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 Model JWBS 20 3

Complete Jet Bandsaw Review & Lineup

Jet – 14″ Deluxe Pro Bandsaw, Model JWBS-14DXPRO 710116K

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, Model JWBS-20-3 714800

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, Model JWBS-20-5 714850

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

The 18BX Verdict

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


These types of bandsaws hold the workpiece stationary so that the blade can swing down through the cut. This type of machine is fairly common when cutting long materials such as bar stocks and pipes. Because of this almost all machine shops benefit from having a horizontal band saw. This saw is a horrible choice for cutting any types of corners or complicated shapes. This type of saw works in a specific way. An operator raises the saw before cutting, places the workpiece underneath the blade and just turns the machine on. The blade then slowly starts descending into the material making a precise cut as the machine moves. Once the cutting is completed a switch is tripped and the saw turns itself off.  Modern and more sophisticated models exist which have more blades, blade guides and even a dedicated blade guard. Most of them are almost fully automated and are used for high-volume cutting of machining blanks. 

horizondal band saw

Vertical Metal Cutting Bandsaw

This type of machine is called contour saw because it keeps the blade’s path stationary while a workpiece moves across it. Because of the design this saw is very good for cutting complex shapes and angles. Each workpiece can be manually fed or this can be done with a power assist mechanism, it depends on the type of saw that they have. The vertical metal cutting saw usually has a built-in blade welder which allows the operator to easily repair broken blade and fabricate new ones quickly. This helps adjust the blade which in turns provides quality cuts on the saw. A vertical metal cutting bandsaw usually has a built-in air blower which helps keep the blade cool and blow away chips from the cutting area. This feature also exists in woodworking variants of the saw. These woodworking variants are usually of much lighter construction with a weaker motor and power, and some even have wheels and usually none of them have an incorporated power feed mechanism, coolant or welder.

Wood Cutting

Timber Mills

Timber mills use a large saw for a process called ripping lumber. These type of bandsaw is the preferred choice over a circular saw for ripping because it’s very easy to accommodate large-diameter wood and since they have a smaller cut size less wood is wasted. Smaller portable sawmills exist and usually consist of a shop size bandsaw which is usually mounted on a guiding table. Chain saw mills can be used inexpensively when out on the field and can be used by one or two people. 

A bandsaw in a full-size sawmill has blades which are mounted on a wheel system. The diameter needs to be large enough not to cause metal fatigue which can happen quite easily since the blade repeatedly changes from a straight profile to a circular one. The tension is very high on this type of saw. Due to the size of the machine extra features must be installed. They need to have deformation worked into them that counteracts the tension and heating of the operation. Benching ( as it’s called ) needs to be regularly maintained  in order for it to work at an optimum level. 

 

Timber Mill

Timber mill bandsaw maintenance

The sawyer and sawfiler need to regularly maintain the grinding wheel profile by dressing the wheel periodically. The tooth gullet is highly optimized and always varies according to both the mill and type of wood. When the blade is manufactured it has a specific shape for the tooth gullet and this shape is automatically maintained with each sharpen. The tension will break the blades unless properly maintained. 

Tracking a blade is very important in order to accurately cut and avoid breaking the blade which is already under extreme tension. Make sure that the band wheel or fly wheel are co-planar. This process can easily be done by placing a straightedge across the front of the wheels and then adjust each wheel until they touch. Regularly check the tracking progress by rotating the wheels with a blade already in position and tensioning it. Once this is done, install the blade guides rollers and make sure that you leave a 1mm gap between the guide flange and the back of the blade. Sometimes, the teeth which are too narrow will foul the front edge of the blade guides thus resulting in a drift which you will need to fix. This is done by cutting off a small step on the front edges of the blade guides rollers so that the protruding teeth can be accommodated. 

Head Saws

This type of bandsaw is large and it’s used to make initial cuts on a log. They have distinct features such as a tooth space of 2 to 3 inches ( 51 to 76 mm ) on the cutting edge accompanied by silver teeth on the back. These blades are not for cutting and are actually used to remove the silvers ( sawdust ) from the cut when the blade needs to back out. Today, modern head saw is used to cut logs which are 16 to 72 inches in diameter, depending on what kind of band mill this saw is mounted on. This saw has a strong motor which can cut from 1 to 300 feet per minute (0.30 to 91.44 mm per minute). These speeds are optimizable  so that they can provide optimal performance and cutting speed. 

Head Saw

Resaws (commercial bandsaw)

A resaw is typically a large bandsaw which is optimized for cutting timber along the grain so that it can reduce larger sections into smaller ones or veneers. This process requires a large blade which is 2 to 3 inches ( 51 mm to 76 mm ) with a small cut size to help reduce the waste while cutting. Blades which are commonly used for resawing can be fitted on a standard bandsaw, if they are 1icnh ( 25mm ). People usually resaw in order to get the most from their stock because with proper cutting, you can get two boards from the same piece.

Final Thoughts on Bandsaws

The band saw has been around for more than two centuries and once the welding issue was resolved and technology was advanced enough to make a better and stronger blade, the bandsaw started selling all around the world and it found its place among the workshops. Once the first reviews came in, people got interested in the power of this machine and soon it was implemented into the metalworking industry. The blade tension didn’t cause any problems and the cuts were smooth and consistent with little to no drift. 

Modern bandsaws have much stronger components and included features only increase with the price of the machine itself. Cast iron frames and cast iron wheels have been replaced with steel components which in turn provide accurate cuts with little to no effort. We can only expect this machine to improve and eventually outperform the current design, but until then keep cutting and stay safe.