Best Band Saws of 2017 –  Reviews & Buying Guide

band saw at LowesOur favorite band sawIf you are interested in woodwork, metalwork, or lumbering, you probably know what a bandsaw is and have used it more times than you can count. If you’ve never used one before, though, you may not be exactly sure what a band saw is – much less which band saw is the best band saw to get. Either way, this guide will teach you something new or form a knowledge base for you to build upon.

Band saws come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors but they all have the same basic structure. That is, a machine with a stationary blade so that rather than moving your saw, you will move the piece of material you are cutting to meet the blade. These saws are particularly useful when you are cutting irregular or curved shapes but are also helpful in dissecting your material – most commonly wood – into thinner strips.

So, who out there needs a band saw? Of course, a carpenter or construction worker could benefit but any woodworker would also. Even if you are a hobbyist, a band saw is just the thing to help you make the cut needed for that rocking chair you’ve been working on. In this guide, we will talk about some of the best options out there and tell you everything you need to keep in mind while you shop. By the end, no matter how familiar you are with band saws, you’ll be able to find one you can fall in love with and is just right for you.

Our Top 5 Band Saw Picks

MODELPRODUCT DIMENSIONS
ITEM WEIGHT
USER RATINGPRICE
JET JWBS-14DXPRO
JET JWBS-14DXPRO
29 x 28 x 77 inches
258 pounds
4.5/5
$$$$
Check Latest Price on Amazon
Rikon 10-305
Rikon 10-305
35.5 x 18 x 13 inches
76 pounds

4.3/5
$$$
Check Latest Price on Amazon
Grizzly G0555LX
Grizzly G0555LX
45 x 21.5 x 18 inches
247 pounds
4.2/5$$$$$
Check Latest Price on Amazon
WEN 3962
WEN 3962
20 x 25 x 58 inches
73 pounds
4.2/5
$$
Check Latest Price on Amazon
SKIL 3386-01
SKIL 3386-01
31.1 x 16.2 x 12.8 inches
37.9 pounds
3.8/5
$
Check Latest Price on Amazon

Searching randomly online for what you need is frustrating and sometimes doesn’t even yield the right result. So, to help you out, we’ve gathered five of the best band saws for you to choose from. Since researching these saws is half the battle, we’ve band saw reviews and tips for each product, so you know exactly what you’re getting when you look at each band saw. Let’s get started with our top choice, the Grizzly G0555LX.

#1 Grizzly G0555LX – Our Top Pick

Grizzly G0555LXThe first band saw up for review is our top pick; the Grizzly G0555LX. This band saw has a 14-inch by 14-inch table with a 3/8-inch blade and a shipping weight of 246 pounds. The frame of this saw is cast-iron, making it durable and long-lasting as a saw should be. The maximum cutting capacity is 13 ½ inches in width and 6 inches long.

The table itself is also cast-iron, and the entirety of the saw and table is made up of ball bearing construction. This gives the saw a sturdiness that is a very attractive feature when purchasing a new band saw. Not only can a cheap, flimsy table waste your money, but it can also be unsafe to use as well.

The Grizzly G0555LX has a one horsepower motor with 11 amps behind it. Less than some other models on the market, but not really lacking. The shape of the cut isn’t a problem either. Thanks to a table tilt of 45 degrees to the right and 10 degrees to the left as well as a rack-and-pinion guidepost to help make accurate cuts, pretty much any project will be a breeze.

This band saw lives up to its name, and we found it not only easy to use but easy to set up and understand as well. One thing you could be worried about is the relatively cheap price tag on this band saw. As it turns out, this isn’t really an issue. Grizzly made this band saw to be affordable, that’s true, but it isn’t made cheap either.

There was one sacrifice made that you should know about. It lacks a stand – forcing you to provide your own workbench or purchase a stand separately. For some people, this could be a deal breaker. On the other hand, some people would rather have a dedicated stand anyway.

Pros:

  • Fantastic Quality
  • Easy to Set Up
  • User-Friendly
  • Durable

Cons:

  • Less Horsepower Than Other Models
  • No Stand


#2 JET JWBS-14DXPRO – The Runner-up

JET JWBS-14DXPROOur second choice is the Jet JWBS-14DXPRO. This model comes in white and gray and includes a stand as well as a saw – unlike the Grizzly G0555LX which only includes the saw itself. It stands at a comfortable 28 inches by 29 inches by 77 inches – making it slightly smaller than the Grizzly model we just studied. It weighs just under 260 pounds, and since the product comes in 2 pieces, you will probably need some help in assembling it.

The cutting capacity on this saw is 13.5 inches, which is around average. The height for the cutting capacity, though, is an impressive 12 inches, making it a good fit for pretty much any job. There is a blade guard on the saw itself to protect you from accidents while you work, which is a nice safety feature. Even better, this blade guard moves with the blade, so you won’t have to worry about it limiting your workspace.

