The 10 Best Band Saws

Updated January 03, 2018 by Chase Brush

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We spent 39 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. A high quality band saw provides accurate cuts right where you need them, whether you're slicing through metals, woods, or plastics. No matter whether you have a professional or home workshop, one of the tough tools on this list -- ranked by price, durability, performance, and ease of use -- will help you get the job done. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best band saw on Amazon.

10. Skil 3386-01 2.5-Amp

9. Powermatic PWBS-14CS Deluxe

8. Grizzly G0561

7. Rikon 10-305

6. Delta 28-400

5. Laguna Tools MBand 1412

4. Makita XBP02Z

3. Jet JWBS-14DXPR Deluxe Pro

2. DeWalt DCS371B Max

1. Wen 3962

A Brief History Of The Bandsaw And Its Many Patents

In 1817, Adam Stewart received the first American bandsaw patent.

The first ever patent for a bandsaw was issued in 1809 to William Newberry, but the first actual bandsaw wasn't built until the 1860s. This is because no one could manufacture a viable blade that could withstand the constant flexing a bandsaw's blade experiences.

William Newberry's wasn't the only bandsaw patent issued before the actual invention of such a tool. In 1817, Adam Stewart received the first American bandsaw patent. Unfortunately, his patent was lost in the devastating patent office fire of 1836, so the only information left describing his invention is the title "band or belt saw." In 1836, the second American patent for a bandsaw was issued to Benjamin Barker. In his patent, Barker describes a bandsaw with a 34-foot-long blade with a 5-foot diameter. He believed the enormous size of the wheel would reduce the flexing it experienced thereby allowing it to stand up to the rigors of bandsaw cutting. This also proved to be a dead end, and it was never manufactured.

Barker's patent was followed quickly by a third American bandsaw patent, which was issued to William Cary, also in 1836. His featured an overly wide blade, also most likely to overcome problems with metallurgical properties in available steel at the time.

In 1846, a French women by the name of Anne Paulin Crepin developed a welding technique that was finally capable of creating a bandsaw blade that could handle the constant flexing. After patenting her method, she sold the rights to A. Perin & Company of Paris, who combined it with advanced tempering techniques and new steel alloys to create the first viable bandsaw blade. Once a blade was developed, bandsaws quickly spread throughout Europe and made their way to America by the end of the 1860s.

Types Of Band Saws

Stationary bandsaws can be differentiated into three main categories: metal bandsaws, wood bandsaws, and meat bandsaws. Metal bandsaws can be further broken down into vertical and horizontal models. Vertical versions are better for intricate work like contour cutting, polishing, and filing. Horizontal bandsaws are most often used to cut down stock to smaller sizes. Metal bandsaws can cut through a larger variety of materials than wood and meat bandsaws, making them the go-to choice for shops that need a versatile tool. They can even be used to cut blades for use in other types of bandsaws.

Wood bandsaws are often found in home and professional woodworking shops. There is no doubt that they are one of the most important power tools in any woodworker's arsenal. The blades of wood bandsaws are made with smaller kerfs to ensure less material is wasted when cutting. They operate in a similar manner to any other type of bandsaw, with a blade that is located on a continuous loop of metal. The main difference between metal and wood bandsaws, besides the blade that can be swapped for another type, is the speed at which they operate. A metal bandsaw is significantly slower and runs at speeds from 80 to 300 feet per second. A wood bandsaw runs at speeds from 2,000 to 3,000 feet per second. Some models have a variable speed transmission and are capable of cutting both types of materials.

Meat bandsaws are often found in meat factories and butcher shops. They are designed to cut through meat and bone to make breaking down animals more efficient. Most meat bandsaws are constructed entirely from stainless steel and are designed to be easily cleaned for obvious sanitary reasons.

What To Consider When Buying A Bandsaw

When it comes time to buy a bandsaw, the first thing to consider is what type of material you will be cutting most often. Next, you should look at the throat and depth of cut specifications. The throat refers to the distance between the vertical frame and the blade. This will determine how wide of a cut a particular bandsaw is capable of. When you see a bandsaw marketed as a "12-inch bandsaw" or a "20-inch bandsaw," they are referring to the throat.

This will determine how wide of a cut a particular bandsaw is capable of.

In addition to the throat, the depth of cut measurement is very important, as this will determine how thick of a piece of stock you can cut. A bandsaw's depth of cut is the distance between the upper blade guide and the cutting table. Some models may have a riser which can be attached to increase the depth of cut.

The next consideration is the horse power of the motor on the bandsaw you are looking at. If the motor is not large enough, it may struggle and bog down when trying to cut dense materials, which will result in a rougher cut. The average home models have a 3/4 to 1HP motor, while professional models may have 12HP or more.

For those cutting metal, a model with a variable speed motor is a smart choice, while those who cut wood should look for a unit that features built-in dust collector ports. No matter what material you cut, most users can benefit from a model with a tilting cutting table, which allows for angled cuts.


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Last updated on January 03, 2018 by Chase Brush

Chase is a freelance journalist with experience working in the areas of politics and public policy. Currently based in Brooklyn, NY, he is also a hopeless itinerant continually awaiting his next Great Escape.


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