Bandsaws are versatile cutting tools. They cut awkward shapes, thick lumber, make short crosscuts and resaw boards with precision. But as we always say, your bandsaw needs the best bandsaw blades to perform these tasks well.
There are many different types of bandsaw blades, so we decided to look at them in more detail to determine which are the best.
- Thin kerf
- High-silicon, low-carbide steel
- 65-degree rake
- Cobalt high-speed steel
- Comes as a pack of 3
- Scores 65 to 67 on rockwell scale
- Cobalt alloy steel
- Quieter running
- Reduces vibrations
- 64 to 66 on rockwell scale
- 15 TPI
- Designed for scrollwork
- Narrow width
- Multi-purpose use
- 14 TPI
- Great price
- 24 TPI
- Geometric tooth design
What Type of Bandsaw Blade Do I Need?
The type of bandsaw blade you need depends on what you are cutting and what kind of cuts you want to make. A coarse blade, with 3 to 6 teeth per inch (TPI), would be ideal for ripping lumber and thicker wood up to 8 inches, as well as resawing. It would also work on short crosscuts.
A blade with 18 to 32 TPI is considered ideal for sawing through plastics and thinner metals. This is because the increased tooth count leaves a smoother edge, slicing through the material rather than ripping through it.
If you are engaged in general cutting, a 14 TPI blade is considered the best all-round choice. It has the finesse of a high tooth count coupled with the ripping power of a coarse blade. These blades are general-purpose blades for everyday bandsaw use.
What Are Bi-Metal Bandsaw Blades?
Bi-metal bandsaw blades consist of a high-speed steel cutting edge, welded to a flexible steel back. This combination makes them more robust when compared to carbon steel blades. Carbon steel blades are notorious for dulling quickly.
Bi-metal bandsaw blades cut through harder materials like stainless steel, nickel and titanium. Also, because of their hardiness, they resist heat better and last longer.
How Do I Choose a Bandsaw Blade?
Several factors make up the best bandsaw blades. Choosing which one works for you is a matter of personal choice and possibly one, or all of the following characteristics:
The length of your bandsaw blade depends on the type of bandsaw you have. Consult the owner’s manual to find out the correct size. Bandsaws come in all sizes, as do their blades. Some blades are 10 inches long, while others are 12 or 14 inches long.
The pitch refers to the number of teeth per inch (TPI). Cutting thinner sections of wood requires a higher tooth count for a finer finish, while thicker parts of the wood require a lower tooth count.
You should choose the correct pitch for the material you are working on. Here is a handy chart:
|Teeth Per Inch||Best Use||Section Size (Inch)|
|3 to 6||Thick wood, rougher cutting, rip cuts||1.5 to 10|
|8 to 14||General-purpose sawing||0.5 to 1.5|
|18 to 32||Metal, sheet material, plastics||0.5 to 0.37|
The width of the blade determines the radius choices of the cuts you want to make. A wider blade lends itself well to straight cutting and resawing boards. The extra width gives it more rigidity and less flex when in use.
It all translates into a neater, more accurate cutting line.
A narrower blade is more agile and can make smaller radius cuts. It is better for shaping wood when making furniture and ornate woodworking tasks like bandsaw boxes.
Here’s a handy guide:
|Blade Width (Inch)||Radius Cut (Inch)|
The thicker the blade, the more likely it is to break due to stress cracking. Also, the wheels have to be large enough to cope with the extra thickness. The thickness of the blade directly affects the kerf — the width of the cut made by the blade.
A thicker blade, or gauge as it’s known, is better suited to straight cuts because it has much more rigidity during the sawing process. You need to consult with your operation manual to see what thickness blade your bandsaw wheel can take because if you oversize the blade, it will crack.
Tooth Form or Style
There are essentially four types of tooth configuration on a bandsaw blade:
A standard tooth variety is available in higher TPI counts and produces finer and more detailed cutting. If you want a smoother finish, this is the blade to get.
A skip tooth blade has wider spaced teeth and produces a slower and smoother cut in the wood. Typically, the skip blade has a zero-degree rake, meaning it is less aggressive and better suited to resawing.
A hook tooth blade has similar spacing to the skip tooth blade, but the rake is set at 10 degrees, making it a more aggressive cutting edge. It cuts hardwood and other harder sheet materials.
