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Which bandsaw to choose

by Jack Lewis
posted 03-25-2018 03:27 PM

32 replies so far

View msinc's profile


567 posts in 953 days

#1 posted 03-25-2018 03:36 PM

I had a Grizzly 14” and it worked great. I did not do any resaw work with it and looking back I seriously doubt I could have. I recently updated/upgraded to a 15” PowerMatic. I took a very hard look at the Laguna when I bought it. I just could not warm completely up to those ceramic guides that cost $100 to replace. One thing the PowerMatic has for resaw is a bar you can use in lieu of the fence. Gives a little better control during the cut. As far as the sizes go, the biggest jump is going from a 14” to a 15”. From the ones I have used I believe you would have to go to like a 20” from the 15” to really make it worth while. But, that is just me. No matter what size you get you will always wish it was bigger, but I am so far very happy with the PM1500. Like a lot of things, resawing is as much a matter of using the right blade as it is the right saw.

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

5216 posts in 4409 days

#2 posted 03-25-2018 03:37 PM

Jack, I have the Grizz 0555LX. Use good blades, no riser (yet). Certainly not the capacity of a 17” saw, but does all I’ve ever needed. Good bang for the buck.

-- [email protected]

View Wildwood's profile


2689 posts in 2584 days

#3 posted 03-25-2018 03:48 PM

Think Laguna or Rikon 14” BS’s will get the job done for majority of bowl blanks. If looking at Grizzly do look at their 17” saw over 14”

I have and love my 14” Grizzly BS without riser block BS. Been abusing that saw for years.

Yes lot cheaper to replace steel bearings, but ceramic guids & bearingss do have longer working life. Think if shop around can find cheaper ceramic’s then OEM supplied when time comes.

Plenty of owner reviews right here on all the BS’s you mentioned.

-- Bill

View JuniorJoiner's profile


495 posts in 3889 days

#4 posted 03-25-2018 04:05 PM

i have had a few “new” bandsaws. I had trouble with all of them, most of the 14” saws are imports, and have import motors. problem being they use copper coated aluminum windings, and cheap switches and capacitors. when one of those goes ( my bet is within 18 mos of moderate use) it is quite a task to remove , repair and reinstall a motor from the lower cabinet of a bandsaw. warranty covered or not, u still need to spend your time fixing a machine instead of using it.
14” saws goes through blades quicker. biggers saw means more teeth per blade, less heating, so longer blade life.
i eventually found a old 1973 rockwell 20” with a 1hp motor, haven’t had a issue since.
if u have experience with bandsaws, try the used section and find one worth your dollars and shop time

-- Junior -Quality is never an accident-it is the reward for the effort involved.

View LesB's profile


2151 posts in 3892 days

#5 posted 03-25-2018 05:15 PM

I have been using a 17” Grizzly for about 4 years now and would never go back to a 14” unless I just did not have the space for the bigger saw. That being said if a 14” is set up correctly it should do what your are looking for.

The blades for the Grizzly 17” are an off size (131 1/2”) so they are not available off the shelf in the local big box store. I have no problem getting them made up at my local saw shop, Grizzly has them, and others like Wolf will make them up at little or no extra cost. I just had a 1/4” and 3/8” made for $29.

If you haven’t seen the video by Snodgrass on setting up a bandsaw I suggest you take a look. It is the best info I have seen and is slightly different from others I have checked out.

-- Les B, Oregon

View bigJohninvegas's profile


641 posts in 1911 days

#6 posted 03-25-2018 08:16 PM

I have the grizzly GO513X2 17” saw and I love it. the 131-1/2” blades can be ordered from all the major web sites. But so far I have got all of mine made at a local shop. Phone in what I want and pick up same day most of the time.
I opted not to get the model with the foot brake, and it does take about 40 seconds for the blade to come to a stop on its own. If I remember correctly, its been a little over two years now that I have had this saw. I have not done a lot of re-saw work. Around 8” is the largest I have tried, and had no problem. Most of what I do is turning blanks, and general use. I keep a 1/2” blade in it most of the time. About a 15 minute set up for me to go to a 1/4” blade. I am also a bit new to setting up band saws. So I imagine some will switch blades faster.
When I was shopping I noticed most the 14” saws had a little more re-saw capacity than the 17” saw.
So keep that in mind.

