The best portable band saw comes in various sizes and types. It is a resourceful tool that many wood and metal workers find crucial in their line of work. It is basically a band of steel that has teeth which rotate on wheels as they pass through a piece of wood or metal. It has bearings and guides placed below and above the blade to hold it firmly as it cuts.
The portable band saw is a vital cutting tool especially if you work in different locations thereby requiring you to be on the move often. Before you buy a portable band saw, there are quite a number of factors you need to consider.
Best Portable Band Saw Buyer’s Guide
Important Points to Take Care before Buying a Band Saw:
1. Purpose of Band Saw
Ensure that you clearly know your requirements. Do you need the band saw for metal or wood work? The type of blades used for these two purposes are completely different and if you don’t know your requirements you could end up buying the wrong band saw with the wrong blades.
2. Types of Blade
Consider the type of blade you would like. The blades come in different sizes and shapes. This again will be determined by the purpose you want to serve as well as whether it is for small-scale or large–scale industrial use.
3. Material type of Band Saw
Depending on the type of material you plan to cut, you will need to get a band saw blade that has an appropriate width to get the job done efficiently.
4. Pattern of Band Saw
You should also look at the tooth pattern of the blades. Inorder to choose the right tooth pattern, assess the thickness of the material being cut. If the material is very thin, then make sure the blade has more teeth for every inch. On the contrary, thicker materials should have fewer teeth per inch.
5. Speed of Blade
Ensure that the band saw you settle on has a blade that’s good on speed and has the finest finish and pitch. Make sure that the blade is in perfect condition and does not have any signs dullness due to being used.
Types of Band Saw
Vertical or Horizontal Standing Band Saw
Depending on the type of project you are working you can use either a horizontal or vertical band saw. With the horizontal band saw your material is held in a stationary position while you move the band saw through it.
The vertical band saw, on the other hand, remains in a stationary position while you push the material through the blade to get it cut. This gives you more options for different cutting styles and is good for smaller jobs.
Parts Of Portable Band Saw
1. Variable Speed Motor
A portable band saw has a powerful variable speed motor which has been specifically made to handle professional jobs. It cutswork pieces that are up to 4 inches deep and has a knob to control the speed of the blade whenever it’s necessary.
2. Band saw blades
The blades come in various materials, sizes and tooth designs. The type of band saw blade is determined by the maximum width capacity your portable band saw can accommodate and the minimum radius you will cut. Blade widths range from 1/8” to 1” against a minimum radius range of 3/16” to 7”.
The Band Saw Has Four Types Of Blades
The regular tooth blades are suitable for general purpose work as the teeth patterns are evenly spaced. They are mainly used for cutting materials that are thin and making fine finishes.
Hook tooth blades have larger teeth which cut into materials more aggressively. They are popularly used for cutting metal, thicker wood and plastic materials.
The skip tooth blades are widely spaced to avoid clogging of materials when cutting plastics, soft-wood and non-ferrous metals.
4. Variable pitch blades
The variable pitch blades have interchanging groups of various teeth sizes. This helps in providing fast cuts and smooth finishes.
5. Power source
Some band saws can be operated using batteries of up to 28 volts. Others are powered by electricity with motors of 6 or 6.5mps that are plugged into the regular electrical outlet using power cables.
6. Additional Features
Extra features of the portable band saw include lights that are built into the machine to illuminate the areas you are cutting, light weight to make it easy to carry around and they have efficient handles to make it comfortable when cutting.
Benefits Of Using The Best Portable Band Saw
If you have been thinking of buying the best portable band saw to work on your cutting projects then you should maintain that thought as you go through these benefits of using one.
There is a huge variety of portable band saws on the market that are suitable for quite a number of purposes. Regardless of your need for one, you will always find something appropriate for the type of work you need done.
- The fact that the portable band saw can be moved around easily, makes it easy for you to work in different locations. It’s lighter in weight than regular band saws and you can travel around with it without any trouble.
