A good quality bandsaw can be an excellent addition to your woodworking shop. It allows for a variety of cuts from resawing wide lumber to making curved cuts in thick stock. A benchtop bandsaw is a great option if you don’t need a full-size saw or haven’t got enough room for one.
If you’re looking for the best benchtop band saw for your woodworking crafts and projects, you’re in the right place.
In a rush? Then check the quick picks below. Get the budget option- WEN3959 or go straight for the top pick model from Rikon 10-3061. If you still not sure, check all the reviews below.
Table of Contents
- Quick Picks
- Best Benchtop Band Saw in 2020
- Buying Guide
Best Benchtop Band Saw in 2020
Let’s have a closer look at the best benchtop band saws that are available on the market. For those of you who are just starting working with a band saw, I’ve prepared a short guide to help you understand what features you should look for when buying a perfect benchtop band saw.
Best Overall – Rikon 10-3061 10″ Band saw
This model from Rikon is one of the best benchtop band saws on the market. It’s a high-quality tool with a lot of features found in bigger and more expensive models. Let’s have a closer look to determine if it’s worth the money spent.
What you get here is a cast steel frame with a 1/2 HP motor, 2-speed setting 1515, and 3280 FPM to match the cutting tasks. A large, cast iron table that tilts 5 degrees left, 45 degrees right if you ever need to make bevel cuts.
It also comes with a fence, dust port( 2-1/2″ OD, 2-1/4″ ID) for dust removal system, a 5/16″ x 6TPI regular blade, and a 5-year limited warranty.
Features like tool-less blade guides, quick-release blade tension lever, large blade tracking knob are a definite bonus as well.
The 1/2 hp motor has plenty of power for cutting anything from resizing lumber to make parts to some curvy cuts and resawing wide boards. You should not have any problems with harder woods like maple or walnut.
The 2-speed adjustment will allow you to cut harder wood with a lower speed and higher torque with ease. And you must remember to set it up properly, use a proper blade for the job, and don’t force whatever that is you’re cutting into the saw.
Get a good Timberwolf or Olson blade and watch the video below in the guide section to learn how to set up any band saw, so it works like a charm.
The construction is heavy-duty and reliable, and the saw itself is smooth, powerful, and accurate. The assembly is relatively easy, and the instructions provided clear and easy to follow.
The wheels are more heavy-duty compared to the 305 model with better balance. The tension knob is bigger, and the quick-release lever at the back makes the blade change easy as well.
The blade guides are all roller bearing, and you don’t need any tools to adjust them.
The fence here is excellent as far as these types of fences go. Keep in mind it’s no precision fence. It’s not meant to be, though. But holds very well, and it is accurate. It lines up straight and is easily adjustable – it’s a low-high fence.
A holder for Allen keys at the back and a place to keep the fence on the saw while not in use is another bonus.
Not too much to say here. Some users reported product damaged in transport or some sort of damage to the base of the saw. While this might be a pain to sort out, this saw has a 5-year warranty, so I recommend to use it. Since it’s a heavy machine and shipping costs are quite significant, I’d look around for a place that offers free shipping returns.
Another thing is that 1/2HP motor is probably not enough for heavy-duty work. But this saw is not designed for that kind of work anyway.
Overall a good choice if you want a quality tool but have limited space in the workshop.
It has plenty of power to do light resawing, runs quiet, and is fairly easy to calibrate. This saw is definitely an excellent option for hobbyists or woodworking enthusiasts.
Best Value for Money – WEN 3962 10″ Benchtop Band saw
Wen has several bandsaw models in different sizes ranging from 9″ to 14″. This benchtop model offers a nice balance between the price and the features. You get the most bang for your buck. Let’s find out if it’s something that would suit your needs.
This saw has a 3.5 Amp power motor, which is roughly 1/3 HP and also Two-Speed adjustment allowing for alternating between 1520 or 2620 FPM depending on the task. It accommodates 72-inch blades with widths going from 1/8 to 1/2 of an inch for straight and curved cuts.
The table is cast aluminum and tilts 45 deg to the right for bevel cuts. It also comes with a flexible led light, a fence, a miter gauge, and a 3 in 1 dust port for hooking up the dust removal system.
This 10″ saw is robust and very heavy as well as very quiet and smooth running. The aluminum table is large and flat, and the fence works as expected.
