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As a woodworker, you need one versatile tool to help you do a myriad of jobs. Many know of the router as the most fit for this description, but is it the only one. The band saw is coming out as a favorite for the modern woodworker given its ability to make perfect crosscuts.
This guide contains a review of the best band saws and a buying guide. As you look to purchase, you might want to consider our top picks. We know there are several ways of categorizing the best band saws, but we opted to pick according to the materials they cut: metal, wood and meat. Read through to the end and we are sure by the time you are done, you will have made up your mind.
Best Band Saw Reviews
Best Metalworking Band Saw
1. WEN 3970 Metal-Cutting Band Saw with Stand, 4″ x 6″
Adjust the blade speed to 80, 120 or 200 feet per minute for compatibility with a variety of metals
The market is oversaturated now so getting a decent band saw on a budget can be challenging. The choices are minimal, putting the buyer in a dangerous territory. In our search for a high quality yet affordable band saw, we found the WEN 3970 highly impressive.
This metal-cutting band saw tops the list because of its reliability, user friendliness and high quality. Consistent performance and a host of interesting features make this product worth looking at.
Have you ever wanted to cut vertically installed pipes easily? The WEN 3970 is a highly respected tool for its ability to cut both vertically and horizontally. This product runs under different speeds meaning that you can use it to cut steel, copper, aluminum and many other metals. Because this feature is dominant, we tend to think that the manufacturer wanted this to be the main selling point.
The WEN 3970 also features a beveling vise that allows it to cut angles 0- 60 degrees. Furthermore, it can handle rectangular materials of up to 4 x 6 inches dimensions and 4-1/2 inches diameter pipes.
All these applications go smoothly thanks to the reliable 4.6 amp motor and sturdy design. Easy to use and coming with a stand, the WEN 3970 should not give you headaches even if you are a novice.
The design may be conventional, but adjustability capability is a standout characteristic. Within seconds, you can change this band saw for vertical cutting. This feature should suit your needs if you need an all-in-one saw.
Are you interested in a portable tool? Well, the WEN 3970 features a pair of 4-inch never-flat wheels fixed on a sturdy stand. You might expect the wheels to be amazing from the manufacturer’s description, but that does not seem to be the case on the ground- a number of reviewers claim the wheels are a weak point. The stand does come with a collapsible handle to crown the portability aspect.
The capability of this tool to cut through a variety of materials is largely because of the variable speed of the blade. Pay attention to this feature- fine tune the speed according to the type of material.
Unfortunately, the WEN 3970 can be difficult to adjust. This can be a drawback if you need to work fast. This also affects consistency, which can consequently hinder quality of work. Overall, we liked the versatility of this band saw. Hobbyists love the product for its simplistic but effective quality.
2. SHOP FOX W1715 3/4 HP Metal Cutting Bandsaw
Blade speeds: 78 FPM @ 40 RPM, 108 FPM @ 60 RPM, 180 FPM @ 80 RPM
If you are looking for the most impressive versatile metal cutting band saw, you cannot afford to skip the Shop Fox w1715. You will probably not find another one with a better price: quality ratio. This means that this product over-performs compared to its price. This band saw is all-round so it should cut most of the metals easily.
Its motor rated at 3/4 HP and 1,725 RPM covers a variety of RPM settings. You can set the blade speed according the material and cutting needs. The blade speeds identified by the manufacturer are 78 FPM @ 40 RPM, 108 FPM @ 60 RPM and 180 FPM @ 80 RPM. All you need to change this speed is to change the placement of the V-belt.
With this capability, you would expect the SHOP FOX W1715 3/4 HP Metal Cutting Bandsaw to feature an awesome design, but it does not. It looks standard, although there are some additions. The vertical transformation is definitely the most visible one. You will find this feature useful when you want to make pattern cuts or curves.
