Best Portable Band Saws: Power Plus Portability

Band saws can be an essential part of your workshop since it cannot only cut straight, but it can also be used for curves and edges. The only thing is that they tend to be bulky and heavy duty, so you really have to designate a space for them. So, for those of you looking for a portable option, you came to the right place since we are going to talk about the best portable band saws.

We are going to review five portable band saws by testing out their strength, durability, and versatility. We will also give you a list of the pros and cons of using them so that you have a better idea of what will work for you. Also, if you are still unsure about what to get, we also laid out a buying guide for you.

Comparison Chart

DEWALT DWM120K 10 Amp 5-Inch Deep Cut Portable Band Saw Kit

Milwaukee 6238-20 AC/DC Deep Cut Portable Two-Speed Band Saw, Red

Bosch Bare-Tool BSH180B 18-Volt Lithium-Ion Compact Band Saw

Makita XBP02Z 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Cordless Portable Band Saw, Tool Only

10 Amp Deep Cut Variable Speed Band Saw Kit

Best Portable Band Saws: The Five Contenders

1. Dewalt DWM120K Portable Band Saw

This unit has a 10-amp motor. Some features were also added to this release in order to accommodate other jobs. It has a variable speed dial wherein you can set the band saw to operate on the proper setting.

Also, it comes with a sight light that is made of LED, so you can see what you are working on properly. It is also made from solid steel, and its blade has an adjustment tracking system. As such, the unit itself can monitor the direction of your blade which is not only convenient, but this can also extend the lifespan of the blade.

As for the front handle, it can be adjusted, allowing you to have more workspace. It also has a back handle that is significantly softer than other band saws so that you will not get strained when using it for a long time.

Pros

  • Easy to set up
  • Convenient and comfortable to use
  • Versatile
  • Accomplishes work fast
  • Very powerful

Cons

  • Does not have safeguards
  • The blade can get dull easily
  • Bands can slip off

2. Milwaukee 6238-20 Portable Band Saw

This band saw focuses on strength as evident by its strong cutting power and features that can help the blade to last for a long time. It has what the manufacturer calls as a Constant Power Technology that will let you operate it with consistent speed. It will also allow you to have consistent cuts and if you are going to do curves, you will have a more defined curve as you do not have to worry about pacing your speed.

More than that, you can reduce your errors in cutting because all you have to focus on is how you move whatever material you are working on at the moment. Another notable feature is its ergonomic design.

It was designed in the natural way of how you will be holding it, so you can maneuver it easily without taking note of proper form. In this way, you will not get easily tired even if you are using it nonstop.

Pros

  • Easy to set up
  • Comfortable to use
  • Durable
  • Powerful
  • Great flexibility
  • Solid design

Cons

  • Blades can dull easily
  • The blade tends to wobble
  • Not fully customizable
  • Not that versatile

3. Bosch Bare Tool BSH180B Portable Band Saw

You might be surprised that this powerful tool is only powered with one lithium battery and it is cordless. With that in mind, you might think that its power will be less than its competitors, but that is where you are wrong. It delivers the same amount of power and can do both large and small cuts.

It can also be used on tight spaces or for overhead cutting due to its compact design. There is also an LED that can properly light your working area.

To add to its portability, its bottom is made of rugged aluminum which makes it easier to handle and maneuver. Also, it has an Electronic Cell Protection that helps the battery not to overheat, overload, and overcharge.

Pros

  • Easy to set up
  • Compact
  • Lightweight
  • Great for small jobs
  • Convenient to use
  • Cuts easily

Cons

  • Blades tend to break
  • Blades are hard to mount
  • Not well designed
  • Does not have a lot of clearance
  • Hard to store
  • Not ideal for tough jobs

4. Makita XBP02Z Portable Band Saw

This one will be great for those who value specialized applications. You are assured of having such fast cutting speed because of its built-in motor. The motor will also enable you to cut stronger materials.

It also has Star Protection Computer Controls which helps you not to cut your hands accidentally and for you not to strain too much. What is also so special about it is that the unit and its battery work hand in hand so that it will not overload and overheat. This is a good feature because band saws tend to overheat which lessens its power due to cutting or longer periods of usage.

This unit can also cut easily even when put in awkward positions as well as hard-to-reach areas. It also has a trigger switch that has a lock off feature which needs two actions in order to activate the band saw. Lastly, it also has a variable speed control so that you can easily match the position with the consistent speed of the band saw.

