Searching for the best band saw under 500 is a herculean task – a task that sometimes ends up futile. The reason is that most people consider saws within this price range as small and nondurable.
I’ve been there, and understand how tough it is to get one with incredible features under 500 bucks.
From experience, expensive saws don’t always equal best. And buying a budget-friendly band saw doesn’t mean you have to compromise on quality.
After testing various band saws, our team finally came up with this best band saw under 500 review.
Table of Contents
- Quick Picks
- Buyers Guide: What to Consider Before Purchasing a Band Saw
- Best Band saw Under 500 That Will Enhance Your Wood Cutting
- Final Verdict
Best Bandsaw for Overall Performance – WEN 3962 10″ Band Saw
This band saw comes with cutting-edge features that will deliver accurate cuts.
Best Compact Bandsaw – Rikon 10-305 Band Saw
This model has a small footprint that can fit into any workbench, regardless of the size.
Best Lightweight Bandsaw – SKIL 3386-01
With a weight of 12 pounds, this band saw is very light to carry around.
Best Powerful Bandsaw – DeWalt DWM120k 5-inch Portable Band Saw
With a powerful engine of 10-amp, this band saw can deliver ample power required to make the cutting process quicker.
Best Noiseless Bandsaw – Milwaukee 2729-20 M18
This saw produces no noise during operation, making it possible to work in a stress-free environment.
Buyers Guide: What to Consider Before Purchasing a Band Saw
Band saws are designed differently. When it comes to choosing a band saw, different buyers have different needs, and not everybody will agree to have a particular product. After all, variety is the spice of life.
That said, let’s move on to some factors that you should consider before buying a budget-friendly band saw.
Table (Size & Tilt)
The size of a table determines how large your work will be in a provided space.
If you are planning to work with huge pieces, you should opt for models with large size.
The larger the table size, the easier the work would be as a large table size makes it easier to hold the band saw better, which guarantees better cuts.
Also, when using a band saw, some cuts need to be made at a certain angle. You’ll need to either tilt the table leftward or rightward to make those angled cuts.
Common cut angles range from 10 degrees to 45 degrees. Some band saws give more angled cuts. Before buying a band saw, you need to determine how far leftward or rightward the table can tilt, especially if you want to make deep angled cuts.
It’s important that hobbyists and beginners buy a band saw that has a rip fence. The rip fence is an attachment that helps the user makes precise and smooth cuts.
This is one factor that greatly influences my shopping for a band saw. In fact, this is where most hobbyists experience troubles the most, since the majority of them are on a tight budget.
Band saws possess different throat capacities. Most band saws, especially the cheaper ones, have small cutting capacities, which may not fit the woodworking needs of the buyer. Depending on what you need it for, a band saw with small throat capacity might be more than enough. You can also go for a model that has a larger throat capacity for deeper cuts.
As you know, band saws, like every other saw, are always under pressure when used for cutting. The frame has to be robust enough to accommodate both the pressure and weight.
To balance this weight and the frame’s pressure, the saw has to be made with durable and superior material as the material used in a saw’s construction is a test of the saw’s quality.
A saw frame can be of four types – cast iron, rolled steel, aluminum, and plastic. Cast-iron frames are excellent at withstanding lots of pressure over a long period. The downside of cast-iron materials is that they are heavier and more expensive than all other types of materials.
Rolled steel is another great option, which is cheaper than cast-iron steel. It has great support for higher throat capacities.
Aluminum material is a cheap option too. However, it’s not as durable as the rest, meaning you are likely going to use the band saw less.
Plastic material is the cheapest and will wear out rapidly. If you see a band saw with its frame plastic, avoid it by all means necessary.
Types of Band Saws
Basically, there are two types of band saws – floor-standing cabinet models and benchtop/freestanding models.
Floor-standing cabinet models are massive, and designed to handle very large or heavy-duty projects. Most professional woodworkers and experts prefer this type of band saw because of the stability and sturdiness they provide. However, they tend to be expensive.
Benchtop models are not as heavy as the floor-standing models. They are less expensive and very portable. They are best suited for home use, meaning hobbyists would prefer this type of saw. You can fix it on top of a work bench if you want to make your woodworking projects more convenient or conserve space.
Of course, there is a downside; it doesn’t deliver ample power as the floor-standing models do. Therefore, you might want to reconsider your options if you are looking for a more powerful band saw.