The two types of cuts are reliable thanks to the design. For instance, the cast iron stop makes vertical cuts consistent, especially when they are repeat cuts. The handle and spring enhance feed rate control. Twisting the handle clockwise or anticlockwise changes feed rate speed.
The in-built mobile base is also noteworthy, although this feature is common nowadays. Coupling this with the compact design makes the product very portable. In addition, this band saw takes up minimal space.
If you intend to use the machine repeatedly, you need to note the lack of a coolant system. Use the band saw for several hours the blade is likely to snap. If you do not mind waiting for the saw to cool, then you can have it. This is not in the extreme heavy-duty class, but it will serve well if you only slice metal at home occasionally.
Even with the low power, most hobbyists will find this band saw appropriate for their needs. With its variable speed, it will help you cut a variety of metals. We cannot to forget that it comes with an automatic shutoff, which is an added advantage for safety reasons. The band saw is also easy to use, even though it may look intimidating.
3. Grizzly G0561 Metal Cutting Bandsaw, 7 x 12-Inch
Automatic shut off
We have continuously witnessed Grizzly releasing high quality power tools over the years. Both enthusiasts and professionals have come to respect this brand because of its reliability. Therefore, this machine is a must-have if you insist on the best performance coupled with portability. If you have been encountering performance issues with your previous model, you will most likely lure the delay in getting your hands on the Grizzly G0561.
Versatile and usable, this product will make work easier for most users. One of the most visible additions is the hydraulic feed. While this feature is becoming more common these days, it is still makes this product tower among others in this category. This feature comes in handy if you want to forget about pain and fatigue to the muscles as you work.
Equally neat is the automatic shut off component- allows the band saw to operate independently. The user can attend to other things as the device cuts the metal. After you have set the material on the saw and turned the knob for the hydraulic feed, just leave the work and you will find it done, and the saw switched off automatically.
Regarding construction, the solid cast iron Grizzly G0561 Metal Cutting Bandsaw is durable and sturdy. The 343 pounds heavy product comes with a heavy-duty steel base. . It is built in accordance with ISO 9001 requirements. Being this heavy and sturdy makes the band saw suitable for rough jobs. A powder coated paint finish protects the saw from elements, thus enhancing longevity.
We also found that the Grizzly G0561 Metal Cutting Bandsaw is built for high mobility. Consider the footprint, which measures at only 13 x 38 inches. The high quality pair of wheels enhances portability and stability. That is why even at its weight, the product is so easy to move. Even with limited workshop space, storage and usage of the machine is easy.
For enhanced usability and versatility, this band saw comes with a 2-1/2 gallon coolant system. Coolant flow control is possible through the valve on the hose. You will find this feature handy when cutting other metals apart from copper or tin. Also notable is the blade brush and the hydraulic down feed control.
When metal filings stick onto the blade and hamper cutting, you do not have to wipe them off manually. The G0561 comes with a blade brush, which lessens the cleaning job, which you still need to do. Considering the machine comes at a weight of 343 pounds and a footprint of 18.5 x 51.2 x 42.2 in, we do not expect it to offer vibration challenges. All the features point at a product built for production and accuracy that would impress any professional.
Best Woodworking Band Saw
1. WEN 3962 Two-Speed Band Saw with Stand and Worklight, 10″
3.5 amp motor creates cuts up to six inches deep and 9-3/4 inches wide
The 10-inch WEN 3962 Two-Speed Band Saw is one of the best power tools for a construction workers, metal fabricators and woodworkers. It is also suitable for timber cutting and steel mill applications among others. By now, you must be wondering what makes the machine ideal for these applications. Well, for now we focus on its woodworking suitability.
As you would expect from the initial description, versatility is probably the highlight of this band saw. The biggest reason for this is that the product offers two variable speeds; 2620 fpm (feet per minutes) and 1520 fpm. These speeds are applicable for a variety of materials and different surfaces. You get what you like and what you see fit. We like this freedom a lot, and we are certain most woodworkers do too.
