A band saw might not look like much, but it’s one of the most important cutting tools for woodworking and metalworking.
It’s one of the significant machines that will make your job or projects easier.
There are many uses for it, from resawing thick lumber, processing small logs, and making veneers to cutting shapes in wood; you’ll find it hard to do without one at your disposal.
A bandsaw is very important for woodworking because there are certain cuts you can make on it that you’ll never attempt with a table saw or any other saw.
For example, it’s the best tool you can use to cut rough or warped boards. Cutting a rough warped board on a table saw can lead to a dangerous kickback because of the circular motion of the blade. On the other hand, a bandsaw will cut and rip right through that board with no fear of kickback because the blade runs only in one direction down through the table.
It’s also better for cutting curves than a jigsaw. In fact, it can cut a tighter curve than any jigsaw, because the blade of a jigsaw is held only in one direction and thus can easily flex or bend, especially in very thick material, and produce an edge that is not square.
On the other hand, a bandsaw blade is held in both directions and tensioned, and will not flex, and thus will always produce a square edge even in very thick material.
Although it shouldn’t be the first, a bandsaw should be one of the first types of saws you should get as a woodworker just starting out.
That’s because it’s a very versatile tool that will help you tackle or expand the range of projects you carry out in your shop.
If you’re buying a bandsaw, ensure you go for the highest quality and capacity your budget allows. If possible, hold on and save up for a higher-quality one instead of wasting your money on junk.
The higher the capacity and quality of the machine, the more versatile it will be and the higher the quality of the cuts you’ll get with it.
Our Top Picks
Band saws are sized according to the diameter of their wheels. A 14-inch band saw has wheels that are 14 inches in diameter. There are 9-inch, 10-inch, 14-inch, and 17-inch band saws, and so on.
The larger the wheel is, the larger the machine will be, and depending on the quality of the material of the wheel, the greater the momentum it will produce, making it easier to make cuts with it.
Large wheeled band saws also make use of longer and thicker blades which are better for resawing and cutting larger stocks.
There are bandsaws for cutting metal, and there are ones for cutting wood. Here, we’re focusing on the ones for cutting wood.
Table of Contents
How We Chose the Best Bandsaws
We understand how important having a bandsaw in the workshop is, and we also understand how important it is to choose the right model.
Choosing the right one means you don’t have to buy another one after a few months or years.
I have used a bandsaw since I was 18 while in school, and have been using it since in my own personal workshop. So, when putting together this list, my team drew knowledge from our own personal experience, and also conducted thorough research, so we don’t miss out on any of the latest offerings and tech in the power tool market.
We compared features in each of the models, their size, build quality, capacities, performance and ease of use, and created the following list of the best bandsaws you can use for your woodworking projects.
1. Powermatic PM1500 band saw
Wheel Size: 15 inch, Motor: 3 HP 230V, Speed: 3100 SFPM, Resaw Capacity: 14 inch, Table Size: 21-1/2 x 16.
The Powermatic PM1500 is a true beauty every woodworker would love to have in their workshop. Once setup and switched-on, it runs so smooth with almost no vibration. All you hear is just the humming noise of the motor.
Although relatively more expensive than the competition, this 15 inch band saw comes packed with features that makes it worth the cost.
When you open the top half of the bandsaw, you’ll find out how big and massive the cast iron wheels are. They really look heavy and turns smoothly when you turn it with your hand. Big heavy wheels provides momentum and power when resawing large timber pieces or carrying out any other operation with the saw.
In contrast with other 15 inch band saws, this Powermatic PM1500 features a 14-1/2 inch throat capacity and 14 inches of resaw capacity. It’s a big band saw with lots of room to cut large materials. If you want to resaw wood, the 14 inch height capacity allows you to do that with ease.
The blade it uses is 153 inches long and has a minimum and maximum width of 1/8 inches and 1 inch respectively.
The PM1500 features a sturdy cast iron table with dimensions of 21-1/2 by 16 inches and a trunnion assembly provides a wide, strong and solid platform for heavy work pieces.
