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Scroll Saw vs Band Saw: Which is Best for Your Needs?

Scroll Saw vs Band Saw

Scroll Saw vs Band Saw

When budget or space restraints make you choose between two saws, the decisions can be quite tricky. The scroll saw and band saw are both great saws to own. Each has strengths and weaknesses that should be considered before making your final purchase. In this guide, we will break down the difference between a scroll and a band saw and help you determine which one you should purchase.

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Scroll Saw Overview

a scroll saw A scroll saw looks a bit like a sewing machine. The blade on a scroll saw moves up and down. You can maneuver the workpiece in and out of the scroll saw blade to get the desired cut.

Several types of scroll saw blades are available depending on the kind of work you are trying to do. The blades are narrow and typically not as strong as other options.

Basic Functions

using a scroll saw The essential function of a scroll saw is to make intricate and delicate cuts. The scroll saw is a great choice if you want to make a jigsaw puzzle or an intricate sign. It also has a foot pedal that leaves your hands free to guide your work.

Types of Cuts

Scrolls saws can make straight, angled, or round cuts. Perhaps the most exciting type of cut that a scroll saw can do involves removing the blade and inserting it into the center of your workpiece. When you take the blade out, you can put it back through the center of your piece of wood and carve out circles or other shapes in the interior of your design. This is a feature that most saws do not offer.


A scroll saw is a very safe saw. It is not as powerful as other models, and with the foot pedal to operate, you can really think about what you are doing and keep your hands away from the blades.


The prices of scroll saws vary greatly. You can find scroll saws around $100 and others that get closer to $1000. The difference in pricing depends on the power or the saw and its features.
Scroll Saw Pros
  • Extended reach
  • Clean, precise cuts
  • Can accommodate large boards
Scroll Saw Cons
  • Expensive
  • Complicated to readjust
  • Not good for extreme angles

Our Favorite Scroll Saw of the Year

DEWALT Scroll Saw, Variable-Speed, 1.3 Amp (DW788), Yellow, 20-Inch
  • Double parallel link arm design dramatically reduces vibration and noise for extremely accurate cuts
  • Exclusive tool free blade clamps allow blade changes in seconds. Depth of Cut (inches): 2 inch
  • On off switch, electronic variable speed, flexible dust blower, and blade tensioning lever all located on front upper arm

Band Saw Overview

a horizontal band saw A band saw is a bit different than a scroll saw for several reasons. The band saw is a much larger machine, and it cuts differently than the scroll saw. A band saw’s blade rotates on a band instead of just moving up and down as the scroll saw. Band saws are versatile saws that can be used for various purposes.

The band saw blades are thicker and more reliable than scroll saw blades. This makes them faster at cutting but makes the cut a bit more coarse. You can’t make tight turns, like with a scroll saw, but you can use thick wood, which a scroll saw won’t accommodate. Band saws are popular with furniture makers because you can easily use one to make curved legs for tables and chairs.

Basic Functions

A band saw is used to make cuts in wood (and some other materials). It works very well with straight and angled cuts, but you can also get it to cut round corners. Since the band saw is a bit larger and more powerful than the scroll saw, the cuts will be rougher.

Types of Cuts

Band saws cut angles and straights well. Since they are more robust and powerful than the scroll saw, you can use a band saw to cut a large piece of plywood. Band saws do not allow you to cut an inner circle in a piece of wood like a scroll saw does. If you are working on building furniture, the band saw is a great tool.


Band saws are more dangerous than scroll saws because of their power and size. However, as far as saws are concerned, they are still relatively safe. You must always pay attention to where your hands are when using a band saw, and proper eye protection is a must.


Just like the scroll saw, the band saw has a broad price range. The band saw is more expensive when you compare a high-end band saw with a high-end scroll saw.
Band Saw Pros
  • Extended reach
  • Clean, precise cuts
  • Can accommodate large boards
Band Saw Cons
  • Expensive
  • Complicated to readjust
  • Not good for extreme angles

Our Favorite Band Saw of the Year

Delta 28-400 14 in. 1 HP Steel Frame Band Saw
  • Heavy duty steel frame design reduces flexing and features a superior finish and aluminum trunnion table support for long-lasting...
  • 1 HP, 115V/230V, 1 phase TEFC motor with 2 speeds: 1,620 FPM and 3,340 FPM for wood and non-ferrous metal cutting
  • Two-speed pulley with easy tensioning system

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Which Saw is Right for Your Needs?

A scroll saw and band saw are similar in the work that they can do; however, there are a few differences that should be considered before you make your final purchase.

What Are You Cutting?

a man using a scroll saw If you are making a jigsaw puzzle for your children, there is no question that you will need a scroll saw, not a band saw. Very detailed and intricate work with the band saw will not go as well. If you are a person who likes crafting and ornate projects, the scroll saw is going to be a much better choice.

With a band saw you can still make round, straight, or angled cuts, which makes it quite versatile. The problem is that the cut will be a bit rougher.

If you are building a dining room chair and the cut is rougher, you can sand and finish it and have it come out beautifully. With a jigsaw puzzle, it will be harder to build if the cut is ragged.

Who Is Doing The Cutting?

a man using a band saw Is this a saw you are buying to teach your children how to work with tools? If you want a safe saw that is great for teaching children to work with tools, the scroll saw is the way to go.

The band saw is not the most dangerous saw on the market, but it is louder, larger, and more powerful. As we mentioned earlier, the scroll saw is very similar to a sewing machine. If you think of a residential sewing machine, you can compare the band saw to a commercial sewing machine.


The price difference between these two saws is not enough to help you make a decision. Many professional woodworkers use a scroll saw and a band saw; unfortunately, that is not a reality for most homeowners. If your projects involve working with larger workpieces, we suggest going with the band saw. If you want to make intricate crafts, get a scroll saw.

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Choosing between a scroll saw and a band saw is challenging because, in a perfect world, you would have both. If you work on several woodworking projects, you can probably get away with purchasing either one of these tools. If you work with thicker and heavier materials, the band saw is the way to go. For detail-oriented crafters who want to spend time working on intricate pieces, the scroll saw works best.


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