Best benchtop bandsaw

Craftsman 3.5 amp 10” band saw

Best benchtop bandsaw reviews 2017/2018

update Aug, 2017

What is a bandsaw

While choosing a suitable saw for home woodworking projects, benchtop bandsaw is not the first choice of many hobbyists but in fact it is the most versatile saw for you to play around. Benchtop band saw is a common band saw which has a long and sharp blade stretched between 2 wheels (or more) to cut timber in irregular shape. For example, you can create decorative moulding, guitar case, or to crosscut the timber into pieces. Besides, with a benchtop band saw, you can also do resawing, ripping the timber to have thinner pieces. Apart from woodworking, you can even cut the metal, ceramics,…with bandsaw by using an appropriate blade. The benchtop bandsaw now is constructed with a better design which can give equate to other full-size saws.

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Construction of a band saw

A bandsaw consists of 4 main components: the wheels (mostly 2 wheels and sometimes you can find a 3 wheels model) with a thin blade, a motor to run the wheel and a tabletop (or benchtop) to support the cutting.

Here you can see the construction of a typical benchtop band saw

bandsaw construction plans.png

 

A benchtop band saw is the most affordable, portable which is usually used in shop space. There are 2 values that you need to pay attention to that is the bandsaw size and the cutting throat (cut depth) which will vary depending on the models.

The table is another important thing. A portable small saw will have around 12 x 12 inches size, which is just sufficient for small wood object cutting. Often, the table of the saw is capable of leveling up to 45 degree which is useful for cross-cutting and removing the corners of a large turning block.

There are two elements always coming along: the fence for resawing and a miter gauge for cross-cutting.

A bench saw often create vibration during cutting, but manufacturers have come with several designs to reduce the vibration to the least possible, such as using ball bearings or block bearings. When you purchase a band saw you should need to realize how will you use it. For example, if you are about to cut thin pieces, you can choose the model with less powerful motor to save the money or on the other hand if you are about to do resawing most of the time, you should choose a model with larger motor power.

A good bench top band saw often comes a long with a good blade. There are various blades in size and TPI (teeth per inch) which will allow you to cut different materials at more precise level.

How to choose a band saw – Benchtop bandsaw buying tips

There are quite a few factors you can look for when choosing a benchtop bandsaw such as features, performance, constructions, and price. Also, you need to compromise in case you need to pick out the “sweet pot”.

Features

There are a few factors you need to look for such as the throat and the depth of the cut, the motor power (sometimes the variable speed of the motor if you are a professionals), cast iron table which can be adjusted to 45 degrees, a dust collector port, a fence and miter gauge. These parameters will decide mostly how big the wood piece you can cut in what shape.

Performance

When talking about performance, you need to care for the vibration, the smoothness when cutting, the blade quality,…, which can ensure you to use the machine for long times without defects.

Constructions

The materials of making the bandsaw will determine the quality of the machine. Best benchtop band saw is often made with casting iron or aluminum alloy which will make the saw strong and sturdy when working.

Prices

When coming to the price, you can find a portable bandsaw at around $80 to $1000. For the most affordable, usable saw, the price can be around $100-$250.

TPI of a blade

Teeth per inch (TPI) is a measure of the band saw blade with show how many teeth your blade has. As a general rule, when you cut things into thin, smooth pieces or resawing, you will need more TPI blade and vice versa.

How to use a band saw – important tips and tricks

First, you should check if the blade is placed correctly in the middle of 2 wheels and check for the proper tension of the blade. Each type of blade needs different tension so as to work properly. The bigger the blade, the more tension is required.

When checking the blade, remember to unplug the cord and slowly turn one wheel to decide if the blade tension is set suitably.

Second, you have to check the blade guides and thrust bearing. For this setup, you can use a paper or $1 bill to position the blade a bit away from the guide bearing and thrust bearing as shown in this picture. This will prevent friction and overheat during cutting.

When cutting pieces with the band saw, you also need to pay attention to the safety issue. When cutting the wood, you should use both hands to hold on 2 sides of the cut line and clear of the blade.

When you cut a small waste piece away, remember to hold both hands on the main piece to prevent slipping.

To reveal more tips and tricks when using a bandsaw, you can read this article

Best benchtop bandsaw review 2017

In this reviews, we will cover several best benchtop bandsaw available to find which one is the best one for the money.

