The Best Portable Band Saws For Metal Cuttings – Review and Buying Guide

You have seen portable band saws are sold on many websites and shops, but you don't know what it is used for. Or you are looking for a portable band saw, but you don't know which one is the best. You will find all useful information about Portable band saws, as well as how to choose the best portable band saws for metal cuttings in this article.

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An overview on Portable Bandsaws

1. What is a portable bandsaw used for?

First of all, for some of you who haven't known what a portable band saw is used for, then it is to help you cut heavy, large, long, and big materials such as metal, re-bar, and pipe like a powered hacksaw. People often use a portable saw to build boat trailers, crankshafts, or cut rigid conduit for electrical.

Portable bandsaws are often used by woodworkers who are frequently move around different locations, those who have to cut various materials, or those who want a small and lightweight saw but can perform maximum convenience.

However, in order to successfully and properly use a portable bandsaw, it is important to know some tips and notes.

2. How to use a portable bandsaw properly?

2.1. Safety and preparation

First and foremost, before using a big dangerous bandsaw, you need to have a perfect preparation for the safety. Before starting using your new portable bandsaw, you need to get familiar yourself with the saw such as where the switch button is as well as the trigger’s location. Since the machine is heavy, I advise you to hold the saw by both hands in order to make properly straight cuttings and for your safety.

2.2. Change the blade

There is different suitable blade for different materials and types of cutting. Therefore, remember to change the suitable blade which is sharp enough to cut through the material.

2.3. Using the saw

You are advised not to move the portable band saw around while working. A portable band saw can only suffer light pressure, but not force through a job. Also, the shoe of the saw should be in contact with the stock you are working with.

2.4. Finish the cut

Keep a tight hold on the saw when you are almost done with the job. The saw may jerk or buckle on the last steps, so pay attention to the saw in order to get a successful cut. After the cutting is done, the blade need time to stop moving, so do not immediately set the saw down while it’s still moving.

3. What are some features you should notice before purchasing a portable bandsaw?

Possessing a portable bandsaw at home is more convenient when you often work with metal since it is very difficult to always bring your metal to a shop for cutting. However, it is not easy to choose the best suited portable bandsaw for your needs if you don't know what are the important features that you should consider carefully. Therefore, I here will list some options you may find on portable bandsaws.

3.1. Capacity

The first feature decides which portable bandsaw is capacity. Because the material that you are going to cut needs to fit in the throats of the machine, a saw with sufficient and large capacity is better. A standard portable bandsaw can cut pipes or angle stocks to about 4 inches of width, whereas a large capacity bandsaw can cut up to 6 inches of width.

3.2. Power source

It is more convenient to purchase a battery powered portable bandsaw in case electrical cords are not practical. You can carry the machine to anywhere you want to without worrying about the electrics.

3.3. Saw brand

Some of the popular and qualified saw brands that you can consider to buy are: Porter Cable, Milwaukee, Ridgid, and Dewalt.

Best Portable Bandsaw Review 2019

There are so many band saws out there on the market, which one should you choose? The following section is the review of top 5 best portable bandsaws which received most positive comments and feedback from users. I hope this will help you somehow in choosing the best portable bandsaw for your project.

The first bandsaw I want to recommend is from the famous Dewalt brand, model DWM120K. This model provides great performance and convenience for most of projects. The 10 amp motor offers a speed of 100 spm to 300 spm. The capacity of the saw is 5 inches cut.

Moreover, with an additional LED light, you can easily work in dark environments but still see the cutting line clearly. Some ergonomic features of this model include a soft back handle and a mobile front handle. With them, you can get a precise grip and achieve more accurate cuts. Especially, you can easily hang the band saw in any place with the integrated hang hook.

Pros

  • Small, sturdy, and easy to carry
  • Powerful enough to slice through any kind of material
  • Variable speed control
  • Durable with the steel surface and rubber protector.
  • Blades are easy to change

Cons

  • It is heavy
  • The accessories come along are not well-made
  • The original blade is not good.
  • No batteries include

Overall, this portable band saw is designed for durability, flexibility, and convenience. It is ideal for woodworkers who work with a wide variety of materials, from rebar to framing stock.


The second famous bandsaw is a cordless sub-compact bandsaw of Milwaukee. One amazing feature of this bandsaw is that it is the most compact and lightest weight cordless bandsaw on the market lately.

