Bandsaws are typically known for being bulky, refrigerator-like machines that are used for cutting curves on wood, veneer, panels, and sometimes even metal and aluminum. However, breaking that stereotype are innovations called portable bandsaws.
If you’re one of those weekend warriors who just want a light-duty bandsaw that will do the job, you’re in luck. I’ve compiled some of the best portable bandsaws to get you started on your project, each reviewed so you’ll know which one to choose for your needs.
Weighing only 15 pounds, the DeWalt DWM120K 5-Inch Portable Bandsaw is my top pick. With its max capacity of 5 x 4-3/4 inches for a rectangular cut, this one has a 10-amp motor with a depth cutting capacity of 5 inches. It has variable speeds from 100 to 350 SPM/FPM so you will find the right setting for different materials or jobs.
Due to its integrated hang hook, keeping this tool in your garage will be easy. What’s more, since it has an LED work light, you will see what you’re working on in a dim job site or environment plus provide a cut line. I also like its multi-position bale front handle for added comfort for the user.
In addition to that, it has a steel shroud that’s easily repairable when needed, plus rubber bumpers that protect the saw guards. Because the bandsaw has an accurate blade tracking adjustment, it helps to preserve the blade’s lifespan. Additionally, its dual-bearing blade guide rollers enhance smoothness when operating the bandsaw.
Switching between blades is also a breeze because of the changing lever that’s easy to loosen. This allows you to save time if you’re working with different kinds of blades when using the bandsaw. The brushes of the motor are also replaceable when needed. It is backed by a 3-year limited warranty.
Things I Like About This Product: It has variable speed and a cutting guide.
Things to Keep in Mind Before Buying This Product: It doesn’t come with a trigger lock.
The Bosch GCB10-5 Deep-Cut Bandsaw is another choice I like, which weighs 14.5 pounds. This one has a cutting depth capability of 4-3/4 inches in a single pass and is powered by a 10-amp motor. Since it has variable speed, you will easily match it with the kind of job you’re working with. The bandsaw has six speeds to choose from, allowing different materials to be handled without ruining it or wasting time. Its fastest speed is 380 FPM.
Since it has an LED light for the cut line, it will save time and give you better accuracy in low-light conditions. Like most of the portable bandsaws out there, it has a saw hook for easy storage in your garage or shed. This bandsaw can take up to 44.875 inches of blade length and will work even in metal materials, such as a steel track, threaded rod, rebar, or pipe.
The handle’s many positions promotes user comfort and will allow you to hold it with two hands. This method also helps with easy saw transport between job sites. Moreover, the bottom part has a blade covering, which acts as a safety feature for the operator. It is backed by a 1-year limited warranty.
Things I Like About This Product: It has variable speed, an LED light, and a long blade length capacity.
Things to Keep in Mind Before Buying This Product: Changing blades is slightly more difficult than with most bandsaws.
If you’re looking for a low-priced bandsaw for beginners, you’ll like the Ryobi ONE+ Cordless 2.5-Inch Portable Bandsaw. This one has a 2-1/2-inch cutting capacity that will cut plastic, wood, and metal. Because of its small size and cutting capacity, it has a faster speed, up to 560 FPM. An ideal tool for quick tasks around the house or the job site.
Due to the integrated pommel handle, you’ll easily see what you’re working on and won’t feel too fatigued. It has an adjustable blade tracking mechanism for a fine-tuned cutting experience plus it has an LED light that will help you see your material in place.
What’s more, the hanging hook on the side is good for overhead storage without damaging the important or delicate parts of the tool. This bandsaw is powered by an 18V battery and has a blade size capacity of 32-7/8 inches. When you order the tool, it comes with two 18 TPI blades and a hex key.
Another plus point that I like in this budget-friendly pick is that it has a brushless motor, which eliminates noise and potential overheating. If you are into light-duty repairs at home and you will only seldom use it, this portable bandsaw will do the trick.
Things I Like About This Product: It has a fast speed, a brushless motor, and a well-designed handle.
Things to Keep in Mind Before Buying This Product: The blade and wheel smoothness is not as good as other brands/models.
For those who want something extra, the DeWalt DCS374P2 20V MAX Portable Bandsaw Kit is for you. This powerful yet portable bandsaw can cut up to 5 x 4-3/4 inches of material and it has an LED work light that has a unique 20-second delay, which is not seen in most units. Due to the blade changing lever not requiring tools, swapping blades will be a breeze with this unit.
