A portable bandsaw is a compact tool that can cut through a variety of materials. Once you find the right portable band saw for you, you’ll wonder why you waited so long to get one. To help you decide which one is the best, here are our reviews and buying guide.
In a rush?
Here’s a breakdown of 3 products you may be interested in…
- Makita XBP02Z – This is our favorite, hands down. If you’re looking for a versatile, powerful, durable portable band saw, you can’t go wrong with the Makita XBP02Z. It’s slightly on the expensive side, but this is backed up by strong user reviews.
- DEWALT DWM120K – Durable, versatile, and affordable, the portable band saw from DEWALT is a great value for the money.
- Milwaukee 2429-21XC M12 –If you need a tool for small projects at a reasonable price, this is the smallest, lightest one on the market. And it’s good quality, too.
- In a rush?
- Portable Bandsaws Compared
- Top 6 Best Portable Band Saws with Reviews
- How to buy a portable band saw
Portable Bandsaws Compared
|1||Makita XBP02Z||$$$$$||3 years||15 lbs
|2||DEWALT DWM120K||$$$$$||3 years||15 lbs|
|3||Milwaukee 2429-21XC||$$$$||5 years||12.4
|4||DEWALT DCS374B||$$$$$||3 years||16
|5||Milwaukee 6232-21||$$$$$||5 years||21.9
|6||DEWALT DCS371B||$$$$$||5 years||16 lbs
Top 6 Best Portable Band Saws with Reviews
Here’s a list of the top 6 portable band saws we found on the market:
1. Makita XBP02Z Portable Band Saw
- Cutting capacity: 4 ¾ inch
- Speed: 6 variable settings
- Power: 18V
- No-load speed: 275 – 530 ft/min
- Weight: 15 pounds
The Good: high torque motor and compact design make it easy to cut a variety of materials, 6 variable speeds, ergonomic shape for easy handling and less user fatigue, built in LED light.
The bad: does not come with a battery or charger, too heavy to make overhead cuts comfortable, need to hold constant pressure o the trigger to get it to run, on the expensive side.
The ergonomic, compact design makes the Makita XBP012 makes it the ideal tool to take to any job. Though it’s designed to cut metal, there’s no reason you can’t use the appropriate blade and use it to cut wood or any other material.
What’s great about this Makita band saw is how usable it is. The built in LED light helps you see your cutting area really well and the high torque motor gets jobs done fast. Plus, the rubber bumpers protect both the saw and materials from any damage.
This tool is a part of Makita’s 18V Lithium-Ion series, a collection of tools that run on an 18V Lithium-Ion battery. While this tool does not include the battery, if you have any of the other Makita 18V tools, the battery should be easily transferable from tool to tool. The battery has a fast charging time so you can get back to work faster.
For contractors, plumbers, or anyone who needs to cut heavy materials, this is a great choice and the best cordless band saw we found. If you’re looking for something to use on lighter jobs, this might be a bit on the expensive side when you can get others for a bit cheaper. We don’t think the price is quite high enough to be considered outrageous if you’re looking to invest in something that will last.
2. DEWALT DWM120K Portable Band Saw
- Cutting capacity: 5 inches
- Speed: variable
- Power: 10 amp
- No-load speed: 100 to 350 ft/min
- Weight: 15 pounds
The Good: Comes with a storage case, designed to be able to take a lot of abuse, LED light for increased visibility in low light, blade tracking adjustment for better alignment and longer lasting blades.
The Bad: included blade isn’t going to be very useful and dulls quickly, the case isn’t very durable, no trigger lock so you have to keep it engaged to get the saw to run, large size
The DEWALT DWM120K portable band saw has a 10 amp motor that’s powerful enough for nearly any job. The variable speed and 5-inch cutting capacity make this a really versatile tool. The steel shroud and rubber bumpers help make sure this saw can last a long time and stand up to a lot of abuse.
There are plenty of little things that make this saw stand out. The LED light is always a nice addition because it helps you see where you’re working in low light conditions. There’s an integrated hanging hook so it’s easy to store when you’re not using it. Plus, you get an ergonomically designed handle for comfort and control.
The blade tracking adjustment is a nice feature, too. It will help your blades last longer and improve alignment making the whole system more reliable. When you do find you need to change the blade, they’re easy and efficient.
This one also includes a carrying case for easy portability, a standard blade, and a hex wrench. Though it should be noted that the standard blade that comes won’t be too useful to you depending on what kind of job you had in mind. Still, with the comfortable, ergonomic grip and adjustable speed, this is a versatile, dependable option.
