How to Find the Best Band Saw for Your Project
So, if you have ever been in the market for a band saw, you probably know just how confusing it can be to pick out what you want. Plus, you might be overwhelmed when trying to decide what the best choice is with so many. The band saw is one of those products that is hard. This guide is here to provide you with the tips that you need to find the best band saw for any project that you are getting ready to do. There are literally hundreds, if not thousands of band saws on the market. So, you are going to get a good understanding of what you want and we are going to share some of our favorites with you. This is going to help you to know what you want.
Should You Choose a Floor Standing Band Saw or a Bench Top Band Saw?
The first thing that you have to decide when you want to purchase a band saw is how much space you have and what size of saw you want. There are going to be limited with each band saw. Many of these limits are with the size of the material that you are going to cut. The thing to remember is that a floor standing band saw is generally going to allow for you to be able to handle more material and bigger projects.
Height Capacity and Throat Capacity
When you are first looking at a band saw, you will want to make two simple considerations to get you started. These are the height capacity and throat capacity.
The height capacity is the overall measurement that is from the top of the blade guides to the top of the table. The height capacity is not generally as important as the throat capacity. However, if you are going to be doing resawing (when you cut along the grain to ensure that you are able to get large sections of wood) then you will want to take the height capacity into consideration. In fact, this is very important if you are going to be doing resawing. This is a number that can be changed somewhat though with special riser block kits. These kits help you to improve the height capacity of the band saw. With these riser block kits, you are able to handle more material during a larger resaw.
The throat capacity is when you measure from the inside of the frame to the left of the blade. This measurement is always going to be a little bit less than the size of the wheels. For example, when you are looking at a band saw that is a 17-inches band saw, you will find that the throat capacity will be slightly smaller like 16.5-inches or so. This is going to be the more important measurement to consider as it has more to do with what you are doing when you are going to be working on common band saw projects.
The power is another difference that matters when deciding if you want a standing band saw or a bench top band saw. When you are looking at larger band saws, they are more powerful because of larger motors which means that they are actually capable of doing more work. This means that you can cut the wood or material that is thicker, harder, and/or denser. Having a larger motor will generally make all of your work just a little bit easier. Of course, the bench top band saws do have a lot of power as well, but in general, the standing band saw is going to have a little more power. This just means that the floor standing models are able to do a bit more work and be more versatile than the bench top ones.
Finding a band saw is hard enough without having to throw the weight into the equation. One thing that you should remember is that many band saws are really heavy. In fact, most of the standing band saws weight upwards of two hundred pounds or even more. The bench top models are much lighter and easier to lift and move. Now, the heavier band saws can be good for certain things, but in some cases, you might actually need a lighter band saw. One of the things that are really nice about the floor standing band saws is that they are completely stable. However, the downside to their weight is that you can not possibly move one on your own. You can try with a dolly or other moving assistance, but those are not recommended methods for a number of different safety concerns. In fact, the best way to move a standing band saw is with a forklift of some type. Now, there are times when you might need something that is going to be lighter. One of these is if you want to take your band saw to job sites with you so that you can work from anywhere. These benchtop band saws are easier to move and will definitely not require the space commitment that you need with a standing band saw.
A Look at the Top 4 Uses for Band Saws
There are so many different ways in which you can use the band saw. By understanding everything that you can use your band saw for, you will definitely feel informed and know what you are going to want to look for when you pick up your own band saw.
One of the main uses for the band saw is for curvy cuts. These are the cuts that are at odd angular shapes. Things like cabriole legs are cut using a band saw.
Help Thin Lumber
Another thing that a band saw is commonly used for is ensuring that thicker lumber can be cut into thinner boards. This is nice if you end up with a tree that you need to break down or if you are working on specific types of jobs.
Cutting Odd Shapes
Have you ever wanted a piece of wood cut into an odd shape for a project? If you have, you might have felt frustrated with figuring out how to do it. One of the best ways to do this is by using a band saw.
Create Accurate Cross Cuts
Cross cuts are tough and can be very frustrating when you have the need for accuracy. Do not worry though, you will be able to get amazingly accurate crosscuts after just a little practice with your band saw.
How Safe is a Band Saw?
The obvious thing that you are probably wanting to know is just how safe a band saw really is. One of the things that help you to be safe when you are using a band saw is that there are action wheels that move in a downward action. These wheels are able to help provide the time and space for a steady cut. This downward motion also helps to make sure that you are safer with the band saw. It is very safe when compared to the table saw. You are never going to have to worry about a kickback with a band saw. This is nice if you have ever worked with a saw and experienced kickback, you know that it is not an easy thing to get back under control and that it could potentially be dangerous.
