When it comes to choosing the best portable band saw, it doesn’t matter that much whether you are a professional, beginner, or a DIY metal/woodworking enthusiast.
Because even though professional contractors have experience and knowledge that gives them a head start over novices. At the end of the day, both sides will be following the same or similar steps and criteria when purchasing a band saw.
The reason for that lies in the way we purchase power tools like the band saw. In the metalworking and woodworking worlds, every tool has its main purpose for which it’s used. Therefore, you can’t successfully use it for tasks out of its capabilities.
And portable band saws are no different. Depending on their power source, cut capacity, motor power, weight, etc. they can only perform certain applications. So you must know what type of work you’ll do, in order to the best band saw for your needs.
That’s why, in this guide, we’ll not only name and review some of the best band saws on the market but will also give a small introduction to band saws for those buying their very first power tool of this type. On top of that, we have also included a buyer’s guide that focuses on the things you need to pay attention to when buying a band saw.
But before getting into the best portable band saw reviews, let’s first dive into the band saw basics that every novice should know.
9 Best Portable Band Saws in 2021 [Reviews]
- DEWALT Portable Band Saw, Deep Cut, 10 Amp, 5-Inch (DWM120K)
- DEWALT 20V MAX Portable Band Saw Kit (DCS371P1)
- Ryobi 18-Volt ONE+ Cordless 2.5 in. Portable Band Saw (Tool Only) P590
- Makita XBP03Z 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Cordless Compact Band Saw, Tool Only
- Makita XBP02Z 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Cordless Portable Band Saw, Tool Only
- WEN 3959 2.5-Amp 9-Inch Benchtop Band Saw
- WEN 3970T 4-inch x 6-inch Metal-Cutting Band Saw with Stand
- Milwaukee 6232-21 Deep Cut Band Saw W/Case (5619-20)
- Milwaukee 2729-20 M18 Fuel Deep Cut Band Saw Tool Only
*Note: Dimensions are Length – Width – Height (L x W x H)
Now, let’s dive into the best portable band saw reviews.
1. DEWALT Portable Band Saw, Deep Cut, 10 Amp, 5-Inch (DWM120K)
To begin our list for best portable band saw in 2021, we have a product by none other than the world-renowned tool manufacturer DeWalt. And even though the band saws on our list aren’t numbered in any particular order i.e. from best to worst, or vice versa, it can be argued that the DWM120K deserves to stand in the top positions.
DeWalt presents their version of the portable band saw with the DWM120K model. The DeWalt DWM120K corded-electric model is equipped with one of the finest motors you’ll ever find on this type of band saw.
It has a 10-amp motor that can take on any metal or woodworking cutting application. The cutting speed it can produce ranges between 100 and 350 SFPM (surface feet per minute). And thanks to the variable speed settings, users can control the cutting speed depending on the material they cut. For example, set the tool on the lowest speed setting (1) to cut plastic pipes, but set it at the highest speed (5) when dealing with aluminum, bronze, and so on.
On top of that, DeWalt’s DWM120K portable band saw also has a superb deep cut capacity for round and rectangular stock. It can reach an impressive 5 x 4-3/4-inch cutting depth, a feat that not many portable band saws can boast with.
Even if we ignore the multiple other features this tool has, its cutting capacity and motor power are enough to put it in competition for the top spot.
- Features a variable speed control that allows users to adjust the cutting speed according to the material
- Integrated hang hook, rubber bumpers, and serviceable steel shroud for improved durability and longevity
- LED lights to improve visibility and help the user to operate in darker jobsites
- Ergonomic design with multi-position front handle and soft-grip back handle
- Increased blade life thanks to dual bearing blade guide rollers and blade tracking adjustment
- 3 year limited warranty by the manufacturer
- Some users may find the cord a bit limiting depending on the jobsites they will operate at
- It doesn’t feature a trigger lock
2. DEWALT 20V MAX Portable Band Saw Kit (DCS371P1)
Next in line, we have another product by DeWalt. However, this time we have the DCS371P1 portable band saw model. Compared to its DeWalt compatriot and rival, the DCS371P1 comes without the need for a cable.
This versatile cordless portable band saw uses only one, but powerful 20 V lithium-ion battery to power the tool. Also, it weighs fantastic 10 lbs which makes it easy to transport wherever you want.
