Benchtop Band Saw Reviews
I’ve never thought much of the small “benchtop” sized Band saws I’ve previously tried. The ones I’ve used in the past have proved to be more toy than tool, with poor blade tracking and barely enough power to chew through thin softwood stock. But recently, I noticed that several power tool companies were offering small Band saws made with much the same construction and features found on full-sized saws. Intrigued, I set about to test as many of these little saws as I could. I managed to get my hands on eight different saws: four 9″ models by Craftsman, Central Machinery, Ryobi and Skil; three 10″ models by Craftsman, RIKON and JET; and, to round out the field, a 150mm “Micro” Band saw made by English power tool manufacturer Proxxon.
My goal was twofold: First, to determine what kinds of woodworking jobs these diminutive, affordable Band saws are capable of. Second, to pick the best of the bunch for this magazine’s “Best Bet” designation, awarded to the tool that demonstrates the best blend of features, performance and price. I examined each saw’s extensive features carefully, and probed its performance by doing a full range of cutting tests to find out how much each benchtop tool could handle.
A word before we begin: The great majority of power tools these days are made overseas by OEM (original equipment manufacturers) factories that build each model to the specifications of the company that’s going to put their name on them. This helps explain why three of the four 9″ benchtop Band saws I tested — the Craftsman, Central Machinery and Ryobi — have virtually the same welded steel frame, base and overall design. But just because some saws may look similar doesn’t mean that they’re identical. Besides varying in features and cosmetics, each saw has its own performance personality, and some just flat-out cut better than others.
Craftsman BAS230 9-inch Band Saw Review
Street Price: 120 Actual Throat Depth / Max. Cutting Depth: 9″ / 3-5⁄8″ Construction:Welded steel frame and cast alloy table Motor Type / Amperage / Blade Speed: Induction / 2.5 amp / 2460 fpm Table Size: 11-3⁄4″ x 11-3⁄4″ Blade Length / Min.-Max. Widths: 62″ / 1/8″ – 3/8″ Blade Guides: Friction side guides and ball thrust bearing Tension Release Lever / Light: Yes / No Rack Pinion Table Tilt / Upper Guide: No / Yes Warranty: 1 year Accessories Included / Optional: Miter gauge Actual Weight: 34 lbs.
Of the two benchtop Band saws that bear the Craftsman name, the 9″ BAS230 has a price on par with the other three 9″ saws in this test. There are but a few elements of the Craftsman that distinguish it from the competition. While its welded frame is just like two other saws, its wheels have wider, sturdier looking spokes than the other two. Plus, the Craftsman’s wheels have pressedon weights, evidence that the wheels have undergone balancing to help them run with less vibration. My cutting tests bore this out, and the BAS230 cut slightly more smoothly than any of the other 9″ saws.
The Craftsman has plenty of power to tackle all the basic Band saw cutting operations, crosscutting, ripping and even doing light resawing of hardwoods. The 3/8″ wide, 6 tpi blade that comes standard on the BAS230 gives a good quality of cut and leaves a relatively clean kerf. The saw’s large cast-alloy table offers good support to larger workpieces, and is the only table in the group with a fully ribbed surface. This is a practical feature, as the ribs can help keep sawdust from hanging up the workpiece.
To stabilize its running blade, the Craftsman BAS230 is fitted with the exact same ball-bearing thrust bearings and steel pin friction side guides (both above and below the table) as found on the Central Machinery and Ryobi saws. Although many woodworkers feel that ball bearing side guides are better, to tell you the truth, I didn’t really miss them on these small saws. Friction pins are easy to adjust and do a fine job of stabilizing the blade during cutting. Unfortunately, the upper guides on the Craftsman mount to the same molded plastic guide post assembly found on the other two saws. These posts raise and lower smoothly, via a rack-and-pinion mechanism. But the posts also deflect relatively easily and could possibly break if impacted by a sharp blow.
Ryobi BS903 9-inch Band Saw Review
Street Price: 120 Actual Throat Depth / Max. Cutting Depth: 9″ / 3-5⁄8″ Construction:Welded steel frame and cast alloy table Motor Type / Amperage / Blade Speed: Induction / 2.5 amp / 2500 fpm Table Size: 11-3⁄4″ x 11-3⁄4″ Blade Length / Min.-Max. Widths: 62″ / 1/8″ – 3/8″ Blade Guides: Friction side guides and ball thrust bearing Tension Release Lever / Light: Yes / No Rack Pinion Table Tilt / Upper Guide: Yes / Yes Warranty: 3 years Accessories Included / Optional: Miter gauge Actual Weight: 37 lbs.
The bright blue and yellow Ryobi BS903 Band saw is sold exclusively through the Home Depot chain of building supply stores, and comes with a very generous three-year warranty. Like the similarly appointed Craftsman and Central Machinery models, the Ryobi sports a blade tension release lever, something more typically found on full-sized Band saws. It’s a nice feature because routinely loosening tension can prevent a blade from taking a “set” on its wheels, thus helping it to run more smoothly over its lifetime. The BS903 has a small, clear plastic-covered window on the upper wheel guard (also on the 9″ Craftsman, Skil, and JET). The window makes it easier to safely adjust the tracking so that the blade rides on the center of the wheel’s rim.
