretched which affects the consistency of blade tension. Wheels that are off-balance will generally have subpar bearings that do not evenly distribute the weight.
Regardless of whether you are a beginner, amateur, or master craftsman, there is a bandsaw on our list that fits your needs. For those of you with plenty of experience, the JET JWBS-14DXPRO provides top-tier performance all-around, but you will definitely have to pay for it and then find room for it in your shop. The Grizzly is a decent alternative to the JET and much less expensive, though it is not quite as good. WEN surprises with a solid entry-level model that is reasonably priced and still offers decent performance. The Rikon is a capable bandsaw, but it is a bit more expensive than it should be. Finally, the POWERTEC is acceptable if you cannot afford anything else or are not sure you even need a bandsaw.