Scroll Saw vs Band Saw: What should you get in your shop?

Scroll saw vs band saw. That is one of the things for woodworkers and construction professionals to consider in their work routines. The power saws that they will use to cut in various projects will determine the efficiency of your work. Picking which saw to cut one’s workpieces can be a bit overwhelming.

For starters, depending on your skill and budget, you can only have room for one in your workshop. Your choice will also depend on the type of projects and materials you will work on. When picking the saw to use, know first their capabilities and suitability to the task you want to do.

A scroll saw is a power saw that is versatile for woodcrafts. It is designed to make circular cuts and plunge cuts (cuts that start in the middle of the material). This makes it perfect for intricate works such as decorative scroll motifs, parquetry, and wood crafts made of interlocking pieces of wood. They are well-known for precise and accurate cutting.

On the other hand, a band saw is a larger power saw great for hard woods and thick timber. This is strong enough to cut thick wood in curves, angles and straight lines. Furniture makers love the band saw because this saw enables them to work on curved legs on chairs and tables.

The sheer choice between scroll saw and band saw seems too much to handle. But don’t worry! We at Saws Expert present a comprehensive guide on Scroll Saws vs Band Saws.

Here, we will talk about:
• the difference between a scroll saw vs a band saw,
• Best Scroll Saws and Band Saws for 2020,
• And what Saws Expert has to offer

What’s the Difference between a Scroll Saw vs Band Saw?

Scroll Saw vs Band Saw
Scroll Saw vs Band Saw

Both scroll saw and band saw works well for anyone working in construction or home improvement. Whether you are a carpenter, woodworker, or furniture maker, you will find either saw a welcome addition to your workshop.

However, they are vastly different from each other. Before you choose which one to invest in, you need to understand each saw’s specialties and flaws. Once you know the difference between the two, then and only then can you choose wisely.

Scroll Saw

Scroll saw cutting wood.


The craftsman’s partner is the scroll saw. It is often used to create intricate curved designs in woodworks. This sits stationary as you move the material around it. The scroll saw can cut curves, carvings and patterns into wood or thin plastic with its thin blade.

Here are the advantages of using a scroll saw over a band saw.

• Scroll saws are user-friendly. They work quietly and with little dust output. It’s also very quick and easy to change the scroll saw blades. This user-friendly saw is even safe enough for children to work on. So if you want to teach your kids to a woodworking hobby, getting a scroll saw for them is one of the best ways to go.
• Scroll saw cuts are precise and accurate. Scroll saw blades make precise and accurate cuts. Using a scroll saw is ideal when you fine and smooth cuts that require little to no sanding at all.
• The scroll saw specializes in cuts on the inside of the material. This particular cut, called plunge cuts, help in delicate craftsmanship. It works by inserting the thin blade through a hole. Here the scroll saw can cut intricate designs or a circle inside the material without having to pass through the outer perimeter of the material.
• Most importantly, the scroll saw is more affordable than the band saw so this is perfect for those who want to keep overhead costs low.

But there are some things that scroll saws cannot do. Here are some disadvantages to investing in a scroll saw.

• The scroll saw cannot cut thick materials. It struggles in cutting thick material. Don’t even try using it on these lest you want to end up with a broken saw and injuries. In particular, do not use this for wood and other materials that are thicker than 3/4-inches.
• This saw cannot do straight cuts accurately. While scroll saw cuts can make straight cuts, it is not always reliable in this function. The quality of the straight cuts can be affected by the swerving tendency of this power saw.

Band Saw

Band Saw from Monotaro

Band saws may not be specialty saws, like scroll saws are. But they pack a lot of functionality in their large built, especially for masonry and furniture making. They can work better than a table saw or circular saw when it comes to thick materials, for one.

Here are some advantages to getting a band saw over a scroll saw.

• A band saw cuts thick materials efficiently. This power saw outperforms the scroll saw and other saws in cutting thick materials such as timber and hard wood. With the right blade, it can also cut into various materials twice most saws’ cutting height of 12 inches. This also works well when you resaw boards into smaller thicknesses (imagine the ease of slicing cheese from a block).
• The band saw easily cuts straight lines and clean smooth curves. It features tougher bigger saw blades that can tackle all materials of varying thickness. This saw can cut cleanly and smoothly on materials. While it is not as versatile in curves as the scroll saw, you can work your craft on thicker woods.