Performance-wise, I honestly had trouble distinguishing the Ryobi’s cutting abilities from its similarly built competitors. This isn’t too surprising, considering the similarity of the blade guides and post, and the fact that all four 9″ saws are powered by a 2.5-amp induction motor that drives the lower wheel via a short belt. The BS903 crosscut well using exactly the same little plastic-headed, aluminum bar miter guide as comes with the Craftsman and Central Machinery saws. The gauge is basic, but adequate for the small cuts you’re likely to perform with these small Band saws. Even though the Ryobi and two similar competitors don’t come with rip fences, I used a clamped board to test their rip and resaw abilities, which were adequate for the scope of work these saws are meant to handle. You can resaw hardwoods as wide as the saw’s 3-5⁄8″ cutting depth capacity. Just be patient, as the feed speed must be slow to prevent bogging down the blade.
Dust collection ports, located at the bottom of the lower wheel housing, are built into all of the saws in this test. The Ryobi’s is a slightly larger size than found on the other 9″ saws, allowing you to connect a standard 2-1⁄2″ hose. Hooked up to a powerful shop vacuum, the Ryobi had very good sawdust capture.
Skil 3386 9-inch Band Saw Review
Street Price: 129 Actual Throat Depth / Max. Cutting Depth: 9″ / 3-5⁄8″ Construction:Cast alloy frame and table Motor Type / Amperage / Blade Speed: Induction / 2.5 amp / 2800 fpm Table Size: 11-3⁄4″ x 12″ Blade Length / Min.-Max. Widths: 59-1/2″ / 1/8″ – 3/8″ Blade Guides: Friction side guides and ball thrust bearing Tension Release Lever / Light: No / Yes Rack Pinion Table Tilt / Upper Guide: Yes / Yes Warranty: 1 year Accessories Included / Optional: Miter gauge and rip fence Actual Weight: 30 lbs.
With its cast frame and curvy design, the Skil 3386 is a standout in this group. It offers a nice blend of features and performance in an attractive package. The Skil’s alloy frame and table help keep this saw lighter than any of the other 9″ saws: a good thing if you’re serious about avoiding back strain when lifting it. To help keep the saw in place during use, the frame is mounted to a base made from heavier cast iron.
The Skil’s overall build quality seems good, and the saw features a guide post made of cast alloy that feels very solid. It adjusts up and down via a concentric pair of knobs, much like the JET. But I found the Skil’s controls a bit easier to use. The 3386 uses steel friction-pin side blade guides, like the other 9″ saws, but the Skil’s guides are larger in diameter: 3mm, as opposed to 2mm, with larger set screws holding them in place. The 3386 lacks a blade tension release lever, but you can always loosen the blade tension knob at the end of your work session.
Much like the Central Machinery and Ryobi saws, the 3386’s table tilts for beveled cuts via a geared trunnion. The Skil uses concentric knobs that are easy to set, and its angle scale is a bit easier to read than the other two saws. It’s the only 9″ saw that comes with a rip fence — a nice addition. Like the fences on the 10″ saws, the Skil’s locking lever secures the fence at both ends of the table. Plus, the Skil’s table has scales inlaid at both ends, allowing you to check the parallelism of the fence before locking it. I had an issue with the saw’s miter gauge, which has a bar that’s T-shaped in profile, designed to keep the bar from lifting out of the table slot. Unfortunately, the Skil’s table slot only has two sets of tabs to keep the bar in place. In use, the bar sometimes caught on these tabs, stalling the cut.
Despite this shortcoming, the Skil performed very well in all my cutting tests, and could even resaw an oak strip as wide as its maximum cutting depth (3-5⁄8″) without stalling. It ran reasonably smoothly and the blade tracked very well. One feature I really appreciated was the saw’s gooseneck mounted LED light.
Central Machinery 96980 9-inch Band Saw Review
Street Price: 120 Actual Throat Depth / Max. Cutting Depth: 9″ / 3-5⁄8″ Construction:Welded steel frame and cast alloy table Motor Type / Amperage / Blade Speed: Induction / 2.5 amp / 2460 fpm Table Size: 11-3⁄4″ x 11-3⁄4″ Blade Length / Min.-Max. Widths: 62″ / 1/8″ – 1/2″ Blade Guides: Friction side guides and ball thrust bearing Tension Release Lever / Light: Yes / No Rack Pinion Table Tilt / Upper Guide: Yes / Yes Warranty: 90 days Accessories Included / Optional: Miter gauge Actual Weight: 44 lbs.
Central Machinery is the Harbor Freight company’s house brand, sold through its stores, catalogs and Internet sales. If you like cast-iron machines, you’ll like the 96980. Its table is the same size as found on other 9″ saws, but it is a smooth-surfaced piece of cast iron. This does add substantially to the weight of the saw: it’s 14 pounds heavier than the lightest 9″ saw, the Skil. The table attaches to the frame via a nice geared trunnion assembly; the Ryobi and Skil saws have a similar setup. To change the table’s tilt angle, simply loosen the table-locking handscrew and rotate a knob to dial in the desired angle. There’s also an adjustable stop for quickly setting the table square to the blade — the position it’s bound to stay in most of the time. One quibble I have with this table is its location: It extends only 4-1⁄2″ ahead of the blade, whereas the other saws offer 5-1⁄4″ of support. This doesn’t seem like much, but I did notice the reduction of support, especially when I cut longer workpieces.
