Learn about the best saw blades for your sawing needs

What Is A Portable Band Saw?




Affiliate Disclaimer

As an affiliate, we may earn a commission from qualifying purchases. We get commissions for purchases made through links on this website from Amazon and other third parties.

A portable band saw is a smaller, more portable version of a regular band saw and is more compact and easier to transport.


They are useful tools for anyone in the woodworking, plumbing, or arts and crafts industries.

They are also known as portabands and come in a variety of shapes and sizes. These handheld power tools are effective in making precision cuts and straight or irregular curved shapes.


The Specifics Of A Portable Band Saw


Portable band saws are built with a long, continuous blade rounded around two wheels (top and lower wheels).


The blade is in constant motion while the material is run through it.


The top wheel guides the blade band, and the lower wheel is responsible for controlling the speed and keeping the blade moving.


What Are Portable Band Saws Used For?


Portable bandsaws are mobile and less expensive saws that aid in the completion of smaller jobs or can be used to finish cuts made on a larger saw.


They are best known for making precise cuts or cutting metal sheets, but their versatility extends far beyond that. Here are some applications for a portable bandsaw:


Metal Fabrication


A portable band saw is commonly found in shops that specialize in metal fabrication. They can cut metal pipes, bar stock, and screws, as long as their diameter is within the saw’s reach.


They cut steel sheets and other metals in straight lines, making it easy to fabricate square or rectangular shapes. 


Cutting Pipes


Pipefitters use portable bandsaws as a handy tool when installing and maintaining piping systems.


They are used to cut pipes to the correct lengths and to make precise cuts. A deep-cut portable band saw adds depth to a cut pipe.


Decorative Cuts


One of the most common applications for a portable bandsaw is in decorative work. This tool has low vibration and is used to make clean-cut edges on wood.


It is used to make notches and birdsmouth cuts, repair items, and make crafts at home.


Cutting Rebar


Workers on construction sites often use angle grinders and metal-cutting saws to size rebars, but that generates sparks.


Portable band saws are ideal for cutting rebar because they don’t generate sparks, making the workplace safer.


They are also useful on the job site for rebar trimming and resizing.


Creating Wood Joints


Portable band saws are used for cutting wood and carrying out other woodworking tasks.


They are excellent for cutting tenon and scarf joints. These joints are used to join two pieces of wood together, and the portable band saw’s thin blade makes it ideal for the job.


While vertical band saws can produce excellent results, the portability of the powerful band saw makes it an excellent tool for creating wood joints.


Slicing Timber

Band saw cutting logs

The portable bandsaw is among the few saws that can be used to cut large pieces of wood into smaller pieces. They’re commonly found in lumberyards and are extremely useful for cutting down lumber into manageable sizes.


The portable saw can easily cut a 12″ cube of lumber into small pieces.


Related Article – Best Portable Band Saws


Things To Look For When Buying A Portable Band Saw


Portable saws can be used for remodeling, repairs, and crafting. Woodworkers and plumbers benefit from them as tools, though picking the right one for their jobs is crucial. 


Some of these tools are classified according to their grade. They come at a variety of price points and can be commercial or residential grade.


Even though the portable saw is a useful tool, several smaller models are available, from the Dewalt portable band saw to some Milwaukee tools. Each of these models has different specifications depending on what it’s used for. 


The best portable band saws have a few attributes that set them above the rest.


Power Source


Before purchasing or renting a band saw, it’s important to consider the power supply. Corded or cordless portable bandsaws are available, and the location where the saw will be used will influence your purchasing decision. 


If you’re using the tool in an area where electrical extensions aren’t feasible, consider purchasing a battery-powered band saw or cordless portable band saws.


If power is available in the form of a socket, generator, or from a nearby home, a band saw with an extension will work fine. Battery-powered saws are more expensive than standard A.C. voltage band saws.


Cutting Capacity


One of the most significant differences in portable band saw specifications is the cutting capacity.


When faced with a vast array of options, it usually helps to narrow your choices. The square dimensions of most products are the same but look for differences in the width and depth dimensions. 


Choosing a band saw with sufficient cutting capacity will improve both the quality and the speed of your work. Smaller one-handed models have a cutting capacity of 1.5 by 1.5 inches, while larger models have a cutting capacity of 5 by 5 inches.


Size And Portability


These are important factors to consider before purchasing a bandsaw. People who use these tools at home might not be concerned about this, but those who use them all day will want to reduce their bulk. 


