Band saw reviews

Band Saw Reviews | The Top Band Saws on the Market

Serious woodworkers know that it makes sense to invest in top-notch power tools. With tons of flexibility, the band saw is one of the most purely versatile tools that can be used on pretty much any woodworking project. It can make highly intricate designs or simple and clean cuts, making this flexible tool one of the most popular tools you can buy. Here are a few tips on what to look for in the best 14-inch band saw and a few band saw reviews to help you start your search.

The Advantages of Using Bandsaws

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    A bandsaw does not just cut one specific type of material. It is very versatile and there are many models on the market that can be used to cut things like wood, metal, and pipe.
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    Bandsaws come equipped with great features like a miter gauge and rip fence which help you make straight cuts.
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    You also get better results using a bandsaw than what you would see from a chainsaw due to the blades you can use on a bandsaw.
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    Bandsaws use high-quality blades and have features like blade tracking adjustment, and dual bearing blade guide rollers that give you more precise cuts.
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    It also reduces the amount of waste you will see since a bandsaw uses a smaller kerf than other tools, plus it uses narrower blades than other saws which creates less waste.

There are a lot of advantages to using a band saw over other types of saws. Here is a YouTube video that shows you more advantages to using this versatile tool:

How to Choose a Band Saw

When choosing a band saw, there are a few main factors you need to consider which will help you determine whether the band saw is right for you. Depending on your needs, you may want to consider looking for the best small bandsaw or the best 14-inch bandsaw for the money.

Throat Size

This is the cutting width of the saw. Higher-end models allow you to switch out blades with narrower cutting widths. Keep in mind though that the narrower the blade, the shorter your blade’s lifespan will be.

Motor Power

This is the amount of power that your saw will have, and it is recommended to get at least a 2HP motor to prevent binding. If you are only using it on lighter projects, you will only need a 1HP motor. Remember that you will have a longer lifespan with a saw that has a large motor running at a low workload than a small motor that is running at a full workload. Smaller motors will burn up faster when running under a heavy workload for a long period of time.

Wheel Size

With considering the wheel size, the rule of thumb that bigger is better applies here. A small wheel will not perform as well as a large wheel due to the tendency of smaller wheels to bend.

Blade Width

Depending on the projects you have planned, you may need several types of blades. A 1/8” wide blade works well on fine cuts and intricate curves, but you will need a wider blade for better cutting efficiency.

Table

A good table for a band saw should be extremely sturdy and won’t flex. Most of the best tables are made of heavy-duty aluminum and cast iron, although some more inexpensive models are using sheet metal which doesn’t last very long and has a tendency to flex and bend.

Types of Use

How often you plan to use the band saw should also be considered deciding how much you want to spend on it and how durable it is. Make sure to also consider the manufacturer's reputation and whether or not there is a manufacturer’s warranty.

Features of a Band Saw

If you are a woodworker, a band saw has a ton of versatile features that can open upwhole new world of unique design possibilities. With a well-tuned band saw, you have the ability to cut custom veneer, cut large curves, or make rough-sawn lumber from logs. When reading reviews on the best bandsaw for the money or band saw reviews for fine woodworking, it is important to keep some of the more important parts of a band saw as you shop.

Cutting Capacities

The throat capacity is the distance between the column and the blade which is also the size designation of a band saw. For example, if you have a 14" Bandsaw, then you have almost 14" of cutting capacity between the column and the blade. The resaw capacity is the distance from the highest point of the blade guide assembly and the bandsaw table.

Frame Style

Cast-Iron Frame – Around for generations, the cast-iron frame band saws have a traditional 14" platform that consists of two large machined castings with lower and upper assemblies. These band saws are ideal for everyday use, but the cutting capacities and motor size can also limit its operation. You can often expand the height capacity with a 'riser block,' but you will see that a typical motor is rated between 1 and 1 1/2 horsepower and this is not enough power for larger resawing applications.


Steel Frame – Popular in European markets, the steel frame band saws have recently made their way to the United States. These are one-piece frames that are made of heavy, welded sheet steel. This popular design is due to the method of construction that allows manufacturers to increase the cutting capacity without giving up durability and deflection. They are also available in several sizes that range from 12 to 24 inches.

