What's the Best Band Saw? Benchtop vs. 14 Inch vs. 17 Inch vs. 18 Inch

The mighty and versatile band saw… will it replace the table saw as the heart of the modern woodworker’s shop? Not likely, but it remains the goto tool of choice for curves, tenons, ripping and resawing.

There’s a multitude of woodworking forum threads and reviews about “best bandsaws…” wading through them all takes hours. How do I know? I read through them all to write this article.

To make your band saw shopping experience a bit easier I found the top three recommended band saws by the most common sizes: Benchtop, 14 inch, 17 inch and 18 inch band saws. We left out portable band saws because they’re mostly used in cutting metal – would love to hear from anyone who uses a portable regularly in woodworking… In the future, once I get an idea of which size is most popular to you guys, I’ll dig in deeper.

A quick note on the bigger band saws – almost everything I read puts Grizzly as the best value for the dollar when it comes to band saws. That said, almost everything I read said that Italian band saws are the best quality in the world. Take that for what it’s worth ;)

>> Best Bench Top Band Saws (9-12 Inches)
Bench top band saws are typically the LEAST recommended of bench top tools. I’ve read in forums many times where woodworkers are glad to leave their bench top band saws behind and feel guilty about selling it used. THAT SAID… there are bench tops that are better than others, and there are certainly cases where a bench top band saw works perfectly well for some people.

2 quick observations: 2 wheels are typically recommended over 3 wheels for issues of blade breakage and tracking. Also… like on any saw a good blade will drastically improve your work.

Ryobi BS902: 4 votes

Delta SM400: 2 votes

Rikon 10” 10-300 BS Mini: 2 votes

Benchtop Band Saw Resources:
Bench-top Band Saw-Which Is Better??
Benchtop Bandsaw Effectiveness
Why Do I need a 14″ Band Saw? Cry For Help.
Rikon 10” 10-300 BS Mini Review

>> Best 14 Inch Band Saws
14 Inch Band Saws are the band saw size of choice for most serious hobbyists woodworkers. It all depends on the size of your projects and why you’re buying a band saw of course, but the 14 inch is pretty much the standard size and most folks recommend that the bench top shoppers put their $100-150 into a 14 inch floor standing model.

(NEW: see Best 14″ Bandsaws: Grizzly vs. Rikon vs. Powermatic vs. Laguna and More)

Within the 14 inch size range you can pay anywhere from ~$300 – $1,200 or so.

Delta 28-276 14-Inch Band Saw: 5 Votes

Craftsman 14 in. Band Saw: 4 Votes

RIKON Model # 10-325: 3 Votes

Grizzly G0555 The Ultimate 14″ Bandsaw: 2 Votes

14 Inch Band Saw Resources:
14” band saws (WoodNet forum thread)
14-Inch Band Saws (great for comparing high end 14 inch band saws for professional use)
Is the Craftsman 14 inch Bandsaw worth it?
Delta 28-203 14″ Band Saw
Ridgid BS1400 Band Saw Tool Review

>> The Best 17 Inch Band Saws
You could be just as hampered by a 14″ band saw as by a bench top if your projects call for higher capacity. If you’re building boats or other large wooden structures then you might just be in the market for a larger band saw.

Some 18 inchers got mixed up below. That’s ok because some 19″ machines got mixed up in the 18 inch section too.

A quick note: look for cast iron wheels.

17″ Grizzly G0513: 6 Votes

RIKON Model # 10-345 18″ Bandsaw: 3 Votes

Bridgewood BW-17WBS: 3 Votes

17 Inch Band Saw Resources:
Bridgewood BW-17WBS vs. Grizzly 513
Which 17″ bandsaw?
Various bandsaw questions…long (focuses on larger model band saws)

>> Best 18 Inch Band Saws
If you’re getting an 18 inch, why not go for a 20? Well, price is probably your biggest factor once you get up to this size of a machine… Once you know you need at least an 18 inch machine think long and hard about whether it’s something that can grow with you or if it’s something you will grow out of.

Grizzly G0514X 19″ 3 HP Extreme Series Bandsaw: 5 votes

RIKON Model # 10-345 18″ Bandsaw: 4 Votes

JET 710750 JWBS-18X 18-Inch Bandsaw: 3 Votes

Steel City 18″ Industrial Bandsaw model 50250: 2 votes

Agazzani 18 inch: 2 votes

18 Inch Band Saw Resources:
Agazzani 18″ Bandsaw
Help me buy a bandsaw and blades!!!!!!! (18 inches… in WoodNet)
Over all what is the best 18″ bandsaw for the money?
Why buy a 15 inch bandsaw? (when you could get a 20 inch…)

General Band Saw Buying Resources:
Compilation of “Best Band Saw” threads. Which Band Saw? (this post helped me kick start this article…)
A Band Saw Buying Guide: 6 Considerations That Save Woodworkers Money
Woodworking Without A Table Saw
Choosing a “Starter” Bandsaw Mill

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3 Responses to What's the Best Band Saw? Benchtop vs. 14 Inch vs. 17 Inch vs. 18 Inch

  1. TomSawyer says:

    Bandsaw reviews and links led me away from the hobby junk and made me realize what’s involved in a commercial quality, accurate bandsaw. Why can’t we buy commerical quality tools any more from retail tool suppliers?

  2. Kern Vore says:

    Band saws are great for making an arc cut in wide planks of wood. I built a curved fence using the Jet Band Saw that my friend had. I have been curious about the other ones and appreciate good comprehensive reviews on the fine points of these various models.

  3. Boat Ladders says:

    Normally I don’t learn article on blogs, however I would like to say that this write-up very forced me to try and do it! Your writing style has been surprised me. Thank you, quite great article.

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