Switched on, the Central Machinery Band saw has good overall power and runs smoothly, with an acceptable quality of cut. A small thing I appreciated was the Central Machinery’s clear labeling of all controls: blade tension and tracking, guide post raising/lowering and lock controls, etc. Despite the saw’s good features and performance, one reservation I’d have in choosing this over the other models is that it only carries a 90-day warranty, not much compared to the one- to five-year warranties that come with the other benchtop Band saws.
RIKON 10-305 10-inch Band Saw Review
Street Price: 265 Actual Throat Depth / Max. Cutting Depth: 9-5⁄8″ / 4-5⁄8″ Construction:Welded steel frame and cast iron table Motor Type / Amperage / Blade Speed: Induction / 3.5 amp / 2780 fpm Table Size: 13-3⁄4″ x 12-1⁄2″ Blade Length / Min.-Max. Widths: 70-1/2″ / 1/8″ – 1/2″ Blade Guides: Ball bearing upper and lower Tension Release Lever / Light: No / No Rack Pinion Table Tilt / Upper Guide: No / Yes Warranty: 5 years Accessories Included / Optional: Rip fense, miter gauge, metal stand Actual Weight: 64 lbs.
Just about every description you could give of the Craftsman 21400 is true for the RIKON 10-305. Aside from different colored paint and name plaques, the two saws are virtually identical, including all their adjustment knobs. But, despite appearances, there are a few significant differences. The first noteworthy difference is that the RIKON sells for about 65 more than the Craftsman. The only thing I could figure was worth the extra cost is the RIKON’s whopping five year warranty — the longest in this group of benchtop Band saws. In contrast, the Craftsman’s warranty is one year long; the JET, three.
Performance-wise, the RIKON proved to be significantly less powerful than its competition. During my cutting trials, the 10-305 handled all the usual crosscuts and curved cuts on 4/4 stock without noticeably straining.
But when I resawed the same piece of 4-5⁄8″-wide red oak I had cut with the 21400, the RIKON slowed to the point of stalling. I could nurse the cut along, but could only feed the work at a snail’s pace. I checked the blade tension, as well as the tightness of the drive belt, and even swapped blades with the Craftsman, just to make sure that the blade wasn’t at fault; nothing seemed to improve the tool’s resawing performance.
One more small ding: Although the 10-305 has a trunnion assembly that’s virtually the same as used on the other three 10″ saws, its locking handle is much smaller. It’s simply a pain to tighten and loosen when adjusting the tilt of the table.
Craftsman 21400 10-inch Band Saw Review
Street Price: 200 Actual Throat Depth / Max. Cutting Depth: 9-5/8″ / 4-5⁄8 Construction:Welded steel frame and cast iron table Motor Type / Amperage / Blade Speed: Induction / 3.5 amp / 2780 fpm Table Size: 13-3⁄4″ x 12-1⁄2″ Blade Length / Min.-Max. Widths: 70-1/2″ / 1/8″ – 1/2″ Blade Guides: Ball bearing upper and lower Tension Release Lever / Light: No / No Rack Pinion Table Tilt / Upper Guide: No / Yes Warranty: 1 year Accessories Included / Optional: Miter gauge, rip fence Actual Weight: 65 lbs.
What does the Craftsman 21400 share with the other two 10″ saws in this test? All three have similar welded sheet metal frames, cast-iron tables and cast-alloy wheels. The 21400’s wheels are balanced, for smoother running, and an adjustable brush on the lower wheel wipes sawdust from the spinning tire, to help keep the blade tracking smoothly. The three saws lack the nice geared trunnion assemblies featured on the 9″ saws, but they do sport nice extruded aluminum upper guide posts. The posts are very solid, and they adjust up and down smoothly via a rack-and-pinion mechanism. The saws also feature full ball-bearing thrust and side guides both top and bottom. The guides on the Craftsman adjust with an Allen wrench and are easy to fine tune for smooth operation (ditto the RIKON).
Power-wise, the Craftsman is fitted with a 3.5-amp induction motor. In terms of cutting performance, that 1-amp upgrade (compared to the 9″ saws) seemed to make quite a difference. The 21400 had plenty of power to take thick cuts in hardwoods, and even resaw boards as wide as its 4-5⁄8″ cutting depth. The guides help stabilize the blade very effectively, resulting in kerfs that are straight and true. Even though the Craftsman’s blade is the same kind of hook-toothed 6 tpi general purpose blade found on all saws in this test (save the Proxxon), the smoothness of cut suffered considerably with the 21400. Whether crosscutting or ripping, all three 10″ saws left more ragged kerfs than produced by their 9″ cousins.
Proxxon MBS/E Band Saw Review
Street Price: 260 Actual Throat Depth / Max. Cutting Depth: 5-7/8″ / 3-13⁄32″ Construction:Cast alloy frame and table Motor Type / Amperage / Blade Speed: Permanent magnet DC Motor /.7 amps / 395-820 fpm Table Size: 7-7⁄8″ x 7-7⁄8″ Blade Length / Min.-Max. Widths: 42″ / 9/64″ – 13/64″ Blade Guides: Ball bearing upper and slotted post lower Tension Release Lever / Light: No / No Rack Pinion Table Tilt / Upper Guide: No / No Warranty: Two years Accessories Included / Optional: Miter gauge/Coolant system Actual Weight: 13 lbs. Electronic variable speed control. For cutting ceramics, stone and glass.