NoBrand & modelSizeMotor (amp)Highlights
1SKIL 3386-01 2.5-Amp 9-Inch Band Saw
9 inch2.5beginner, hobbyist, woodworkers working on light materials
best price
2WEN 3960 2.8-Amp 9-Inch Benchtop Band Saw
9 inch2.8"sweet-pot” with great features, durability
Best value
3Craftsman 1/3 hp 3.5 amp 10” band saw
10 inch3.5Sturdy construction with rugged frame
less plastic
4 Rikon 10-305 Bandsaw With Fence, 10-Inch
10 inch3.5 heavy duty portable benchtop with features similar to full-size model
Best quality
5Powertec BS900 9 inch bandsaw
9 inch2.5classic and well constructed
recommended for beginners

1.SKIL 3386-01 2.5-Amp 9-Inch Band Saw review

“PICK ME because I’m the best budget unit with great features for instant use.”


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Fundamental specifications of SKIL 3386-01

  • Blade Type: 1/8-Inch to 3/8-Inch x 59-1/4 Inches to 59-1/2 Inches
  • No Load SFPM: 2,800
  • Max. Cutting Capacity: 3-1/2 Inches
  • Throat Capacity: 9 Inches
  • Table Dimension: 12 x 11-3/4 Inches
  • Actual Weight: 37.9 lbs.
  • Amperage: 2.5
  • Rating: 120V
  • Warranty: 1-3 years depending on the buying conditions

SKIL 3386-01 is one of the most affordable benchtop bandsaw that is fantastic for small woodworking project at entry level, when we balance between the performance and the price. This diminutive small saw has a lot of features that help beginners to achieve great results. For regular straight cut, it has a rip fence and LED work light that will let you cut the timber accurately. When you need to make a cross cut, there is the miter gauge which is very handy. Besides, one of the most interesting features is that you can change the height and angle of the table thanks to the rack and pinion adjustments. With this design, you can almost cut the wood in any shape with this SKIL 3386-01

The SKIL 3386-01 features a 6-TPI blade which can cut varieties wood types. It can cut things at 9 inches widest so there are plenty of cutting designs that you can play around with this small saw. Finally, the SKIL 3386-01 does not have a lot of noise or vibration during cutting, which makes this chain saw of the top rated model for the value and money.

Customer reviews of this model

Users agreed this is one of the best band saw for the low-end price. It is perfect for beginner woodworkers or DIY home projects. Besides, when choosing this SKIL 3386-01 model, there is something you need to consider such as there are a lot of parts made with plastic so the overall material quality is not as high as those from Rikon or Craftsman. Besides, the come along blade is about 6 TPI, meaning you might need to change a more TPI blade in case of cutting hardwood.

Pros and cons

Pros

  • Top-rated benchtop band saw portable model
  • Very affordable, cost saving
  • Lightweight, compact, easy to use, easy to clean, work extremely well even with complex shapes.

Cons

  • Many parts made with plastic which seems to be a barrier if you are into full iron casting models
  • The blade guides are hard to adjust

Final thought

SKIL 3386-01 model is the best portable band saw for hobbyists and new level woodworkers to perform daily cutting light materials at best price. Read full reviews

2.WEN 3960 2.8-Amp 9-Inch Benchtop Band Saw

“PICK ME because I’m a “sweet-pot” with great features, durability and good price for intermediate woodworkers”

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Fundamental specifications of WEN 3960

  • Blade Type: 62-inch blades, from 1/8 to 3/8 inches in size
  • No Load SFPM: 2,460
  • Max. Cutting Capacity: 3-1/2 Inches
  • Throat Capacity: 9 Inches
  • Table Dimension: 12 x 12Inches
  • Actual Weight: 39.7 lbs.
  • Amperage: 2.8 Amp
  • Rating: 110V
  • Blade included 62″ x 1/4″–12TPI
  • Warranty: 2 years

There are several features that separate the WEN 3960 with some other rivals. While it is a small 9 inches benchtop chain saw, this unit uses a bit more powerful motor (2.8 amps vs. 2.5 amps) and it has ball bearings which are very useful to reduce the vibration during working. Besides, it also has a fast release blade system so you can change the blade easier. The blade included in the WEN 3960 is 12 TPI type (62’’ x 1/4’’) which is sharp and great in quality.
At the same time, WEN 3960 has many similar features to perform perfect cutting such as a rip fence and miter gauge, adjustable work table, adjustable blade guard, and a tension-release handle for quick blade adjustments.
Customer reviews of this model

A lot of users agreed that WEN 3960 works great, cuts smooth, quiet, and easy to use. It is capable of cutting hardwood, plywood, HDPE smoothly and still be quiet during cutting. The 12 TPI blade is very efficient to cut thicker pieces. Besides, you can change the blade type easily anywhere from 1/8 to 3/8 inches to fit with your demands. When having issues, WEN customer support is also nice and useful to help you resolve any possible troubles.

