Jet Band Saws Reviewed - The Best In Their Lineup

Jet has had a great reputation for making quality and reliable power tools for woodworking, metalworking, air tools and much more. Regardless whether you’re a professional or an amateur you’ll find some of the best tools for the job here. Jet has a great lineup of various saws, lathes,  sanders, jointers, planters and much more. You can check out the detailed review here. Usually most of their lineup varies between 1hp and up to 5hp, they definitely have everything for anyone. 

The bandsaws vary from around 1hp up to 5hp and are very reliable and cheap. The saws from JET have a capacity from as low as 10″ all the way up to 20″. A lot of people think the saws all look the same but once you get a proper feel for it you’ll know the difference, it’s never just about the looks.

JET Bandsaws at a glimpse

JET – 14″ Deluxe Pro | JWBS-14DXPRO  1-1/4hp

JET JWBS 14DXPRO

JET – 20″ Bandsaw, 3HP | JWBS-20-5

JET JWBS 20 5

JET – 20″ Bandsaw, 5HP | JWBS-20-5

jet 20 5 1

Complete Jet Bandsaw Review & Lineup

Jet – 14″ Deluxe Pro Bandsaw Review

Jet Small1
JET small

I would call this an entry level saw. However, it is anything but. This is still a professional level saw albeit among the smallest models by JET for the price.

The saw lacks a few features but what it lacks in provides in quality and overall performance. It’s definitely made for entry level woodworkers. 

Specifications:

  • Motor: 1-1/4 HP
  • Resaw Capacity: 12″
  • Blade Length: 105″
  • Wheel Diameter : 14″ 
  • Min. Width: 1/8″
  • Max. Width: 3/4″
  • Table Size: 15″ x 15″
  • Table Height: 43-1/2″
  • Table Tilt: 45° right; 10° left
  • Weight: 247 lbs.
  • Dust Port Outlet: 4″
4.0/5
4.3/5

The Jet 14″ Deluxe Pro Bandsaw  is an entry level saw which will help you get precise and quality cuts from your materials. Some people consider it has the bare minimum features in order to both be cheap and reliable. The lack of features, slower motor and the small capacity make it a good choice for smaller woodworkers but for larger projects it just simply won’t cut it.

Jet – 20″ Bandsaw, 3HP Review

Jet JWBS 20 3
Jet Medium

The JET 20″ Bandsaw with a 3hp motor is considered a very good investment for anyone interested in making quality woodworking. It has great features such as increased resaw capacity, greater throat depth and has enough horsepower to help you cut bigger boards and make smoother cuts. 

The JWBS-20-3 has a steel frame and is specifically engineered to build great projects through superior performance. It has large enough independently adjustable guides which are also tool-less so that overall it will save you a lot of setup time.

Specifications
  • Power: 3 HP
  • Resawing Capacity: 16”
  • Cutting capacity: 20″
  • Cutting capacity height: 16″
  • Table Size: 27-1/4” x 20” x 1-5/8
  • Table Height: 37”
  • Table Tilt: 5 degree left; 45 degree right
  • 2” dust ports with 4″ diameter
  • Blade length: 158”
  • Minimum blade width: 1/8”
  • Maximum blade width: 1-1/2″
  • Weight: 588lbs
4.3/5
4.4/5

The JWBS-20-2 bandsaw provides great features for woodworkers who are looking for quality cuts and aren’t ready to pay an arm and a let to achieve that. The 3hp motor will provide enough power to cut bigger boards but if you’re a professional woodworkers an upgrade from this would be recommended in order to achieve maximum performance.

Jet – 20″ Bandsaw, 5HP Review

Jet JWBS 20 3
JET JWBS 20 5

Just as you’ve might have assume, the JWBS-20-5 model by JET is considered top of the line when it comes to quality, performance and overall cost effectiveness. 

With this bandsaw you can create smoother edges and master the intricate cuts which will help you work on bigger projects if needed. It has all the features required and a powerful motor to help you make those accurate cuts.

As it’s predecessors it has tool-less independently adjustable guides which will help you save time during set up. 

