Best Portable Band Saws 2019 – Top Picks & Reviews

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Band saws are mostly used by Homeowners, small shop owners or in the light industry to cut wood, metal (stainless steel), or plastic especially if they are portable. Most of these best portable band saw which are compact and lightweight are cordless and are of the vertical type mounted on a table or cabinet stand. The benefit of these portable power tools is you can bring these band saw to the job site.

A band saw with portable option can make working on the go easy. If you need to make accurate cuts away from your workshop, one of these saws is the way to go. We reviewed many different models to help you choose the best one for your budget. Our portable band saw reviews will guide you through the buying process.

Comparison of our Favorite Picks

Model
Price
Weight
Ratings
Top Pick

DEWALT DWM120K
DEWALT DWM120K


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15 lbs


4.9/5

Milwaukee 6238-20
Milwaukee 6238-20


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17 lbs


4.7/5
Best for the Money

Bosch Bare-Tool BSH180B
Bosch Bare-Tool BSH180B


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9 lbs


4.5/5

Makita XBP02Z
Makita XBP02Z


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15 lbs


4.3/5

Chicago Electric Band Saw Kit
Chicago Electric Band Saw Kit


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23 lbs


4.0/5

5 Best Portable Band Saws – Reviews 2019


#1 DEWALT DWM120K Portable Band Saw – Top Pick

Out of all the saws we tested, this one is by far the best options. It makes fast, smooth cuts through a variety of materials, including steel, stainless steel, and even copper. This tool is very versatile and suitable for a huge array of projects.

The variable speed option works well and was suitable for our tests. The saw easily reached and maintained the set speed, so we didn’t have to mess with the settings as we cut.

It is quite well made and will likely last a long time. Dewalt obviously took their time with designing this tool and built it out of high-quality materials. We had no problem with anything breaking or wearing down unnecessarily. Most of this band saw is made with metal, with very little plastic.

You can handle this saw very well with 3 positions for a comfortable grip. We had no difficulty controlling it and did not fatigue very quickly at all. It is comfortable to use even for long periods of time. It also has an LED light that worked quite well.

The only real problem we had with this saw is the speed it wears down the blade. It is very powerful, so blades tend to wear down faster than with other saws. It is vital that you match the blade’s design to the material you’re cutting, or you’ll find that your blade dulls very quickly. But still, the blade replacement is very straight forward.

The case the saw comes with is also low-quality at best. It seems like a poorly designed afterthought. We would suggest getting something else or perhaps DIYing your own.

Pros

  • LED light
  • Sturdy & Powerful
  • Variable speed is great for cutting different materials
  • Blade tracking

Cons

  • Case is very cheaply made

#2 Milwaukee 6238-20 Portable Band Saw – The Runner-Up

While this band saw did not come close to being the best overall, it is still a pretty solid contender. This saw is a beast. It is powerful and had no trouble cutting through even thicker metals. It cut through ¼ inch plate steel like butter.

While this saw is made in China, its surprisingly high quality. The plastic covers are flexible without giving way too easily. They protected the saw easily during our drop tests and don’t look too bad either. We expect that this saw will last through years of use. This saw has only 2 speed options: high and low. It doesn’t have any variable speed options like DEWALT DWM120K.

Although blades are easy to change ( in about 30-45 seconds) and the tracking is amazing, It doesn’t come with a blade. The manual has pretty clear instructions, but it still takes a minute to figure out just how to manipulate the saw correctly and accurately.

If you’re brand new to power tools, you will likely experience a steep learning curve with this band saw. Even if you have used band saws previously, we recommend taking the time to make a few practice cuts with this one.

This saw also doesn’t have an LED light, which can be a problem if you’re working in low-light conditions.

Pros

  • Blades are easy to replace and tighten
  • Accurate & Cuts quickly
  • Built in safety switch

Cons

  • Only two speed options
  • Bit noisy

#3 Bosch Bare-Tool BSH180B Band Saw (Portable) – Best Value for Money

This band saw isn’t nearly as high-quality as the Dewalt one, but it is a great value for the cost. It is very portable and easy to take with you. If you really just need a band saw without all the extra features, this one is a good choice. It is compact and comes with a carrying case.

It cuts accurately and had enough power for most of our tests. It isn’t as powerful as some more expensive options, to be sure, but it should have enough power for most smaller jobs.

With all that said, it wasn’t our favorite for a variety of reasons. Firstly, it broke blades at a strikingly high rate. We expect that the wheels were too small and overly stressed the blade. Over time, this can really drain your cash reserves. A budget saw doesn’t do you much good if it makes you spend more money in the long run.

It is also somewhat difficult to mount blades correctly on this band saw. This might also tie into why blades broke so often. The case also isn’t very well designed. The only way to store it properly in the case is to disconnect the handle, which can be a hassle.

Pros

  • Lightweight & Powerful
  • Great Cuts
  • Easy to use for long periods of time

Cons

  • Hard to mount blades
  • Blade life is not long

#4 Makita XBP02Z Portable Bandsaw

Makita XBP02Z wasn’t our first pick, but it isn’t low-quality either. There were quite a few things we liked about it. It has a very wide range of variable speeds, which helped us control our cuts.

The variable speeds also worked quite well in our opinion. There was a significant difference between each speed option, so there really is quite a bit of variance for you to choose between.