3. Milwaukee 2429-21XC M12
- Cutting capacity: 1 ⅝ inch
- Speed: variable
- Power: 12V
- No-load speed: 280 ft/min
- Weight: 6.75 pounds
The Good: very lightweight and small, designed to be used with one hand, easy to use overhead, very good price.
The bad: a small cutting capacity of only 1 ⅝ inches, only useful for jobs with small or thin materials, no hook or case so it’s not really easy to store, battery life is a little on the short side.
The Milwaukee 2429-21XC M12 is the most compact and lightweight of all portable band saws. It’s also cordless so it’s really easy to use this tool just about anywhere. You can easily use this overhead or even one handed because it weighs only 6.75 pounds and is only 12 inches long.
Because it’s approved for one handed use, there are some requirements it has to meet. One is that the blade has a lower guard that covers the blade outside of the active cutting area. It’s the only saw on the market that has this feature. This is a great budget buy because it’s one of the least expensive portable band saws out there.
Of course, with a saw this lightweight, compact, and budget friendly, there has to be a catch. The only one we could find was the cutting capacity – it can only cut up to 1 ⅝ inches. Now, this only matters insofar as what you’re planning to cut with it. It’s ideal for small pipes, rods, etc at weird angles but just doesn’t have the capacity to handle anything too think. That’s not really what it’s designed to do.
If you’re looking for an easy to use powerhouse for a lot of smaller jobs, this is the one. The variable speed trigger will let you cut a lot of materials and the LED light is a great addition that will help you see better in low lighting.
4. DEWALT DCS374B Portable
- Cutting capacity: 5 inch
- Speed: variable speed dial
- Power: 20V
- No-load speed: up to 490 ft/min
- Weight: 12.4 pounds
The Good: integrated LED work light, variable speed dial, simple blade changes, perfectly places hook for easy storage.
The Bad: tool needed to adjust work stop, large size might keep it from fitting into smaller spaces, no case is available for it, a little harder to control due to its size.
The DEWALT DCS374B is durable, versatile, and adjustable. The DEWALT battery is really effective and works a long time between charges, though it’s important to mention that this is a bare tool and the battery must be bought separately. There’s even a hook for easy storage for when you’re not using it which gets the saw out of the way while protecting the base and handle from damage.
A great thing about this saw is the variable speed dial gives you complete control which allows you to use it on a wide range of materials. The blade changing is nice and simple and even has a nice system for blade alignment and adjustments.
Something that’s not quite as simple is the work stop adjustment. While you make the proper adjustment so you’ll be able to make safe cuts on any material, but it’s not especially easy to use as you have to use an Allen wrench to make the changes. The wrench is included and kept on the tool, though, making it a little easier to get the job done.
The DEWALT DCS374B is able to perform well and is capable of doing a lot of various jobs in the field. One downside is that it’s pretty big and might not be able to get into all the spaces you’ll need to use it. Whether or not that is an issue for you depends on the job you need to do. Overall, this is a solid choice.
5. Milwaukee 6232-21 Portable Band Saw
- Cutting capacity: 5 inches
- Speed: variable
- Power: 11 amp
- No-load speed: up to 420 ft/min
- Weight: 21.9 pounds
The Good: great for an amateur or professional, 5-year warranty, the trigger is easy to use and control for variable speed, built in LED light for increased visibility.
The bad: corded so portability is a little limited, heavy, a little pricey, the clutch can be unreliable.
This is an exceptionally durable portable band saw, built to last for long jobs and to withstand a lot of abuse. There are even reports that this saw can tolerate being dropped a time or two with no damage. The downside to that durability is that it’s a little heavy at around 21.9 pounds which might affect how easy it is to use in certain situations.
The trigger on this portable band saw is particularly responsive and easy to use. It helps make controlling the variable speed while working seamless and effective. With the 11 amp motor, you have a lot of power and can cut through almost anything. But to do this accurately, you’ll find you’re going to rely on the variable speed.
One great thing about this portable bandsaw is the 5-year warranty. If the user didn’t cause the damage, they’ll repair it for free. That really shows you how much Milwaukee stands by their product and tells you that it’s a high-quality tool.
There are some nice extras with this best portable band saw, too. The built in LED helps visibility of the cutting area. It also comes with a case that makes it easy to transport and gives you a handy place to keep spare blades.
6. DEWALT DCS371B Portable Band Saw
- Cutting capacity: 2 ½ inches
- Speed: not adjustable
- Power: 20V
- No-load speed: 570 ft/min
- Weight: 10.2 pounds
The Good: great blade tracking adjustment, tool-less blade changes, integrated LED work light, makes dependable straight cuts in very tough dense material.