The Proxxon Micro Saw is by far the smallest, lightest, most easily portable and stowable saw in this bunch. It has only 5-7⁄8″ of throat depth and about 3-3⁄8″ of cutting depth. It’s also the only saw with a permanent magnet DC motor (the same kind used on most portable power tools) that’s only rated at 85 watts — about.7 amps. By including a variable-speed motor and offering a wide assortment of blade types, the MBS/E can handle wood, plastic, metal and, fitted with the optional water cooling kit, ceramic tile and even stone and glass! The Proxxon’s construction is quite good, with a rigid cast-alloy frame and a polished aluminum table. One small pain is that you have to undo four Allenhead screws each time you want to remove the Proxxon’s one-piece wheel guard, making blade changes a bit tedious.
When I ran the MBS/E through its cutting paces, I was generally impressed with the precision of its performance. Both the cross and rip cuts I tried with the saw were clean and square, thanks in part to the saw’s smooth-running wheels and tiny ball bearing guides. Fitted with the optional 24-tooth, 13/64″-wide blade, the saw cut on a dime and left an extremely clean kerf.
JET JWBS-10OS 10-inch Band Saw Review
Street Price: 370 Actual Throat Depth / Max. Cutting Depth: 9-5/8″ / 4-1⁄8″ Construction:Welded steel frame and cast iron table Motor Type / Amperage / Blade Speed: Induction / 3.4 amp / 2750 fpm Table Size: 13-3⁄8″ x 13-1⁄8″ Blade Length / Min.-Max. Widths: 67-1/2″ / 1/8″ – 1/2″ Blade Guides: Ball bearing upper and lower Tension Release Lever / Light: Yes / Yes Rack Pinion Table Tilt / Upper Guide: No / Yes Warranty: 3 years Accessories Included / Optional: Miter gauge, rip fence, metal stand Actual Weight: 73 lbs. with stand Tool-less adjustment of the upper guides
The JET is by far the most extensively equipped Band saw in this group, with more bells and whistles than any other model, including its own pressed-sheet-metal stand (you can remove the stand to use it as a benchtop tool). The JWBS-10OS frame is very similar to the Craftsman and RIKON, but it is set up to take a slightly shorter blade. The saw’s resaw capacity is also slightly less: 4-1⁄8″ versus 4-5⁄8″. The JET’s cast-iron table is much like the other saws, but it includes a pull-out support attached below its outboard edge: really nice if you’re sawing a large panel or crosscutting longer stock.
The JET’s ball bearing blade guide assemblies are like those found on the other 10″ models, but the upper guides on the JET allow tool-less adjustments. Loosening the plastic-knobbed handscrews used to lock these adjustments allows you to rotate each eccentrically mounted bearing: Turning it brings the bearing either closer to or farther from the blade. Very convenient. In contrast, I didn’t care for the JET’s controls for adjusting the height of the upper guide post. Most other saws have separate knobs for raising/lowering and locking the post. A pair of concentric knobs does the same job on the JET, but the outer raising/lowering ring often shifted as I tightened the locking knob at its center.
Performance-wise, the JET JWBS-10OS runs very well and cuts with good power. How good? I did a little cutting test with the JET, Craftsman and Rikon, resawing a 4-1⁄8″-wide (the JET’s max cutting capacity) red oak board and timed how long it took each saw to get through the cut, pushing as hard as I could without slowing blade speed significantly. The JET could cut at a pace of a foot every 44 seconds, while the Craftsman took 68 seconds and the Rikon a glacially paced 138 seconds per foot. Further inspiring confidence in its cutting abilities, the JET’s 3.4-amp motor sports an aluminum housing and heat-dissipating fins, to help keep things cool during longer cutting sessions.
A few other features on the JWBS-10OS are worth mentioning: It was the only saw that had a built-in blade tension scale that clearly showed how tight to set the tension knob for any blade that would fit the saw, from 1/8″ to 1/2″ wide. Even though blade tension doesn’t seem to be particularly critical with any of these small Band saws, it’s very handy to have a way to gauge the actual tension of a blade and set it to the manufacturer’s specified tightness. Surprisingly, the JET is also the only 10″ Band saw to have a blade tension release lever.
The JET’s rip fence is nicer than on any other Band saw in this test, with a large locking lever and a cursor window that makes it easy to set precisely for rip cuts and resawing chores. Like the Skil, there’s a gooseneck LED light, but the JET’s has a separate On/Off switch which allows you to see what you’re doing before starting up the saw. Like all the other Band saws in this article, the JET has a built-in dust port in the lower wheel housing. The JET’s port offers the most flexibility, with a concentric port that accepts 4″-, 2-1⁄2″- and 2″-dia. hoses.
Benchtop Band Saw Reviews Conclusions – The Best Bet
I’ve done a few dozen tool tests in my time, but few have left me with more head scratching than this one. On the one hand, you have two groups of similar saws; four 9″ saws and three 10″ saws, and a “Micro” Band saw that’s different than anything else. Which to choose?
