The Best Band Saws of 2017 – Buying Guide & Reviews

576px-bandsaw_at_lowesA band saw is a great tool for decorative cutting. If you want your home furnishings and cabinets to have a new look, you definitely have to own this tool! It’s perfect for making curve cuts, which is essential for wood designs.

The good band saws are able to cut through the thickest lumber! This feature is essential when making cabriole legs and cross-cutting short pieces of wood.

However, the standard purpose of a band saw is cutting irregular shapes and patterns. Aside from that, it can also be helpful when reshaping lumber into thin slabs. And what’s really useful is that if you combine this tool with the right blade, it can cut through other objects like metal.

Therefore, a band saw is a must-have tool for the ambitious handyman and woodworker. It can serve a lot of purposes and extend your flexibility in your everyday life.

MODELOVERALL DIMENSIONOVERALL WEIGHTUSER RATINGPRICE
Rikon 10-305
Rikon 10-305 Band Saw With Fence, 10-Inch
35.5 inches x 18 inches x 13 inches
73.6 pounds
4.3/5
$$$
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Delta 28-400
Delta 28-400 Steel Frame Band Saw
45 inches x 18 inches x 21 inches
164.9 pounds
4.3/5
$$$$$
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SKIL 3386-01
SKIL 3386-01 2.5-Amp 9-Inch Band Saw
31.1 inches x 16.2 inches x 12.8 inches
37.9 pounds
4.0/5
$
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Our Band Saw Reviews

We’ve compiled these reviews for you and all the woodworkers out there. We enlisted the best models from the best brands. Furthermore, we also included a comprehensive band saw buying guide that will help you make the initial buying decision. Without further ado, here is our popular list of band saws. The band saws are ranked from #1 to #3.

#1 SKIL 3386-01 – Our Top Pick

SKIL 3386-01 2.5-Amp 9-Inch Band SawIf you’re looking for a high quality-band saw at a decent price, then you have found the right one. The SKIL 33806-01 will not disappoint you.

The SKIL 3386-01 has a cutting depth of 3-1/8 inch. It is not as deep as the WEN 3962 band saw, but the depth is definitely more than needed anyways. With this specification, you can easily cut lumber with precision. Moreover, the throat depth of this tool is 9 inches, which enables you to make those intricate cuts.

This band saw uses a 2.5 amp motor to power its blade. Specifically, it is a 120-volt machine that can deliver powerful cuts without you exerting too much effort! Of course, you will love that this tool uses a power cord so that you won’t need to spend for batteries from time to time!

Meanwhile, it uses a sturdy aluminum table that has ribbed patterns to ensure full control of the cut. Moreover, you can expect that its working space is pretty spacious too! The table has an adjustment setting that enables you to tilt it from 0 degrees to 45 degrees!

You will also find its blade guide adjustment useful on different projects. This feature will give you the versatility to make cuts with customized depths! Working with this band saw is not troubling indeed. It comes with a flexible lamp that gives you visibility. It is a great aid for those who are working in areas that have limited illumination.

Its miter gauge will give you the ability to make the best-angled cuts!

Even though it has only a 1-speed setting, this tool can already cut metals and other sturdy materials. With all these features, it is no wonder that the SKIL 3386-01 is the best band saw for the money!

Specifications:

Overall weight37.9 pounds
Overall dimension31.1 inches x 16.2 inches x 12.8 inches
Power SourceCord (Electric powered)
Additional componentsBare-tool

#2 Rikon 10-305 – The Best Benchtop Band Saw

Rikon 10-305 Band Saw With Fence, 10-InchMost of the serious woodworkers like you enjoy the benefit of portability. Therefore, you will definitely need the Rikon 10-305 Bandsaw. It is considered as the best portable band saw because of its compact designs and feature!

The Rikon 10-305 is the opus of Rikon Power Tool. It came as an improved version of its predecessors, 10-345 and 10-325. Those two are popular because of their performance and versatility in different projects. Therefore, you can expect that the Rikon 10-305 is here to surpass them all!

One of the best features of this band saw is its frame. Specifically, it uses steel plating to improve its rigidity and reliability. If you don’t know, most of the band saws today have plastic frames. Such construction made these tools susceptible to breakage and cracks, especially in extensive projects.

Moreover, the Rikon 10-305 is a full-size band saw that has a bench top design. This enables this product to be portable, which is essential for woodworkers that are always on the go!

Also, this band saw has a cast iron table, with a dimension of 13 3/4 inches x 12 1/2 inches! It is a very rigid and large working space that can ensure the stability of your work. Again, most common brands of band saws do not possess such kind of feature!