The Bad: battery and charger sold separately, no adjustable speed option, not as versatile as other tools in the same price range, won’t work well with thin or delicate material.
The handle position on this DEWALT portable band saw allows you to have excellent control thanks to the balance and the ergonomic design. Your hand won’t get fatigued as quickly and you’ll be able to get much more accurate cuts.
A great feature of this portable band saw is the blade tracking adjustment, which allows for better tracking and increased blade life. Add to that the dual bearing blade guide and you’ll really get a lot of use out of your blades. Changing the blade is easy, too, with the tool less system that loosens blade tension.
The LED light helps with accuracy, too, especially in low light situations. For easy storage, the hook allows the tool to be hung in such a way that the base and handle won’t bump into the wall and get damaged.
This tool comes with a blade and a blade tracking wrench, but it does not include the battery or charger. Another downside? There’s no adjustable speed option which makes this saw less versatile. Because of the speed of this saw – 570 ft/min – it can cut through difficult material efficiently. Where it doesn’t have the versatility is with thinner, finer material. You couldn’t use this saw with wood but it will easily cut 2-inch conduit.
This might not be a well-rounded tool, but if you need to cut through tough material and are looking for a cordless, reliable portable band saw, this one is worth checking out.
How to buy a portable band saw
Now that you have a run down, how do you know which one is right for you?
Why Use a Portable Band Saw?
The best asset of a portable band saw is right there in its name. It’s portable. This also means that it’s lighter and easier to maneuver. You’ll spend less time transporting materials to and from the worksite and more time getting the job done.
While band saws are slightly limited by a 4 – 5-inch cutting depth, they deliver a precise cut quickly and cleanly. If you’re looking for a tool to round out your workshop, a portable band saw might do the trick.
Portable band saws are either corded or run on battery power. There are pros and cons to each of these options.
Battery powered band saws are definitely more portable. Without a cord to tie you down, you can take them literally anywhere. It’s also much easier to use a cordless band saw overhead or in tighter spaces because you don’t have a cord getting in your way.
The downside of battery powered portable band saws is the same as any battery operated tool. The battery life limits how long you can work and not all tools are as effective once the battery starts to run out. The best thing to do if you can is to have two batteries with you when you’re doing big jobs. That way, when one runs out, you have a spare and can keep on working.
Corded portable band saws are limited in that you need to be able to plug them in somewhere. This ties you down a little. You’ll either need to be close to an outlet or have a generator to power it. The cord could get in your way with certain cuts.
The upside, though, is you don’t have to worry about power. Obviously, there aren’t any batteries to worry about and you can be sure you’ll have consistent power.
When it comes to corded or cordless, it really boils down to personal preference. Each has their pros and cons, but you should choose the one that best fits into the job you’re doing.
If you choose to go with a cordless one, pay attention to whether or not the tool comes with a battery and/or charger. A lot of them do not, they rely on special battery packs that are interchangeable between the different tools in the brand’s cordless line.
This is something that you really have to pay attention to. Most portable band saws can handle cuts up to about 5 inches thick. Most. If you look through our reviews, you’ll see that some only go up to as little as 1 ⅝ inch.
There is nothing wrong with a portable band saw that only cuts up to 1 ⅝ inch if the thing you need to cut is that small. But it’s not going to do you a lot of good if you’re work requires something more. Make sure to check the cutting capacity before you buy.
Some portable band saws come with an integrated LED light which comes in really useful if you’re working in conditions with poor lighting. This isn’t something that you need but it’s something that comes in really handy.
A case is always a nice thing to have, especially for a tool like this that you’ll be taking to various worksites. Some of the portable band saws that we reviewed so have a case included.
You’ll find that a few of the saws in our reviews come with a blade, which is a nice thing to have. Just don’t expect it to be all that useful. By that, we mean don’t think you won’t need to have other blades available to get the job done. The included blade might not be the right one for the material you’re working with so it’s always best to have on hand the supplies you need.
Most of these tools have rubber bumpers or other special protections in place so that they won’t be damaged by the wear and tear that comes with being transported from place to place. If you think you’ll be particularly hard on your portable band saw, look for one that is the most durable. That way, you’ll be sure to get as much life out of it as you can.
As you can see, portable band saws are a versatile, solid tool that can travel with you to the jobsite with minimal fuss. If you’re looking to add one to your collection, we can’t recommend the Makita XBP02Z enough. It’s powerful, durable, and ergonomically designed to help you get the job done accurately.
The Makita XBP02Z is a great choice for a professional looking for something that will perform reliably for a long period of time. It’s also not too expensive which makes it a perfect addition to any home workshop.