Now, let us go to one of the most important features for any user- capacity. The WEN 3962 Two-Speed Band Saw can give you cuts as wide as 9-3/4 inches and six inches wide. Any middle level woodworker will love this performance. The 10-inch deep throat is not bad at all.
This takes us to the blade, which offers the finesse behind this reliability. While the six-TPI (Teeth per inch) blade is meant for wood in this instance, we reckon that it can cut metal effortlessly. Considering the construction, we would not recommend using this band saw to cut tough materials.
If you are interested in high quality construction, you may want to choose another product. Weighing in at 73 pounds and measuring 20 x 25 x 58 inches, the WEN 10-Inch Two-Speed Band Saw would not fit the description of a compact band saw. Some parts look cheap and the body is somehow fragile. The good thing is that it comes with a 2-year warranty, so the manufacturer can handle any knocks or breakdowns.
Are you looking to make angular cuts regularly? If so, you have the perfect reason to consider this band saw. With spacious dimensions of 14-1/8 x 12-1/2 inch and beveling all the way to 45 degrees, the WEN 3962 Two-Speed Band Saw provides the solution for all the versatile cuts you need.
We like the fact that this product comes with a number of awesome additional features that make sawing irresistible. One such is the LED work light, which illuminates the work area, allowing you to work even in dimly lit areas. Other highlights are a rip fence, a 3-in-1 dust port and a miter gauge.
While the WEN 3962 is visibly basic, its versatility, horse-like performance and loads of features make it a wonderful tool compared to others in its class. With some few and affordable tweaks, this machine should give the performance of costlier mid-level saws.
2. Rikon 10-305 Bandsaw With Fence, 10-Inch
Rip Fence- A quality rip fence is now included. Easily removed to do free hand work
Rikon products never disappoint and the Rikon 10-305 Bandsaw with fence is not an exception. The avid woodworker will have this brand in mind whenever he/she is looking for a quality band saw. Even before we checked out this product, we were confident it had excellent features and construction.
True to our estimate, the Rikon 10-305 is of solid steel construction, which makes it one of the best band saw in this regard. The perfect combination of the cast iron table and the solid steel frame make the band saw robust for the most demanding applications. The wheels or drums could be of poor quality, but that weak link is easily overridden by the reliable general construction.
The first notable feature on the product is a cutting capacity fit for a variety of materials besides wood. This is enough reason to admire this band saw. It comes with a blade capable of cutting material of up to 4-5/8” height and 9-5/8” width. This performance is on the perch of mid-level best band saws.
This next feature makes it irresistible. The 13 ¾-inch by 12 ½-inch table is spacious and offers 45 degrees turn capability, thus allowing for angular sawing. A demonstration of how seriously the manufacturer takes sawing is in the blade design. While it is 4 5/8 wide inches and 70 ½ inches long, you can go ½ inch if you so wish.
What do you consider good power for confident sawing? A 1/3HP motor is enough for handling several materials. While the tool might be drained by tougher stock, you should not encounter any challenge cutting through common material such as plywood. You will find the micro-adjustable guide very handy when handling accurate cuts. A turn of a handle is all it takes to raise or lower the guidepost height.
Sorry, this 76 pounds item offers only 2780 ft/min speed setting. However, you have to give it respect considering the worthless items that are coming into the market nowadays. You will probably forget about this drawback when you check out the accessories included- miter gauge, rip fence and dust port. The warranty is unbelievable- five years!
3. SKIL 3386-01 2.5-Amp 9-Inch Band Saw
Features a 1-1/2-inch dust port that keeps work area clear of dust
Low priced power items get a lot of detest, but it is always okay to check them out because there can be exceptions. Good for the pocket, the SKIL 3386-01 2.5-Amp 9-Inch Band Saw is worth your time too.
This saw comes with a 9-inch (practically slightly less) throat depth, which is good enough. It can saw items up to 3 ½ inches wide and bevel from zero to 45 degrees. These features enhance versatility of angular cuts that you can make.