- Work is more efficient and fast with a portable band saw as it is easier to move the band saw to the location with materials that need cutting as opposed to transporting the materials to the location of the band saw. This greatly contributes to more income and business growth.
- Due to its precision cutting, the portable band saw can finely cut specific types of wood required for certain markets. This cannot be done by the conventional commercial sawmills.
Not only is the portable band saw mill convenient and good for your business, but it also has a positive impact on your health by providing a great way to get some exercise and fresh air through moving from one location to another.
Depending on the type of band saw that you use, you will work your muscles by loading and turning materials to be cut or pushing the blade through the work area.
How to Use a Portable Band Saw
To correctly use the best portable band saw you need to follow the steps to given below:
- First ensure that you have an appropriate size that you can handle by yourself. Once you have it, follow these guidelines on how to use it.
- Prepare yourself first by getting familiar with the machine. Have a look at the manufacturer’s manual and familiarize yourself with the different parts such as switches and blades and how to hold the handle to achieve straight cuts safely.
- Ensure that the blade is sharp before cutting through any material. If you have to change the blade, look for a handle that releases the blade or consult the manual on how to do it.
Before starting the machine, make sure that the blade has been placed firmly against the piece of metal, wood or plastic being cut. To get the best results of the band saw you must be completely stationary and should not be in a position to be affected by movement.
Once you are almost done with a cut, continue holding the saw with a very firm grip to control any jerking movements as you approach the end. In addition to that, make sure that the debris falls into a safe area.
Once you have completed a cut, release the trigger and wait for the blade to come to a halt. As soon as it stops moving, place the saw on a stable surface and prepare the next piece of material you need to cut. Avoid putting the saw down while it’s moving as it can pull in debris and cause it to malfunction.
Ways to Maintain Your Portable Band Saws
As much it is crucial to use your portable band saw correctly, it is of equal importance to take good care of it. Do the following to always keep your band saw in good condition.
- Always clear debris after switching the band saw off and waiting for the blade to stop.
- Get rid of dirt, rust carbon dust by rubbing some steel wool dipped in liquid rust remover and rub it on the table.
- Get a clean cloth to wipe off the dirt and dust. Do not use solvents that can destroy the machine.
- To clean the saw, remove the blade and clean the parts that hold the blade. Do this by applying resin remover and cleaning them with a wire brush.
Tips and Tricks to Know
The band saw is fragile. There are chances when you can accidentally lose it. So, in order to keep it make it useful for a longer time, you are required to take intense care of it.
Make the Tires Last Longer
One easy way to lengthen the life of your portable band saw’s tires is by simply keeping them clean. You can install a cleaning system just by using an old toothbrush.
Chop off the toothbrush handle to a short length and heat it so that it bends at 90 degrees. Bolt the shortened handled onto the band saw’s bottom wheel.
Adjust the Blade
Using a medium-grit oils stone you can fine-tune your saw’s blade by rounding the rear edges so that you can cut tighter curves and ease the process of backing out of a cut. Carefully rub the stone against the back of the blade as it is running.
A Sharp Blade Will Not Let You Down
Always change dull blades because they will get hot, expand and cause some tension. This results in scenarios where the blade gets stuck in the material that you are cutting.
Carry Out Routine Maintenance
Prevent your band saw from breaking down by spending time on maintenance of the machine. In the long run, you will end up saving more time and money as opposed to waiting for it to breakdown then repairing it.
Portable Band Saw Safety Tips
Band saw safety should always be taken very seriously because this machine is highly dangerous and can cause loss of body parts such as fingers or even cause severe bleeding if an artery is cut through an injury. You can prevent serious injuries by following these safety guidelines.
- Focus all your attention on the work you are doing and avoid any sort of distractions. Do not interrupt someone else who is using the machine.
- Make sure all the guards are in place and adjusted to the required length.
- Avoid wearing loose clothing such as long sleeves as they can be caught in the blade.
- Wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from debris.
- Ensure that the cutting material is placed firmly on the table and never in the air.
- Keep the area around the band saw to avoid accidents.
