benchtop band saw

Best Benchtop Band Saw Reviews and Buying Guide 2019

Best Benchtop Band Saw Reviews 2019

When you are just starting out with a woodworking hobby, it can be tempting to go out and purchase the most advanced, high-end equipment on the market. Of course, beginners need to start somewhere, and chances are you have a way to go before you can truly put your craft to the test such that it requires top of the line power tools. This is why we have prepared a list of the 5 best benchtop band saw reviews. We also put together a helpful buyer’s guide as well as a handy FAQ. The Grizzly and Delta are our top recommendations, but you have to keep reading to find out what is the best deal.

Grizzly G0555LX Deluxe Bandsaw, 14″ – Best Seller

grizzly industrial stationary band saw g0555lx
https://www.amazon.com/Grizzly-G0555LX-Deluxe-Bandsaw-14/dp/B000KOXXQE/
Grizzly is a veritable standard in the professional-grade power tool market with a reputation that precedes it. That said, there are likely a whole new generation of craftsmen who may not necessarily have heard of Grizzly Industries due to the fact that the company advertises primarily online, though they do have a few select brick and mortar retailers. Still, for a company that was only founded in 1983, the company has ascended faster than many of their competitors, quickly absorbing smaller niche manufacturers into their fold. In fact, Grizzly Industries is a large conglomerate holding the rights to a number of different brands, though they do not specialize exclusively in woodworking tools.

Great Cutting Action
While the cabinet models rarely have an issue, benchtop bandsaw can be a bit trickier to gauge when it comes to their cutting action. A big part of this has to do with the fact that benchtop bandsaws are inherently smaller which reduces the size of the motor that their frame can accommodate. On top of that, since benchtop bandsaws are generally designed for different purposes than a large workshop, manufacturers will sometimes hedge on other factors to appeal to their target demographic. Thankfully, the Grizzly benchtop bandsaw makes no such mistake and offers one of the best and most robust cutting actions that we saw on the market. First, this model features one of the largest cutting ranges on our list with a horizontal maximum cutting length of 14” and a maximum vertical cutting height of 6”. On top of that, the Go555LX benchtop bandsaw also features two different speed settings of 1800 and 3100 rpms, the latter of which is one of the fastest blade speeds on our list. Furthermore, there are other great 14″ band saws to choose from.

Solid Build
Outside of the cutting action, another immensely important aspect to sort out is the precision of the cutting action. The ability to cut through a wide variety of different materials is nice, but if the cuts are not terribly precise, you will have plenty of finishing work ahead of you. In order to ensure you do not have to worry about this, the Grizzly G0555LX benchtop bandsaw starts with an all-ball bearing blade guide construction. The Grizzly band saw goes a step further by doubling down and including computer-balanced wheels and tires which help keep the blade stable and prevents vibrations from introducing variance in the cut. That said, it is worth noting that if you do find something wrong with your G0555LX bandsaw, Grizzly can be a bit of a nightmare to deal with when trying to execute your warranty. Still, this benchtop bandsaw is the most powerful on our list with a 1 hp motor that is able to compete with some of the lower-level cabinet band saws on the market. Even better, the Grizzly 0555LX benchtop bandsaw comes with a solid steel stand in case you do not already have a workbench of the proper height to further stabilize the cutting action.

Pros

  • Is a 14” bandsaw
  • Has an all-ball bearing construction
  • Has a cast-iron table
  • Has computer-balanced wheels and tires
  • Has a 1 hp motor
  • Has multiple speed settings

Cons

  • Is a more expensive benchtop bandsaw
  • Has a poor warranty

Delta 28-400 14 in. 1 HP Steel Frame Band Saw – Top Pick

delta stationary band saw 28-400
https://www.amazon.com/Delta-28-400-Steel-Frame-Band/dp/B00812RFNO/
Delta is a company on par or better than any of the other major commercial-grade power tool manufacturers that we came across. This is made all the more impressive due to the fact that the company has been around for over 100 years having been founded in 1919 at the tale-end of WWI. In fairness, this company, which was once American-owned, is now part of the Chiang Type Industrial Co, and that has definitely seen a bit of a drop-off when compared to the Delta products from half a century ago. That does not change the fact that, as a leader in the commercial-grade power tool industry for decades, Delta still offers an expertly crafted benchtop bandsaw. Delta got its start making woodworking power tools, and that expertise still serves them well on our list allowing them to be the top pick of our list.