I like that it has a variable-speed trigger to match all kinds of workpieces while the integrated hanging hook allows you to store this bandsaw conveniently. As it is part of the 20V MAX series, you can interchange its batteries with other tools of the same family. With a single charge, it will make about 149 cuts of 1-5/8-inch strut using a 14 TPI blade. As for piping, it has a capacity of 4-inch SCH40 pipe as well as a double strut.
Because it has a brushless motor, it won’t make as much noise as those with carbon brushes and will have a longer lifespan at that. The variable speed can be set up to 490 FPM, which is remarkably fast for a 5-inch capacity portable bandsaw. It’s only 13.8 pounds and it is backed by a 3-year warranty.
Things I Like About This Product: This bandsaw has a variable-speed option, an LED work light and a brushless motor.
Things to Keep in Mind Before Buying This Product: The plastic wheel is slightly wobbly when replacing blades.
With a 3-1/4 x 3-1/4-inch cutting capacity, the Milwaukee 2829-20 M18 FUEL Compact Bandsaw is only 7.7 pounds, which is one of the lightest units on the market today. This makes it ideal for first-time users and for those who often travel between job sites or floors. Since it is made with a brushless motor, it reduces maintenance and increases the motor lifespan.
Moreover, this bandsaw uses Constant Power Technology to ensure it delivers uninterrupted speed to your job. It is also impact-resistant thanks to the Jobsite Armor Technology while it has REDLINK PLUS Intelligence so it will stay protected against overloading and over-discharging for the battery.
Since it has a variable-speed trigger, it’s easy to adjust to your job or material in mind plus its LED work light will make your workpiece clearer in a dark room. Aside from that, adjusting the shoe part doesn’t require special tools, allowing you to work quickly with the compact bandsaw.
If you have a custom reamer attachment, such as the 49-90-2029, this bandsaw has a pipe reamer attachment for your special needs. It has a hanging hook for a simple way of storing and already comes with an 8/10 TPI extreme metal cutting band saw to be used right out of the box.
Things I Like About This Product: It is lightweight, has a brushless motor, and is capable of reaming due to the attachment integration.
Things to Keep in Mind Before Buying This Product: The trigger safety could be better.
With a 4-3/4-inch cutting capacity, the Makita XBP02Z Cordless Portable Bandsaw will accept blades as long as 44-7/8 inches and has a variable speed option of 275 to 530 FPM, which makes it one of the fastest variable-speed units on the market today. Weighing 15 pounds, this lithium-ion powered bandsaw has a built-in alert light to avoid excessive torque so you’ll know when to give the tool some rest.
For safety and convenience, it has a trigger switch with a lock-off feature. Moreover, its variable speed control is easy to tweak thanks to its convenient location. Added accuracy is given by the adjustable stopper plate that also protects your workpiece during the cut. Its top hook allows you to store the bandsaw when not needed while the thick protective rubber bumper extends its durability.
Maintaining the brushes inside the motor is simple as well, due to its external location. For those who have fatigue problems, the rubberized soft-grip handle is ergonomic for your comfort. Likewise, the stopper plate adjustment is easy to change due to the on-board wrench storage.
Because you have six speeds, it’s flexible for completing a variety of tasks, such as electrical installation, metalwork, and much more. The tool length is 20-5/8 inches, which makes it simple to store.
Things I Like About This Product: The lock-off feature on the trigger switch adds to the tool’s safety.
Things to Keep in Mind Before Buying This Product: It doesn’t have a brushless motor.
Made with a lighter weight (at only 11 pounds) than most units of its class, the Makita XBP03Z Cordless Compact Bandsaw has a speed of 630 FPM, which makes it one of the fastest bandsaws out there. However, that speed is expected due to its small cutting capacity of only 2-1/2 inches.
Nonetheless, it is applicable for jobs regarding angle iron, channels, threaded rods, conduit, copper pipes, unistrut, and much more. The bandsaw also has an LED work light to illuminate your workpiece. Because it has a wheel cover that keeps the blade protected, this makes it a safe bandsaw for the less-experienced users and also allows one-handed use.
Moreover, the aluminum blade housing not only protects the blade but also doesn’t make the entire unit too heavy. When it comes to blade tracking, this bandsaw has an exterior blade adjustment for better fine-tuning. This unit is made with an adjustable material stopper plate for accuracy.