Other types of band saws are a horizontal and vertical band saw. A horizontal band saw is generally used for slicing metals, whereas a vertical saw is mainly used for cutting wood.
A band saw comes with several blade types, distinguished by their teeth patterns. Depending on your needs, you can choose from the various blade types which include; a regular tooth blade, hook, skip, and wavy tooth blade.
A skip tooth blade is widely spaced, and best fits softwood and thin sheets of aluminum. A hook tooth blade is an opposite. It’s narrowly spaced, making it suitable for cutting plastic and other non-ferrous metals.
Wavy-toothed blades are mainly used for heavy-duty cutting and cutting of ferrous metals.
Blade Length, Width, and TPI
The length, width, and Teeth per Inch (TPI) of a band saw’s blade are essential factors that you should take into consideration. If you are going to be working on a lot of hardwood, get a bigger blade!
Same goes for the blade width and TPI. If you would be resawing a lot, using a saw with maximum blade width and large teeth will result in more straight and precise cuts—the higher the number of teeth, the better the quality.
On the other hand, a narrow blade will be better if your projects are metal or not that extensive.
Cutting Depth/ Bevel Capacity
A band saw can make an angled deep cut at 45 degrees and 90 degrees. A depth cut at 90 degrees is a measure of the distance between the table and the blade guard. Depending on your needs, a depth cut at 90 degrees will be more than sufficient for a large, long piece of wood.
The smaller 45 degrees cutting depth should be enough for a small piece of wood.
Inevitably, you will need to change the blade of the band saw. Aside from pressure that would wear it out, blades come with different tooth counts and materials that are suitable for making different cuts. Different cutting needs require a specific type of blade.
A good band saw will make it as seamless as possible to change the blade.
Power and Speed
A band saw with good horsepower and a high RPM is good to go. The speed a saw possesses affects its versatility, which is why you should have a band saw with different speeds for different types of cuts. The more speed a band saw has, the more materials you will be able to cut with perfection.
As a hobbyist, a band saw with 1 and 1½ HP will do just fine, especially if you are not planning to do any resawing. It will provide the necessary power you can use to make accurate cuts.
It would make a lot of sense to hook up your vacuum to your band saw’s dust port. More dust will be expelled, and your work area will be smooth and clean.
A band saw can come with a 4-inch dust port or a 2¼ – inch port. I’d advise you to go for the 4-inch dust port, as it will expel more dust than the other one. In case you go for the 2 ¼ – inch dust port, remember to hook it up with a Shop-Vac.
The weight of a band saw depends on its type. If it’s a freestanding model, you should be prepared to deal with its heaviness. Remember, though, this could be problematic if you plan on moving the item.
If you want a lighter model, you should opt for a benchtop band saw. They are very portable, meaning you don’t have to be bothered by movement.
A band saw can be used for making precise cuts, resawing thin strips, ripping large lumber, etc.
Band saws come with different features and specifications that make them ideal for certain wood projects. Once you’ve identified what you want to use a band saw for, the next thing is to identify the specs and features. That way, you’ll determine whether the saw is best suited for it or not.
The larger the wheel diameter, the faster and deeper the cuts. Therefore, if you have a large piece of wood, you would want to consider getting a band saw that has a large wheel diameter.
I love band saws that have the work light attachment. After using it on my several wood projects, I realized how invaluable it was as it allowed me to have better visibility on my projects, leading to better cuts and finishes.
As a beginner, I’d recommend that you go for models with work light, allowing you to have fewer mistakes on your project.
The miter gauge is more like a safety feature in a band saw. It’s used to hold up the wood at a 45 or 90-degree set angle for more convenient beveled cutting. This feature is essential, especially if you are starting.
With machines, like a band saw, you should consider buying one that has a considerable lengthy warranty. Anything less than a year might result in changing the saw after a few uses, resulting in more costs.
Ease of Uses
Simplicity is one thing that every buyer wants. A band saw that’s simple to use will aid in the completion of the wood project faster than one that’s complicated to use or set up.
From experience, changing the blade in a band saw seems to be the most complicated thing to do. I spent over an hour changing the blade of one of my band saws, a low-quality band saw I had then.
My advice? It would help if you didn’t settle for a low-quality saw that will give you a hard time to change the blades.
Also, it would be best if you settled for a band saw that has clearly defined functions to make operating it simpler.