-- John

View CWWoodworking's profile


528 posts in 628 days

#7 posted 03-26-2018 03:04 AM

I would say in largely depends on what you do with it. I cut a crap ton(100-200 pcs/week) of pine into letters, words, hearts, etc. on a 15 year old 15” grizzly. It performs fine for what I do. Have not replace a thing yet. I would love to have a bigger, more powerful saw, but need a table saw more.

I have never resaw on it but I can tell you it would struggle and be slow. IMHO, if you want to resaw, you need a more industrial machine. Meaning 3HP and up.

If you want to do things like I am doing, I cant speak more highly of Carter guides. I was night and day difference.

I also would recommend finding a good supplier of blades. I buy 12 at a time and get a pretty good blade for less than 12$ The same blade from Grizzly I think is 20 plus shipping, and isn’t as good.

View DocFluty's profile


6 posts in 657 days

#8 posted 03-26-2018 05:48 AM

I just sold my grizzly 555lx. never got a real good feel from it. I finally got it acceptable after some timberwolf blades but then grew frustrated by the 6” resaw capaicty. I could have got blocks but I felt like that was sticking on a band-aid. The fence and other issues would never give me the confidence I want.

So I sold it and will be picking up a Laguna before the month end. I was going to get the 14bx but now with 10% off the 18bx is only $300 more than I was going to spend anyway… so now I’m ordering that one.

I really like the innovative features such as the foot brake and others. I say get the best version of a Laguna that you can while there is a sale.

View Wildwood's profile


2689 posts in 2584 days

#9 posted 03-26-2018 10:28 AM

I like both 110 or 220V version of this BS, if were buying a saw today. Don’t have 220V in my shop so would op for 110V.

Have seen lot of reviews on this BS with few hick up and little cheaper than BX version but would buy the BX model.

-- Bill

View Sparks500's profile


255 posts in 780 days

#10 posted 03-26-2018 12:04 PM

Last year I picked up a used Grizzly GO457. It comes with a 2HP motor, cast iron wheels, blade tension relief, and this one had the Carter guides installed. I’ve enjoyed using it so far and the only drawback that I see with it is it needs 240 volts. I did have to mess around with the blade tensioner, as it was assembled wrong from the factory, apparently.

-- A good day is any day that you're alive....

View Woodmaster1's profile


1192 posts in 3036 days

#11 posted 03-26-2018 01:16 PM

I have the Rikon 14” deluxe bandsaw and just cut 7 logs 12” to just under 13” diameter in half. The process went very smooth and blanks were cut very smooth as well. I do have a 3/4” resaw blade on the saw which helps.

View RandyinFlorida's profile


257 posts in 2517 days

#12 posted 03-26-2018 01:18 PM

Grizzly G0555X. Had mine now for 3 years. I’m happy with it. Yes, as mentioned earlier, only six inches of resaw capacity. Enough for me. Buy quality blades, tention them properly, good to go.

-- Randy in Crestview Florida, Wood Rocks!

View Robert's profile


3470 posts in 1930 days

#13 posted 03-26-2018 02:02 PM

Factors for a resaw machine:

1. Capacity
2. HP

I’ve resawed on 1HP 14” saws in the past and it can be done, but…..

I have the Rikon 10-345 18” & it does an excellent job. My only comments are the capacity is only 11 1/2” and the motor went out after about 6 or 7 years of light use and the fence is a little cheesy.

But the machine is a beast and holds it settings.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View toolfooldan's profile


66 posts in 2088 days

#14 posted 03-26-2018 02:42 PM

I have the Rikon 18”. Bought it on sale for ~$800 from Woodcraft. It’s going on 10 years now and there have been no major problems; but it gets light use. Other than the roller bearings, no parts have been replaced. I’ll need to replace the tires soon.

My beef with this saw is I believe the blade guide post is a wee bit sloppy. And resetting the roller bearings after a blade change is a total royal pain. You’ll get the bearings where you want them, and then they’ll move when you tighten the bolt. So its necessary to compensate for this.

As rwe2156 mentioned, the fence is cheesy and really not suitable for resawing, imo.

View Steve's profile (online now)


1465 posts in 1031 days

#15 posted 03-26-2018 06:26 PM

Hopefully I’ll be able to use my Rikon 10-326 at some point. It looks like they are on backorder until May after the Woodcraft sale. :(

View AZWoody's profile


1456 posts in 1673 days

#16 posted 03-26-2018 06:41 PM

I can’t remember the model but it was the 17” Anniversary model from Grizzly that I had and you had seen in my shop. I used it a lot and it did a really good job with a wide blade that I used for cutting up blanks, etc.