Top 5 Best Bandsaw for Resawing Wood Reviews of 2023
Ultimately, the benchtop Band saw that’s best for you depends greatly on what your real needs are: If you’re a puzzle maker, model builder or hobbyist that often tackles small-scale projects, I have little doubt that the Proxxon will serve you well. If you often tackle full-size projects, but don’t have the space or budget for a full-sized Band saw, then the decisions get a bit trickier. The JET has lots of features and is powerful and user-friendly. But its stand-mounted size and relatively high price put it in league with larger, more versatile Band saws in the 14″ range. The Craftsman’s low price tag and good performance make it a bargain, but at 65 lbs., it’s not exactly a portable, easily stowable saw. Plus, consider this: None of the 10″ models actually has a 10-inch-deep throat: All three saws have 95⁄8″ of throat depth. That really levels the playing field between 9″ and 10″ models, as the “larger” models only between 9″ and 10″ models, as the “larger” models only offer a slight amount of additional cutting width and an inch or so of depth capacity.
Considering all this, I think the best benchtop Band saw for the average small shop woodworker should be compact and portable, capable of decent cutting performance and offer good value for the money. The Skil 3386 has all these qualities, and hence, it gets my vote as the “Best Bet” among these options for a benchtop Band saw. The Skil is smaller and, thanks to its alloy frame, lighter and more easily portable than any other saws in this test, save the petite Proxxon. It has nice, solid guides, cuts with good power and lacks only a small amount of the cutting capacities of 10″ models. This Skil Band saw offers a lot of features considering its low price tag, including a rip fence and a built-in light, which don’t come with any other 9″ models.
Best benchtop Bandsaws of 2023: Review Buying Guide
Bandsaws are one of the more versatile power tools in any serious workshop. Band saws can also be large and expensive, making it difficult for hobbyists to find the right one. That is why this list presents the 5 best benchtop Band saws of 2023, highlighting what each one does best and providing a helpful buyer’s guide.
Top 5 Best Benchtop Bandsaws Review in 2023
Despite how Band saws are marketed, the cutting power of benchtop Band saws does not matter as much as you might think. Granted, benchtop Band saws need to meet a certain minimum threshold for cutting power, but anything extra likely does not do as much as you would expect.
Still, when gauging a benchtop Band saw’s cutting power, you need to consider the horsepower which tells you how strong of a bite the tool makes, and the amps which tell you how well it cuts under load. The blade speed is not really part of the cutting power, though it impacts what kinds of materials you can cut and how fast you can feed the workpiece into the blade.
While the cutting power may not be quite as important once it meets a minimum threshold, the cutting capacities of a tabletop Band saw are always appreciated. The cutting capacities ultimately limit the size and type of projects you can work on with the benchtop Band saw, but they also come at a premium price.
That said, most benchtop Band saws offer a fairly standard set of cutting capacities with the resaw capacity being the most likely to follow across different products. However, even though the maximum cutting width will vary more, a tabletop Band saw with even a slightly larger resaw capacity might be worth the additional cost.
The materials used for a benchtop Band saw impact in a couple of different aspects with the price being one of the most notable. However, it is often worth paying a bit more for superior materials as certain components of a small Band saw made of inferior materials might break off and render various functions unusable.
On top of that, the most important aspect that materials influence on tabletop Band saws is the accuracy and precision of the blade. Specifically, the denser the overall build, the more of the motor’s vibrations a benchtop Band saw can absorb which will reduce the blade’s tendency to drift out of alignment when cutting.
Considering the FOCUS of this list, the dimensions are one of the more important aspects, though they do not often affect the overall performance of the tool. Still, you choose a benchtop Band saw over a more capable type generally due to either the price of cabinet models or the size of your workshop.
For the latter, making sure that a small Band saw fits comfortably in your workshop is one of the most important factors– though most are around the same size. However, should you need to move the benchtop Band saw to make room for a different power tool, its weight– which varies more from tool to tool– will come into play.
This is one of those categories that encompasses several different features that all make using a mini Band saw easier but likely should not determine your choice. Still, one of the best extra features a benchtop Band saw can have is a built-in work light to make seeing your cuts easier.
Of course, you can take that to the next level by making sure that your mini Band saw comes with a laser guide, so you do not have to keep track of the alignment. Finally, beginners often overlook how much sawdust can impact the cutting performance which is where a dust blower comes in handy.
Portability and superior cutting performance with enough power to not bog down on hardwoods.
The Grizzly G0803 that was awarded as Top Value by Wood Magazine for its combination of features including an efficient 1/3 HP motor, heavy-duty feel, and portability, has been upgraded with a new laser guidance system and adjustable blower to provide superior cutting visibility.
The G0803Z 9″ Benchtop Bandsaw with Laser Guide features a 62-inch blade and accepts blades from 1/8″ to 3/8″ wide. It can cut pieces up to 3-5/8″ high and has enough power to cut through green woods and other dense materials.
The rack-and-pinion table tilt system makes it easy to cut beveled edges. The blade guard is also rack-and-pinion making adjustment an easy one-handed operation.
The quality design and construction of the G0803Z assures easy, accurate cuts including fine detailed cuts without the vibration found in other benchtop models.
Blade tensioning is quick with a rotation of a lever to release or re-tension the blade. Blade tracking adjustments are simple as turning the respective blade adjustment knob. For a full range replacement and resaw blades for the G0803Z, shop here.
The small footprint and top handle make moving the bandsaw around your workspace easier. The saw weighs less than 50 pounds, so you can also effortlessly move it between your home, shop, or job site.
The best combination of price and performance of 9″ bandsaws.