- Your hands must always be placed in a safe position on the sides of the stock. Use a guiding stick if you’re cutting small materials.
- Always switch off the band saw once you are done with it.
- Gets some basic first aid training to know what to do in the event of an injury?
Top 5 Best Portable Band Saw Reviews
If you move around frequently or are looking for a small band saw that is light in weight, then your best option would be a portable band saw. As you shop around you will come across so many portable band saws that may confuse you when making your final decision.
Some of the main factors you need to consider when choosing one include the weight, size, price and features by reading through the band saw reviews.
To narrow your down your choices you can consider the following top 5 best portable band saws.
1. DEWALT DWM120K 10 Amp 5-Inch Deep Cut Portable Band Saw Kit
DeWalt is known to be the most popular brand of a band saw. The DWM120k model is a portable band saw that is small and easy to carry. It also has enough power to cut through different types of material.
- It comes with an extra blade, a storage case and hex wrench.
- Its 10 amp motor with a speed of up to 350 rpm makes it powerful enough to slice just about any type of material.
- It has the capacity to cut through 5 inches deep.
- There is an extra LED light to make it easier to see the cutting line.
- It comes with a hook to hang the band saw when not in use.
- It is an excellent choice for almost all types of work.
- Provides maximum comfort due to the presence of the mobile front and soft back handles.
- The LED light is extremely helpful especially when using the band saw in a dark environment.
- It is a long-lasting product as it has rubber protectors and a steel surface.
- It is slightly heavier than other portable band saws but is still easy to move around.
- The storage case is not as sturdy but can be easily replaced with a stronger one.
2. Milwaukee 6238-20 AC/DC Deep Cut Portable Two-Speed Band Saw
This portable band saw is especially suitable for metalwork as it can cut through materials that are just as strong as steel.
- It runs on a powerful 11 amp AC/DC motor.
- It has a deep cut capacity of 5 inches.
- It has protective layers to make it last longer.
- The motor and gear life is prolonged thanks to the gear protecting clutch.
- You have the option of choosing between two different speeds.
- Out of all the Milwaukee brands, it is the most powerful and has the deepest cutting capacity.
- It comes with a 5-year warranty.
- The gear protecting clutch is a unique feature that’s not found in many other portable band saws.
- It doesn’t come with a blade but you can buy this separately
- It is mostly suitable for cutting materials made from metal.
3. Makita XBP02Z 18V Portable Band Saw
This is yet another popular band saw that is powered by a powerful 18V lithium battery making it suitable for cutting different types of materials that are narrow and dense including metal or PVC pipes and fence posts.
- It has a variable speed control with 6 settings
- Its cutting capacity is at 4 inches
- It has a protective bumper to make it more durable.
- It comes with an inbuilt LED that light up your work area.
- It has a removable hook that you can use to hang the machine when not in use.
- It is cordless and has a very long battery life
- It comes with a 3-year warranty.
- You have up to 6 speeds to choose from depending on the material being cut.
- The blade has to be bought separately.
- The battery and the charger are sold individually.
4. Milwaukee 2429-21XC M12 Cordless Sub-Compact Bandsaw Kit
This is a great portable band saw that is small enough to use with just one hand. It is also very light in weight and can easily cut dozens of steel rods to your desired lengths in just a matter of minutes. However, due to its one-hand operation, it is slightly less powerful than other brands.
- It has a 12 V battery.
- Its depth cut is 1 5/8 inches.
- It comes with an LED light to illuminate the cutting line.
- It comes with one saw blade and a powerful lithium battery and charger.
- It has strong plastic storage case that has a handle.
- It has a 5-year warranty.
- It is very light in weight and compact making.
- It can be used with a single hand.
- It uses a battery and hence no cords will come in your way as you work.
- It comes with a storage case.
- The power is less than most band saws but this is compromised by its one-hand operation.
- It has limited cutting depth.