The DCS371P1 band saw has an impressive cutting speed peaking at 570 FPM, while its cutting capacity can reach a maximum cutting depth of 2-1/2 – inches. Meaning, with this portable band saw model you can easily cut conduit up to 2″ in diameter and 1-5/8 unistrut. Cutting applications on 2″ SCH 40 pipes, threaded rod, angle iron, square and rectangular tubing, etc, pose no threat to DeWalt’s DCS371P1.
It’s a brilliant band saw for both homeowners that are into DIY projects and professional contractors. Even though professionals may seek something with similar or bigger power but with a larger cutting capacity.
In general, however, DeWalt’s DCS371P1 covers an audience that the DWM120k might miss due to its corded nature and immense power. Both power tools stand among the very best band saws in their respective categories. And if you are a beginner or a DIY hobbyist, the DCS371P1 might as well be the answer for you depending on the materials you plan to cut.
- Has a soft-grip back handle alongside the centered handle position for ergonomic design and balance to lessen user fatigue and improve accuracy while cutting
- Increased blade durability thanks to the dual bearing blade guide rollers and blade track adjustment feature
- Features an integrated hanging hook to protect the tool when not in use
- LED light with 20-second delay to illuminate dark jobsites and improve the operator’s visibility
- 3 year limited warranty by the manufacturer
- Has less power and a smaller cutting capacity compared to the corded DWM120k model while having a relatively similar price
3. Ryobi 18-Volt ONE+ Cordless 2.5 in. Portable Band Saw (Tool Only) P590
Moving on from the DeWalt models, we have a remarkable portable band saw by the Japanese manufacturer Ryobi. Their challenger for the best cordless band saw title is the P590 model.
This battery-powered band saw features a 2-1/2″ cut capacity that gives the user a wide range of applications. With the Ryobi P590 One+ bandsaw, you can easily make cuts in metal, wood, or plastic.
Furthermore, the P590 One+ model also has a great cutting speed at 560 SFPM. This speed will allow you to make quick cuts in various materials with ease.
But besides offering first-class performance, the band saw has an ergonomic design to make the working experience more enjoyable for the operator. It features an integrated pommel handle which adds comfort and even increases visibility for the user while operating it.
The tool also comes at an excellent and affordable price with almost no negative feedback from its customers.
- The most lightweight (9.3 lbs.) band saw among the ones reviewed on this buying guide
- Features an integrated pommel handle for added comfort and better visibility
- Can fit mist 32-7/8 blades and has an adjustable blade tracking
- 2-1/2-inch cut capacity and 560 SFPM for quick and easy cuts in various materials
- LED light for illuminating darker worksites
- Integrated hanging hook for easy storage and to protect the tool
- Battery and charger not included in the saw kit and sold separately
- Not completely tool-less, it requires a screwdriver or hex wrench to complete some of the adjustments
- Doesn’t have variable speed settings
4. Makita XBP03Z 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Cordless Compact Band Saw, Tool Only
Following the most lightweight power tool on the list, we have the second least heavy band saw. The portable band saw in question is none other than the Makita XBP03Z, another tool manufactured by a Japanese company.
The Makita XBP03Z is equipped with a brilliant high torque motor that can deliver speed up to 630 FPM (feet per minute) blade speed. An incredible blade speed for fast cutting that can hardly be topped by rivaling saws.
Then we have the standard, but great 2-1/2-inch cutting capacity for a variety of applications. Some of those applications include cutting copper pipe, conduit, unistrut, threaded rod, channel, and angle iron.
Apart from superb cutting speed and great cut capacity, the Makita XBP03Z also comes with first-rate housing. The aluminum blade housing adds sturdiness and increases the durability of the band saw.
Moreover, the band saw features an ergonomic design with a wheel cover that encloses the blade outside of the operating area which allows one-handed usage of the tool. For the single-hand usage of the bandsaw can be thanked its lightweight and great handle design as well.
- Built-in LED light for better visibility which leads to greater cut accuracy as well
- An extremely lightweight tool with total item weight standing at only 11.03 pounds
- Features a tool-less blade removing system for quick blade replacement
- The exterior blade adjustment adds precision to the blade tracking feature which improves the cutting performance
- Adjustable material stopper plate that provides support for more accurate cutting
- Ergonomic design one one-handed operation
- The Makita XBP03Z is in the pricier range and comes as a tool only; battery and charger sold separately
5. Makita XBP02Z 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Cordless Portable Band Saw, Tool Only
First, we had the XBP03Z model by the Japanese manufacturer, but now it’s time to present Makita XBP02Z cordless band saw.