If you do go the Grizzly route, I would definitely recommend one of the 17” variants. If you do use it to chop up some of those pieces of logs you have, you would probably want cast iron wheels to help keep inertia going through the heavier cuts.

View gargey's profile


1013 posts in 1225 days

#17 posted 03-26-2018 06:41 PM

Laguna 14-12.

P.S. I have never owned a bandsaw. I used one once in high school.

View jimintx's profile


917 posts in 2033 days

#18 posted 03-26-2018 07:10 PM

Plenty of owner reviews right here on all the BS s you mentioned.
- Wildwood

Exactly! I wonder if it is bandsaws or dust collection are responsible for generating the most threads on Lumberjocks …?

Lots of reviews, and multiple “question” threads like this one that ponder what to buy. Each has many useful replies. You should search the site, and read them all. I feel strongly that once you do that, you will conclude that the choice falls to you, and that none of the three brands (Rikon, Laguna, Grizzly) truly stands out as being more widely hailed than the others.

Many choices are personal. Some would not have anything but than ball bearing guides, others swear by ceramics. Some really want 220v saws, some can accomplish everything just fine w 110v motors. And so on. Some specify a top budget number, others do not. And so on. I see it as a classic Ford vs GM argument. (I’d say GM, btw. ;-D)

And if you are looking for a new, modern design saw – like I was – then you just have to ignore the camp that will tell you to not buy new, and to not buy anything made past about 1965 +/-, and to spend all your time scanning craigslist.

-- Jim, Houston, TX

View Andybb's profile


1938 posts in 1053 days

#19 posted 03-26-2018 07:12 PM

Just bought a Laguna 1412. Love it. LJ post & youtube video.

-- Andy - Seattle USA

View WoodworkingVet's profile


18 posts in 831 days

#20 posted 03-26-2018 07:54 PM

I’ve had my Rikon 10-326 bandsaw now for about eight or nine months and can’t say enough good things about it. I have resawn up to 13” on numerous occasions and only had a problem once but that was due to a dull blade, not the bandsaw itself. I made a circle cutting jig and cut bowl blanks regularly, usually between six and ten inches high. My favorite blade is a 3/8” skip tooth blade. When I first bought the bandsaw I had a minor issue with the fence, I called Rikon and they overnighted me a new one. Excellent and no-hassle service from them.

Changing blades is a breeze too, their quick adjust guide bearings actually makes changing blades a quick process. I would not hesitate to buy another one if I had to.

View ArtMann's profile


1417 posts in 1265 days

#21 posted 03-27-2018 01:30 AM

I am another happy Laguna 14/12 owner. I resaw 8 – 12 inch hardwood fairly often and it works fine. If I had a large quantity to do, I would want a 3 hp saw for speed but it just isn’t worth the money for my work.

I also own an older steel frame Rikon and I agree about the poorly designed bearing blade guides. They are terrible. I understand the newest Rikons are better.

View DaveInGA's profile


21 posts in 604 days

#22 posted 03-27-2018 05:41 AM

Hopefully I ll be able to use my Rikon 10-326 at some point. It looks like they are on backorder until May after the Woodcraft sale. :(

- bndawgs

I just bought one from Utterguys in FLA for $899.00 delivered to a local trucking outfit. Drover over there and they put it in the back of my F150 pickup with a camper shell no problem. Tomorrow I’ll get it out and put it in the Garage. If yours is going to be a lot cheaper, stick with it, but if you’re not saving any more money than what I spent, cancel and get one from Utterguys.


-- Dave back into woodworking in Jefferson, GA

View jimintx's profile


917 posts in 2033 days

#23 posted 03-27-2018 05:55 AM

My choice was the Rikon 10-326. It is an all round fantastic machine.

-- Jim, Houston, TX

View Tennessee's profile


2901 posts in 2963 days

#24 posted 03-27-2018 11:54 AM

Another vote for the Grizzly 0513, but I own the X2BF with the electric brake.
Now in its sixth year, I don’t think I could ever own a big bandsaw without an electric brake again.

I also own the Powermatic 14” with the 6” riser. Great saw, but I really tire of waiting for the wheels to stop after being spoiled by my Grizzly.

Until you experience the electric brake, you just don’t realize the time savings, and the extra safety.