This is a full-sized band saw, but it is still decently lightweight. We were able to use it for a significant amount of time before we grew tired. This band saw produces a surprisingly small amount of heat while cutting. We only saw sparks once or twice and felt very little heat despite using it for quite a while.

The few problems we had with this band saw were relatively minor, but when accounted for altogether, they pushed this saw down to the fourth place. This band saw is insanely loud. You are going to need ear protection and then some whenever you use this saw. The sound it makes also gets quite annoying after a while. It isn’t just a monotone running or the motor but a continuous “clunk”.

Pros

  • Can cut for long time on one charge with heavy use
  • Straight and Easy cuts
  • Easy blade change

Cons

  • Not brushless
  • It is very loud
  • No trigger lock

#5 Chicago Electric Portable Bandsaw Kit

This band saw landed at the bottom of our list for various reasons. While this saw does have variable speed, it isn’t very accurate. The blade seemed to speed up and slow down randomly, even when we hadn’t touched the speed control. The edge guide didn’t lay exactly perpendicular to the material we were cutting, so we had to modify it quite a bit.

It was also substantially louder than we were expecting, though it wasn’t the loudest saw we tested. It also doesn’t come with many of the extra features other saws do.

Of course, this band saw isn’t all bad. It is far cheaper than many of the other saws we reviewed. However, we would call it the budget bandsaw out there. The manual is readable but offers little real value.

The band saw cuts decently well. It successfully accomplished most of our tests and cut at least somewhat accurately. It can get the job done when you need it to, but it isn’t our favorite option out there. The blade this band saw comes with is decent and can cut through most woods. However, for metals, you’re going to want to purchase a different blade.

Pros

  • Strong & Powerful motor
  • Came in robust, fitted plastic case
  • Cuts well
  • 5″ cutting capacity

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Motor prone to shorting out
  • No blade included

Buying Guide


Comfort

You’re going to use your band saw for a decent amount of time, so it is important that your saw is appropriately comfortable. An uncomfortable band saw will fatigue you faster and can even lead to minor injuries, such as blisters. This is a commonly overlooked feature, but no one wants to use an uncomfortable saw.

Be sure to look at handle material, balancing, and vibration level before purchasing a band saw, as these are the factors that most affect comfort. The handle should preferably be padded, and this padding should withstand the test of time. The handles should also be in a place that makes sense and doesn’t feel awkward.

Durability

You’re going to be spending a decent amount of money on a portable saw. It is important that whatever band saw you purchase has a long lifespan, or you might find yourself spending more money than you originally planned on. While more durable saws are also often more expensive, the extra cost upfront now can save you from having to spend even more later on a brand new saw.

The most durable materials a band saw can be made out of is metal. However, most saws have at least some plastic parts as well. This is not necessarily a bad thing, as long as the plastic parts aren’t prone to breaking. It is in your best interest to purchase a band saw that is mostly made out of metal. The area around the engine should particularly be made out of metal to protect this vulnerable part. Some band saws also have rubber protectors around the body of the saw to protect it from being dropped.

Versatile

No one wants to purchase more tools than they need to. If you can purchase a saw that can do more than one job, it’ll save you more money in the long run. The best band saws will be able to take on a variety of materials, including wood and the strongest metals.

To get the most out of your band saw, we recommend choosing one that is compatible with a variety of blades and powerful enough to cut a variety of materials. It should be able to cut materials accurately and without burning it. Otherwise, it might as well not be able to cut them at all.

You should also consider how portable your saw is, especially if you’re seeking one out for the purpose of portability. Band saws should preferably be cordless and lightweight enough to carry around easily. The blade should be able to cut from a variety of angles.

Extra Features

There is a variety of other features band saws often come with. Some of these features have a minimal effect on the performance of the saw while others can substantially impact a saw’s performance. Often, these features are designed for very specific situations or certain users. It is not necessary for the least to find a band saw with all these features. In fact, it is probably the best that you don’t, as these features usually come with an added price tag. Instead, choose the features that are most important to you and focus on those instead.

The most common extra feature band saws come with is variable speed. This basically means that you can control the speed of the saw by choosing between different speed options. Of course, not every band saw with variable speed is made equal. Some variable speeds don’t work well at all, while others can really help you get that perfect cut.

Other common extra features include LED lighting. This isn’t absolutely necessary in the least, but can really help if you commonly use your saw in dimly lit places.

Safety

While safety is not a fun topic to discuss, it is very important to consider any time you’re using power tools. Most band saws come with a variety of safety features to prevent accidental injury. While these features can vary, the most important one to look for is a safety lock. This lock prevents the saw from turning on accidentally. It is very similar to the safety on a handgun. An accidental turn on can be catastrophic, so this really is a non-negotiable feature.

Travel cases are also important. They make it easier to store your band saw away when you aren’t using it and prevent others from coming into contact with it, like children. Preferably, this case should have the ability to lock as well.

Conclusion


Portable band saws are pretty common, which is why there are so many different options on the market. Through our testing, we’ve come to the conclusion that the DEWALT DWM120K is the best out there. It is well made, handles well, and has plenty of power. The Bosch Bare-Tool BSH180B is a great value for the money band saw if your budget is tight. It has all the necessary features of a saw, while also having a decently low price tag.

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