Of course, this article is on the best budget band saw under $500, but you should know that there’s a difference between $500 and $100. What am I trying to say? Don’t go for the cheapest option. Else, you may end up full of regrets.
Settle for a high-quality saw that’s slightly affordable. This way, you are guaranteed of durability and quality.
Cordless vs Corded
Corded band saws require constant power supply through an electric outlet. Most of them are for professional use, and can’t be used elsewhere, unlike a cordless band saw.
Cordless band saws generate power through batteries, making it portable and versatile.
Using a band saw comes with its risks. However, the best band saw will less likely cause you any trouble compared to low ones due to the safety features it possesses to prevent kickbacks. Now, what are those safety features?
The best band saw includes a safety feature, known as a blade guard. A blade guard is usually fixed to the cutting area of the saw to prevent injuries and kickbacks. Lowering the blade guard will give you better control over the blade and minimize the amount of blade available to cut you.
Another significant thing to consider is the wheels – one which will affect the performance of your saw blades.
The heavier the wheels, the more power is transferred to the blade, allowing the saw to be steady and stable and enhancing your cutting experience.
Not all band saws have this feature, but it’s vital. A tension indicator is a device that sets the tension on a blade to the needed PSI. Getting the right tension will maximize cutting and reduce the amount of wear on the blade.
Band Saw Blade Guides
These are pretty essential items that ensure the blade doesn’t track when cutting. It maintains its square and vertical position. A blade guide contains two sets – one in the upper part of the blade and the other at the lower part
Base (floor, closed, open, panel)
In a band saw, there are four common base styles – the floor, closed, open, and the panel. The floor and closed base styles are sturdier and better in absorbing vibration than the open and panel base style.
For heavy-duty use, I’d suggest you go for a band saw that has the floor or closed based style, rather than the open or panel.
If you wish to get the better of your saw’s throat capacity, consider installing a riser block. With a riser block, the throat capacity will be doubled, resulting in better cutting efficiency. Remember that some band saws aren’t compatible with a riser block, so you need to be cautious.
Best Band saw Under 500 That Will Enhance Your Wood Cutting
Here are our reviews of the 5 best band saws under 500.
1. WEN 3962 10″ Band Saw
WEN 3962 Two-Speed Band Saw with Stand is the first product to pop out in this list because of its unique features. This band saw is an affordable band saw with high cutting capacity.
It has a 6.5 amp motor, with two cutting speeds of 1520 (minimum) to 2620 FPM (maximum) to make working on those lumber efficient.
What’s more? The band saw has a 6-inch cutting depth and a 9¾ – inch width capable enough to handle DIY wood projects.
Our team of experts was utterly impressed by its calibration and spacious table. The table is relatively large enough to accommodate your little wood projects and has a bevel capacity of up to 45 degrees, which is awesome for a beginner.
At the bottom is a dust port that acts as a collection of dust and dirt. For me, what I find most impressive about this band saw is the work light. This handy feature provides details of your work for better cuts.
Additionally, this model comes with a rip fence and a miter gauge, two features that will guarantee your safety.
What We Liked
- Durable design
- Expels dust greatly
- Adjustable fence
- Comes with two cutting speeds
- Delivers bevel cuts up to 45 degrees.
- Has safety features
What We Didn’t Like
- Difficult to set up and adjust the blade
- The blade tension is a little high for the saw.
2. Rikon 10-305 10-Inch Band Saw
The Rikon 10-305 band saw is one of the best compact band saws available.
If you are concerned about space, this is one product that won’t disappoint you. It comes with a small footprint, small enough to fit into your workbench.
Although it’s small and compact, the band saw has got the cutting capacity of a 9-inch width and ⅓ – HP powerful motor to make accurate cuts and deliver the right cutting power.
While we weren’t impressed with the small engine and the inability to cut other materials aside from wood, we can say that this is arguably the best band saw for the money.
One thing I admire about this saw is that you can add a riser block to enhance its throat capacity.
Another thing we praise this band saw for is its steel body, which maximizes its durability. I’d say that Rikon has got the best body construction when compared to its competitors within its price range.
Other features included are a dust port for debris and dust collection, blade guide to steady the blade, and a comprehensive manual. Overall, the band saw is affordable and will work pretty well for home use.
What We Liked
- Excellent durable construction
- Efficient cutting capacity
- Cutting capacity is compatible with a riser block
- Collects dust effectively
What We Didn’t Like
- Not suitable for cutting any other material except wood
- Small motor
3. SKIL 3386-01 120-Volt 9-Inch Band Saw
This benchtop band saw offers excellent value for its price. It comes with unique features that will make woodworking exciting and fun.
