During daily work, plenty of people in different professions, including gardening, come into situations where they need to cut a wide variety of materials – from wood to metal to PVC or plastic. Usually, you need to use a different tool to cut each one – and reach for special tools if you want precise or curved cuts.
Well, the band saw is a tool that can do all that and more. However, the reason most people don’t have one is that the perception of a band saw is one of a huge tool that weighs a literal ton and takes up half the room. With modern advancements, however, a band saw can now fit in your hand while still being able to do almost everything its larger counterparts can. It is an incredibly versatile tool, and today we will go over a few band saw reviews and all the benefits these machines offer you.
Why Buying a Band Saw?
Band saws are probably some of the smoothest cutting tools you will ever find, and they can’t be easily replaced by anything else. They owe their name to the way they operate – for cutting they use a sharp blade that is a continuous band of metal stretched between two rotating wheels.
They have a long history and have existed since the first half of the nineteenth century, only getting better and refined with time. Currently, they are some of the most versatile and useful tools for woodwork and metalwork, whether amateur or professional. They can use a variety of different blades for different materials, offer a uniform cut due to how the blade works and can make precise, curved cuts with no issues. They provide the cutting power of a circular saw combined with the abilities of a jigsaw, something no other tool can boast.
These days, band saws mostly run on electric motors, and they can even be powered by batteries. Portable versions also exist, even handheld versions that don’t require a stand of any sort to do their work. This makes the tool even more versatile and useful in a variety of different situations, not only in the workshop but also out in the field. The traditional perception of the band saw as a huge, cumbersome piece of machinery was never more wrong than it is today.
While band saws are great, not all of them are well-made, quality products that will do what they’re supposed to. Some of them might be just flat-out useless, and it’s difficult to spot that by just looking at the product info – trust us, we know. After all, we went through a ton of such products during testing until we finally picked the three we considered to be the best. We did that so others wouldn’t have to go through all the trash until they found the gold, and in this article, we gathered all the info we gained from that experience in hopes it will be helpful to you. We also gathered up some user reviews, just in case. With all that, picking the best band saw you could buy will become an easy task. So, let’s take a look at the top three band saws on the market today.
Meet the Best Band Saws
The Good: Incredibly portable, cuts well, and has useful additional features.
The Bad: It doesn’t come with a battery or a charger and is rather heavy for its size.
The Bottom Line: This band saw is great for the jobs it’s made for, and its downsides can be easily overlooked due to its quality.
The Good: Decent saw for the price, strong, fast and quiet with good cutting capacity.
The Bad: Not durably built and not properly balanced.
The Bottom Line: For the price, this is a decent band saw but it most likely won’t last for long, and you might have trouble using it due to poor balance.
The Good: It has great cutting capacity, a good motor, and some awesome extra features.
The Bad: It’s shoddily made, and it will break easily if you’re not careful.
The Bottom Line: There are plenty of upsides, and downsides to this band saw, and if you can ignore the bad aspects, it’s worth buying for the good ones.
All of the Factors Considered
There’s a huge sea of different band saws out there, each one offering something different and unique. And, with band saws being complex machines that they are, picking out the one you want to buy can be a nightmare. If you don’t want to end up with a huge case of buyer’s remorse, you should look at the list of the most important aspects to look for in a band saw. How did we compile it? Well, by going through buyer’s remorse ourselves, getting and testing a ton of different products. Let’s take a look.
Cutting Width and Depth
One of the most important things to consider when getting a band saw – if not the most important – is how deep and how wide it can cut. This will determine what you can use the band saw for, how much work it can do and what type of work.
The depth of the cut is determined by the distance from the “table” of the band saw to the upper blade guides. It can be as low as a few inches and as deep as a few feet.
The cutting width is a bit more complicated, and it’s basically how wide is the material that you can fit into the band saw’s work area for it to cut. It can be exceptionally wide or rather small. It’s sometimes also referred to as throat capacity.
Keep in mind as well, that portable band saws usually have only a single cut capacity listed as they are not used like vertical band saws that have a stand and a work table. They are used in hand and by pressing them to the material, instead of pressing the material to the saw blade. This capacity refers to both the cutting width and depth at the same time.
Some band saws also have an adjustable cutting width and cutting depth, and that might be useful to some.
The strength of the motor inside the band saw influences almost everything else about the machine. Having a weak engine can spell disaster, as the saw might not have enough power to cut even through soft wood, let alone anything else.
