When you want precision and detailed woodwork, you go straight for the scroll saw. The problem with this is that they can be pretty expensive, and no one wants to waste a lot of money on a product that doesn’t live up to their expectations.
To help ease your mind, we’ve put together this article where we’ll be discussing some of our top recommendations so that you can find the best scroll saw for your needs.
Top 4 Scroll Saws For 2018
In the table below, you’ll find four of the best scroll saws on the market, as well as a couple of important specifications for each of them. This is just a taster, so don’t go rushing to a decision just yet – the main course is still to come.
|Scroll Saw||Speed (SPM)||Table Size|
|Shop Fox W1713||550-1700||9x16”|
|Delta Power Tools 40-694||400-1750||16x24”|
Now that you’ve had a quick look at the products we’ll be reviewing, let’s explain what exactly we’ll be looking for. Any strengths and weaknesses each saw has, where it excels, where it could use some work, and who it’s best suited for. Let’s jump right in with the least expensive model, the WEN 2930.
WEN 3920 – Best Budget Scroll Saw
The WEN 3920 is a very inexpensive scroll saw that comes in that distinctive black and orange color scheme that power tool manufacturers love. You might be a little skeptical – after all, what kind of quality can you expect from a saw that costs a little over $65?
Well, let’s see.
For a start, there’s a good range of speeds. You can choose to use 400 strokes per minute (SPM) for more delicate tasks or go as high as 16000 SPM to get through the toughest materials. Additionally, this saw accepts blades facing different directions which allows you to better tear through your materials.
The table measures 16 by 11” and can level up to 45° to the left to help you make angled cuts. It also has a 16” throat depth, can slice through the wood that’s up to 2 inches thick and a cast-iron base for increased stability.
This saw comes with a wide range of accessories, including a flexible work light, an air pump to help remove sawdust, a dust port, a foot locking clamp, three starter blades and a compartment to store them in.
There’s also a hold down clamp so you don’t have to get your fingers too close to the blade when the saw is running.
It weighs 26.5 pounds and measures 24” long, 11” deep and 13” tall, so it’s a pretty heavy saw, but it’s not too large, meaning you can tuck it into the corner of your garage or workshop if you’d like. The large weight means that there’s less vibration than with lighter models and you also have the option of mounting it to reduce this even further.
As if this wasn’t enough, it comes with a 2-year warranty, so if anything goes wrong, you’re covered and not left out of pocket. You also have access to a hotline to call for tech support, should you need it.
All things considered, this is a pretty decent scroll saw given its low price.
It would make a good saw for beginners thanks to its high versatility and the large range of included accessories, although some more experienced users might find its top speed underwhelming.
What We Liked
- Two year warranty included
What We Didn’t Like
- Low top speed
Dremel MS20-01 – Best Portable Scroll Saw
The MS20-01 from Dremel is an easily portable scroll saw that can be placed just about anywhere thanks to its quick clamping base – you can mount it to a workbench, table or desk just by tightening a nut on the bottom.
It’s another variable speed saw, and has a higher top speed than any other on this list, at 2250 strokes per minute, however, as its low-speed setting is already similarly higher than most (1500 SPM), this saw isn’t great for delicate tasks – rather, it excels at cleaving through thick, stubborn materials.
Another interesting aspect of this model is its ability to be removed from its fittings and used as a handheld coping saw. This allows for more accurate curves and less risk of injury, making it both safer than a traditional scroll saw and more practical.
There’s also a dust port and a vacuum adaptor so you can keep the table surface clean and free of dust or debris as you work.
Speaking of the table, it measures 8.75”, so there’s plenty of space, plus it has markings on it at 15° intervals to help you line cuts up perfectly.
The whole unit measures 18.8” and weighs just 4.7 pounds. This does mean that there’s some vibration when in use, but this can be minimized by mounting the saw to something heavy.
The accessory mechanism automatically adjusts the blade tension for the perfect cut and allows for very quick blade changes, which is great, especially since there are so many included.
As well as the saw itself, you also get a side cutting blade, a metal cutting blade, four blades for wood and plastic and four for fine wood, so there’s no additional investment needed for a while.
Overall, there’s a lot to like about the Dremel MS20-01. It’s a lightweight, low-profile scroll saw that can cut through just about anything and comes with more blades than you’ll need (at least in the short term), whilst costing less than $85.
If you need to take your saw places, there aren’t many products better than this one.
What We Liked
- Can be used as a handheld
- Very light, can be mounted to almost anything
- High speed
What We Didn’t Like
- Doesn’t really have a low speed
Shop Fox W1713 – Best Entry Level Scroll Saw
The Shop Fox W1713 is a mid-budget scroll saw that comes with a range of features make it easier to use for a novice user.
Firstly, it has a hold-down clamp so your fingers don’t have to get close to the blade, and there’s even a clear plastic blade guard on the upper portion to prevent any accidents.
The speed can be adjusted from 550 strokes per minute all the way up to 1700 – this makes it a suitable tool for cutting anything from acrylic plastic to hardwood. This saw can handle cutting materials up to 2” thick and has a large table to facilitate this – 9” wide and 16” long.
This table can also be tilted by up to 45° to make it easier to get those tricky cuts.
