Complete Buyer's Guide and Unbiased Reviews of the Best Band Saws On The Market
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 circles. This can also be done with a jig saw on most thin pieces of lumber, but you’ll find more accurate and cleaner cuts with a high quality band saw.
- Resaw. You simply can’t use any other tool in your shop to resaw thick stock other than a bandsaw. Band saws will resaw your lumber in half the time and much more accurately than a table saw.
- Bookmatch. If you make tables or any other large pieces in your wood shop, the band saw is a must have, make sure to get one with a high throat to bookmatch wide boards.
What you should look for to find the best band saw for you
Knowing what specs you’ll need in a hybrid saw will help make an informed decision. Here is a list of specs that you should look into before purchasing.
- Horsepower. Most band saw lines start at around 2HP and some saws such as Laguna’s line run all the way up to 7.5 HP.
- If you work with a lot of hard woods and thick stock, look at band saws with at least 4 HP.
- 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 that we reviewed below.
- Steel frame. While there are some cast-iron frames that hold up just fine, in general I advise steel frame constructed band saws.
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 feature, you’ll be doing just fine.
- Large throat. The higher you can raise the blade up, the larger pieces of wood you’ll be able to resaw and bookend. If you are looking to make professional caliber tables and counters, this is a must.
- Resaw fence. Chances are you’re looking to do some resawing with your new band saw. Make sure you purchase one with a fence that is tall enough for your resawing needs.
1. Laguna - LT14 SUV, 3hp Bandsaw
Winner for: Best Band Saw
Laguna specializes in making band saws and their engineers have done great work, these saws are awesome.
They’ve managed to create a line of saws from 1.75 – 7.5 HP that all perform exceptionally well. I really have nothing negative to say about what they do.
- Very low vibration (due to single belt drive)
- Unbeatable brand with a 5 yr. manufacturer warranty
- Competitively priced
- I typically favor Jet products as the industry leader, but Laguna is the best band saw on the market.
2. Jet - 18" Bandsaw, 3HP
Runner-up for: Best Band Saw
Jet is my favorite woodworking equipment company. 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 band saws rivals any in the class. Their resawing ability, power and the ease of which you can make adjustments and blade changes is rivaled only by Laguna.
If the Jets were a bit easier to move around the shop and had the same resawing fence as the larger Laguna’s, they may just take the top spot.
- 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,
Winner for: Best for Professionals
Winner for: Best for Resawing
With 5HP and a 24″ throat his saw is an ABSOLUTE BEAST!
If you are a professional woodworker, this or the Laguna Italian series are the two saws that you should consider.
If you are considering bookmatching for large dining room tables, resawing large pieces of stock or want matching curved cuts from stacked hard woods, this saw is a must.
- 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
Winner for: Best Band Saw for Hobbyists
Winner for: Best Bench Top Band Saw
Rikon provides a quality line of bandsaws and more importantly, they provide them at a price point that entry level woodworkers and those on a tight budget can more easily afford.
This 10″ bandsaw is great for the garage woodworker. It provides a surprisingly accurate cut and is great for small projects. There is a well built stand that can be purchased as well which is great for those that don’t have the space on their bench to set it up.
All benchtop saws (including this one) will be limited in cutting thick, hard woods and in their resawing capacity.
- 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 Make Due With A Jig Saw and Table Saw?
A band saw is a “must have” for millworks companies and professional woodworkers. However, if you are just getting into woodworking 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 saw.
You won’t be able to resaw large pieces of wood and your angled cuts may not be as clean, but if you are a hobbyist, you’ll be just fine with your jig saw and hybrid saw.
Top Uses for Band Saws
Here is a brief video that shows some of the many uses for band saws. Some were mentioned above in my “why purchase a band saw” section.