Updated: Dec 31, 2021
High-quality band saws perform a versatile range of precision woodwork significantly better than other machines in the shop. Take my seventeen years of experience in woodworking for it.
Band saws make fast safe straight cuts.
They’re designed for resawing thick boards with precision.
They can cut perfect circles. Square edges. Mortise and tenon and Dovetails.
I’m not going to say that I would want to use every band saw on this list. But having worked in dozens of shops, I’ve used them all. So which one fits your needs, space, and budget?
There are many types of bandsaws: Mini Table Tops 8”-9”(without a Base), Small 10”-14” and Large 15-20”, horizontal bandsaws, and nowadays even handheld bandsaws. The tabletop ones are not going to get you very far. These machines are for tiny shops. The motors are weak and the clearance will limit what you can make.
In my shop, I have two bandsaws. The small saw is a Delta 14” 1hp. I keep a ¼” blade on it for finer curved work. The second is a larger Laguna 18” 3hp bandsaw. I keep a ¾” blade on it for straighter even cuts and resawing wood.
The WEN 3939T 2.8-Amp 9-Inch Benchtop Band Saw is definitely not for an industrial woodshop. It’s not great but alright for a basement shop. It makes the list because it’s significantly cheaper than its other counterparts. I would say that it does an “ok” job. If you’re cutting mostly small 1/4” & 1/2” sheet goods it’ll do fine. I would recommend it to a beginner woodworker that’s on an extreme budget.
If you could shell out a bit more cash, then go for the RIKON 10-Inch. I find that this band saw has the best price for those who are on a budget.
Motors are average, but they will do the job. Not much finesse.
Rikon is not remarkable but it is a reliable brand. That’s why part of this list is the Rikon 10-3061 10" Deluxe Bandsaw, which I would say is the best 10” tabletop under $500. Its main difference with the other 10-inch Rikon is that it has faster speed and a better fence.
For the woodworker on a budget, this is a good 14-inch bandsaw. The Grizzly is equipped with all the basic features you will need in a bandsaw. It’s an industrial-grade band saw (thus the price). This saw cuts nicely with well-made guides that keep the blade straight, a decent amount of power.
The 14-inch band saw has a large cutting area to help you handle bigger jobs. The Grizzly G0555 has a 6-inch maximum cutting height, good if you’ll be handling thicker pieces of lumber. Its frame is made well so expect it to be a stable base while cutting. However, the fence is not the best but I guess that’s acceptable for this price.
I have to mention Deltas because "Made in America." Delta is over 100 years old and is still churning out quality products with a bang for the buck price. This saw is well-made and will last you a very long time. It's made with a heavy-duty steel frame with an industrial finish (black and gray). Its 1HP power delivery is good for its category. The cutting is pretty good and I appreciated the wider table.
The only drawback about this Delta band saw is that it's nothing spectacular for its price and features. It's right smack in between the "best 14-inch band saw" and the "best budget 14-inch band saw." It is priced somewhere in the middle too.
The JET 14” SFX is a bit more expensive but it's a better machine. Jet is owned by Powermatic so you know the quality is top-notch. It has a cast iron table that has 360 sq. in. of surface. The aluminum fence is surprisingly good and is a great height for resawing. The saw comes equipped with JET's adjustable blade guard for easy & simple adjustment. The JET 14” band saw has 13 inches of cutting capacity. The dust ports are 4-inch for ultimate dust collection. It's a midrange machine definitely not a lightweight the previous but not a heavy-duty one either. I recommend this saw for those in a small or medium shop. It has a small footprint and a heavy-duty base. The design is ideal for cutting medium size pieces of wood. Great for woodworkers in. a garage or basement shop who need an affordable and quality bandsaw. Good performance without breaking your budget.
If you like a superb 15" Bandsaw the Powermatic's PM1500 15" is the way to go. And like any Powermatic made product, everyone will say "You get what you pay for." This has a very powerful HP motor and is able to cut what it needs at top-level precision. Its T-square style Accu-fence provides an extra level of safety and accuracy. And like it's big 20" brother, Powermatic's PM1500 15" blade tension with electrical interlock is a great addition for safety.
A few extra well-thought-out details are the fence which is smooth, sturdy, and tall, perfect for resawing. Also, the protective guard has a measuring gauge adding an extra layer of precision and protection.
Ok, back to the slums, with machines the majority of us can afford. I appreciate Grizzly for making affordable quality band saws. I'm listing another Grizzly product but this time on the bigger 17" saw. The Grizzly G0513 2 HP Bandsaw, 17-Inch is the "Best Budget Large bandsaw." This guy cuts well and can handle most sized projects but I wish Grizzly would've put a bit more power in it. It currently only has 2HP. I find that its fence is very low, but that can be fixed with an upgrade. All in all, it gets the job done and Grizzly equipment is always priced well for your wallet. Do yourself a favor of ordering a fence upgrade along with this bandsaw or make your own to increase the fence height.
The SCM 18" Bandsaw is a powerful industrial machine. It can and will cut anything from 1" sheet goods to 16/4" hardwoods. It has a large cast-iron table surface which makes handling materials easier. The fence is basic and could definitely be better for the price. However, the S45N is a high-quality bandsaw and has an 18” wheel flywheel. The resaw height is over 12 inches, this type of machine is made for resawing. I also like that it comes with a push stick that's easy to keep on the machine.