Great Specs
One of the best things about the Delta benchtop bandsaw is the fact that it can cut through just about anything. This begins with the inclusion of a powerful 1 hp motor that can get the blade speed up to 3340 rpms which is good for the fastest blade speed we reviewed. However, this lighting-fast blade speed is not just suitable for cutting the hardest, densest hardwoods as the Delta benchtop bandsaw also employs multiple speed settings. For those times when you need to cut metal or plastics, you can crank the 28-400 benchtop bandsaw blade speed down all the way to 1620 rpms. Much like any top-rated product in the category, the Delta benchtop bandsaw is also able to make long cuts of up to 14” in length and redoubles those efforts by providing a maximum cutting height of 6”. These cuts are held securely in place with an all-ball bearing guide system that also features cutaway inserts to make adjusting the alignment that much easier.

Good Build
While Delta is still recovering from their offshoring action, they are in the same boat as most of the other commercial-grade manufacturers that we came across. As such, they can be forgiven for a few minor flaws here and there, especially since an experienced woodworker can help accommodate those. That said, one of the bigger issues the highest craftsmen will observe is a tendency for the blade to rattle at times. This can increase the amount of vibrations in the cutting action and throw off the precision a bit. However, this is generally due to the hardware holding the wheels not being properly machined and is a quick, easy, and inexpensive fix. Outside of that, the build quality is every bit as good, if not better, than the best-selling option on our list. As is expected for a top-performing benchtop bandsaw, the Delta 28-400 uses a cast-iron table to stabilize the cutting action. This is then reinforced with precision aluminum wheels, though the tire could be improved– but it is certainly not a deficiency.

Pros

  • Is a 14” bandsaw
  • Has a 1 hp motor
  • Has multiple speed settings
  • Has precision aluminum wheels
  • Has a cast-iron table
  • Has an all-ball bearing construction

Cons

  • Is the most expensive benchtop bandsaw reviewed
  • The blade may rattle

Rikon 10-305 Bandsaw With Fence, 10-Inch – Best Value

rikon stationary band saw 10-305
https://www.amazon.com/Rikon-10-305-Bandsaw-Fence-10-Inch/dp/B0032YZB2S/
Rikon tools is definitely not a company that could be considered venerable in the same way many of the other top-performing brands we reviewed could. In fact, this power tool manufacturer has only been around for about a decade, but in that time they have managed to provide a wide range of products to fit a variety of needs. To be fair, Rikon is definitely best understood as a tweener that straddles the line between consumer-grade and mid-tier, but this makes it perfect for our list. While offering some uncommon features with products commonly used by professionals, the incredible efficiency of Rikon’s manufacturing process allows the company to offer their power tools at a significantly less expensive price point than many of their peers.

Surprisingly Agile
When looking for a budget-friendly product, it can often be a bit difficult to square away which features to focus on and which to let slip. Considering a benchtop bandsaw is unlikely to make long rip cuts through rough lumber, cutting power can often be allowed to lapse a bit. However, due to the use of a continuously cutting thin blade, precision is a feature that cannot. To this end, this is one of the few benchtop band saws at this price point that ensures you have a stable cutting surface with the inclusion of a cast-iron table. While that may seem like something of a given at this point in our list, we can assure you that it is actually fairly surprising considering the price of the product. What makes this inclusion even more impressive is the fact that the Rikon benchtop bandsaw is also a fairly lightweight power tool. Though, to be fair, a bit of this may come from the fact that the table is smaller than some of the better-performing options. Still, the aluminum wheels have been expertly balanced and are able to maintain consistency due to their cast manufacturing process.

So-So Cutting
To be clear, the cutting action of the Rikon 10-305 benchtop bandsaw is not being called into question, but it will still need to be handled a bit more carefully. This is because, out of all the options on our list, the 10-305 benchtop bandsaw has by far the least powerful motor the reviewed. With only ⅓ hp of cutting power, you will definitely have to adjust the feed rate of your workpiece, especially if it is made of denser hardwood, or risk a wide variety of cutting problems. Still, if you are patient, then the Rikon 10-305 benchtop bandsaw can provide some incredibly precise cuts as this is one of the few products we came across with the ability to provide micro-adjustments to its guidepost. While every benchtop bandsaw is able to make some guidepost adjustments, this level of accuracy is surprising at this price point. This ability to make solid cuts is only reinforced with one of the better rip fences we encountered too.