A very important feature of the PM1500 is the blade tension and release mechanism. It’s totally toolless. You don’t need any kind of wrench to adjust, tension or release the blade. This blade tension and release mechanism also features an electrical interlock feature that prevents the saw from accidental startups when the blade is released or de-tensioned.
Powermatic’s exclusive T-Square style Accu-Fence system ensures maximum accuracy and safety when making use of the band saw machine.
If you need to stop the saw for any reason, maybe your hands are full, the foot brake that comes with it provides a hands-free means to get that done.
What we like about it
Where it can be improved
2. Grizzly Industrial G0555LX 14 inch band saw
Wheel Size: 14 inch, Motor: 1 HP 110V/220V, Blade Speed: 1800 and 3100 FPM, Resaw Capacity: 6 inch, Table Size: 14×14 inch.
If you’re a looking for a pro grade 14 inch band saw to carry out projects in your workshop, the newly upgraded Grizzly G0555LX is a very good option to go for.
Formerly called Grizzly G0555, this new model comes equipped with computer-balanced cast-iron wheels so it runs better and produce more accurate cuts. It also features a rack-and-pinion post adjustment for the upper blade guides which makes it very easy to adjust the blade.
The fence has also been upgraded to a T-shaped extruded aluminum fence, which is very sturdy and easy to adjust when making cuts.
It’s a 14 inch bandsaw, so you know you have enough cut capacity/throat depth to cut large materials. The throat depth is 13-1/2 inches and the maximum cutting height / resawing capacity is 6 inches. This plus the large 14×14 inch work table provides a large cutting area to handle relatively large jobs with ease.
Equipped with a 1 hp, 110/220V compatible single-phase motor, the 3/8 inch band saw blade it comes with moves at a variable speed of 1800 and 3100 feets per minute.
The frame and table is made of precision-ground cast iron to provide a steady work surface with minimum vibration.
It comes equipped with a quick-release blade tension lever to easily remove or add tension to the blade.
Overall, the Grizzly G0555LX comes equipped with all the features you’d need in a bandsaw.
If you plan on doing a lot of resawing, you can always opt for the Grizzly G0555XH which is also a 14 inch band saw but has a higher resaw capacity of 12 inches, comes with a more powerful 1-3/4 HP motor and wider fence for resawing wide lumber pieces.
What we like about it
Where it can be improved
3. Delta 28-400 14 inch band saw
Wheel Size: 14 inch, Motor: 1 HP 115V/230V, Speed: 1620 and 3340 FPM, Resaw Capacity: 6 inch, Table Size: 15-3/4 x 18-8/8 inch.
This 14 inch wheel band saw from Delta houses a 1 hp motor that allows you to cut at speeds of 1620 FPM and 3,340 FPM.
The lower speed is for cutting wood, and the later higher speed for cutting non-ferrous metals.
An oversized 15 ¾ inch by 18 7/8 inch precision ground cast iron table featuring a T miter slot provides a steady work surface to handle your projects.
The two aluminum rubber coated upper and lower 9 spoke wheels are precision balanced for easy tracking of the blade.
There’s little to no vibration in the machine as the Delta 28-400 is designed and constructed with a heavy duty steel frame.
With up to 6 inches height capacity and 13-5/8 inches width capacity, you can accommodate and work on large materials with the saw.
A poly v-belt drive keeps the wheels running smoothly and a dust brush on the lower wheel keeps the blade clean and sharp as you work with the machine.
What we like about it
Where it can be improved
4. Jet Jwbs-14SFX 14 inch bandsaw
Wheel Size: 14 inch, Motor: 1-3/4 HP 115V/230V, Speed: 3000 SFPM, Resaw Capacity: 13 inch, Table Size: 21 x 17 inch.
Talking about band saws, some of the best ones are made by JET. Run some wood stocks through this Jet Jwbs-14SFX 14 inch bandsaw and you’d surely agree with us.
