Band Saw Reviews to Get You Cutting
A band saw is an electrically powered saw which consists of a flexible “band” of metal with teeth along one side. The band is run over wheels, providing for an endless cutting loop while the machine is turned on. Band saws are primarily used for woodworking, with many also being designed to handle metals or other materials – including meats, and other animal parts. Non-electrically powered versions of the band saw date back as far as 1809, when we see the first patent for one being filed, but they remained impractical due to frequent blade snapping until the advent of more modern metals. Towards the middle of the nineteenth century, a welding process was developed that made the idea a little more applicable, though band saws were still designed primarily for cutting wood. They were also quite large, and required substantial animal- or water-power to drive them.
Band saw blades were then made from more modern forms of steel. Steel and other metals are still used to make band saw blades today, usually in the form of modern composites such as bimetal, as well as various forms of carbon steel. This, plus the advent of the electric motor, has allowed for the making of band saws which can cut stone, metal, and other materials more dense or durable than wood.
Band saws are particularly useful for cutting curved or otherwise irregular shapes, although they can perform straight cuts as well. The width of the band itself is one of the primary factors involved in determining the minimum width of the curve it can cut, with the other being the saw's “kerf,” or cutting width. Relative to other forms of powered saws, band saws have a small kerf, which means less material is wasted during the cutting process; for this reason, timber mills typically prefer large band saws over circular saws for the process of cutting timber.
Top 5 Comparison Band Saws
|Image||Model||Weight||Type||Wheel Size||FPM (Unloaded)||Ratings||Price|
|POWERTEC BS900 Band Saw, 9-Inch||43.6 lbs.||Bench Top||9”||1725||4.0 out of 5 stars117 reviews||$149|
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|Rikon 10-305||73.6 lbs.||Bench Top||10”||2740||4.4 out of 5 stars65 reviews||$299|
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|Grizzly-G0555-The-Ultimate-Bandsaw-14-Inch||251 lbs.||Stand Mounted||14”||1725||3.6 out of 5 stars40 reviews||See Lowest Price|
|Delta 28-400 14 in. 1 HP Steel Frame Band Saw||165 lbs.||Stand Mounted||14”||1620 or 3340||4.4 out of 5 stars13 reviews||$699 - $779|
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|JET HSB-1018W 2 HP 230-Volt 10-Inch by 18-Inch Horizontal Band Saw||801 lbs.||Floor Standing||10” x 18”||330 Max SFPM||5.0 out of 5 stars2 reviews||$3,999 - $4,599|
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Of course, that size and power level of band saw far exceeds anything you're going to find in your average residential workshop, or even in a more typical industrial setting. Here, band saws are the go-to tool (and often the only viable option) for cross-cutting short pieces, ripping or resawing lumber, and making elegantly curved cuts for purposes such as cabinet edging and furniture legs. We've gone ahead and reviewed several of the best band saw models available on the market today, according to a series of criteria which takes existing consumer satisfaction ratings into heavy account. Our points of concern include overall perceptions of value, durability, and range of function, as well as the overall cost of each model. We'll also go ahead and share any unique features pertinent to a given band saw.
The goal here is to do a lot of the legwork for you. With any luck, we'll be able to find the right saw for your purposes. If you would prefer, you can scroll down to the end of this review, and find our choice for the best band saw out of the lot – along with a summary explanation of what features led us to make our decision. Thanks for reading, and best of luck with your own personal projects!
The Three Types of Band Saw
Before we get to the specific models in our review, let's go over the three types of band saw most commonly found in today's basements and woodworking shops. These include the bench-top, the stand mounted, and the floor standing types of saw. Of these three, the bench-top model is most commonly found in residential garages and in basement workshops, though a professional workshop will probably have one on hand. The floor standing models are more common to professional and industrial environments, while the stand mounted band saw might be found in either environment – representing the upper end of what most residential projects require, while still being capable of handling small jobs for a professional.
Bench-Top Band Saws
These smaller, lighter band saw models are more readily portable than the other types of band saw, and can typically used after being mounted to a workbench or a pedestal. Wheel size ranges between 8 and 12 inches on average. They can be set up and used at home, by the casual woodworker, without overly burdensome instructions or any specific expertise. Their advantages, aside from their user-friendly setup and operation, include a smooth and even cut; they also tend to be far more affordable than the other types of band saws out there. Their disadvantages include a relatively low power level overall, which limits the materials for which they can be used, and their size, which limits the size of the material that you can work with.
