A bandsaw is absolutely a necessary tool for individuals who wish to own a small woodshop. It is also extremely handy for individuals who wish to construct various types of wooden devices for regular usage at home. Choosing a bandsaw can often prove to be a challenge of sizeable proportions. It’s vitally important to understand why you require a bandsaw. It is equally important to understand the type of bandsaw, with respect to the use you intend it for. This should determine your choice and it’s the only way you can guarantee that you aren’t being short-changed in the market.
Luckily for you, we have endeavored to do exactly that. We want to give you the best tips and pointers. regarding bandsaw’s in general – especially the type of bandsaw that you might need in particular. Purchasing a bandsaw that is worth your money and resources could become a cumbersome task in itself. The choice is quite tricky, when you consider the wide range of parameters that are usually looked upon while making the decision. We have compiled a list of the best budget bandsaws available in the market, so that you can make an informed decision as a consumer, as one that will benefit you in the long run.
Prioritizing your Requirements
Woodworkers are always advised to place a high degree of priority on the bandsaw while acquiring a new set of machines, or even upgrading their pre-existing setup. Often, the table saw is chosen as the first equipment that needs to be bought in these situations. However, in our understanding, the bandsaw should be at the top of the list by all accounts. The reason for making a bandsaw purchase as a priority is not at all complicated.
The table saw is undoubtedly a far superior tool for clean, straight ripping or crosscutting – but the bandsaw provides something the table saw doesn’t. Bandaws provide the additional feature of versatility. It is capable of comfortably broadening your design palette, early in your product development. It also creates an opportunity for the user to approach the art of woodworking, in a way that combined the seamless efficiency of machines with the hand tool skills of each individual, leading to an incomparable personal touch to all projects.
A well-tuned bandsaw is essential for securing a clean rip, especially with a carbide-tip plate. Also, a crosscut is effectively cleaned up with hand-plane shooting, which is a very powerful technique in its own right. The understanding is that a table saw should be purchased at some point, but purchasing the best budget band saw should be unquestionably higher on the priority list. An inspiring woodworker in his own right and an example to countless others, James Krenov made a statement in The Fine Art of Cabinetmaking by stating that, “Of all machines, the bandsaw has done the most to help me use wood the way I really wanted to.”
What is Bandsaw and How does It Work?
We all know and understand how the old school saw works. We also know that the accelerated development of technology has transformed the nature and function of mechanical tools. A bandsaw is an electrically powered machine that consists of a metal band, called the bandsaw blade. These saws may be used for a wide variety of purposes related to woodworking, metalworking and lumbering, but they are also used effectively to cut a whole host of different materials. It is usually mounted on two wheels that rotate on the same plane. This power tool is used for processing wood, metal, and other alloys.
It should be mentioned, however, that a bandsaw provides the greatest utility when used in cutting irregular shapes. Another extremely common use of the bandsaw is to redraw or rip lumber into thinner slabs. The precision and accuracy that is achieved for cutting materials using a bandsaw, is what sets is apart and the flexibility to use different blades. For effective operations on different materials, the bandsaw is a great option for people engaged in various kinds of metal and woodwork. The blades of a bandsaw can also be of varying lengths and tooth pitches, which determine the level of versatility. All modern variants of bandsaws are usually electrically powered, as opposed to the now historic line shaft versions.
Factors to Consider while Choosing the Best Budget Bandsaw
Size and Type
The size of a bandsaw is nominally determined by the size of its wheels. The throat width is used to determine the widest board that can be passed between the blade and the column, and is usually easily recognizable as 1 inch less. The maximum height (thickness) that can be cut is known as the resaw capacity. For a typical small shop furniture maker, it is usually recommended that 14 inches should be the minimum for a bandsaw; but for more than that, 16 inches is optimal. On the other hand, heavy workers are advised to consider 18 or 20-inch machines for best results. A minimum Reese height of 12 inches is also recommended to extract the highest versatility.
As far as the choice for the frame design goes, the choice is usually between cast iron and welded steel. The classic 14-inch stand-mounted machine with a cast iron frame and a Reese height worth 6 inches was the most popular for small shops for many years. Although the height can usually be further expanded to 12 inches, using a “riser block”, these machines usually have a motor rated at 1 horsepower. Even at maxed out capacity, it provides 1.5 HP, which is underpowered for resawing 12 inches of hardwood.