If your dream band saw is also easy to use, the SKIL 3386-01 could be the product you are looking for. The extra features it carries make sawing such an enjoyable exercise. For instance, the articulating LED Work Light lights up the work area for the best cuts. This is also crucial for user safety.
You can say that accuracy is a big highlight of this band saw. It comes with a rip fence that guides the blade for straight cuts. These excellent results are maintained across a wide range of materials thanks in part to the 1-speed motor. Note that the 2.5 amp motor is not exactly reliable for heavy-duty applications- choose this machine only if the capacity of your projects stop at mid-level.
Usability in any power tool will usually make buyers make moves. One reason this product should elicit massive interest is its Rack and Pinion Table Adjustment feature. With it, you can make height and right angle changes at the blink of an eye. Further, this 36 pound machine features a dust port. This is crucial for both protecting the eyes from debris and keeping the workspace free of irritating dirt.
The absence of variable speed feature must drive many SKIL fans crazy, because most of the other features are far beyond criticism. Users will also feel let down by the many decibels of noise that emanate from the tool. Like for any other noisy power tool (most are anyways), using a pair of ear muffs will take care of the discomfort.
Looking at these slight issues and considering the compactness offered, you would agree that this product is good value for money. Even if you are a spec wearer, the SKIL 3386-01 should offer friendly service.
Best Meat Band Saw
1. KWS B-210 Countertop Model Commercial 1900W 2.5HP
Heavy Duty Commercial Bone and Meat Saw Machine
We have checked the KWS B-210 Countertop Model Commercial 1900W 2.5HP Electric Meat Band Saw in several meat processors and have liked its performance. The KWS brand has produced several awesome chefs’ electric appliances, so getting this product on top of this list should not come as a surprise. It is one of the indispensable tools for delis, butchers and barbeque restaurants among other processed meat stations.
This saw is so heavy duty that it can dismantle a whole animal in a matter of minutes. Its entire body is made from aluminum, guaranteeing a combination of ruggedness and light weightiness. The stainless steel working table is a conformation to the international sanitation standard and CE approval.
Does the KWS B-210 perform? We answer in the affirmative. In fact, better than price suggests. This vertical band saw comes with a powerful 2.5HP, 1900W motor whose power is more than enough to cut through tough bone and thick meat. With a rotary speed of 1420r/min, it means that you can actually dismantle a whole animal fast.
Its heavy wheels guarantee consistent smooth operation while the precision-ground working table ensures accurate cuts. The solid steel blade ensures firm and long-lasting service. Since the blade is 02 inches thick and 65 inches long, it is ideal for heavy-duty bone and meat cutting in deli, butcher shop and so on.
Band saw maintenance is as crucial as proper use. However complex the KWS B-210 might seem, it is one of the easiest to maintain. The tabletop is easy to breakdown for cleaning purposes. The motor, usually a maintenance intensive component, is stored in separate compartment, making maintenance/cleaning a simple procedure.
KitchenWare Station had the user in mind in a number of ways. First, the machine comes with a waterproof device, so it counters some level of electrical risk. Further, the band saw is designed to switch off automatically upon the removal of the outer cover.
2. Tangkula Electric 550W Proffessional Stand Up Butcher Meat Band Saw
Clear instructions allow you easy to install, disassemble and maintenance. All the hardware are included
Second on our list of best band saw for meat cutting is this grey and serious looking product from Tangkula. With so many offers in the market, you want to go with a recognizable brand. A product from Tangkula is definitely high quality so you want to check out a meat band saw that also doubles as a sausage processor.
This attractive 550W product offers build quality and superb performance for the perceiving user. Do you want a reliable machine for your commercial meat cutting needs? Such cutting requirements need the power and usability of the Tangkula B01MZ6MJ6D.