Because of the compact size, the bandsaw will arrive about 80% assembled. It will include a user manual written by our U.S. based Technical Documentation Department making set up a breeze.
Like all Grizzly bandsaws, the G0803Z comes with a 1-year warranty which covers parts and assures the unit is free from factory defects.
The Grizzly Customer Service and Technical Support Teams are U.S. based.
Parts for the bandsaw may be available online and shipped from the Grizzly parts warehouse in Springfield, MO.
- Motor: 1/3 HP, 120V, single-phase, 2.8A
- Max. cutting width left of blade: 9″
- Max. cutting height (resaw capacity): 3-5/8″
- Blade guides: Ball-bearing upper and lower
- Table size: 12″ x 12″
- Table tilt: 0–45°
- Blade size: 61-13/16″–62-3/16″ (1/8″–3/8″ wide)
- Blade speed: 2460 FPM
- Footprint: 6-1/2″ x 15-1/2″
- Overall dimensions: 20-3/4″ W x 17″ D x 29-1/2″ H
- Approximate shipping weight: 49 lbs.
- Laser sight
- Adjustable wheels for alignment
- Fence adjustable for blade lead
- Rack-and-pinion table tilt
- Ball-bearing blade guides
- Quick-release blade tension levers
- Extruded aluminum rip fence
- Lower wheel brush
- Chip blower
- Work light
Portable Band Saw Uses. How to Use the Saw on Wood Metal?
A portable Band saw is a versatile tool for any contractor or woodworker who wants clean and straight cuts. Even if you have a larger stationary Band saw, the portable model can be used for smaller jobs or to finish parts cut on the larger saw. Portable Band saws are less expensive and more mobile, making them a great choice for hobbyists or those with limited workshop space.
Uses of Portable Band Saw
Although portable Band saws may not get noticed compared to their non-portable counterparts, they do offer a wide variety of uses. What follows are ten of their most common uses on a job site.
Pipefitters use this handy power saw all the time for the installation and maintenance of piping systems. Pipe fitting requires precision when cutting downpipes to a proper length. A portaband is perfect for this type of work as it can create precision cuts.
I recommend getting a deep-cut portable Band saw since they can go more depth of cut.
Have you ever tried using a Sawzall for cutting pipes? Unless the pipe is secured very tight, it is going to be very difficult to get a clean cut due to vibration. This is because, on reciprocating saw (similar to jigsaw), the blade is held only on one end, and the cutting end is free to wander around. For pipes that need to be a specific length, a portable Band saw is the right tool.
The only downside will be the thickness and the large diameter of the pipe, which may prohibit the use of this power saw.
The most common places to find portable Band saws are in shops that specialize in metal fabrication. If you need to cut steel, then chances are a portable Band saw will be in the shop. The portable bandsaw or portaband works similarly to a horizontal bandsaw with added mobility.
You can cut bar stocks, angle irons, metal studs, screws, bolts, etc. as long as their width or diameter is within the range of the portaband. You can also use this power saw to cut thin sheets of steel into specific shapes.
Another use for a portable Band saw is to cut bar stocks or billets of metal down to a smaller size. Billets are pure forms of metal that are in a raw state. Standard Band saws are used to cut billets into shapes, so the portable versions are just as good if you are on a job site. Most portable Band saws will cut billets into square or rectangular shapes that have different uses, although they are generally cut by other types of saws at this point.
Get a portaband that comes with a removable base and you can use it as a regular horizontal Band saw. (See picture below)
The only downside is that these handheld Band saws are limited in terms of cut capacity (depth of cut and how wide you can cut). So, you will need to use a powerful version that holds up to the wear and tear of creating billets.
You might have seen construction workers using metal cutting chop saws and angle grinders for sizing rebars. There is one problem with this method; it generates a lot of sparks. High-performance portable Band saws are perfect for cutting rebar without sparks. They are also handy on the job site when rebar needs to be recut and trimmed.
This is perhaps one of the most common uses of a portable Band saw. Compared to a reciprocating saw, the portable bandsaw makes clean-cut edges with very little vibration. This allows you to use this tool for cutting bevels and notches for decorative work. As a DIY enthusiast, I found this tool to be a good addition to my arsenal to create crafts and fix things at home.
Other uses of this saw include creating birdsmouth cuts and notches for woodworking purposes. A notch is often used in securing rooftops.
For cutting up timber, few saws are as easy to use as the portable Band saw. They are commonly found in lumberyards when larger timber needs to be cut down to smaller pieces.
There are specially designed Band saws with higher cut capacity for this purpose. For instance, a 12” portable Band saw can be cut 12” x 12” in half or down to smaller sizes with ease.
However, very large pieces of timber are generally too much for the portable saw as other types of saws can do the job much better. Once the timber has been cut to a reasonable size, then you can use the portable Band saw to cut it down further.
Creating Wood Joints
As part of their woodworking uses, portable Band saws are excellent for cutting scarf and tenon joints. In woodworking, mortice and tenon joints are a must as they connect two pieces of wood together. You can use this handheld power saw to create the tenon tongue first and then the mortice hole. When put together, they create a strong joint that will hold up under most circumstances.
The portable Band saw is a good tool for creating tenon joints, rabbets, and bridle joints on large workpieces because of the thin blade and portability. However, when it comes to creating wood joints, a vertical bandsaw or table saw will provide you with the best results because of the precision that can be applied.