Nowadays, with growing popularity, a bandsaw with a frame constructed using a heavy, welded sheet steel is in wide circulation. They are easily distinguished, owing to their rectangular frames that ooze elegance. We also heavily recommend everyone to buy a machine with at least a 2 HP motor, and another half horse or more would do no harm either.
The great differentiator for bigger saws is that as compared to their cast-iron variants, they require little or no glory space for operation. Along with this, mobility kits are available for any saw, so that the user can effectively move the tool as and when needed, to accommodate longer work pieces. The practical limit could be set by considering the height of your shop and the weight of the machine.
It is generally prudent to have a quality steel frame saw, and those are usually accompanied by heavy cast iron wheels. These help in creating a strong flywheel effect that in turn, contributes to a powerful and steady cut during operation. A bandsaw blade tracks on rubber “tires” on the rims of the wheels. Most steel frame machines are equipped with tires that are flat or nearly flat – which is extremely useful in tracking blades which are 1” or more in width. They are also useful for conducting heavy sawing operations. The wheels of the classic 14” cast iron bands, often termed as “crowned” wheels are not best suited for such operations.
A thick spring near the top of the blade can help in maintaining proper blade tension. Although it’s not possible for the buyer to directly assess it’s quality, the presence of a well-made spring is one of the most subtle, yet vitally crucial reasons for investing in a quality bandsaw.
Now we come to another important constituent component of a bandsaw – which is the guidepost. It contains the upper blade guide assembly and the blade guard. A rack and a pinion is usually used to adjust the guidepost, to accommodate the thickness of the wood being cut. It is important to ensure that the precise setting of the guides is maintained in relation to the blade by virtue of the post assembly, throughout the height range.
This factor is quite an exhaustive one in terms of explanation – but we have provided a brief overview of it nonetheless. The size of bandsaw blades are generally quite large, sometimes going up to to 12 feet or more in length. These blades move at a high pace, and yet it is expected that we can use them to make precision and accurate cuts. The problems occurs when the blade engages the wood and begins to drift, distort or just become somewhat errant. To mitigate the effects of this issue, pairs of guides are set very close to ,or against the sides of the blade that helps in keeping the blade on a true course.
Euro-style guides are available – which are essentially a pair of roller bearings that are used to adjust the blade through screw mechanisms, to nearly meet the blade. These are the round gray steel objects used to sandwich the blade. There are also other kinds of roller bearings that meet the blade on the outer round edges. Furthermore, other kinds of guides consist of a pair of blocks comprised of steel, phenolic, or ceramic material that have the same functions of sandwiching the blade, and have various different mechanisms in place for adjustment.
These guides are accompanied by another bearing located behind the blade, which is called the thrust bearing. This limits the backward displacement of the blade from the feed pressure of the wood of the wood, during the cutting process. Here also, the most common variants are roller bearings, whose flat faces meet the blade. It has been observed after detailed analysis, that most woodworkers share an exclusive preference in bandsaw blade guides.
However, in most cases, the quality is the overriding factor that is taken as a marker in this regard. Some of our experts have expressed a fondness for Euro guides on their saws. Although, edge-bearing rollers are often considered to be more popular among mainstream craftsmen. The bottom line is, that guided should be easily adjustable in terms of accuracy, and they should maintain their positions effectively.
Table size is generally not a major issue in terms of woodworking, but it has been found that the 16” * 20” table on the saw is considered to be adequate enough – even for large assignments which require a separate stand in any case. The table should ideally be a heavy cast iron set on stout trunnions, and should also be easily adjusted to different angles with a stop at 90 degrees.
For most types of woodwork, a moderately heavy fence with a basic adjustment mechanism is deemed to be sufficient. Apart from this, aftermarket fences with micro-adjustable mechanisms are available for most saws.
The distance between the blade and the column is the cutting capacity, and this measurement is also used as an easy reference to the size designation of the bandsaw. In other words, a 14” bandsaw should ideally have a figure close to 14”, as cutting capacity between the blade and the column. Resaw capacity as mentioned earlier, is the distance from the bandsaw table to the maximum point of elevation of the blade guide assembly.