We will outline the main features of this hugely liked product before we delve into its capability…
The features are:
- Lubricated design
- New and excellent quality
- Sturdy construction
- Easy maintenance and clean-up
- Suitable for a wide range of applications- home, restaurant, etc
- High efficiency and quiet performance
- Rust resistant
With a 3/4 HP and 5 AMP motor, the B01MZ6MJ6D is capable of slicing meat continuously without letdowns. The motor draws 120V/ 60Hz power, but if necessary, you can rewire it for 240V.
The stability and spaciousness of the working table is impressive. It measures 18.5″x23.5″(LXW) so you should be able to handle large pieces of meat without feeling constrained. It is precision engineered from strong steel and mirror-finished. Even when tilted, the band saw still feels solid.
One of the highlights of the Tangkula Electric 550W Proffessional Stand Up Butcher Meat Band Saw is smooth operation. This is usually an issue but you will get quiet performance with this product. Blade speed is at 4.7 M /S. This not only eliminates noise, but also maximizes efficiency of the product.
As well as easy installation, this band saw acquits itself nicely in regards to cleaning and maintenance. Clear tips and instructions allow the user to handle the product easily. All necessary hardware is included. There is not much to do really, when it comes to cleaning- just wipe any stains from the smooth surface.
There is a sausage maker included on one side of the band saw to cater for the needs of gourmet chefs, anglers, hunters, farmers or sport shooters. You can make meat loaf or sausage to your satisfaction.
3. Rikon 10-308 Meat Saw With Grinder, 10-Inch
Disassembles easily for quick cleaning
Avid hunters and meat shop owners will find the Rikon-10–308 Meat Saw an irresistible piece of equipment. We say this because this product can do many things. While it is best in cutting meat products, it also grinds meat that you could use in your sausages. What this means is that even if you were to go commercial, this machine can support your meat business.
The Rikon 10-308 Meat Saw with Grinder is easy to use, as one can deduce from the simple design. It comes with a handy Stainless-steel sliding table with dual holding fences. This component makes meat cutting so easy, but most important, safe. Setting up a band saw has never been easier. If you want to clean or repair the machine, assembly and disassembly is flawless.
As mentioned, this machine is also designed for forming sausages. In line with this role, it features a special attachment, which is within the inbuilt grinder. Despite all these capabilities, the Rikon-10-308 Meat Saw has a manageable footprint of 18 x 18 x 46 inches. It weighs in at 136.6 pounds so it is a relatively handy item that you can take anywhere you desire.
We also love the reliable construction of the product. A Stainless-steel sliding body will withstand years of use. It comes with dual holding fences to make work easier. Sturdy cast aluminum wheels offer not only longevity, but also accurate balance. Its expertly lubricated body is a sign that it will withstand corrosion.
Turning out attention to performance, the blade comes into focus. Powered by a ¾ hp motor, the blade can achieve an impressive speed of 984 ft/min.. It can cut to a depth of 8 ½ inches and width of 9 ½ inches. While this is efficient performance, it does not make a lot of noise- a small issue taking into account dependability, long life and efficient performance this band saw guarantees.
Buying Guide For The Best Band Saw
Are you new to the band saw concept? If yes, you have missed many amazing opportunities. Other than cutting curves, band saws can cross-cut and re-saw. If you already have one in your workshop, you should already know how effective it is in making smooth cuts.
Regardless of type or application, band saws share the same operation principle- a wheel and pulley system pulls a blade. Unlike the table saw, the band saw does not produce kickback. Despite this basic information about the product, you still need to consider a few factors when looking for the best band saw. In essence, you will be asking questions such as these:
- What material do I need to cut?
- What are the production levels?
- What is the shape of the material?
- Material and blade sizing?
- How important is bundling?
This takes us to the different parts of a band saw.
The most common frame styles in the market are cast iron frames and steel (European) frames. The cast iron frame has been in the market since time immemorial, the 14″ platform being synonymous. Because of their standardized capacity and design, these frames tend to be unpopular in modern markets.
