Band saws are most commonly used for cutting wood, metal and variety of other materials. They are classified as power tools, which is a type of tool that operates when initiated by an external power source, not just by the power of your hands.
The band saw uses a blade consisting of a continuous band of metal with teeth along one edge, allowing it to cut various workpieces. Usually operating on two wheels rotating on the same plane, the band saw boasts uniform cutting action thanks to an evenly distributed tooth load.
A band saw is a versatile tool capable of performing a variety of cuts, such as ripping, cross-cutting, beveling and curves. For occasions where a smaller machine is needed to do the job, a portable band saw comes handy, particularly if you can’t transport the workpiece that needs to be altered to your shop.
The average band saw can cut a pipe up to 4 inches in diameter. Large-capacity band saws, on the other hand, can cut materials up to 6 inches thick.
How to choose a portable band saw
Choosing a portable band saw that’s right for you is not an easy task. Since you’ll probably be working with it on a daily basis, a decent portable band saw is often a significant investment.
There are many factors to consider when buying a new tool, but it all depends on what specific task you’ll be using the saw for.
Here’s a list of guidelines to help you choose the right one for you:
The materials that you commonly work with should fit in the throat of the band saw. It’s essential that you choose a band saw with sufficient capacity for your needs.
Large-capacity portable band saws can cut pipe or angle stock of up to 6 inches while standard machines are limited to about 4 inches in diameter.
Depending on your work environment, you may choose between a cordless band saw or a corded one. If you work in an industry where electrical cords are a hassle, it may be more practical to purchase a battery-powered band saw. These band saws are usually more expensive than the AC voltage saws, and may have varying cutting times between recharging.
Your choice of brand
Depending on the amount of money you want to invest in a band saw, most name-brands offer similar features and torque and use a standard blade length. Name brands guarantee high performance and good quality, but that also comes with a hefty price tag. Luckily, discount retailers often offer off-brand tools with similar functionalities at much lower prices.
What to look for in a portable band saw
Some important things to bear in mind in looking for a band saw:
- The throat is basically the width of the cut of the band saw. For tabletop band saws, the throat is usually 12-14 inches wide, while cabinet models have a wider throat.
- Depth of cut. This is the amount of material that a band saw is capable of cutting in one pass.
- Corded portable band saws and cordless, battery-operated band saws are both available, depending on the needs of your work environment. Whether or not you’re looking to go battery-powered, make sure to look for a compact and lightweight model, especially if you’re going to use it on a daily basis.
- Accurate cutting lines. Most band saws are equipped with LED work lights, which help you get the job done in dark areas. Some models also have specially designed dual guide rollers, which provide extremely accurate cutting ability.
- Look for a product with a warranty that suits your needs.
- Customer Service. Check for after-sales services reviews of the product that you’re interested in. This may seem unimportant, but if problems arise with your band saw, a good customer service response is much needed to avoid delays in your work.
The DEWALT DCS371B 20V MAX Lithium-Ion Band Saw runs at 570 sfpm, a fast speed for any portable band saw, and especially fast for such a small model. This is an impressively well-built, lightweight band saw. One of the smaller units available on the market today, its portable size doesn’t compromise the unit’s usability, durability or overall effectiveness as a cutting tool.
Features of the DEWALT DCS371B:
This is a highly popular model because it allows for cutting overhead and in tight corners. Since it’s battery-powered, you don’t need to worry about tangled wires and wayward cables getting in the way of your work.
- LED work light with a 20-second delay. This work light helps to brighten dark work surfaces for safety and precise cutting.
- 2-½-inch cut capacity cuts up to 2-inch SCH 40 pipe.
- Centered handle position. This position provides superior balance and ergonomics, allowing for a more accurate cut and less fatigue for the user.
- Integrated hang hook. This allows you to hang the saw without damaging the front handle or base.
- Blade tracking adjustment. Increase blade life by providing better blade tracking.
- Tool-free blade changing lever. Loosens blade tension to allow for easy blade change.
- Dual-bearing blade guide rollers. Provides increased durability in the blade support system.
- Ergonomic soft grip back handle. Provides comfort and flexibility.
- Compact and lightweight.
- Ergonomically designed. With the handle positioned at the center, you can make precise and accurate cuts without any fatigue.
- The soft grip handle provides comfort and flexibility while working.
- Superior cutting ability. It has a cutting speed of approximately 570 fmp, and easily cuts both rounds and squares.
- Easy to use with electrical supplies, unistruts and conduits.
- Best used for overhead jobs and in tight spaces.