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View Nubsnstubs's profile


1588 posts in 2179 days

#25 posted 03-27-2018 01:42 PM

So Jack, anyone convince you which one to get? I agree with Wildwood on all the BS answers you you need and jimintex about it going to be up to you to make the final decision…......... Jerry(in Tucson)

-- Jerry (in Tucson)

View jimintx's profile


917 posts in 2033 days

#26 posted 03-27-2018 03:04 PM

... ... Until you experience the electric brake, you just don t realize the time savings, and the extra safety.
- Tennessee

I came within a very tiny increment of selecting the Rikon 10-353, versus the 10-326.
~ I would have gotten a blade brake, and – a 3hp 220v motor, and an additional dust port.
~ I also would have spent several hundred dollars more, call it 30 to 50 percent more depending on who has what on sale.

My last second choice was to stick with the more affordable cost. The 10-326 has been a great decision, but obviously I have not had the 10-353 sitting next to it for direct usage comparison.

To echo Jerry’s question: how are you leaning on the bandsaw topic, Jack?

-- Jim, Houston, TX

View bigJohninvegas's profile


641 posts in 1911 days

#27 posted 03-27-2018 03:36 PM

I think you will be happy with the saw you choose from the brand names you are looking at.
I read a bunch of reviews before buying my saw. But it was the side by side comparisons, reading all the specs on the saws I was considering that led me to my choice. I did choose to save some money and picked the model that did not have the break. I don’t really regret that, but the break would be nice. At the time I spent 1100, and the saw with the brake would have been 275 more.

-- John

View LazarusDB's profile


36 posts in 614 days

#28 posted 03-27-2018 03:47 PM

Another vote for the Rikon 10-326. Bought mine last summer and think it’s awesome.

-- Aaron - Aspiring Craftsman

View eflanders's profile


326 posts in 2299 days

#29 posted 03-27-2018 04:12 PM

I bought a Steel City 14” w/riser and granite table several years back. Before I bought it, I had checked out the Laguna and did care for the ceramic guides. I also looked at the Grizzly and Rikon units. Based on features and value I got what I did. Well the motor died about 3 years later (1-1/2 horse). Then the power switch also failed. Plus the fence is not very secure so I had to modify it. So I have a lot invested into this saw and thus it’s initial cost was no real savings. If I were going to replace it now, I’d probably get a Grizzly or Rikon with brake and larger than 14”. I would never accept a smaller horsepower unit for resaw work than 1-1/2 horse. 2 horse or greater. I’d stay with bearing guides and look for a decent fence from the factory. I’ve used the older delta units and the Powermatic units. The PM is very nice but not enough to pay the cost differential even though I went through a low cost unit previously.

View Steve's profile (online now)


1465 posts in 1031 days

#30 posted 03-27-2018 04:14 PM

Hopefully I ll be able to use my Rikon 10-326 at some point. It looks like they are on backorder until May after the Woodcraft sale. :(

- bndawgs

I just bought one from Utterguys in FLA for $899.00 delivered to a local trucking outfit. Drover over there and they put it in the back of my F150 pickup with a camper shell no problem. Tomorrow I ll get it out and put it in the Garage. If yours is going to be a lot cheaper, stick with it, but if you re not saving any more money than what I spent, cancel and get one from Utterguys.


- DaveInGA

I got it during their 15% off sale, so it was $900 after tax. I’ll still have to pick it up, but I’m not necessarily in too big of a rush for it as I’m still trying to get all my space worked out. They gave me a $50 gift card so far for the delay.

View CWWoodworking's profile


528 posts in 628 days

#31 posted 03-29-2018 03:23 AM

When thinking about an older bandsaw, please think about who you are. Personally, I hate fixing things so I steer clear of older machinery. But I know a lot of people who love fixing them up like a muscle car.

I am all about production and making stuff. I hate down time/working on saws.

View edapp's profile


293 posts in 1879 days

#32 posted 03-29-2018 12:49 PM

My fist impressions of my Laguna 18BX are very good. Have only made a few cuts with it so far, so I cant give a thorough review, but I am very happy with my purchase at this point. Love the size (coming from a 14” machine), the table is enormous, foot brake is a very nice feature. Dust collection seems good and the power/weight of the wheels is very noticeable coming from my older saw (lightweight craftsman saw).

I went back and forth on the laguna 14bx and 18bx. I did not NEED the larger saw, but I am very glad I have it.

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