Pros

  • Is a less expensive benchtop bandsaw
  • Has balanced cast wheels
  • Comes with a rip fence
  • Has a cast iron table
  • Is a lightweight benchtop bandsaw
  • Has a micro-adjustable guidepost

Cons

  • Is only a 10” bandsaw
  • Is the least powerful bandsaw reviewed

WEN 3962 Two-Speed Band Saw with Stand and Worklight, 10″ – Runner Up

wen stationary band saw 3962
https://www.amazon.com/WEN-3962-Two-Speed-Stand-Worklight/dp/B016VD8GAA/
WEN is a company that has been around for a sneaky length of time, and we say that because they have almost 70 years of experience behind them– despite not really being a household name. To be fair, a big part of this relative obscurity comes down to the fact that they are a high-end consumer-grade power tool manufacturer. Unfortunately, most people looking for consumer-grade power tools are far more interested in purchasing a tool at the lowest price rather than quibbling with seemingly minor differences in product quality. This issue is further compounded by the fact the WEN has had to compete with the power tool giant BLACK+DECKER pretty much its entire lifetime.

A Cut Above
Whenever you look for a less expensive power tool, especially when that product is generally used by professional contractors and craftsmen, it is often expected that something will come out poorly. That said, the WEN benchtop bandsaw surprises in a number of different areas, but arguably the most important is the cutting size. While the cutting action itself is not too shabby, powered by a ¾ hp motor, that is not really anything to brag about. What is definitely a bit more noteworthy is the fact that the WEN 3962 benchtop bandsaw is the only product in its price point that offers multiple speed settings. Though the 2620 rpms is not terribly fast for the upper end of the blade speed, the inclusion of a 1520 rpm speed setting does help offset that some when trying to cut metal or other softer materials. However, the 3962 benchtop bandsaw really provides its coup de grace with the addition of a maximum vertical cutting of 6”. This may not seem that impressive compared to the top-end products, but for a cheap benchtop band saw, this is gigantic.

Iffy Convenience
One reason the WEN may have difficulty being heard above the market din is due to the fact that as a consumer-grade brand, it is expected to be convenient and easy to use. In many respects, the WEN 3962 benchtop bandsaw accomplishes this with flying colors, while other times, it falls flat on its face. For instance, this is the only benchtop bandsaw on our list that comes with its own onboard work light to make cutting in even the darkest of workshops a breeze. On top of that, the WEN benchtop bandsaw is also the easiest product on our list for fitting a vacuum tube. This comes down to the patented 3-in-1 dust port which can accept vacuum attachments 1 ¾”, 2 ¾”, and 4” in diameter. One thing that is not so convenient though is the adjustment procedure which can take more time and effort than many of the other products on our list. Another interesting choice is the use of a die-cast aluminum table which, while not ideal for reducing vibrations, does at least allow for the WEN benchtop band saw to be one of the lighter products on our list.

Pros

  • Is a less expensive benchtop bandsaw
  • Has a maximum cutting height of 6”
  • Is a lightweight benchtop bandsaw
  • Has multiple speed settings
  • Has a 3-in-1 dust port
  • Comes with onboard accessories

Cons

  • Is only a 10” bandsaw
  • Not the easiest to use

POWERTEC BS900 Band Saw, 9-Inch – Also Consider

powertec stationary band saw bs900
https://www.amazon.com/POWERTEC-BS900-Band-Saw-9-Inch/dp/B00367WB0G/
Powertec tools is another company that has only recently gotten its start, originated a little over a decade ago in 2007. One thing that stands out about this company is that they do not truly specialize in woodworking tools and even offer a number of products that are not power tools at all. In fact, this company makes a number of measurement and hand tools too but also has the odd household appliance thrown in for good measure. While there are definitely some good things about the Powertec BS900 benchtop bandsaw that make it a great starter option for certain people, there are also a number of disappointing missteps which make it best suited for beginners still learning the tools of the trade.