SKIL 3386-01 is very light, the most lightweight band saws we have ever tested. Yet, it delivers great performance, which is why the product made it to our list of top 5!
This band saw has a 3 ½ cutting capacity and a 120-volt, 2.5 – amp engine, which is enough to handle your small wood projects.
It has a cutting speed of 2,800 FPM, which is perfect for a beginner. The model’s blade is 59.2 inches long and between ⅛ to ⅜ in width.
The table’s size is slightly smaller but has the same angle tilt of 45 degrees. Therefore, you can make those quick angle cuts of yours.
Also, your safety is guaranteed via the miter gauge and rip fence, and you can use the work light for seamless cuts.
SKIL 3386-01 comes with a three-year warranty, which is great, considering that most band saws offer just two years warranty. This further proves this saw’s durability.
What We Liked
- Performs accurate cuts
- Three years warranty
- Incredibly inexpensive
- Easy to set up and adjust
What We Didn’t Like
- Sometimes, the motor tends to malfunction.
- The dust port is relatively small
4. DEWALT DWM120K Portable 5-Inch Band Saw
What we love about the DEWALT DWM120k 5-inch is its portability. Weighing just 15 pounds, you can move this band saw easily without feeling exhausted or fatigued.
DEWALT is a horizontal band saw, unlike others here that are vertical. This band saw lacks a table and a base. The saw’s blade is connected to the handle and constructed for use with two hands.
You’ll be surprised to know that this portable saw has the most powerful engine of any band saw in this list. It comes with a 10-amp engine, so if you are looking for a powerful band saw that won’t be a burden to carry, DEWALT is here. We tested the engine on hardwood, and the results were good.
It has a 5-inch cutting capacity, capable of performing any crosscut on wood. It also includes a work light for more accurate cuts and a rubber bumper to absorb impacts.
There is a downside, however. The band saw needs to be plugged in before use, which will somewhat limit its use in the absence of power.
Overall, we praise this brand for its durability and ergonomic handle.
What We Liked
- Easy to move around within reach of the cord
- Can withstand impacts
- Ergonomic handle
- Powerful engine
- Large cutting capacity
What We Didn’t Like
- Needs to be plugged in before use
- Motor heats up after prolonged use
5. Milwaukee 2729-20 M18 Fuel Deep Cut Band Saw
Milwaukee 2729-20 M18 is another portable horizontal saw, like DeWalt in this list. We consider this band saw to be one of the best band saws out there due to its noiseless engine.
In terms of durability, this product is top-notch. It comes with a built-in brushless motor and high-carbon steel, which shields it from damage when it accidentally falls.
With a weight of 13.64, one would think the band saw is easily the lightest out there. However, it felt a little too heavy during our usage. Still, you won’t develop arm or hand pain while using or carrying the band saw.
The saw can make the most precise and smooth cuts on several metals with its large 5-inch cutting capacity. And since it’s noiseless, you can work in a stress-free environment, devoid of any noise.
Unlike DeWalt, you are free to move this band saw around because it’s cordless. It has a built-in battery technology that gives you a good run time, letting you finish up your work, no matter how long.
Unsurprisingly, there’s work light included in the band saw, offering better visibility for cutting projects, even if it’s your first time cutting.
Its performance is great, and considering the price, I’d say this would make an excellent choice for hobbyists.
What We Liked
- Large 5-inch cutting capacity
- Includes a work light for increased visibility
- Portable and cordless
- Can cut several metals in one sitting
- Noiseless operation
What We Didn’t Like
- A little too heavy
- Slightly pricier compared to other horizontal band saws.
With all certainty, we can say that no band saw is out of anyone’s reach. You can get an excellent band saw that will deliver optimal performance for less than 500.
Using the best band saw will not only leave you with a fantastic cutting experience but also ensure your project is completed quicker.
Having tested all these band saws, our experts have chosen the WEN 3962 Two-Speed Band saw with Stand as the best band under 500.
The cutting ability of this band saw is impressive, and it’s powerful motor will ensure you have the best cuts.
Besides the WEN, other products, as reviewed here, offer outstanding cutting performances. All you need to do is click on the product’s name and grab one.
Still searching for that band saw for your woodworking needs? Check this out!