- Updated Jul 09, 2020
- Written by Editorial Staff
- Table of Contents
The 10 Best Band Saws of 2020: Benchtop, Floor and Portable
- Updated Jul 09, 2020
- Written by Editorial Staff
- Table of Contents
If you were to list 5 power tools that you just love using in the workshop, a band saw would probably make the list as it is just an amazing tool for both DIYers and woodworkers. Also, with the best band saw in your workshop, there is a wide variety of cuts you can make.
Band saws will feature a long, thin blade capable of making some highly intricate cuts. From cutting circles in a piece of ply to creating intricate drawer front patterns on other wood boards, the band saw always comes in handy. What’s more, it is also quite easy to use and safe even for beginners.
And because we know you do not have the time to compare the almost countless band saw models out there, here we do the hard work for you with reviews of 10 top-rated band saws and a highly detailed buying guide.
- 10 Best Band Saws – Reviews
- 1. Wen 3966 – Best Overall Band Saw
- 2. Skil 3386-01 – Best Band Saw for the Money
- 3. Grizzly G0555 – Best Woodworking Band Saw
- 4. Makita XBP02Z – Best Battery-Powered Band Saw
- 5. Grizzly G0561 – Best Metal-Cutting Band Saw
- 6. Wen 3959 – Best Benchtop Band Saw
- 7. Milwaukee 2429-21XC – Most Compact Band Saw
- 8. Rikon 10-324 – High Capacity Entry Level Band Saw
- 9. Jet JWBS-14DXPRO – Innovative and Sturdy Construction
- 10. Laguna Tools MBAND1412-175 – Heavy-Duty Band Saw
- How to Buy the Best Band Saw
- How to Use a Band saw
10 Best Band Saws – Reviews
1. Wen 3966 (Best Overall Band Saw)
2. Skil 3386-01 (Best Band Saw for the Money)
3. Grizzly G0555 (Best Woodworking Band Saw)
4. Makita XBP02Z (Best Battery-Powered Band Saw)
5. Grizzly G0561 (Best Metal-Cutting Band Saw)
6. Wen 3959 (Best Benchtop Band Saw)
7. Milwaukee 2429-21XC (Most Compact Band Saw)
8. Rikon 10-324 (High Capacity Entry Level Band Saw)
9. Jet JWBS-14DXPRO (Innovative and Sturdy Construction)
10. Laguna Tools MBAND1412-175 (Heavy-Duty Band Saw)
1. Wen 3966
(Best Overall Band Saw)
2. Skil 3386-01
(Best Band Saw for the Money)
3. Grizzly G0555
(Best Woodworking Band Saw)
4. Makita XBP02Z
(Best Battery-Powered Band Saw)
5. Grizzly G0561
(Best Metal-Cutting Band Saw)
6. Wen 3959
(Best Benchtop Band Saw)
7. Milwaukee 2429-21XC
(Most Compact Band Saw)
8. Rikon 10-324
(High Capacity Entry Level Band Saw)
9. Jet JWBS-14DXPRO
(Innovative and Sturdy Construction)
10. Laguna Tools MBAND1412-175
(Heavy-Duty Band Saw)
1. Wen 3966 – Best Overall Band Saw
- Power: 3.5 Amp
- Blade Length: 72”
- Blade Width: 1/8” to 1/2"
- Speed: 1,520 and 2,620 FPM
- Cutting Capacity: 9-3/4”
Versatility is what makes Wen 3966 our best overall band saw model because for its price tag, it will be super hard to get a more versatile option from a top brand. This versatility stems from the fact that it works as both a bench top and floor band saw as it also has an optional stand.
Also, the two-speed options which are 1,520 and 2,620 FPM provide more cutting options and hence making this an even more versatile saw. And it will make cuts up to 6 inches deep and 9-3/4 inches wide.
This saw also has a spacious 14-1/8 by 12-1/2 inches work table that besides holding larger workpieces will also bevel from 0 to 45 degrees to allow you to make various angled cuts.
There is also a 3-in-1 dust management system on the band saw that will allow you to connect 3 different dust hose sizes for effective dust extraction. And when you buy this band saw, it will come with several accessories such as a sturdy fence, miter gauge, and flexible work light.
Adjusting thinner blades seem to be quite hectic when using this band saw. But like all other power tools, it only takes a learning curve. Once you master how to do it, things should become easier.
