Best Scroll Saws of 2020

Edited by Sensible Digs
Updated
Categories Saws
Buy the best scroll saw available in the market.

When they first appeared, scroll saws were operated by foot, using a treadle mechanism. These were big machines, four or five feet tall, used commercially for veneer cutting, decorative moldings, and inlays (1).

These saws have changed for the better in modern times — they are much simpler and safer to use. With the number of brands in the market today, the choices are overwhelming.

Typically, modern models aren’t too different — they work along the same principles. In fact, they may appear identical on the surface, but the devil’s in the details. Minute differences translate to great differentiation in performance.

To help you make the right purchase decision, we’ve compiled a list of 7 of the best scroll saws in the market.


What Is a Scroll Saw?

The scroll saw is a captivating tool that allows you to cut complex shapes into a variety of materials, creating beautiful craft projects. However, you must have the right kind of scroll saw for your needs.

What Is a Scroll Saw Used For?

Scroll saws are operated by a short blade that’s passed through a hole on a work table. This blade has arm support at the top and bottom. High-speed up-and-down movements of the arm create a sawing action. The material to be sawed is then fed to the scroll saw blade, and guided appropriately, to make the desired pattern.

Modern scroll saws are compact and are powered by electric motors.

How to Choose the Best Scroll Saw

If you are looking to make the financial sacrifice necessary to acquire one of these beautiful saws, it’s important you go into the market with as much knowledge as possible. This will guide you to pick what’s perfect for you.

Here are a few things to consider:

Variable Speed

Once upon a time, single-speed machines were all that we had, but a lot has changed. Variable speed motors are the new norm.

Variable speed is essential because work can be done at the speeds you are most comfortable with. The ability to control the speed also reduces the risk of errors and wastage of material. You also get to alter the speed to suit the different materials you’ll be working with.

With the best scroll saws, you should expect a range of 400 to 1600 strokes per minute (SPM). Among manufacturers, motors exhibit very little variations in power. Their current ratings are normally rated at 1.2 or 1.3 amps.

Arm Type

The arm controls the blades up-and-down movement. Some scrolls come with a feature that allows the upper arm to be raised. This comes in handy when you need a quick blade change.

Below are the three arm types available:

A C Arm

It has one rear pivot point, and cuts in a slight arc. Scroll saws with this kind of arm will cut aggressively. It has the tendency to ”run on” when the blade breaks. This is the rarest type of arm. It’s very unlikely that you’ll even come across one.

Parallel Arm

This is the most common arm—although technically it’s two arms. The arms are pivoted to form a parallelogram and give a near-vertical cutting action. It’s quite safe because when a blade breaks, the saw automatically stops running.

Parallel Link or Double Parallel Link

This is a recent variation of the parallel arm. It’s an intricate connection that accommodates both horizontal and vertical motions. The parallel link is a feature of high-end saws.

Excellent Table

A sizable table gives you enough working surface to control larger projects. We have a preference for cast-iron tables because they help with stability, and also damp out a saw’s vibrations. Steel and aluminum tables are also an option.

Tables generally have a slope, many tilt 45 degrees in one direction. They usually come with a scale that allows you to set angles quickly.

Cut Capacity

Throat depth and the thickness of the cut are the two most defining factors of capacity.

The throat depth is the gap between the blade and the frame at the saw’s rear end. Some scroll saws start at 14 inches, but the majority of beginner-level saws will be 16 inches.

More professional saws could have as much as 18, 20 or sometimes 30-inch throats — this is great for cutting large wood pieces but is easily an overkill for most users.

Blade Clamping

Scroll saws have either plain-end (pinless) or pinned blades. Pinned blades are more suited for beginners and will locate more positively. Professionals and advanced users may lean towards pinless because they can be changed quickly and are generally of better quality. Some scrolls even accommodate both.

Cheap scroll saws may require additional tools to aid blade changing, slowing down the process.


