Are you looking for a powerful portable band saw on a tight budget? The truth is most manufacturers charge a high price tag for every premium feature, although not all expensive band saws are necessarily the best. Every established manufacturer puts in the best features in their band saws to establish brand superiority. This is why you can always get the best band saw for your project within your budget if you understand the features.
The most important things are a heavily winded motor and drive that can withstand long hours of tough cutting. Choosing one best band saw that would deliver long term service without spending a fortune is also a daunting task, which is where this review will come in handy. Essential features for a durable band saw are a strong motor and a durable metallic chain or gear drive.
You also need power overload protection and quick heat dispersion for motor durability. These features are perfected by established manufacturers, which is why Dewalt, Bosch, and Milwaukee were our top picks. We have tested the three favorite budget band saws bought by DIYers and contractors.
If your projects involve standard and small-sized workpieces less than 3-Inches thick, the DCS371P1 or 2429-21XC are the best picks for you. They have the premium construction and a metallic gear drive that delivers durable service with heavy-duty service. BOSCH GB10-5, on the other hand, is a powerful deep cut band saw designed to work in tough conditions. Their features are well matched to the price tag giving you value for your money with lifetime service.
Here is a look at each of these portable band saws
Table of Contents:
1. Dewalt DCS371P1 20V MAX Portable Band Saw Kit
If you need portable power for cutting your standard cutting needs on a budget, then this is the best Dewalt package for the money. Usually, people will tell you that Dewalt band saws are too expensive but a close look at the small and medium-range band saws makes this one stand out. It is primarily built to cut through metal with a 2-1/2 inch cutting depth that allows you to cut 2-inch round metal pipes, as well as steel bars and lumber. It comes with the Dewalt 14/18TPI blade that lasts longer when used in daily cutting.
The premium build is the main attraction to Dewalt tools as the premium features used in the frame, as well as their powerful motor ensures tool durability. Despite its 2.5-Inch capacity, it is fitted with a 10-Amp heavy duty Dewalt motor, which is more potent and powerful. It also features a tough metallic drive system that lasts longer even when the blade runs at high speed. The band saw is also fitted with two rubberized handles that ensure a comfortable grip and control when cutting.
Its motor housing is also conveniently moved away from the line of cut, enabling you to make an accurate cut. Its battery fits directly into the frame balancing off the weight of the motor to retain balance. It also has a thick rubber bumper around the tool to absorb shock from falls and scratches.
It is a cordless band saw compatible with all Dewalt 20V XR batteries as well as 18V batteries if you have the 18/20V batteries. It performs best with 5-Amp batteries giving you up to three hours of runtime per charge to improve your productivity. Its powerful motor maintains a high speed needed to make bump-free cuts.
This band saw comes with a durable 32-7-8 inch 14/18 TPI blade primarily recommended for cutting metal. It can cut through metal and wood with ease delivering a smooth finish every time thanks to its superior blade guiding technology. It is also fitted with a large protective fence that keeps the blade intact, especially when you are cutting too close to a wall.
This is a heavy-duty band saw for cutting metal, and it runs at high speed needed to get a smooth cut in light and standard stock. It cuts rapidly through aluminum, wood, plastic, conduit, and corrugated iron. It has a single speed of 570FPM, which delivers the quick finish you may need on-site.
Its cutting capacity is 2.5 inches allowing you to cut anything 2-Inches or smaller on-site. Its motor has a quick heat dispersion that helps the saw to remain cool in prolonged cutting. The Dewalt dust removal system also ensures the collection of all particles at both ends of the blade, improving blade life.
- It has a central handle to maintain balance
- A clear line of view for accurate cutting
- A powerful LED light illuminates the cutting line
- Tough metallic frame for durability
- Metallic gear driving system ensures accuracy and durability
- Large motor housing makes the saw bulky
- It doesn`t have variable speeds.
Q: Does this band saw have a brushless motor?