Electrical Conduit and Uni-Strut
As with pipefitting, a portable Band saw is a great tool for cutting electrical conduits to their proper size. The conduit is just thin enough to be easily cut by the portaband. At that point, it can be bent into the proper shape and placed in the wall or ceiling, depending on where it is needed. It’s one reason why you find cordless portable Band saws on a construction site.
The same applies to the uni-strut which can also be cut by this device.
When it comes to creating the right size ventilation ducts, the portable Band saw offers a solid solution. The generally thin metal used in commercial HVAC is perfect for the device to cut through with precision and ease.
The lightweight sub-compact portable Band saw is perfect for cutting overhead pipes and tubes at the ceiling. This means that where needed the commercial HVAC can be shaped and put into unusual places where standard fitting would not apply.
Automotive: Cut Old Motor Shaft or Crankshaft
Want to cut that exhaust pipe cleanly without sparks and fire hazards? The compact portable bandsaw is your friend. Of course, if you are working in very tight spaces the portaband may not be the ideal tool. In such cases, a hackzall or an oscillating multi-tool may be a better choice. However, A portable Band saw will produce a much cleaner and straight cut.
If you visit an auto salvage yard, you might have seen an employee use a portable Band saw to cut away old motor shafts or crankshafts from demolished vehicles. Because they are portable, they can get into tighter spaces easier. Plus, they have the power to cut through a crankshaft with ease. For auto salvage yards or junkyards that destroy vehicles, salvaging the parts of a car or truck will often require removing the motor shaft. This is where a handheld portaband can shine.
This is not easy, but it can be accomplished with the portable Band saw. Truss circles require precision and it will take effort to accomplish. But the result may be worth it as a circular truss will help make a roof look spectacular. You will need a little expertise in using a portable saw for this job, but it can be done and it is often used on home construction or renovation sites.
There are numerous other uses of portable Band saws that include, plumbing, cutting copper tubes, aluminum fabrication, cutting plastic, construction and remodeling works, etc.
If you are a hobbyist working at your garage with limited space, you can clamp the portaband on a vise and use it as a vertical bandsaw. You can also use it for woodworking and carpentry work to cut bevels and shapes. The relatively thin blade and ease of use make a portable version of a Band saw highly desired.
How to Use Portable Band Saw
You can accomplish quite a bit with a portable Band saw. While they are bulkier compared to other types of portable saws, they have their uses if you understand how they operate.
The saw is very easy to use as there are too many adjustments to make.
Step-1: Get Familiar with Size and Weight
The first step is to get familiar with the size, weight, and shape of the saw. A portable Band saw tends to be much heavier and longer compared to other portable types of saws, but the weight is evenly distributed. In many versions of the saw, the wheels and blade are exposed for easier maintenance. You do not have to wear gloves, but eye protection is recommended because of the potential for chips or sawdust to get into your eyes.
The next step is to read the instructions that come with the device. While it is rather straightforward in operation, the manual provides insight into the characteristics of that specific brand or model of portable Band saw that can be most helpful when operating.
Step-2: Check the Blade Tension
There is a lever with which you can release the tension of the blade when you need to replace the Band saw blade. Make sure that the lever is tightened fully before you start the motor.
Step-3: Blade TPI (Teeth per Inch)
As with any other saw blade, use a higher TPI blade for cutting hard materials like metal and hardwood and use a lower TPI blade for wood, plastic and other softer materials. A 14 TPI blade is a good general-purpose blade for a portable Band saw.
Step-4: Hold the Tool Right
Your dominant hand should be on the guide in front while the other hand operates the trigger mechanism. Because the front wheel can be turned, you can create notches into metal or wood with ease using the saw. It is recommended that you start with scrap pieces of wood or metal to get a proper feel for the saw and its characteristics.
Step-5: Let the Weight of the Saw Cut
Once you have set the blade to your liking, place the blade lightly on the area that needs to be cut and start the motor. The weight of the tool will apply even pressure as you work your way through the material to the desired depth. Your head should be over the device, but in a position, so you can see the work that you are doing.
Step-6: Use the Variable Speed
Most portaband will have variable speed triggers or speed adjusting knobs. Start with low speed and once the blade penetrates the workpiece, pull the trigger fully to increase the speed.
As the blade reaches the end of the cut, reduce the speed and prepare to lift up the weight of the tool.
And that is how you use a portable Band saw. Once you get a feel for its operation, it will become a popular tool in your wood or metal shop or on the job site.
Can You Use a Portable Band Saw for Resawing and Veneer Making?
In woodworking, the vertical Band saw is used for resawing to create thinner veneers from thicker ones. In many cases, the veneers available are too thick for the job required but thinning them down requires precision that a handheld saw cannot accomplish.
You could use a portable Band saw to slice the wood into thin sections; however, it has limited depth of cut and width it can accommodate. A vertical Band saw with a fence does the job easier, which is why it is a popular choice in wood shops that use veneers in their work.
