What Are Bandsaws Used For? Useful Insight

A staple in the workshop, the bandsaw combines both power and accuracy.

Whilst compact bandsaws are suited towards the contractor who’s on the go – benchtop bandsaws find themselves in floor spaces of those who are looking for a little more power, and have no need for a cordless saw.

What exactly is a bandsaw, you might ask? Well, a bandsaw is similar to a scroll saw, with its ability to carve interesting patterns and a focus on its precision. However, the similarities stop here – a bandsaw is more powerful than its scroll saw cousin, and can be used to cut a vast array of materials.

Bandsaws are identified by their design – a blade powered by a motor, traveling through wheels, exposing the blade which is used to make cuts. Don’t have too much time to read what bandsaws are used for? No problem, we’ve got you covered.

Here’s an overview of what are bandsaws user for, for some insights:

  • Bandsaws are found in benchtop, tabletop and cordless designs
  • Compact bandsaws are smaller and built for transit, however do not skimp on power
  • Additional accessories such as led lights, rip fences and line of sight enhance accurate cuts and promote visibility
  • Many bandsaws contain a blade tracking adjustment feature, promoting life of blades by reducing wear and tear
  • Bandsaws are designed for irregular cuts, through a variety of cutting applications and materials

The Bandsaw: A Look In Closer Detail

Firstly, we’ll look into the two types of bandsaw – the benchtop and compact bandsaw.

If you’re unsure as to which you’ll need, this should assist in making your decision by clarifying the uses and features of each bandsaw form.

What are bandsaws used for in woodwork

Types of Bandsaws

Compact Bandsaws

A compact bandsaw is a cordless, portable bandsaw used mainly by contractors, due to its’ versatility and compact design.

Unlike the corded benchtop bandsaw, a compact bandsaw generates its power through the rechargeable battery, and can provide powerful cuts through relatively long sessions.

These power tools may look to be a miniature version of the benchtop bandsaw in size alone – yet they pack a fair amount of punch, power wise. For example, the DeWalt DWM120K bandsaw has a 10 amp motor – which outstrips many benchtop bandsaws in comparison.

Due to their heavy jobsite use, compact bandsaws are built with durability in mind – to stand most rough conditions and settings, as well as ergonomic features that allow users to work for longer sessions, smarter.

Benchtop Bandsaw

Benchtop bandsaws are exactly that – found upon a provided table, or can be attached to a bench or tabletop.

Whilst compact bandsaws are suited towards the contractor who’s on the go – benchtop bandsaws find themselves in floor spaces of those who are looking for a little more power, and have no need for a cordless saw.

A solid investment for all craftsmen, the bandsaw should be a staple in your woodworking arsenal, with a blend of power and accuracy to make any piece that of quality.

Benchtop bandsaws, as we’ll find out in the next section of the article, are also found with additional accessories and features that assist in accurate and angled cuts.

Features Found On A Bandsaw

Shared Features

These are the features found across both the compact and benchtop bandsaws, and are essentially the ‘core’ features of these power tools.


Without a motor, you may as well use a plain old, manual saw to try and get the job done.

The bandsaw motor, both in compact and benchtop form, is measured in amps. You can find bandsaws holding motors that contain up to 10 amps and higher. This provides the power for the blade to cut through your materials.

The speed on the motor is measured in ‘feet per minute’ or ‘FPM’. This is the amount of time it takes for the blade of the bandsaw to move in a minute, with higher speeds found in motors of powerful capability.


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 and even compact 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.

Compact Bandsaw Features


An important component of the compact bandsaw, the battery provides the power for the tool, allowing cuts to be made in many locations and under different environments, one of the main drawcards for this tool.

As there is no primary plugged source for a compact bandsaw (cordless, remember), the power stems from the battery which must be charged in order to perform for your session.

Many can last for a few hours consecutively. Some manufacturers (DeWalt and Milwaukee, for example), provide the public the ability to share their respective branded batteries between cordless tools of all types, in an ever-growing battery sharing platform.

