Best Band Saw Blades

Updated January 2020
Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
Bottom Line
Pros
Cons
Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

23 Models Considered
7 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
318 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best band saw blades

Last Updated January 2020

The blade is the heart and soul of a band saw. You need a large enough table to comfortably hold the material you’re cutting and fences to keep everything properly aligned, but without a good blade, the rest is just a hunk of metal.

If you’re new to band saws or haven’t used them very often, you might think the blade it came with is all you’ll ever need. However, band saw blades wear out and get dull just like any other saw or sharp cutting edge. Sometimes they can be resharpened, but they often break, forcing you to go looking for a new blade.

Band saw blades vary in their teeth per inch, blade thickness, material, and other features. In addition, the material you hope to use your band saw for should impact which blade you choose.

A generic blade will get you through most cutting jobs, but if you want to get the most out of your band saw, you need to consider the different blades that are available. Keep reading our buying guide for a walkthrough of everything you need to know before purchasing a band saw blade.

The kerf is the slot left behind by the blade when you cut wood or metal. The thicker the blade, the wider the kerf will be.

What are you cutting?

While there are band saw blades that will cut both wood and metal, you are generally better off getting a blade designed to work with your primary material.

Wood

A blade with fewer, larger teeth will be ideal for making rough cuts in lumber, particularly if the wood is intended to be used inside a wall or positioned where it will never be seen. Framing two-by-fours, for instance, will be hidden once they’re in place, so it doesn’t matter if the edges on them are a little rough.

If you’re cutting wood for cabinets, furniture, or doors, then you’ll want a different blade. Ideally, you’ll get a blade that is thinner so it chews up less wood and has more teeth for a smoother cut.

As a general rule, the more teeth a blade has, the smoother the cut it will make. Though there are exceptions to this, it is a reliable standard. As a result, if you’re doing fine finish work you’ll need a different blade than if you’re making rough cuts.

Metal

Cutting metal not only requires more teeth on the blade but also requires a different style of teeth. If you’re primarily cutting metal, you should look for a tooth style known as a skip tooth blade.

DID YOU KNOW?

A blade with a large set means the teeth will protrude further to the sides and leave behind a wider slot. This, in turn, eats up more wood.

Features

Material

Low-carbon steel

Band saw blades made from low-carbon steel are normally intended for crosscutting or resawing wood stock. These blades often have fewer teeth and produce rougher cuts than blades made from other materials.

High-carbon steel

Band saw blades made from high-carbon steel are stronger than low-carbon steel blades and are generally intended for cutting hardwoods, plastics, and non-ferrous metals.

Bi-metal

Bi-metal blades are made from alloys of two different metals, usually high-carbon steel and another metal. Cobalt is frequently used as the second metal.

The combination of two metals increases the strength of the band, improves the hardness of the teeth, helps it resist heat, and prevents fatigue from bending. Bi-metal blades are normally used for cutting metal.

Width

The wider the blade is from the teeth to the back, the stronger it will be. It will also be more likely to break as it goes around the wheels in your band saw — the wider the blade, the more it will resist bending. This increases the strain on the band saw in addition to increasing the odds of breaking the blade.

However, wider blades are stronger and better suited to cutting through thick materials. Finding the right combination of strength and flexibility is a delicate balancing act.

Teeth per inch

Teeth per inch (TPI) measures how many teeth are on the blade for each linear inch. The more Teeth per inch the blade has, the more aggressively it will cut the wood. Low TPI blades should be used for rough cuts and resawing wood stock.

Blades with a high TPI count cut slower and therefore remain in the wood longer. This increases the chances of burning the wood due to friction. However, high TPI count blades give you a smoother cut and are also useful for cutting metal.

Gullet

The space between each tooth on the blade is called the gullet. It is where sawdust and wood fibers (or metal shavings) are collected while the blade is cutting through the material. If the gullet is too small and becomes full before the blade exits of the material, the excess material will begin spilling over the side while the blade is still cutting and force the blade to one side or the other. This is the main cause of wavy cuts.

Slow down the rate at which you’re pushing the material through the saw or slow down the blade speed to compensate for shallow gullets. Also, remember that the gullet is the thinnest part of the blade and therefore the weakest. Too much sawdust in the gullet puts an extra strain on the blade, leading to more frequent breaks.