A: No. It is a brushed motor
Q: Can I use any Dewalt Batteries?
A: Only Dewalt 20V batteries or 18V if you have a converter
Q: Does it come with batteries?
A: Yes. It includes a 5AH battery.
Q: What blades does this band saw use?
A: A 32-7/8-inch blade.
2. BOSCH GCB10-5 Variable Speed Band Saw
If you deal with thick stock regularly and don`t intend to break the bank for a deep cut band saw, then this is the band saw to buy. It has a heavy-duty 44-7/8-inch 18TPI deep cut blade as well as a powerful motor for cutting 4-3/4 inches through the stock. It is a corded band saw with a 10-Amp motor delivering a stable current that allows it to make a smooth finish reducing the need for smoothening. This band saw also comes with a 2-year warranty.
The band saw features a sturdy metallic frame that repels dust and water protecting the motor and gears from damage. Its most conspicuous feature is the saw hook that makes it easy to hang the band saw while working. It is also fitted with a 6ft power cord that allows you to access high spaces when cutting. Both handles are ergonomic for grip comfort. The T-handle is also adjustable for balancing when handling prolonged projects.
Its metallic frame and rugged build don`t affect maneuverability either as the whole tool weighs just 14.5lbs allowing you to carry and use it comfortably. Its motor is built into the frame reducing the bulkiness to give you a clear line of view for making intricate cuts. You can also mount it onto a table and use it as a benchtop band saw.
The band saw runs on a 10-Amp motor that runs on a regular 120V plug so that you can use it on your regular power plug without adjustments. Its long power cord gives you mobility convenience allowing you to access your whole workspace. It is also fitted with a power overload protection to protect the motor. This band saw also has a power lock-off button that prevents accidental triggering when the tool is not in use.
The most attractive feature on this band saw is tool-free blade adjustment, removal, and general maintenance. This band saw uses a universal 44-7/8-inch ½-inch width blade well suited for cutting metal pipes.
It has variable speed settings of 0-380 RPM that allow you to match speed to the material type, which also extends blade life. This blade is run by a metallic pulley gear that is more durable and accurate than traditional drive systems. The package includes a heavy-duty 18TPI blade, which delivers longer service than 14 TPI blades.
The primary user-focus for this blade is a contractor, which is why it focuses more on reducing user fatigue. It weighs only 14.5lbs despite its durable frame allowing you to carry around with ease and use it to cut overhead. It cuts up to 4-3/4 inches making it the tool of choice for a site with thick workpieces such as 4×4 and 4×6 metal, plastic, or wooden pieces.
Its greatest performance booster is the spark-proof motor technology that ensures quiet and cool operation. Its variable speed settings also allow you to match speed to material each time, allowing you to cut different materials on-site without changing the saw. Its blade can also be adjusted or replaced by simply turning the tension lever.
- Deep cutting capacity up to 4-3/4 inches
- Sturdy metallic frame
- Quick heat dispersion for cool operation
- It has variable speed settings
- Powerful blade for longer service
- It is heavy and causes fatigue if used overhead for long
- It doesn`t allow locking for continuous cutting.
Q: Does it require regular cleaning?
A: Not unless you are cutting watery material such as bones
Q: Is the motor brushless?
Q: Can I mount it as a benchtop band saw?
3. Milwaukee 2429-21XC Portable Band Saw
If you are looking for a small band saw that could be held in one arm and be used to cut small workpieces, then this band saw from Milwaukee will not disappoint. It weighs only 6lbs measuring 12-Inches end to end, making it ideal for cutting overhead and through tight spaces. It has a centered ergonomic handle that gives you a comfortable grip with great balance allowing you to work continuously without fatigue. They use the Milwaukee Redlink 12V batteries that give you more runtime than standard 12V batteries.
It is made with the Milwaukee Job Site Armor technology that involves a combination of a metallic frame over the drive system and the blade guide. The rest of the frame is slim designed to give you more maneuverability for control. The motor housing is then placed on the side to give you a clear view of the cutting line for accuracy.
