Bandsaw Vs. Circular Saw (10 Comparison Points)

From woodworking to metalworking, many projects call for a powered saw. However, many power tools have some overlap in functionality, which is the case with bandsaws and circular saws. These similarities can make it challenging for craftsmen to choose the right tool for their needs!

Bandsaws and circular saws are powered saws where bandsaws are available in stationary and portable variants while circular saws are always handheld. Bandsaws can produce a wider variety of cuts, offer better cutting depth, prevent material wastage, and are generally more versatile. Circular saws produce faster and smoother straight cuts, especially with a track. 

When choosing between a bandsaw and a circular saw, many factors need to be evaluated. This includes aspects like design, portability, material compatibility, cut types, and cutting speeds. By weighing these different aspects, you can choose the right saw for the job! 

Bandsaw Vs. Circular Saw 

band saw vs circular saw

In the following sections, we’ll be comparing bandsaws and circular saws. Not only will our comparison allow you to distinguish between these power tools, but it will allow you to choose the right tool for your project

Saw Design 

When comparing two different saws, it’s important to consider their design, which sets them apart. A bandsaw utilizes a toothed blade in the form of a band. These bandsaw blades are available in various sizes and configurations, each suited to a particular type of material. Both stationary and portable bandsaws are available. 

A circular saw, on the other hand, utilizes a circular disc or blade to cut material. Unlike a bandsaw, circular saws are available in corded and cordless variants. Circular saws are also compatible with various blades and discs for specific uses. 

bandsaw example

Saw Portability 

As we mentioned above, both bandsaws are available as stationary or portable devices while circular saws are handheld. It’s evident that handheld cordless circular saws are more portable and easier to use. Unfortunately, portable bandsaws are often larger and tricker to use. 

Material Compatibility  

When comparing similar power tools, it’s essential to consider each tool’s compatible materials. When equipped with the right blade, a bandsaw can cut through a variety of materials, including lumber, plastic, and metals. With a bandsaw, both straight and curved cuts are possible. 

Circular saws are commonly used to make straight cuts in material. Like a bandsaw, the right circular saw blade would allow you to cut a variety of materials, including lumber, metal, and even masonry. 

Cut Types 

In the above section, we considered the different materials these tools can cut. However, it’s just as crucial to know about the specific types of cuts each can make. After all, your project may call for a certain type of cut that only one of these tools can produce. 

The bandsaw is the more versatile saw in terms of cut types, as it can produce a wide variety of cuts, including ripping, crosscutting, milling, resawing, and more. While you can use a bandsaw to make a straight cut, it excels at cutting irregular shapes and making curved cuts. A circular saw, however, can only be used for straight cuts. 

circular saw straight cut

Saw Speeds 

Given the difference in design and functionality of these two tools, it’s no wonder they cut at different speeds. Bandsaws cut slower than circular saws because they’re often used for more intricate cutting. A circular saw’s design, on the other hand, allows it to cut through your material much faster.  

Cut Quality 

Above, we discussed the fact that bandsaws cut at a slower speed than circular saws. Due to this, the cut quality will be less smooth when using a bandsaw. This could lead to splintering and may require sanding to smooth the finished cut. Circular saws, however, produce far cleaner cuts, especially with the right blade. 

Blade Thickness 

Both bandsaws and circular saws can support different blades, allowing you to cut different materials. When you compare bandsaw and circular blades overall, it’s clear that bandsaw blades are always thinner. The thinner blade offers more accuracy with cutting curves and irregular shapes. If you require this accuracy, a bandsaw will be the way to go! 

using bandsaw

Material Wastage 

The thickness of a saw’s blade directly correlates to how much material will be wasted when you’re making cuts. As we discussed above, bandsaw blades are thinner than those utilized with circular saws. Not only does this improve your cutting accuracy, but it prevents too much material from being wasted when making cuts. 

With circular saws, the blades and discs are thicker, which means more material will be wasted while making cuts. Of course, this is perfect for cutting straight lines in large pieces of material – which leads us to our following point regarding the depth of cuts made by these tools. 

Cut Depth 

Due to the different types of blades utilized by bandsaws and circular saws, their potential cutting depth greatly differs. With a bandsaw, the cutting depth will range between 6- and 12-inches. However, this can be more with full-sized bandsaws. This allows a bandsaw to handle bigger materials and even perform bundle cuts. 

With a circular saw, however, you’re more limited in terms of cutting depth. Generally, your cutting depth is equal to the radius (half of the diameter) of your circular saw blade. If your blade is 10-inches, you’ll have a cut depth of around 5-inches. If you need to make deeper cuts, a bandsaw will be the right choice. 

circular saw cut depth

Cost 

Finally, it’s important to consider the difference in cost for these saws. Of course, this will depend on certain factors, such as the brand you’re using. However, bandsaws typically cost less than a circular saw. Of course, there will be premium bandsaws that cost more than entry-level circular saws. 

Conclusion

In this article, we compared bandsaws and circular saws. While these tools can both be used to cut certain materials, they differ greatly in design and intended functionality. While a circular saw can quickly produce straight cuts, bandsaws are better for projects that require curved cuts and increased accuracy. Ultimately, the saw you choose will depend on your project’s requirements!

James Thomas

James Thomas

Tool Enthusiast

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