Stand Mounted Band Saws
Band saws mounted on their own independent stand are a step up from bench-top models in terms of power. They provide a dramatic improvement in capacity as well, with a 14-inch wheel size, while being relatively simple to set up. Stand mounted band saws usually come with a cast iron housing for durability – as well as for stability: they are solid enough to reduce vibrations and produce a very steady work surface. They aren't powerful enough to split boards from anything bigger than a small log without difficulty, but they handle the fine cutting of much larger pieces than what a bench-top band saw can accommodate very well. As a result, they are commonly seen in professional workshops, as well as in the residential workshops of serious woodcutting aficionados – given that they don't require all that much space to set up.
Floor Standing Band Saws
You'll rarely encounter one of these outside of a woodworking or metalworking workshop. These free-standing tools have a wheel size of between 17 and 24 inches, and are designed specifically to withstand the rigors of long-term professional use. The size of their motor is much larger than that in a bench-top or stand mounted band saw, meaning that they offer a lot more power – but are also heavier, bulkier, and more difficult to set up. Floor standing band saws need to be mounted solidly into position, and are often extremely difficult to move safely once they've been installed. The main advantage of a floor standing band saw would be its considerable power, which allows for longer, more consistent cuts of larger pieces than what the smaller models of band saw are capable of providing. The primary disadvantages are its considerable price tag, and the amount of space which the unit takes up.
If you want more information on the different types of band saws, check out this article from finewoodworking.com and check out below video on how to use them.
The following reviews will cover a variety that spans all three types of band saw, before we move on to our pick for best in show. Please bear in mind that our review is geared primarily towards avid woodworking enthusiasts in a residential environment, and to smaller professional workshops – but we'll do our best to avoid leaving anybody standing around covered in sawdust!
Band Saw Reviews
The POWERTEC BS900 9-Inch Band Saw: This is a durable and versatile bench-top band saw model which is widely regarded for its efficiency; it features several patented innovations to make changing blades a cinch, without skimping on safety or sacrificing efficiency in its performance.
The Rikon 10-305 10-Inch Band Saw with Fence: This is a solidly designed, scaled-down version of some of Rikon's larger saws, the 10-305 uses steel plate where many other models incorporate industrial plastics into the frame. The result is a tough and rugged model suitable for long-term use.
The Grizzly G0555LX 14-Inch Band Saw: An expensive but durable model offering plenty of power to complete a wide range of professional work, including long-duration cuts, small rip-cutting work, and resawing of common hardwoods.
The Delta 28-400 14-Inch Steel Frame Band Saw: A sturdy, steel-frame band saw capable of eating through virtually anything thrown its way, with a variety of innovative features – as well as the overall level of quality which we've come to expect from the Delta brand name. While pricey, this saw is regularly found on sale at hundreds of dollars off its MSRP.
Jet HSB-1018W 10-Inch by 18-Inch Horizontal Band Saw: This is a heavy-duty industrial grade band saw, meant to tackle large-scale woodworking projects which are beyond the scope of the home-based enthusiast – and many smaller workshops. Its size and complexity make it less user-friendly than the other models on our list, but its versatility and power are incomparable.
POWERTEC BS900 9-Inch Band Saw
The BS900 from POWERTEC is a bench-top band saw offering quick, convenient, and easy-to-use setup and operation, within the typical limits of a bench-top model's range of function. Its ½ horsepower, 2.5-Amp induction motor powers its nine inch wheels to an unloaded speed of 1725 fpm. At forty-three and one-half pounds in total weight, the BS900 can be safely mounted on most workshop benches, although some enthusiasts prefer a free-standing pedestal by default.
The most heavily touted aspects of POWERTEC'S 9-inch bench-top band saw are two of its patented features: a unique blade guard adjustment, and a quick release tension lever. These allow the user to quickly and easily change out the tool's 62” blades, without compromising the safety of the saw's operation during use. This cuts out what is, for many older band saw models, a difficult and often frustrating step in the process. In addition, this model of band saw accepts blades ranging from 1/8th to 3/8th of one inch, allowing for significant versatility in scroll cutting and resawing (the latter is, of course, still limited by the tool's size and power).
More than one hundred Amazon reviews presently rate the POWERTEC BS900 9-inch band saw at four and a half stars. Many reviewers offer that it maintains a steadier, more powerful cut than some of their older 10-inch models, but they strongly suggest buying additional options other than the stock ¼-inch blade that comes with it. With the right blade, it has been widely contended that this particular model of band saw is capable of rip-cutting wood on the upper end of the spectrum of what any bench-top band saw is able to handle.
