Bandsaw VS Scroll Saw

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Regardless if you’re a beginner or a seasoned expert, choosing the right type of saw for your woodworking projects can be challenging. Some cutting tools cause confusion but assorted saws are used for achieving different patterns and curves.

In this evaluation, I will personally compare the band saw and scroll saw to assist you in making an informed decision about which option best suits your specific needs.

Bandsaw Vs Scroll Saw

What is a Bandsaw?

A band saw is a stand-alone cutting tool that mostly runs with a powerful motor and a long sharp blade suited to produce long detailed cuts and rip cuts. This type of saw also features wheels equipped with an equally-distributed set of metal teeth. Although its wheel system usually comes in two, it still depends on which band saw model you chose to purchase. 

From portable band saws that offer excellent maneuverability up to wood and metal band saws used in achieving fine straight cuts and curves — this machine comes in different types, so our team highly recommends looking through your project’s requirements before selecting a product [1].

JET JWBS 15 1.75 HP Bandsaw Pure White

If you’re wondering why band saws are often confused with a scroll saw, everything comes down to its design. Both cutting tools feature a flat work table and extended column with a horizontal arm that holds the blade. 

Moreover, when it comes to the types of materials and projects a band saw can handle, it’s crucial to note that they are entirely distinct from what a scroll saw can tackle. I’ll delve deeper into this aspect in my comparison discussion.

Advantages of a Bandsaw

Despite many similarities in appearance and design, bandsaw reigns superior over scroll saw in terms of power. Equipped with a high-performing motor, you can use a band saw to cut thick materials without any hassle. 

Furthermore, I can attest to the fact that band saws can operate at a highly variable speed, elevating the productivity of cutting operations to a whole new level. Additionally, their impressive throat size enables effortless handling of longer and thicker pieces of wood.

You can also use a band saw for projects that require cutting of various thick materials such as softwood and hardwood, metal, pipes, or even meat.

how to use band saw

It also has a versatile blade that can cut through pieces of wood or any material thicker than 2 inches. However, always remember that the distance between the blade and the work table still determines how many inches long a band saw could further cut. 

As I’ve previously mentioned, this tool operates with two to four wheels, depending on the model. These wheels make the blades of the saw rotate like a band and allows the teeth to operate in a downward and uninterrupted motion.

There are times wheels or tires need replacement, in order to get your bandsaw at the optimum, you need to know the ways to measure band saw tires for speed and performance, as well. 

Purpose and Uses of a Bandsaw

In addition to their ability to deliver precise straight cuts and rip cuts for woodworking projects, band saws have a range of other applications.

Thanks to their generous throat size, which enables blades and arm columns to move freely, they are commonly employed in timber-cutting tasks. Their versatility and functionality make them an indispensable tools in various woodworking operations.

On top of that, it has flexible blade functions that make it easier to be used in metal fabrication, especially for reliable metal cutting band saw products with horizontal design. Integrated with a powerful motor engine, it’s no surprise that this tool can cut through pipes and other metal-type materials. 

There are also specific band saws used for meat cutting purposes. Designed in stainless steel construction, this cutting tool has impressive durability and is expected to serve its purpose for a long time. 

Bandsaw Projects

While it’s true that a band saw may not be the ideal choice for crafting intricate pieces, I’ve observed that many modern workshops engaged in projects requiring thick materials often employ this tool for crafting vertically mounted items, such as cabinet stand, table, or bench. 

Edwin's bandsaw box

If you’re looking for a more challenging task other than the basic table and chair, you can also try constructing a planter to organize your garden or a wine rack to add a sophisticated touch to your walls. 

What is a Scroll Saw?

Like a band saw, a scroll saw is designed with a flat work table, one column at the back of the saw, and a horizontal arm integrated with a small blade that runs vertically. Most scroll saws such as WEN 3920 that are available in the market have a blade with a total length of 6 inches. 

Unlike the band saw, a scroll saw blade can’t cut through material that is thicker than two inches.

I’ve also noticed that depending on the material, scroll saws can sometimes struggle when dealing with wood pieces that measure 1 to 1.25 inches in thickness.

Despite the small drawback caused by its small blades, scroll saws are perfect for detailed cuts and intricate cutting action, especially when working with extremely thin material. 

Advantages of a Scroll Saw

A scroll saw’s most significant advantage over a band saw is its variable speed. Thanks to its tension adjustment knobs, you can change blades easily and plunge inside cuts over the material swiftly. 

scroll saw stand

To me, apart from speed, a feature that genuinely caught my attention is the scroll saw’s specific throat size. This particular aspect plays a crucial role in determining the maximum size of material your scroll saw can effectively handle during use.