You can cut a perfect circle or irregular waves and you’ll get a smooth surface every time. This makes the band saw a must have for furniture shops because they can use this to create curvatures on woodworks that are built to be tough such as bedframes, tables, chairs, and sofas.

• A band saw works fast and accurately. With this power saw, you can cut thick materials with impressive speeds and accuracy. This works well whether you make some straight cuts or lots of cuts at odd angles. Another reason for this advantage is the ease of full control with this tool. Here your hands are free to handle the workpiece for better control of the cut and accuracy.

Many also love to use it to safely rip and resaw boards faster. But a band saw leaves behind character in the grain you usually only see when using hand saws. For example, you could resaw a board into two pieces and use the inside faces as two doors on a cabinet to highlight the continuity in the grain across the entire front of the piece.

However, there are certain drawbacks to this tool.

• Rougher edge cuts. A band saw’s very aggressive cuts will end up with rough edges or at least not as smooth as what you would get from a scroll saw. Scroll saws will cut more slowly and leave your work with cleaner edges.
• Cannot make inside/plunge cuts. You cannot make plunge or inside cuts with a band saw. The fixed blade on the band saw means that you will have to cut through the perimeter of the materials to get to the inside.

How to choose which saw to use

Both a scroll saw and a band saw will be a welcome investment in your work routine. Here are some tips to help you choose which one to use in your work.

1. Material you work on: Choose the saw that can handle the softness or hardness of the material. A mismatch of material and saw will cause injuries and tool breakages – something that no worker ever wants in the process of working. If you work on thin materials such as soft wood, plastic and metals, go for a scroll saw. But if you need to handle thick matter such as timber, get a band saw instead.

2. Type of Cuts you want to do: What type of project do you want to work on? Woodcraft or furniture carpentry? When your work project requires small precise cuts (plunge cuts, in particular) and curves with no need for sanding, a scroll saw can help you through all intricate details. But if you need to make fast and accurate aggressive straight cuts, you can work more efficiently with a band saw.

3. Your Budget: Gauge how much you are willing to spend for the saw. If you are just starting out, you can get a scroll saw which is more budget-friendly and great value for craftsmanship. On the other hand, you can also save up and invest in a band saw – it is higher-end power saw but you can use it as your business expands to work on thicker and tougher materials.

Learn more – Choosing The Right Saw for Your Needs

Best Scroll Saws and Bands Saws for 2020

Best Scroll Saws

Top Pick
DEWALT DW788
This is the most five-star rated and most frequently recommended scroll saw in the market. It works well in detailed work through easy ergonomic controls. It’s certainly worth paying for.

Most Budget-Friendly

WEN 3921
Starting out in scroll sawing? Or looking on a budget? WEN developed an affordable and versatile model that can handle any kind of wood. Another bonus, it comes with a handful of accessories to help you work with it efficiently.

1. DEWALT DW788 – Best Scroll Saw

About the DeWalt DW788

This scroll saw solidifies DeWalt’s position as the brand of high quality tools for professionals. It is designed to work quietly and efficiently with little to no vibration while on operation. It makes smooth clean cuts and precise internal cuts. The cutting process works well because the upper arm can be easily lifted up and the blade can be quickly fed through the wood with little no vibration.

It also boasts the following features:
• Motor: 1.3 amp
• Strokes per minute: 400 – 1750
• Table size: 16 inch x 23 ¾ inch
• Weight: 56 pounds
• Stroke length: ¾ – 2 inch

What we liked about the DW788:
• Controls are easy to locate and engage.
• Arm designed to always keep the blade perpendicular to the work to help avoid over or undercutting.
• Variable stroke length for easier control and better results.
• Blades are very easy to change.

What we disliked about the DW788:
• Very pricey.
• Some problems with blade alignment.
• Materials can snag on the keyhole in the table during use.

Saw’s Expert Verdict:

If you’re a professional woodworker or contractor, the DeWalt DW788 is a great investment, albeit pricey. It is well-reviewed by users all over Amazon for its easy controls, quick, smooth cuts and strong 1.3 amp motor.
Amid problems such as blade tension and materials snagging on the keyhole, the DW788 remains as the best scroll saw because of its performance and universal user appeal.

