Scroll Saw vs Band Saw – The Showdown

When it comes to specialty saws like scroll saws and band saws, sometimes it can be difficult to determine which one to purchase.  Why do I need a scroll saw?  Why do I need a band saw? What do they do?  We will show you exactly what tool will perform the best based on your woodworking project your working on.

Why would I use a scroll saw vs band saw?  What is the difference?

Well, good thing you came to The Saw Guy.  We are going to answer those questions, and hopefully with a little education, give you a comfort level when making your next purchase.

We are even going to provide a quick overview for specific scroll saws and band saws​ that we like.  Keep in mind, we could easily recommend scroll saws and band saws upwards of the $2,000 range.

However, we try to stay mindful of your budget as much as possible, so our recommendations will focus on quality and economy.

The Difference

Both scroll saws and band saws are really versatile and have a wide range of uses. Scroll saws are better than bands saws if you need really clean cuts. If you have a project that requires a lot of precision then a scroll saw would be the right choice for you. Band saws are ideal for creating gentle curved cuts in furniture or prepping your wood for forming dishes. They create intricate curves, enough of a curve to form a circle but not so much that it creates an angle that causes you to have to spend a lot of time sanding. However, if you want tight curves then you will need to go with a scroll saw.

Accuracy and Speed

Both power saws are almost equally fast and accurate. However, scroll saws do have a slightly higher level of accuracy and precision simply because you can use it with both hands. On the other hand, the band saw is very accurate and allows you to cut larger pieces of thick material faster than a scroll saw.

When To Use A Scroll Saw

I would consider a scroll saw a “specialty saw” more than I would a band saw.  The scroll saw has a wide range of capabilities, but where this saw really shines is with clean and intricate cuts.

Scroll saws are often found in serious woodworker workshops, and if you’ve ever taken a wood shop class, you’ve probably used one.

Related: Scroll Saw Buying Guide​

Many times a scroll saw is what is used to create those cool jigsaw puzzles, and small sculptures you see in craft stores.  But, the use of scroll saws isn’t limited to intricate craft items.

​Scroll saws are handy enough to allow you to make any precise cut with extreme accuracy. And the great thing about how scroll saws cut, is you rarely have to sand because the cut is so clean.

Many scroll saws have the ability to use a scroll saw foot pedal to operate the motor, allowing your hands to freely handle the material.  This is especially important when making small cuts that require precise accuracy. ​

When To Use A Band Saw

Band saws are another type of specialty saw that are generally purchased by the serious woodworker or shop hobbyist.

The band saw is extremely versatile and can tackle most common and specialty cuts. Because band saws are vertically adjustable, you have the option to cut much larger materials than you do with typical saws.

Although the band saw does not match a scroll saws ability to cut intricate patterns, bandsaw blades comes in many different widths and tooth styles to allow for a moderate amount of variations.

Related: Band Saw Buying Guide 2019​

The greatest advantage of a band saw is the speed and accuracy at which you can cut materials.  For instance, if you need to make a lot of cuts at odd angles or in particular patterns, the band saw is the perfect tool for the job.

Although a jigsaw is often used for cutting angles and patterns in wood, with a bandsaw your hands are free to handle the material, providing greater accuracy and control.

Scroll Saw vs Band Saw Showdown

DEWALT DW788 1.3 Amp 20-Inch Variable-Speed Scroll Saw

You rarely go wrong with a DeWalt tool.  The DW788 20in Variable-Speed Scroll Saw is certainly no exception.

This is the perfect scroll saw for the beginner or the experienced woodworker, because a scroll saw needs to perform both reliably and accurately, whether you’re crafting custom jigsaw puzzles or designing unique trim pieces.

Check out some of the key features below​.