The horsepower requirements of a bandsaw are largely dependent on the type of function and cutting processes one wishes to use the saw for. A horsepower motor of 1-½ HP is usually acceptable for general cutting of thinner stock, with minor resawing. In case you plan on making your own veneer by redrawing the larger exotic hardwood, it is useful to consider looking at units with 2-½ to 3 horsepower motor. This is also extremely useful, in case you are undertaking tasks of cutting bowl blanks from a log and such. It should be noted that motors rated at 2 horsepower or larger generally require a 220V electrical supply.
Best Budget Bandsaws 2020
1. Rikon 10-305 Bandsaw With Fence
We start our list with an incredibly versatile and dependable saw, that is sure to fill you with confidence and assurance. The 10-305 is an exceptionally durable machine that boasts of a frame made of steel plates, which automatically puts it on a far superior pedestal compared to other manufacturers using a plastic material for their frames. The 10-305 is actually a reduced version of the extremely popular 10-345 and 10-325. It is also equipped with a large cast iron table, comprising of the dimensions 13-3/4-Inch by 12-1/2-Inch that ensure a sturdy and solid base and work surface. This is quite a unique feature, as a saw of this size is usually not associated with such a large tale surface.
Along with this, it also has a quality rip fence which is removable quite easily if the user wants to do freehand work. Additionally, 1/3HP motor ensures that ample power supply exists for purposes of cutting bowl and pen blanks. Also included is a micro-adjustable guidepost that allows you to lower or raise the guide post height with a simple turn of the handle. Weighing in at a healthy 76 pounds, this saw strikes the perfect balance between performance, versatility, nd durability – making it a must-have for individuals looking for the best budget bandsaw in the current market.
2. Grizzly G0513ANV 2 HP
The Grizzly G0513ANV has been on the radar of our researchers and analysts for quite some time. It has acquired a much-acclaimed reputation as a pocket-friendly and high performing saw that is used for a wide variety of woodworks. This machine is a product of celebration, as it was conceptualized in celebration of the company’s 30th anniversary. It is basically a mixture of their two most popular saws. It has been constructed as a special edition product with a color scheme that is sure to be the eye candy in workshops and small businesses nationwide.
The saw upholds the high-performance standards that this company has been historically known for. This fully featured 17- foot heavy duty bandsaw is equipped with a 2 HP motor, that powers through wood up to a maximum 12-foot cutting capacity. It also has a host of attractive features that accentuate its already established reputation. These include features such as the deluxe fence, heavy-duty miter gauge, dual 4-foot dust ports, micro-adjusting geared table, and European-style blade guides, which are usually associated with machines on a much higher price level. The ISO 9001 factory designation assures high-quality standards, ensuring that its modest pricing does not affect the regular usage of this product.
The precision ground cast iron table and the deluxe extruded aluminum fence is more than capable of handling heavy workloads, making this machine an all-rounder in every respect. Finally, the computer balanced cast aluminum wheels with polyurethane tires ensure smooth movement. All in all, as budget saws go, there are few which can claim to be better than this one in the market.
3. Laguna Tools MBAND 144200
The LT14SUV 2012 is another powerful and dependable saw in this list of well made pocket-friendly machines. It has been turning heads for some time, by virtue of its impeccable performance and artsy design. This award-winning model has been subjected to upgrades of various kinds, ensuring that they never rest on their laurels and are always looking to better performance standards. A powerful motor providing 3 HP is a great mechanism for driving high-powered activities, and a blade length of 125’ is responsible for clean and precision cutting.
It also boasts of a significant resaw capacity of 14’’ and a throat capacity of 13 1/4″, making this a standard saw that will take care of all your regular woodworking requirements. This saw has made quite a name for its ruggedness – by virtue of its industrial frame. It’s heavy duty castings as well as the precision tension mechanism & famous ceramic laguna guides make it a deal-worthy purchase. It has received wide acclaim in various magazines and journals for its versatile and powerful outlook, and it’s no surprise that its a favorite among many established woodworkers. The saw’s features have been adequately supplemented by a healthy consumer-friendly price, that makes this product a must-have for any woodworker.