Pros and cons

Pros

  • Affordable price for a great benchtop band saw
  • Work great on varieties of wood types and hardness
  • Smooth and quiet when running

Cons

  • The common issue is that WEN 3960 requires you to spend more time to do tuning before use (check for blade tension, bearing guides to be in correct positions). Once these tasks are done, this band saw will amaze you how it can work

Final thought

WEN 3960 is a great option when you think of price and quality as main factors. Powerful, reliable and compact to fit into small space, this model is the first choice of many work shops and woodworkers. Read full reviews

3. Craftsman 1/3 hp 3.5 amp 10” band saw

“PICK ME because I’m designed for durability with casting iron, solid steel and great power motor”

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The Craftsman 1/3 hp 3.5 amp 10” band saw offers a rigid structure featured by the solid steel frame and cast iron table which gives you the feeling of a strong and well-constructed machine, and as a matter of fact, it does not have many components made from plastic at all. The doors have double latches and lock shut pretty tight. It is a nice looking machine overall and the paint appears to be of good quality.

On performance aspect, this band saw use a heavy duty 3,5 amps motor which is pretty strong to cut hard woods and leaves smooth kerf. The machine also works very well when resawing and the saw shows no vibration at all.

What separates the Craftsman 1/3 hp 3.5 amp 10” band saw from the competitions are that rugged materials, great dust collection, no vibration, bigger table and cutting depth and width (4-5/8″ maximum depth of cut at 90 degrees and 9-5/8″ throat depth).

It also features ball bearing, fence and miter gauge similar to other band saw.

Customer reviews of this model

The Craftsman 1/3 hp 3.5 amp 10” band saw has been reviewed by a lot of woodworkers and hobbyists, and it is possible to say this is one of the most mini saws that has been reviewed with a long tracking record.

Pros and cons of the model

Pros

  • Sturdy construction with rugged frame, great table showing a quality machine
  • Run smoothly, the wheel is well balanced, powerful motor for a 10’’ mini saw
  • Less plastic parts than others
  • Great dust control

Cons

  • Similar to most of the portable benchtop band saw, the quality miter gauge and rip fence of this model is also just acceptable.

Final thought

Craftsman 1/3 hp 3.5 amp 10” band saw is a better option when you are seeking for a portable machine for a limited area. It has a solid construction, powerful motor 3.5 amps which can cut many materials with different hardness. The only concern is that adding accessories such as miter gauge and the fence is not so perfect (in case you need a high-quality fence and miter gauge, but most users feel OK with them). It is a well-built machine for 10 inch model that you can rely on. Read full reviews

4. Rikon 10-305 Bandsaw With Fence, 10-Inch

“PICK ME because I’m powerful and optimized for accurate cutting”

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The Rikon 10-305 is a heavy duty portable benchtop bandsaw that is patented by Rikon, a famous brand of mechanical instruments. While it is a 10 inch band saw, Rekon has applied the technologies of a full-size benchtop bandsaw to this 10-305 version to give it the durability and strength for using in a long time. Even appeared on the market for 7 years (from 2010) Rikon 10-305 is still a great choice for those seeking the best portable benchtop 10 inch bandsaw model.

Some factors that make Rikon 10-305 one of the best portable band saw is that this model uses solid steel frame and cast iron large table with large size so you can bigger pieces. It features a strong motor 1/3HP (3.5 amps motor) with a 10 TPI blade which can let you cut hardwood with ease.
Besides, there are two interesting features that the Rikon 10-305 allow you to work precisely that is it has a great rip fence (which is in good quality) and micro adjustable guide post with the turn of a handle. Although these adding tools are optional if you are professionals, it is very useful to hobbyists to working easily even using the machine for short period.