Of course, when it comes to power, this machine is a certain monster! It runs through its 1/3 HP induction motor, which is scarily powerful indeed. Specifically, it has a motor speed of 2,780 FPM!  On the other hand, its cutting capacity is 4 5/8 inches deep and 9 5/8 inches wide. Therefore, you are guaranteed that this tool can cut pen blanks and bowl!

It also has a removable rip fence so that you can do free hand work comfortably! Working with this tool will also give you precise and accurate cuts. This is because of its micro adjustable guide post, which you can control by the use of a handle. This band saw comes with a safety paddle switch, too!

Specifications:

Overall weight73.6 pounds
Overall dimension35.5 inches x 18 inches x 13 inches
Power SourceCord (Electric powered)
Additional componentsStand

#3 Delta 28-400 – An Honorable Mention

Delta 28-400 Steel Frame Band SawWell, this list should only have three band saws included. That’s how picky we are when it comes to assuring the quality of products we recommend you. However, we couldn’t just ignore the Delta 28-400 Steel Frame Band Saw. This is because it has features that deserve recognition, too!

First, you should know that this machine has a heavy-duty steel frame construction. It is definitely one of the top choices for professionals. This steel frame prevents the flexing of this band saw every time you are dealing with heavy materials. Of course, the frame comes with a smooth finish to ensure its durability.

Meanwhile, it has a built-in aluminum trunnion table support that further improves its reliability when you are cutting objects.

The Delta 28-400 uses a 1 HP motor that has an 115V and 230V power ratings. This TEFC motor allows you to operate this machine in two-speed settings (1,620 FPM and 3,340 FPM). The 3,340 FPM is already adequate for cutting non-ferrous metals! Adjusting the speed is easy too, thanks to its pulley that has a tensioning system!

It also comes with a T-slot miter that can do precise angled cuts. Specifically, you can tilt it 3 degrees to the left and 45 degrees on the right. It has a positive stop at 90 degrees.

Now, with all these features, you may ask us why the Delta 28-400 is just an honorable mention. First and foremost, this blade of this band saw can only do one operation at a time. Therefore, there is a need for you to change blades if you are dealing with different projects. It can somehow cause hassle and delay on your work.

Moreover, we find the Delta 280-400 less robust compared to its predecessors. It is quite surprising because we are expecting that this machine should perform better that its old counterparts. For example, old Delta models have cast iron frame while this one has none. We notice that blade somehow rattles in the upright.

But overall, we think that Delta 280-400 band saw is still one of the decent band saws out there. It is just that some few brands (like the ones we mentioned) are better than it.

Specifications:

Overall weight164.9 pounds
Overall dimension45 inches x 18 inches x 21 inches
Power SourceCord (Electric powered)
Additional componentsStand

Band Saw Buying Guide

Before proceeding, let us be straight with one thing. A band saw should be prioritized first before a tabletop saw. It is quite surprising, but yes, you need a band saw first. Actually, a tabletop saw is good for crosscutting and straight ripping. We give this tool that credit. However, a band saw improves your versatility, especially in the spectrum of your design palette.

If you like exploring the art of woodworking, you will really need this tool. This is because the efficiency of this machine will match your hand skills. With consistent practice, you can be able to produce excellent touches and crafts!

Furthermore, when you tune your band saw correctly, it can create clean rips! Specifically, you will need a carbide-tip blade to do this. Of course, if you know wood crafting techniques such as hand plane shooting, your output will fully improve.

With that being said, here are the general factors that you should consider before buying a band saw.

Size

Normally, the size of a band saw is gauged by its wheels’ diameter. In most brands of band saws, their throat width has a standard size of 1 inch or less. This also set the parameters to the widest board that this tool will allow to pass through its blade and column. On the other hand, the resaw capacity refers to the maximum thickness that this tool can cut.

If you own a small shop, we recommend that you will choose a band saw that has a size of 14 inches. Of course, you can opt for 16 inches band saw because they are versatile. If you are usually doing large projects, then you should go to the 18 inches to 20 inches machines.

Moreover, we advise you to choose a band saw that has a resaw height of 12 inches. Take note. That is only the minimum. The higher the resaw height, the more versatile the band saw is!

Type

Currently, the most popular choices for the frame design of a band saw are the welded steel and cast iron. In the past, the 14-inch stand-mounted band saw that has a cast iron frame is the standard for any shops. This type of machine has a 6 inches resaw height, which is not recommended today. Although they have a mechanism to increase the height by using a riser block, this tool has a low power rating. Specifically, they cannot cut 12 inches of hardwood.

Because of the changes in technology, the availability of band saws that have welded sheet steel increased. We recommend our users to prefer this type of construction. This is because they are highly powered. Of course, a band saw model with a motor that can go up to more than 2 HP will perform better.