2. Skil 3386-01 – Best Band Saw for the Money
- Power: 2.5 Amp
- Blade Length: 59-1/4” to 59-1/2”
- Blade Width: 1/8” to 3/8”
- Speed: 2,800 FPM
- Cutting Capacity: 9”
If you are on the hunt for the best budget band saw, Skil 3386-01 is our recommendation because, besides being the cheapest on our list, it is still an efficient and powerful model that runs on a 2.5-amp motor.
For its price, the 59-1/4 to 59-1/2-inch blade length and 2,800 FPM cutting speed are both quite good, and to get anything better, you will need to spend much more cash.
Because this band saw will also come with a rip fence, it will be easy for you to get straight and more accurate cuts. And for even more accuracy, it will come with an LED work light that will ensure you keep a clear sight of the workpiece and your cutting line.
Adjusting the angle and height is also made easier and fast by the rack and pinion adjustment. With the included 6 TPI blades, you can easily cut through a wide variety of wood types, but with the right blade this band saw will also be ideal for cutting metal.
The table does not seem completely flat, but for a budget model, this is a small issue that you can easily workaround by placing a piece of plywood over the table. Also, the blade guides seem a little hard to adjust at first, but things should become easier as you do it more and more.
3. Grizzly G0555 – Best Woodworking Band Saw
- Power: 1 HP
- Blade Length: 92-1/2" to 93-1/2"
- Blade Width: 1/8" to 3/4"
- Speed: 1,500 and 3,200 FPM
- Cutting Capacity: 13-1/2”
For woodworking, Grizzly G0555 will do a fantastic job as it is powerful enough to allow you to make crosscuts and resaw even on thick wood stocks, which is what many woodworkers will use this type of saw for.
Another thing that makes this one of the best woodworking band saws is that it has a highly durable overall build. This build includes all bearing design that includes upper and lower bearing blade guides, cast-iron frame, and table and cast aluminum wheel with thick rubber tires.
The sturdy, T-shape fence makes ripping straighter and more accurate, and it is also made from durable aluminum material. And there is also a highly useful miter gauge.
With the quick-release blade tension, removing and changing your blade will take less effort, and there is also an easy-to-use tension knob to make blade tension adjustments easy and precise. To crown all these amazing features, the band saw also has a 4-inch dust port that will ensure maximum efficiency when it comes to dust management.
The included blade looks cheap, but this should not be a concern as you will hardly find any band saw that comes with a top-quality free blade.
4. Makita XBP02Z – Best Battery-Powered Band Saw
- Power: 18V, 4.0 Ah
- Blade Length: 44-7/8"
- Blade Width: 1/2"
- Speed: 275 to 530 FPM
- Cutting Capacity: 4-3/4"
Cordless power tools are always more convenient as you can use them from anywhere. Besides this convenience, the Makita XBP02Z also offers a more powerful and reliable performance as it is an 18-volt model that runs on a long-lasting 4.0 Ah battery.
Although this band saw will still cut various materials, it seems to do a much better job when it comes to cutting metals. Provided you have the right blade, you can cut a wide variety of material.
Operating this band saw is also made easy by the comfortable non-slip handle with a conveniently located trigger and variable speed control.
The saw has a 44-7/8-inch blade that will make cuts up to 4-3/4 inches deep. And getting an accurate cut should also be easy as it also includes a built-in LED light that will help keep the cut line clear.
Durability is also ensured by the solid overall build and the inclusion of thick and highly protective rubber bumpers.
This cordless band saw is a little larger and on the heavier side for a portable model as it weighs around 15 pounds. However, this will only make one-handed operation a little hectic, but once you get the hang of it, things should be easier for you.
5. Grizzly G0561 – Best Metal-Cutting Band Saw
- Power: 1 HP
- Blade Length: 93”
- Blade Width: 3/4"
- Speed: 80, 130, 180 and 235 FPM
- Cutting Capacity: 7”
If most of your projects will involve metals, the Grizzly G0561 is the best band saw for cutting metal on our list. It runs on a powerful 1-horsepower motor and with a variety of features to make metal cutting a breeze.
These features include adjustable blade guides that make it possible to direct the blade just where you want it for more precise cuts. Also, you will have greater control over the material feed as this saw also includes an adjustable hydraulic down feed.
This band saw has a 93-inch blade length and will provide a maximum cutting capacity of 7 inches. Many users will also love that you get to choose from 4-speed options, which are 80, 130, 180 and 235 FPM, and this enhances the versatility of the band saw.