Band Saws Come in Different Sizes
Not only do band saws come in different shapes or types, but they come in a variety of sizes of as well. This is what can make searching for the right band saw so overwhelming. The smallest of all band saw models are the ones that are tabletop. There are beach top band saws that are the medium sized version. Both tabletop and bench top models are going to be more affordable as they are less powerful and easier to find. They are very convenient choices. They are also better if you do not have a lot of space as they are small enough to not take up a lot of space.
Basically, there are two different measurements that you will want to be focussed on when looking at the size of the band saw. The very first measurement is between the throat of the saw and the inner edge of the blade. One of the things that you will notice is that the measurement that is in the label is the first measurement. So, if a box says 14-inch band saw, it is going to be fourteen inches between the throat of the saw and the inner edge of the blade. This measurement is going to be between ten inches and twenty-four inches. This first measurement can also be a measurement of the wheel size. If the unit is being measured by the wheel size, then it is going to be a smaller measurement.
The second measurement is going to ensure the depth of the cut. This measurement is a measurement of the distance between the table and the underside of the blade guard or the blade guide. If you are looking at a saw that has a 6” depth of cut, you are actually only going to be able to get a depth of about 5 ?” as that is where the clearance will be needed to ensure that you can work safely and easily.
Our Top Band Saw Picks
- The RIKON 10-305 offers a solid steel design. This is ascaled-down version of the more popular RIKON 10-345. This means that it is easier to maneuver and use. The frame is made of a solid steel plate which is stronger than if it were pieces of steel that were put together.
- In addition to the solid steel design, the band saw features a cast iron table. The table is large and measures 13 ¾ inches by 12 ½ inches. The table offers a sturdy work surface that is not always found with a bandsaw of this size.
- Finally, the RIKON 10-305 has a rip fence. This is a quality rip fence that is included. It is easily removable and allows for you to do freehand work with the same band saw. This is not something that is available with all of the band saws.
Price — The RIKON 10-305 costs $328.
To Purchase — RIKON 10-305
One of the best things about the RIKON 10-305 is that it is an affordable band saw that really is worth the money. It features a solid design and is going to offer you the ability to do with the saw as you wish. This is definitely not the cheapest bench top band saws that you are going to find. However, it is also not the most expensive. For the price, it is a really good value.
The design of the 10-305 is really nice. The solid steel and cast iron table are both high quality and meant to last a considerable amount of time. In addition to this, there are cast aluminum wheels. There are not many parts that are made of plastic and when you are feeling the unit in your hands, the quality is quite impressive.
The motor of the RIKON 10-305 bench top band saw is not the most powerful motor that you can find. However, it is a motor that is capable of doing most of the jobs that you could want to be done with your band saw. The blade moves at 2,780 feet per minute. The table bevels to the right up to 45 degrees. However, it does not bevel to the left at all. One of the things that you would love about this band saw is that the adjustments are simple enough that you will be able to do them with ease.
In addition to these things, you will want to note that the band saw come with a two-inch tall aluminum fence. Of course, if you need a miter gauge, you should note that there is not one that is included. So, if you feel like you need one for a project, you will want to make sure that you purchase it separately. Of course, it is important that you should know that the RIKON 10-305 band saw has a full five-year warranty.
A Close Up of the Features
- 3.5 amp motor, 1/3 HP
- 2780 FPM Blade Speed
- Frame Made of Solid Steel
- Cast Wheels of Aluminum
- 9 ? Inches Throat Capacity
- 70-1/2 Inch Blade is Used with a Range of 1/8 Inch to 1/2 Inch
- 4 ? Inches Cutting Height
- Bevels 45 Degrees to the Right
- 0 Degree Bevel on the Left
- 2 Inch Tall Aluminum Fence Included
- Full 5 Year Warranty
- The SKIL 3386-01 offers a high-quality rip fence that is perfect for straight and accurate cuts. This band saw features a 6-TPI band saw. The blade will cut through a wide variety of different wooden materials.
- Another great feature of the SKIL 3386-01 is that it features an articulating LED work light that is better for being able to see the pieces that you are working on. It also clearly shows the cut line before any cuts are made with the band saw.
- To keep the areas clean, the SKIL 3386-01 actually features a 1 1/2 inch dust pan. This keeps the work area clear from the dust while you are working.
