July 28, 2020

Bandsaw vs Scroll saw

Are you trying to decide between a bandsaw and a scroll saw? Woodworking is an art that has come through many generations and continues to be refined. Machines have continued to be used and developed to make better wooden products. 

To cut wood, you can use a variety of tools and among those, are saws such as bandsaws and scroll saws. They are equipped to make a variety of cuts. 

Even though they are similar, they are also different and that is what we will discuss in this article.

Bandsaw highlights

Dewalt bandsaw

A bandsaw is one of the first saws you will probably buy for your workshop. It is a staple in most lightweight industries because it can saw larger pieces of wood than hand tools can. 

By definition, a bandsaw is a powerful tool that has a long-toothed blade rotated between two or more wheels. It is often powered by an electric motor. The exact components differ according to the brand that makes the saw, however, the general components are the same. 

A bandsaw rotates a band of blade around its wheels. This is why it is called a bandsaw. This blade moves continuously and hence will make more uniform cuts. This is the biggest advantage that it has over hand tools. The blade is driven down towards the table, uniformly and in a stable manner. This helps you cut precisely and with more control. 

You can use a bandsaw for cutting curves, circles, and other shapes. You can also use it for resawing, making veneers, rip cutting, metal cutting, and meat cutting amongst others. This shows how versatile a bandsaw is, and can be used on wood, metal, and meat!

Bandsaws also consist of a table which is where you will be feeding the stock. It is important that you find out how big or small the table is and also what type of table it is. This helps to determine the size of the wood you can work on on the saw. Bandsaws are available in benchtop models, and also floor versions. Think about the amount of space you have to spare. 

Pros of the Bandsaw

  • it makes uniform cuts 
  • it is steady
  • it is a fast saw
  • it is versatile
  • it does a great job of making circular and curved cuts. 
  • they operate quieter.

Scroll saw highlights

Scroll saw

A scroll saw is a small power tool that is operated by pushing a pedal or powered by electricity. Whilst it may be similar to a hand saw such as a jigsaw, the scroll saw is different. It is larger than a jigsaw but smaller than a bandsaw. It has a super-fine blade that cuts through a variety of materials with a more delicate and refined touch than in tools such as powered jigsaws.

With this saw, you can make curved shapes, alongside a variety of other cuts. It makes use of a reciprocating blade rather than a continuous loop like what you find on the handsaws. 

The scroll saw, features a table that tilts, allowing you to work at different angles, with increased precision. t also has a variable speed control. This lets you change the speed settings and also gives you more control over your work. 

A scroll saw is used to cut intricate and delicate designs. The blade is short and thin and does not run continuously as the bandsaw blade does. With a scroll saw, you will be able to drill a starting hole and also make cuts that let you work your way inward.  

This saw has a flat work table that has a column protruding from the back. The blade runs from an arm that is extended from the column and parallel to the table. This blade runs through the table and is attached to another mechanism. 

You must know the size of the wood that you can work on when using this saw. You check on this by asking about the throat size on the scroll saw. The throat size is the distance between the blade and the column. 

Pros of the scrollsaw

  • it is small enough to fit in a small workshop.
  • it makes precise cuts
  • it has variable speed support

What we didn’t like in each saw

Both the band saw and the scroll saw are great saws to have in your workshop. however, they have their downsides too. The scroll saw, can not cut into thick pieces of wood. Forcing matters can cause the blade to wear out quicker than it should. 

A band saw can make a variety of cuts, but it is not great for refining or making smooth cuts. Bandsaws can tend to leave the workpiece rough around the edges.


When you are looking to buy a saw, it is important that you make sure you know what you are looking for in your final product. When you have this in mind, it is easier to decide on the type of saw to buy. 

The great thing about the bandsaw is that it can be used on larger projects. you are guaranteed that you will get accurate cuts. This is a versatile saw that you will love having in your workshop.

When you first look at scroll saws and bandsaws, they look alike.  However, they differ in function. The scroll saw is more of a specialty tool than it is a general woodworkers tool.

The two saws differ in their functions and this should make it easier for you to choose between the two. Figure out what you need to do with the saw and this will tell you what saw you need to get.

Make sure to go for the brand and saw size that will deliver what you need it to. Wood that is sawed using a bandsaw generally needs sanding afterward to smooth it over. Scroll saws, on the other hand, make smoother products. 

Both the band saw and the scroll saw, can be bought as a table version or on a stand. Happy shopping!

David D. Hughes
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