Choosing The Best Budget Bandsaw 2018
Buying a bandsaw on the cheap can be a tricky proposition. Not only do you have to worry about horsepower, but you also have to consider the build quality as you want your machine to be safe.
The best budget bandsaw can come in many forms from tabletop models made from plastic to machines weighing hundreds of pounds. In our guide, we have included choices that cover all price points and included a buying guide which features you should concentrate on. Be sure to check out our main guide for all our band saw reviews.
Considerations before buying
Like any saw, these can be quite dangerous and it’s very important that you learn how to use a bandsaw before picking one up. You also may want to check out our band saw safety guide before getting started.
Before you think about how well the saw is made or even how powerful it is you need to consider its cutting range. With bandsaws, that refers to the size of the stock you’ll be able to work with.
The distance between the table and upper blade guard is your depth of cut. This tells you the size of wood you can work with although you can install riser blocks to extend your machines capabilities.
The throat measurement on a bandsaw is the distance between the blade and the back vertical column of the saw. You can’t change this measurement, so pay close attention to the throat size when shopping for the perfect bandsaw.
When you’re buying a machine that holds a sharp blade moving at high speeds, build quality will always be a concern. With bandsaws, we focus on three key areas with the frame, table and bandsaw wheels.
Frames can be cast iron, steel or plastic in some cases, but heavier is better when you need stability. Cast iron frames are the heaviest but tend to cost more. Tables can be made of cast iron, aluminum or steel, and again, heavier is better.
The wheels that help turn the are made from the same materials we’ve already mentioned, with cast iron being the ideal choice. Heavy wheels add inertia to the saw which in turns increases your accuracy.
Bandsaw motors are a component you can swap out, but unless you are really good with machinery, it’s not something we suggest. In other words, buy right the first time…
Bandsaws in the budget range typically have motors under 1 HP although there are a few exceptions to that rule. Common sizes include 1/3 to 1/2 HP motors, and the speed is referred to in FPM. When working with wood, you want a higher speed while metal requires a lower FPM.
Power is important, but may not be a huge area of interest if you are only working on DIY projects and crafts.
How much space do you have?
Your new bandsaw obviously isn’t going to sit in the kitchen, but is your garage crowded or do you have a full wood shop? Size matters as some bandsaws are built to sit on tables and only weight 50 pounds.
On the other hand, larger bandsaws can weigh hundreds of pounds and aren’t something people tend to move around often. They can also take up quite a bit of space, so think about the size you need and if a benchtop model would be a better fit than a full-size machine.
While we all love getting something for free, there aren’t many accessories to look for in bandsaw boxes.
Blades are common but should be checked before use as they usually aren’t top of the line. It may not be the type of blade you need either, but you can check out our tips on bandsaw blades if you want to ensure you find the right fit.
A good blade improves your accuracy, and so will two popular accessories in the miter gauge and rip fence. The latter is commonly found in bandsaw boxes while gauges are a bit rarer in the budget class.
Budget Band Saw Reviews
Top choice: Grizzly G0555
The best budget bandsaw is also the biggest this time around. The Grizzly G0555 is a 14” monster that will be right at home in your garage or wood shop and it’s a saw we feel provides plenty of bang for your buck.
Grizzly’s beastly machine is sturdy with a cast iron frame which adds weight and stability. The table is also made from cast iron and precision ground bringing the total weight of the Grizzly G0555 up to 246 pounds. Rounding things out are the cast-iron wheels which are balanced by a computer and come complete with rubber tires.
The throat capacity of this saw is 14” while the depth of cut is set at 6”. That’s average, but you can kick it up a notch with a solid set of riser blocks. It doesn’t come with any, but you do get a fence and miter gauge.
Overall, this bandsaw measures 67 1/4” high by 27” wide and its 30-inches deep. You will need to set some space aside, but it is comfortable to use with a table to floor height of a little under 4-feet.
Other important tech specs to note include a tilting table that can go 44-degrees to the right or 10-degrees to the left, blade speeds of 1800 and 3100 FPM, and a 1HP motor rated at 1725 RPMs.
You can out more about this saw in our full G0555 review. This model’s “low” speed setting is a little higher than the normal model, but both have tilting tables and the same cutting range. They are also both excellent saws.
Who’s the Grizzly G0555 best suited for?
It’s for consumers that want a saw with solid resawing capabilities and the ability to slice through wood and metal with ease. This saw can do both, and while its price may put it out of reach for some, it’s well worth the investment if you have the budget and space for it.
Mid-tier choice: Rikon 10-305
Our runner-up comes from Rikon, and while it isn’t quite as fast as our top choice, it will definitely get the job done. While it’s only rated for 10-inches, we think you’ll be surprised by its power. You can also check out our Rikon 10-305 review for full information.
This saw is powered by a 1/3 HP motor and sports a sturdy steel frame. It’s not nearly as heavy as cast-iron, but it is stable, and flex should not be an issue. It also has a roomy work table, which is made from cast-iron measuring 13 3/4” x 12 1/2”.
While your cutting height is limited to around 10-inches, adjusting the guide post is a breeze. The Rikon 10-305 has a micro-adjustable guidepost, and while you may not need it initially, there is a sturdy rip fence included in the box.
A few highlights for this bandsaw include edge facing thrust bearings, a top speed of 2780 FTM, and a 2 1/2” dust port. The cutting height is 4 5/8,” and it takes 70 1/2” blades ranging from 1/2” to 1/8” in size.
Another advantage of this particular machine is the warranty. Most companies give you a couple of years, but you’ll get a 5-year warranty with the Rikon 10-305.
This saw can’t hang with the Grizzly when it comes to power or resaw capacity, but it offers you a lot of value at an excellent price.
We like the solid cast-iron tilting table on this one, and it’s fairly lightweight at only 76 pounds. That’s great if you may need to move it around, but not ideal if you’re looking for stability as it’s not as heavy as other models.
It’s also not the best choice if you plan to worth metal although that is a minor drawback considering the price.
We’ve said it before, and we will say it again – there is a tool for everyone. That includes bandsaws for crafters and enthusiast that don’t have much space but still need a quality bandsaw. If you fit that bill, SKIL has a solution for you.
If you’ve made it this far, you already know that build quality is important with bandsaws. Unfortunately, this one has a lot of plastic in the build, and while it is stable, you will notice a difference from heavier machines the same size.
The SKIL 3386-02 weighs less than 40 pounds and is light enough to take on the go if needed. At 9-inches, it only has a cutting depth a 3 1/8,” but the aluminum table is spacious measuring 11 13/16-inches square.
This saw comes with comes with a parallel guide and miter gauge out of the box. It also has an adjustable work light which is a nice perk even if it is a little underwhelming in terms of power. It comes with the SKIL three year benchtop warranty as well.
This is one of the more affordable options you can buy in the bandsaw world and worth a look if you need a light-duty machine for your workbench. It’s more than capable of handling DIY crafts and smaller projects, but the 2.5 amp motor and it’s overall size limit what you can do.
The tilting table is nice as are the included accessories, and we’ve already mentioned the sweet price point. Just keep in mind the lightweight frame and the size of the stock you plan to cut with this saw.
The word budget can mean different thing to different people as what’s affordable for some may be too expensive for others.
As we mentioned, the best budget bandsaw doesn’t need to have a large cutting capacity, and while cast iron is ideal, it’s not something you have to have. Just consider your budget along with our tips and top choices.