Best Bandsaws Under $500 – 2020 Tell-All Review

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What makes the best bandsaws under $500 truly good? It’s the right combination of specs and features for specific tasks. Note that while this price range may usually cater to lighter and smaller bandsaws, these are by no means anything but complex machines with tons of accessories and reliable cutting power.

​Snapshot​! Best ​Bandsaws Under $500

​In a hurry? Here are our top picks​:

Best Overall
Runner-up
Best for the Money

Comparison Chart of the ​Bandsaws Under $500

Product

Our Rating

​Price

Rikon 10-3061

​Best Overall

Rikon 10-305

​Runner-up

Wen 3959

​Best for the Money

Wen 3970T

Best Metal Bandsaw Under $500

Makita XBP02Z

Best Portable Bandsaw Under $500

Can You Find a Quality Bandsaw Under $500?

Yes, you can. But you also need to manage your expectations. In this price range, there are many benchtop bandsaws available. This means that you shouldn’t expect to be able to handle too much heavy-duty work with a more affordable bandsaw.

While overall build quality may suffer at times, you can still get lucky with the range of accessories included as well as their performance. At the end of the day, it will come down to how much you can spend to squeeze out every last ounce of power and performance. Also keep in mind that most saws in this price range are on the smaller side and aren’t for working with very large pieces of material.

Quick Take: Best ​Bandsaws Under $500

Hoping to cut right to the chase? Below are the Best Bandsaws Under $500:

  1. ​Best Overall: Rikon 10-3061
  2. ​Runner-up: Rikon 10-305
  3. Best for the Money: Wen 3959

Review of the Best Bandsaws Under $500

To understand what you can expect to find in this price range, here are our favorite picks as well as some niche recommendations for people on the move or those operating on a tight budget.

​Best Overall:
​Rikon 10-3061

PROS

  • Durable 10” saw
  • 5.5A 1/2HP motor
  • Adjustable blade speed
  • Simple blade adjustments
  • Makes rather smooth cuts
  • ​Accurate blade tracking and guide
  • ​Good for small and medium sized tasks

CONS

  • The blade isn’t ideal for heavy use and resawing purposes
  • There are some issues regarding the consistency of craftsmanship

Our Review

No matter how you look at it, the Rikon 10-3061 is a beast. It features two cutting speeds of 1,515 and 3,280 fpm as well as a max resaw capacity of 5”. Although it doesn’t have the best standard blade on the market, it can still do high-end work with rather smooth edges.

We also like the inclusion of a dust port, fence, as well as the tool-less blade guide system and quick tension lever release. All of these help make adjustments on the fly with improved accuracy as well as maintain good visibility on the work bench.

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

This band saw is most often praised for being a dual blade speed model. This not only allows cutting through different materials but also helps create more refined finished pieces. While most bandsaws are notorious for leaving you with rough edges, the blade speed adjustment does a lot to overcome that in this case.

​Runner-up:
​Rikon 10-305

PROS

  • Cast iron work table
  • Compact 10” bandsaw
  • Steel frame for stability and longevity
  • Guide post supports micro adjustments
  • Convenient safety paddle switch included
  • ​Decent amount of power out of a 1/3HP motor

CONS

  • Needs a much better blade for any metal work
  • Limited to working with small work pieces and not thicker materials

Our Review

The Rikon 10-305 is a scaled down beast of Rikon’s bigger bandsaws. It’s a powerful machine with a 1/3HP motor and a good enough blade for smoother edges, compared to other bandsaws.

It features a standard dust port, well-positioned, a quality rip fence and a strong steel construction. The guide features micro adjustments to the amount of intricate work you can do on small work pieces is almost endless. We also appreciate the consistent resaw capacity as well as the tilting table. The safety paddle switch is a welcomed addition too, for safety reasons.

What Makes This Model Stand Out?

It’s not just one thing but rather the combination between a compact 10” saw design a decent motor and good overall engineering. It’s a 10” saw that excels at light duty work and maintains a consistent resaw capacity of 4-5/8”. But, ultimately, the portability factor will likely make it better for some users.

​Best for the Money:
​WEN 3959

PROS

  • 3.5” cutting depth
  • Made with quality components
  • Supports a wide variety of blades
  • Lightweight and easily transported
  •  Affordable entry-level benchtop bandsaw
  • ​Dust port, miter gauge, and fence included

CONS

  • Lacks some power and may slow down the workload
  • Doesn’t have an auto squaring fence so it may need fine-tuning

Our Review

Few people expect to get a lot out of a cheap bandsaw but the WEN 3959 is a head-turner to say the least. The blade variety and range of adjustments alone make this a worthy candidate for small workshops, even though it tops out at a 3.5” cutting depth.

We like that it’s lightweight and easy to transport. It may not be ideal that the fence won’t auto square but it’s quick to readjust in between longer cuts. The motor may not be powerful but it provides plenty of speed for cutting through smaller work pieces at various angles and curves.

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

There is one thing that sets the WEN 3959 apart, besides being very affordable, and that’s the blade variety. The bandsaw’s design will allow you to use blades between 1/8” to 3/8”. This means that even though it’s a small 9” saw it can still handle a range of material sizes, shapes, and densities.