With the auto shut off function, this saw is also safer to use, and when it comes to the build, it will not disappoint as it is made with an all-steel base. And it also includes heavy-duty ball bearings and cast iron wheels which are also highly durable.
Although this band saw does not take up a lot of room, you will still not be limited to using it from one spot as it has some solid and smooth-rolling wheels for easy mobility.
Because there are several steps involves when changing the blades, the process is quite slow. However, this does not take anything away from the fact that this is still an amazing band saw.
6. Wen 3959 – Best Benchtop Band Saw
- Power: 2.5 Amp
- Blade Length: 59-1/2”
- Blade Width: 1/8” to 3/8”
- Speed: 2,500 FPM
- Cutting Capacity: 9”
Bench top band saws like Wen 3959 provide the advantage of taking up relatively less space. However, this model takes things a notch higher as it has a powerful 2.5-amp motor and a wide variety of features to ensure you get the best cuts.
This powerful motor delivers up to 2,500 FPM, which for most users will be more than enough speed to make almost any cut. Also, it has a good enough 9-inch cutting capacity, which for a bench top model is perfect.
Also, despite its smaller footprint, this band saw will still provide lots of space for your stock as it has a spacious 2-1/4 by 11-7/8 inches work table that will also bevel 45 degrees to give you more cutting versatility.
Ball bearings ensure smooth blade operation, while also helping enhance the blade's lifespan. And this band saw will also come with a 2.5-inch dust port and a miter gauge.
The fence is by far not the best quality, and this is more so when you compare it to what other top brand band saws have to offer. But, this should not be a deal-breaker as you can always replace it with something better, and some avid DIYers can even custom-make a better one in the workshop.
7. Milwaukee 2429-21XC – Most Compact Band Saw
- Power: 12V, 3.0 Ah
- Blade Length: 27”
- Blade Width: 1/2”
- Speed: 280 FPM
- Cutting Capacity: 1-5/8"
Any DIYer or woodworkers looking for a highly portable band saw they can easily pack and carry to different job sites, Milwaukee 2429-21XC is a great buy. At just 12.4 pounds and under 20 inches long, this is the most compact band saw on our list, and hence also the most portable.
Despite its smaller size, it still has a lot to offer such as built-in LED light that allows you to maintain clear sight of the cut line for more accuracy.
This band saw is also perfectly balanced for easy maneuvering and will allow for easy one-handed operation, which means you can have one hand free to guide the workpiece for even better cuts.
Cutting is also quite fast as this band saw can cut a 3/4-inch EMT in just 3 seconds. And you should not have any difficulties customizing your cut as the blade tension and tracking are easily adjustable.
When you buy this band saw, it will also come as a complete kit with an 18 TPI blade, battery, 30-minute charger, and a nice carry case to ensure you have all you need for immediate use.
The 1-5/8-inch cut capacity is the smallest on our list, and also this is a less powerful model when compared to others on our list. However, for a portable band saw model, both the cutting capacity and power are still enough, and this is more so given its price tag.
8. Rikon 10-324 – High Capacity Entry Level Band Saw
- Power: 1-1/2 HP
- Blade Length: 111”
- Blade Width: 3/16” to 3/4”
- Speed: 1,445 and 2,950 FPM
- Cutting Capacity: 13-5/8"
For an entry-level band saw, the Rikon 10-324 is unbeatable. This saw runs on a powerful 1-1/2-horsepower motor that gives it a greater cutting capacity as it will deliver up 13-5/8-inch cuts, which are some of the largest on our band saw reviews.
Also, this motor provides two-speed options, which are 1,445 and 2,950 FPM, and this enhances the versatility of this saw. The design also includes some ball bearing blade guides for both the upper and lower parts that will be very effective at minimizing friction and enhancing blade life.
The rack and pinion guide post is also a great addition to the band saw as it will make it easy to adjust the cutting depth as you will only need to turn a knob. And with the taller rip fence, you get extra support for the lumber you are re-sawing.
Another thing that many DIYers and woodworkers will love is that this band saw also includes a rear 115-volt power outlet for connecting other things like radios, phone chargers, and lights.
The quality of the included blade seems a little wanting, and it might not last long enough. But this is hardly an issue because it is a free add-on. Furthermore, you will still need to buy more blades to use your band saw effectively.
9. Jet JWBS-14DXPRO – Innovative and Sturdy Construction
- Power: 1.25 HP
- Blade Length: 105”
- Blade Width: 1/8” to 3/4”
- Speed: 1,500 and 3,000 FPM
- Cutting Capacity: 13.5”
With more innovative features and sturdier overall construction, Jet JWBS-14DXPRO is built to offer reliable and superior service for many years, and it will work well both home and professional use.
