In this article we’ll take a look at some of the best bandsaws for the money, whether you need one for woodworking, metal cutting or both.
We’ll start with the basics: how does it work, what you can use it for and the most important things you need to consider before buying.
However, if you’re in a rush, you can scroll down to get straight to the band saw reviews.
How does a band saw work?
A band saw can excel in cuts like no other tool can in the workshop and will also help you optimise and repurpose timber. Here are a few things you can use a band saw for:
- Cutting curves and circles. Cutting a long sweeping curve can be a nice design element in your work. In the absence of a band saw, it would be typically cut by a jigsaw. But using a bandsaw gives you a bit more control and makes a whole less mess. And that’s because a bandsaw cuts downwards and pulls the dust below the table, whereas a jigsaw cuts upwards and pulls the dust up on the cutting line. Another great advantage compared to a jigsaw is the ability to cut multiple boards at the same time by stacking them together. Due to the length of the blade, you’d have to cut one board at a time with a jigsaw.
- Resawing – which is basically taking a larger piece of timber and splitting it into two or more pieces. A large bandsaw plays an important role here, a 14-inch band saw having a much larger resaw capacity compared to a smaller one.
- Cutting notches – making a stop cut in a piece of wood is not always easy. You could use a table saw but it’s not that easy, clean or particularly safe. You have to either pull the piece of wood backwards or turn off the saw after you hit your layout line. And that’s something I don’t recommend since you can induce kickback when trying to do it. But even if you do it safely, since the blade cuts at an angle, the top side might look alright but the back side of the notch will have the overcuts on it, making it suitable for pieces with only one show side.
- Bookmatching wood – also a form of resawing, bookmatching is great for highlighting the movement and figure of the wood grain in a unique way.It is when you take a piece of wood and split it in half, opening it up just like a book.
- Repurposing scrap/old wood – kind of a combination of a few of these, band saws are great for repurposing logs or any other sort of old, unused wood. At this point, it all comes down to your creativity.
Which band saw to buy?
Whether you want to buy an entry level saw that’s best for a small home workshop or a more professional (and expensive) machine, there are a few things you need to consider before making such an important purchase.
The first thing you need to consider is what type of material you will be cutting most often. Usually, band saws are used for woodworking but you can always equip yours with a blade strong enough to cut metal.
Next, you should look at the throat and depth of cut specifications. The throat is the actual distance between the vertical frame and the blade. When you see a band saw marketed as 10 or 14-inch, that refers to the throat or how wide of a cut that band saw is capable of. The depth of a cut is the distance between the upper blade guide and the table. It is a very important factor as this will determine the thickness of the piece of wood or metal you can cut.
If you will often use your band saw for cutting wood, you should look for one with a built-in dust collector while a variable speed motor is a great advantage when cutting metal.
A tilting table will offer you the ability to make angled cuts while, just like all the other electric powered saws, the motor power plays a major role in how powerful your bandsaw is.
Best Band Saws in the UK
Let’s take a look at some of the best bandsaws the UK market currently has to offer:
Lumberjack BS254 Review: best 10 inch woodworking bandsaw with tilting table
This Lumberjack is a great benchtop bandsaw for a home workshop. It comes equipped with a 12mm blade and you can easily find replacements in sizes of 6, 12 and 13mm.
The max cutting height is 6 inches (150mm) and its depth is 10 inches (250mm). Powered by a 375 W motor, it features two variable speeds of 400 and 800 m/min.
There are two things I like about this bandsaw, besides its clean cuts: the fact that has a 90 degrees tilting table and a not-so-important feature but highly useful to me – its LED flexible light which is great for when you lose track of time and it gets dark outside.
It is equipped with a dust collection outlet in which you can fit any of the three different hoses diameters available – 50mm, 75mm and 100mm, meaning it’s compatible with pretty much any type of dust extraction system. Even if there’s none in place, the bandsaw is equipped with a dust collection draw that you can easily empty from time to time.
With a 12 months warranty in place, I strongly believe that this Lumberjack is one of the best value for money bandsaw suitable for any woodworking (and soft metal cutting) workshop out there.
Silverline 441563 7.5inch Review: best small, entry level bandsaw
This Silverline is one of the cheapest bandsaws you can currently find online, being suitable for a small home workshop.
Considering its cheap price, I was impressed by its powerful 350W motor and the fact that you can still tilt its table to 45 degrees.
However, due to its size, the max cutting depth is only 3.2 inches (80mm) and the throat size/width is 7.5inches (190mm).
Weighs approximately 15 kgs, a height of 70cm and the table dimensions of this small bandsaw is 30cm x 30cm.
Unlike other, more expensive products, this Silverline bandsaw lacks a dust collector but if it is to judge by its price range, it is still one of the best budget bandsaws available, being adequate for most hobby projects.
Click here to check the latest prices.
Draper 30736 Review: best metal cutting band saw (vertical and horizontal)
This machine is by far the best band saw for cutting aluminium or any other harder metals. I found the cuts to be extremely precise and clean.
Powered by a 350 W motor, it is powerful enough to cut through pretty much anything you throw at it.
It comes equipped with plastic blade guards for safe storage and transport wheels, adding to its portability.
It features three variable speeds: 0.33 m/s, 0.48 m/s and 0.84 m/s – as previously said, a necessary feature for cutting metal.
Supplied with a table for vertical and horizontal cuts, it is quite a versatile bandsaw.
When fully assembled, it measures roughly 3ft long, 18inch wide and 30 inches high.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t come cheap but you can’t go wrong with it for your metal cutting needs, it should last for ages.Click here to check the latest prices.
Charnwood B350 Bandsaw Review: best 14 inches band saw
This 14 inch bandsaw is powerful and capable enough to satisfy any professional woodworker out there.
Featuring a 1.5hp(1100W) induction motor, this band saw has a cutting capacity of 9 inches(230mm) and a throat width of 14 inches(345mm), making it the largest and most competent band saw reviewed in this article. But, just like everything in life, all good things come at a price, right?
You’ll notice there’s quite a substantial price difference between smaller and larger band saws.
This specific model comes equipped with a high quality British made blade (2560mm) that will deliver some outstanding cutting results.
It weighs around 75kgs and its dimensions are 90cm width, 72cm depth and 1.7m height.
The table size is 54.5cm x 51.5cm and you get two variable motor speeds, making this machine capable enough to cut soft metal as well.
The cast iron table tilts from 90 degrees to 45, with a positive stop at both of these positions.
Yet again, it features a useful flexible LED light and comes with a 1 year warranty.
Pricey but you get a quality piece of kit.Click here to check the latest prices.
I hope you find these bandsaw reviews useful. Have you ever used any of the ones mentioned in our list? If not, what others have you used and enjoyed the most?