For safe viewing while you work there is also a window and blade guide. This isn’t just for safety, though, it also does wonders for precision. This way, you don’t have to worry about messing up your piece because you couldn’t see when it went through.

The stand features cabinets for convenient storage. So, if you need to reach for a tool while you’re working, it’ll be right there at your feet, and it will all be nicely organized as well. As I said in the Grizzly review, people can either like this or prefer their own stand.

But, what about the downside? The main one is the price. The Jet is significantly more expensive than the Grizzly G0555XL. Well, the most obvious answer is that it comes with a stand. Furthermore, it just has really everything you need in a band saw. It’s a complete product. It’s well worth the price, but we placed it second because the Grizzly relies just on the essentials and does them very well. This is all a matter of preference of course. If you decide on the more expensive option, you will not be disappointed.

Pros:

  • Stand Included
  • Durable
  • Storage
  • Blade Guards and Safety/Precision Window

Cons:

  • Difficult to Assemble
  • Expensive


#3 WEN 3962 – Best for the Money

WEN 3962The Grizzly G0555LX above is a great mix of quality and price with more emphasis on quality. However, if the price is your main focus, then the WEN 3962 might be a better and more frugal option. Remember, frugal doesn’t mean that you should just find the cheapest option. Rather, it means that you should find the product that is the best bang for your buck. The band saw that we found to represent this intersection of value and quality is the WEN 3962.

This band saw is 13 and ¾ inches in length, 15 and ¾ inches in width, and 25 and 1/4 inches in height. The 72-inch blade of this saw is versatile and allows for a cut anywhere from 1/8 of an inch to 1/2 an inch into the material you are working with.

There are two speeds that this saw runs at as well, giving a little more control to its user.
These speeds are 1520 FPM (feet per minute) and 2620 FPM. You can also bevel the table up to 45-degrees, allowing you different angled surfaces to work with in a pinch. A 3-in-1 dust port also helps you to keep the mess and sawdust to a minimum. One feature that doesn’t quite work is the light on the saw. It is hard to track and maneuver.

If you have any issues with this product, it is also covered by a 2-year warranty which is pretty good for a product at this price point. With anything you buy – but power tools especially – it is important to make sure they have a good warranty. By their very nature, they see a lot of rough and tumble, so it’s a great to have a fall back plan if anything goes wrong with your saw.

Pros:

  • Table Included
  • Durable

Cons:

  • Light on saw is tricky to use


#4 Rikon 10-305

Rikon 10-305Next up on our list of the best band saws, we have our first honorable mention – the Rikon 10-305. This open stand band saw is slightly weaker than some of the other models we have looked at with only 3/4 HP. This is still more than enough to get by and offers a blade speed of 2,780 ft/min.

The blade width on this saw can be anywhere between 1/8 of an inch to 1/2 of an inch, allowing you some room for flexibility in what cuts you make. You can also tilt the table 45 degrees to the right, allowing for you to work at whatever angle works best for you. It also has a 2 and a 1/2 inch dust port to help keep your workspace neat.

This table is rather light as well at only around 70 pounds. So, it won’t be too heavy to assemble on your own. However, the weight reflects the size of the set up so it can be on the small size. This can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on how big the jobs you are working on. One other possible downside is that the included blade isn’t great so you should probably factor in the cost of replacing it.

One major upside is the 5-year warranty, which is fantastic for this kind of product.

Pros:

  • Sturdy cast iron construction
  • Small
  • Easy to assemble

Cons:

  • Stand not included
  • Miter gauge not included
  • Included blade isn’t ideal


#5 SKIL 3386-01

SKIL 3386-01This red and black band saw is an excellent table saw. These types of band saws are great if you are looking for something less expensive or a band saw that takes up less space. Rather than coming with or requiring you to get a special table, these can simply sit on the work table you already have. Of course, this is a matter of preference and a table saw is no better or worse in general, it depends on how big of a job you have and what you need.

Since it is a table saw, this band saw is light, weighing in at less than 40 pounds. The work area on the saw itself is 11 inches by 12 ½ inches with a capacity of 9 inches. This makes it perfect for smaller jobs and precise cuts. With 2.5 amps of power, the motor is decent for its size and type of band saw.

The SKIL 3386 has several other convenient features as standard. For example, a dust port to help minimize mess, a work light so you can see what you’re doing, rack and pinion table adjustments to change height and tilt to your needs, and a rip fence and miter gauge to ensure precision. With a maximum cutting capacity of 3 ½ inches, SKIL is aware that they are catering to precision workers and offer them that. Of course, there is another side to that. This isn’t the best tool for big jobs. It also has a few other knocks, including a weak blade guide and a tendency to gradually lose power.