Some of these innovative features include upper and lower bearing guides that will help reduce friction for enhanced blade performance and longer service life. Also, there is a retractable blade guard that will help ensure more cutting versatility. And there is also an easy view tracking window that will be very handy at ensuring increased versatility.
The sturdy work table that tilts 45 degrees to the right and 10 degrees to the left provides more flexibility. Also, this band saw has a poly-v belt drive system that will give you two-speed options (1,500 and 3,000 FPM) and ensure increased cutting precision.
Its durable built comes from the super tough cast iron frame, which is also rigid enough to make resawing larger materials easy. Users will also love the enclosed stand cabinets as it will make the organization easier.
The only thing that some woodworkers seem not to like about this band saw is that the included instructions manual seems very poor, and this is more so for beginners. Luckily, there is more than enough and way much better instructions online.
10. Laguna Tools MBAND1412-175 – Heavy-Duty Band Saw
- Power: 1 3/4 HP
- Blade Length: 115"
- Blade Width: 1/8” to 3/4"
- Cutting Capacity: 13-5/8”
Laguna Tools MBAND1412-175 is one of the most powerful models on or band saw reviews thanks to the 1-3/4-horsepower, but its heavy-duty build that includes an all-steel frame is what truly sets it apart from many other models.
And the heavy-duty build does not just stop on the frame as this band saw also has cast iron wheels, table surface, and trunion.
Also, the 115-inch blade length is the longest on our list, and it is one of the reasons why this band saw can make cuts up to 13-5/8 inches, which means it can handle almost any stock no matter the thickness.
Using it is also easy and safer than it will come with an illuminated and direct start switch, which also has a safety key to prevent unauthorized saw start and use. The 4-inch dust port is also large enough to ensure efficient dust management. And the solid cast wheels are also electronically and dynamically balanced to deliver a longer service life.
At around 267 pounds, this is one of the heaviest band saws on our list. However, the weight will only be an issue when setting it up. Once assembled, it is super easy to move around as it has some nice wheels.
How to Buy the Best Band Saw
For an easy time when shopping for the best woodworking band saw, here are some important points to watch out for.
1. Types of Band saw
Before anything else, you will first need to decide which band saw type to go for as there are different types available, which will be ideal for different kinds of users and situations. The most common types are bench top, floor, and portable band saws.
1.1 Bench top
Bench top band saws as their name suggests are designed to be mounted or clamped on a workbench or any other solid and flat surface that acts as the stand for the saw.
These band saws can be as powerful and versatile as the floor type because they will often have an equally powerful motor, and the only difference with the floor types is that they do not have a stand.
Lack of a dedicated stand gives the advantage of being more mobile when compared to the floor types, but they are still not as portable as the more compact portable band saws.
Bench top band saws like WEN 3962 (this model also has an optional stand) will come in various sizes with some being as small as the handheld types. But provided the band saw is meant to be mounted on a workbench, it still qualifies to be called a bench top regardless of the size.
Floor standing band saws like Grizzly G0555 are the most powerful type and also the largest. These band saws will typically require a dedicated spot in the workshop.
These are the best band saws for contractors and professional woodworkers that have more commercial cutting needs, and they also tend to be more feature-rich and versatile when compared to the benchtop and portable types.
Another advantage of the floor band saws is that they will also provide more working space, which allows you to handle larger materials. Hence, you can rip larger pieces and make more intricate cuts easily.
Portable or handheld band saws like the Makita XBP02Z are the smallest options. Their smaller size is meant to make them easy to carry around, and will hence be perfect for use in different worksites as you will not be restricted to using them from one spot on the workshop.
These band saws will be very useful in the job site as they will come in handy for various tasks such as trimming any excessive pieces. Also, they are useful when cutting things like pipes, which makes them perfect for plumbers.
Given that these band saws are not tied down by a work table, they can also come in handy when ripping larger and oddly-shaped stocks that a bench top or floor standing model might not be able to handle. However, these band saws still have a relatively smaller cutting capacity and are also less powerful.
Buying Advice: Bench top bands saws are a great choice for average DIY woodworkers as they can handle most of the tasks they will typically do. Floor band saws, on the other hand, will make a perfect buy for contractors and professional woodworkers, while the portable types are great for contractors looking for something for job site use.