- 10 Uses of Portable Band Saw
- 1. Cutting Pipes
- 2. Metal Fabrication
- 3. Cutting Rebar
- 4. Decorative Cuts
- 5. Slicing Timber
- 6. Creating Wood Joints
- 7. Electrical Conduit and Uni-Strut
- 8. Commercial HVAC
- 9. Automotive: Cut Old Motor Shaft or Crankshaft
- 10. Truss Circles
- Step-1: Get Familiar with Size and Weight
- Step-2: Check the Blade Tension
- Step-3: Blade TPI (Teeth per Inch)
- Step-4: Hold the Tool Right
- Step-5: Let the Weight of the Saw Cut
- Step-6: Use the Variable Speed
- Can You Use a Portable Band Saw for Resawing and Veneer Making?
The 5 Best Benchtop Band Saws Suitable for Any Hobbyist
I know not everyone is lucky enough to have a large workshop, so making full use of the available space becomes even more important. But I get it, you venture online to look at your options, and you feel inundated by it all.
You see, Band saws, in particular, can make such a difference to your projects. So it’s no surprise to find many of these Band saws available on the market.
But I don’t want you to struggle with your decision. That is why I have taken my years of experience working with power tools and sought to discover the best benchtop Band saws money can buy.
Best Benchtop Horizontal Band Saw – WEN 3975TBest Benchtop Metal Cutting Band Saw – Grizzly Industrial G0803Z Best Benchtop Band Saw for the Money – WEN 3962 10” Best Rated Benchtop Band Saw – Rikon 10-3061 10”Best Benchtop Band Saw for Beginners – WEN 3959 9in
How I Made My Decision
I didn’t simply select five different saws and thought they would work for everyone. Instead, I applied different criteria to help me with my decision.
I clearly had price in mind because I wanted to cover all bases regarding the cost. However, there’s much more to a Band saw than the price.
That means I also looked at reliability, ease of use, how easy it is to set it up, and the results you can achieve. By the end, I could then settle on what I see as my top five benchtop Band saws.
Best Benchtop Horizontal Band Saw – WEN 3975T
If you prefer a horizontal Band saw, I suggest looking at this model by WEN. Not only is this model compact in size, but it also packs a serious punch when it comes to cutting power.
It may only have a 4.5 amp motor delivering up to 260 FPM, but I promise you will be amazed at what it can achieve. Also, I do love the fact that this model is so compact. So, if space is an issue, then this model could be the perfect solution.
I also noticed that this model has an impressive cutting angle ranging from 0 to 60 degrees. That’s more than you get with other models on the market, so it does increase the versatility of this model.
The guides are ball-bearing guides, which means they come with an ultra-smooth operation. Durability in this respect will also not be a problem.
While this model may be small, I feel it’s still more than capable of helping you with a number of projects. Also, it does hold materials tightly, so there are no safety worries in that respect.
- It is compact in size, so perfect if space is a real issue
- It takes little time to set up
- It holds materials tightly
- The cutting angle is impressive
- It’s robust and highly durable
Best Benchtop Metal Cutting Band Saw – Grizzly Industrial G0803Z
While cutting wood with a Band saw is easygoing, things change when cutting metal. So, I suggest the Grizzly Industrial G0803Z if cutting metal regularly is your thing.
There is so much for me to love about this saw. First, it does deliver enough power via a ⅓ HP motor, but that’s not the key part of this machine. Instead, I love the absolute precision that comes with this machine, along with the easy adjustment.
Here, you get one heck of a sturdy rip fence, and with a 9-inch cutting depth, it is also quite impressive for a benchtop model. It also has an aluminum table measuring 11 ¾” by 11 ¾”, so you get ample space for most of your metal cutting exploits.
Finally, Grizzly Industrial has also made sure to include a number of safety features, which I’m always a fan of, consisting of a paddle switch and quick-release blade tension.
Overall, this machine does do more than just cut metal. It’s more of a heavy-duty benchtop Band saw, and that’s why I feel it may not be the best option for people starting out. It can cope with many more projects than you expect, so versatility is also not a problem with this machine.
- The cutting depth is more than adequate
- It comes with an upper and lower ball-bearing blade guard
- The ⅓ HP motor is powerful enough for most small projects
- It’s straightforward to set up
- It provides absolute precision with your projects
Best Benchtop Band Saw for the Money – WEN 3962 10”
This is not the only model by WEN that appears on my list, and it’s for a good reason. They just make some of the best benchtop Band saws on the market.
I love this model, and it’s easy to see why when you dive into what it offers you. Also, I feel it strikes the perfect balance between price and functionality. You get the best of both worlds, and the model is ideal for every hobbyist.
First, it has an impressive cutting depth of 6 inches. Also, the throat size is larger than you see with other brands, so you know this model can handle slightly larger materials.
With ½ HP, you do have enough power behind you for most of those small projects. Also, the ability to change between two speeds makes life easier. It then makes quick work of pretty much anything you throw at it.
But even though it has a lot of power, people report that this Band saw is exceptionally quiet when in use. That applies no matter the speed, and then you have a dust port system, so there’s little in the way of mess.
For blades, this machine uses a 72-inch long blade with widths varying from ⅛ to ½-inch. That should provide enough versatility when carrying out either curved or straight cuts.
Overall, I feel this benchtop Band saw is one of the easiest to use, and the precision you can achieve makes it one of the best.
- The saw just feels very robust and gives a steady base
- Adjusting with the blade guides is very easy to do
- The saw comes almost entirely set up
- It runs very smoothly
- You do get a dust port as well as a rip fence and miter gauge
- The miter gauge is not the best, but you do at least get one
- The light that appears on the back can sometimes create shadows when working