This is the bigger, heavier, and a bit older version of the previous Makita model we reviewed. The XBP02Z is also a portable cordless bandsaw powered by an 18-volt lithium-ion battery.
However, since this is the bigger and heavier version, it features a bigger cutting capacity. It has an excellent 4-3/4″ cutting capacity that can rival the 5-inch cut capacity the DeWalt’s DWM120K model has. This means it can accept bigger blades up to 44-7/8-inches, making it perfect for cutting various materials, especially metal.
The motor on the XBP02Z model, on the other hand, can produce a maximum cutting speed of 530 FPM. But the impressive part comes with the tool’s ability to shift the blade speed between 275 and 530 FPM.
This of course can be possible only because of the band saw’s variable speed control feature. The feature has a convenient location that the user can easily access while operating the tool.
Another great thing about the Makita XBP02Z “hides” in the adjustable stopper plate that safeguards the material and ensures higher cutting accuracy.
- Comes with 6 variable speed settings that let you control the speed based on the application applied
- Built-in LED light to illuminate the jobsite and hang hook for storage safety
- Ensured motor longevity with a protection circuit that alerts the user via a light on the tool that signals over-torque
- Two actions needed to power the tool thanks to a trigger switch with a lock-off feature
- Protective rubber bumper for durability and ergonomic design with rubberized soft-grip handle for added comfort
- Just like its compatriot, the Makita XBP02Z is in the more expensive price range and comes as a tool only; battery and charger bought separately
6. WEN 3959 2.5-Amp 9-Inch Benchtop Band Saw
While so far we had easily portable band saws that can be operated even with just one hand, now we have a somewhat stationary model. Somewhat stationary because this is still a small and portable band saw.
In comparison to the previously mentioned portable band saws, the WEN 3959 comes in a bit different shape, size, and weight. That’s because this is a benchtop band saw and not a classic portable one. Meaning, on this type of band saw, the operator pushes the workpiece towards the fast-spinning blade since it’s a bigger and not handheld tool.
However, weighing only 40 lbs. the WEN 3959 can still be relatively easily transported from one jobsite to another if needed.
It’s equipped with a 2.5-amp motor that can produce a no-load blade speed up to 2500 FPM. With the power and blade speed it has, it can easily make 9-inches wide and 3-1/2″ deep cuts.
Also, since it has bigger dimensions, and stands stationary on a flat and sturdy surface, the WEN 3959 features a large 12-1/4 x 11-7/8″ work table. Moreover, it comes with an angle-adjustment knob to make bevel cuts up to 45-degrees.
- Great design with a compact form that allows you to place the tool on any surface as long as it’s flat and sturdy
- Operators can use 59-1/2-inch blades from 1/8″ to 3/8-inches in size for added versatility
- Features a rip fence, miter gauge, and a 2-1/2 dust port that enables you to connect a vacuum cleaner
- Has large 12-1/4 x 11-7/8″ work table and can make bevel cuts up to 45-degrees
- Doesn’t feature a variable speed setting
- Not the best band saw for aggressive and heavy-duty cutting projects
7. WEN 3970T 4-inch x 6-inch Metal-Cutting Band Saw with Stand
As we can see it’s sort of a trend on our buying guide for the best portable band saw to pair two products of the same manufacturer. Such is the case for the WEN power saws as well. And in this situation, we have two bigger portable band saws that stand out from the rest.
The second stationary but portable band saw on our buying guide is the WEN 3970T model. This is a metal-cutting band saw that comes with a stand. The stand has 4″ never-flat wheels that can help you to easily transport the bandsaw from one jobsite to another, and to always keep it elevated.
WEN 3970T features a 4.6-amp motor that rotates a pre-installed 64-1/2″ X 1/2-inch blade up to 200 feet per minute (FPM). But that’s not all. The tool also comes with an adjustable speed that lets you set it depending on the material and application. You can choose between 80, 120, and 200 FPM.
Apart from choosing the speed, you want to cut at, you can also choose whether you want to cut horizontally or vertically by simply lifting or lowering the tool’s head in the wanted position.
On top of all that, the WEN 3970T allows their users to effortlessly make angled cuts from 0° up to 60-degrees.
- Has the ability to automatically shut itself after a completed cut
- Can be positioned and operated in both horizontal and vertical positions
- Non-flat 4-inch wheels for portability
- Cut pipes with 4.5″ diameter and rectangular workpiece with 4 x 6″ size
- Make angled cuts up to 60°
- By far the heaviest band saw on our list weighing impressive 122.9 lbs.
