Scroll Saw Vs Band Saw | Which One Is Best For You?

Scroll Saw Vs Band Saw

When you look at a scroll saw, and a band saw sitting side by side, you might barely notice any difference between the two. Both the devices come with a worktable and a perpendicular blade at the center. However, the way they are used is drastically different.

To an untrained eye, it might all look the same. But using a scroll saw when you are supposed to be using a band saw will not yield you the same result. For this reason, it is crucial for you to understand the difference between them.

In this article, we will look at some fundamental differences between the two pieces of equipment so that you can better understand which one is more suitable for your project.


Difference Between Band Saw and Scroll Saw

First, let us start off with a quick overview of both the devices. And then we will talk about band saw vs scroll saw.

When you are working with a delicate project that requires great attention to detail, scroll saws are the way to go. They feature short blades that are thin and can move both in an upwards or downwards motion.

On the other hand, band saws are powerful machines made for larger cuts that do not serve well in delicate projects. The blade moves continuously in a downward motion. These beastly devices can handle thick, robust materials with no hassle.

There is a lot more to learn about these devices. And in the following section of the article, we will have an in-depth look at the machines individually.

What is a Scroll Saw?

For people who are interested in carpentry, a scroll saw is a wonderful tool. It allows you to cut small pieces of almost any material with high precision to make intricate designs.

The blade of this device is short and thin, with a maximum width of ¼ inch in most cases. Depending on the type of material you are cutting, you can switch to a different type of blade.

In a scroll saw, the blade is bi-directional, which means it can move both up and down. It is attached to an arm that leads to the front part of the machine from the back. The blade stands vertically to the worktable at a 90-degree angle.

With a scroll saw, you can make circular cuts and plunge cuts. As a result, it is highly useful in making delicate designs in wooden workpieces. Because of its precision, craftsmen often use this device in projects that require accuracy over speed.

For instance, one of the major uses of the scroll saw is making jigsaw puzzles. If you look at the puzzle blocks, you can see the ability of the machine to make clean, intricate cuts.

On top of accuracy, you also get a smooth texture on the wood when using a scroll saw. In most cases, when you cut using this type of machine, you barely need any sanding.

What Is A Scroll Saw Used For?

There are many advantages to using a scroll saw. They are listed below for your convenience.

Arts and crafts: If you are into arts and crafts, you can make great use of a scroll saw. It is an excellent tool not only for creating jigsaws, but also for making other decorative carvings on wood.

High accuracy and precision: A scroll saw features a small thin blade that works well when making precise and accurate cuts. As a result, it is great for projects where you need to keep sanding to a minimum.

Making inside cuts: What makes a scroll saw unique is its ability to make inside cuts and plunge cuts. Thanks to the small footprint of the blade, you can use it to make designs on the inside of the material without cutting through the outer edge.


Despite its many advantages, a scroll saw has some limitations. They are listed in the following section.

Cannot cut through thicker materials: Since the blade in a scroll saw is quite thin, you will not have a fun time cutting through anything thicker than 3/4-inch. It is one of the biggest drawbacks of a scroll saw.

Struggles with straight cuts: Yes, you can make straight cuts with a scroll saw. However, the blade of the device wobbles when cutting, which can make the final output less than desirable.

What is a Band Saw?

There are many power saws out there to make almost any type of cuts that you might need. But none of them can match the sheer cutting power of a band saw when it comes to making fast and aggressive cuts.

It comes with a long blade that moves in a continuous motion. The blade is at least ¾-inches in width, which is considerably wider than a scroll saw.

However, the blades cannot go both directions in a band saw. Instead, it moves constantly in a downward motion around two wheels, which is attributed to its high cutting force.

Because of this design, it can cut materials of any thickness with no effort. You can even switch up the blades if you require more power, but that is highly unlikely. Although, with aggressive cuts, you also need to worry a bit more about having rough edges.

A band saw can make a wide variety of cuts, but what makes them special is the ability to make straight cuts fast and efficiently. Some devices also come with a fence to give them the ability to make rip cuts. By changing up the jigs, you can make a variety of shapes using a band saw.

Its power and speed make the band saw an invaluable asset in industrial projects. Because of its ability to make all sorts of cuts, it is quite versatile. Whether you are building a cabinet or cutting through thick materials, you cannot go wrong with a band saw.

What Is A Band Saw Used For?