The Best Scroll Saws of 2020

Scroll saws are an investment, and you should make sure you’re happy with yours. We’ve put in the research and time to compile a list of the 7 best scroll saws.

1. DEWALT DW788 Scroll Saw

Best Overall Scroll Saw

DEWALT Scroll Saw, Variable-Speed, 1.3 Amp, 20-Inch (DW788)
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The DEWALT DW788 scroll saw is our favorite saw on this list.

It’s powerful, sturdy, and smooth to operate.

This scroll saw comes with a couple of features that make both light and professional work easier.

This model offers a great balance between versatility, price, and performance.

Why We Love It

Motor Capacity

With a motor capacity of 1.3 amps, scrolling on most materials, including hardwood and thin metal sheets, would be possible. Even though 18 inches may be regarded as a decent enough throat reach, this scroll saw has a throat reach of 20 inches. This makes it ideal for working on large surface materials like plywood and plastic sheets.

Most cuts do not require that you go over 1-¾ inches. This scroll saw offers a 2-inch cut depth which is a sizable allowance, should you need it.

It is also easily adaptable to varying levels of users, and it has an adjustable stroke speed of 400-1750 SPM.

Enhanced Accuracy

This is one of the most accurate scroll saws for cutting wood—not surprising considering its dual parallel-link arm with ball bearings. The bearings mitigate the vibrations, increasing accuracy.

It also has a 16 x 23-¾ inch cast-iron table, which is quite thick and will suck in vibrations before they get to the blades. The thin, streamlined blade moves, slightly, forward and backward to keep vibrations at a minimum.

User-Friendly

It comes with a few user-friendly features including an arm that is easily lifted. This is advantageous when making inner cuts.

The adjustable dust blower makes sure that your cutting area remains clean and free of debris. Also, its blade guard ensures that while working, your hands are always protected from the blade.

Very Durable

This scroll saw is built with a thick cast-iron table and other quality materials. In consistency with the DeWalt brand, it is built to last.

Keep In Mind

Bevel Control Knob

Some users reported that the bevel control knob is a little too easy to break. In a few cases, the knob was broken on the tool’s arrival. You will want to handle it with extra care.

Additional Specs

Item Weight56 pounds
Dimensions29.5 x 19.5 x 12.1 inches
Included ComponentsHex wrench, blades
Throat Length20 inches
Warranty3-year limited warranty

2. WEN 3921 Scroll Saw

Best Budget Scroll Saw

WEN 3920 16-Inch Two-Direction Variable Speed Scroll Saw with Flexible LED Light
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WEN has maintained a reputation for building solid and efficient scroll saws, and the 3921 model lives up to the hype. It is an entry-level scroll saw, very reasonably priced, great quality, and quite easy to use.

This easy-to-manipulate saw has a couple of nice features that stand out and enable it to fare well against some higher-priced models. It comes with a 2-year warranty that makes it even more attractive.

Why We Love It

Working Capacity

It is perfect for some DIY scrolling thanks to its throat length of 16 inches. Most scroll saws have a through-length of between 16-18 inches, so considering its price, 16 inches is acceptable.

With a motor capacity of 1.2 amps, it is perfect for cutting through low-density materials with ease. Its weight and adjustable motor strength make it very easy to manipulate.

Enhanced Accuracy

With a variable speed of between 400 and 1600 SPM, it is easily adaptable to different materials. This model requires that you move the material to cut towards the blade. This gives a bigger room for maneuvering and allows you to make more precise cuts.

The cast-iron table damps the vibrations produced and serves as a stable and solid base which, in turn, enhances your accuracy.

User-Friendly

This is a factor many beginner scroll saws share. It has a built-in mechanism that allows you to change and tension the blades without tools. Its capacity to work with both pinned and pinless blades makes it even more versatile.

Attractive Pricing

Of course, this is one of its biggest attractions. You won’t have to break the bank to get this very efficient piece of hardware. Users have found it to be great value for money.