- Users have complained about the low quality of the controls
8. Milwaukee 6232-21 Deep Cut Band Saw W/Case (5619-20)
For the penultimate product on our list, we have the Milwaukee 6232-21 portable band saw. The Milwaukee 6232-21 is a corded-electric model and has a solid claim for the “best cord band saw” title.
It features a slim motor housing under which the beast lies. The beast in this case is the incredibly powerful 11-amp motor with a maximum no-load cutting speed of 380 FPM. The blade speed can be adjusted thanks to the variable speed control so you can set it at a speed appropriate to the material being cut.
Next, we have the largest 5″ x 5″ cut capacity based on industry standards, accompanied by Milwaukee‘s cutting-edge technology. We are of course talking about the Job Site Armor Technology which guarantees you tool durability and protection.
- Comes with a built-in LED light for increased visibility, safety, and accuracy
- Dust collection system that automatically collects debris for more enjoyable cutting
- Variable speed settings that allow you to set and control the band saw’s blade speed
- A very powerful 11-amp motor that can take on any material
- 5-year warranty by the manufacturer
- Even though it makes it more powerful, the cord limits the area of usage
- Blade not included in the kit; bought separately
9. Milwaukee 2729-20 M18 Fuel Deep Cut Band Saw Tool Only
To close the best portable band saw reviews, we have another Milwaukee deep-cut model. However, this time it’s the 2729-20 model which, unlike its compatriot, it’s battery-powered and doesn’t require a cable to run.
While it doesn’t offer the same power as the 6232-21 model, the Milwaukee 2729-20 still has a brushless motor to take on the hardest tasks and features over 90% of the same parts as the corded deep cut models.
Because of that, the 2729-20 cordless band saw also has a 5″ x 5″ cutting capacity and can reach a maximum blade speed of 380 FPM. Logically, the next feature we have is the variable speed trigger. You can adjust the speed from 0 to 380 FPM.
Then, we have the all-metal direct drive that ensures the longevity of the tool, the tool-free locking adjustable shoe for extending the shoe, and the dual activation trigger for increased control over the band saw.
- Has a built-in LED light for enhanced visibility
- Jobsite Armor and Constant Power technology for durability and minting cut speed during heavy-duty work
- Variable speed trigger that allows you to adjust the blade speed from 0 to 380 FPM
- Hanging hook for easy and protective storage
- 5-year limited warranty by the manufacturer Milwaukee
- Somewhat bulky so it can be a bit hard to control especially for beginners
Band Saw - A Basic Guide
If you are a novice who never operated with a band saw before and is looking to buy your first one, it’s advisable to not skip this part of the guide. Otherwise, if you already have experience with the tool and just want to know the best portable band saws on the market, you can jump to the reviews section.
What is a Band Saw?
A band saw is a rather remarkable power tool used for cutting various materials. It works on the principle of a continuous, long, and sharp band-styled blade cutting through the workpiece. The band-styled blade is wrapped around two rotating wheels located at the top and bottom half of the tool.
All of this is normally powered by an electric motor. However, in the past band saws used a line shaft to move the wheels and rotate the blade so it can cut the workpiece.
What is the Band Saw Used for?
The band saw is primarily used in the metalworking, lumbering, and woodworking industries to cut a variety of materials.
You can use it for general woodworking and metalworking, for making lumber, circle and rip cuts, re-sawing, and other similar applications. However, one of the things that the bandsaw is most famous for is the tool’s ability to cut irregular and curved shapes similar to a jigsaw.
May interest you: Jigsaw vs Bandsaw
Types of Band Saws
Similar to other power tools used in woodworking, the band saw also comes in various shapes and sizes with different features for multiple purposes. This phenomenon can be seen in the dissimilarities between the two major classifications: portable and stationary band saws.
Portable Band Saw
These types of bandsaws are usually handheld and can weigh only a few pounds, but can be a smaller portable version of the stationary ones as well. The difference between the two lies in their usage.
For instance, the handheld band saw is pushed toward the workpiece, while at the stationary ones it’s the operator who pushes the workpiece toward the fast-spinning continuous band-styled blade.
Generally, handheld bandsaws are mostly cordless and battery-powered, but it isn’t a rarity to find a corded-electric. In fact, we have few such tools in the reviews below.
