10 Best Band Saws
What is a Band Saw?
Even people who don’t work with wood probably know what a band saw is, or at least would recognize one if they saw it in a shop or in someone’s garage. Most folk probably remember the massive, over-sized band saw from woodworking class in high school, or at least from the movies. Either way, a band saw is a crucial piece of equipment in every woodworker’s arsenal of tools. It has the finesse and precision that you simply can’t get with a regular old table saw, and this is why woodworkers, carpenters, and furniture makers absolutely need one of these awesome tools in their workshops.
Band saws give you a special cutting ability, quite like what you would expect from a jigsaw. In fact, a band saw is almost like one jacked-up jigsaw. It will give you an intricate, smooth, and versatile cutting operation to ensure all kinds of irregular cuts are made with expert precision. Another great thing about band saws is that they are easy to use, despite what you may think when looking at the giant floor models. They are great for skilled woodworkers or novice woodworkers, and they can be learned how to effectively use in a hurry by just about anyone.
So, how does a band saw work?
A band saw is basically one long, flat blade with sharp teeth, kind of like the wood-cutting blade on your Sawzall. The blade is a continuous band that comes pulled taut between a set of wheels. When the band saw is turned on, the wheels spin and the band of metal (the blade) spins along the wheels, becoming an even and reliable cutting tool. The blade is thin and fixed in place, and this allows you to work small pieces of wood to make tight corners and extremely detailed cuts while keeping your piece of wood flat on the table, manipulating it around the moving saw with your hands.
While band saws are mostly used to work with wood, there are some types of metal that can be worked with them as well. The motor can usually be tuned to your specific cutting needs, and the blades can be removed easily enough (though it is a bit more complicated than with a handheld jigsaw). All in all, these are excellent tools for when you need to make some above basic cuts, working the wood with a certain magic to get clean corners and sharp angles.
Now that we know what a band saw is, let’s take a look at the ten best band saws on the market today.
Table Of Contents
- Top 10 Best Band Saws
- 1. Rikon 10-305 Band Saw
- 2. WEN 3962 Two-Speed Band Saw
- 3. Grizzly G0555LX Deluxe Band Saw
- 4. SKIL 3386-01 9” Band Saw
- 5. WEN 3960 9” Benchtop Band Saw
- 6. Jet JWBS-14DXPRO Deluxe Pro Band Saw
- 7. KAKA Industrial BS-712N Metal Cutting Horizontal 7” Band Saw
- 8. Milwaukee 6242-6 Compact Band Saw
- 9. Genesis GBS900 9” Band Saw
- 10. Gryphon C-40 Glass Band Saw
- Band Saw Buyer’s Guide
Top 10 Best Band Saws
1. Rikon 10-305 Band Saw
The Rikon 10-305 is an open-stand style band saw with a durable body and secure base. This baby isn’t going anywhere. It has a 3/4HP motor that can tackle the toughest jobs, offering a blade speed that is an incredible 2,780 feet per minute. Available to be used with blade widths between 1/8 and ½, you are going to get loads of flexibility and precision when using the Rikon 10-305. With a 45-degree tilting table, a 2.5” dust port, and a total weight of only seventy pounds, this unit is ideal for personal shops where saving space, keeping that space clean and tidy, and being overall more effective is crucial. Plus, because of the lightweight design you can put this entire model together by your lonesome. Everything about the Rikon 10-305 is a breeze.
- Design is solid and robust
- Heavy motor for superior power
- Assembly is easy for anyone
- Included with a rip fence
2. WEN 3962 Two-Speed Band Saw
We would have to say that when it comes to a band saw where performance, quality, and affordability all meet in perfect harmony, it would be the WEN 3962. This monster has some serious power with its 3.5amp motor, allowing you to make deep cuts until your fingers get too sore to work the work. The dual speed settings mean that you can take the band saw from low, at 1,520, up to a very quick 2,620. With the added feature of being able to bevel the table and angled cuts up to an impressive 45 degrees, you can’t really go wrong with the WEN 3962, especially considering the affordable price tag. This machine offers power, versatility, affordability, and most of all, user control.
- Massive 3.5amp motor
- Capable of cutting up to six inches deep or 9.75” wide
- Changeable between 1,520fpm and 2,620fpm
- Can use as a standing unit or on a bench
- Includes a work light & heavy-duty stand
3. Grizzly G0555LX Deluxe Band Saw
The Grizzly is not only our top pick for the best band saw, but it is basically everyone’s top pick. The Grizzly G0555LX is a beast of a machine. It comes equipped with sturdy 14” table (no wobble here, even with the toughest woods) and a blade that is 3/8”. You get a level of professionalism with the Grizzly that is unmatched in the industry. 45 degrees of tilt to the right, then a bonus 10 degrees of tilting power to the left; 11 amps of hardcore power; included with a rack and pinion guidepost – the G0555LX is going to buzz through your toughest cuts with ease.