This saw retails for $149.99 on Amazon, which – like most of its functions – puts it squarely within the realm of expectation for a bench-top model, with an edge towards the favorable. That being said, it is a steady device, offering long and reliable cuts relative to its size. It maintains a consistently above-average performance, and is one of the favorite bench-top models among recent buyers. It is durable, if high-functioning; for information about its warranty, click here for a detailed PDF: in summary, the manufacturer offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, and a 1-year limited warranty that does not apply to consumable items (such as the blades) or commercial use.
Rikon 10-305 10-Inch Band Saw with Fence
Rikon's 10-305 model comes to you from a reputable manufacturer. A scaled-down version of some of its larger models, including the 10-345, the 10-305 incorporates a number of tried-and-true innovations that aren't normally seen in a bench-top band saw. Its 1/3 horsepower motor pulls 3.5 amps, for a top speed of about 2740 fpm unloaded; this is faster than most other models of bench-top band saw, but Rikon's 10-305 model makes up for it with the added stability and large work space required to handle unusually big jobs and longer cuts.
The most heavily touted aspect of the Rikon 10-305 band saw is its heavy-duty construction. Where other bench-top band saw manufacturers typically incorporate industrial plastics into the frame, Rikon opted instead to use solid steel plating. The difference is evident in the price of the tool, which retails at a standard $265.99 on Amazon, but customers seem to agree that the quality is generally worth the additional expenditure. Its cast iron work surface is unusually large for a saw of its size, allowing you to tackle a wide range of projects. The 10-305 includes a rip fence, which can be easily removed to allow for freehand work, and a micro-adjustable guide post. Just turn a handle, and you can raise and lower the guide post level.
More than fifty buyers have given this band saw a rating of four and one-half stars on Amazon. If there might be said to be a common complaint, it's that the comparatively slow speed and low horsepower make Rikon's 10-305 band saw less than ideal for cutting any type of metal – even lightweight aluminum pieces. It is suggested primarily for woodworking, where it excels over longer periods of time than do other brands' equivalents at this price range.
The 10-305's warranty needs to be requested from customer service. However, it covers limited parts and servicing for a full five years after purchase, as compared to the one-year warranty provided by most manufacturers. Like most warranties, it is non-transferable, and is void if the tool is subsequently sold to someone other than its original purchaser.
Grizzly G0555LX 14-Inch Deluxe Band Saw
This model was a difficult inclusion. The reviews are slightly mixed, and there are only a few dozen to date. In the end, we decided to run with it – mostly due to the substance of the negative reviews reflecting a lot of concerns about price. The G0555LX is an expensive stand mounted band saw, weighing in at a hefty 251 pounds and currently priced on Amazon at $844.75. This, however, represents a recent dramatic price increase from under $600, and it spawned multiple negative reviews from previously interested buyers who – as a result – have not had any actual experience with the saw. We'll give you the facts as they're available, based upon the experiences enjoyed by purchasers, then we'll let you make up your own mind as to whether or not the G0555LX is worth the money.
Given that it's on the list, our foregone conclusion is that this particular stand mounted band saw is definitely worth its price, but only if you have need of a professional-quality band saw capable of tackling the specific range of functions for which this particular tool is optimized. For general usage, particularly with restriction to woodcutting only, you would most likely be better off pursuing a more economical model.
Grizzly's G0555LX is a 14-inch stand mounted band saw with a cast iron frame, mounted on a heavy-duty stand. Its significant weight is owed to the weight and durability of the materials used in its construction, which will come to your assistance in two ways: first, they will help to ensure the longevity of your investment, and second, they will help to tone down vibrations and produce a steady work surface. It takes a lot to shake more than two hundred pounds of iron.
Grizzly advertises this model as coming with a “variety of features” which other manufacturers either don't offer, or offer only as optional accessories for additional cost. One of these is an extruded aluminum T-shape resawing fence with a magnifying window. The fence itself is both adjustable and removable, and also comes with a miter gauge. There are also upper and lower ball-bearing blade guides to help steady the blade, ensuring an even cut even over long-duration cuts. The blade guides are computer-balanced, for an extra level of precision – which enthusiasts maintain as evident in the band saw's finished results.
Grizzly's popular band saw uses a 93 and ½-inch blade. Blade widths vary between 1/8th and 3/4th of one inch. Of particular note is the fact that customers have suggested buying a different blade than what comes with the saw for large resawing work – but that, with such a blade equipped, the G0555LX is more than capable of handling the job. Examples of work pulled off without a hitch include resawn 5 and ½ inch cherry, varying widths of red oak, and 4” maple. Current buyers state that it “has the power to handle” whatever you might need to throw at it for most professional woodworking jobs, which comes as little surprise with its 1 horsepower motor and top speed of 1725 fpm.