Rating: 9.8 out of 10 (Excellent!)

2. WEN 3921 – Best Affordable Scroll Saw

WEN 3921 Scroll Saw

About the WEN 3921

This cast iron saw is a budget-friendly power tool that can work on varying speeds to handle wood of various depths. Its versatility comes from the assortment of accessories it can be equipped with. It also stands out in its ergonomic design, clearly made to be comfortable and work longer for user. You can also take advantage of its large work surface which enables the worker to handle different sizes of material. However, we advise that you only use this for wood projects since it’s not strong enough for anything more dense or hard, like metal.

It also boasts the following features:
• Motor: 1.2 amp
• Strokes per minute: 400 to 1600
• Table size: 16 inch x 11 inch
• Weight: 27 pounds
• Stroke length: 9/16 inch
• Speed: Variable
• Includes: air pump, flexible light, dust port, foot lock clamp, and two different blades

What we liked about the WEN 3921
• Amazing value for affordable price.
• Ergonomic design for comfortable use.
• Nice large work surface.

What we disliked about the WEN 3921
• Blades are not easy to switch out.
• The motor won’t be able to handle anything denser than wood.
• Not designed well for internal cuts.
• Not designed for professionals.

Saws’ Expert’s Verdict
This is the best scroll saw for beginners because it is very easy to use with its ergonomic design. It is also great when you’re just building up your woodworking skills for the job. Some hiccups for an otherwise great starter scroll saw are: a) it’s not durable or powerful enough to stand up to heavy duty construction work, b) cannot facilitate plunge cuts well, and c) blades are a little difficult to change.

Nevertheless, it’s got the stamp of approval from users worldwide and several tool review sites. It’s the best budget item in this list. And above all, it’s the best one to try when you’re still beginning your woodcraft career.

Rating: 9.8 out of 10 (Very Good!)

3. Dremel MS20-01 Compact Scroll Saw

Dremel MS20-01 Scroll Saw

About the Dremel MS20-01

The Dremel MS20-01 Moto-Saw is a little tool that does well with thin materials. It can handle material as much as ¾ inches thick but works best with those under a half inch. But what it lacks in power, accuracy comes in spades. This scroll saw can help you make difficult cuts easily. Its small and compact built also lets you work on the go, even with the same function of a handheld saw.
It comes with four different blades that work well. But one downside of this tool is its plastic make, which makes durability a concern.

It also boasts the following features:
• Motor: 0.6 amp
• Strokes per minute: 1500 – 2500
• Weight: 4.7 pounds
• Stroke length: ⅓ inch

What we liked about the Dremel MS20-01
• Handheld and compact.
• Lightweight and portable making it ideal for small jobs.
• Blades change quickly and can go forward or backward.
• Perfect for fine detailed cuts.
• Dust port adapter keeps line-of-sight clear & workspace clean.

What we disliked about the Dremel MS20-01
• Not designed for large projects.
• Blades can snap easily if used with the wrong kind of project.
• Ridged table surface can cause problems rotating wood.
• Have to drill ¼ inch hole to insert the blade into for internal cuts.
• Some vibration.

Saws Expert’s Verdict
Though not as well-reviewed or popular as the WEN 3921, the Dremel MS20-01 is a great tool for a price within reach for workmen. It’s meant to be a starter power saw because it’s simply not strong enough to cut through metal or large pieces of wood. But if your work is craftsmanship, then this scroll saw will be a good tool to invest in.

If you handle it properly, it should continue to perform well. Getting the Dremel MS20-01 is a step to the process of mastering a scroll saw before investing in more established, higher-end models such as the DeWalt line.

Rating: 9.7 out of 10 (Very Good!)

4. Delta Power Tools 40-694 Scroll Saw

About the Delta Power Tools 40-694 Scroll Saw

Delta presents this third starter scroll saw in this list. But this is a little pricier than the aforementioned WEN and Dremel models. But it makes sense when you factor in its large worktable, easily changeable blades, and its capability to work on materials other than wood.

It also works efficiently for craftsmen and woodworkers because of its unique angling feature. It can angle from side to side, while makes it possible to do a lot of different cuts while keeping them uniform and tight.