  • Double parallel-link arm design dramatically reduces vibration and noise for extremely accurate cuts
  • Exclusive scroll saw blades clamps allow blade changes in seconds
  • On-off switch, electronic variable speed, flexible dust blower, and blade-tensioning lever all located on front upper arm
  • Arm design pivots from back of the saw to front, shortening the arm movement for smoother, quieter operation
  • Arm lifts so blade can be easily threaded through the material for inside cuts

Shop Fox W1706 14-Inch Bandsaw With Cast Iron Wheels

Shop Fox features a variety of excellent tools for all types of applications.  The Shop Fox band saw is a great option for those who don’t have an unlimited budget (I know I don’t).

The Shop Fox W1706 14-Inch Bandsaw features a powerful 1-horsepower, single-phase motor that operates at 1,725 revolutions per minute (RPM).

The frame, wheels and table are made of durable cast iron. It even has an integrated cabinet that can be used for storage. Believe that cleanliness is next to Godliness, the 4-inch dust port can be connected to a dust collection system to help keep your workshop clean.

Check out some of the technical specifications below.  ​

  • Motor: 1 HP, TEFC, 110V/220V, single-phase, 1,725 RPM, Amps: 14 @ 110V, 7 @ 220V
  • Blade size: 93-1/2-Inch (1/8-Inch to 3/4-Inch wide)Table size: 14-Inch by 14-Inch by 1-1/2-Inch
  • Cutting capacity (throat): 13-1/2-Inch, Maximum cutting height: 6-Inch (12-Inch with optional extension kit D3348)
  • Cast iron blade wheels, frame and table.

Scroll Saw vs Band Saw On A Budget

Shop Fox W1713 16-Inch Variable Speed Scroll Saw

Looking for a scroll saw on a budget?  Shop Fox comes through again with a scroll saw that is heavy on performance, and light on the wallet.

Although the Shop Fox scroll saw is economic, it has many of the most sought after features such as, variable speed control, extra cutting capacity and cast iron construction.

Check out the features below.

  • ​Variable speed motor
  • Cast iron table
  • ​Gooseneck worklight
  • Dust blower and 1-1/4 inch dust port
  • The Shop Fox Scroll Saw offers the ability to cut at angles from 0-45-degrees with the table tilt mechanism.
  • The table lock knob and tilt scale are used to tilt the table for horizontal angle cuts.

Ryobi 2.5-Amp Band Saw

It is extremely difficult to find a band saw on a budget.  However, the Ryobi 2.5-Amp Band Saw may just be the solution for the economic band saw buyer.

​The Ryobi 2.5 Amp Band Saw is designed for a variety of woodworking applications. It features a blade tracking window and rack and pinion blade support adjustment system. The Ryobi Bandsaw is also equipped with built in dust collection port, and reduced vibration as compared to other bandsaws on the market.

The key features listed below is what you get with the economic Ryobi band saw.  ​

  • Powerful 2.5 Amp induction motor
  • 9 in. throat capacity and 3-1/2 in. cutting capacity height for versatility
  • ​RapidSet blade tensioning system
  • ​Blade-tracking sight window for greater accuracy
  • Tool free cabinet access

Scroll Saw vs Band Saw Summary

  • Scroll saws are perfect for small and intricate woodworking projects.
  • Band saws will increase productivity as they’re designed to give the user full control of the materials.
  • ​Scroll saws are relatively inexpensive and a great tool for crafting.
  • Although band saws are on the high-end of the budget, shop smart enough and you can always find a good deal.
About Brandon Potters

Hi, I’m Brandon and I can’t express how excited I am that you chose The Saw Guy as your resource for project ideas, tool reviews, and all-around guide to the world of DIY. I spent years in the construction industry refining my knowledge of various trades and even spent a few years working at a major hardware store. ​If there is anyone who can help you make a well-informed, unbiased, budget-conscious decision, it’s me and my team.

1 thought on “Scroll Saw vs Band Saw – The Showdown”

  1. Thanks for this article, I was struggling to understand the difference between the two but you cleared it up for me! Now, which do I buy first as I want both!!


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