- Designed with the motor and battery connections on opposite ends for better balance, helping you to cut straighter.
- LED work light brightens dark work surfaces for ease of use.
- Easy to use for one-handed cutting.
- Long-lasting battery.
- Battery and charger are sold separately.
- Some reviewers faced difficulty with the safety button, saying it was too tight and does not slide easily to trigger the activation of the saw.
The DEWALT DCS371B 20V MAX Lithium-Ion Band Saw, Bare-Tool is a reasonably priced band saw with a powerful cutting performance and loads of performance-enhancing features. Not only is this band saw suitable for professional use, it’s easy to use and control — a great buy for any one on the market for a new power tool.
This portable band saw is relatively small, but still durable. It’s easy to hold and carry with plenty of great features for efficiency and added convenience. You can adjust the speed depending on the material you’re cutting and how quickly you need to complete the job.
Features of the DEWALT DWM120K:
This customizable unit is great for tough jobs. Whether you’ll use it to cut wood, metal or both, it’s designed to efficiently get the work done.
- Industry-best 10-amp motor designed with controlled power to withstand any jobsite application.
- Industry-best 5-inch cut capacity for round or rectangular stock.
- Made with serviceable steel shroud and rubber bumpers.
- LED sight light. Bright LED light allows the user to clearly see cut line in poorly lit work environments.
- Integrated hang hook allows the user to hang the saw without damaging front handle or castings.
- Powerful motor with speed control. Runs on a 10-amp motor with a speed of 100-350 rpm.
- Blade tracking adjustment. An accurate and user-friendly blade tracking adjustment lets you easily adjust the blade tracking, thus improving blade alignment and reducing wear in the long term.
- Safe to use. The band saw’s guards are fitted with rubber bumpers to keep you safe from injury while effectively protecting the saw from damage.
- The large handle positioned at the front can be adjusted in different directions, great for making accurate cuts or for cutting in hard-to-reach areas. It also allows you to adjust the handle in a position that you’re comfortable with.
- Made of high-quality materials, this saw lasts for a long time.
- Variable speed settings give you full control.
- The kit not only includes the band saw but also contains a hex wrench for inserting bolts or screws, a standard blade and a kit box that makes it even easier to carry the band saw on the go.
- Some reviewers were concerned about the security of the blade storage in the case. Since there is no lock to secure it, the blade could potentially be exposed to damage.
- Some users purchased extra blades separately, as the found the quality of the issued blades was not satisfactory.
The DEWALT DWM120K 10 Amp Portable Band Saw Kit is available at a reasonable price for a band saw loaded with useful, well-thought out features. It’s best-suited for people with construction-related jobs, but the tool can also be used by beginners since it’s not difficult to operate. The additional box also makes it handy to carry around.
The Bosch BSH180-01-RT 18V Cordless Lithium-Ion 2-1/2 inch Portable Band Saw Kit is ideal for electricians, plumbers, or anyone who needs to cut materials in tight or overhead spaces. It’s compact, cordless and has the ability to precisely cut a variety of materials, including metal, copper pipes and plastic piping.
Features of the Bosch BSH180-01-RT:
At 8.25 pounds (including the FatPack battery), this lightweight band saw is extremely portable, making it ideal for use in overhead applications like electrical work.
- Electronic cell protection (ECP) protects the battery from overloading, overheating and deep discharge.
- Flexible power system (FPS) enables the band saw to operate with FatPack or SlimPack batteries.
- Up to 60 percent lighter than deep-cut saws, and up to 40 percent more compact.
- Integrated LED work light illuminates cut lines when working in dark environments.
- Made with lightweight, rugged aluminum base for convenient portability.
- Cutting capacity of 2-1/2 inches x 2-1/2 inches, which can cut through common materials used for electrical, plumbing and mechanical applications.
- Five times longer cycle life. Powered by an 18-volt lithium ion battery and equipped with Bosch’s electronic cell protection, which monitors output levels to avoid overheating, this tool promises a cycle life that’s five times longer than other lithium-ion batteries.
- Ease of use. Weighing only 8.5 pounds including the FatPack battery, this band saw is lightweight and easy to carry around, ideal for overhead applications like electrical jobs.
- Flexible power system. This band saw can be used with a 1.3 Ah SlimPack battery, a 1.5 Ah SlimPack HC or a 2.6 Ah FatPack battery. If you want something lightweight, opt for the SlimPack batteries. For a longer runtime, go for the FatPack.
- Fatpack battery and charger included.