Overuse of plastics reduces the durability of low-cost band saws, but aluminum and plastics help to lighten these tools. The battery specifications are not frequently included in the specifications of a cordless band saw and will add additional weight based on battery size.


Check the external dimensions if you’re working in a confined space, as some saws have a single handle or an auxiliary one.


Speed And Blade Type


A portable band saw’s speed is measured in surface feet per minute (SPFM) or feet per minute (FPM). Some of the best portable band saw models have speeds of up to 550 FPM, allowing them to cut through a variety of materials quickly. 


Although many portable bandsaws have six speed settings, a variable speed can be controlled by a trigger. A thumb-mounted variable speed trigger is used to adjust the speed, making it easier to control and change the saw speed as you cut. 


A portable band saw is typically regarded as a tool for cutting heavy steel, metal, and iron sheets, and thus comes equipped with blades to do so.


Blades for cutting wood can also be purchased from the manufacturer. If they need to be replaced, it is best to invest in quality blades rather than cheap blades that will wear out quickly. 


Another accessory to think about is a LED work light, which lights up dark work surfaces and corners, and rubber bumpers that go around the outside of the wheel shrouds to protect them from damage and absorb impacts. 


Inspection Checklist before Using A Portable Bandsaw


You should inspect or check a few things before using this tool. 


Some bandsaws are lighter and more mobile for cutting overhead pipes; you can go to the material instead of bringing the material to the saw.


When you have your band saw, you should become familiar with it.


Begin by handling it; this will help you become familiar with the saw’s shape, weight, and size. 


It will also help you figure out how to hold the tool, and a few practice cuts will help you discover if shards of metal or wood and going to fly off in certain directions when you are trying to make a straight cut.


You should inspect the blade before using it. Checking the tooth-per-inch gauge on the blade will help you determine if you’ve installed the correct blade for cutting that material. You should also inspect the blade speed, tension, and tracking daily.


To release tension, use the blade tension release handle and check the condition of the band wheel, transmission, and hydraulic fluid to see if it needs to be replaced or is stuck with chips.


Every six months, inspect the band wheel bearings, guides, vises, and belts. Look for flange, surface tears, cracks, chips, and unusual wheel movement.


Inspect the drive, cooling system, hydraulic, and chip removal systems before each use. Replace the coolant as needed to avoid overheating and machine wear and tear. 


Adjust the variable speed with the trigger switch to ensure the blade guides ride correctly with the band blade tracks. During the inspection, look for speed and blade movement that doesn’t seem right, chips, surface wear or tear, conveyor problems, and oil leaks. 


There is no requirement to wear gloves, but you should protect yourself from flying chips and other unforeseeable causes of injury. Safety glasses are a must.


Final Thoughts


Portable bandsaws are more mobile, less expensive, and more durable than standard ones. They are used to trim metal, cut curves, and perform woodworking functions. They assist individuals and industrial workers in performing both light and heavy-duty tasks. 


It’s important to consider the saw’s cut capacity, size, and power supply before making a purchase. The cut capacity of the saw impacts the machine’s performance and efficiency. Check the condition of your portable band saw’s parts to make sure they are safe and work well. 


Schedule regular maintenance and checks to avoid wear, tear, and leaks in the operating system. The operator’s manual will tell you how to keep a portable band saw in good shape and how to use it. 


About the author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Latest posts

  • What is Band Saw Used For – Complete Guide With Best Applications

    What is Band Saw Used For – Complete Guide With Best Applications

    A band saw is a versatile power tool used in various industries and applications. It consists of a continuous loop of toothed metal blade stretched between two or more wheels in a vertical or horizontal position. The blade of a band saw moves in a continuous motion, allowing for precise and efficient cutting of different…

    Read more

  • How to Set Up A Band Saw – Comprehensive Guide

    How to Set Up A Band Saw – Comprehensive Guide

    Setting up a band saw may seem like a daunting task, especially for beginners. With the right information and guidance, it can be a straightforward process. In this article, we will provide a step-by-step guide on how to set up a band saw and ensure its optimal performance. Whether you are a DIY enthusiast or…

    Read more

  • How Does a Vertical Band Saw Work – A Comprehensive Guide

    How Does a Vertical Band Saw Work – A Comprehensive Guide

    A vertical band saw is a versatile power tool used for cutting various materials with a long, continuous band of metal with teeth along one edge. The band is looped around two or more wheels, one of which is powered, creating a continuous cutting motion. The saw’s name is derived from its vertical orientation, which…

    Read more