- Table is built from solid cast iron
- The entire construction is from ball bearings
- Easy to use for beginners
- Fun and powerful for experts
- 11amp motor
4. SKIL 3386-01 9” Band Saw
The SKIL 9” Band Saw is an absolute thing of beauty. This little unit is the most adorable, and yet somehow hardcore red and black saw you’re going to find today. Because of its compact size and lightweight design (less than forty pounds total), you can fit the SKIL right onto your own workbench. There is no need to designate a spot in the shop and make a fuss with a giant machine. This unit will simply sit down and do the work. The table is 11”x12.5” and the motor offers 2.5 amps, which is a little lower than the big boys, but it will still get the job done nicely.
- High-quality rip fence
- Integrated LED workplace light for maximum precision
- 1.5” dust port, great for keeping clean
- Quick adjustments to the angle and the height
- 1-speed motor
- Can be used for wood or metal
5. WEN 3960 9” Benchtop Band Saw
The WEN 3960 is undoubtedly the most powerful and fully functioning benchtop band saw on the market today, and is widely available through a ton of great online distributors. The motor is a whopping 2.8amps and the blade is going to slice through wood at a blinding 2,460fpm. It comes included with a ton of standard additions, like the miter gauge, the dust port, and the fence. One of the things that tradesmen like most about the WEN 3960 is that, for a lightweight saw that fits on your worktable, it cuts extremely straight lines with very thin blades. And while the power isn’t extreme, this is a very dapper little unit for at home or in the shop.
- Lightweight and versatile
- High power for a small unit
- Excellent cutting abilities
- 45 degree tilting
- Can cut up to 9” in width
- 12”x12” table
6. Jet JWBS-14DXPRO Deluxe Pro Band Saw
The Jet Deluxe Pro Band Saw is for professionals who enjoy quality and security while using their tools. It comes in a very flashy housing of white/gray, and it even comes included with the rigid stand. Make no mistake, this is a heavy and serious band saw, seeing as it weighs nearly 260 pounds. You are probably going to need to phone a friend for the full installation of this two-piece saw. And while it is indeed heavy, it is 100% functional. Expensive, yes, but functional to near perfection. This thing is precise thanks to its viewing window, not to mention safe. A superior piece of equipment.
- 12-inch capacity for resaw w/ large chunks of wood
- 2-speed system
- Both upper and lower are strong cast iron
- Blade tracking window is great
- The blade guide post is very useful
- Overall smart design and easy to use
7. KAKA Industrial BS-712N Metal Cutting Horizontal 7” Band Saw
This list would not be complete without a metal-centric horizontal band saw. We have chosen the best of the bunch for our inclusion to the list. The BS-712N comes with a very tough construction of cast iron, promising to be a durable tool for even the most brutal metal-cutting jobs. As in classic KAKA style, this unit comes with heaps of safety features integrated into the system, meaning it is great to use in your home or on the job. Add the great safety bonuses with the quick clamps, the smart coolant system to negate overheating, and the machine’s overall versatility, and you have the best horizontal band saw money can buy.
- Hardy construction
- Top unit for safety
- Cooling system for anti-overheating
- Cuts metal like butter
- Moving wheels are ideal for transport
- Quick clamp vise, rotational to 45 degrees
8. Milwaukee 6242-6 Compact Band Saw
Portable band saws are absolutely critical in a lot of businesses. I’m talking to the plumbers and gas fitters out there. If you’re working outside and you’re working with PVC and thin metals, you are going to want a portable, compact band saw in your toolkit. Not only does this unit weigh less than 10 pounds, which is light enough to operate one-handed by most workers, but it will also slice through thin steel, copper, and piping like nobody’s business. This is a very smart model for workers on the front lines and in the crawlspaces.
- Highly portable for jobs on the go
- Weighs only 9.5 pounds
- Integrated LED light
- Variable speeds for easy adjustments
- Compact and easy to store in your truck or van
9. Genesis GBS900 9” Band Saw
This list wouldn’t be complete without the ultimate budget band saw. The Genesis GBS900 is going to cost you less than 200 bones, and that’s saying something for a band saw. Still, this model is functional enough to worth mentioning. The table is made from aluminum, and it will fit snugly onto any bench or tool shelf. The motor outputs 2.2amps, while it includes tilting features and a built-in dust port. Great for a hobbyist without heavy-duty needs.
- Quiet operation
- Tilts to 45 degrees
- Dust port is built in
- Comes with rip fence & miter gauge
10. Gryphon C-40 Glass Band Saw
Now here is something you don’t see on the lists of best band saws: a band saw designed to cut glass. The Gryphon C-40 is without a doubt the go-to solution for every glass maker in the country. And while many materials are CNC machined, the Gryphon C-40 is a more affordable solution to your glass-cutting needs than such a complex process. It has a design that is simple, a special water cooling system, and no extra frills to confuse you. Plain and simple, this band saw is going to cut glass to perfection with its diamond-coated blade.
