Choosing The Best Bandsaw Blades
When purchasing any bladed piece of equipment, choosing the right machine or tool is just half the battle.
You always have to keep the blade in mind, and there’s more to think about than what it’s made from or the number of teeth although those are very important. Our handy guide will help you pick through the best bandsaw blades with ease to find the right solution for you.
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What do you plan to cut?
If you’ve found your way to our site, there’s a strong possibility you plan on using your bandsaw blade to cut wood. They are certainly proficient at that although that’s only one type of material it can handle.
Bandsaws have a wide variety of features and they can cut everything from oak to aluminum and vinyl. That’s provided you have the correct blade for the job, and remember that what works for wood, may not work for metal despite what the packaging says.
Multi-use blades are a popular alternative when you need a blade that can do it all, but they are not necessarily the best bandsaw blade. Think about the materials you will work with outside of wood so that you can choose the right type of blade for the job.
There is more than one style of tooth
Bandsaw teeth come in three basic styles with Standard, Hook, and Skip. Just like with the pitch, the type of tooth directly affects what type of cut you’ll get from the saw.
Some of the best bandsaw blades don’t have an exotic moniker at all, and we simply refer to them as regular or standard blades. These are general purpose blades that can be used for a wide variety of tasks and leave a smoother finish than hook or skip tooth blades.
Skip tooth blades have teeth that are widely spaced apart. They have a shallow gullet with which keeps things from bogging down when you’re sawing through certain materials including softer woods. The rake is usually set at 0°.
Hook blades have a positive rake angle between 5 -10° with a deep gullet. It’s an aggressive blade which allows for higher speeds, and while it leaves a rougher finish, it’s great for resawing and ripping stock.
The pitch of the tooth on your bandsaw affects the final product, and TPI is something you’re going to come across quite often in the woodworking world.
You’ll want to have a minimum of three teeth in a cut, but the amount of teeth per inch (TPI) is key. A blade with a coarse tooth pitch at 3 TPI would be best used for thicker stock when the finish isn’t a concern, but speed is.
Those blades would be ideal for resawing, but not for fine cuts or detail work. You would want a blade with a higher TPI for that which results is finer cuts while giving up speed. Coarse cuts require fewer teeth and allow you to go faster while a TPI between six and eight is widely considered best for “general” usage.
Blade width is another area where you have to pay attention depending on the type of cut you want to make. Different cuts, require different blades although you can get by in some cases depending on the other factors we’ve discussed.
If you plan to rip wood or reswaw, get the widest blade your machine can take. You have to make sure you can set the tension correctly, but wide blades are better against deflection.
For contoured cuts that require more finesse, you will still want a wide blade, but only one that can still handle the radius you want to cut. As always, keep an eye on the tensioning and adjust accordingly.
Bandsaw blade buying guide
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Top choice: Timber Wolf Bandsaw Blade 1/2″ x 93-1/2″
Timber Wolf’s Bandsaw Blades are a popular choice whether you need to make a quick rip or cut contours with precision. For our top pick, we’ve chosen the Timber Wolf 1/2” x 93 1/2” bandsaw blade which has four teeth per inch.
This blade is constructed from silicone steel with a thin kerf. It’s made to last and has a 5-tooth set pattern with a 6.5° rake. At only .025” the kerf is thinner than you’ll find on other models so your cuts will be smooth whether you’re cutting hard or softer woods.
Low tension is another great feature of this particular blade and something that qualifies it as one of the best bandsaw blades.
Blades of this nature put less stress on your saw, so there is less maintenance to deal with over time. Considering the company’s reputation, the quality of construction will not be a concern with this blade. It also “follows” the line better than most which results in higher accuracy across the board – pun intended.
With a kerf up to 25% thinner than other blades, this 1/2” bandsaw blade from Timber Wolf is well worth the investment.
The construction of the blade allows it to run cooler which makes it perfect for thicker stock. We also like the fact it’s a low tension blade so you can pop it on an underpowered saw or save wear and tear on models with higher horsepower.
From the milled teeth to the silicone steel, this blade is one you’ll want in your woodshop and is affordable as well. We highly recommend this one for a good all-around blade.
The Runner-Up: DeWALT DW3984
DeWALT is a name consumers will recognize as their products cover everything from hand tools to battery-powered bandsaws. While we won’t dig into those, we are going to talk about the DeWALT DW3984.
Whereas our top choice was made of Swedish steel, the DeWALT DW3984 has 8% cobalt content and has a Matrix II high-speed steel edge. This increases its resistance against wear which improves its overall durability. The Rc 65-67 tooth hardness certainly helps in that department as well.
Fatigue won’t be an issue with this blade thanks to alloy steel backers. The DeWALT DW3984 measures 44 7/8” with 24 teeth per inch, so it’s built for portable bandsaws or small saws, not full-sized models. Due to its size, there is a unique bonus as you will get three blades per pack instead of one.
Overall, this is a great utility blade for wood if you own DeWalt’s portable bandsaw or any machine that can take a blade this size.
We found that they work great on all types of wood, but don’t hold up as well on some types of metal. That said, it depends on how you’re using the saw and you are getting a bargain with three blades in each pack.
Budget-Friendly: POWERTEC 13101X
Sometimes you just need to save a few bucks or want to stock up on blades. If that’s the case, the 1310X bandsaw blade from POWERTEC is your best bet as it is affordable and reliable.
This blade is a workhorse, but one built for 9” bandsaws. That means it’s ideal for tabletop machines and is made from high carbon steel with guaranteed welds. That also means the quality won’t be nearly as high as you’ll find with our other two choices although it will certainly get the job done.
In this case, that would be general usage which includes resawing and contoured work as the POWERTEC 13101X has six teeth per inch. It measures 59 1/2” x 3/8” and can cut through anything from softer woods and plastic to non-ferrous metal.
This is another good all-around blade that will work for a wide variety of purposes. The price also allows you to buy several blades for the price of one when compared to the top models.
In the end, it doesn’t matter if your blade is made of Swedish steel high carbon. It all comes down to how many teeth you need, the type of cut, and the stock you plan to work with. When in doubt, you can always go with a general purpose solution.
One more useful thing you should check is our guide about the safe use of bandsaws.
Now that we’ve given you some important areas to consider when shopping for a new bandsaw blade, choosing the right one should be simple!