Weighing over 300 lbs, this bandsaw is a heavy duty machine designed and constructed with high quality tubular steel.
The 14 inch wheels provides enough leverage and power to saw through even the hardest of woods, and with over 13 inches of resaw capacity, you can be sure that it can handle large workpieces conveniently.
You need no tools to adjust the upper and lower ball bearings. The saw comes equipped with JET’s easily adjustable tool-less blade guide system which makes it easier to use and ensuring there’s very little downtime.
This saw has the capacity to really handle large stocks of wood as the cast iron table features up to 360 sq. in of work surface which really gives you enough space to handle large stocks on it.
With all the work you can do with this machine, dust collection is very important to keep a neat work surface. That’s why the Jwbs-14SFX comes equipped with 4 inch dust ports to make collecting the dust produced very easy.
What we like about it
Where it can be improved
5. Shop Fox W1706 14 Inch band saw
Wheel Size: 14 inch, Motor: 1 HP 110V/220V, Speed: 3100 SFPM, Resaw Capacity: 6 inch, Table Size: 14 x 14 inch.
The Shop Fox W1706 comes with some features you’d only find in larger and more expensive band saws. Some of the features include cast iron upper and lower wheels and an enclosed cabinet base with storage space for tools and accessories.
Equipped with a 1 HP, TEFC single-phase motor, the Shop Fox produces enough power to slice through the hardest of wood materials.
It has a 13-1/2 inch cutting or throat capacity and a maximum cutting height of 6 inches. Shop Fox produces an optional extension kit you can use to increase the cutting height to 12 inches if you want to.
The saw features a powerful 1 hp single-phase motor producing up to 1725 RPM of speed to power through cuts.
A deluxe miter gauge comes with it, allowing you to make precise angle cuts as well as cross cuts with ease.
You can tilter the cast iron table up to 45 degrees to the right and up to 10 degrees to the left, making it easy for you to carry out even more complicated cuts with the saw.
It comes with a deluxe extruded aluminum fence with a hairline scale which is very easy to read, adjust and provides a solid support for the work piece.
Overall, the Shop Fox W1706 offers some of the best features that makes it one of the best 14 inch band saws you can get your hands on today.
6. Rikon 10 Inch Deluxe Bandsaw
Wheel Size: 10 inch, Motor: 1/2 HP 110V, Speed: 1515 and 3250 FPM, Resaw Capacity: 5 inch, Table Size: 13-3/4 x 12-1/2.
If you have a small shop and you want a bandsaw that can fit in properly to carry out small woodworking project, this Rikon 10 inch delux bandsaw is the one I’d recommend.
It’s got up to 5 inch resawing capacity and has a throat depth of approximately 10 inches. It’s got everything you need in a small bandsaw.
When making cuts, it runs very smoothly with very less vibrations. It has a very sturdy cast iron table that’s 13.75 by 12.5 inches, and it bevels up to 45 degrees if you want to make beveled cuts on it.
The aluminum fence is a bit flimsy, but it’s adjustable and works very well. For it’s size, the 1/2 horsepower motor also works well and cuts through materials with ease.
It also has 2 speed settings of 1515 ft/min and 3250 ft/min, so you match the speed to the material you’re cutting. Lower speed for metal cutting, higher speed for wood.
You can use blades that are 1/8 to 1/2 inches in width and 70-1/2 inches long.
The biggest quack with it is the roller guides that it has. They’re quite difficult to adjust because they shift as you tighten them. However, once adjusted, everything runs smoothly.
Overall, I’d say Rikon made a high-quality tool here you can really on. It’s very versatile, easy to adjust, and it runs silky smooth.
7. Grizzly Industrial G0513X2 17 Inch bandsaw
Wheel Size: 17 inch, Motor: 2 HP 110V/220V, Speed: 1700 and 3500 FPM, Resaw Capacity: 12 inch, Table Size: 17-1/4 x 23-5/8 inch.