- Recirculates water to stay efficient
- Ultra quick with a high-speed motor
- Simple to use
- Blade is diamond coated
Band Saw Buyer’s Guide
There are a lot of factors that go into choosing the right band saw for you and your needs. You may want a smaller model to fit into a home work space, or a heavy-duty industrial type for your shop. And while most band saws are going to be used for wood, some may be better tuned for metal, and so this is something to keep in mind. You are going to need not only the right band saw for the job, but also the right blades.
Whether you need to make small and precise cuts, to slice tight corners when working with furniture, or just to trim very thin strips from chunks of wood, there are tons of great band saws to choose from, all with different speeds, different sizes of motor, different weights, and different overall feel. Some are easy to assemble, while others may take a few days to put together. Most of the band saws on our list of the 10 best are general purpose and are fantastic at using for a bit of everything. Still, we can dig a bit deeper on what makes the perfect band saw.
Sometimes it just comes down to cost. Tools aren’t cheap, and every tradesman knows it. A quality tool is going to end up costing more money, but it’s worth it in the long run. If you need a band saw every day for your business, the price point shouldn’t be a huge issue. A few hundred bucks extra for a quality piece of equipment is going to make your operation run smoother, so why skimp? If you are just using the band saw casually or for hobbies at home, then yeah, maybe a budget model is more your speed. If you only need to use the band saw for one job, like during a home renovation, you may want to consider renting a high-quality band saw from your local hardware store. That will save you money. Plus, you can bring it back when you’re done.
Power comes in various outputs, and it is generally dictated by the size of the band saw’s motor. We measure the power in HP, and while many people think maximum horsepower is the best, that is not always the case. There is no sense in buying a high-horsepower machine if you’re only trimming soft wood for interior paneling or for the trim on the floorboards. It would be a waste of power, and money.
For general woodworking, you can accomplish just about any task with between one and two horsepower. This is for basic stuff. If you’re a carpenter and will be installing hardwood flooring or trimming metal, you may want to bump it up to between two and three horsepower. This is assuming you have the proper socket to plug into, since such massive power will require 220 volts. You can’t plug this baby into your microwave socket.
If you want a lower horsepower band saw, saw just 1.5HP, and you still want to cut heavier woods, simply upgrade to a stronger blade. This is the ideal solution for those working from home or from a small shop, or for those who want to bring their unit with them to the job site.
Bulk & Weight
Power and weight are about even in terms of importance when choosing the best band saw for you. Let me explain why. If your band saw is too heavy, you can’t move it. Unless you want the thing practically bolted to the ground and in the same place forever, you may want to get something you and some coworkers can haul to the other side of the shop, or at least light enough that you can move when it’s time to clean.
On the flipside, you don’t want an ultra-light band saw. If the structure isn’t stable and your entire platform starts to wobble, that spells trouble. Can you imagine the band saw, all its moving pieces and gears and its spinning motor, all tumbling sideways in the middle of a cut? Nasty, right? It’s like eating dinner on a table with one leg shorter than the others. Something is bound to go wrong.
The solution? Something in the middle. You want heavy duty regardless of the application. The band saw needs to have enough integrity to stay in its spot, while at the same time being light enough that you can maneuver it without using a crane. Material has a role to play in this. Steel is preferable for stronger models, something that is crafted by a trusted manufacturer with a good lifespan. Plastic is a no go, unless maybe you’re using it to help teach the youngsters how to work wood. Remember that using the band saw is going to cause vibration, and a solid steel frame is going to take the brunt of that vibration much better than something flimsy and poorly put together.
There is a pretty good chance you will need angled cuts when working with your shiny new band saw. If the model doesn’t have a tilt feature, quite frankly, it probably sucks. The standard feature with most high-quality band saws is that their table will tilt to a maximum of 45 degrees. This makes angled cuts an absolute breeze.
When talking tilt mechanisms, there are two essential kinds that come with most band saws. Your table is either going to tilt one way, or it is going to tilt both ways. We highly suggest getting a dual-tilt table if you are going to be making a lot of angled cuts. If the table only tilts in one direction, that means you need to fiddle with it each time to make the same cut on the opposite side. Tilting both ways is just a faster way to get your job done.
Two Models: Floor Standing & Benchtop
There are two types of models that you’re going to see a lot of when shopping for a band saw, and which one you choose depends on your level of seriousness.
The floor-standing model is used for pros with serious tasks and big jobs. These suckers are heavy, bulky, and are going to handle everything you throw at them. They can cut wood and metal, and they can cut it darn good with a lot of power.
A benchtop band saw is more for the garage, for someone who needs it around for their hobbies or for general maintenance around the house. These units are more affordable and don’t require a lot of room. These are the “dad” models of bench saws. They are handy to keep around for general purpose tasks.