Top 5 Portable Band Saws for On-the-Go Use in 2018

Ever faced a situation where it felt impossible for you to bring in wood or metal to a workshop for proper cutting? Whether you have portability requirements or are simply looking to work with curved and irregular cuts, a portable band saw could be the answer to your prayers.

When looking to buy the best portable band saw for the money, you need to give due consideration to the aspects of respective power source, size, brand, efficiency of the blade, tilts, miter gauge, fence, and dust controller.

We’ve drafted a list of the top five handheld band saws on the market, in terms of their strength, precision, and versatility. Your decision shall depend upon the length and breadth of your usage.

See also:  Best Stationary Band Saws

Our 5 Favorite Portable Band Saws

ProductWeightPower SourceMax Feet/MinCut Capacity
DeWalt DCS374B13.8 lbs20V cordless490 FPM5 inch
Milwaukee 2429-21XC M1212.4 lbs12V cordless280 FPM1-5/8 inch
DeWalt DCS371B10.3 lbs20V cordless570 FPM2-1/2 inch
Bosch GCB10-514.5 lbscorded electric380 FPM4-3/4 inch
DeWalt DWM120K15.0 lbscorded electric350 FPM5 inch

Portable Band Saw Reviews

#1 – DeWalt DCS374B 20V Max Band Saw

The DeWalt Deep Cut is powered by the popular 20V Max battery line which is well-known for its power and longevity. Technically speaking, it will rip through a 1/4″ mild steel bar, like a knife through French cheese. Moreover, the 5” cut capacity can be used to cut pipe, strut, angle iron, and various other materials.

It will cut curves and is typically a safer, as well as a simpler saw to use than its available counterparts. Also, it’s the best cordless band saw for bundle and layer cutting.

The DeWalt comes with an LED work light with a twenty second delay that enlightens dim work surfaces, for precise cutting, discounting any chance of a wrong cut. From the user’s perspective, it is quick-paced, and the wide cut is ultra-handy compared to the majority of other portable metal band saws available. Also, the safety features of DeWalt are unarguably tops in the market.

While the DCS374B is pretty amazing, it might not be able to achieve the finishing quality of circular saws, and the stock saw blade often does not last too long. Also, keep in mind you will also need to buy a battery unless you already have one from other DeWalt 20V Max tools.

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#2 – Milwaukee 2429-21XC M12 Band Saw

If beauty is in the eye of the cutter, then the Milwaukee “sub-compact” band saw is an attractive piece of machinery with performance to match. Its powerful motor rips 3/4″ EMT in three seconds, and offers about 150 cuts per charge alongside an XC battery. Also, the saw blade’s length is 27” x ½” x .020″ alongside a cutting capacity of 1-5/8″.

Furthermore, the pre-installed LED light is focused around your cut, which enables the blade’s shadow to make a line at the cut point. It offers the ability for single hand operation due to its compact size, and the lightweight cordless is convenient to carry around. The Milwaukee 2429-21XC also offers an adjustable blade tracking and comes with a 5-year warranty, in addition to strict compliance with the OSHA guarding parameters.

Notwithstanding above, Milwaukee is comparatively slower to operate as it is slightly underpowered, rendering it unsuitable for commercial usage. But for normal use around the house, it’s a fantastic compact band saw.

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#3 – DeWalt DCS371B 20V Max Band Saw

The DeWalt 20V Max lithium-ion portable band saw has a 2½ inch cutting capability that can cut through a range of sturdy materials such as pipe, threaded rod, angle iron, and rectangular and square tubing. It is designed for user comfort and comes with an LED work light that lights up dim workspaces for a precise cut.

Moreover, the saw blade system is engineered to enable a smooth blade change via a simplified lever to control tension. Also, it has a blade tracking adjustment that adds mileage to your blades, courtesy of its sophisticated tracking ability.

The DeWalt DCS371B is a lightweight machine that is high on toughness, and is the best handheld band saw for individuals in need of a reliable tool for everyday use.

A comprehensive examination of the product reveals it to be more lightweight than its competitors, and courtesy of its centered handle for precision, is ultra-smooth to operate. Also, the lithium ion battery allows you to work for days without even thinking about recharging, let alone doing it. Moreover, it comes with an integrated hanging hook that allows you to rest it anywhere without risking base or front handle damage.

On the contrary, the 2½ inch capacity to cut gets a majority of the jobs done, but is still not deep enough compared to other options.