Equipped with a 2 HP motor producing up to 1725 RPM with a dual blade speed of 1700 and 3500 FPM, this Grizzly G0513X2 band saw comes fully equipped with everything you need in a bandsaw.
Apart from that, the 17 inch wheel it comes with makes it even more powerful and ideal for the most demanding projects you can carry out on a band saw.
The wheels are heavy and comes balanced with computers to ensure they run smoothly while working with it.
With up to 12 inches of cutting height capacity and 16-1/4 inch throat capacity, you can use it to tackle a wide range of projects or applications without difficulty.
As for the working table, it’s a large precision-ground cast iron table with dimensions of 23-5/8 inches by 17-1/4 inches, affording you enough room to tackle large projects easily.
The table can be micro-adjusted to allow for even the most intricate of cuts.
From top to bottom, this bandsaw is built to stand the test of time. It comes built with a heavy duty stout steel frame to keep the whole machine rigid and reduce vibration to a bare minimum especially when making resaws with it.
Releasing and tensioning the blade requires no use of tools as it comes with a quick-change blade release and tensioner.
Overall, this G0513X2 17 inch bandsaw from Grizzly Industrial Tools is the ideal saw for woodworkers looking for a large or high capacity band saw to tackle their woodworking projects in the woodshop.
8. WEN 3962T – 10 inch
Wheel Size: 10 inch, Motor: 3.5 Amp, Speed: 1520 and 2620 FPM, Resaw Capacity: 6 inch, Table Size: 14-1/8 x 12-1/2 inch.
Although it’s a 10 inch band saw, this WEN 3962 band saw comes with a heavy duty stand that elevates it high enough, making it easier to use.
It features a 3.5 amp motor which can be operated at 2 speeds of 1520 FPM and 2620 FPM.
The saw comes with a 14-1/8 inch by 12-1/2 inch work table which can be beveled up to 45 degrees for more complicated cuts.
It accepts 72 inch long blades that vary in width from 1/8 inch to ½ inches.
With a full 6 inch resaw capacity combined with a 9-3/4 inch throat capacity, the WEN 3962 band saw allows you to handle impressive sizes of wood.
The aluminum fence that comes with it is very sturdy and very easy to adjust as you work with the saw.
A 3-n-1 inch dust port allows you to use different sizes of dust collection hoses for the band saw.
It also features a flexible work light you can switch on to illuminate your work area when it’s dark.
All in all, the WEN 3962 comes with some of the best features you’ll find in any 10 inch bandsaw.
9. Laguna Tools 14bx
Wheel Size: 14 inch, Motor: 1.75 HP 110V, Motor Speed: 1720 RPM, Resaw Capacity: 12 inch, Table Size: 21-1/2 x 16.
This is the Laguna Tools 14bx bands saw with 14 inch wheels and a 12 inch resaw or height capacity.
There are two models of this Laguna tools band saw. One with a 1.75 HP, 110 volt motor and the other with a 2.5 HP, 220 volt motor which is more powerful and slightly more expensive than the first one.
The saw makes use of blades with a minimum width of 1/8 inches, and it occupies a footprint of 17-1/2 inch by 22-1/2 inches.
It’s built with heavy gauge solid steel frame which ensures durability and keeps the machine stable, minimizing vibration during operation.
You can tilt the cast iron table 7 degrees left and 45 degrees right, allowing you to tackle a wide range of projects.
The massive cast trunnion is 8 inches by 13 inches.
Also, the wheels are also made of heavy cast iron which further adds momentum to the blades making it easier to cut through hard materials.
It comes with a magnetic on and off switch and dual mounting positions you can use to mount an optional pro light system to illuminate the work surface.
A quick release and tension lever makes it easy to release or add tension to the band saw blade.
All in all, this band saw by Laguna tools is definitely one of the best band saws you can get today because it’s powerful, made of high quality steel, and there’s no doubt it will be a very durable addition to any woodworking shop.
What To Consider When Choosing A Bandsaw
On your own, here are some important factors you must consider if you want to choose the right bandsaw for your woodworking projects.