Stationary Band Saw
Compared to handheld portable band saws, the stationary ones have a vastly different shape and design. However, not only compared to the portable ones, but stationary bandsaws have many sub-types among themselves as well. The most popular being vertical and horizontal.
a) Vertical Band Saws Characteristics
- The workpiece placed on the work table is pushed towards the blade
- Has a big cutting capacity and great versatility
- Used for making curved cuts and resawing thick wood pieces
b) Horizontal Band Saws Characteristics
- Hydraulic pistons lower the tool’s blade onto the firmly placed workpiece
- Safer to use and offers great accuracy
- Used for cutting metal and other hard materials
Buying Guide for Portable Band Saws
As already mentioned in the opening section of this buyer’s guide for portable band saws – to find the best tool we must know what we want to achieve with it. Because if we search the market for band saws, whether online or in physical stores, we’ll find dozens of excellent tools. However, out of these dozen excellent tools, only a few would actually be the best for us.
Yes, it’s always very important to remember that you are purchasing a power tool that will suit your needs and projects. Therefore, you need to answer some crucial questions to yourself before picking the best band saw.
For instance, you need to know:
- What type of materials you plan to cut and how big will they be?
- How often will you change jobsites, if at all?
- What’s your budget?
- Is this a one-time DIY project or something more serious?
These questions are just an example of the things you need to know before going on a hunt for a portable band saw. So make sure you are well prepared and know what you want out of your new purchase.
Now that we cleared that, let’s move on to the things you should pay attention to in a band saw.
Most power tools used for woodworking, metalworking, lumbering, and so on, come with many features and integral parts that shouldn’t be overlooked before making the purchase.
Cordless vs Corded
The first thing you’ll notice is whether the tool is cordless or corded. Usually, the battery-powered band saws are more prevalent, but corded ones have their share of the market as well.
Cordless band saws have their advantage when it comes to maneuvering the tool and being able to take it wherever you want as long as the batteries last. While corded band saws are limited in their working area due to the cable, they can be used as long as you want and usually offer more power.
The Correct Blades
Having the most powerful motor equipped on your tool is almost nothing without the proper blade for the given cutting task. Because depending on the workpiece’s size, thickness, material, etc, an appropriate blade must be used for the cut to be successful.
So pay attention to the blade’s width, number of teeth per inch (TPI), and the material it’s made of.
- Wider blade for stability when making straight cuts
- Narrower blade to make superb small radius cuts
Number of Teeth per Inch (TPI)
- Higher TPI to make slow but smooth cuts
- Lower TPI to make faster but rougher cuts
- Carbide-tipped blade for all types of wood
- Bi-metal blade for steel and metal
- Steel blade for cutting softwood
Motor and Power
Getting an efficient, yet powerful, and durable motor, isn’t the easiest task to achieve. But it isn’t impossible as well.
In general, band saws use two types of motors: brushed and brushless.
- Brushed Motors – the older and more widespread type. In these motors, the energy passes through a commutator and brushes. As time goes by they tend to lose power and quality.
- Brushless Motors – the newer and improved type. Here the energy passes through an electronic circuit board. They aren’t that vulnerable to the loss of power and quality.
The power of the motor also plays a big part in deciding the materials the tool can cut. Normally, stronger motor for cutting tougher and thicker workpieces.
Another important thing that shouldn’t be overlooked is the tool’s weight. Obviously, if you have a workshop where you do your projects, this isn’t that big of an issue. But if you are a contractor who frequently changes jobsites, then paying attention to the tool’s weight becomes a must.
Nailing the cutting capacity is of utmost significance when buying a bandsaw.
Because if you nail everything else, but fail to get a tool with the correct cutting capacity for your projects, then it’s all for nothing. So, if you plan on cutting 2” pipes, make sure your band saw’s capacity is at least 2-1/2-in.
Variable Speed Control
A feature that can be seen on a variety of power tools used for woodworking, not only power saws. However, many tools, including some band saw models don’t use this brilliant feature.
As we know, the variable speed settings allow us to adjust the cutting speed based on the material being cut. That way we can utilize the band saw to the fullest and make a perfect cut on top of it.
LED Light and Dust Extracting System
Slightly underrated features that shouldn’t be overlooked are these two.
The LED light can help you to illuminate the jobiste and improve your visibility for low vision applications, thus increasing safety and accuracy at the same time. While the dust extracting system will help us to get rid of sawdust, debris, and similar waste.
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