Likewise, its blade change lever speeds up swapping blades without the use of any tool, thereby saving time and effort. Since this tool uses LXT batteries, it will have up to three times faster charging, up to 50% more runtime, and protection against overload, over-discharging, and overheating.
Things I Like About This Product: Unlike other bandsaws, this is powerful enough for piping and angle iron.
Things to Keep in Mind Before Buying This Product: Finding a suitable blade for this bandsaw is a little difficult.
If you are a metalworker, you will find the WEN 94396 Variable Speed Portable Bandsaw for Metal useful. This one has a 10/14 TPI metal-cutting blade for heavy-duty operations and it has a 5 x 5-inch cutting capacity, which is much bigger than most of the portable bandsaws I mentioned above.
Like many of the same class, it has a variable speed control from 60 to 420 FPM to meet different demands. With a 10-amp motor, it can cut different materials such as steel, rubber, conduit, pipes, rebar, plastic, aluminum, brass, bronze, cast iron, and copper with the correct speed.
In addition to that, it has ball-bearing guides for smooth operations while the front handle is adjustable for ergonomics and lessening fatigue. I like that it is not too heavy at only 14.5 pounds and it has an external blade tensioning lever for effortless blade changes.
Able to accept up to 44-7/8 x 1/2-inch blade sizes, the carbon brush cover from the front and back allows easy service for the motor while the LED blade makes your material more visible in dim areas. The front and back handles will also help with user comfort. It is backed by a 2-year warranty.
Things I Like About This Product: It is strong enough for metal and various other tough materials, making it flexible. It also has a large cutting capacity and a good speed bracket.
Things to Keep in Mind Before Buying This Product: The bandsaw motor is not brushless.
The Methodology: What I Considered When Picking the Portable Bandsaws Featured Above
If you want to know how I picked the portable bandsaws above, here’s what I considered (and so should you):
First of all, portable bandsaws have a different speed bracket when compared with their free-standing counterparts. While you may find these bigger machines possessing up to 2,000 FPM (feet per minute) of speed, bandsaws that are either corded or cordless only range from 100 to 400 FPM due to their limited size.
Variable speed is a common feature, but not all of these portable bandsaws have it. This speed feature allows you to work on different kinds of material, as not all workpieces will handle the same speed properly. Some materials are more sensitive to high speeds and will get burned when not processed in the right way.
Many portable bandsaws have about six speeds. The speed range will depend on its cutting capability. Smaller bandsaws that are only around 2 inches in cutting capacity will have faster speeds as compared to those that range from 4 to 5 inches. This is because even with a slower speed, a bigger cutting capacity will get the job done almost as quickly as one with a smaller capacity but with a faster speed.
2. Blade size and cutting capacity
As I mentioned above, different portable bandsaws have blade sizes and cutting capacities ranging from as small as 2 inches to as much as 5 inches. The 2-inch models are typically for beginners or for those who just want to have a portable bandsaw for light-duty use. However, for much bigger tasks, such as working with piping or job site projects, I’d suggest one that’s around 4 to 5 inches in terms of cutting capacity.
As band saws will cut in more ways than other saws would, the cutting capacity is measured in both horizontal and vertical ways. For example, the horizontal cutting capacity might be 4-3/4 inches but the cutting depth (vertical) is at 5 inches.
Aside from that, let’s also talk about the blade length. As compared to a free-standing bandsaw that can take up to 77 inches of blades, their smaller counterparts usually handle up to 44 inches.
3. Cutting Materials
Know which materials you will be working on before you buy a portable bandsaw, as some of them are ideal for only wood and plastic, while others are okay to be used in piping, metal, cast iron, rebar, and much more.
Here’s a tip: if you’re going to work on tougher materials such as piping and metal, make sure you have a variable-speed unit and set the recommended speed to avoid material burn. Typically, the user’s manual has a list of speeds that are appropriate for different materials so you’ll be guided accordingly.
No one likes to work with a power tool with sweaty and fatigued hands at the end of the day. That’s why picking a portable bandsaw with an ergonomic grip or rubber handle will help a lot during long operations. Working in awkward positions, such as overhead, is also difficult so having a bandsaw with a comfortable handle is a big plus point.