Ups and Downs
When looking at the specs of the BS900 benchtop bandsaw, it is easy to come away with mixed feelings. This has a lot to do with the fact that the Powertec band saw has some of the best and some of the worst specs on our list. For instance, this benchtop bandsaw is one of the least powerful motors we reviewed at only ½ hp. On top of that, this product follows many at the price point with a single blade speed of only 1725 rpms, generally too slow for easy cutting of the hardest woods. To make matters worse, the Powertec benchtop bandsaw also sports the shortest maximum cutting height and the shortest maximum rip capacity of 3 ⅝” and 9” respectively. On the other hand, the Powertec BS900 benchtop bandsaw is also the least expensive product on our list. Even better, this is the lightest product we reviewed as well, though it is also one of the few without a secondary stand.

For the Consumer
One area where Powertec definitely gets things right, and which seems to indicate the target market demographic, is in convenience. While the least expensive benchtop bandsaw on our list may not come with some of the bells and whistles that other products do, it makes up for that fact by offering a much easier operation. For instance, Powertec made it a point to do away with the confusing and time-consuming blade change by coming up with their own. In fact, the Powertec BS900 band saw has a patented quick-release blade tension lever to make changing your blade that much easier. On top of that, the BS900 band saw also sports some of the clearest blade tracking windows, so you never have to worry about losing sight of your cut. Finally, the various adjustment levers are far easier to engage than those of their competitors and have a tendency to stay in place better than other cheap benchtop band saws too.

Pros

  • Is the least expensive benchtop bandsaw reviewed
  • Is the lightest benchtop bandsaw reviewed
  • Has patented quick-release blade tension lever
  • Is easier to use
  • Has a blade tracking window
  • Has a die-cast aluminum table

Cons

  • Is only a 9” bandsaw
  • Has a limited cutting action

Best Benchtop Band Saw Buying Guide 2019

Power

Because a band saw uses a continuous cutting action, it actually derives its cutting power from a couple of different sources. Unlike with a number of power saws, a benchtop bandsaw will not actually get most of its cutting power from the motor. This has a bit to do with the fact that the motor is not spinning the blade directly nor does it use a belt-drive system. Instead, the blade sits atop a set of wheels whose spin pulls the blade in a continuous loop. That said, the motor power will still play a big role in terms of how consistently the wheels themselves spin. It is worth noting that most manufacturers gauge this aspect in terms of horsepower, but it can just as easily be rated in amps. For the former, you will generally see a rating between ½ to 1 hp while the amperage will generally hover somewhere between 3 ½ to 11 amps.

Blade Speed

This quality is actually the second half of a bandsaw’s cutting power and may arguably be the more important of the two. Granted, the blade speed does not actually affect the torque of the cutting action, but it does account for how quickly the material can be removed. However, the blade speed is generally more important for the type of cutting you are doing as opposed to the quality of cut made. Specifically, different blade speeds are better or worse suited for cutting different materials. Even though we may think of bandsaws as woodworking power tools, they are often used for metalworking and other functions too.

That said, when you are cutting hardwoods, especially dense ones, you will want a fast blade speed to remove the material without burning the cut face. If you are cutting a softer material, like metal or plastic, then you will need a bandsaw that cuts slowed. It is worth noting that most of the better-performing benchtop bandsaws are able to provide multiple cutting speeds for different purposes. If you opt to purchase a cheap bandsaw, then you will likely do better with a quicker blade speed. On the other hand, if you do not mind feeding the material into the blade at a slower rate, then a slower blade speed can still provide a range of cutting options that the fast blade speeds do not.

Cutting Range

Bandsaws are definitely considered more niche in terms of their indicated use, and this is likely not more apparent than when comparing their cutting ranges. For example, a table saw can regularly provide 3 or feet or more of cutting clearance, depending on the side of the blade. This will pretty much never be the case with a benchtop bandsaw due to the inherent limitations of the product. As such, the cutting clearances of a benchtop bandsaw can easily be considered premium qualities and are often priced as such. Of course, there are different cutting ranges to consider.