It also boasts the following features:
• Motor: 1.3 amp
• Strokes per minute: 400 – 1750
• Table size: 16 inch x 24 inch
• Weight: 60 pounds
• Stroke length: ¾ in

What we liked about the Delta Power Tools 40-694
• Tool-free easy blade changes.
• Onboard blade storage.
• Large tilting table to get the right angles.
• Can adjust speed easily while you’re working.

What we disliked about the Delta Power Tools 40-694
• Assembly instructions a bit difficult to understand.
• Unreliable On/off switch was.
• Air hose breaks easily.

Saws Expert’s Verdict
This is a pricier starter scroll saw but it is built to be tough and work on more than wood. You can work on this saw for hours, with the Dremel MS20-01 efficiently performing with your pace.
But there are also a few hiccups for workmen who choose this power saw. Complaints include unstable power switch and damaged items from shipping. This is also one of the heaviest scroll saws, packing 60 pounds.

Rating: 8.5 out of 10 (Very Good!)

5. Shop Fox W1713 Scroll Saw

About the Shop Fox W1713

Shop Fox’s scroll is built tough, made from solid cast iron, steel, and aluminum with minimal plastic. It can tackle all kinds of wood with a very smooth cut. But it is recommended best for wood that is ½ in thick or less.

An attractive component for users of the Shop Fox W1713 is its built-in lighting. It helps a lot in the process of doing small, detailed cuts in low light. It makes the scroll saw more user-friendly because the controls are easily visible, right in the front of the unit.

It also boasts the following features:
• Stokes per minute: 550 – 1650
• Weight: 35.3 pounds
• Stroke length: 3/4
• 1/8HP, 1.2-Amps, 110-Volt, 60Hz motor
• 16-Inch maximum cutting width
• Includes a gooseneck work light, dust blower and dust port
• Plain or pin blades

What we liked about the Shop Fox W1713
• Table tilts 45 degrees to enable easy angular cuts.
• Work light to help make detailed cuts easier.
• Very durable as it’s made out of primarily cast iron and should last a long time.
• Easy to use with straightforward controls.

What we disliked about the Shop Fox W1713
• Cumbersome blade changes.
• Slow motor compared to some powerful machines.
• The motor can overheat if you push it too much.
• Triangular work table is awkward for some pieces.

Saws Expert’s Verdict
It’s moderately priced but built with tough durable materials. But it is not placed higher on this list because its many drawbacks make working with it difficult. This includes the hassle of changing the blades on this scroll saw, slower and overheating motor, and awkward triangular work table.
Rating: 8 out of 10 (Very Good!)

6. Rockwell ShopSeries RK7315 Shop Series Scroll Saw

About the Rockwell ShopSeries RK7315

The ShopSeries RK7315 is a relatively lightweight scroll saw with a large work surface that is capable of tilting to 45 degrees. It’s really portable and easy to store when not in use.

It also boasts the following features:

• Motor: 1.2 amp
• Strokes per minute: 500 to 1700
• Weight: 27 pounds
• Stroke length: ⅘ inch

What we liked about the Rockwell ShopSeries RK7315
• Thin blade works great for all projects.
• Blade guard increases safety.
• Blade head can turn 90 degrees.
• Comes with two blades and a blade holder

What we disliked about the Rockwell ShopSeries RK7315
• Table insert doesn’t always sit flush with table.
• Instruction booklet is unclear and difficult to understand.
• Difficult to get a smooth finish on really fine work.
• Large pieces will require the blade being turned perpendicular.

Saws Expert’s Verdict

This saw is moderately priced with a lot of features. Amid complaints about the manual, many users have created instructional videos on YouTube.

Rating: 7 out of 10 (Very Good!)

Best Band Saws 2019

Top Pick

JET JWBS-14DXPRO

This is the most five-star rated and most frequently recommended scroll saw in the market. It works well in detailed work through easy ergonomic controls. It’s certainly worth paying for.

Top Performing

Rikon 10-305 Band Saw
This is the top performing band saw with a durability and stable performance that lies beneath an affordable price and a small, lightweight frame.

Most Budget-Friendly

WEN 3962
Looking for a starter band saw? Get the WEN 3962. Affordable and user-friendly with the promise of consistently high performance on small tasks.