Blade Guides

A good quality set of blade guides is extremely important. Equipped with both lower and upper guides, band saws have guides that consist of both, side support and a trusted support element. Installing inexpensive blade guides was common in the 1980s and 1990s by manufacturers to help lower the price of the band saws. Since then, many manufacturers understand that the quality of the blade guide is important and incorporates high-quality guides into their base models. Here are two of the more popular forms of blade guides:

Bearing Blade Guides – The most common type of guide, the bearing blade guide uses sealed bearings to support and guide the blade.

Ceramic Blade Guides – Achieving stability by using ten points of contact with the blade, the ceramic blade guide does not use any moving parts. The ceramic material has a longer life by dissipating heat from the blade for longer life, and it is designed to be used for many years.

Using a blade guide is important in achieving a straight and precise cut. Here is a YouTube video showing how a blade guide works.

Types of Band Saws

Vertical Band Saws

A vertical band saw has a vertical cutting position for the blade so that it cuts into the side of the wood. There are two pulleys on a basic vertical machine, one that is attached to the motor through a belt drive and one that is idle. A variable speed motor is paired with the belt to that you are able to adjust the blade speed. The pulley is mounted over the table and the drive wheel is found under the table.

Aw wood moves against the blade, the table that the wood is resting on can be tilted backward, forward, or sideways to allow you to make miter cuts. With a vertical band saw, you will have to feed the wood manually into the cutting blade.

Horizontal Band Saws

With a horizontal band saw, you will find the pulleys mounted lengthwise on the frame. The teeth of the blade will face down while the blade itself is mounted horizontally. Similar to a chainsaw, the only difference is that a horizontal band saw is large and fixed.

You also will put less effort into feed wood into a horizontal band saw as most of the work is done by gravity. Horizontal band saw are also usually mounted on the floor so they do take up more room than a vertical band saw.

The horizontal band saw is perfect for cutting pipes, tubes, sticks, and sawing poles. Here is a YouTube video showing a horizontal band saw in action:

A horizontal band saw is also more commonly used to cut metal, steel tubing, and other hard materials. Less versatile than a vertical band saw, it is harder to make curved cuts and cross cuts with a horizontal band saw, but it surpasses the vertical band saw in cutting stock to length.

You will also notice that the bands on both the horizontal band saw and the vertical band saw are slightly different. The horizontal band saw has a band that is not mounted laterally onto the pulley tracks, but vertically like a chainsaw blade.

Horsepower

Typically, you won’t need any more than 0.75 horsepower in your drive motor, unless you cut a lot of stock or do a lot of re-sawing. Basic carpentry work can use anywhere between 0.5 and 0.75 which is also enough for creating veneers, craftwork, and resetting edges. If you cut a lot of hardwoods like mahogany and oak, then you probably want a motor that has at least 1 horsepower.

Best Bandsaw Reviews

Featuring a two-piece, extra large table made of cast iron, the Powermatic PWBS-14CS is perfect for professionals as well as DIYers. It features a cast-iron nine-spoke wheel that is balanced and runs smoothly as well as a rugged design that provides durability and uncompromising accuracy. The PWBS-14CS also includes innovative features that allow you to tackle all sorts of heavy-duty jobs with accuracy and control.

Providing light directly onto the workpieces and blade, the PWBS-14CS includes a built-in halogen lamp as well as a chip blower that guarantees a clean and visible cut line. The table can also tilt to the right 45 degrees and 10 degrees to the left. It also features an easy-to-read tensioning gauge and a quick tension release lever that helps to make blade changes fast and easy.

The PWBS-14CS is one of the best bandsaws for resawing, featuring a micro-adjustable blade guide system that is durable and comes with dual bearings. Noise and vibrations are minimized by the poly V-belt and the rigid one-piece stand doesn’t require assembly. It also comes equipped with an adjustable miter gauge, a gooseneck work light, and a rip fence with resaw assembly.

PROS

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    Can actually see the blade-tension quick-release handles from the operator position
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    Comes with riser-block kit as standard equipment
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    There are hooks in the cabinet to store the miter gauge and rip fence

CONS

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    Motor tends to get bogged down
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    Could have more storage space in the cabinet it the motor didn’t sit so low

Redefining what a band saw should be, the G0555LX 14-foot Band Saw incorporates features that are unavailable or only optional on its competitors. The G0555LX has many of the same features and specifications as the popular Grizzly G0555. The G0555LX includes a heavy cast-iron frame and a deluxe heavy-duty stand with powder coated paint.