Keep In Mind

Motor Limitation

While it is ideal for light work, its motor capacity is limited, and the machine will not be suited for heavy-duty work, like cutting through metal.

Additional Specs

Item Weight26.2 pounds
Dimensions26.4 x 13 x 14.8 inches
Included ComponentsScroll saw
Throat Length16 inches
Warranty2-year manufacturer’s warranty

3. Delta 40-694 Scroll Saws

Most User-Friendly

Delta Power Tools 40-694 20 In. Variable Speed Scroll Saw
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The design of this scroll saw can easily be misleading. It looks very simplistic, and you may get the impression that it can’t do much. That can’t be farther from the truth.

It is a popular model in many professional carpentry sheds and wood training schools.

The Delta 40-694 is versatile and excels at making contours in different materials.

This model is not the highest-priced, but it is also not cheap.

Why We Love It

User-Friendly

It comes with some features that make it very easy to use. This is its biggest selling point. Even newbies will have a good chance of cutting accurate and intricate designs, in a relatively short time.

On top of the unit, sits a tool storage compartment that is perfect for keeping your blades. It also has an adjustable dust hose that continuously blows air while you make a cut. This ensures that through the entirety of the cutting process, you have a clean table and a perfect line of sight.

Cutting at angles always helps increase efficiency, and this model takes that into serious consideration. You will be able to tilt its adjustable table and lock it in different positions, to create optimal cutting angles.

Generous Capacity

It comes with a very generous throat depth of 20-inches. This is great if you have to work with larger pieces of material because it creates extra room for maneuvering.

It also has a 2-⅛ inch cutting depth. This enables it to cut through wood planks with ease. With these capabilities, it’s no wonder that this is among the best-rated scroll saws on the list.

Commendable Stability

Just like a number of high-end scroll saws, this model has a thick cast-iron table that helps in absorbing and dampening saw vibrations. This creates a stable cutting environment and gives you more control over your material.

Stability is especially important if you plan to work with tiny pieces of material or make elaborate contours.

Keep In Mind

Persistent Vibrations

Some users had trouble getting rid of the noise and vibration. Vibrations always translate into reduced cutting accuracy. Keep this in mind if accuracy is high on your priorities.

Additional Specs

Item Weight60 pounds
Dimensions30 x 20 x 13 inches
Included ComponentsScroll saw
Throat Length20 inches
Warranty5-year limited warranty

4. Dremel MS20-01 Moto-Saw

Best Beginner Scroll Saw

Dremel MS20-01 Moto-Saw Variable Speed Compact Scroll Saw Kit
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This saw is compact, portable, and an excellent beginner option, that doesn’t cost much.

Its appealing pricing does not take away from the decent features it offers.

While professionals may not be able to make the most complex cuts and designs using this machine, beginners will be able to manage fairly intricate cuts with ease.

Why We Love It

User-Friendly

Its small motor is silent even when cutting through relatively dense materials. It has a dust port attachment and can be used with an external vacuum machine.

​Out of the box, it comes with four blades: side cutting, metal, wood, and fine wood blades. Its shoe is fabricated from clear plastic and permits a user to see the blade as it cuts.

Built to Last

Even though it may not be the most durable in the market, with good maintenance it should last you a long time.

This power tool is primarily made from plastic, which makes it lighter and easier to move around. The tabletop is resistant to scrolling friction and wear and tear—because of its thin aluminum surface.

Blade Accuracy

This is a beginner’s machine. It’s not built to be the most powerful, but what it loses in power is well compensated for in accuracy.

It comes with a feature for automatically tensioning the blades. This allows it to deliver cleaner and more accurate cuts. It also works with minimal vibrations because of the tiny back and forth movements made by the reciprocating tables—this further enhances accuracy.

Keep In Mind

Material Capacity

It will underperform when working with larger materials, creating stronger vibrations, especially at high speeds.

