There is a multitude of differences between a scroll saw and a bandsaw, and it can be difficult to know when to use which one. No worries though, as I will be taking you through a brief background on both and helping you decide which one you need!

Scroll Saws

In simple terms, a scroll saw is an electric (or possibly pedal-powered) saw. They can be used to cut a wide variety of mediums but is best for use with wood. The thin blade, see our article on Blade Thickness, is short which makes it good for smaller-scale projects and better for use indoors. A scroll saw is a handy tool for more detailed and focused work. 

A scroll saw’s blade moves very fast, so of course, there is a health and safety factor to consider, but all saws have a similar risk. You can adjust the speed your saw moves at, usually by pressing a pedal or button.

Scroll Saw Positives

There are many useful traits in a scroll saw, for example, they are very quiet. They also don’t create a lot of dust, so if you hate cleaning up after working- they’re pretty great. Additionally, the surface finish that a scroll saw produces means you normally don’t need to do much sanding to get a lovely smooth finish!

The projects you can create vary a lot, such as clocks, figurines, and puzzles! The saw can cut thicker wood as well as thin pieces, so within reason, you should be able to cut your wood how you want it. The ability to also do pierce cuts with the saw means you can cut internally too which is perfect again for detail work.

Scroll Saw Negatives

Despite all these wonderful perks, there are some flaws. As they are rather small they can tend to overheat. They also often rely on electricity which is a big flaw as they cannot be used unplugged- however, a lot of power tools these days do. Despite being suitable for detail work the saw causes table vibrations which can jog your hands. If you do clamp down the tool this can be reduced though!

Excellent Scroll Saw explanation video from WWGA

Band Saws

Next, on to a band saw. The heavy-duty one of the two. A bandsaw is used for thicker chunks of wood and possibly metal. Less precise cuts are best with this machine, you will still need your hand saw (or scroll saw) to do more detailed work. It’s designed for hard labor, not little jobs.

They do come in a variety of sizes which is something to bear in mind when looking to purchase, you may also want to refer to our article on best bandsaws available. For example, you can get a benchtop model or a larger floor model. The saw is made of steel and rotates passing through a table. You just need to put what you need to cut (wood or some metals) and push it into the blade. 

Bandsaw Positives

Some perks of a band saw include, predictable results (as you know what to expect- whereas you risk more mistakes when doing detailed work on a scroll saw). Additionally, you can alter the blade control mechanisms to allow for a precise cut. The more narrow blades also help with reducing waste! 

Bandsaw Negatives

There are also a few issues with a bandsaw. One is they do cause rougher edges which require more sanding than with a scroll saw. They also aren’t as capable of cutting out the insides of designs without having to cut completely through the wood or metal. They are also pricier!

The Differences between a Bandsaw and a Scroll Saw

The key difference between scroll saws and bandsaws is primarily the fact they are suitable for different things. As discussed, the bandsaw is far better for larger, heavier jobs and the scroll saw is far more suitable for your little tasks and intricate projects.

Ideally, I would say that you would want to buy both tools if you were able to, and you were serious about investing. A scroll saw is typically cheaper. It is also more adaptable. However, if you’re looking at more efficient cuts then a bandsaw may be the best option. It is a difficult one as they can’t easily be compared.

In conclusion, it is a weigh-up on what you need to do, but no matter what you decide I hope I’ve given you a little more clarity on the matter.

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