Some of the benefits of having a band saw in your workshop are,

Cutting power: One of the main advantages of the band saw is its cutting power. You do not need to worry whether your tool can cut through the wood if you have a band saw in your workshop.

Making straight cuts: Another field where the band saw shines is its ability to make perfectly straight cuts. There is almost no wobble, which allows you to cut through any material in a straight line.

Speed and power: A band saw is a highly powerful machine that can cut through materials quickly and effortlessly. It can handle a wide variety of jigs that allows you to make many types of cut. Furthermore, it is quite accurate despite its speed.


Despite its massive power, there are a set of disadvantages that comes from using a band saw. They are given below,

Rougher edge: With high cutting power of a band saw, comes the issue of sharp edges. Since it makes aggressive cuts, the sides of the timber are often left quite rough, which requires proper sanding before it can be used.

Inability to make plunge cuts: The band sad shines when it comes to making straight cuts. However, you cannot make inside cuts because of the fixed blade of the saw moving only in the downward direction. For that, you would need a scroll saw.

Band Saw Vs Scroll Saw: Head to Head Comparison

Which one do you prefer? Scroll saw or bandsaw? In the following section of the article, we will map out when you would want to choose one saw over the other. It is split up into several small points to help you get a complete picture of which one to use for your project.

Intended Purpose

The type of project that you are working on primarily dictates the type of saw that you need. For instance, if you want to make intricate designs, then the scroll saw would be a far superior choice. Its oscillating blades would allow you to make a wide range of cuts, including plunge cuts with high precision.

However, if you want to cut through thick pieces of timber, one after the other at a fast time, your best way to go would be a band saw. It comes with high cutting power, which translates to quicker delivery time when making straight cuts. For this reason, you would find a band saw in any timber industry.

The Thickness of The Material

The thickness of the material that you are cutting also requires you to choose one type of saw over the other. Although a scroll saw can pull off complex designs, it lacks the power to cut through thick materials. The thin blade of the scroll saw cannot keep up with the sheer strength of a band saw.

With a band saw, on the other hand, you can cut through thick materials as a hot knife cuts through butter. It is fast, efficient, and does not take much effort on your part. What it lacks in finesse, it makes up for it through power. However, if you are working with thin materials, a band saw might cause it to crack.

Type of Cuts

If you want to make circular cuts or curves, as well as intricate designs, a scroll saw would be the ideal choice. When the scroll saw is in use, you can even move the material around to get the perfect shape. And thanks to the smooth edges, your finished product will not even need any additional sanding.

On the other end of the spectrum, a band saw will not be able to keep up with the precision and accuracy of a scroll saw. It is the perfect tool for making straight cuts efficiently, but when it comes to precision, it suffers. The edges will also be rougher than what you get with a scroll saw.


Both types of saws have something to offer to the user. Each has its own place and reason to be in a workshop environment. One comes with power and the other features precision. However, speaking strictly from the viewpoint of a consumer, one offers more utility.

If you are a DIY enthusiast, your best bet would be to go with a scroll saw. Unless you are working in an industrial environment, it is unlikely that you are cutting through a large number of thick timbers.

In this scroll saw vs band saw guide, you already know that a scroll saw would allow you to make a wider variety of cuts and give you more control over the outcome.

Price Tag

Power tools such as saws are anything but affordable. When buying a power saw, you need to be prepared to pay a hefty price since these are powerful machines capable of performing a lot of tasks in any workshop. But there is a price difference between a scroll saw and a band saw.

A band saw is usually more expensive to buy than a scroll saw. As a result, you would see most DIY enthusiast has a scroll saw somewhere in the workshop. Since a band saw is mostly a commercial tool meant to be in an industrial workshop, it usually costs a lot more to buy.

Final Verdict

As you can see, there is no definitive answer to the question of which saw is better than the other. The two power tools are wildly different from each other, offering a completely different approach to how you cut your material. So, the comparison between the two hardly makes any sense.

We showed you the strengths of both the units, but that does not mean they cannot do anything else. Both devices can be used for a wide variety of projects, and you can use them interchangeably in some cases too.

However, if you are serious about woodworking and have the budget to back it up, you should seriously consider getting one of both devices in your workshop. It would allow you to take on any type of project, whether making precise curves, or straight cuts, without any hassle.

We hope you found our extensive article on scroll saw vs band saw to be informative. It should give you a complete picture of which power saw would serve you better for your specific purpose.

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