Wheel Size – Throat Depth
One of the most important features to consider before choosing any bandsaw is its wheel size, which is also the throat depth. The wheel size or throat depth equals the distance between the blade and the column holding and separating the upper and lower wheels of the machine. There are 9-inch bandsaws, 14-inch, 17-inch, and so on.
These sizes refer to the diameter of the wheels that come with the bandsaw. A 9 inch bandsaw has 9 inch wheels while a 14 inch unit comes with 14 inch wheels.
The larger the wheels are, the greater the throat depth and the greater the cut capacity. This comes in very useful, especially when you want to make a crosscut on a large workpiece or even cut a curve on the large workpiece.
So, you should consider this when making your decision. Consider the sizes of boards you will cut on the machine, and make sure you buy a suitable bandsaw machine to accommodate those workpiece sizes.
One of the most important uses of a bandsaw is resawing. There comes a time when you have a thick timber piece that you want to cut into two or more slender pieces.
A bandsaw is the best machine to get that done. You can use a table saw for resawing, but table saws are only better for making rip cuts, not for resawing. Their blades are only tall enough to resaw lumber up to 4 inches in the vertical direction. In contrast, even a 10-inch bandsaw can resaw lumber up to 6 inches. That’s why they’re better for resawing lumber into thinner pieces.
Bandsaw blades are also thinner than that of table saws and therefore waste less wood. The thicker kerf of a table saw blade turns a lot of the wood into sawdust; thus, it’s not an economical way of resawing lumber.
If one of your main reasons for getting a bandsaw machine is to resaw lumber, you should go for at least 12 inches of resaw capacity.
Motor – Power
The type of motor and the Horsepower of the motor in bandsaw is very important. That’s going to determine how easily the saw cuts through materials.
The amount of power the motor can generate is also going to determine the types of blades you can use with the machine.
If the motor is not powerful enough, it’s not going to be able to run some types of blades. In general, the wider the blade is, the greater the power needed to run it.
It doesn’t matter whether you have a machine with a 24-inch resaw capacity. If the motor inside the machine is not powerful enough, it won’t be able to run wide blades or resaw wide boards.
Therefore, if you want your bandsaw to be able to cut wide boards or cut boards from small logs, then a 1.5 horsepower motor is the minimum you should go for.
On the other hand, if you’re just going to do some curve cutting and resawing on small boards not more than 6 inches in thickness, then a 3/4 or 1 horsepower motor should be enough.
Steel Frames vs Cast Iron Frames
Some bandsaws are built with steel frames, while others have cast iron frames. Steel frames are usually made in a single piece eliminating any seem or joint between the upper and lower wheels. That makes them more rigid and better for resawing lumber with greater capacity.
On the other hand, many cast iron frames have seams or joints in the column holding the upper and lower wheels. A bandsaw with a cast iron frame can also be used for resawing but usually does not have enough capacity for large lumber pieces.
Both frame types can be used for resawing, but if one of your main reasons for getting the machine is to resaw with it, then I’d recommend that you go with a steel-framed unit.
Blade Guides – Blade Changing
There are different types of blade guides that come with bandsaws, and it’s important that you take note of the type of guides that come with the one you’re planning to buy.
It’s very crucial that you do that because the blade guides affect how easily you can change the blades on the machine. If it takes an arm and a leg to change the blades in your bandsaw, you’re not going to do it and it’s going to bring a lot of frustration to you and hold up your work.
Some of the most common guides include:
Each of these guides has pros and cons. However, some guides are far better than others. The guides I’ll advise you to stay away from at all costs are steel guide blocks. They create a lot of friction and heat up the blade. If steel blocks and ceramics blocks ever come in contact with the teeth of the blade, that blade is done.
The guides I prefer and recommend are roller bearings and cool blocks. Roller bearings create almost no friction because they roll with the blade and they’re easy to adjust. Cool blocks can come in contact with the blade teeth and not damage it.