Today, we have a look at two of the more ‘user-friendly’ benchtop bandsaws, from WEN and SKIL respectively.
- Three standard features in the benchtop bandsaw include blade, motor and throat size
- Similar features in both, with a 9” throat size – there is a 10” throat on the WEN 3962 bandsaw
- Motor speed of 2.8 amps for the WEN 3939, and 2.5 for the SKIL 3386-01
- Additional accessories included on both, including dust ports, rip fences and miter gauges
- Similar affordability range for both models, including the 3962 model from WEN
Why user-friendly? Well, these are bandsaw options that cater for all experience levels, including those who are looking to buy their first and get into the craft, as well as the more experienced contractor who has years under their belt.
Why Are We Looking Into These Two Particular Models?
The two (three, when we count the 3962) models we are looking at today both have similar price points, which is one of the main reasons we’re discussing the two at length.
Not only do they share affordability, but they sport the same features, as well as being incredibly durable and sturdy for all applications, whatever way you may use them.
We’ll discuss these throughout this article, and you’ll find many similarities between the two.
General Features Of Bandsaws
There are two separate types of bandsaws available – the cordless class, which is suited for contractors who are constantly in transit and require a portable option for their work within different environments, and the benchtop/tabletop – the type we’ll be looking into today with both the WEN and SKIL bandsaws.
There are similar features in both, yet we’ll look into three of the core features of the table bandsaw; the motor, throat size and the blade. If you don’t agree that these three features are crucial – please let us know what you think instead, within the comment section.
Without a motor, there is no power to the bandsaw, and you may as well be manually cutting through your materials.
Doesn’t sound as fun, does it?
Motors within bandsaw is measured upon how many amps the specific motor in question can handle, that provides the power for both the blade, and the benchtop bandsaw holistically.
The speed on the motor is measured in ‘feet per minute’ or ‘FPM’, as you’ll find both online and in your local hardware store.
With the WEN 3939 bandsaw, this benchtop bandsaw has a 2.8 amp motor with an attainable max speed of 2460 FPM.
Compared to the SKIL bandsaw, which has a 2.5 amp motor and a max speed of 2800 FPM – you can see that both bandsaws are quite similar.
The throat size, if you’re unfamiliar with the term, is the space between the blade and the area of table behind it.
The larger the throat size, the more space your table will have overall. This allows you with more room to work on cutting through your material swiftly, rather than having to adjust after every single cut.
Throat sizes are one of the two features (with the motor being the other) that differentiate benchtop bandsaws from each other.
On the benchtop bandsaws we’re looking at today, the SKIL 3386-01 bandsaw has a throat size of 9”, giving you this amount of room to cut with behind the blade. This is usually a standard for benchtop bandsaws.
The WEN 3939 also has a throat depth of 9”. Compared to the next model of the WEN benchtop bandsaw, the 3962 – which has a throat size that is slightly larger, sitting at 10”.
If you’ve used any type of power tool, you’ll be well aware of the importance of the blade, and keeping it maintained properly.
Pending on the material you’re cutting, blades can come in many forms, with the TPI (teeth per inch) being the main factor in determining the speed and smoothness of the cut.
Blades can break and bend, and it’s for this reason as to why it’s a beneficial idea to look into bandsaws that have a blade tracking adjustment feature – as this will monitor the general wear and tear of your blades, saving you an expensive replacement in the future.
Luckily, a majority of benchtop bandsaws have this feature, so it’ll definitely assist you when working on your projects.
However, it’s possible to fix blades which are damaged – stay tuned for an article on this topic in the future.
WEN have three bandsaws available, options you’re able to pick between based solely on the size you’d like.
These sizes range from 9” – which is the 3939, a 10” option in the 3962 model and lastly, the largest option with 12” in the 3966 bandsaw.
We’ll be looking into the 3939 mostly, as well as comparisons to the 3962 model.
- 2.8 amp motor with an attainable max speed of 2460 FPM
- Depth of cut is 3- ⅝” inches deep and 9” wide
- Accepts 62” blades from ⅛” – ⅜” in width
- Additional ⅜” wide blade, dust port, rip fence and miter gauge
- Ball bearings for streamlined operation and increased lifespan of bandsaw
Value For Money & General Features
If you’ve been reading through a couple of our articles, you’ll be well aware of the value for money feature the WEN benchtop bandsaws gives its’ users. This is one of the prime features – and you can be forgiven for asking, ‘how is this a feature?”.