Suppose you have a throat size amounting to 15 inches, this means your sawscroll can accommodate material as wide as 30 inches (76 centimeters = 30 inches). While this is a known fact, I still recommend using a 26 to 28-inch material if you intend to make thin detail work, and inside cuts. 

Having specific throat size measurements also make it convenient for beginners to select the right materials for their project, avoiding any unintended mishaps amid the cuts. 

If you’re working on wood material, using something like the 1.3 amp motor Dewalt DW788 scroll saw could save you an ample amount of time as it produces smoother and better cut finishes than a band saw. You wouldn’t need to sand the wood as much as you regularly do. Some manufacturers also integrated a dust blower to this tool to eliminate hindrance in users’ line of sight.

scroll sawing with kids

On top of that, you can control your blade’s motion and the precision of your cuts better with its foot pedals. Through this, you can freely use both hands especially when using the powerful Porter-Cable PCB375SS scroll saw to do inside cuts or cut along any thin materials, whether you’re aiming for straight cuts or rip cuts.

Purpose and Uses of a Scroll Saw

Thanks to its small but powerful scroll saw blades, this tool can cut intricate patterns, unlike other cutting tools such as the band saw and table saw. Because of this, scroll saws are widely used by artisans, craftsmen, and woodworkers.

Moreover, scroll saws are purposely integrated with small-scale blades not only to do inside cuts but also to make every cut precise and perfectly produce detail work on different wood joint varieties, metals, and plastics. 

Scroll Saw Projects

There are many woodworking projects where you can use a scroll saw, but one of the most interesting pieces you can create is jigsaw like puzzles. Every cut needs to be precise in this type of woodwork, which you can exclusively get through scroll saws. 

basket full of wooden toys

Scroll saws prove to be versatile tools, not limited to crafting wooden toys such as jigsaw puzzles. Carpenters and artists alike consider them essential for creating intricate woodcarvings and artwork.

If you have an interest in crafting decorative wall pieces or signage, the scroll saw’s blade can be skillfully utilized to craft intricate letterings and designs.

Differences Between a Bandsaw and Scroll Saw

One of the major differences between these two saws lies in the type of blades. As mentioned previously in this band saws and scroll saw comparison review, scroll saws are integrated with smaller blades meant to be used for intricate cuts and detailed curves. 

While band saws excel at effortlessly making rip or straight cuts through thick materials, it’s important to note that they often don’t achieve the same level of smoothness and cleanliness as a scroll saw.

If your preference leans more towards crafting artistic pieces, I would wholeheartedly endorse the use of a scroll saw for achieving finer, more precise finishes.

On the other hand, the blade integrated into a band saw is more suited for a big or industrial project. As it can handle wider and longer materials, users can make their workflow more productive and extensive. 

Milwaukee 2429-21XC M12 Cordless Sub-Compact Band Saw

Even though the biggest edge of a band saw is its aggressive cuts, you can still make decent curves if the blade is used appropriately. 

Scroll Saw and Band saw: When To Use And Buy

When faced with the decision of whether to invest in a scroll saw or a band saw, it’s not a matter of one being definitively better than the other. Rather, you must understanding what your specific small projects demand and selecting the tool that best suits those requirements.

If your project includes dealing with 1-inch thick pieces of wood, you should use a scroll saw instead of a band saw. 

Band saws tend to overpower delicate materials because it’s equipped with high-performing motors and bigger blades compared to scroll saws. 


scroll saw Vs band saw: Which Is Better?

A bandsaw is better than a scroll saw if your project includes materials as thick as 2 inches. Unlike scroll saws, band saws have blades and motors that can cut through a variety of boards. On the other hand, you should consider using a scroll saw if you’re working on a decorative piece like wooden letterings.


You may have already formed a preference for the tool that aligns with your project. However, what truly matters is that you’ve taken into account all the essential factors and requirements before arriving at your final decision to make a purchase.

If your goal involves consistently crafting various DIY projects, and you have both the space and budget to accommodate both saws, I strongly recommend investing in both for your woodworking shop.

Looking for a 100% accuracy in your band saw cutting work? Then, buying the top aftermarket bandsaw fence listed here is a smart choice. Read next!

Robert Johnson is a woodworker who takes joy in sharing his passion for creating to the rest of the world. His brainchild, Sawinery, allowed him to do so as well as connect with other craftsmen. He has since built an enviable workshop for himself and an equally impressive online accomplishment: an extensive resource site serving old timers and novices alike.
Robert Johnson
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