Compared to a traditional bandsaw, this saw is just about half weight and size. However, it is a powerful bandsaw which can cut through ¾” EMT in just only 3 seconds, and achieve up to 150 cuts per charge. Moreover, it provides one-handed cuts and portability to cut small diameter materials. With a 1-⅝” capacity and low vibration, you can use it for a wide range of applications. Especially, this bandsaw is designed with a dual-latching lower guard.

Pros

  • LED light to highlight the cutting lines
  • Variable speed trigger
  • Includes a XC high capacity battery
  • Easy to use, easy to handle
  • Highly durable

Cons

  • Slow and weak sometimes
  • The included blade is not good
  • Need a hook to hang the machine
  • Battery is not long last

If you love the single handed use, go for this band saw. It is powerful and excellent for electricians to make small conduits. Remember that it can not suffer much pressure since it is light and small.


Another common bandsaw that I am talking about is also from the Milwaukee company. However, different from the above product, this is a corded powered bandsaw. It covers almost highlighted features of its brother such as: deep 5-inch cut capacity, powerful 11 amp motor, protective barriers for added durability, and a gear protecting clutch for conserved gear and motor life. With this bandsaw, you can slice through any material like wood, plastic, steel, cable, and pipe. Moreover, it runs on an advanced AC/CD motor.

Pros

  • Smooth, powerful, and stable
  • Variable speed
  • Accurate cuts
  • Excellent adjust- ability

Cons

  • Heavy
  • No blades, no batteries include
  • Doesn't cut as deep as other bandsaws
  • No LED light
  • The screws that hold the shoe on are easy to come out

Overall, if you don't need a high cut-capacity, then you can totally go for this bandsaw. Don't think that it is a big problem when the saw doesn't come with blades, because this bandsaw is very to load blades and use. Buying an extra pack of blades can help you to work with most projects.


Makita brand produces one portable band saw which stays on the top of the best portable band saw called XBP02Z. With the 6- setting variable speed control, you can easily match the speed to different applications.

Also, the Makita-built motor allows faster cuttings with 275-530 ft./min. Better than most of other Makita bandsaws, the durability of this bandsaw is longer with the protective bumper. Especially, it is a compact design with less weight, and only 10-⅝” length. Moreover, it is convenient and comfortable for a wide range of metal cutting projects. Similarly, with the adjustable foot, materials are protected while cutting.

Pros

  • LED light
  • Tool hook can secure the tool
  • Adjustable foot
  • Accurate cuts

Cons

  • Battery and charger are sold separately
  • No blade includes in the kit
  • The saw is loud
  • Not recommend for heavy-duty work

Compared with the Dewalt and Milwaukee bandsaws, this Makita model is lighter though it is still a full size bandsaw. With the unique design of the battery, it only accepts Makita batteries. However, if you purchase a good Makita battery along with the tool, it can last longer than most of other Makita bandsaws.


Dewalt brand has developed another innovative portable bandsaw named DCS371B. With some highlighted features such as: it weighs less than other Dewalt bandsaws, it has a soft, centered ergonomic handle. This allows for more accurate cuts and provides incredible balance. In addition, it runs on one lithium ion battery. As supported with a LED light, you can easily work in dark environments.

You can also protect the tool by hanging to avoid damages with the support of a hook. Especially, this model is designed with a blade tracking adjustment which will increase blade life. The durability of the bandsaw is also increased by the dual bearing blade guide rollers. However, it is a small bandsaw with the cut capacity at only 2-½”.

Pros

  • Comfortable, flexible
  • Work on many different materials
  • Easy to use, easy to handle
  • Powerful, fast, and clean cut

Cons

  • Just one speed control, no variable speed
  • Small bandsaw
  • Bare-tool, no battery or blade included

Overall, this model is a great tool for small and light projects which do not require high cut capacity. With all the positive feedback, you won't have anything to complain about this Dewalt bandsaw.


Conclusion

I have gone through some important knowledge about a portable bandsaw and review 5 best portable bandsaws for metal cuttings that I think it is worthy to buy. If you are confused between any two of them, I suggest you to consider some other factors such as price, warranty, durability, and design.

For me, it seems like the Dewalt DWM120K is the most fitting and best for any project, but still your choice depends on your preference. You can also directly go to the shop for experience or ask any professor that you know for advice. Hope you can find your best portable bandsaw after reading this article.

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