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Tool Review: 14" Bandsaws

We tested 8 models priced at $550 or less, and found several that stood out.

If you're looking to buy your first bandsaw or simply upgrade from a benchtop model, consider a low-cost 14" bandsaw for your shop. Read on to learn what to look for in an affordable saw.

It's no monster truck, but you do need power

After setting up and fine-tuning the machines, we ripped and crosscut 4/4 and 8/4 red oak at various feed rates, and all models handled the tasks with no difficulty. Because bandsaws excel at resawing--standing a board on edge and cutting off thin slabs--you may use a bandsaw to get more use from prized figured or exotic stock. Most of these saws can fit boards up to 6" wide between the upper blade guides and table, so for our next test we resawed 1/4"-thick panels from 6"-wide oak--hand-feeding the wood as fast as each saw could cut it. Next, we installed riser blocks on models that will accept them (steel-frame saws do not), adding 6" to their resaw capacities. All the saws could power through 12"-wide oak boards at slower feed rates.

Don't let blade deflection eat up your workpiece

Blade guides above and below the table keep the blade from twisting and deflecting side-to-side during cuts. A blade that deflects does not cut perpendicular to the table, so your workpiece might wind up thicker at the top than at the bottom, or vice versa. Some saws showed significantly more deflection than others when resawing. With all the bandsaws, however, we found no significant deflection when sawing through stock less than 2" thick. Adding riser blocks to the saws that accept them didn't affect blade deflection: It was similar to the 6" resaw test.

There's no cutting corners with curve-cutting

To test each saw's ability to cut inside and outside curves, we installed new 1/4"-wide, 6-tpi Carter blades, and cut out a block "S" with each saw. Some saws followed the lines so well, it felt as if they were on autopilot. Next, we cut out 1-1/4"-diameter holes, and each bandsaw performed well. But when we pushed the machines to cut a tighter radius, some excelled and others struggled.

Frequent adjustments should be easy to make

Upper and lower blade guides, whether ball bearings or steel blocks, keep the blade from twisting during a cut. The thrust bearings keep the blade from deflecting backward as you feed stock. In our testing, we found no distinct advantage among the various types of guides other than with speed of blade changes. Guide blocks that tighten with thumbscrews prove quicker to set than guides with setscrews that require a hex wrench.
Microadjusters on some saws make it easier to fine-tune among saws with bearing guides. By contrast, to move the lower guide blocks forward or backward on some others, you must remove the table to access the bolts.
Quick-release blade tensioners speed blade changes and make it a snap to relieve tension on the wheels between work sessions. You still have to turn the tension knob a few times to completely remove the blade, but the process is faster and easier than tediously turning the knob dozens of times.

Top Tool: Grizzly G0555

Tools tested: Craftsman 22401, Grizzly G0580 and G0555, Jet JWBS-14OS, Ridgid BS1400, Rikon 10-320, Shop Fox W1706, and Steelex ST1000


Comments (11)
gfoster61 wrote:

This is your idea of a tool review? What a joke, a total waste of time.

2/27/2016 09:13:02 PM Report Abuse
latah057 wrote:

Am I missing part of the article? How did the rest of the saws do?

9/12/2015 07:34:32 PM Report Abuse
fa18mhr wrote:

I too just purchased the Grizzly G0555ANLV series band saw with the 6" riser block. This is my first bandsaw and I found it was easy to set up and I am thrilled with its performance. I bought it specifically to resaw some Madrone (very hard dense grain) wood I salvaged from a tree that my brother-in-law was going to burn in his wood stove. Pieces were up to 11" thick and it handled them well using the blade supplied by Grizzly.

4/9/2015 11:12:19 AM Report Abuse
mattsgotwood wrote:

I just purchased the Grizzly G0555anvl series band saw and am extremely happy with it. My friend has a shop fox..and by looking at it, I would guess that they come out of the same factory! This is a very dependable saw...even at only 1 h.p. it does very well...

1/12/2015 04:48:17 PM Report Abuse
horne_ralph wrote:

I just purchased the Grizzly GO555 model and was impressed right off of the quality and ruggedness of this machine.Sure can't wait to put it through it's paces.

1/25/2014 04:23:51 AM Report Abuse
cdn405 wrote:

Throw the sickly motor away and replace it with a 220v 3 HP motor it you intend to do any resawing. If you only intend to cut out paterns on 3/4" or thinner lumber the original motor will barely get the job done. The other altermative is to do what I did Buy and 18" Laguna which comes with a 5 HP motor and will nicely slice a 1/4" off of a 16" thick board. I've seen demos where they cut a 1/32" slice off of a 14" board but I have not needed anything like that yet.

6/6/2011 07:33:06 PM Report Abuse
bobgnar2057967 wrote:

I have a JET working well. Never broke a blade, but I find a great variation in blade quality. Price is not a good blade indicator.

5/25/2011 11:23:26 PM Report Abuse
hnscrafts wrote:

I purchased a Rikon 10-325 last August. I would highly recommend this saw. I do a lot of tight curve cuts using a 1/4" 10 tooth blade and usually wear a blade out before I break it. If I do break the blade it occurs at the weld and is uusually my fault.

5/20/2011 01:02:20 PM Report Abuse
yf88 wrote:

I have been using a 14" Jet with a riser block 10 years for resawing (1/2" blade) and tight turn work (1/8" blade) and have yet to break a blade.

5/19/2011 12:49:41 PM Report Abuse
garyhill wrote:

I've been bandsawing very tight radius projects for over 30 years. The only blades I have broken are 1/8 inch fine tooth blades at the weld, and not more than 4 or 5 in that time on a 10 inch saw. I have the new Grizzly GO555 14 inch and love it. A built in light would be a great addition

9/10/2010 08:22:00 PM Report Abuse
tim18562001 wrote:

It's highly unlikely that a 14" bandsaw is more apt to break blades than a larger. It depends more on the blade and how you use (or abuse) the blade

12/11/2009 10:30:52 PM Report Abuse

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