Pros

  • Great safeguards
  • Easy to set up
  • Lightweight
  • Powerful
  • Convenient to use
  • Cuts fast
  • Can be used in tricky areas

Cons

  • Not great for precise cuts
  • Inaccurate speed dial
  • Can be uncomfortable to hold
  • Produces a clunking sound
  • Not great for edging and curves
  • A bit bulky

5. Chicago Electric Portable Bandsaw Kit

This is a straightforward band saw with basic features. Does this mean that it is not a good band saw? Not exactly; in fact, it also has a 10-amp motor that has variable speed control which can be adjusted from 0 to 420 FPM.

It also has an ergonomic handle design so that you will not strain your hand and arm too much. Its design also focuses on how balanced the band saw is. In this way, you can make precise cuts but also make it easier for you to do edges and curves.

This can also be used on cutting pipes, wood, tubing, rebar, plastic, and metals. Also, it has a spindle that can be mounted with just a needle bearing. As for its blades, all three have wheel bearings so that it can be used as a guide for you can make more accurate cuts.

Pros

  • Great for small jobs
  • Cuts fast
  • Works quietly
  • Easy to set up
  • Comfortable to use
  • Well designed

Cons

  • Limited cutting range
  • Settings are faulty
  • Blades can easily break
  • Does not come with everything you need
  • Hard-to-mount blades
  • No unique features

Buying Guide

You have already read about the five contenders for the best portable band saws, but before we give our winner, let us provide you with some more information in terms of choosing the right band saw for you.

Take note that product performance is based on a lot of factors. Good thing, these important performance factors can be easily determined based on simple features found in a band saw. Let us take a look at them.

1. Comfort

You can have a bit of a clue whether a band saw is comfortable to use or not based on its handle and overall design. You can check if the handle has natural ridges where your fingers can rest naturally.

You can also gauge if your hand and arm will strain based on the general material that was used on the band saw. Likewise, you can asses if it can be lightweight or a bit heavy.

Additionally, take note if the handles are padded because this can offer your hand support so that there will not be too much pressure against the band saw. All-in-all, you should just estimate the total weight of the band saw if it is equivalent to how much weight your hands can handle. You must also keep in mind the length of time that you are going to use it because you might think that a specific band saw is best for you, but you forgot that you would be using it for eight hours.

2. Durability

There are two aspects to look at in terms of durability. The first one is about the construction of the band saw itself and the second one is the lifespan of the blades.

As for the construction of the band saw, take note of the material. Is it made of steel? Aluminum? Plastic? All of these materials contribute to the regular wear and tear of your band saw.

You should also not forget the materials that you usually work on. Of course, if you are working with metal more often compared to wood, then this significantly affects your band saw in contrast to someone who regularly works with plastic tubes. Thus, make sure to pair your chosen material of the band saw to the material that you are always working on.

You also have to pay attention to the vulnerable parts of the tool. All of them should be attached properly and does not loosen easily. A great way to counter this problem is to have a band saw that has a sturdy holder.

Moving on to the second aspect which is the blade, you should be sure that it can be mounted easily and most importantly, it should not break or dull quickly. The dullness of the blade is normal but what is abnormal is that it chips right off the bat.

Additionally, the blade should go well with the main unit because if it does not fit, then, you will just end up with a chopped hand. In order to avoid this, just make sure that the blades are made of high-quality material.

3. Versatility

As we have discussed previously, band saws can be great for straight cutting, edging, and curves. Hence, a good band saw will definitely be worth your money if it can do all those things.

Not only that but it should also be able to tackle both small and big jobs. Moreover, it is good to have a band saw which can work in hard-to-reach areas.

4. Special Features

This is not really needed but with the advances in technology, having special features are slowly becoming the norm. With that said, it will be good to have a band saw that has light indicators. This indicator can be used when you are about to run out of juice or if you are variably changing speeds.

At the same time, it is also good to have simple settings that can keep your speed consistent. Another good feature to have is a default guideline so that you can cut straight through anything. When it comes to special features, just pick out the ones that can help you work with ease and efficiency.

5. Safety Features

This is actually very important because the fate of your hands rest on it, literally. Be on the lookout for safety locks and triggers. For those who have children and pets, it is best to have a band saw that needs two or multiple actions for it to be turned on.

In terms of preventing overcharging, overloading, and overheating, having an auto shut off feature will be great. This will not only preserve the integrity of your battery, but it will also be a good safeguard against fire hazards. Definitely, having at least one safety feature is a must before you choose a band saw.

Conclusion

It is now time to reveal the winner out of the five portable band saws that we reviewed. The best one is the DeWALT DWM120K. We chose it because there is a balance between power and functionality.

As we all already know, a powerful band saw can put a lot of pressure on the user. Therefore, when the user gets strained, there will be a bigger room for errors.

With this unit from DeWalt, you will never have to worry about that problem. You can cut with ease but still be very comfortable with working for extended periods.