When it comes to the electric motors that band saws usually use, the strength is most often expressed in the amperage. The higher it is, the stronger the motor and the tougher the materials it can handle with ease.
Of course, stronger motors are usually larger and if you don’t want your band saw to take up too much space, and you only need it for light cutting, get a smaller one with a weaker motor. It all depends on what you need, in the end.
The cutting speed of a saw like this is usually expressed in FPM, or feet per minute. This determines how smooth a saw can cut, what it can cut and how quickly it can get the job done, all in one. Usually, the faster the saw is, the smoother the cut and the better it is for softer materials, while for harder materials you want a slightly slower speed.
This is a bit different when it comes to a band saw since you can use different blades that are good for cutting different materials and thus mitigate the effect that speed has on cutting them.
Some band saws also have adjustable speed options which allow you to decide how fast you want the blade to rotate. This is particularly useful for people who need to cut a wide variety of materials on a regular basis with their band saw.
Of course, this is one of the major concerns when it comes to any tool, especially those with a lot of moving parts and a large price tag like the band saw. If you get one of these saws, you probably want it to last for quite a while, and to that end, it should be quality-made.
For starters, it should use as much metal in the construction as possible – plastic is usually a bad sign, especially when it is used for internal parts, so make sure you check what it’s made of before you buy it.
You should also check where it’s made – Western-made products are usually of better quality than Asian-made ones. It’s not an ironclad rule, nor is it a stamp of quality, as we have come across some bad products from all around the world, but it’s still a fact that more shoddy products come from China than anywhere else.
There is a host of additional features that can come on a band saw and make your work far easier. There are, for example, inbuilt lights on some band saws, allowing you to work even in dark areas without needing to bring a lamp or something of the sort with you. Then there are dust ports, which can instantly eliminate any debris that comes from the material you are cutting, allowing you to see the cut clearly. Adjustable tables are also a thing, enabling you to tip the working table to make the cuts you want easily. And so on and so forth, you get the idea.
You should make sure to check out everything that’s on offer and choose a product with the right additional features for you.
Now that you’re well-informed let’s see how the three products we picked out ranked in these aspects.
In-Depth Reviews of 3 Band Saws
Decent Cutting Capacity
The cutting capacity is 2-1/2 inch, though it can work at a bit above that, but you shouldn’t push it. It’s good for light jobs, the things a portable band saw is made for, but don’t try to overwork it as it just won’t make the cut. Still, for a portable band saw this is more than enough.
Small but Powerful Motor
Four amps of power at 20 volts are what this saw boasts, which is more than powerful enough for the jobs it’s made for. Still, if you want to use it for something tougher it won’t do the work.
It works at only one cutting speed – 570 feet per minute. That is mostly fine, and more than enough for the type of work this band saw is made for. However it can have problems with harder materials, so it would have been nice to have adjustable speed options.
No complaints in this regard, it’s a sturdy tool that will last for quite a while and shows no signs of slowing down even after hundreds of hours of usage.
Useful Additional Features
There are a couple of useful extras on this band saw. First is the built-in LED light that allows you to work anywhere. There’s also the integrated hang hook for easy storage.
Who Should Buy This Product
This band saw is almost perfect for people that need a portable tool they can take anywhere. People who need this tool for electrical work or work around their yard will find it great, and it can be used in almost any condition, even when it’s dark, due to its LED light. It also cuts well and has ample power, while the battery lasts for a long time.
What to Watch Out For
It’s not fit for heavier work or tougher materials, but you probably already knew that. It’s also rather heavy so it might be uncomfortable to use. However, the real issue is that it costs quite a bit, but doesn’t come with either the battery or the charger – you have to buy them separately, meaning that the whole thing is rather pricey.
For lighter work, this is one of the best products out there, especially because it’s supremely portable and can be used almost anywhere. However, it does cost quite a bit, especially since you have to buy the battery and charger separately. It’s also not suited for heavier work, so if you need that look elsewhere. Otherwise, it’s a great tool, and it might just be worth the price.
Adequate Cutting Capacity
The cutting capacity of this band saw is 3-1/2 inches of depth, 9 inches in It is ideal for smaller projects, and it can make some precise and clean cuts. The large work table also helps.