- As it’s factory-reconditioned, the tool may be marred by some cosmetic blemishes, and may not come with some of the consumables that new versions come with, like bits or sanding pads.
This is a reasonably priced factory-reconditioned band saw since it includes a Fatpack battery and a charger. It’s, therefore, a great bargain for people on a budget who need a band saw for daily use.
This band saw can be used in to cut a wide range of materials. It’s versatile and useful for plumbers, mechanical engineers, technicians, or anyone who uses band saws for their home projects. It can cut stainless steel, metals, pipes, aluminum and more without causing any damage to the thread.
Features of the Bare-Tool Milwaukee 2629-20 M18:
Durable and constructed with high-quality materials, this band saw performs consistently well, whether you’re a pro doing heavy-duty jobs or a hobbyist.
- Tool-free adjustable material shoe allows for quick adjustments of the shoe and flush cuts when working with materials mounted on walls and ceilings.
- Lightweight enough to easily be used in overhead or tight places.
- LED work light illuminates the cut line in poorly lit work environments.
- High-impact polymer for long-lasting durability.
- Blade ejection system lets you to change the blade quickly by moving the material guide into the up position and depressing the blade ejection button.
- Drop-resistant pulley guard with engineered geometries.
- It has a 3-1/4-inch cut capacity that cuts through common materials such as steel, aluminum, pipe and more.
- The powerful cutting capacity makes it a suitable tool for professionals like electricians, technicians, and plumbers since it can easily cut through common materials and is easy to use in cutting applications.
- This power tool is durable and made to withstand long-term, heavy usage. Made from high-quality materials, this band saw will last a long time before it wears out.
- Makes it easier to work with wall and ceiling-mounted materials thanks to the adjustable material shoe, which allows you to make adjustments based on the work situation on the ground.
- Compact and lightweight, this band saw works efficiently without weighing you down but is still powerful enough to complete heavier jobs without difficulty.
- The Milwaukee brand has excellent customer service.
- Unlike the plug-in version of this band saw, the cordless Milwaukee 2629-20 M18 band saw is much smaller and lighter, making it easy to use and maneuver.
- Some reviewers said that if used heavily on a daily basis, the band saw didn’t last that long.
The Milwaukee 2629-20 M18 band saw is suitable for both commercial applications and household projects. Lightweight but sturdy, this band saw is perfect for people who frequently cut aluminum, steel or other sturdy materials.
The new MILWAUKEE Deep Cut Band Saw with Case offers a slimmer motor housing for a better line of site, thus ensuring greater cutting accuracy. At 14.5 pounds, its lightweight design gives you more control with less fatigue at the end of the work day.
Features of the MILWAUKEE Deep Cut Band Saw:
Added features include constant power technology (CPT), which maintain the correct speed when working with difficult materials, and job site armor technology, made of brand-exclusive materials for long-lasting product protection. These features ensure that optimal performance is delivered while offering a degree of protection that most band saws lack.
- Job site armor technology is made out of exclusive composite material and crush zone barriers for long-lasting, robust protection.
- All-metal direct drive gearing system provides maximum tool life, meaning less servicing is required than with a chain drive.
- Powerful 11-amp motor with constant power technology (CPT) provides maximum performance and durability.
- Revolutionary cut visibility. Thanks to the slimmer housing, your line of site is enhanced, allowing for superior cut accuracy.
- Constant power technology (CPT) guarantees optimal performance by maintaining cut speed in the toughest applications.
- Gear protecting clutch extends gear and motor life by absorbing high-impact forces caused by blade lock-ups.
- Tool-free locking adjustable shoe. The button-actuated, tool-free design allows you to quickly adjust from an extended shoe to no shoe in seconds.
- Debris protection system ensures a longer pulley life by removing debris when in use.
- Largest cut capacity. Has the ability to cut up to 5 inch x 5 inch material in just one pass, while the adjustable shoe provides less tool rotation when cutting material above 5 inches.
- Compact and lightweight for ease of use without any fatigue.
- Extreme durability and power.
- Innovative technology ensures consistently optimal performance.
- Reduced downtime. With the tool-free adjustable shoe that offers a three-position, button-actuated design, you can quickly adjust from an extended shoe to no shoe, which is commonly required in major cutting applications.
- The blade is not included in the kit and has to be bought separately.
The MILWAUKEE Deep Cut Band Saw with Case belongs to an expensive range of band saws. Known as a brand with great-performing power tools, MILWAUKEE provides cutting-edge technology. However, a major drawback is that the blade is not included, so you have to budget extra to buy the blade.