Pros:

  • Small size is good for precision work
  • Doesn’t take up much space
  • Lightweight
  • Powerful for its size
  • Not expensive

Cons:

  • Not great for large projects
  • Flimsy blade guide
  • Power tends to weaken as it goes on


Factors to Consider When Buying a Band Saw

Each of these band saws is made carefully by companies and designers who want to bring the best product to their customers. However, as we all know, not all of them are created equal. Because of this, you need to know what to look for to find the best tool for your needs. In this section, we’ll take a look at some questions that may come up while you are trying to find a band saw.

How Big Should My Band Saw Be?
This question comes primarily down to one thing; what are you using it for? When you see an 18-inch or 20-inch machine, these are used for larger projects. However, if you are going to be working on small projects, a 14-inch saw should be enough.

On the topic of size, we mentioned earlier the height of the cutting capacity of some of these products. This measurement is important because it determines the overall versatility of your saw. While these come in several different sizes, most woodworkers would agree that the size that worked best is 12 inches.

Open Stands, Closed Stands, and Table Tops
I feel like I’m saying this a lot, but this really comes down to your own personal preference. All craftsmen have their own opinions on what type of surface or stand is best for them. However, we can help you make an informed decision and explain these options to you.

A table top band saw is exactly what it sounds like; a saw that is used on a work bench or table rather than having a dedicated stand. These are usually smaller models – mostly used by hobbyists or independent wood workers rather than in a construction setting.

Next, let’s look at open and closed stands. These are the band saws that come with dedicated stands. In terms of blade size, 14 inches is when you start needing a dedicated stand. The difference between open and closed stands is in the name. An open stand is just the saw and a table while a closed stand will close like a cabinet. They are both just as sturdy as the other, but the closed stand will offer more storage room and do a better job of keeping everything clean and organized.

How is a Band Saw Powered?
A band saw is directly powered by electricity so you can just plug it in and you’re good to go. Fortunately, this means that you don’t have to purchase fuel for it and unlike some other power tools you won’t have to charge a battery pack.

How Do I Choose My Blade Width?
Some of these band saws have a fixed blade width. So, how do you pick a blade width that works for you? If you are looking to cut tight corners or curves, then a smaller blade width is better. However, if you don’t need this sort of precision a wider blade will be perfectly fine.

Tips and Things You Should Know

You are going to come across a ton of unfamiliar terms if you have never shopped for a band saw before, so let’s take a look at some of them here. We will also go over some aspects that you should prioritize when getting a band saw.

  • Teeth Per Inch (TPI). As a rule of thumb, you should go with more teeth for projects that need a fine cut. This way the blade’s teeth won’t be separated out, which causes a coarser finish. Keep that in mind, and you don’t have to remember exact numbers.
  • Quality Materials in the Frame. Material quality is important in all the parts, but it is most important in the frame of the machine. Think about it this way – you can replace parts if they break but if your entire frame breaks you’re going to have to shell out quite a lot of money to replace it. Most often, you’ll want to look for band saws made with the following materials:
    • Die-cast Metal
    • Welded steel
    • Cast iron

    Be wary if a prospective band saw doesn’t have a frame made from one of these materials. In fact, make it a priority when choosing the right band saw for you.

  • Wheels. Much like the frame of your band saw, the wheels are literally part of the foundation of the whole product. You will need to make sure that they are just as sturdy when you purchase your product.
  • Dust Ports. Sawdust is an unhappy by-product of woodworking. Luckily, most band saws have a dust port. These dust ports are a place to connect your shop vacuum to your band saw, so sawdust doesn’t fly everywhere while you work. There are many different sizes when it comes to dust ports; most users find that a bigger dust port is better. Make sure that it will connect with your shop vac.
  • Motor Size. The size of the motor in a band saw will vary, but most range from ½ HP to 1 and ½ HP. If you are cutting softwoods, then you are fine sticking with a weaker motor. However, if you are planning to build furniture or do any heavy-duty woodwork, you’re going to want to look for a band saw with a motor in the upper end of that range.
  • Don’t Buy Cheap. Be frugal but don’t be cheap. We talked about the best saw for your money but not the cheapest option and for good reason. Not only is a cheap band saw unreliable and potentially dangerous, but they also aren’t going to work as well. You can, of course, buy a band saw on a budget – such as the WEN 3962 or even the Grizzly G0555LX – but you have to be extra careful with the standard of quality of cheaper band saws to make it worth your while.

Conclusion

By now, we have gone over some of the best band saws out there and some of the things you need to know when you are shopping around for one. We recommend the Grizzly G0555LX, but you can’t really go wrong with any of our top five band saws. If one of those doesn’t suit your needs, then use our buying guide to help you choose one that fits your needs.

This sector of the marketplace is evolving at lightning speed, so I hope we have helped you keep on top of it all and also to make the right choice when buying a band saw.