Decently Strong Motor
The motor is 2.5 amps at a voltage of 120, making it decently strong for this type of band saw. It won’t handle some tougher materials, but it will work for most.
Great Cutting Speed
This band saw can cut at a speed of 2800 fpm, in theory. While in practice it can’t quite reach that, it still cuts fast enough to do the work on lighter materials, but might struggle with tougher ones.
Not Quite Durable Enough
While it will hold up for some time, this band saw is bound to fail sooner rather than later. There’s plenty of plastic in its construction, especially in the inner parts, as well as the upper wheel, so it will wear out much faster than if it was made of metal.
A Mixed Bag of Additional Features
Some extras on this band saw are great, like the adjustable work table and the dust port that keeps things clean. Some are flat-out useless like the LED light that you can’t shine on the work area or the adjustable rip fence that you can’t adjust well.
Who Should Buy This Product
For people who need a decent little band saw for an affordable price, this is the saw of choice, for sure. It’s got decent power and speed, and it can do a lot of work on smaller projects while costing an almost insignificant amount of money compared to similar band saws that are on the market.
What to Watch Out For
It’s cheap because it is not incredibly durable and made mostly out of plastic. The upper wheel is the largest problem as you can see the grooves the blade makes in it after only a few hours of use, let alone hundreds. The LED light is also badly placed, and the adjustable fence doesn’t work properly. It’s not a well-made product by any means.
For the price, this is a hard deal to pass up, as this saw has decent cutting capacity and power compared to similar products while being easy and comfortable to use. However, it’s not sturdy at all and most likely won’t last for as long as you would want it to. It’s difficult to recommend, but still might be worth the price.
Amazing Cutting Capacity
The cutting depth of this unit is 6 inches while the width is 9-3/4 inches, making it one of the best out there when compared to similar products.
Amazingly Strong Motor
The motor in this unit features the strength of 3.5 amps, making it quite strong and able to handle tough materials. It also works quite smoothly and is rather quiet despite how strong it is.
This machine can operate at two different speed settings – either 1520 FPM or an amazing 2620 FPM. This allows for even more versatility when handling different materials, and it can easily cut through most.
It’s a shame, but the materials in this band saw are not up to snuff, and various parts of it will start to break soon after you get it. Even the saw you get with it is poor-quality, and you should replace it immediately if you want a smooth cut.
A Ton of Great Additional Features
The extra features in this band saw are amazingly helpful. It can operate at different speeds; the work table is adjustable, there’s a dust port that can take three different hose sizes, and LED light, and so on. It’s probably the best part about it, even though adjusting is difficult.
Who Should Buy This Product
This product is best suited for people who want an affordable yet incredibly powerful band saw with great cutting capacity. It also runs quietly and is easy to use with a host of great extra features that will make your work even easier and simpler, allowing you to adjust various aspects of it.
What to Watch Out For
The saw is full of flaws, but all of them come down to the shoddy, cheap construction, making most parts of it rather flimsy and easy to break. The bad design makes it difficult to adjust as well, negating some of the benefits that the extra features bring to it. It’s difficult to recommend.
It’s a machine full of highs and lows. While it has a great, strong motor, the construction is shoddy. The cutting capacity is great, but the saw that comes with it is badly made. It’s incredibly adjustable and has great additional features, but it’s difficult to adjust due to poor construction. It’s difficult to recommend, but if you can put up with the downsides, it might still be worth buying.
The Best Pick – DEWALT DCS371B
Not to toot our own horn, but we have looked at so many different band saws that we almost consider ourselves top experts by now. Picking just one of them as the best, however, still looks like a difficult task. But we think we have concluded, and the best pick out of these three is the DEWALT DCS371B.
This band saw impressed us with how much power it packs into its small, portable frame, easily being comparable to larger products. While it is not able to handle some of the tougher jobs, it is perfect for anything other than that, and it will last you for a long time, unlike the other two products we presented here. Due to all that, it’s our best pick.
There you go – out of all the products we tested that is the one we consider the best. Still, that doesn’t mean the other two products are bad, not by any means. There’s a reason they made this list, and we tested far more products than these before making this article and picking the top three that we wanted to showcase. One of them might be what you’re looking for if our best pick doesn’t suit you. In the end, we just hope you can find the best band saw for you and that the info we presented here helped in some way. If it did, share this article around, who knows how many other people might need help with picking a band saw? We’ll see you next time and, until then, have a good day.