​Best Metal Bandsaw Under $500:
WEN 3970T

PROS

  • Features a 4.6A motor
  • Compact build that’s easy to move
  • Convenient automatic shut-off feature
  • Will make bevel cuts of up to 60-degrees
  • Features horizontal and vertical positioning

CONS

  • Very loud bandsaw by comparison
  • May put a bit too much strain on the blade
  • ​Not everyone can handle applying tension manually on the cut

Our Review

With its compact design and dual blade positioning the WEN 3970T isn’t just one of the best metal bandsaws but also one of the most versatile. The fact that it can also make beveled cuts up to 60-degrees is even more impressive.

The model features a reliable 4.6A motor with plenty of power to facilitate deep, consistent, and accurate cuts. It’s true that this isn’t the quietest bandsaw and that it is a bit niche in terms of use and operation. But, if it’s a metal bandsaw you need, it’s hard to pass this one by.

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

The WEN 3970T will allow you to position the blade vertically and horizontally. Therefore, it’s much easier to use it on both rectangular and round work pieces. It provides cut versatility while also giving you more power due to its stronger motor. It’s also surprisingly lightweight for a metal saw which doesn’t hurt.

​Best Portable Bandsaw Under $500: ​​​​
Makita XBP02Z

PROS

  • Reliable Makita motor
  • Variable speed control
  • Multiple safety features
  • ​Very compact and easy to use and carry
  • Many ways to buy: from bare tool to full kit

CONS

  • On the heavy side for a portable model
  • Using a handheld bandsaw definitely takes some practice

Our Review

Many benchtop bandsaws are in fact portable but they’ll still need to be assembled, sat down on firm ground, and plugged in. For true portability, the Makita XBP02Z is far better because it’s a handheld model.

The motor isn’t the most powerful. But it compensates through reliability, low vibrations, and its variable speed control. The location of the speed dial is highly convenient too, therefore making adjustments to overcome unexpected hiccups will be very easy.

The fact that the grip is very comfortable also offsets the fact that this isn’t exactly the lightest handheld bandsaw on the market.

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

The variable speed control is one of the standout features. You may also appreciate the dual action power up that prevents accidental starts among other things. The Makita XBP02Z has great overtorque protection and numerous more built-in safety features to protect its user as well as the quality of the finished product.

Benefits of Investing in a Quality Bandsaw

While not all bandsaws are created equal, and higher quality bandsaws often cost more, there are many benefits to having a bandsaw in general.

Making the Cuts You Can’t Make Otherwise

Yes, a bandsaw will cut straight. But here’s the thing. Many of them struggle with long straight cuts and the equipment can fall out of alignment. The benefit that bandsaws bring to your arsenal of cuts is making intricate small cuts, straight, angled, curved, and anything else that a table saw won’t do.

Great Return on Your Investment

Why should you pay a good price? Well, like any other cutting tool, the better the build the more it will last and the more you’ll get back for your money. A bandsaw isn’t something the average homeowner will likely need. But if you’re at least a hobbyist then you’ll want something you can use for years to come, way past the warranty expiration date.

More Accessories Make Life Easier

Granted, not all quality bandsaws come with high-end accessories and tools. But you have a better chance of getting them, or at least enough of them, that you won’t have to worry about too many aftermarket upgrades and add-ons.

Better Cutting Capacity

No two bandsaws are alike even though they may be priced the same or even look the same. Different manufacturing processes yield different results. If you invest in a quality bandsaw chances are you’ll be able to cut deeper, at a more consistent rate, and with fewer or shorter pauses in between cuts.

What Do I Need to Know Before Buying?

Still not sure? Here's what you need to know:

Rough Edges

This is important only if you’ve never used a bandsaw before. Unlike a table saw, the bandsaw will often leave rough edges on the work piece. Therefore, sometimes you may have to put in additional time and effort into refining your piece.

Not All Bandsaws Are Good for Resawing

Here’s another interesting tidbit. Yes, bandsaws are often preferred for their ability to resaw more than anything else. But the resaw capacity and strain it places on the machine can often be tied to the bandsaw size and motor power. Typically, the bigger the saw the better the resaw capacity. Smaller saws may struggle even against thinner and smaller work pieces.

Weight

Keep in mind that not all bandsaws have been designed to be portable. Figuring out the optimum equipment weight for your needs should be a high priority if you have to move from jobsite to jobsite.

Quality of the Components

Build quality is important. Most of these saws will often feature a steel frame but what goes on top of that won’t often be the best of materials. Even plastic comes in so many forms that not all plastic housings will be as impact resistant or provide the stability and balance you need to work safely.

Don’t discount the need for quality accessories either.

Conclusion

A bandsaw doesn’t have to cost a fortune for it to be good, nor does it have to be a mammoth in order to help you work on a variety of projects. As you can see, understanding the specs is important, just as understanding that some manufacturers make higher quality products. But if you know the type of work you have to do, then finding the right combination of specs should be easy.