Fundamental specifications of  Rikon 10-305

  • The large cast iron table, edge facing thrust bearings,
  • a powerful 1/3 HP induction motor,
  • and 4-5/8 in cutting capacity are all of the features you come to expect as standard from Rikon.
  • Add the optional stand for the functionality of a floor model.
  • Specs: 1/3 HP, 3.5 amp motor,
  • speed 2780 ft/min, safety paddle switch.
  • Cutting capacities: Height 4-5/8”, Width 9-5/8”.
  • Table is 13-3/4″ x 12-1/2″.
  • Edge facing thrust bearings. 70-1/2″
  • blade range from 1/8″ to 1/2″.
  • Item Weight 76 pounds
  • Product Dimensions 35.5 x 18 x 13 inches
  • Item model number 10-305
  • Size 70.5″ x .1875″ 025 10TPI
  • Power Source AC
  • Voltage 115 volts
  • Item Package Quantity 1
  • Included Components 2″ Tall fence
  • Batteries Included? No
  • Batteries Required? No
  • Warranty Description 5 Year Warranty

Customer reviews of this model

Rikon 10-305 is a mighty portable benchtop bandsaw. It has a powerful cutting ability on different materials and runs smoothly without noticing noise or vibration. This heavy duty machine (76 lbs) has the best bearings which are not overheating like others.

Pros and cons of this model

Pros

  • The mighty benchtop bandsaw machine with great construction and materials, powerful motor, good accessories (bearing, rip fence, miter gauge…)

Cons

  • High-end machine has a higher price, but it pays for the quality

Final thought

When money is not your main concern, Rikon 10-305 band saw is the ready-to-buy model that is durable, well-constructed, versatile and easy to use on many types of materials. Read full reviews

5. Powertec BS900 9 inch bandsaw

“PICK ME because I’m well constructed and have a long sale tracking records”

 

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Powertec BS900 9 inch bandsaw is a decent 9 inch band saw which is also a great choice for beginners. This model from Powertec is a classic and well constructed for working with light materials. Appeared on the market since 2010, Powertec BS900 is still a good option when you need a benchtop bandsaw which is easy to use, safe, low noise reduction and easy to clean with a vac.

  • Patented blade guard adjustment for quick and easy blade change
  • Table with rack and pinion adjustment for easy tilt to 45 degrees
  • Blade tracking window
  • Quick release blade tension lever makes blade changing easy (patented)
  • Blade width range 1/8-Inch to 3/8-Inch increased versatility for scroll cutting and resawing
  • Induction Motor. 1/2 HP, 2.5 Amps, 1725 RPM,
  • Blade Size: 62″ x 1/8″ x 3/8″,
  • Aluminum Die Casting Table Size: 11-3/4″ x 11-3/4″,
  • Dust Port: 2″,
  • Throat Depth: 9″,
  • Max. Depth of Cut at 90 degrees: 3-5/8″,
  • Max. Depth of Cut at 45 degrees: 2″. 50 lbs

Customer reviews of this model

Powertec BS900 is a nice bandsaw for the money when you understand what it is built for. This little saw has a wonderful blade release lever which let you change the blade easier. You can try this model with various blades from 1/8’’ to 3/8’’ to cut wood pieces and perform resawing without any difficulty. Although it is not the perfect band saw for serious woodworkers, it works very well for beginners.

Pros and cons

Pros

  • Well built machine for cutting, crosscutting and resawing
  • Affordable price
  • Easy to change the blade

Cons

  • It is recommended for beginners

Final thought

Powertec BS900 is a classic bandsaw tool that has a long sale tracking record. When you are thinking of a fundamental bandsaw with limited space and budget which is also trusted for years, then Powertec BS900 can be a good option for you to start with. Read full reviews

Conclusion

The above guide helps you to understand better about band saw, how to find the best band saw for home working and reviews of several best benchtop band saws that catch our attentions. Those portable, affordable band saws all have the similarity that is very versatile and cost saving which will be a good machine for home users. Among them, some are budget savers while others focus on machine’s quality and versatility. Finally, in case you need to find out the best full-size benchtop band saw (14-inch deluxe saw), you can read our thought here.

1bandsaw.com

Useful resources

There are quite a lot of useful tips regarding choosing, using and fixing a bandsaw that you might find in advice category.

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