Aside from that, some portable bandsaws have an easy way of changing the blade, which will save a significant amount of time. This is particularly true because bandsaw blades may not only differ in length but also in the composition and number of teeth.
While portable bandsaws may look inferior to their free-standing counterparts in terms of material build and durability, this doesn’t mean they have to be made of cheap materials! Those with aluminum housing and rubber guards are great bandsaws to consider since they will absorb impact when accidentally dropped on the job site.
6. Storage features
Most of the portable bandsaws I mentioned above have a hook for hanging. This allows you to store the bandsaw in your garage or shed without taking too much space. After all, that’s the main reason why you bought a portable bandsaw instead of a free-standing one, right?
7. Work light
LED work lights are heaven-sent features for any cutting tool. Some of them illuminate your work area while others create a guideline for you to cut properly and precisely – ideal for finishing tasks quickly with minimal errors. If you tend to work on dim job sites then having a work light is important when choosing your portable bandsaw.
8. Ease of adjustment
The common adjustment points on a portable bandsaw include the variable speed trigger and the blade tension. If they are easy to turn and tweak, they will help save time for the operator.
Typically, portable bandsaws weigh 11 to 15 pounds. However, there are units, such as the Milwaukee 2829-20 M18 FUEL Compact Bandsaw which is only at 7.7 pounds, making it ideal for the weekend warrior and light-duty tasks.
Having a lightweight saw will help reduce overall user fatigue, especially if you’re pulling up an all-nighter for your project. This goes hand-in-hand with a comfortable grip, as I mentioned above.
10. Motor type
Portable bandsaws, like most power tools, can come with either a brushed motor or a brushless motor. The advantage of a brushless motor is that it doesn’t require as much maintenance as the one that uses traditional carbon brushes. It is quieter and has a smoother operation, resulting in less likelihood of overheating.
Nonetheless, even if a portable bandsaw doesn’t have a brushless motor, many of my picks above have easily-serviceable carbon brushes since they have a convenient location to access the tool.
11. Safety features
Among the safety features that you’ll find in a portable bandsaw is a trigger lock in which two actions are required to turn on the unit. This will be helpful if you are prone to accidental switching when operating your portable bandsaw (or any power tool, for that matter).
Some protection coverings around the blade areas of the bandsaw are also potential safety features. Additionally, many of my picks above have rubber bumpers that will withstand impact when used on a job site.
12. Power source
As portable bandsaws that mostly depend on battery life, they should have a good quality system that avoids overloading, over-charging, and over-discharging, as well as overheating. I prefer portable bandsaws that use lithium-ion for its source (though many brands I mentioned above are only bare tools).
The reason why I like lithium-ion tools is that they have no “memory effect.” This happens when your tool and battery are stored for a long time and automatically drain on its own. It doesn’t happen with lithium-ion batteries due to their advanced technology as compared to traditional batteries.
13. Warranty policy
Many portable bandsaws I reviewed above are backed by a 2-year or 3-year warranty since they come from reputable companies like DeWalt, Makita, Milwaukee, Bosch, Ryobi, and WEN. By buying from a trusted company, you’re less likely to get headaches when it comes to customer service and product returns unlike a shady one with little to no contact information.
My overall top pick is the DeWalt DWM120K 5-Inch Portable Bandsaw, which has variable speed control, protective features, and a big cutting capacity. Next on my list is the Bosch GCB10-5 Deep-Cut Bandsaw, which has a long blade length capacity.
For those with a limited budget, as well as beginners, the Ryobi ONE+ Cordless 2.5-Inch Portable Bandsaw is a good choice for you with its ergonomic grip. However, if you’re serious about your craft or business, the powerful DeWalt DCS374P2 20V MAX Portable Bandsaw Kit will cut piping and it also has a brushless motor.
Another unit with a brushless motor you will like is the Milwaukee 2829-20 M18 FUEL Compact Bandsaw, which is a lightweight option at only 7.7 pounds. If you are also into metalwork, the Makita XBP02Z Cordless Portable Bandsaw is powerful enough with its specs plus it has a trigger lock for safety.
If you are into piping, I’d suggest the Makita XBP03Z Cordless Compact Bandsaw, which is also one of the fastest bandsaws out there. Likewise, the flexible WEN 94396 Variable Speed Portable Bandsaw for Metal is not just for piping but also rebar, cast iron, copper, and much more.
Finally, if you need a regular bandsaw, check this guide.