WEN have three separate options available for this series of bandsaw.
The 3939 is the most affordable of the priced models, and is extremely affordable – allowing you to purchase this as either your first bandsaw, or even an upgrade or an older model.
For the next model, which is the 3962 – you’re getting a little more size on the table, with slightly elevated specs when compared to this model. We can start with the table sizes.
WEN provides a very healthy amount of space to work within, and this is ideally what any professional or amateur would be looking for when ripping through materials.
With the WEN 3939, the table itself features dimensions of 12” by 12”, with a bevel adjustment ability of up to 45, giving you more ways you can cut through your materials.
Back to the WEN 3962, and you’ll find that the dimensions of the table are a touch larger, with the width specifications sitting at 14- ⅛” x 12-½”. The 3962 also has a bevel ability of up to 45.
Lastly, we have some very handy additional features – the dust port, rip fence and miter gauge.
The dust port is also another beneficial feature, and is especially helpful for those who are working in garages or small workshops.
A standard vacuum cleaner hose will fit the port perfectly, and can adapt for hoses that are sized at 2” and 4”.
Before we finish, we’ll have a quick look at the WEN 3962 and the additional accessories it holds. We’ll continue with the dust port. WEN have included 3 sizes in one, meaning the dust port will fit hoses which are sized at 1-¾” 2-¾”, 4”.
Like the WEN 3939, the 3962 also contains a miter gauge for a precise and angled cuts, and a rip fence for straight ripping.
The SKIL 3386-01 is a very workshop-friendly benchtop bandsaw, with its relatively smaller design able to fit into more spaces than the average, larger competing bandsaws.
Not only can it fit on a majority of table top surfaces due to its’ size, the 3386-01 does not compromise size for power, allowing for a majority of materials to be cut through without spluttering.
- 2.5 Amp motor
- Cut depth of 3-⅛”
- Ribbed aluminum table with tilt adjustment between 0 and 45 degrees
- Total table size of 11-13/16” with a throat depth of 9”
- Inclusive 1-½” dust port for removing unwanted debris
Features & Blade Tracking Adjustment
With a cutting depth of 3-⅛”, the 3386-01 is fairly standard in this comparison when listed against competitor bandsaws on the market. One thing it has over its’ competitors, however – is the ability to adjust the depth to a customized setting of yours.
There opens up a world of possibilities for your projects, and has the ability to enhance your cutting skills, giving you complete control over every cut, angle and depth you can work with.
There are a raft of additional features that also assist in providing the highest quality cuts.
The rack and pinion table adjustment options allow you to adjust the height and angle that you’re working within.
As both are completely adjustable, this gives you much more versatility within your pieces, improving your overall work.
If you find that your pieces of wood are often slipping and causing crooked cuts, this is an issue of the past, thanks to the included rip fence. The main job of the rip fence is to provide leverage for accuracy, allowing you to make cuts that are both accurate and extremely straight.
Lastly, we have the adjustable lamp and dust port. You’re able to illuminate any dark workspaces by utilizing this option – by pointing the lamp towards the different directions of your project.
The dust port will clean any debris and dust which can occur through metal and woodworking – giving you a cleaner workspace, and reducing the hassle of cleaning after you’ve finished. It’s sized at 1 ½” – which is perfect for a standard vacuum hose to be attached.
Both of these models should be at the top of your list when you’re narrowing down which bandsaw is perfect for you and your budget – and this is one of the most important facets to consider, right? Following this article, you should have a clearer idea of what may suit you – and even though they are quite similar, there are differences that put the two apart.
And of course, we have the WEN 3692. This provides a little more power, table space, and also the ability of a two-speed motor, which gives you a new dimension of control over your project.
The bandsaw you choose will be entirely up to you – and we hope we’ve helped you out in your decision.
I’d love to hear what you think, though. Do you agree with the features we’ve noted?
Or perhaps you prefer one bandsaw over the other? Leave your comments below.