The other feature is the rubberized handle that balances the tool and makes one-handed operation easy. Its shoe is adjustable, allowing you to install and replace blades without using any tools. Moreover, the battery is fitted behind the handle for balance and safety.
The 12V motor is suitable for standard and small workpieces. It is made to cut through metals with a cutting depth of 1-5/8 inches. The Milwaukee 12-V Redlink batteries give you more runtime for over 100 cuts on a single charge allowing you to work the whole day without recharging.
This band saw uses a 27×1/2×0.20-inch blade that can be installed and replaced by simply adjusting the blade tension lever with no tools needed. It is installed into a metallic gear drive system that ensures accuracy and extended blade life. The blade tracking technology also ensures uniform application of each section of the blade for elongated service.
This band saw is mainly used for light and standard cutting on a construction site or a workshop. Its cutting depth of 1-5/8 inches limits you to small workpieces. It runs at five different speeds of 0-280SFPM, allowing you to cut different materials at matching speeds. It is also suitable for cutting plastic, aluminum, and wooden pieces. Its bright work light also comes in handy in dark workspaces for accuracy.
- It is light and compact
- It fits through narrow spaces
- Metallic gear-drive system
- A clear view of the cutting line
- Toolless blade replacement
- The battery weight interferes with balance
- It can’t handle large workpieces.
Q: Is the motor brushless?
Q: Can it cut through a 2-Inch SCH 40 pipe?
A: No. Its depth is 1-5/8 inches
Q: What blade does it use?
A: 27×1/2×0.2-inch blade
Variable speed settings are essential for cutting different densities, which makes BOSCH GB10-5 AND Milwaukee the most versatile band saws in this category. Milwaukee has variable speeds of 0-280 FPM suitable for small high-density metallic workpieces.
Bosch, on the other hand, offers a wider variety of up to 380 FPM, which allows you to cut lighter material giving a smooth bump-free finish. Dewalt DCS371 has only one speed of 570FPM, which is suitable for light material. It reduces blade life when used to cut dense material without adjusting the speed.
Bosch GB10-5, with its 18V motor, is the most powerful band saw in this category, making it the best option for heavy-duty cutting. It is the best band saw to use for cutting metallic pieces over 2-Inches.
Dewalt has a 10-Amp motor, which is usually matched to 5×5 inch band saws. It, however, cuts only 2.5-Inches of depth, although it runs high speeds of 570fpm. It also runs for long hours without overheating. Milwaukee`s 12V motor is the smallest delivering a maximum of 280fpm, which is only suitable for light-duty cutting.
The band saw blades are circular, and as they run, the teeth come into contact with the workpiece causing wearing. Having a bigger blade or running lower speeds is the key to getting the longest service from your blade, making Bosch GB10-5 with its 44-7/8-inch blade and variable speed settings the most durable in this category.
Milwaukee 2429-21 has the smallest blade in the category measuring just 27-inches, although its variable speed and low-speed rating helps extend blade life. DCS371, despite having a 32-7/8-inch 18TPI blade, has the shortest blade life because of its single high speed of 570FPM.
Bosch GB10, despite being corded, has the widest applications because it can cut through any piece you may have on-site. It can also be mounted onto a table if you need a benchtop band saw on a budget. It, however, limits you to indoor projects close to a power source.
DCS371 and Milwaukee 2429 are cordless, allowing you to carry your saw power to wherever the project is. Milwaukee 2429 is the most maneuverable measuring just 11-Inches and weighing 6.5lbs. It can be fit into the tightest places.
Getting a portable band saw is essential for getting the best intricate cuts on your projects. Whether you are buying your first band saw or getting an upgrade, you will need to get the maximum value from your money. Getting the best service from a band saw involves lots of considerations, which were all combined in reviewing these three top-rated band saws. The guide has all the details and links to getting your best band saw without breaking the bank.