Bandsaw Vs Scroll Saw: Somewhat Similar, But Quite Different

bandsaw vs scroll saw

Knowing the difference between a bandsaw vs scroll saw is crucial when choosing the right tool for a specific task.

Before going into the analysis of the two tools and determining for which work they are designed, here is the quick answer.


Among the most used woodworking machines, the band saw is used to cut very large and thick materials.

Instead, when you need to make precise and clean cuts for getting complex curves or 90-degree corners, the scroll saw is ideal for performing these tasks quickly and with high accuracy.

Band Saw vs. Scroll Saw: What Is the Difference And For What They Are Used

Even if bandsaw and scroll saw are somewhat similar, they are quite different.

One of the main differences is how the blade works: 

Band saws: the blade moves in a constant direction from up to down. With an appropriate blade, they can perform accurate cuts; however, the blade movement makes the tool more suitable for long and continuous cuts of large materials.

Scroll saws have a short, thin blade that moves in two directions, up and down. This feature makes them more suitable for making clean and precise cuts, ideal for detailed work. Unlike the other type of saw, this tool is more suitable for cutting materials of limited dimensions.

So the matter is: 

What task do you plan to perform with the saw?

Bandsaws (also written band saws) are quite directly employed in woodworking, lumbering, and metalworking. The band saw can create a uniform cutting action due to an evenly dispersed tooth load. It could execute curve shapes and irregular cuts.

All of the band saws operate on an electric motor.

Meanwhile, scroll saws are capable of performing intricate shape and joints on wood with terrific precision and top speed. 

The various other woodworks wherein scroll saws give excellent performance are intarsia projects and dovetail joints. 

When there is a task in mind, the selection between scroll saw vs band saw is straightforward. 

Considerations Regarding Scroll Saw Vs. Bandsaw

We will proceed by listing specific attributes of each saw depending on the outlined parameters. 


Each of the saw is made in a way that they should be installed before use. A band saw carries screws on the side to balance the wood log.


With any saw, it is advisable to keep a variety of high-quality blades suitable for different jobs.

The number of teeth per inch (TPI) will influence the cut you get. Usually, the more teeth per inch, the smoother it is; the lesser teeth per inch, the rougher the cut is.

Band Saw Blades

Regular-tooth cutting blades are the most typical type. They possess straight-faced teeth which are equally spaced and sharp gullets. Regular-tooth modules are designed for conventional objective cutting – both cutoff and contour sawing – in thin materials. They are utilized to cut almost all natural woods and metals.

Hook-tooth blades possess a more bottomless gullet with large teeth which are extensively spaced. It may serve to create faster, rough cuts mainly in plastic material, metal, thick wood, or hardwoods.

Skip-tooth blades possess a low gullet and extensively spaced teeth. It is preferably used for various woodworking applications, particularly when needing to decrease clogging or while using something like nonferrous metals, softwoods or plastic that may gum up the cutting tool.

Scroll Saw Blades - Standard Tooth Blades

The teeth are the equal size and space apart on standard tooth cutting blades. The two main kinds are metal blades and wood blades. The wood blades have more prominent teeth, even more, the distance between the teeth. These are made to clear the sawdust while you cut. The metal blades possess smaller teeth and less space between teeth. I see these a little noisy.

Skip-Tooth Blades

The blades are much like the standard tooth blades; however, some other tooth is absent. The distance (gullet) between teeth is a lot wider and makes the edge much cooler. Skip-tooth blades are suitable for almost all tasks. These are particularly great for starting scrollers. 

Double-Tooth Blades 

This cutting tool is a skip-tooth edge with a sizable distance between sets of 2 teeth. These types of blades cut somewhat slower however render an incredibly smooth cut. 

Reverse Skip-Tooth Blades 

This blade is similar to the regular skip- tooth edge, besides the final few end teeth, point upward. It is ideal for avoiding tear- out or splintering on the base of the cut and specifically with plywood.

While using a reverse skip-tooth blade, you should set the edge in the clamps to ensure only two to three teeth are pointing up above the surface top while the saw arm is within the first position. You might have to trim a bit from the base of the edge to achieve this.

Precision-Ground Blades 

These cutting blades are a skip-tooth blade with little teeth which are ground to shape and not merely filed. The edges are a lot sharper, cut in a straight line, and keep a beautiful area. These are good blades, however quite unforgiving and aggressive. Not recommended for starters. 

