For woodworkers that are looking to increase the quality of their work and the speed at which they can complete projects, purchasing one of the best band saws on the market from a quality brand will prove to be a good decision. Quality band saws are a tool that will provide service for generations.
I only recommend saws made by top tier woodworking equipment manufacturers and brands that I know stand behind their products. This means that there are no cheap options. If you are new to woodworking, a band saw purchase probably doesn’t make sense for you yet.
Why purchase a band saw?
Band saws have a number of practical uses in your wood shop. It does a couple jobs more precisely and quicker than other tools could and it also makes some cuts that other tools just could not do.
Modern band saws allow you to:
- Cut curves and angles. A jig saw can perform most of this on most thin pieces of lumber, but you’ll find more accurate and cleaner cuts with a high quality band saw.
- Resaw large stock. You simply can’t use any other tool in your shop to resaw thick stock other than a bandsaw.
- Bookmatch for tables and shelves. If you make tables or any other large pieces in your wood shop, the band saw is a must have.
What you should look for to find the best band saw for you
Knowing what specs you’ll need in a bandsaw will help make an informed decision. Here is a list of specs that you should be aware of if this is your first bandsaw.
- Horsepower. Most band saw lines start at around 1HP. If you are planning on resawing, you’ll need at least double that.
- Dimensions. Most full-sized band saws come in at around the same size. However, you’ll still want to make sure that it will fit in your shop. There are also benchtop band saws available.
- Steel frame. While there are some cast-iron frames that hold up just fine, in general, we advise buyers to opt for the saws with steel frame construction.
Cast iron frame
- Tilting table. Most modern band saws are equipped with a tilting table. This is a professional feature that you likely won’t need as an amateur woodworker.
- Brand name. There are a few brands to avoid. If you buy any of the products that we sell here at USA Supply Spot, you’ll be doing just fine.
- Large throat for clearance. The higher you can raise the blade up, the larger pieces of wood you’ll be able to resaw and bookmatch.
18|bx Bandsaw 220V 3HP
Laguna Tools has introduced a new model bandsaw with the 18|bx. This saw follows in the traditions of high-performance and reliability established by the widely-used Laguna Tools 14|12 and 14|bx models.
The 18|bx is built with a 3HP, 220V motor and 145 (368 cm) blade to achieve great results with even thick, dense wood.
Options for the unit include an foot-operated wheel system that allows 360° omni-directional operation and a pro light system that swivels 220° and tilts 320° vertically for bright.
Laguna is the top name in Bandsaws and this saw is one of the primary reasons.
- Very low vibration (due to single belt drive)
- Unbeatable brand with a 5 yr. manufacturer warranty
- Competitively priced
- None. Laguna is the top name in bandsaws and their whole lineup is phenomenal.
2. Jet - 18" Bandsaw, 3HP
Jet is one of the top names in woodworking equipment. Not just because they have great machines, but because their parent company JPW stands behind their products and provides excellent service.
Jet’s lineup of bandsaws rivals any in the class. The resawing ability, power and the ease of which you can make adjustments and blade changes is rivaled only by the Laguna saws.
- Excellent brand name
- Manufacturers warranty
- Large lineup to find the right size and power saw for you
- Competitively priced
- Would ideally come with casters for mobility
- Blade tension gauge has been reported to fail occasionally
3. Powermatic - 24" Bandsaw 5HP, 3PH,
With 5HP and a 24″ throat this bandsaw is the largest that we represent and maybe the larges you’ll be able to find anywhere.
If you are a professional woodworker, this Powermatic or the Laguna series are the two bandsaw lineups that should be considered when adding professional equipment to your shop.
If you are considering bookmatching for large tables, resawing large pieces of wood or want matching curved cuts from stacked hard woods, this saw should be on your short list of equipment that can perform your job.
- Very sturdy with low vibration
- Powermatic is a great name
- 5 HP is enough power for any job
- 24″ of resaw capacity is unbeatable.
- Fence could be a bit taller
- Higher priced than competitors
- Not easily moved around your shop
4. Rikon - 10" Deluxe Bench Top Bandsaw
Rikon provides a quality lineup of bandsaws. Although most are not suitable for commercial woodworkers, they provide them at a price point that entry level woodworkers and those on a tight budget can more easily afford.
This 10″ bench top bandsaw is great for the garage woodworker. There is a well built stand that can be purchased as well which is great for those that may not have the room in their shop to set it up on their bench.
All benchtop saws (including this one) will be limited in cutting thick, harder woods and will be limited to cutting small projects. Resawing is all but out of the question
- Surprisingly stable
- Great power for it’s size
- Fits just about anywhere in a shop or garage
- Priced competitively
- Limited in cutting thick, hard woods
- Can only resaw and bookmatch small, soft pieces effectively
Can I just use my table saw or a jig saw?
A band saw is a “must have” for commercial woodworkers and those that are selling their woodwork. However, if you are just getting into woodworking, don’t intent to do this as a career and don’t have the room or budget for professional caliber equipment, you can make most of the same cuts a bandsaw makes with your trusty hybrid table saw.
You won’t be able to resaw large pieces of stock now will your angled cuts be as clean as if you had the right equipment. However, if you are a hobbyist, you’ll be just fine with your jig saw.