Band Saw Vs Scroll Saw: What Should You Buy?

A band saw or a scroll saw is one of the most popular stationary power tools. They all help you to cut curves smoothly and accurately. Still, they have different features, pros, and cons. In case you are looking for such a tool to cut curves, which one should you buy? A band saw vs scroll saw. It is essential that you know about the main differences between these tools as well as your specific needs and preferences.

Check out our article below to see what separate a band saw from a scroll saw and their advantages and disadvantages.

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1. The Main Difference Between A Scroll Saw And A Band Saw

The main similarity between two types of saws is that they can be used to cut curves. However, they are quite different, in their overall sizes, the sizes of the blades, the powers and the capacities.

  • In general, a band saw is a bigger type of saw in comparison with a scroll saw.
  • The blades of the band saw are longer than the blades of the scroll saw. The blades of the band saw are also thicker. Typically, they are 3/8 inches or more in width. On the other hand, the width of the scroll saws is about 0.25 inches. In addition, a typical scroll saw’s blade is about 5 to 6 inches in height while a typical band saw’s blade is 6 to 12 inches in height.
  • These types of saws are also different in the movement of the saw blades. The blades of the scroll saw move up and down to cut while the blades of the band saw rotate around the rubber wheels to cut.
  • In term of power, the scroll saw is not as powerful as the band saw. The band saw can make much more vigorous cuts. Hence, these cuts would be rougher than and not as smooth as the cuts made from the scroll saw.
  • Prices can vary a great deal among different models of band saws and scroll saws. However, an average band saw along with its accessories is more expensive than an average scroll saw and its accessories.
  • Since the power that a scroll saw consumes will be less than the level of a band saw, the scroll saw is more energy efficient.
  • A scroll saw is also known as a specialty saw while a band saw is known as a versatile saw.

2. Advantages And Disadvantages Of A Scroll Saw

Advantages Of A Scroll Saw

  • A scroll saw can help you cut small curves- some can even help you cut the curves as small as the head of a pin. Not only that, a scroll saw can help to cut thin pieces of material, which are about 1.5 inches in thickness.
  • Delicate patterns including turns or twists are easier to make on a piece of wood using a scroll saw.
  • In addition, a scroll saw can produce smooth and thin edges without losing a lot of bits of materials. Think about making a set of puzzle, this ability of the scroll saw makes it easier for you to make a puzzle.
  • It is the best when it comes to having tight cuts so that you don’t have to sand the edges of the cut pieces.
  • Another advantage of a scroll saw that a band saw couldn’t do is that it can help you cut a shape right in the middle of a piece of plywood. A band saw will cut right through it. However, with a scroll saw, you can drill the holes first before threading the scroll saw along the shape you want to cut, making internal cuts possible. As a result, you can make an inner circle easily. There is no entry and exit cut- which a band saw couldn’t do.
  • Last but not least, thanks to the foot pedal, you can operate the saw without using your hands. Your hands are free to handle the material safely and securely.

Disadvantages Of A Scroll Saw

  • Even the most powerful scroll saw has a narrow saw blade. As a result, it couldn’t make much neat straight long cuts like what a band saw can do.
  • It can only cut a piece of material which is less than 0.75 inches in thickness.
  • In addition, a typical scroll saw can cut much smaller and tighter circles than a band saw can.
  • It cut can pieces of wood more slowly than the band saw can cut.

3. Advantages And Disadvantages Of A Band Saw

Advantages Of A Band Saw

Unlike the scroll saw, the band saw is more suitable for cutting a thick piece of plywood or so.

There are several types of band saws and each of which is made to do different things. These types of band saws include benchtop band saws, stationary band saw, and resaw band saws.

  • Benchtop band saw: This type of saw is the smallest and most portable type of band saw. You can consider buying this one if you want a band saw that you can easily bring it to your work site. If you don’t have much room in your working station, a benchtop band saw would be compact enough. It can help you cut big curves on many thick pieces of materials such as plywood or solid wood.
  • Stationary band saw: If you need to cut thicker and harder pieces of wood than a piece of plywood (such as the oak, pecan, and hickory). In addition, if your woodworking project has a lot of rip cuts instead of the tight curve cuts, this kind of band saw will provide the best cuts.
  • Resaw band saw: This is the biggest and most powerful type of band saws. It can make straight cuts as efficiently as curved cuts.

With a wide range of types of band saws and the sizes of the blades for you to choose from, this type of saw is universal and versatile. It helps you cut pieces of materials of different thickness.

Last but not least, you can modify the band saw to make it operate like a table saw by clamping a fence to the working station.

Disadvantage Of A Band Saw

  • Overall, all types of band saws couldn’t cut cleaner and smoother cuts. Hence, they are not suitable for any project that requires the precision in the small details.
  • Since the blades of the band saw are fixed, it couldn’t cut on the inside of a piece of material.
  • With a large radius, a band saw’s blade couldn’t turn as sharp as the scroll saw. Hence, the details made with the band saw are not as sharp.

How To Decide On Which Tool To Buy?

After you know about the differences between a band saw and scroll saw, you need to think about your preferences as well as the nature of your projects in order to choose the best stationary power tool.

Think about your project: Do you often work with big projects like curved furniture, cabinets, or molding? Or do you often work with small projects like making puzzles or doing a craft project that need precision for small details?

If you often work with big projects and thick pieces of material, a band saw is the better option for you. On the other hand, if you need a tool for cutting small and thin pieces of material, a scroll saw is a suitable choice. If most of your woodworking project are crafting, you should consider buying a scroll saw instead of a band saw.

Since both tools are quite opposite in capacities, many professional woodworkers use both tools for different projects. However, if you don’t want to spend a lot of money on buying many tools that you are going to use just for a few times, think about what you need more.

For many DIY hobbyists, when they start working on their projects, they decide to buy a scroll saw first. First of all, a scroll saw can do an internal cut while the band saw couldn’t. Second of all, most of us tend to work with smaller projects first to gain more skills and experience before we move on. When they start gaining more skills, they move on to bigger projects. And they decide to purchase a band saw after all.

​I hope that this small article helps to answer your question: “Should I buy a scroll saw or a band saw? Overall, they have different features and different capabilities. The scroll saw is better if you often work with small pieces of materials and the band saw is better if you work with much better pieces of equipment. If you work with both, you need to trade one off for the one that you will need more.

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