With an adjustable blade lead, the fence features lower ball bearing blade guides and upper ball bearing blade guides that include a rack and pinion guidepost. The G0555LX has rubber tires on a computer balanced cast iron wheels. It also includes a precision-ground table made of cast iron, fence scale equipped with a magnifying window, a miter gauge, and a durable T-shape fence made of extruded aluminum. 

PROS

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    Easy to set up, nicely balanced
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    Runs smoothly with a strong motor
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    The included light is a great feature

CONS

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    Lower band adjustments doesn’t have a lot of room for average sized hands
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    Lower guide bearing tends to freeze up on me
Jet JWBS-14DXPro Review

Source: Jettools

Created to meet the demands of today’s woodworkers, the JET 14-inch Deluxe Band Saw comes with an optional fence and a cast-iron frame that increases its power and helps you take on your most daunting projects. It also features a new high-tension spring design, as well as built-in, 12-inch resaw capacity to cut large pieces of wood. The enclosed stand features a storage shelf and an easy access door.

The Poly-V belt drive system runs at two speeds and the upper and lower cast-iron frames have been redesigned for improved rigidity and strength. You can watch the blade through the easy to see tracking window and the blade guide post that includes the rack and pinion adjustment lessens friction to improve the life of your blades. The Jet 14-Inch also includes convenient quick-release blade tension for added convenience, a built-in retractable blade guard, and a high tension spring that lets you have better blade tensioning. 

PROS

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    Well built and sturdy
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    High-quality cabinet that comes with an extended height
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    Lots of great features that are well-designed

CONS

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    Poorly designed blade tightening system
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    Lower bearing guide area is not large enough for average hands

With the Rikon Bandsaw, you can get all the features that come with a full-size band saw in a bench-top model. Featuring a large table that is constructed of cast iron, the 10-305 includes a strong 1/3 HP induction motor and thrust bearings that are edge-facing. It also comes equipped with a guidepost height that is adjustable, a fence, and a dust port keeps your work area clear of dust.

The solid steel design of the 10-305 is a scaled down version of the 10-325 and 10-345 making it the best budget bandsaw with a frame that is built with a steel plate making it stronger than the plastic frames used by its competitors. The large table made of cast iron provides a sturdy work surface and is larger than normally seen in a band saw this size. It also features an easy to remove rip fence and a micro-adjustable guidepost that is easily controlled with the turn of a handle. 

PROS

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    Heavy-duty construction with a small footprint
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    Dust port that works really well
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    Easy to adjust fence adds to the saw’s versatility

CONS

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    Doesn’t come with a stand
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    Doesn’t come with a miter gauge

Laguna’s first 110-volt model, the Laguna Bandsaw features a 1 3/4 HP TEFC Motor, a pyramid spine, and quick release tension. It comes equipped with a micro-polished table that is mounted on oversized trunnions. It also features an aluminum fence. Dynamically balanced solid cast wheels are fitted with one-piece tires made of polyurethane that are designed to last longer and run cooler than typical tires.

The Laguna Bandsaw also features a worm gear-driven rack and pinion that are incredibly smooth and engineered with the least amount of flex, even when you set it to be fully extended. It also comes equipped with double windows that let you check the tracking and tension while the machine is running. This is also a CSA-certified machine that comes with an illuminated on and off switch with a safety key

PROS

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    Great price for a great product
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    Function design that is well-made
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    This is a powerful 115v saw that is steady and smooth

CONS

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    The guides are positioned poorly
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    Fence is on the flimsy side

Conclusion

The winner of the Best Bandsaw Roundup is the Powermatic PWBS-14CS. This balanced and durable bandsaw is great for either professionals or DIYers. It has a ton of innovative features that let you take on any heavy-duty job you have in mind. Not only does it provide direct light onto your work area, but it also includes a chip blower to keep your cut line visible and clean.

This is a durable machine that comes with a one-piece stand that does not require assembly, plus the PWBS-14CS includes a miter gauge, a rip fence, and a gooseneck work light. It also reduces vibrations and noise with a poly V-belt and it has an easy to read tensioning gauge as well as a quick tension release lever making blade changes quick and easy. The definite winner of the Best Bandsaw roundup is the Powermatic PWBS-14CS.


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