The steel frame is making inroads in the US, after serving the European market for some time now. Its popularity is because of the capability to enhance capacity without a compromise on strength and deflection.
Whether you are talking about meat, metal or wood, there are numerous sizes of items to cut out there. It could be a ½ inch metal tubing or a sizeable beef block. The size of item to cut will determine the capacity of saw that you need. Of course, bigger materials demand band saws with larger capacities.
Large stationary machines can have capacities of up to 16 inches while smaller portable ones can feature 6 inch-capacities. Yes, size is not always a factor, but for some instances, it does.
Cutting demand drives the power requirements of a band saw. A 1-1/2 HP saw will normally cut thinner stock and do minor re-sawing. To cut bowl blanks and re-saw large hardwood, you may want to go for a 3HP motor or something close to that. Do not forget that you will usually need 220V power supply for such a machine.
Choosing the right motor and power source is about appreciating that the cutting process generates heat. Common motors will heat up quickly when cutting hard and big metals, unlike the higher-level motors that are able to withstand a lot of strain.
Portable band saws will work just fine for smaller jobs, but will find it tough cutting thick metal, simply because their motors are not built for heavy duty applications. In the same breath, you can rely on a relatively weak band saw for meat cutting, but not for metal cutting.
Sure, you could even come across a band saw that runs on a battery pack. However, it is obvious that the corded one will provide more power for longer. If you have chosen a less powerful motor, avoid overworking it as this could shorten the life of the equipment.
Having a band saw with an adjustable tension feature is crucial. Blade tension is simply the force pulling the blade. The rule of the thumb is that more blade tension is better. While some brands feature as high as 30,000 pounds per square inch (psi) tension, others only have 15,000 psi. As you would guess, cutting harder materials demands higher tension, and vice versa. A loose blade makes cutting and sawing difficult. For meat cutting, this may not be such a big issue, but metal cutting requires good blade tension. Adjustability adds to the versatility of your equipment.
This is another crucial buying consideration for the best band saw, especially for the quality of the finished product. Variable speed is an enticing feature, but some models may not have it. Where possible, go for a band saw with speed adjustability. Again, the need for this speed feature will depend on the material and the results you need. Generally, softer materials need fast blades for the cut to be smooth and accurate. For harder materials, fast speed cutting is also applicable, but not necessary.
Well, you need to have the blade before you can talk about blade speed. When it comes to cutting metal using a band saw, the type of blade you choose matters a lot. Since the blade makes contact with the item, you need to pay close attention to it. Most important, you need to consider the blade material. Most blades are made from either bimetal or carbon. While band saw sets will often contain a blade (or several blades) from the seller, but most of these blades fail to impress.
When choosing a saw blade, you also want to check the tooth pattern. Some common patterns are wave, raker and straight. Each of these has a specific purpose. For instance, wave pattern suits metal tubing cutting while raker is ideal for solid metal cutting. Note that you might even use a blade without teeth, if you are cutting a fragile item such as some plastics and ceramics.
In summary, here are the things you need to focus on:
- Solid warranty and spares availability
- Frame design
- Maintenance ease
- Wheels adjustability
- Outlet port for fillings and sawdust
- Table quality
- Accessories – light, fences etc.
The best band saws offer an unrivaled versatility and numerous ingenious design possibilities. Our article has covered several of the best products in the market to make your work easier. The buying guide section has familiarized you with band saw components so you can check out the various features of the products in the list and more. However, we are fully aware that no band saw can ever fulfill the needs of every user. Do not be surprised when you realize that you find that you might need more than one saw. Whether your cutting needs are for wood, metal or meat, identifying the cutting flexibility, power and price can bring you closer to the ideal tool.
Our list is based on several factors including customer reviews, performance and design. Check out what each model presents and you will get an idea of the best band saw. You might want to check all products as each has its unique qualities.