The variable tooth blade is also known as the broach tooth blade. It has teeth with varying angles and gullet depths, typically set in a pattern of 3 TPI and 4 TPI. These blades reduce vibration.
The wheel diameter is directly related to the thickness and width of the blade. If the blade is oversized, it will stress crack. As a rule of thumb, the smaller the wheel, the tighter the bend the bandsaw blade has to negotiate.
Most general-purpose bandsaw blades are 0.025 inches thick, which would suit a wheel diameter of between 11 and 18 inches. Here’s another handy guide:
|Wheel Diameter (Inch)||Recommended Blade Thickness (Inch)|
|4 to 6||0.014|
|6 to 8||0.018|
|8 to 11||0.020|
|11 to 18||0.025|
|18 to 24||0.032|
|24 to 30||0.035|
|30 +||0.042, 0.050, 0.063|
Bandsaw blades typically come in three varieties:
Carbon steel is the softest of the materials used and is a favorite with hobbyist bandsaw users. These blades are not hardwearing, and with constant use, can dull very quickly. They are best suited to cutting wood, plyboard and plastics.
Bi-metal blades are a lot tougher than carbon steel varieties. They consist of a high-speed steel cutting edge welded to a flexible carbon steel backing. It makes them hard-wearing, but they retain the flexibility of carbon steel.
Carbide-tipped blades are the toughest of them all. They have tungsten or titanium coated teeth so that they can deflect heat, which preserves the life of the cutting edge.
Keep in Mind
The Best Bandsaw Blades of 2020
There are so many varieties of bandsaw blades, and they all perform different tasks. You can get blades that are better for resawing or cutting metal, or you could opt for a 14 TPI, general-purpose saw blade. We look at the best blades in each category.
1. Timber Wolf 1/4-Inch x 1/2-Inch 6 TPI Bandsaw Blade
Timber Wolf blades are the premium option. This blade is made from high-silicon, low-carbide steel, so it stays cool under extreme heat. It means the cutting prowess lasts for longer because the teeth won’t dull as quickly.
What makes this blade ideal for woodworking is the unique tooth pattern and the round design of the gullet. Couple that with the thin kerf and the 6.5-degree rake, and it has 60 percent of the speed capabilities of a hook blade but with the added finish of a skip blade.
And when it comes to resawing, this Timber Wolf has got you covered. The only downside to this blade is the price. All that quality costs money, so be prepared to pay extra. That said, if you have the budget, this blade will transform the way you cut wood and improves how your bandsaw performs.
- Thin kerf.
- High-silicon, low-carbide steel.
- 6.5-degree rake.
|Dimensions (inches)||11.25 x 13.75 x 0.55|
2. DeWALT 32-7/8-Inch Portable Bandsaw Blade
This DeWALT portable bandsaw blade set is constructed from 8 percent cobalt and high-speed steel. Unsurprisingly, it has the heat resistance and durability needed to keep your saw blade sharp.
The teeth score an impressive 65 to 67 on the Rockwell Hardness Scale, so they won’t dull as quickly as carbon steel blades. It also means this blade can run at high speeds, and for longer. This blade also has an alloy steel backer for fatigue resistance.
This DeWALT blade is ideal for cutting thick, medium, and thin gauge metals, thanks to the high tooth count and the thin kerf. It comes as a set of three, so it will keep you resawing for a long time.
The other star point about this product is the price. They cost a fraction of the price of the Timber Wolf blades but still score highly for customer satisfaction.
- Cobalt high-speed steel.
- Comes as a pack of 3.
- Scores 65 to 67 on the Rockwell Scale.
- Great price.
- Only suitable for portable saws.
- May not fit all models of bandsaw.
|Dimensions (inches)||14 x 5.2 x 0.6 inches|
3. Milwaukee 48-39-0511 44-7/8-Inch 14-TPI Bandsaw Blade
These Milwaukee blades are high-speed steel and 8 percent cobalt to make them super-durable. The teeth points are electron-beam welded to a special backing that ensures a long life and teeth that dull three times slower than conventional saw blades.
Milwaukee states that this is American-made, but they also say the blades are imported. It would seem that the steel is Chinese, and the blades get assembled and welded in the United States.
The tooth angles and deeper gullets also reduce the vibrations, which results in a smoother cut with less noise. Because of the TPI, this blade will saw through metals like aluminum, stainless steel, and bronze.
