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Scroll Saw vs Band Saw: Which is Better for You?

By: David S. Miles | Last Updated: November 16, 2021

Woodworker, decorator, or general handyman-you always need to have the right tool if you want your work to be as good as possible. When it comes to saws, we all know how important it is to use the right machine in order to make the right cuts.

But how to make the right choice?

Today we are going to help you by breaking down the difference between a band saw and a scroll saw.

Scroll Saw vs Band Saw General Overview 


In general, scroll saw and band saw look similar. Both are popular, reliable products, and Both of them have a work table and blade that runs perpendicular. They both have a broad price range, but usually, the band saw is more expensive. 

These machines are completely different, especially when it comes to the tasks they perform. The scroll saw is perfect for small details and inside cuts, but its usage is limited by the material of the design. The band saw can be used with thicker material, but it can’t make inside cuts and details.

Scroll Saw


Scroll saw has a flat work table and some people say it looks like a sewing machine. It has a thin and short blade that moves up and down. It has extended reach, it can accommodate large boards and it makes clean, precise cuts that not every saw can do.

The scroll saw is being controlled by a pedal that you press with your leg, which makes it possible to control the speed of the movement of the blade. It is also a safe option since you can keep your hands away.

However, the scroll saw is quite expensive, kind of complicated and definitely not a good idea when it comes to extreme angles. Now, let’s take a detailed look at the scroll saw.

What kind of cuts can you make?

Scroll saw can make a straight, round or angled cut. It is perfect for making small details and curves. It can also make inside cuts. However, it is important to mention that long rip cuts are not possible for the scroll saw.

Of course, the blades are important. It uses thin and short blades that can be changed easily in order to make the perfect cut. You should always keep in mind that the tension should be right if you want to make a good cut.

Features that a scroll saw offers

The best feature of the scroll saw is the possibility to remove the blade and insert it into the center of your workpiece. This gives you the opportunity to make circles or other interesting shapes in the inside part of the design.

For best results you have to use the scroll saw with material thick no more than 1 inch. The scroll saw is very safe, since it is not as powerful as some other models. It operates with a foot pedal, which keeps your hands away from the blades.

When can you use a scroll saw?

Now you know more about scroll saw, but let us explain to you when you actually need it. Let’s say you are working with thin materials, and you need a saw to do crafts and decorative work- your best option is a scroll saw. 

The cuts are detailed, clean, and precise. You can make the perfect wooden letters, names, numbers, wooden plaques with details as animals, and last, but not least- the best jigsaw puzzles.

Best Selling Scroll Saws

When can I not use a scroll saw?

However, if you are working with thick material(more than 1 inch), or you want to make straight cuts, then the scroll saw is not your best option. You can’t cut pieces in a half or do rip cuts.

Let’s say it that way- what makes the scroll saw the best choice for small details and curves, also makes it bad for straight lines.

Pros:

  • A scroll saw can make inside cuts.
  • It is perfect for small details, such as writing names.
  • It makes precise cuts.
  • It is easy to change its blades.

Cons:

  • It can’t be used with material thicker than 1 inch.
  • It is not good for straight lines.

Band saw


A band saw is a powerful machine that can deal with thick material and infinite length. Its blade moves continuously in a downward motion. It also has a flat work table, but it is larger. 

A band saw is good for aggressive cuts, it can also be very fast. With the right blades, you can make different shapes, you can cut through almost every material, even though you can make only outside cuts.

Band saws are relatively safe, even though they are very large and powerful machines. You should always wear eye protection and pay attention to your hands while using a band saw.

What kind of cuts can you make?

Even though it can make some detail work with the right blade, the band saw is better for large outside cuts. Its blade is thick and reliable. You can’t make tight turns, but you can use thick material.

A band saw is great for cutting angles and straights, but it can’t be used for cutting an inner circle. You can make aggressive, straight, and long cuts, which is one big advantage of this saw. The reason behind that is that the blade goes in the same direction all the time, which eliminates different movement than the required one.

You can make circles, arches, or other shapes if you use the right blade. You can cut through heavy materials like metal, but you can not make small details.

Features that a band saw offers

The band saw has a 2-wheel or 4-wheel system. The blades used are in a circular shape and they are very flexible. You can choose between a lot of different blades for different tasks.

The band saw has a lot of power, if you use the right blade you can cut even metal. These saws can handle large, thick materials such as metals, hardwood, softwood, etc. They are ideal for material thicker than 2 inches. 

When can you use a bandsaw?

If you need a saw to work with furniture, the band saw is your best choice. If you are going to work with thick material, and you need a powerful machine you should definitely choose a band saw. 

The band saw is also perfect for people who don’t have a lot of space, or need to take the saw with themselves to a job.  It is ideal for projects as:

  • furniture
  • Planter boxes
  • Shelves 

Best Selling Band Saws

When can I not use a bandsaw?

The band saw is not a good idea when it comes to small details, curves, and delicate pieces. Furthermore, the band saw is not good for inside cuts, because it simply can’t make them. 

Its motion is aggressive, so you don’t want to stand when you are using it.

Pros:

  • You can work with thick materials like metals, hardwood, softwood.
  • A powerful machine that makes straight cuts
  • There is a big variety of blades for this saw.
  • Really powerful machine

Cons:

  • It can’t make inside cuts.
  • It can’t make detailed curves.

Similarities between Scroll saw and Band Saw

At first sight, these two look pretty similar. They both come with a table and include a blade that runs perpendicular through its center. Both of the saws are safe, even though the band saw is more powerful. However, here the similarities end since these machines can be used for completely different tasks

Differences between Scroll saw and Band Saw

There are a lot of differences between a band saw and a scroll saw. Actually, these two can be used for completely different projects.

  • Scroll saws use thin and short blades, while band saws have circular, flexible blades that can work continuously.
  • The scroll saw blades can be easily changed since they are small.
  • Scroll saws are perfect for inside cuts, while band saws can be used only for outside cuts. This can be considered as the biggest difference between these saws.
  • Scroll saws can be used for details and small curves, while band saws can be used for big cuttings.
  • Band saws can be used with thick and hard materials, while scroll saws can’t be used for material thicker than 1 inch.

Conclusion

If you have to choose between a band saw and a scroll saw you should definitely consider the kind of task you want to do. These saws are too different, and they can be used for completely different projects.

If you want to make detailed, inside cuts your best choice is a scroll saw. However, if you need a powerful machine for outside cuts and thin materials- you should get a band saw.

We wish you good luck in finding the perfect saw for your job.

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