Spiral Blades 

The edges are only a group of blades twisted collectively, so there are teeth entirely around. It is possible to cut in every direction without rotating the wood. There are some applications for this type of cutting tool; however, they leave a quite full surface, rough, unable to render a tight or pointed corner, also have a probability of stretching as you employ them. I do not suggest these blades except with unique applications.

Crown-Tooth Blades 

Here is an entirely new type in scroll saw blades. The teeth are designed like a crown with a distance between every tooth. The unique aspect is the cutting tool may be placed in, either way; therefore, you have no upside down using these blades. They cut a bit slower compared to a regular edge; however, they are great for cutting plastics.

Once the blade dulls, one can turn the end for a sharpened edge again.

Video: Scroll Saw Puzzle Dolphin

Here is a small and fun job that you can do with a scroll saw:

Bandsaw Pros & Cons


  • Ideal for heavy and thick materials
  • Cuts precise straight lines swiftly and perfectly
  • Great for making any kind of curved cuts
  • With the proper blade it can cut different materials


  • Rough edge cuts which need sanding
  • Not useful at cutting out designs inside stocks without cutting the edge
  • It is not possible to create grooves with a band saw

Scroll Saw Pros & Cons


  • Best device for woodwork carvings and crafts
  • Makes thin cuts
  • The spiral saw is ideal for making curved cuts
  • Perfect tool for crafts
  • Has the ability to cut out designs inside materials, because of its removable blade


  • It is not possible to cut thick and hard materials
  • Not suitable for precise straight cuts since the scroll saw is made to make curves
  • It takes time to learn how to use it

Safety Tips

Safety measures are vital when using machines of any kind, and as a result, we always advise you to go through the manufacturer's guidelines when buying a new device.

Arranging your work spot and keeping the equipment in order and dust-free is essential, so you get the most exceptional outcomes for most of your woodwork tasks.

When you haven’t made use of a band saw before, take some training tries on scraps of wood before trying to operate on a significant project. 

  • Ensure you always use safety glasses to safeguard your eyes from dust or flakes. 
  • Avoid oil on the floor, or debris and other objects.
  • Always make the workplace childproof. Use padlocks to close the doors, main switches, and always remove the starter keys.
  • Dress appropriately. Do not wear loose clothing, NO ties or rings, and watches when you are at work.


What is the purpose of a band saw?

A band saw (or band saw) is an electric saw with a long top-down vertical scrolling blade made from a toothed metal band stretched between two wheels to cut the material.

How is a band saw measured?

The size of a band saw is determined by measuring the distance between the blade and the vertical frame section of the body of the saw. That measure represents the maximum size (the throat) of the wooden object that the instrument can cut.

What is the throat of a band saw?

The throat is the distance between the blade and the vertical section of the saw frame. This distance determines the maximum width of the cut that the band saw can perform.

Which band saw blades do I need?

For the cutting of thicker pieces up to 8", it is necessary to use a coarse tooth blade (2, 3 TPI). A fine toothed blade (18 to 32 TPI) should be used for 1/4" wood (or plastic). For general 3/4" wood a 4 TPI blade will provide a fast cut or, 14 TPI that will cut more slowly but leave a smoother finish.

What does TPI mean in saw blades?

Teeth per inch = TPI. The number of teeth per inch (TPI), along with the width and depth of the space between them, determines the type of materials that a saw can cut. A low TPI delivers faster cuts and is ideal for cutting large pieces of wood, but they will leave rougher edges.

How is a scroll saw used?

Scroll saws are used to cut intricate curves and joints. They are also a common tool for intarsia projects. With a fine blade, the cut is almost invisible.

What materials can you cut with a scroll saw?

Scroll saws are used for cutting intricate curves or designs in wood, plastic, copper, and other materials.

Popular Band and Scroll Saw Reviews

Rikon 10-305 Bandsaw with Fence Review


A well-known model that you could have come across before is the Rikon 10-305. The tool is a favorite semi-professional band saw present in many workshops worldwide. Thanks to its compact dimensions, it is ideal for small shops or any workplace with limited space.

But how efficiently can it perform and would it be worth the cash?

Let’s find out!