Specifications

  • Motor: 5HP
  • 16″ Resaw capacity
  • Recommended breaker: 40 Amp
  • Table tilt 5 degrees left and 45 degrees right
  • Cutting Capacity 16″
  • Blade Length 158″
  • Max. Saw blade width : 1-1/2
  • Two Dust Ports with 4″ diameter
  • Cutting capacity 20″
  • Table Size 27-1/4 L x 20 W
  • Minimum Blade Width: 1/8
  • Height From Floor 37″
  • Net Weight 616 lbs
4.75/5
4.6/5

The Jet JWBS-20-5 is considered to be the ultimate bandsaw offered by jet. It has great resaw capacity along with a powerful motor which will help you work on almost any project. There are a few minor improvements that could have been made but overall the bandsaw performs great, is considered inexpensive and it definitely would improve you work quality by a large margin.

JET are  a long established brand which has a lot of tools. They started small with just one store and today they are a global company which sells something for everyone. Their cheap and reliable pieces of equipment are for both amateur and expert woodcrafters.

JET Tools Customer Service

Jet has always had a positive reputation when it comes to quality, maintenance and repair. This service hasn’t been used too much since most of the products seem quite reliable and people don’t usually need to fix anything.

The official website for JET shows how ready they are to offer you quality products that they can stand behind. There are warranties as well which can go to as low as 90 days all the way to 5 years. On some machines a lifetime warranty is available. These machines are usually for woodworking or in the machinery category. 

The dedication extends to having a dedicated customer relations phone number, a distributor hotline and a dedicated technical service number. According to the site they are active between Monday to Friday from 8am to 5pm.

customer service JET

Jet Tools Warranty

Same as any manufacturer that believes in their product, JET Tools offers warranty on their products. The least one is 90 days and can go all the way up to a limited lifetime warranty. It depends on the product you’ve ordered. They also have dedicated phone numbers for technical service but it doesn’t get used much since JET offers quality. 

When we look at every JET tool we can notice that each one has a limited warranty which differs in length for each product. All of them start from the date of the receipt and can last up to a lifetime. The good thing about these products is that they also offer warranty on consumable items for a 90 day period. Rarely can a manufacturer trust so much in a consumable item as to offer a 3 month warranty on it.

The official JET tools statement on what a warranty covers:

This warranty covers any defects in workmanship or materials subject to the limitations stated below. This warranty does not cover failures due directly or indirectly to misuse, abuse, negligence or accidents, normal wear-and-tear, improper repair, alterations or lack of maintenance.”

Related

Looking to learn more about JET Tool lineup? Check out our newest article that reviews their Table Saw lineup. 

Selecting the best band saw for your shop

Regardless whether you’re a professional woodworkers or you just started out there is a good chance that you’d be looking to get a quality bandsaw for your shop. Commercial bandsaws have distinct features such as:

  • Large throat with a sturdy fence for resawing
  • Thick blade which is used for dense stock and resawing
  • Good features to have for those that work a lot of hours every day are the quick release lever, easily adjustable fence and blade tension wheels
  • It features a heavy duty aluminum throat plate along with a blade guide that has a rack and pinion fence
  • Depending on the size they are usually made of full steel or aluminum but smaller ones are usually out of cast iron
  • Larger bandsaws have an easy to move mobile base
  • Superior dust collector capability
  • It’s recommended to look for a saw which has ceramic guides or at least have a capability to add them later on

If you ask any woodworkers they will tell you that having the right tool for the job, is a job half done. Getting the cheapest bandsaw can do the trick if you’re literally just starting out and only plan on doing it as a hobby but if you want to make a profit, have quality cuts and cut through anything you need to look at the JET lineup and see what they can offer you. 

Horsepower and blades needed for resawing

When a woodworker wants to cut a thicker piece of wood such as the harder walnut or maple, they will need a a stronger bandsaw such as the JET JWBS-20-5 which has a 5hp motor that can cut through any wood. This saw is recommended because of the 20″ capacity along with it’s powerful motor and overall blade length. It also has a good resawing capacity of 16″ which is more than enough for some woodworkers. When looking at the blade, horsepower and much more it’s easy to get confused as to what and how much you really need for your project. If you’re just starting out anything around 1hp should do fine but if you’re looking to become a professional you need to invest in your craft and get a stronger machine to get quality cuts with.