1. JET JWBS-14DXPRO Deluxe Pro Band Saw

About the JET JWBS-14DXPRO

The Jet JWBS-14XD PRO is a powerful saw for many types of projects. It is versatile enough to handle everything from smaller, delicate woodworks to material 13.5 inches wide and 12 inches thick. This is thanks to the retractable blade guard. It’s built from solid cast iron, keeping a steady support on the saw. For quick adjustments, you can take advantage of its high tension spring and the quick release tension.

Aside from its power and precision, one thing you should buy this for is its unique stand with storage compartment for a less cluttered and more organized workspace.

It also boasts the following features:

  • Horsepower: 1 ¼ HP
  • Blade length: 105 inches
  • Blade width (min/max): ⅛ – ¾
  • Blade speed: 1500/3000 FPM
  • Table tilt (R/L): 45/10 degrees
  • Weight: 258 pounds

What we liked about the JET JWBS-14DXPRO

  • High tension spring design for increased power and control
  • Tough cast iron frame
  • Built in storage space
  • 5-year limited warranty

What we disliked about the JET JWBS-14DXPRO

  • Expensive
  • Heavy in such a way that it is not portable
  • Rip fence is not included and will need to be bought separately if needed
  • Blade tension isn’t even across all size blades

Saws Expert’s Verdict

As said before in this guide, getting a band saw is a bigger financial investment than a scroll saw. But it is worth it, given that the JET JWBS14DX PRO is a power saw capable of handling heavy duty projects and professional, long-term work.

Its many innovative features geared this power saw for professional workmen. Although there are preliminary issues on tension springs, you can get around this problem by mastering the saw.

Rating: 9 out of 10 (Excellent!)

2. Rikon 10-305 Band Saw

About the Rikon 10-305

The Rikon 10-305 is one of the best band saws on the market. This benchtop power tool is compact and great for home-based workers. But if you want a stand, you would have to buy it separately.

It’s considered great value because you get consistently high performance amid the high price tag. Above all, you also get Rikon’s limited 5-year warranty with every purchase.

It also boasts the following features:

  • Horsepower: ⅓ HP
  • Blade length: 70 ⅓ inches
  • Blade width (min/max): ⅛ / ½ inch
  • Blade speed: 2780 FPM
  • Table tilt (R/L): 45/0 degrees
  • Weight: 76 pounds

What we liked about the Rikon 10-305       

  • Convenient size
  • Durable cast iron table
  • Easy to use tracking adjustments
  • 5-year limited warranty is one of the best in the business

What we disliked about the Rikon 10-305

  • Low horsepower when compared to other models
  • Does not come with a stand
  • Adjusting table tilt can be difficult
  • Does not have multiple speeds

Saws Expert’s Verdict

Want to take your woodworking business to the next level? Get the Rikon 10-305 Band Saw. Don’t let its small, portable body fool you. This is a high-performing power tool for all occasions.

A main drawback of this saw is its low motor engine which could slow down work with thicker, heavier species of wood. Nevertheless, this performs well enough for almost every work professionals desire. All in all, it’s one of the top best band saws for woodworking.

Rating: 9 out of 10 (Excellent!)

3. Grizzly G0555LX Deluxe Bandsaw

About the Grizzly GO555LX

The Grizzly G0555LX is built to be tough and long-lasting through its cast iron body. It performs well with its two-speed settings. This great bandsaw also includes computer-balanced cast-iron wheels, rack-and-pinion guide post adjustment for the upper blade guides, and a sturdy T-shaped fence design.

It also boasts the following features:

  • Horsepower: 1
  • Blade length: 93 ½ inches
  • Blade width (min/max): ⅛ / ¾ inch
  • Blade speed: 1800 – 3100 FPM
  • Table tilt (R/L): 45/10 degrees
  • Weight: 247 pounds

What we liked about the Grizzly GO555LX

  • Sturdy cast iron frame
  • Computer balanced cast iron wheels
  • Adjustable fence with magnifying window
  • Upper and lower ball bearing blade guide

What we disliked about the Grizzly GO555LX

  • Low horsepower when compared to other professional grade models
  • Shallow dust port

Saws Expert’s Verdict

This is pricier than others in the market. But it can work well in professional workspaces for frequent, heavy-duty jobs without issue. It’s also known as the best metal band saw.