Main Specifications


  • Power: 1/3 HP
  • Amperage: 3.5 A
  • Input Voltage: 110 V
  • Blade Speed: 2,780 SFPM (Surface Feet Per Minute)


  • Length: 70-1/2" (179.1 cm)
  • Width: 1/8” - 1/2” (0.32 cm - 1.27 cm)

Max. Cutting Capacity

  • Height: 4-5/8" (11.7 cm)
  • Widt h: 9-5/8" (24.4 cm)


  • Size: 12-1/12” x 13-3/4” (30.7 cm x 34.9 cm)
  • Tilt: 0 - 45°

Overall Size

  • Height: 33-1/4” (84.5 cm)
  • Width: 21" (53.3 cm)
  • Depth: 15-1/4” (38.7 cm)
  • Base: 9-3/8" x 15-7/8" (23.8 cm x 40.3 cm)
  • Weight: 68 lb (30.8 Kg)


Rip Fence

A metal guide, parallel to the blade, which helps to get a uniform, precise, and safe cut.

Adjustable Manual Post

Allows the necessary adjustments when working with materials of different dimensions.

Dust Port

Keeps your work surface clean from dust and debris. 

Safety Paddle Switch

Provides added safety by preventing accidental starts.

Large Cast Iron Table

Despite being compact, the Rikon 10-305 has a large surface allowing to work with great maneuverability.

Quick Blade Change

The replacement of the blades is ready and fast thanks to the easily adjustable guides.

10" Steel Stand

A reliable and robust support for safe and effective work. (Available separately)


5 years

Rikon 10-305 Pros & Cons


  • Solid and durable steel frame construction
  • Significant and tiltable cast iron surface
  • Affordable price
  • Compact & lightweight
  • Suitable for cutting any type of wood, plastic and soft metal


  • Limited motor power
  • Not suitable for cutting metals
  • To get more stability you might need to buy the steel stand
  • Some users report that the blades are not of high quality; they may need to be replaced

Rikon 10-305 Bandsaw Assembly Video

Rikon 10-305 - The Verdict

Given the affordable price, the Rikon 10-305 with its medium powered motor, it's a very easy to use bandsaw. Thanks to its versatility and durability, it is a worthy investment for semi-professional use, getting started woodworkers or do-it-yourselfers.

WEN 3921 Scroll Saw Review


If you’re not so aware of WEN, here’s a quick one for you.

They provide power equipment since 1951 while having a remarkable set of devices available across their variety. 

The WEN 3921 has a good build quality, is easy to use, and offers many features that other more expensive brands have at a much lower price.

However, is this low-end sliding saw suitable for your needs?

Quick summary below.

Main Specifications 


  • Input Voltage: 110 V
  • Power: 144 W
  • Amperage: 1.2 A


  • Speed: 550 to 1,600 SFPM (Surface Feet Per Minute)
  • Stroke: 9/16" (1.43 cm)
  • Cutting Capacity: 2˝ at 90°


  • Size: 16" x 10" (40.6 x 25.4 cm)
  • Tilt: 0° to 45° left

Overall Size

  • Height: 14-3/4˝ (37.5 cm)
  • Width: 13˝ (33 cm)
  • Depth: 26-3/8˝ (67 cm)
  • Weight: 27.5 lb (12.5 Kg)


Two-Direction Blade

As mentioned at the beginning of this article, the blade moves in two directions, above and below, perfect for detailed cutting.

Variable Speed Control

Variable speed from 400 to 1600 SPM (stroke per minute). This function allows you to adapt the blade speed to the type of material, allowing a more precise and accurate cut.

Cast Iron Table

Spacious table that can be tilted up to 45°.

Sawdust Blower

Air hose to blow off sawdust.

Flexible LED Light

Offers added visibility when the ambient light is not enough.

Three Blades Included

Three different sized blades to be used depending on the material to cut. No extra accessory required to change blades.


2 years

WEN 3921 Pros & Cons


  • Lasting solid build quality
  • The cast iron table is large and allows easy work
  • Effective air pump and dust port
  • Speed control makes the tool versatile and suitable for specific materials
  • Portable


  • Underpowered
  • Not suitable for cutting metals
  • Some report that the included blades are not high-quality and durable

WEN 3921 Scroll Saw Unboxing and Set Up

Wen 3921 - The Verdict

The WEN 3921 is the typical product with excellent value for money. Of course, it has its drawbacks, like the limited power that makes it suitable only for cutting wood and not ideal for heavy-duty tasks. However, with its portability and ease of use, it is perfect for hobbyists and beginners.

Band Saw or Scroll Saw? Conclusion

Each saw is designed to carry out a different type of works. It’s nothing like one saw beats the other. 

It is impossible to cut an intricate edge you need for any craft with a band saw, then again, cannot cut heavy and think lumbers of oaks or pines of irregular patterns into veneers with a scroll saw.