Saws

DeWalt DWM120K Review: Affordable Portable Band Saw

DeWalt DWM120K Review

Photo: DeWalt

What We Like

  • Powerful 10-amp motor
  • Variable 5-speed settings
  • LED sight light
  • Front multi-position bale handle
  • Ergonomic soft-grip back handle

What We Don’t Like

  • Lacks a trigger lock

Bottom Line

An affordable portable bandsaw that is fitted with a powerful 10-amp motor for high-performance cutting in any job site application.

Introduction

Regular bandsaws are mostly used for woodcraft projects but the portable type is more of a worksite tool. It is very handy when cutting plastic and metal pipes, and produces cleaner results as compared to jigsaws because it runs the blade in one direction (downstroke).

The only problem is that these tools are usually very expensive. However, the DeWalt DWM120K is an exception because it is relatively affordable, but still packs in very impressive features, which are explained in detail below.

DeWalt DWM120K Review

DeWalt DWM120K

Photo: DeWalt

Performance: Versatile with a Deep Cutting Capacity 

Powered by a 10-amp motor, the rotation from this engine is controlled via 5-speed settings with dial adjustment. Additionally, you get a variable speed trigger for better control and combined, these features make the tool very versatile.

The speed ranges from 100-350 FPM and speed 1 (the slowest, which is 100 FPM) is ideal for cutting plastic pipes, chrome steel, tungsten steel, and stainless steel. On the other hand, speed 5 is recommended for cutting copper, aluminum, cast iron, bronze, brass, etc.

It is important to note that cutting at high speeds causes a lot of friction, which produces heat. Therefore, such speeds should only be used when cutting materials that can withstand a lot of heat.

That said, the saw combines this versatility with a deep cutting capacity of 5 inches for round objects and 5 x 4-3/4 inches for rectangular objects. This matches the industrial capacity required for most worksites, which makes the tool very practical.

Design: Ergonomic and Durable

The DWM120K is characterized by an ergonomic soft pistol-grip handle that gives you a firm hold when in use. This is complemented by an adjustable multi-position front handle, which allows you to set it in your most comfortable holding position.

With these two handles, you get to hold the saw firmly using both hands while a balanced body design contributes to more comfort plus reduced fatigue when in use.

Other than that, the tool has a very durable design and this is due to several features. For starters, it has a steel shroud to protect the internal components and this is serviceable for durability purposes.

This shroud is fitted with rubber bumpers on the sides, which enable the steel and other internal components to easily withstand abuse on the worksite.

The saw also has dual bearing blade guide rollers, which ensure this support system runs smoothly and is more durable.

You also get a durable and adjustable material guide for setting the saw to cut at optimal performance on different materials, blade tracking adjustment for minimizing wear and tear on the blade, and a kit box for safe storage when not in use.

Adjustments: Easy Blade Changing  

Blade changing is a must from time to time because, apart from the different variable speeds, you need different blades to work on different materials to bring about the versatility factor.

That said, the saw can only accommodate a 44.875 x 0.5 x 0.02-inch blade, and therefore, the only thing that is variable is the tooth density, which is measured as teeth per inch (TPI).

Low TPI blades are recommended for soft materials. They cut very quickly buy create a rough finish. On the other hand, high TPI blades are ideal for harder materials because there is more contact surface area. These cuts at a slower pace but create a very smooth finish.

The workpiece thickness also determines the best tooth density to use and the thicker it is, the lower the required TPI for fast cutting with minimal friction. With a bi-metal blade, you can use this as a guide.

Workpiece Thickness

Tooth Density

1/8 inches and below (<= 32 mm)

18 or 24 TPI

1/8 – 1/4 inches (3.2 – 6.4 mm)

14 or 14/18 TPI

1/4 – 13/32 inches (6.4 – 10.3 mm)

10 or 10/14 TPI

13/32 inches and above (>= 10.3 mm)

10 TPI

Note: With the fractional tooth density such as 14/18 TPI, this means that one inch has 14 and the other has 18. They alternate like that along the entire length of the blade.

With that in mind, changing the blade is a very easy process. First, unplug the machine then rotate the blade tension lever to loosen it. Place the tool on a bench then remove the blade from the guard then around the pulleys.

Next, install the new blade with the suitable TPI while ensuring that the teeth are on the bottom with the downstroke going towards the work stop. Insert the blade into the guide rollers and around the pulleys.

Adjust the blade tension then test it to see if the blade is seated properly. These steps are laid out in the user manual for easier guidance.  

Extra Features: Multiple Convenience Features

DeWalt’s DWM120K is equipped with a few features that make it very convenient to use. The first one is an LED sight light, which illuminates the cutline for accurate positioning and cutting in the dark.

Since the saw is run using a brushed motor, wear-and-tear is expected on these brushes over time. The saw is designed in such a way that the brushes can be accessed externally, which is very convenient. As a result, you can make repairs quickly while on the job site.

You also get an integrated hanging hook that allows you to keep the saw hanged when not in use. With this, you don’t have to place it on the floor, bench, or hang it using the front handle, which can cause damages.

Price: Affordable 

Most high-performance portable band saws are very expensive, costing above the $300 mark. However, the DeWalt DWM120K is reasonably priced because it costs less than $300 and still has very impressive features.

That said, DeWalt has many different varieties of portable band saws in their line up but two come close to the DWM120K in terms of performance and cutting capacity. These are the DCS374P2 and the DCS376P2.

Both are way more expensive than the model under review and are cordless with a 20V electrical system. They are run by more efficient brushless motors and have variable speed settings going from 0-490 FPM.

However, the DCS376P2 is slightly more expensive than the DCS374P2 and this is because it has a dual switch activation mechanism. This is a protection feature that ensures you have both hands on the machine before powering on. Basically, it prevents accidental starts.  

Verdict

A portable corded band saw that offers high cutting performance at a reasonable price.

Though very affordable, DeWalt’s DWM120K has very impressive high-performance features, such as a 10-amp motor, which is capable of handling any job site application.

Additionally, it has a 5-inch cutting capacity for round objects and a 5 x 4.75-inch capacity for rectangular objects, which meets the industrial deep cutting capacity required for most work sites. As such, it is ideal for professionals, beginners, or DIYers.

Specs

  • Product Name: DeWalt DWM120K
  • Product Brand: DeWalt
  • Size: 5-inch
  • Motor: 10-Amp
  • Speed: 5 variable speeds (100 – 350 FPM)
  • Blade Length: 44-7/8 inches
  • Blade Width: 1/2 inches
  • Max Capacity (Rectangular): 5 x 4-3/4 inches
  • Max Capacity (Round): 5 inches
  • Dimensions: 14.25 x 23.50 x 7.94 inches
  • Weight: 15 lbs.
  • Warranty: 3-year limited, 90-day money-back guarantee, 1-year free service

Key Features

  • Powerful 10-amp motor.
  • Protective rubber bumpers.
  • Serviceable steel shroud for durable use.
  • Variable speed dial plus a variable speed trigger.
  • LED sight light.
  • Smooth running dual bearing blade guide rollers.
  • Ergonomic soft-grip handle.
  • Oversized, multi-position front handle.
  • Integrated hanging hook.
  • Externally replaceable motor brushes for quick repairs.
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