But where it really shines is when you are resawing wood. The rigidity and kerf make this blade precise, meaning that it cuts in a straight line.
If you want a quality blade for a fair price, look no further. It even comes as a pack of three, so when the first blade dulls, you have spares at hand.
- Cobalt alloy steel.
- Quieter running.
- Reduces vibrations.
- Comes as a pack of 3.
- American-made, but Chinese steel.
|Dimensions (inches)||19 x 6.9 x 0.2 inches|
4. Powertec 13161 High Carbon Band Saw Blade
Bandsaw boxes are an artform. The unusual lines and angles mean they test the skills of the most experienced bandsaw users. But the blade you choose can make life a little easier. That’s why this Powertec high carbon blade is so effective.
The high carbon content means it has a lot of flexibility, so sawing sharp angles and rounded edges is possible with this blade. It also has 6 TPI, which is just about the perfect tooth count for scrollwork and bandsaw box making.
This blade scores well on the Rockwell Hardness Scale, coming in with an impressive 64 to 66. So, when you are done making your bandsaw box, it will also cut through soft metal and plastic.
The price of this blade is another plus factor. It costs less than a third of the price of the Timber Wolf blade. The only negative is that carbon steel dulls quicker than any other type of saw blade. The flexibility of the material is excellent for bandsaw box making, but these blades don’t last as long as other types.
- 64 to 66 on the Rockwell Scale.
- High carbon steel.
- Dulls quickly.
|Dimensions (inches)||5.9 x 4.7 x 0.5|
5. Bosch BS80-155 Bandsaw Blade
Bosch is a leading manufacturer of power tools and has a worldwide following. So, it stands to reason that they should feature in our review. This blade is designed for scrollwork, and so it has a 15 TPI for the smoothest finish.
The narrow width of this blade also lends itself well to intricate woodwork because it allows the user to move the material around the cutting edge with ease, which means you can cut tight angles and curves.
The blade is made from high carbon steel that is heat-treated to increase the hardness of the teeth. It should last longer than standard carbon steel blades, but not as long as cobalt-alloy and carbide-tipped blades.
That said, you are going to buy this product for its scroll sawing qualities, and for that, you need a little flexibility in the blade.
- 15 TPI.
- Designed for scrollwork.
- Narrow width.
- Great price.
- Dulls quickly.
- May not fit all bandsaws.
- Build quality issues.
|Dimensions (inches)||0.5 x 9.88 x 10.88|
6. Powertec 13183X Band Saw Blade
This is the second Powertec bandsaw blade to feature. This model is a 14 TPI blade, so if you are looking for a genuine all-rounder, this could be the blade for you. It also has a raker set of teeth, so it will cut faster and cleaner.
This blade is created using high carbon steel that is heat-treated to increase the hardness of the cutting edge and to improve the lifespan. It cuts through soft and hardwood, non-ferrous metals and plastics.
The price is impressive as well, given that this costs a third of the price of the Timber Wolf blade. This Powertec blade adds up to a quality item for very little money and a great multi-purpose tool.
- Great price.
- Multi-purpose use.
- 14 TPI.
- Dulls quickly.
|Dimensions (inches)||7.75 x 7.75 x 0.5|
7. Bosch BS6412-24M 24TPI Metal Bandsaw Blade
This is the second Bosch product to make the list. This is a 24 TPI blade, meaning that the high tooth count makes smooth cuts through metal and other non-ferrous materials. High-grade steel is heat-treated to improve the hardness of the cutting edge, and to increase the longevity of the blade.
Bosch has also developed a unique geometric tooth design to optimize cutting performance and put less strain on both the blade and the bandsaw.
The downside with high-grade steel is that even with the heat treatment, this blade will blunt faster than carbide and cobalt steel blades.
That aside, Bosch has managed to create a bandsaw blade that slices through metal, and it doesn’t cost the earth. Also, the price of this product is extremely competitive.
- Great price.
- 24 TPI.
- Geometric tooth design.
- Dulls quickly.