Additional Accessories

There are a number of additional accessories which can be found in a compact bandsaw. Most of their aims look to make the cutting process as efficient and accurate as possible.

LED lighting is a common, additional feature found in bandsaws, and are used to illuminate the dark environments contractors can find themselves in. Some provide a line of sight for accurate cuts under light.

Variable speed triggers/dials allow for speed to be maintained, usually with two-speed settings. This is a helpful feature for those who are working with a variety of materials, promoting quality cuts.

Benchtop Bandsaw Features


You want the best surfaces to work on, so a table should reflect this as well. Allowing you a fair amount of space to cut through and behind the blade, the space known as the throat size.

Larger tables have larger throat sizes, and are ideal for those working with larger pieces.

Another interesting point of note is the bevel, is the angle the table can tilt either left or right. The bevel is usually to a 45° angle, can make for some very interesting designs, adding another dimension to your cutting game.

The table is what you’ll be using to place your materials upon, as you’re making cuts. It’s very important to keep this in a good condition, as any debris or damages can affect your quality of work, and damage this whilst doing so.

Additional Accessories

A majority of bandsaws now come with an adjustable lamp, which is perfect for illuminating darkened workspaces.

Also, not only does it provide better light for your surrounding environment, but also gives you more visibility when working on difficult applications. A majority of these lights are adjustable, with some being fixed.

If you’re using different materials and also different thickness levels of these materials, a universal set speed won’t always do the trick. This is where a variable speed option comes into play, allowing you to control the speed at your preferred tempo.

Blade tracking and tension adjustment will aid in monitoring the longevity of your blade, as well as providing the option to adjust blade tension, which is also how blades are changed.

Materials That Can Be Cut Using A Bandsaw

There are a number of applications where a bandsaw will assist you with. Here are some of examples of the materials that can be cut using this tool:

  • Wood
  • Metal
  • Aluminum
  • Plastic
  • Piping

Of course, most of these materials require a specific blade for the job – so always be sure that you have the correct blade when using material you’re unsure about.

What Would I Be Using A Bandsaw For?

Bandsaws are used in place of alternate members of the saw family due to the type of cuts they are able to make.

Curved cuts can be made, through even the thickest pieces of materials.

Irregular cuts are what a bandsaw excels at – with the sheer power and easy flexibility regarding movement a defining feature of the tool.

Bandsaws are also the perfect tool for resawing, another common use for the machine. Resawing is the process of wood through the direction of the grain, as this to reduces the wood into thinner blocks.

Bandsaw projects are almost as limitless as your imagination – with many hobbyists designing pieces of furniture, from kitchen and dining tables, to drawers and bedroom furniture.

Of course, you would also be using a compact bandsaw when on the job – a tool found in contractors such as electricians and plumbers to name some examples.

The Round-Up

So there you are – a complete look into the uses of a bandsaw, and how it can assist in your next project – and even save on some expensive furniture purchases down the track.

If you’re not sure of the correct bandsaw for you – it’s best to see what you’re needing it for, as well as what you can afford.
Thankfully, we have many guides available – which can help you in making your next step.

We’d love to hear your thoughts, however – what designs and projects have you made, or would like to make with a bandsaw?

Related Questions

How do broken blades normally occur?

Blades can break for a number of reasons – the tension is too high/low, the blade is old and worn, or the blade has been incorrectly used on the wrong material. It’s always important to provide the correct amount of tension for your blade – this way, you’ll minimize breaking them.

What bandsaw is better for me?

If you’re on site, and need a portable bandsaw – then it’s an easy decision. This also goes for those who are working from home as a hobbyist or general DIY, based on how much use you’ll get out of it.

If you’re working from home, or in a workshop, and are curating designs and pieces of furniture – you’ll definitely be looking at the stationary benchtop/tabletop model.

James Thomas

James Thomas

Tool Enthusiast

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