Price — $138
To Purchase — SKIL 3386-01
If you are not able to decide if you need a band saw or a scroll saw, the SKIL 3386-01 is the best band saw choice. It is a band saw that helps to bridge the gap between band saws and scroll saws. This saw is a nice size and while it is not big, it definitely has a surprising capability to help you get jobs done. The saw is going to help you to fully understand what you can and cannot do.
The motor of the SKIL 3386-01 is a great saw that has a motor that runs at 2.5 amps. It comes with an original blade that is able to cut through hardwoods with ease. In addition, if you would like to be able to cut through metal, you can purchase a blade that would be appropriate to use with this band saw for that. However, this is certainly not the best choice for cutting metal.
One of the things that make the SKIL 3386-01 such a good choice is that it features a throat capacity that is nine inches. However, it does have a low cutting height that is just 3 1/2 inches. This is not the band saw for you if you are going to be attempting to get resawing done. It is just not the right choice for that. The SKIL 3386-01 is a saw that is made out of the top quality parts but it does have quite a few plastic parts as well. The problem is that many people hate plastic parts, but when you look at the design you will see that metal is used in all of the places that are important. These include the table, frame, and blade cover.
One of the features that we did not prefer was LED work light. This light does not turn on and is not in use when the band saw is turned off. The SKIL 3386-01 band saw does come with a fence and a miter gauge. So while this band saw does not have all of the features that other band saws have, it is a great band saw for the price. It is a nice and affordable band saw.
A Close Up of the Features
- Motor That is 2.5 Amps
- 9 Inch Throat Capacity
- 2800 FPM Blade Speed
- 3 1/2 Inch Cutting Height
- A blade that is 59 1/2 Inches with 1/8 Inch to 3/8 Inch Widths
- Right Bevel to 45 Degrees
- No Left Bevel
- LED Work Light
- Miter Gauge and Fence Included
- Full 3 Year Warranty
- The motor on the WEN 3962 band saw is a 3.5 amp motor that helps to create cuts that are 9 3/4 inches wide. These cuts can be cut a depth of up to 6 inches as well.
- The WEN 3962 is a great band saw that uses a 72-inch blade that is going to vary between 1/8 and 1/2 inches.
- The work table that comes with the WEN 3962 can level up to 45 degrees and features a spacious work table that is 14 1/8 inches by 12 1/2 inches.
Price — The price of the WEN 3962 band saw is $249.
To Purchase — WEN 3962
The WEN 3962 band saw is one of the best band saws that you can find. It has a lot of special features that are going to help you to be ensured that you are pleased with your purchase. This is one of the band saws that has the best features for the price range. The motor that operates the machine is a full 3.5 amps. There are two speeds at which the band saw can run with both 2620 FPM and 1520 FPM being options. One of the best things about the bands saw is that it offers a three in one dust port that helps to keep your work area clean. It can accept hoses that are 1 3/4, 2 3/4, and 4 inches in size.
The throat capacity is 9 3/4 inches which is nice for being able to cut larger pieces. In addition, the height for cutting is 6 inches. This is a great job for a band saw that is just 10 inches in size. There is a nice miter gauge and a tall fence around the saw. The LED work light is really bright and is going to be controllable with a switch that is independent of the other switches. This means that you do not have to have your saw on to use the LED light or that you do not have to have your LED light on when you are using the saw.
One of the things that you will love and appreciate about the WEN 3962 is that it has a stand that comes with it. All you have to do is pull this machine out of the box to start working and cutting. The stand that comes with the machine is very sturdy and stable. If you purchase this saw, you are not going to have to worry about purchasing a stand as well. The WEN 3962 is a nice solid choice for a bench top band saw that has the features that you desire for a price that is not going to break the bank.
A Close Up of the Features
- The motor that is 3.5 amps
- 9 3/4 Inches Throat Capacity
- 72 Inch Blade with Width Ranging from 1/8 Inch to 1/2 Inch
- Fence and Miter Gauge Included
- Fully Functioning 3 in 1 Dust Port
- Stand Included
- Blade Can Run at 2 Speeds: 2620 FPM and 1520 FPM
- 6 Inch Cutting Height
- 45 Degree Bevel to the Right
- 0 Degree Bevel to the Left
- LED Work Light that Features an Independent Switch
- 2 Year Warranty
Everything You Need to Know About Band Saw Blades
One of the pieces of equipment that you need t make yourself familiar with is band saw blades. These are a special type of blade that is not like any other blade that is out there. They are a large loop and not a flat piece. They are welded together and have teeth running along one side. There are a number of things that you have to know about the blades before you decide that you want to own a band saw. One of these is that the saw is measured by stating the number of teeth that are present per inch. This is known as the TPI. The TPI is important to discuss. If you have a higher TPI then you are going to have a better quality blade. However, the blade is going to cut slower. However, the TPI that is lower is going to leave a rough finish, but you will be able to cut faster.