A minor hiccup of working with this band saw is its low 1 HP motor. This makes it at the low end of performance for band saws.  Nevertheless, you can rely on this for cutting and crafting materials such as wood and metals.

Rating: 8 out of 10 (Very Good!)

4. WEN 3962 Band Saw

About the WEN 3962

The WEN 3962 Band Saw is a benchtop power tool with a supporting stand. The easy-to-assemble stand elevates the band saw without sacrificing space on the shop’s work bench. This power saw is also very budget-friendly and user-friendly. The WEN 3962 is a great starter band saw for workers who are still trying to master the band saw.

It is a high-performing power tool. It glides through boards with cuts up to six inches deep. This saw uses 72-inch blades anywhere from 1/8 to 1/2 inches in size for both intricate and powerful cuts.

It also boasts the following features:

  • Horsepower: ⅓ HP
  • Blade length: 72 inches
  • Blade width (min/max): ⅛ to ½ inch
  • Blade speed: 1520/2620
  • Table tilt (R/L): 45/0 degrees
  • Weight: 73 pounds

What we liked about the WEN 3962

  • Comes with stand
  • Affordable
  • Powerful and precise
  • Has a work light attached for better visibility

What we disliked about the WEN 3962

  • Belt has to be readjusted to change speeds
  • Difficult to set up initially
  • Hypersensitive controls need frequent tweaking

Saws Expert’s Verdict

This powerful and affordable power saw has a benchtop built supported by an assembled stand. There are many attributes that make this one of the best budget band saws out there. But it can’t rank higher on this list due to some some downsides to buying this band saw, despite its fair price. Such downsides include super sensitive controls shifty work light and a manually operated two-speed switch.

The WEN 3962 is the best budget band saw – you can find it performing well at the fraction of the cost of higher-end models.

Rating: 8 out of 10 (Very Good!)

5. SKIL 3386-01 2.5-Amp 9-Inch Band Saw

About the SKIL 3386-01

The SKIL 3306-01 is a small, lightweight benchtop band saw with many attractive aspects. It’s built to be tough and stable with its cast iron base. This scroll saw is also very user-friendly with easy controls and EZ view blade tracking for precise cuts.

For cutting irregular shapes and ripping lumber into thinner pieces, beginner woodworkers will find the SKIL 3386-01 Band Saw a great investment for their workshop. You’ll cut through a variety of wood materials with the 6-TPI blade.

It also boasts the following features:

  • Horsepower: 0.4 HP
  • Blade length: 59 ½ inches
  • Blade width (min/max): ⅛  to ⅜ inch
  • Blade speed: 2800 FPM
  • Table tilt (R/L): 45/0 degrees
  • Weight: 30 pounds

What we liked about the SKIL 3386-01

  • Lightweight and portable
  • Inexpensive
  • LED light to help users get a clear view of their work
  • Easy to make adjustments

What we liked about the SKIL 3386-01

  • Low horsepower
  • One-speed engine
  • A little unstable
  • Not powerful enough for larger jobs

Saws Expert’s Verdict

The SKIL 3386-01 is meant for a beginner – inexpensive and pretty basic when it comes to features. It does okay for small tasks but not for those involving miter or fence.

Many users like it for its lightweight body and portability. But this saw is one of the tools they will leave once they expand their sawing and woodworking skills. Nevertheless, this will work fine if you want to start using a band saw without burning a hole in your pocket.

Rating: 7 out of 10 (Good)

Conclusion

A scroll saw and a band saw are two worthwhile power tools to invest for your woodworking or crafting business. Either would make a good addition make in your toolkit. Choosing which one to use depends on many factors, including mastery of skills, budget, and materials you will work on.

For the craftsman who wants to focus on beautiful pieces of wood works, we recommend the scroll saw  – particularly the DeWalt DW788. You can work and make money from crafting with this power saw. But if you’re more of the heavy-duty pro worker, the band saw will be your partner – particularly the JET JWBS-14DX PRO.

Hopefully this guide will help you create an informed decision and choose the right power saw to work on.

To learn more about scroll saws, explore the official Saws Expert website. Here we can help you find the best saw for your needs. So you can create fine and attractive work pieces of high standards.

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