The history of bandsaws

Bandsaws appeared in the early 1800 when a man called William Newberry received a British patent for this idea. The patent itself was highly impractical since the blades weren’t made of quality metal back then and because of that the machine itself wasn’t very popular or known. Blade durability was a big issues here since they didn’t have our modern technology such as quick release blade, cast iron wheels, they didn’t use a throat plate, there was always a lack of light, no dedicated dust port for dust collection and much more. The technology back then was the main reason why these bandsaws didn’t catch on right away and because of the bad blade design and quality, they broke easily. Constant tension and flexing was an issue for these blades for 40 years when welding issues were finally remedied and resolved. 

old band saw

How the Bandsaw Started to Spread

When the welding issues was resolved by Anne Paulin Crepin, a Frenchwoman who applied a patent in 1846 and even sold the right to employ it to manufacturer A. Perin & Company of Paris, it helped to produce new steel alloys which were used in this method along with advanced tempering techniques which helped Perin create the first modern bandsaw blade. In America this patent was granted to Benjamin Barker who built the first factory which produced commercial bandsaws which became available in the U.S. The power hacksaws which featured reciprocating blade became very common within metalworking industries back in the days, but slowly but surely bandsaws and cold saws became the dominant choice for these industries because they simply outperformed them by a large margin. Changing the blade has always been very easy for a bandsaw and this quickly became a common feature in commercial bandsaws.

Where Bandsaws are typically used today

Residential and light industry

Modern workshops exist everywhere not just in residential garages or basements. You will be able to find small or medium-sized bandsaws which woodworkers use to cut wood, metal or plastic. Within these shops these bandsaws cut anything and with blades which are easily switched out, cutting is very smooth and easy. A bandsaw usually has a vertical mounted blade on top of a cabinet stand or a bench but technology has improved greatly and today we even have portable power tool versions with various features such as cordless mode which help contractors work on a project far from home but bring their workstation with them, in a way. The light industry bandsaws are usually made from cast iron, usually have cast iron wheels but there are variants which feature a steel frame, ceramic blade guides and a lot more horsepower. 

Meat cutting industry

The meat cutting bandsaw is typically made stainless steel and the construction itself is specific. It usually has a light attached and an easy to clean feature. Depending on the meat cutter they can switch out different blades which have fine heat treated teeth or can have simply and plain knife edges. Swapping between them is easy and it depends on the shops requirements on what they’re interested in cutting.

meat saw

Metal Fabrication and Machine Shop Models

This bandsaw has two designs, one being vertical and one being horizontal. Metal fabrication ones have a structural steel and the machine shop models feature a bar stock. Both are used for industrial metal-cutting and operate at a very high speed. Because of this, a special type of cooling system must be implemented in order to help cool the blade which will prevent it from wearing out and dull out long before it’s usual lifespan. The liquids help wash away sward, helps lubricate the blade and it keeps it very cool during work. 

Horizontal Metal Cutting Bandsaws

The horizontal metal cutting bandsaw holds the piece stationary and the blade swings down to cut. These machines are typically used when cutting longer materials such as bar stock and pipes. Machine shops are usually using these types of machines in order to get the biggest benefit from these horizontal bandsaws. Because of its design this type of saw would be the worst possible choice if you want to cut corners or make any complicated shape. It just works in a specific way which doesn’t allow this type of cutting. 

The process is fairly simple where an operator raises the saw before the cutting, places the piece which needs to be cut  just underneath the blade and simply turns the machine on. Once it’s on the blade slowly starts descending into the material which then gives a precise and very accurate cut as this machine works. Once the blade goes all the way through a switch is flipped and the machine stops. Updated models usually have more than one blade, have proper blade guides and usually have a dedicated blade guard. Some of them are automated which require almost no human interaction in order to work properly. 

horizondal band saw

Vertical Metal Cutting Bandsaw

The vertical metal cutting bandsaw keeps the blades path stationary while the material moves through it. This saw is also called a contour saw because of its design it is a great choice for cutting more complex shapes and angles. Feeding material into the machine can be done manually or with  a special power assisted mechanism. Not every saw can support such a mechanism. A great feature in this saw is the presence of a blade welder which greatly helps the operator in repair of broken blades and assists in fabricating new ones quickly. With this it’s easy to adjust the blade in any way in order to get quality cuts. Most vertical models have a built in air-blower which is designed to keep the blade cool and blow away sawdust, chips and any unwanted material from the cutting area. Woodworking variants of this saw exist as well but they are of a much lighter construction with a much weaker motor and power and most have increased mobility by having wheels installed at the bottom but because of that none of them have support for a coolant, welder or power feeding mechanism. 