4. Grizzly G0561
Our efforts have always been geared towards providing you with options that strike the fine balance between price, quality and performance. This latest product on our list is a worthy embodiment of all these features This is large capacity saw that is unique, owing to its smooth capacity for mobility. This model is endowed with fascinating features, such as automatic shut off and hydraulic feed control, increasing its desirability tenfold.
Designed to cut 7″ round and 7″ X 12″ rectangular stock, it is also provided with a smart coolant system along with a blade brush. Additionally, a 1 HP single-phase motor ensures that all essential purposes are served efficiently through this machine for woodcutting. The G0561 also boasts of a powerful maximum circular capacity of 7’’*12’’ at 45 degrees, along with a maximum rectangular capacity of 7” at 90 degrees. This product has all the essential features for your woodcutting purposes and the extremely affordable price at which it is available, should be enough to convince you of its utility – if you need further convincing at all!
5. JET 18″ 1 HP
This latest addition to our already intriguing list of saws, brings to you a classy model form JET. This model is sure to bring a greater degree of joy and fulfillment from your woodworking activities. A competent and complete saw for a wide variety of woodworking purposes, this model is endowed with impressive features such as exclusive quick release and precision T-square style rip fence. You will also get the added feature of a built-in cutting height scale, that is sure to make your experience a lot more pleasant and comfortable. In addition, this model provides for the opportunity of carrying out convenient changes in speed, without the extra requirement of tools. The control panel is also extremely convenient and easy to use, that adds another feather to its cap and increases its utility by a hefty margin.
This impressive bandsaw is equipped with a heavy-duty gearbox, that allows it to cut both wood and metal. The controlling of the indexing speed is achieved effectively through the lever on the gearbox. The T-square style rip fence, built-in cutting height scale, and cast iron table, are additional features that increase its desirability and make this a worthy purchase. It also comes with a pivoting and gearbox assembly with tension release handle, making the drive belt advancement quick, easy and efficient. Precision roller blading guides ensure freedom of movement, allowing a great deal of flexibility and mobility for such a heavy-duty machine. It comes with a 2-year warranty. All things considered, when it comes to the best budget bandsaw of 2020, it rarely gets better than this.
6. JET J-8201VS
JET has been known for making a number of impressive and pocket-friendly tools throughout the entirety of its existence, and it outdoes its previous achievements with the J-8201VS model. The defining feature of this saw is its high durability levels, which becomes apparent once you set your eyes on this beauty. A cast iron frame and a solid one-piece steel frame ensures maximum stability and longstanding dependability. It also has a power switch located at an extremely convenient position, allowing you to effectively save power as and when required. This 14-inch single-phase vertical metal/wood bandsaw features a miter gauge as well as a variable speed driving system.
The gearbox is designed in such a manner, that it allows the saw to be used for a wider variety of metal, wood, non-ferrous metal and plastic cutting applications. As and with every JET machine presently available in the market, this model is also based on the pillars of quality engineering and manufacturing, and ensures that you can rely on it for an extended period of time for optimum performance levels. The professional user manual provided with this model enables you to put it to work faster, safer and with a greater degree of efficiency. The two-year warranty and the extensive presence of service centers all across the states, ensure that the operational ease of managing this machine is a lot better than many other similar products found in the market.
7. SHOP FOX M1014
Shop Fox brings to you another impressive bandsaw that is designed to optimize the art of woodcutting as never before. It consists of impressive features, like automatic shut-off and hydraulic feed control, along with an extremely effective coolant system. All of these features are supplemented by a sleek and combative design, that is guaranteed to give you a strong assurance regarding the utility of this fine product. This 7 inch by 12-inch metal cutting saw is ideal for woodcutting workshops, as it is well tested and suited for heavy workloads with larger and more substantive cutting operations.
It also comes with rectangular as well as circular cutting capacities, alongside angle cutting abilities. The high-mobility wheels also add to the level of convenience. Additionally, with a small footprint of only 13-by-38-inch and a portable base design, it is incredibly convenient to use and is a must-have for any woodworking production shop. The M1014 includes a work table with miter slot for applications that require vertical cutting. It also provides ball bearing blade guides above and below the table, to help prevent the drifting of the cutting blade and also to achieve accuracy and precision when making the cuts.