Set

Look closely at the teeth on the blade, and you’ll discover that the tips are bent slightly in a pattern. One will tip be up, the next one down, and the next one straight — then the pattern repeats. The amount of bend to the teeth is called the set. It usually averages around 0.022 inches, which creates just enough space around the blade to keep it moving through the wood or metal you’re cutting and to keep the blade from being pinched or trapped.

Hook angle

Related to the set is the hook angle of the teeth. The larger the angle, the more aggressively the tooth will cut into the wood. A hook angle of 10° is good for rough cuts, whereas a hook angle of 4° will be better for cutting metal. If a tooth cuts too aggressively into the metal, it can snag and break off. A smaller hook angle allows the teeth to scrape across the metal rather than cut down into it.

DID YOU KNOW?

The blade pitch is the distance between the teeth. For example, a blade with a pitch of 7/8 inches means the teeth are spaced 7/8 inches apart. The blade pitch will determine the number of teeth per inch.

Accessories

While you’re shopping for a new band saw blade, consider picking up a few other accessories to help you make clean cuts.

Band saw fence: Kreg KMS7200 Band Saw Fence
A band saw fence attaches to the table of your band saw and keeps the material you’re cutting moving in a straight line while it is being cut. Without a fence, it would be impossible to get a straight cut. This popular fence from Kreg is easy to adjust and works with a variety of 14-inch band saws.

Saw blade lubricant: OLSON SAW Band Saw Lubricant
All moving parts require lubrication, and band saw blades are no exception. Lightly lubricate the blade before using it, then clean and lubricate it again when you’re finished. Your blade will last longer and perform better if you do. This lubricant from OLSON is designed specifically for band saws and is moderately priced.

Band saw blade prices

Inexpensive band saw blades cost between $7 and $10, but the low price doesn’t necessarily mean low quality. These blades are often good, general-purpose blades that are not designed for cutting a specific material.

Midrange band saw blades cost around $10 to $20. At the higher end of the range is where you’ll find blades for cutting metal.

Over $20 is the high end of the price range, and most of these are larger blades for rough cuts on wood stock.

DID YOU KNOW?

Thick blades, like wide ones, produce stronger, straighter cuts but are more prone to breaking.

Tips

  • Ripping, resawing wood stock, and general crosscutting is best done with a blade that has 3 TPI.
  • Adding extra tension to a dull blade will help it cut better, but it will also put more strain on the blade, increasing the chance that it will snap and fly off. It’s better to replace the blade with a sharp one.
  • Release the tension on the blade when the saw isn’t in use. Constant tension is not good for the pulleys and wheels in the saw or the blade itself.
  • As with any power tool, you should always wear safety glasses when using a band saw to prevent injury.

Other products we considered

If you didn’t find what you were looking for in our top recommendations, we have a few other products to consider.

For cutting softwood, hardwood, plastics, and non-ferrous metals, we recommend the POWERTEC 70-1/2-Inch X 1/8-Inch 14 TPI Band Saw Blade. It is made from high-grade carbon steel that is heat resistant. This is a good, all-purpose blade for all of your general cutting needs. However, it is a fairly thin blade that has been known to snap at the weld.

We also like the Wolf-Band 44-7/8-Inch X 1/2-Inch 18 TPI Band Saw Blade by Lennox Tools. It has high-speed steel-cutting teeth and comes in a five-pack so you'll always have extra blades in case one of them breaks or becomes too dull. When you're cutting steel, the blade will dull, so having spares is a major plus.

If your band saw is running too slowly, the blade will wobble as it cuts through the material, producing wavy cuts.

FAQ

Q. Why isn’t my band saw cutting?
A.
The two most common reasons are that the blade is dull or the tension needs to be adjusted.
 

Q. Why is my band saw trying to pick the material up off the table?
A.
The electrical wiring is probably reversed and the blade is running backward. The normal mode of operation is for the blade to run down into the slot in the table. This helps press the material down on the table and keep it in place. If yours is running the opposite direction, call an electrician to fix the wiring.
 

Q. I keep getting poor cuts and my blades are always breaking. What’s wrong?
A.
You may have a problem with the rear guide behind the blade. When the blade is standing still, there should be a tiny gap between the guide and the blade that is about the thickness of a playing card. If the guide is touching the blade when it’s not running, that means it is forcing the blade forward, making it bow out to one side or the other. This creates wavy cuts and strains the blade, which is why it keeps breaking.

The team that worked on this review
  • Ciera
    Ciera
    Digital Content Producer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Michael
    Michael
    Writer

BestReviews wants to be better. Please take our 3-minute survey,
and give us feedback about your visit today.

Take Survey