The saw is easy to put together and pretty straightforward to adjust- The blade guides don’t need a hex wrench to do it. And all you need to do to change the depth of cut is turn the big knob on the blade guard.
If you, however, have some trouble with a proper setup, check the video below in the guide for more tips. The saw comes pretty much setup anyway in regards to blade adjustments, but I recommend to watch the video anyway.
You should be able to make any type of cuts like 3″-4″ round oak and mesquite logs into knife scales with it. And you must have a sharp blade if you want to rip 6 in maple or walnut logs if you ever need to.
Invest in good quality blades like Olson or Timber Wolf brands – Timber Wolf BandSaw Blades, 3/8 Inch Width, W 3/8 | L 72 | TPI 4 | TS PC” blade
It’s not a heavy-duty machine, but if you wanted to cut some curves in furniture aprons or make curved chair back, it would do a good job.
Although it’s a benchtop model, It also comes with a stand. So if you have a space in your shop, you don’t have to set it up on the bench.
The light is bright and easily adjustable, and the dust collection port can fit 3 different hose sizes- 1-3/4, 2-3/4, 4in.
The miter gauge is cheap and sloppy, but I wouldn’t expect much for this price. Most of its competitors don’t even have one.
The light, although nice and bright, is mounted from the back of the saw. This can result in a shadow casting over your work. Not ideal but not a deal-breaker.
Some users reported difficulties in setting this saw up. As i said above, I recommend watching the video on how to do it properly.
There also seems to be some problems with tracking the 1/4″ blade. This can be solved with the right instructions. You can find them here. The bottom wheel alignment needs adjusting, but if you don’t feel confident in doing so, you can always contact the customer service for advice.
Blade tension knob/shaft tends to fall off after some time. This is actually covered by the warranty, so you can get the replacement sent by WEN.
Lastly, it looks like the cast iron table has been replaced by a cast aluminum table which, don’t get me wrong, is still solid. But I’d prefer the cast iron table on this machine.
Overall, this WEN bandsaw is a solid, reasonably priced, smaller version of the bigger version. It’d be an excellent fit for DIY-ers and hobbyists.
Best Budget –
WEN 3959 9″ Benchtop Band Saw
If you have a small budget and limited space, this model from WEN could be just what you’re looking for. Sure it’s not a heavy-duty machine, but it’s not meant to be one. Let’s have a closer look at what it has to offer.
It’s powered by a 2.5 amp motor, which is around 1/3 HP. Pretty small, but it’s not a big saw to start with. Unlike the other model from WEN(3962), it only has one speed – 2500 FPM. So not much flexibility here.
The blades that fit this saw should be 59-1/2 inch long and 1/8 to 3/8 inches wide. The table is aluminum and tilts 45 deg to the right.
The saw comes with a 1/4-inch-wide blade, a 2-1/2 inch dust port, a rip fence, a miter gauge, and a two-year warranty.
You should keep in mind that if you have high expectations for mass volume cuts, this saw is not for you. It’s best suited for small projects like birdhouses, plant racks, boxes, pepper mills.
Saying that the saw performs well, you shouldn’t have problems resawing 2×4’s or hardwood if you take your time.
The setup is minimal, but make sure you set it up correctly, though. It is not difficult if you follow the right process found here.
Saw seems solid and well built. You have access to the wheels with a turn of the knob and the. The guide fence is acceptable and easy to set and lock down. To minimize drifting, draw a line, and watch it while cutting.
The blade changing is easy, and while the included blade seems good it is not appropriate for thick hardwood. Make sure you get additional blades for the right applications like cutting curves/scrolling and resawing.
Like other budget tools, this one has some drawbacks pointed out by users. First of all, the miter gauge is kind of flimsy and cheap. No surprise there. Most other models don’t even come with one.
Other users reported the table not being completely flat and has a tiny amount of wobble, which could be problematic.
If that’s the case being a smaller saw, the table is smaller too, and the work area isn’t big enough for large jobs. But it’s not meant to be used for big jobs anyway.
There are some plastic bits instead of metal ones, and the fence is hard to get it straight. Again the money had to be saved somewhere.
By not having roller bearing guides to it’s hard to keep the blade straight. But band saws are not made to make perfectly straight cuts. Table or miter saws are best for these types of cuts.
It’s a great starter saw for DIYers and hobbyists. I would definitely recommend it for small projects and weekend woodworkers.