Delta 28-400 14-Inch 1HP Steel Frame Band Saw
With a name like Delta, there are certain expectations of quality built into the brand that you're paying for, but we're happy to say that the 28-400 delivers in both expected and unexpected ways. At 165 pounds, it weighs in somewhat more lightly than many iron-based stand mounted band saws, but its steel plate frame adds increased durability and strength which will help to keep vibrations down to a minimum. The frame also reduces flexing, while the long-lasting durability is assisted by aluminum trunnion table support and a superior, high-quality finish.
The 28-400 ranks within the top 100 products on Amazon for powered disc sanders. In addition, Delta backs up their claim on the 28-400's considerable durability with a five-year factory warranty on parts and labor. This does not apply to consumable items, most notably the blades.
Delta's latest stand mounted band saw comes with a 1 hp motor, which can be set to two different speeds for added convenience with multiple different workloads. The saw itself accepts a standard size 93 and ½-inch long blade, which is kept clean and sharp by way of a dust brush attached to the lower wheel. The wheels are made of durable high-grade aluminum, rubber-coated and with nine spokes to help ensure proper blade tracking.
The 28-400 is regularly priced at $879.99, but as of this writing could be found directly through Amazon, discounted to $703.15 – and available with free shipping. So far, reviews are limited in number, but the reaction to date has been overwhelmingly positive with a 4.5 star rating. As with the other stand mounted band saw on our list, some people seem to have qualms with the price – not unexpected in the current economy.
Jet HSB-1018W 10-Inch by 18-Inch Horizontal Band Saw
It probably goes without saying that Amazon doesn't do a lot of business with industrial grand band saws; there are only two reviews for this particular tool on the site, both of which give it five stars (but in fairness, if the reviews were fake, there would most likely be more of them). We didn't want to give up the ghost on band saws without at least tipping our cap towards the extreme end of what's on the market, however. This beauty costs $5,899 normally, but is currently on sale (as of this writing) for $4,599... and it comes with free shipping, which is quite nice, considering what the fees would be for something weighing in at a hefty 801 pounds.
The HSB-1018W features both durable, high-quality construction, and a patented design, intended to provide maximum protection to the operator while achieving precision results. Its innovative twin cooling system distributes coolant evenly through the blade guides, allowing for a consistent performance without any interruptions in long, heavy-duty jobs. Meanwhile, the blade is always guarded, and its double-row ball bearing guide support ensures premium levels of on-target precision. Honestly, out of all of the band saws we looked at, this one sounds most like something out of a science fiction film: between its precision guidance, its advanced cooling system, and its protective features, it's a wonder that Jet's HSB-1018W doesn't operate itself. Then again, where would the fun be in that?
This floor standing band saw features a great deal of convenience and flexibility in its operation. Its quick-positioning vice jaws swivel to 45 degrees when fully extended. You have considerable control over the saw's operation through an adjustable hydraulic down feed, which can be turned on and off via a separate switch to ensure safe operation at all times
Our Choice for Best Band Saw
The Rikon 10-305 tops our list for the best band saw, out of more than 16 band saws reviewed through dozens of band saw buyer reviews and affiliate websites – including information from Amazon feedback, Home Depot, and a variety of independently maintained expert blogs and informative websites. Here are the three essential reasons for why Rikon's high-performance bench-top band saw topped our list, according to existing consumer reviews:
- Durability: The Rikon's frame incorporates steel plate in place of plastic, which helps to improve durability and, as a result, the longevity of the device. Its value is further enhanced by a limited five-year warranty, which applies to almost everything apart from consumables. This kind of durability and corresponding long-term warranty is usually seen only in larger stand mounted and floor standing band saws.
- Precision: The Rikon was designed for long-term precision cuts, with a flexibility and a work are that are also common only to larger models. This makes it ideal to cover virtually any scope of project undertaken by the home-based enthusiast, while it's also capable of handling a certain level of professional work in an ongoing fashion.
- Value: Coupled with its variety of functions and its long-term durability, the price of a (admittedly high-end) bench-top band saw makes the Rikon 10-305 a bargain buy. Provided you aren't using it to split oak trunks, you should get your money's worth out of your 10-305 over and over again. It's an excellent backup model for professional workshops, and primary work station for the at-home enthusiast.
Our feeling is that, when you go with this particular model, what you get presents a wide variety of uses applicable to what your average residential workshop operator might need, while at the same time matching certain aspects of a stand mounted band saw that any professional workshop might have on backup.