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#4 – Bosch GCB10-5 Band Saw

The Bosch GCB10-5 Deep Cut corded portable band saw is an easy to use product that delivers almost spark-free, smooth cuts through conduits, rebar, and other materials such as such as pipes, steel tracks, and threaded rods. These accurate cuts need less rework, and the power of the 10-amp saw is enough to pull off professional jobs on most materials.

The ergonomically designed Bosch GCB10-5 provides a ripping depth of 4-¾, and features a bright LED light to lighten up the cut line for precise cuts. Also, it comes with a saw hook to hang for easy storage. Moreover, the variable-speed settings (starting from 100 ft/minute and up to 380 ft/minute) allow you to sync the cut rate to the material for enhanced precision.

It must be said that the compact design and its light weight also makes it one of the best portable metal band saws for tough spots or for extended usage. This is because the main handle offers a firm yet comfy grip for cutting in many positions, while the auxiliary side handle allows a safe two-handed saw operation.

However, the durability of the product is slightly questionable as the door to access and change the saw blade is comparatively lightweight than other products. Also, the product does not come with a carrying case.

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#5 – DeWalt DWM120K Portable Band Saw

You can probably tell we’re fans of DeWalt band saws. This mighty fella’ offers a 5-inch deep cut capacity powered by a 10 Amp motor, resulting in impeccable performance every time you call it for duty. Also, with the capacity to operate at speeds from 100 to 350 sq ft across a minute, you can adjust the speed dial to get any of your desired results.

The saw has a 5 x 4 3/4-inch ripping capacity for rectangular stock, and offers a blade tracking adjustment that enables you to adjust your blade for a longer life. Adding to its user friendliness are features such as ergonomic grip selections, an LED sight light, and an inbuilt hanging hook.

The DeWalt DWM120K should be near the top of the list for any serious worker, and features all of the qualities of a convenient, yet reliable power tool. This is because the big front handle makes it ultra-easy to handle, and minimizes the chance of harsh abrasions or user fatigue. Also, it offers deeper cutting capacities than most other portable band saws.

The variable speed dial allows a quick precise cut, and is placed within your reach while you’re operating the machine. On the other hand, the saw is marginally on the heavier side which requires some getting used to with respect to the handling.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a portable band saw used for?

The portability of a band saw enables endless possibilities. For instance, it can be used to cut metal signposts, railroad ties, or anything outside the workshop. It can also be used to cut bigger materials unfit for regular band saw machine. Moreover, you can use it to cut pipes, or similar objects since the blades of a portable band saw offer minimum vibration and consistent pressure, resulting in a cleaner cut.

Cordless vs Corded – Which is better?

They both get the intended job done. However, the fundamental difference is that a cordless band saw generally (there are exceptions) has a smaller blade compared to a corded saw. Therefore, it can’t pull enough power to rip through a thick board. It is alright to use a cordless band saw at a jobsite that’s unable to offer a nearby outlet. Also, when you’re doing a LOT of work, having an unlimited supply of power (corded) is more efficient than having to change and charge batteries.

When a power outlet is available, it is recommended to use a corded portable band saw for maximum impact and minimum rework. That said, as technology keeps improving, cordless tools will continue to get more powerful and last longer on a single charge

Conventional vs Portable Band Saw – What’s the difference?

A conventional floor-standing band saw is typically used to cut and carve irregular shapes, tear lumber into slimmer slabs, and to resaw. Also, a band saw makes clean cuts, and given the right blade, it can be utilized to cut sturdy materials such as metal. Obviously, due to its size, a conventional band saw has a much larger maximum cut capacity.

A portable band saw does as its name suggests, i.e. allows you to easily carry it from job to job. Therefore, it’s preferred for bigger projects where the material may not fit into a conventional band saw, or when you’re required to operate the band saw outside of your garage or shop.

What is a Portaband table and do I need one?

Simply put, it is a permanent stand for many brands and models of portable band saws that helps ensure a much more precise cut and a safer way to do it. It is an ideal piece of equipment for those operating within a limited space as well for those eyeing to maximize the potential of their portable band saws. Here are the 2 most common Portaband tables available:

SWAG V3.0 Portaband Table

(for various DeWalt, Milwaukee, Makita, Bosch, Grizzly Tools, and Harbor Freight portable band saws)

SWAG V4.0 Portaband Table

(for various Milwaukee portable band saws)

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