If you are a DIY enthusiast, or if you run your own workshop as a business, it may already be likely that you have a few tools for specific projects. If you work specifically with complex and various wood projects, you may have already invested in your own band saw. If you haven’t, you may be interested to know a little more about what to expect from the hardware.
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Many people rely on band saws when it comes to getting into tight, awkward spaces in wood, as well as when it comes to cutting lines and curves which would otherwise impossible to attempt with a straight saw.
Band saws are very popular with hobby and professional workshop users alike. Thankfully, they are becoming more affordable and more widely available, too. Sadly, that doesn’t always mean that they are any easier to choose from!
There are many models of band saw which are well worth looking into, but before you put any money down, you must consider a few factors which are likely to influence your purchase as well as your eventual use.
In this buying guide, we will take you through absolutely everything you need to know about buying a band saw for the first time. Not sure whether you need one? Interested in learning more about the projects they can support?
Take your time and don’t leap into the first product you see. Read our guide, clue up on the facts, and take a look at our frequently asked questions, found towards the end of our run-through.
Why Buy a Band Saw?
A band saw is a fantastic investment. Whether you take on woodwork as a hobby or as part of your everyday business, it could help you cut out complex shapes and gradients which normal saws and blades would otherwise struggle with.
For these reasons, a band saw remains one of the most versatile power tool choices available on the market. Easily cut curves and bends safely without risking your hands, and without risking destroying your designs.
People choose band saws for versatility and for accuracy. Therefore, some models and units can command higher prices than others, and higher than what the general buying public might expect.
However, there are plenty of well-priced saws out there, and the smarter shopper will need to think about the features they desperately need, and what they are willing to pay to access them.
Band saws are also generally easy to use, making them a popular choice for workshop users who are just starting out. In any case, it is time to think about what to look for.
What Types of Band Saw Are There?
There are more than a couple of band saw types to choose from. These are generally grouped into how they are positioned, so that buyers can choose an option which is likely to be most comfortable for them. For example, many people choose vertical band saws thanks to ease of application and use.
These systems are very popular with people who work on smaller projects and who demand greater accuracy. Alternatively, there are horizontal models, which may be preferred by people who request more control over their sawing.
Things to Look Out For
It can be difficult to look for the best band saw out of thousands of choices, so it’s time to water down what you should really be picking out from the crowd.
Blade and Saw Capability
It is safe to say that most band saws are built for woodworking. However, you will find that there are some units which will work with tougher, denser material. Some will even let you cut through coarse metal. In any case, be sure to take a close look at blades provided, and to see what verified buyers have to say.
These reviewers must be listened to if you really need access to a band saw which is worth the investment.
You should also consider power, too, in the same category. The higher the wattage, the more powerful a saw is naturally going to be. The more powerful a unit is, the better it is for bigger projects.
These will therefore be better suited to commercial or industrial sawing needs. There shouldn’t be much need for high wattage on a home band saw unless you are regularly handling large scale designs.
With any power tools, it is well worth considering ease of use. Thankfully, most leading band saws are designed to appeal to entry level users as much as they are to seasoned DIY experts. Consider looking at small features a band saw may or may not possess. Are there added safety features? Is there a way for you to remove and clear away dust?
You should also think about looking for band saws which are easy to move around from place to place. Some come with casters or wheels attached, which means they will be infinitely easy to trundle around the workshop at short notice.
These are all points to consider, though it is worth remembering that not all band saws will have such convenience built-in. Choose wisely, but do be prepared to pay a little more for added conveniences.
Yes – many band saws now come with illumination and sight accessibility built-in. There is never a guarantee quite when or where you will be working sometimes, which means built-in LEDs may be worth investing in.
These will help you to, naturally, see what you are doing in low light and dark conditions. Again, this is not a standard that runs common to all band saws, so make sure to compare and contrast if it’s a feature that means a lot to your work.
As well as looking at the power, accessibility and conveniences of a band saw, you should, of course, look at the depth it cuts at. Your choice in this regard is going to depend entirely on the projects you work with. Deeper cutting blades are likely to work well with thicker material and bigger projects.
Otherwise, if you are working as a hobbyist, you may not need the deepest capability. This should, generally, help to lower costs for you. However, it doesn’t always follow, so do tread carefully.
Saw speed, too, is crucial if you are working under time pressure conditions. However, safety is key. You will find that many band saws have different speed settings which you can switch between at your leisure.
However, make sure to only opt for these saws if you handle a variety of different projects. If efficiency is less important to you than accuracy, for example, consider taking a close look at band saws which are a little more simplified.
Frequently Asked Questions
If it is your first time buying a band saw, then you may well have a few questions you’d like to ask. In this section, we’ll look at a few common questions worth bearing in mind while you are shopping around.
Does Band Saw Size Matter?
The size of your band saw is, of course, going to be a big issue if you don’t have much space. While some systems are light and slight, others are heavy and cumbersome.
There is an argument that there is a power trade-off here. However, it doesn’t always follow. Be sure to check the weight and size of a product before you buy, particularly as it means it’s going to be more hassle for you if there is a lot to lug around.
Can Band Saws Cut Through Anything?
Not always. In fact, band saws are largely built with woodwork in mind. However, you will find some which can cut through tougher material such as some metals. Do be prepared to shop around a little more for these units, however, as they may cost you a little more than you may be expecting.
How Much Do Band Saws Cost?
A band saw is a serious investment, which means you may need to part with a fair amount of money for the best, most powerful technology. However, you can generally expect between £100-£200 for good models.
You will pay more for more advanced technology, as well as for units which offer a little more in the way of flexibility. However, this isn’t to say you won’t be able to find a bargain.
As always, and as we say, trust buyer reviews. They will give you a clear indication of what to expect from your saw depending on the projects you undertake.
Are Band Saws Portable?
No, not always. This is convenience you will need to compare and contrast for, on the whole. Therefore, take your time and hunt down a model which is lightweight and convenient for your workshop and intended use.
Make sure to take a look at wheels or casters, too, as these will help you to get around easier.
A band saw can be a fantastic piece of equipment for a variety of purposes. Make sure to take a close look at what is available online and trust what verified users have to say.