In addition to this, you will want to make note of the blade width and length. The width of the blade is something that you have to look at to be able to fully understand. Depending on the job that you are going to be doing, you will be able to determine how wide you want the blade to be. If you are going to be cutting curves, you will want to get the widest blade possible. Of course, do not get something too wide for the radius that you are cutting. Make sure that you consider the smallest radius when choosing this measurement. Just keep in mind that there is a specified minimum width and a specified maximum width and that these need to be followed for safety reasons. In addition to the width, the length is important. When you purchase a saw the length of the band saw blade is going to be set specifically. You will choose the length that you want when you purchase your band saw and this will stay the same.
Questions and Answers
Question #1 — Can I cut metal with my new band saw?
Answer — Most band saws can be used to cut metal. However, if you are going to cut metal, you will want to make sure that you have chosen a blade that is made for cutting metal. In addition, you will want to make sure that you have installed the blade properly. Just make sure that you are following directions and that you are aware of the limits that you have with your saw. Some of the saws are going to be very powerful, while others are not. The ones that are not as powerful are not going to be suitable for being able to cut through non-ferrous metals.
Question #2 — Does my band saw requires me to have different blades for different cuts?
Answer — When you have a new band saw, you should know that you are likely going to need different blades. These blades can help you to be able to cut through a variety of different materials. If you are going to be cutting metal, make sure that you have a blade that is meant to cut metal. If you are going to be cutting curves, you will find that you are most successful when you choose the widest possible blade to cut those curves. If you are going to be resawing, you should be sure that you are always using the widest possible blade in order to ensure that.
Question #3 — Is it possible to cut meat or break down the meat with your band saw?
Answer — While this is not likely a question that everyone is going to ask about the band saw, there are certainly some people who are wondering this. Since it was asked, we wanted to give some information so that you are aware of what you are getting when you purchase a band saw. Of course, your band saw is going to cut through the meat. However, it is not going to cut through the meat very clearly or cleanly. Instead, it is going to make a horrific mess and the meat is going to be butchered and torn apart, likely causing a lot of unnecessary waste that would not happen with the right tool. In the end, it is probably not sanitary to use the band saw on meat either.
Question #4 — Is there a way to sharpen the band saw blade?
Answer — There are band saw blades that are both inexpensive and very expensive are available. Whether you want to spend a lot of money will largely be dependent upon how often you are going to be using the blades and what you are going to be cutting with them. If you are going to be purchasing cheaper blades, it might seem like a good idea to try and sharpen them rather than having to go out and spend more money. If you would like to sharpen them, you can do so, but it is going to require you to do some work and be patient. You actually have to sharpen each of the teeth or blades individually. You will do this with a small grinder or a Dremel tool.
Question #5 — Is there a specific size of extension cord that I will need to use for a tabletop band saw?
Answer — The first thing that you need to know and remember is that not all of the extension cords are going to be equal to one another. They are all specifically designed to represent the amperage that you are supporting. So if you want to use an extension cord with your band saw. You should first look at the band saw and determine what the amperage for your band saw is. Then look at your extension cords to find one that is able to support this amperage. This is so that you can ensure that your saw is getting enough power. If you do not give your saw full power, it is not going to perform at its maximum level. This is not good for the saw and will actually cause your saw to have a shorter life.
Final Thoughts About Band Saws
There are several points that we want to clarify in the final thoughts. The first is based on pricing. If you are purchasing a cheap band saw, you might find that it does not last that long. When choosing a band saw it is important to be willing to invest some money to ensure that you are getting a great product. You cannot simply choose a band saw based on price alone. There are a lot of great choices out there. You should make sure that you consider how you will be using the band saw. For woodworking, there are certainly some models that are better. However, if you are going to have some metal cutting as well, you will have different needs for your band saw.
When venturing out to create smaller projects, a smaller band saw will help you to meet your needs. You will be able to find some that are even bargain-priced, but these are not recommended if you are going to be using your band saw on a daily basis. They are better choices for people who are going to be using the band saw as a hobby or for home repairs and basic overall needs. So, while the budget should not really play into the things that you look at. For someone who is not going to be using the band saw frequently, the budget can be one of the main factors. Don’t stress too much, you are going to be able to find a great overall choice with a great band saw for your needs with ease.