One of the advantages of welded steels from cast irons is space. Specifically, welded steels band saws eat little floor space compared to cast-irons. Moreover, you may need mobility kits to ensure that you can transport this tool. These kits are essential when it comes to dealing with long materials.

However, in doing so, you must consider first the space of your shop and the band saw’s weight!

Features and Utilities

Spring

The spring is the part of a band saw that preserves the appropriate blade tension. You can freely adjust it, depending on the design of your machine. Typically, it is quite hard to distinguish the quality of the spring. Despite this, you should still choose a band saw that has this feature. It makes your tool excellent and reliable when doing large projects!

Wheels

The best band saw must have a quality heavy, cast iron wheels. This part is essential to the operation of this machine. Specifically, it produces a strong “flywheel” motion that allows a straight and steadfast cut. On the other hand, the blade of the bandsaw follows the rubber path that is found on the rims of its wheels.

The standard design of tires is flat or almost flat. This design enables the band saw to track its blades of 1 inch or more in width. By essence, this function is highly essential for resawing activities.

Guidepost

The guidepost usually includes a blade guard and blade guide assembly. Most brands of band saws let you adjust this part by the use of pinion and rack. This allows you to cater the thickness of the material that you are cutting.

You should also know that the guidepost and the blade work hand-in-hand. Therefore, you have to maintain their harmony the use of a post assembly.

Blade Guides

The blade guides are crucial in the operation of a band saw. We all know how beastly the blades of this tool can be. They move too fast, and they have the ability to cut metals too. However, there is a tendency that the blades will distort and drift once they engage in cutting. Therefore, you need your band saw to have a pair of blade guides. They are there to ensure that the blade will only run on the intended course only.

There are several types of guides. The Euro style features a pair of bearings that you can adjust through its screw mechanism. They are efficient in controlling the path of the blade. There are also other varieties of roller bearings that use their round outer edges to meet the blade.

Moreover, there is another type of guide that utilizes the phenolic material and pair of steel blocks. This design effectively sandwich the blade and directs it to its right course.

There is also this guide we call thrust bearing. Its function is to restrict the back displacement of the blade due to feed pressure.

The Size of the Table

Of course, you will need a band saw that has a sufficient working space. Therefore, you will need tables that have a size of 16 inches x 20 inches. This dimension is already enough to accommodate large projects. Also, you will need a support stand when you are doing extensive cuts.

As a recommendation, choose a heavy cast iron table that is attached on the tool’s trunnions. Moreover, the table should be adjustable at different angles with a positive of 90 degrees!

Fence

The fence is necessary to improve your precision while cutting. You will need a fence that has a micro-adjustable mechanism so that you can adequately control your cuts.


Tips on Buying A Band Saw

Here are some tips for a foolproof selection of band saws:

The Depth Of The Cut

Technically, the depth of cut refers to the number of materials being removed in a single pass of this tool. Usually, you can determine the depth through the distance from the upper blade guides to the table. Most of the band saws today have a depth of cut rating that ranges from 6 inches to 36 inches.

Throat

On woodworking, the throat means the width of the cut of the band saw. Those bench top band saws have a throat rating of 12 inches to 14 inches. Meanwhile, you can expect that cabinet-type band saws have wider throats than other versions!

Power Of The Motor

Electric motors are the heart of static band saws. Specifically, bench top band saws use one horsepower motor. Of course, cabinet models possess bigger motors. The motor also allows the band saw to have variable speeds. This feature is essential for cutting small materials precisely.

Also, you should know that motors that have slow speed are useful in cutting metals and plastics!

Accessories

You will need a band saw that has ripping fences and miter gauges. These two enable versatility in resawing, ripping, and crosscutting.

However, we should remind you that a radial arm saw and bench saw are more accurate in making these cuts than a band saw!

Other Necessary Features

  • Brakes that prevent the gliding of saw when you switch the tool off
  • Dust collection port

Conclusion

In general, a band saw is a valuable tool for the serious woodworkers. This tool gives you the ability to unleash your creativity in designing wood materials and home furnishings. With the best band saw on your hand, you can even fully take your craft to the next level.

However, we all know that there are a lot of band saws in the market today. Each of them has various offers that make choosing quite confusing! This is the reason that we made this review to make sure that buyers like you will find the right band saw.

Moreover, we also recommend that you should try those brands of band saws that we recommended. We already subject them to different tests and scrutiny to ensure their quality. Aside from that, we also consulted the opinions of several expert woodworkers. Doing those made us conclude that our selected brand saws are the best on the market today!

We are also hoping that our buying guide was able to teach you a thing or two about brand saws. We are expecting that through this review, you can find the band saw that you need!