The most common cutting range involves the horizontal clearance which is technically a bit of a misnomer. While the size of the table will provide the “standard” maximum cutting clearance, it is a fairly easy task to extend the bandsaw’s table with your own addition. Granted, this can be a bit inconvenient and requires a fair amount of precision on your front, but it is something many woodworkers do even with high-end bandsaws. The one cutting range that cannot be changed is the maximum height clearance which restricts the vertical size of your workpiece. Since a benchtop bandsaw is a covered power tool design, the maximum height clearance is pretty much set in stone. Depending on the kinds of projects you work on and cuts you make, this might be a feature worth investing in.

FAQ’s

Why Use a Bandsaw?

Band saws definitely have a bit more of a niche function than some of the other types of power saws on the market, but that is not to suggest that they are less important. In fact, band saws are able to perform some of the most intricate and delicate cuts that power tools can accomplish outright. That said, this also implies that unless you need to make these types of cuts, you likely do not need a band saw in the first place. To be fair, there may be a bit of truth to that statement as bandsaws are definitely not ideal for making long rip cuts on 2x4s. Band saws can be fairly effectively when making crosscuts, but there are still better power tools for that purpose too.

That said, there are specific instances when you simply cannot get the kind of precision necessary out of a standard table saw or miter saw that only a band saw can provide. This will generally come down to the type of project you are working on and the size of the workpiece. This focused circumstance comes into clearer view when you realize that most band saws have a rather short maximum cutting height. This is because the overwhelming majority of workpieces you will use a bandsaw on are likely to be less than a few feet long, if that, and rarely more than a few inches tall. With such delicate workpieces, you need a power saw that can cut smarter and more precisely rather than with more power.

Why a Benchtop Band Saw?

If you are new to the contractor or woodworking industry, you may wonder why you need a benchtop bandsaw in the first place. In fairness, most professionals would prefer a cabinet model bandsaw instead of the benchtop type, but there are distinct and meaningful reasons to opt for the latter over the former. By far, one of the biggest reasons people choose a benchtop bandsaw over a cabinet model comes down to the price. Cabinet-type power tools of all kinds are notorious for costing well over $1000 and can often climb into the multiple of thousands for the top-tier models. Benchtop band saws offer a far less expensive option while being able to provide the general type of cutting action that the cabinet models offer.

Another main reason that someone may prefer a benchtop bandsaw instead of a cabinet model comes down to the size. As the name implies, a cabinet band saw comes with a large frame that is used to house a powerful motor and various other components. On top of that, the cabinet also helps absorb and dampen vibrations that can introduce variance into the cut. However, the cabinet itself is often incredibly large and extremely difficult to move, requiring complete disassembly to do so. A benchtop bandsaw is designed to be used on a standard workbench and is generally easy enough for two people to move without disassembling it.

What to Look For?

As alluded to prior, band saws are not generally purchased for their raw cutting power with many of the top-tier models having less cutting power than a professional-grade handheld circular saw. Because band saws are used to make precise cuts on smaller workpieces, you need to focus your search on features which help increase this precision more than anything else. The bane of professional contractors and master craftsman everywhere when using a band saw is vibration. This is because an unbalanced cutting action will shave off more material than you intended or can even lead to crooked cuts.

There are a couple of features that go into alleviating this with the most important focused on the blade itself. The blade guide will generally be the first point of issue for an imprecise band saw, and you should look for a product that uses ball bearings, rather than a straight edge, to keep the blade cutting straight. The next most common issue will arise from the wheels and rims or tires around which the blade wraps. If these components are not expertly machined and well-balanced, they will wobble and introduce vibration into the blade’s cutting action. Finally, the table should ideally be made of heavy cast-iron as this will help prevent the vibration of the motor from transferring to the workpiece.

Conclusion

As we can see, benchtop bandsaws offer a wide range of features and capacities depending on the woodworker in question. If you need a benchtop bandsaw that can hang with a cabinet-type model, then the Grizzly G0555LX or Delta 28-400 are both solid options. In fact, both of these benchtop bandsaws offer remarkably similar experiences with the Grizzly being a tad more precise but the Delta being far more easy to work with. If you need a budget-friendly option, the Rikon offers excellent precision at a lower cost, but you will be losing a fair amount of cutting power too. The WEN is great for those beginners who like extra-features, but the aluminum table is definitely a downgrade. Finally, the Powertec is acceptable if you need the cheapest benchtop bandsaw you can find, but expect to upgrade as soon as you can.