8. SHOP FOX W1729 19-Inch Bandsaw
Nearly all of the Shop Fox products on this list are bestsellers, and have come to acquire significant reputation in the last few years among the most experienced and seasoned woodworkers. It is no coincidence that we have managed to get in so many of their products of different varieties. Quality and performance have never been compromised by this brand, and our latest edition of the W1729 bandsaw is no different in this regard. Designed for optimum woodcutting functions, this saw is endowed with a host of impressive features, such as an indicator that shows the blade tension, micro-adjusting gear table and also a measurement scale, for measuring height.
Other standard additions include a miter gauge and a 2 horsepower single-phase motor, that provides enough power to drive heavy cast iron wheels with the capacity to propel blades from 1/8-inch to 1-1/4-inch wide through the toughest wood. A maximum height capacity of 12-inch, a couple of blade speeds and deluxe fencing makes this saw a worthy addition to your production rig. It is best for smooth and efficient woodworking and is guaranteed to bring out the hidden artisan in you. If all this wasn’t enough, you will also get a precision geared tilting table, rack and pinion upper guide adjustment and roller disc blade guides. Such an array of feature,s at a such a pocket-friendly price is quite rare and that is why this product can be categorized as one of the best budget bandsaws available in the market today.
9. Dake SE712 Model Standard
This next product is another heavy hitter, when it comes to one of the best budget bandsaws. It delivers a consistent, and satisfying performance and provides consumer fulfillment. This 3/4-hp horizontal floor-standing bandsaw has been specially constructed, keeping in mind the requirements for medium-duty cutting applications. It consists of four blades that are responsible for making precise and accurate cuts on stainless steel, tool steel, some carbon and nickel-chromium-molybdenum alloy steels, some copper alloys, bronze, and hard brass. The range of alloys and metals that can be worked upon this saw, makes it stand out from some of its contemporaries in this price range.
Another tantalizing feature is the hydraulic control system which is used for feeding stock at variable rates. For purposes of cleaning the blades and keeping the temperature of the workpiece cool, an efficient coolant system is also provided for. A few other interesting features that come with this model include low voltage reset, thermal overload protection, blade guards, safety interlocks, and automatic shut-off for ensuring maximum safety. Weighing in at a reasonable 420 lbs., this model ensures that competent maneuverability and the enticingly low price at which this saw is available, makes it all the more alluring and fit for purchase.
10. Baileigh BS-250M
The BS-250M from Baileigh is one of the most sophisticated and efficient bandsaws of modern times and like the others on this list, this model has received rave reviews from a host of different woodworkers. It provides impressive horsepower of 1.5 HP and other efficient features such as inverter driven variable speed as well as a direct drive. This single miter band saw is capable of cutting up to 9 inches round metal stock and has the potential to miter up to 60 degrees. The changing of the miter angle has been made exceptionally easy and efficient.
To make the clearing of chips a lot less complicated, this horizontal bandsaw includes a powerful industrial grade coolant pump that is destined to clean the cutting area best as possible. This is great for a number of purposes, such as cooling of the blade teeth, blade lubrication as well as cleaning of the metal chips from the blade, ensuring that they last a lot longer than usual. For fabrication shops, that are required to undertake cutting functions on a variety of different materials, this saw is possibly the best in the market at this price range. The inverter drove variable speed feature also allows the user to achieve a lot more precision and accuracy by allowing for the easy adjustment of blade speed, based on the type of material being worked upon.
Another impressive feature of this saw is the dual method of operation, either by using the pull-down arm and trigger switch to activate the old front, or by switching the machine over to cut metal using the hydraulic descent feature. The second option essentially allows you to cut through the metal, using the pressure you find appropriate. All these alluring features are presented to you without having to break the bank, and that is why this saw is considered to be one of the best budget bandsaws available in the market today.
11. WEN 3962 Two-Speed Band Saw
The word “budget” is often thrown around loosely nowadays with little regard for context. However, in this case, there can hardly be any discrepancy in the use of the word, as this latest model form WEN epitomizes the concept of quality material at an affordable price. This high functioning saw is equipped with a 3.5 HP motor that has the potential to cut up to 6 inches deep and 9-¾ inches wide. This establishes the legitimacy of this powerful tool, as you can comfortably use it to glide through boards comfortably.