- May not fit all bandsaws.
|Dimensions (inches)||10.8 x 9.8 x 1|
|Timber Wolf 6 TPI Bandsaw Blade||Woodworking||1.58 oz||11.25 x 13.75 x 0.55||6||Thin|
|DeWALT 32-7/8-Inch Bandsaw Blade||Portable||5.6 oz||14 x 5.2 x 0.6″||18||Thin|
|Milwaukee 14-TPI Bandsaw Blade||Resawing Wood||8.6 oz||19 x 6.9 x 0.2″||14||Thin|
|Powertec 13161 High Carbon Blade||Bandsaw Boxes||0.32 oz||5.9 x 4.7 x 0.5||6||Thin|
|Bosch BS80-155 Bandsaw Blade||Curves||1.58 oz||0.5 x 9.88 x 10.88||15||Thin|
|Powertec 13183X Band Saw Blade||Multi-Purpose||1.58 oz||7.75 x 7.75 x 0.5||14||Thin|
|Bosch BS6412-24M 24TPI Bandsaw Blade||Metal||4.8 oz||10.8 x 9.8 x 1||24||Thin|
Tips to Make a Bandsaw Blade Last Longer
There are many things you can do to preserve your bandsaw blades cutting integrity, but some tips are easier to follow than others.
An incorrectly tensioned blade will wear out faster than a correctly tensioned blade. Different blades have varying optimal tensions. Make sure that the blade is not slipping on the bandsaw wheel and that it is cutting straight.
If you notice a bow on the cutting stock, it may mean your blade needs added tension. Most bandsaws have a rough guide of the correct tensions you should use, but you cannot beat an experienced eye to judge whether the tension is correct or not.
Match the Material to the Tooth Pitch
If you are trying to saw through metal with a blade with a low TPI, not only will you get a poor result, you’ll also ruin the blade. Likewise, cutting the wrong material with a high TPI blade will create a lot of friction, which causes the blade to heat up and then start to dull.
Clean the Swarf
The swarf is a brush that helps to remove chips that sit in the gullets of the saw blade. If the swarf becomes worn, it will severely affect the sharpness of the blade.
Frequently Asked Questions
How to Sharpen Bandsaw Blades
Essentially, there are two ways to sharpen a bandsaw blade. You could invest in a dedicated blade sharpener, or you could opt to use a power tool with a sharpening attachment. If you have 20 or 30 dull blades hanging around, investing in a mechanical or machine sharpener is a wise thing to do. It saves you having to replace all those blades at an immense cost.
Also, if you are sawing on an industrial scale, it might be a good idea to spend a bit of money on a specialist machine. However, if you are using your bandsaw once in a while, try using a power tool to bring those dull blades back to life. It would be a lot cheaper.
How to Fold a Bandsaw Blade
Hold the blade with your wrists facing down and away from your body.
Place your toe on the blade and bend downwards, squashing it into an oval shape.
3. Fold it
Bring the sides of the blades towards each other. Think of it like you are folding the oval in half to look like a reverse taco.
4. Cross Your Hands
Now cross your hands, bringing the two halves of the blade over each other.
5. Let the Blade Naturally Coil
The blade will want to naturally coil, so let it do it’s thing, stacking them on the loop you were holding with your toe.
How to Clean Build-Up From a Bandsaw Blade
If your blade is coated in resin, it will slow the performance and increase the friction. This dulls the teeth. Take the blade and soak it in warm soapy water. Using a sponge helps to remove any stubborn dirt stains. You could also use a soft brush.
When you have removed all the residue, lift the blade out of the water and dry it with a clean cloth. You could also use a hairdryer to make sure all the water is gone.
How Many TPI Does a Bandsaw Blade Need?
Depending on what material you intend to saw, the bandsaw blade needs between 3 and 6 TPI for lumber and rough sawing, 8 to 14 for general purpose use, and 18 to 32 for high-density materials like steel.
The higher the tooth count, the smoother the cut, meaning the blade is better suited to harder materials.
What Causes Bandsaw Blades to Break?
Many factors cause your bandsaw blade to break. The tension may be too high, or you have the wrong size blade for the wheel diameter. It could be that you are cutting your material with the wrong TPI blade.
Quite often, if you apply too much pressure when feeding the stock, it puts the blade under pressure, causing it to snap.
The Final Verdict
Bandsaws are only as good as the blade, and the material you are cutting will determine what type of blade you use. For beginners and those occasional bandsaw users, a multi-purpose blade should suffice.
If you are using your bandsaw every day for a specific purpose, then you will need to decide which blade meets your needs.