5. DEWALT DCS371B 20V MAX Lithium-Ion Band Saw, Bare-Tool
This is another great DeWalt brand that is exceptionally lighter than other models. However, it still functions exceptionally well providing efficient cuts and comfortable handles.
- It has a handle that is soft to give you great balance and comfort while cutting.
- It comes with an in-built LED light to brighten up the cutting area.
- It operates on a lithium ion battery.
- It also has an adjustment for blade tracking which helps you to replace blades easily and fast.
- Produces efficient cuts thank to the blade guide rollers and in-built LED light.
- The battery life lasts for a very long time.
- It has a deep cut capacity of 2 to 2.5 inches.
- The blade guards need to be held down when cutting from an awkward handle.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
1. What Should You Do Before Using A Portable Band Saw?
Band saws can be harmful if not used carefully. Make sure you carefully read and understand the instructions before using the band saw. Thoroughly understand its limitations. Before switching it on, ensure that the band saw is firmly placed on the surface and set to the required height.
2. What Safety Measures Should Be Observed?
It is rightly said that prevention is better than cure. If you agree to this statement, you are requested to ensure your safety first before you choose to cut a wood stock with a band saw. Precautionary measures to be taken are listed below:
- Always wear protective gear before using the band saw. This includes safety glasses or a face shield, protective footwear and hearing protection gear for the noise you will be exposed to while cutting.
- Make sure that the guards are in the right place and adjusted accordingly. Ensure that the blade is tight and does not diverge from its intended path. It should also rotate easily. The blades should be completely sharp and suitable for a particular job.
- Hold the machine firmly to prevent it from rotating and causing harm to fingers that may be in its path. Always keep your hands on either side of the blade. Never put them opposite the blade.
- Ensure the floor doesn’t have any obstacles and that there is no clutter or debris around the band saw.
- Never use a band saw if you are tired or undergoing stress.
3. What Should You Avoid When Working With A Band Saw?
A band saw is a useful tool that should be used with utmost care. Lists of things to be taken care are provided below:
- If you are pushing the material against the blade, do not use too much force.
- If it gets stuck, do not pull away while the blade is still moving. Switch it off first and wait for the blade to come to a halt.
- Never leave the band saw unattended. Ensure that the power source has been disconnected and that the blade has completely stopped before leaving the machine.
- Do not try to stop the blade abruptly by placing an obstacle against the blade.
- Do not use your hands to get rid of chips or sawdust from the board. Use a stick or a brush.
- Do not leave the saw unattended. Disconnect the power supply and ensure that the blade has stopped rotating before leaving the scene.
4. What Blade Speed Is Appropriate?
The following factors will determine the amount of blade speed to be used:
- The machinability rating: The lower it is, the lower the speed of the band saw.
- Cutting noise: If there is some vibration or noise from cutting, then the speed should be decreased.
- Coolant: If the saw has enough coolant then you can use the recommended cutting speeds.
Type of blade: the tip of the blade tooth will also determine the blade speed.
Portable band saws are the best to buy especially for people who move around often. In addition to that, if you are looking for a simple small band saw that you can easily move around with you should definitely opt for a portable band saw. They are light in weight, easy to clean and require very little effort to set up.
Just make sure to follow all the safety instructions because it is a cutting machine that has sharp blades which can cause avoidable accidents. Depending on the size, this product is good enough to cut a stock up to six inches thick. On the contrary, if you are looking to cut a stock, unknown about the size; then you may order a band saw with a larger capacity.
After comparing 5 different models of band saw, The Milwaukee 2429-21XC M12 Cordless Band Saw Kit is considered to be the best one from among these. It is powered by a strong battery and can easily stretch its cutting capacity as compared to the others. So, it is a wonderful product with most useful features that will enhance your productivity.
Cutting is no more a tedious job with any of the above listed portable band saw, It comes to be very easy on hands making it look highly efficient. It is surely a must buy a product that makes your wood cutting easier and quicker.
We are sure this article will help you a great deal in choosing the best portable band saws. If you liked the article, do not forget to share it, like it and leave your feedback in the comments section.