SKIL 3386-01 9″ Benchtop Bandsaw
This is another 9″ benchtop band saw that has made it to my best-of list. It’s cheap, small and lightweight. Is it capable of doing its job, though? Let’s find out.
Similarly to the budget pick from WEN, it’s powered by a 2.5 Amp motor, which is around ⅓ HP. The motor speeds the blade at 2800 FPM, which is a bit higher than the wen machine.
It comes with a LED light, a miter gauge, rip fence and a dust port for the shop vac- extra features often found in more expensive models.
The table can be tilted, and the blade guard moved(up/down)using a rack and pinion adjustment.
The manufacturer has thrown in a 6 TPI blade for you as well, so you can start using your new tool straight away
This saw is very light and portable, which is a good thing if you need to work remotely or need to put it away for storage. It has a minimal footprint.
It runs smoothly with little vibration, and you can get pretty decent results once you set it up correctly.
You won’t cut large sheets of ply with it, but 2×4″ shouldn’t be a problem. Get a better blade, take your time, and go slow.
The rip fence and miter guide are a definite bonus for this price, and to adjust the cut depth and table tilt, you don’t need any tools. The rack and pinion device makes it super easy. You just need to turn a couple of knobs.
The little window in the frame allows for checking the blade tracking, and the blade has side support and a back roller-bearing support as well to minimize deflection.
Now let’s talk about the cons. Firstly although the frame is made out of steel, the cover/doors are all plastic and a little flimsy. Another drawback is that the blade guides need an Allen key to be adjusted, so it takes a bit of time to change the blade and set it all up. But the key is supplied, and only one size is needed to make all the adjustments.
The included blade is of poor quality, so it’s wise to invest in a better blade.
The drive belt can become loose over time, which can result in loss of power. Make sure to check it occasionally and tighten it.
The light turns on with the saw and is not very bright. Lastly, The fence needs two hands to adjust it accurately with both rulers found at each end of the table. Not ideal but not a deal-breaker.
This Skil saw would be best for small, fine projects. Since it’s very compact and lightweight, it is a good option for people with a small workspace. It’d be appreciated by a casual woodworker doing light to medium duty type work occasionally.
Rikon 10-305 10″ Benchtop Bandsaw
This model from Rikon is a smaller version of the 10-345 and 10-325 models. It’s also a predecessor of the 10-306(1) version.
Being cheaper than our top pick band saw it may suit those who like the excellent quality and a variety of features but don’t need the extra power or other have duty components.
In terms of power and speed, this Rikon bandsaw has similar metrics to the Skil model. It’s powered by 1/3 HP motor and has a single blade speed of 2780 FPM.
Here the similarities end. The whole frame, including doors, is made out of steel. The table is bigger and made out of cast iron, giving you a solid, sturdy, and larger work surface.
It also comes with a rip fence and micro-adjustable guidepost for raising and lowering its height with the turn of a handle.
This model from Rikon, as well as the 10-306 version, has a solidly built steel construction. It’s sturdy and very well made with very accessible tracking adjustments. The table is solid and heavy as well as big providing excellent size workspace.
As for the roller bearing blade guide setup, the side guides and thrus guide are aluminum and very well built. It comes with a rip fence. However, it’s a generic snap-on fence, not a precision type you’ll find in bigger/more expensive saws. But it does move nicely and smoothly.
The dust port is a standard size, so it fits nicely to most hoses- there is no need for an adapter.
The resaw capacity isn’t much at 4- 5/8″, but it’s an accurate, easy to use saw.
The trunnion should be sturdier built for the weight and heaviness of the table, but it does its job holding the table without any wobble. No rack and pinion system in the trunnion for easier table setup.
The hex key is needed to set up the blade guides, and it doesn’t come with a miter gauge. You can buy one although the slot for it is an odd size.
The blade is not the greatest one, but as with every other model, I recommend investing in a better quality one.
This is a perfect beginner bandsaw—ideal for all small jobs and resawing medium sized lumber. Thanks to the small footprint would suit best for those lacking in space but wanting a quality tool for a reasonable price.
For those of you that don’t know what to look for in a bandsaw, I’ve prepared a short guide.
Desired motor power depends on the type of projects you’re going to make. Since benchtop band saws are made to accommodate smaller projects, the size of their motors reflects that and vary from around ¼ HP(horsepower) to ½ Hp. If you need more power, consider buying a bigger saw.