Additional Specs

Item Weight5.29 pounds
Dimensions18.5 x 14.5 x 4.8 inches
Included ComponentsScroll saw
Throat Length10-½ inches
WarrantyNot available

 


5. Excalibur 16-inch Tilting Head Scroll Saw

Most Unique Design

EXCALIBUR 16' Scroll Saw - 1.3A Variable Speed Woodworking Saw with Tilting head & Easy Blade Change - EX-16
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The Excalibur brand is a big name in the power tool industry, it has been for many years. Since their inaugural scroll saws of 1982, they have built and maintained a solid reputation.

Excalibur head tilting models come in three sizes: 16 inches, 21 inches, and 30 inches. They all bear the same unique design. The 21 and 30-inch models are made for heavy-duty work. This 16-inch model, however, is the best bet for anyone looking to purchase a uniquely designed entry-level machine.

Why We Love It

Range of Materials

It has a variable speed, ranging between 400 and 1400 SPM, and is powered by a 120V 1.3-amp motor. It is capable of cutting both smoothly and uniformly on different materials. It also has an easy-to-use variable speed controller.

Unique Design

This model is famous for its head tilt design. It will tilt 45 degrees to the right and 38 degrees to the left. It also has a stroke length of 0.75 inches. This unique design makes it perfect for making angled cuts.

The left tilt can be further altered to accommodate a 45-degree tilt.

Enhanced Safety

This entry-level scroll saw takes the user’s safety into serious consideration. Your hands should be well protected from the blade by the protection guard.

Keep In Mind

A Little Noisy

For a 16 inch scroll saw, it is a bit noisy. If you don’t mind the noise, especially when scrolling on tougher materials, it should be a great pick.

Additional Specs

Item Weight54 pounds
Dimensions27 x 15 x 17 inches
Included ComponentsScroll saw
Throat Length16 inches
Warranty2-year limited warranty

6. ShopSeries RK7315 16-inch Scroll Saw

Most Lightweight

ShopSeries RK7315 16' Scroll Saw with Variable Speed Control
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The ShopSeries Rockwell RK7315 for beginners is portable, moderately priced, and delivers a lot in terms of features and capabilities.

This entry-level scroll saw is remarkably lightweight, and even though it may not offer all the bells and whistles of professional models, we consider it a great beginner option.

Why We Love It

Travel-Friendly Weight

This scroll saw is a great travel companion. Its total weight is just 27.1 pounds. Beginners will find this weight manageable. It’s also perfect for light work.

Cut Accuracy

The varying table bevels are a feature not often seen in similarly-sized models. This scroll saw also allows for a lot of flexibility with its 90-degree blade head allowance. This feature is a rare feature in 16-inch scroll saws. It will greatly enhance scrolling accuracy.

Improved Maneuverability

This model comes with a tilting table which allows for some flexibility when cutting at different angles. For increased accuracy, especially when making complex scrolls, it bevels at an angle of 45 degrees. This is an adequate allowance for compound 3D cuts, metered cuts, and circular cuts.

Keep In Mind

Limited Power and Tilt

It has a 1.2 amp inductive motor—it will not allow for more specialized scrolling. Also, while the tilting feature of the table is important for increasing accuracy, it’s only capable of tilting in one direction.

Additional Specs

Item Weight27.1 pounds
Dimensions26 x 16 x 26 inches
Included ComponentsScroll Saw
Throat Length16 inches
Warranty2-year limited warranty

7. Shop Fox W1713 16-Inch Scroll Saw

Best for Stability

Shop Fox W1713 16-Inch Variable Speed Scroll Saw
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Shop Fox is a leading hardware tool manufacturer for both wood and metal workers.

Their W1713 16-inch scroll saw is designed for commercial and home DIY use.

When purchasing a power tool, finding the right balance between price and features is crucial.

This saw packs just the right amount of features to justify its price.

Why We Love It

Stability and Accuracy

This machine’s engineered base and cast-iron construction give it a lot of stability. A lot of the vibrations are absorbed in the base and this makes the table extremely stable.