A 72-inch blade is used by this saw anywhere between 1/8 to 1/2 inches in size, to serve the purpose of making efficient and powerful cuts, but also without sacrificing the importance of accuracy. It also comes with a spacious work table that is capable of swiveling up to an angle of 45 degrees. The WEN brand has also received plenty of plaudits for their flexible work lights, which are famous for illuminating your workplace effectively. so that you have no problems related to lighting conditions while engaged in productive work. All of these fantastic features coming at such a low price in the current market is quite remarkable when you think of it. This is exactly why this saw has been a favorite for many an experienced woodcutter.
12. Laguna Tools MBAND1412-175
Laguna Tools have been a long-standing and dependable shopping reference for many over the years, when it comes to power tools of different varieties and dispositions. Although this particular model does have a slightly irregular look to it, it leaves no stone unturned when it comes to performance and professionalism. This saw is specially designed for cutting larger pieces of wood, owing to the extremely impressive 12-inch resaw capacity.
Additionally, the overall body of the saw is incredibly powerful comprising of a steel frame construction, pyramid spine, and cast iron wheels. Provided with a 4 HP motor, this powerful saw is sure to pack quite a significant punch. The easily workable on/off switch is illuminated and is also equipped with a safety key. A great degree of firmness is achieved as a result of the upper and lower cast iron frames, as well as the blade tracking windows that aids in creating the image of an elegant range of view. In addition, the integrated blade post also has the possibility of rack adjustments which act as the icing on the cake.
13. JET JWBS-14DXPRO
As far as 14 inches saw kits go, few can claim to be better than Jet’s JWBS-14DX Pro Band Saw Kit. Coming with a 12 inch resaw capacity, which makes it perfect for pieces of wood that are larger than usual. Additionally, it also boasts of a 2-speed ploy-v drive belt system. It basically means that it is extremely effective when it comes to portability. It has often been termed as the “Ferrari” of the saw world thanks, to the existence of such power and efficiency – all in a resourceful and sturdy frame.
The rigidity and strength is driven from the upper and lower cast iron frames and the viewing has also been made quite easy by virtue of the blade tracking window. The new belt drive system is another feather on its cap, owing to the capacity for greater control. The quick release balded tension is great for allowing a greater degree of flexibility and effortless levels of adjustment. The blade guide post with rack and pinion adjustments are also a massive upgrade for accuracy. The saw also comes with a handy shelf for storage, which ensures that your workplace has minimum clutter scattered around. The final piece of the jigsaw comes in the form of a five-year warranty.
14.. Grizzly G0457 Deluxe Bandsaw
Here, we present to you another impressive 14 inch deluxe bandsaw that is capable of competent performance, and is also well suited to performing a host of different operations. A blade size of 106 inches and a blade speed of 3000 fpm ensures that you can effortlessly use this saw to undertake a wide range of different cutting functions. A 2 HP power motor is also extremely useful in making strong powerful cuts. A cutting capacity of 13.5 inches is another positive that adds to the already high desirability. With an RPM of 1725, this particular model is sure to give you excellent results and far exceed your expectations.
Weighing in at 305 pounds and getting rave reviews for it’s durability and flexibility, this is one of the best budget power tools available in this price range. A quick release handle up front is great for lifting the fence out of the way for other operations. The G0457 features a heavy duty welded steel frame, ideal for reinforcing precise blade tension gauge. The cast iron wheels are computer balanced, which ensures great rigidity, and creates a good base for ease of movement and betterment of performance standards. Additionally, it has got great ability to undertake heavy duty operations and all of these features make it a great choice.
In this article, we have taken a comprehensive look at bandsaws, how they are used and why they should be considered. We have also addressed the various important factors that should act as guiding principles when you think of purchasing your first bandsaw. Considering the volatility of the market and the cobweb of marketing and advertising, we have also endeavored to present a list of the best budget bandsaws available in the market. This also takes into account one that is most ideally suited to your unique needs and requirements. All of our tips, pointers, and recommendations have been based on years of research and continuous updates on the recent developments in technology. Our focus has been as always to empower you as a consumer, by providing you with the required tools of knowledge that will enable you to make a rational informed choice. Be the master of your own fate and be in a position to spend your hard-earned money responsibly.