Some of the smallest saws motor power is presented in Amp and thus can be confusing. Knowing some numbers like the voltage, wattage, and amperage, you can use a calculator like this one to convert the Amp number to HP for comparison.
Band saw frame
The most crucial part of every bandsaw. It supports everything: wheels, table, guides, and sometimes the motor as well. It needs to be sturdy and robust to support the blade tension as well as provide an adequate amount for the blade guides.
There are three main types of frame material :
Die-cast – usually made from aluminum, these saws can be made in large volumes and relatively cheaply. Although considered inferior to other types, these lightweight saws can perform well with a sharp blade. But don’t expect to use anything wider than 1/2 “blade because the frame cannot take the tension.
Cast iron-strong and rigid. The weight provides stability and reduces vibrations and
Welded steel– it is made out of steel sheets that are folded and welded to produce a solid frame.
Band saw wheels
Each bandsaw has a set of two wheels—one on top of the saw and one at the bottom. The wheels and tires provide power, support, and guidance for the blade.
While the lower wheel drives the blade, the top one can be moved slightly up or down, allowing for the blade installation and adjustment of the blade tension.
They are made either from aluminum or cast iron. The latter is heavier and produces a flywheel effect that allows for consistent speed when cutting stock of various density.
Band saw blade quick tension release lever
This feature allows for a quick release of the tension of the blade. It’s very handy when you need to change the blade often and fast, saving you a lot of wrist action.
You can have the tension knob set to the desired setting and quickly change the blade without the need to play with the settings again. It is also convenient to release the tension when you don’t use your saw often.
Although very handy, not all bandsaws have this feature, though.
Similarly to a scroll saw the table supports the workpiece. It consists of a removable throat plate and a slit running from the center to the table edge that allows for a blade change/installation.
To keep the parts aligned at the slit providing a smooth surface, a tapered pin is used. It’s inserted in the hole in the edge of the table.
Most bandsaw tables are made of cast iron. However, the benchtop versions usually have cast aluminum ones.
Tables also tilt, allowing for bevel cuts. It usually is 45 º to the right and about 10 º to the left. The mechanism that allows you to do that is called a trunnion. The most reliable ones are made out of cast iron, others like die-cast or steel sheet ones not as much.
Similarly to scroll saws, the throat size is the distance between the back of the blade and the bandsaw frame. It determines the size of the stock you can cut. Some woodworkers use a wheel size as a bandsaw size.
You have a pretty good choice of sizes. Anything from 9″ to 24″. The benchtop models are the smallest ones usually 9″ or 10″.
This tells you what thickness of the stock you can cut. It’s a distance between the table surface and the bottom of the blade guide/guard. If this gap is 6,” for instance, you’ll only be able to cut 5-7/8″ thick stock as you need some clearance for the guide to assure free movement of the work.
Most cheaper models only run at one speed and don’t allow for working with materials other than wood(like metal). More expensive models have two-speed settings. The lower speed allows for working with soft metals (like brass or aluminum).
Band saw blades
The length of the blade is determined by the size of the saw. The bigger the saw size, the longer the blade. Then you have a blade width as well as TPI(tooth per inch) count. The blade width will depend on the type of cut you want to make.
If you need more tight, curved, scrolled cuts, you should go for a narrower blade. For straighter tracking and rip cuts or gentle curves, choose a wider blade.
The number of teeth per inch(TPI) will determine the type of cut you want to make. A low TPI blade has fewer teeth and makes rougher cuts.
A high TPI blade has more teeth, and the cuts made are a lot smoother.
Sawdust particles have a tendency to get into all the crooks and nicks of the workshop, your tools, as well as your lungs. Although the band saw doesn’t produce vast amounts of sawdust, a dust removal system is always welcome.
Even the cheapest of models have some sort of dust port incorporated in the frame. All you need to do is hook it up to your shop vac.
Some of the models have a gooseneck work light attached, which helps line cut visibility. Not an essential feature but allows for working in dim conditions.
Similarly to a jigsaw and a scroll saw the blade guides provide an accurate cutting path. There is one set of guides placed above and below the table. Each one consists of a guide on each side of the blade as well as behind it.
The side guides prevent the blade from twisting, and the thrust guide supports the back blade edge from behind to resist feed force.
How to set up a band saw for optimal results every time
I hope you liked this article and that it has helped you choose the best benchtop bandsaw that is suited for your needs. If you have any questions that have not been answered here let me know in a box below. I’ll do my best to help you. Thanks for stopping by!