Besides choosing the right type of band saw for your projects, you will also need to make sure that the model you buy is powerful enough.
A powerful model will make cutting quick and easy, and it can handle a wide variety of materials from wood to plastic and metal, while also ensuring you always end up with cleaner cuts.
Here something that will deliver between 1 and 2 HP for the corded electric types and at least 12 volts and with a 3.0 Ah or larger battery for the cordless models will be more preferable.
The blade that comes with your band saw or the blade that it can accommodate also affects the cut significantly, and it is hence a crucial factor to take into account.
For the blade, you will need to consider both the length and width and try to match them to the materials that you will be cutting or your projects.
When it comes to the blade length, you can get band saws with blades as small as 27 inches like the Milwaukee 2429-21XC or as long as over 100 inches like the 115-inch blade you get on the Laguna Tools MBAND1412-175.
4. Cutting Capacity
The cutting capacity of the band saw determines how big a workpiece it can be able to handle. Hence, here you will need to match your saw to the typical material sizes that you will be cutting often.
When it comes to the cutting capacity, you will need to consider the cutting height and depth, and also the lateral cutting capacity.
That said, these band saws will have a cutting capacity (width) of anything from 1-1/2-inches to 14 inches depending on the size and type. For example, the smaller Milwaukee 2429-21XC provides a cutting depth of 1-5/8 inches, while the larger Rikon 10-324 floor band saw provide a 13-5/8-inch cutting capacity.
5. Ease of Use
A good band saw should also be straightforward to use even for beginners. If the band saw does not give you an easy time, it will be hard to make intricate and delicate cuts more precisely.
An easy to view tracking window is one of the most important elements on a band saw as it will help make cuts easy and more accurate.
Also, other things like a comfortable and non-slip handle for the handheld types, clearly-labeled and conveniently-located controls and an easy start motor will make a band saw easy to use. That said, some detailed instructions for assembly and use will ensure you have an even easier time with your band saw.
Like any other power tool, band saws will be available in various models from different brands that will come in different price tags. Hence, before you start shopping for one, you will need to come up with a budget.
Most of these band saws will retail for anything between $100 and upwards of $2,000 depending on the features and size.
The highly affordable models like Skil 3386-01 will typically be basic for regular and simple woodworking and DIY applications but can still be handy around the workshop. Models like Grizzly G0561 will cost a little more, but they are also more heavy-duty and versatile and will be perfect for professional and even industrial use.
How to Use a Band saw
Using a band saw does not have to be complicated, and anyone can easily figure out how to get the best out of one. Here are some tips and tricks to help you out.
1. Cut on the Edge of the Cut Line
Because the band saws will cut relatively roughly and hence leave some visible saw marks, it is important that you leave extra material for smoothing the edges. To ensure this, you should cut on the outer edge of your cut line. Doing this will also ensure there is not a lot of material to remove afterward.
2. Use a Blade with Many Fine Teeth for Nonferrous Metals
When using your band saw to cut nonferrous metals like copper, brass, and aluminum, it will be wiser to use a blade that contains many fine teeth. This blade types will cut easily through these metals. But, also make sure it is hardened to ensure it will not dull quickly.
3. Release Blade Tension When Saw is idle.
By simply releasing the blade tension when your band saw is idle, you can increase the service life of your blade significantly. Releasing tension minimizes metal fatigue, and you can easily do it with the quick-release mechanism or by rotating the tension knob.
4. Start Contoured Cuts at the Shallowest Angle
Contoured cuts are likely to give you the hardest time if you are a beginner using a band saw. But, you can easily make things easier for you by always starting the cut at the shallowest angle. Doing this minimizes the likelihood of ending up with ragged edges.
5. Replace Dull Blades Immediately
Although a dull blade can still cut material given the massive power of the band saws, you must replace it as soon as possible. Using a dull blade affects the quality of the cut greatly, and you can easily tell when your blade is dull from things like a slower feed rate and difficulty following a straight cut line.
Whether you are a DIYer that loves working on different projects at home, a seasoned woodworker or a contractor, the band saw will be very useful to have around. The chances are that you will even end up using it more than most of your other power saws.
That said, finding the best band saw is now all about choosing the model that suits you from our list above. However, the Wen 3966 takes our top overall spot as it is a versatile model that works as both floor and benchtop band saw and is packed with accessories.
But, for DIYers and woodworkers looking to save some bucks and still enjoy the services of a top-quality band saw, Skil 3386-01 is what we recommend as it is the cheapest option on our list.