Wood Cutting

Timber Mills

Timber mills use very large saws which rip lumber. Circular saws for ripping used to be the preferred choice but timber mill bandsaws implemented special saws for doing that.  These saws have a smaller cut size thus less wood is wasted, regardless of how big it is. There are small portable sawmills but usually have a shop size bandsaw mounted on a guiding table. Chain saw mills can be used inexpensively and can be used by up to two people out on the field. 

Full size sawmills have bandsaws with blades mounted on a specific wheel system. This diameter must meet certain parameters and be large enough to not cause a certain metal fatigue. This can happen when a blade repeatedly changes its shape from a straight profile to a circular one. Because of the bending, constant changes and overall fatigue, the tension is so great the blade can easily snap. There are ways to counter this issue by having a certain deformation worked into them. 

 

Timber Mill

Timber mill bandsaw maintenance

Maintenance in the timber mill can seem difficult because the sawyer along with the sawfiler need to consistently maintain the grinding wheel profile by dressing it. The tooth gullet varies between mills and depends on both the timber mill and the wood that is being worked. During manufacturing of the blade this tooth gullet gets a specific shape and because of it the shape itself is automatically sharpened thus it’s automatically maintained. 

Tracking of a blade is important so that the sawyer can get accurate cuts and avoid unnecessary breaks. That blade is already under extreme tension so avoiding this is recommended. Make sure that the band wheel or fly wheel are co-planar. This is pretty straightforward and it can be done by putting a straightedge across the wheels frontal part and then adjust each wheel until they are both touching. The tracking is very important and needs to be regularly checked by rotating the wheels with a mounted blade and then tensioning it. After tracking, blade rollers can be installed with a 1mm gab between both guide flange and back of the blade. If a drift occurs you need to chance the blade guides for damage since the teeth can be too narrow and thus will foul the front edge of the blade guides. Cutting off a small step on the front edges of these blade guide rollers can help accommodate these protruding teeth.

Head Saws

A head saw is a large type of bandsaw which is primarily used to make initial log cuts. With its distinct features it greatly differentiates from other saws. Tooth space is 2-3 inches on the cutting edge, and usually they have silver teeth on the back. The silver teeth are used only to remove the sawdust ( silvers ) from the cut once the blade needs to back out. Modern head saws can cut logs anywhere from 16 to 72 inches in diameter. Of course it all depends on the kind of band mill this saw is mounted on and it depends on the motor which can cut anywhere from 1 to 300 feet per minute. Optional performance and cutting speeds can be achieved with some minor adjustments. 

Head Saw

Resaws (commercial bandsaw)

A large bandsaw optimized for cutting timber along the grain is a resaw. It helps reduce the larger sections into smaller ones or veneers. The blade must be large, about 2 to 3 inches and have a small cut size which helps reduce the waste while cutting. Commonly used resawing blades can be fitted on a standard bandsaw but need to be 1inch. Resawing is usually done to get the most of a stock because if you can cut properly and straight you will get two boards from the same piece. 

Related

Looking to learn more about JET’s lineup of tools? You can check out our entire JET TOOLS dust collector review here. Or, you can check out JET Tools drill press review here.

Final Thoughts on Bandsaws

Bandsaws have been around for a little over two centuries. They used to have some welding issues which held back their spread but once that was resolved and technology advanced, stronger blades were produced and made the bandsaws sell fairly quick. All over the world a bandsaw found its place in a workshop and once people started bragging about them, other people started getting interested and bought their own bandsaw. Because of the spread it was easily implemented in the metalworking industry and blade tension and blade breaking wasn’t as bad as it used to be when it was first introduced. 

Today, bandsaws are strong capable machines which have much stronger components but the more features it has the more expensive the machine gets. With the introduction of steel, cast iron frames and cast iron wheels were replaced with steel counterparts which provide much more accuracy, low vibrations and give precise cuts. The bandsaw will only improve as we discover new ways to bend steel and our advice is keep up with the trends because they will go with or without you.