The base is equipped with a mounting insert that allows it to be firmly bolted to a workbench — a highly recommended way of working.

This degree of stability allows you to make very complex scrolls with great degrees of accuracy.

Very Durable

In the market, this scroll saw features prominently among the most durable machines. Most of its parts are made of cast iron, including its base, the table, and arm.

User-Friendly

Virtually all the settings can be adjusted, from the table tilt to the speed control. Adjustments are clearly labeled and easy to reach. You will also be able to connect your external vacuum to the 1-¼ inch dust port.

Keep In Mind

Blade Change

Some users have found that changing the pinless blades may be a bit tedious. That said, it does seem to get easier as you get used to the equipment.

Additional Specs

Item Weight37.5 pounds
Dimensions12.8 x 26.4 x 15.9 inches
Included ComponentsScroll saw
Throat Length16 inches
WarrantyNot specified

Scroll Saw Comparison Chart

ProductBestWeightDimensionsThroat LengthWarranty
DEWALT DW788 Scroll SawOverall Choice56 lbs29.5 x 19.5 x 12.1″20″3-year limited
WEN 3921 Scroll SawBudget Pick26.2 lbs26.4 x 13 x 14.8″16″2-year
Delta 40-694 Scroll SawsUser-Friendly60 lbs30 x 20 x 13″20″5-year limited
Dremel MS20-01 Moto-SawBeginner5.29 lbs18.5 x 14.5 x 4.8″10-½”N/A
Excalibur Tilting Head Scroll SawUnique Design54 lbs27 x 15 x 17″16″2-year limited
ShopSeries RK7315 Scroll SawLightweight27.1 lbs26 x 16 x 26″16″2-year limited
Shop Fox W1713 Scroll SawStability37.5 lbs12.8 x 26.4 x 15.9″16″N/A
Jump to the Full Scroll Saw Reviews

How to Use a Scroll Saw

  1. Use a pencil to draw your patterns on to the wood — make sure the patterns are easily visible.
  2. Put on safety goggles and leave them on for the entire duration of scrolling.
  3. Make sure that the scroll saw is properly secured on to the work surface.
  4. Fix your blade and remember that the thinner the wood, the smaller the blade size needed.
  5. Set the tension such that the blade doesn’t move more than ⅛-inch when pulled with the finger.
  6. Power on the saw.
  7. Test the saw on a piece of scrap wood.
  8. Adjust the speed of the saw according to the thickness of the material.
  9. Using both hands, guide your project through the blades.
  10. Power off the scroll saw and remove the blade when you are done.

FAQs

Are Scroll Saws Easy to Use?

The scroll saw is one of the easiest wood cutting power tools to use. There are some basic practices that may need to be mastered, but they are not very hard to learn. Using entry-level scroll saws makes it easier for beginners to hone all the necessary skills. The first thing that anyone should learn, however, is the safety precautions.

What Materials Can a Scroll Saw Cut?

A scroll saw is capable of cutting through a wide range of materials when the correct blade is used. Common materials you may have to cut are rubber, metal, wood, leather, bone, and plastic.

Newer model scroll saws are equipped with better blade tension, and can, therefore, handle more materials than their predecessors.

What’s the Difference Between a Scroll Saw and a Band Saw?

Both tools are meant for cutting curves, but they suit different projects. If you’re considering buying either of the two, the most important criteria should be the nature of the task at hand.

Scroll saws are the preferred tool for making intricately detailed pieces such as puzzles or ornaments. For bigger projects like curved furniture or arched moldings, a band saw is a more ideal tool.


The Verdict

The type of scroll you create is a factor of your skill and the kind of scroll saw you use. We have outlined what we feel are the most important features of any scroll saw. Take all these into consideration before making your purchase.

We understand that acquiring one of these may be financially committing, but we advise that you go for the right balance of price and features offered. The best scroll saws should offer the features that a user needs most at a price the user can afford.

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