Dec 07 , 2015
What's the Difference?
Band saws come in many sizes and prices, but they're all basically the same tool: A band of steel with teeth rotates on two wheels and passes through a table. Guides and bearings located above and below the blade hold it in position as it cuts. You simply place a board on the table and push it through the rotating blade.
Entry-level benchtop saws offer portability over cutting capacity (maximum cutting width and height). Their lightweight construction is likely to allow some vibration, adjustments are finicky and blade choices are limited. Cutting thick hardwood can push them beyond their limits, but that's OK: These 9- and 10-in. saws are designed for light-duty use—they'll cut like the dickens when you don't ask them to do too much. And you can't beat the price.
Floor-model 14-in. band saws typically feature heavy construction with vibration-dampening cast-iron components, induction motors, substantial blade guides, tensioning and tracking systems and a full range of blade choices. They have larger cutting capacities than benchtop saws, and larger tables. Is the combination of capability and stability these saws offer worth the cost? If you're an avid woodworker, yes, especially if you want to try your hand at resawing.