Since it’s a pretty heavy saw (31 pounds), there’s very little vibration when cutting, and since this model allows you to use either plain or pin headed saw blades, you can always choose the right tool for the task at hand.
Changing a blade is as simple as twisting a dial and pushing down the lever arm to release the current one.
In addition, this model also comes with a flexible gooseneck work light, a dust port, and a blower. These allow you to keep your workspace well illuminated and clear of debris which is not just good practice, it’s actually safer too.
It’s a relatively small product, measuring just 12. It’s not all that portable due to its high weight, but it is small enough to be able to position it just about anywhere – just be sure you mount it securely, we don’t want you to have an accident.
To top it all off, Shop Fox include a 2-year warranty with your purchase. This means that in the unlikely event anything goes wrong, you aren’t the one picking up the bill and rightly so.
For under $170, you might not think you can get a decent scroll saw, but you’d be mistaken.
The W1713 is more than capable of dealing with any task you give to it, and with a higher than average top speed, flexibility in terms of which blades can be used and decent weight, you’d be hard-pressed to find better in this price range.
What We Liked
- Sturdy and has minimal vibration
- Small frame
- Can use plain or pin headed blades
What We Didn’t Like
- A little more expensive than similar models
Delta Power Tools 40-694 – Best High-End Scroll Saw
This is the most expensive scroll saw on this list, but it justifies its higher price point by providing advanced functionality the likes of which is just unheard of in a less expensive model.
Whether it’s the additional safety features, like the arm (which locks when raised to allow you to switch blades without worrying about cutting yourself), the ease of use features (such as the tool-free blade clamp which lets you change to a new blade in just a few seconds) or the added weight (which ensures that there is next to no vibration whilst cutting), that catches your eye, the Delta 40-694 never disappoints.
It has a variable speed setting which allows you to go from 400 strokes per minute all the way up to 1750. This gives you the freedom to cut anything from the most delicate to the most stubborn of materials – with the 40-694, you always have the right tool for the job.
The table measures two feet long and 16” wide and can tilt up to 45 degrees left or right. There’s also a flexible dust hose to clean the surface as you go, and a useful little storage compartment for blades. There are two included, but they’re fairly standard, so you’ll likely need to purchase different types of different tasks.
We mentioned that this model is heavy, and it is. At 60 pounds, it’s almost twice the weight of the second heaviest saw we’ve reviewed so far. What you lose in portability, you gain in cut smoothness – there’s no shaking or vibrating, which leads to a much cleaner slice.
It’s also a pretty large product – measuring 30” long, 20” tall and 13” deep, so make sure you have enough room for it in your workshop.
Best of all, this product comes with a full five year’s limited warranty. Given the significant initial investment needed to buy this model, we’re glad to see there’s such a good coverage period – this will likely make a lot of people sleep easier at night knowing their shiny new saw isn’t going to be going away anytime soon.
What We Liked
- Very heavy – no vibration
- Various quality of life improvements
- Five years limited warranty
What We Didn’t Like
- Pretty expensive
- Large size
Buyer’s Guide For Scroll Saws
There are a lot of different things to compare when buying a scroll saw, but not all of them are relevant. In fact, you can break it down to its most basic by just asking yourself a few simple questions, which we’ll detail below.
We’re confident that if you follow our lead, you’ll find the best scroll saw for your needs and avoid the dreaded buyer’s remorse.
Do you plan to use this saw often? If so, it might be worth spending a little more money to get one that’ll stand the test of time, as opposed to a model suited for occasional use.
What kind of material do you want to cut? More brittle materials like acrylic will shatter if you try to use a high speed saw on them, so you’d really need something which allows you to change the saw speed.
This is measured in strokes per minute (SPM) and counts how many times the blade goes up and down every 60 seconds – generally, these range from 400-1500, and a saw which offers these speeds will handle most applications just fine.
How much space do you have in your workshop? If you have room for a larger model, you’ll see the reduced vibration in your cuts as these tend to be heavier, but if space comes at a premium, you might prefer a smaller saw which can be easily mounted onto a range of surfaces – as a bonus, these are usually less expensive too.
A lot of the time, manufacturers will try to hook you with all of the additional features their product has. Whilst useful, these are often not essential, so weigh them up and decide whether or not you’ll actually use them.
Often, these include things like a tiltable table, blade storage compartments, blade guards (which are fantastic for novice users), the ability to use different types of blades, and ease of use features like a mounted light or vacuum to help clean up sawdust.
If you’d like a more expensive scroll saw, you should expect to find at least a few of these included, however, if your model is very inexpensive and comes with a whole range of these, you should be questioning how much of your money is paying for the saw, and how much the accessories.
There’s a chance that particular model might not be as high quality as it’d like to make out.
As these tools can be dangerous, it’s important to familiarise yourself with how to use them safely, and with that in mind, we’ve located a useful little article which we think explains it very well.
We always have difficulty deciding upon which of the products we’ve seen is the best, but this time it was a real struggle. However, we’ve chosen the Dremel MS20-01 – it offers the ability to use it in handheld mode and is very versatile, as well as extremely portable.
If you’ve found this article helpful, consider leaving a comment or rating below, we’d really appreciate it. We’d also like to ask you to remember us the next time you find yourself needing product advice since we’d love to help you out again.
Thanks for reading, and have a great day.