How to Distinguish Between Circular Saw and Band Saw

band saw vs circular saw

Most professionals and DIY enthusiasts find it difficult to choose between a bandsaw vs. circular saw.

Big workshops and woodworking industries should focus on the bulk of the materials they cut. They should then choose the highest quality saw within their budget and one with enough capacity.

Many workshops prefer a combination of a large bandsaw and a smaller circular saw.

A circular saw cuts complicated miters and materials of up to 6 inches. A bandsaw handles the more significant materials.

However, you can get your job done with only one saw if you clarify your specific needs.

Bandsaw

band saw setup

A bandsaw has a continuous band of metal with sharp saw teeth on a blade. The teeth stretch between two or more wheels. The small size of a bandsaw blade allows for intricate and detailed cuts.

This saw is ideal for trimming down large pieces of meat, woodworking, metalworking, and lumbering. Bandsaws come in three prominent models: handheld/ portable, floor-standing, and benchtop.

Related: Top Rated Benchtop Bandsaw Reviewed

One of the best features of a bandsaw is its ability to produce uniform cuts and make irregular/ curved shapes.

A powerful motor powers the saw. Most bandsaws are adjustable to allow you to change speeds and expose more blades for bigger pieces of work.

Uses

Woodworking: A bandsaw is perfect for making angled and mitered cuts, crosscuts, and straight cuts. You can also use it to get desired shapes from a piece of wood through freehand cutting.

The saw’s blade can cut through large, thick pieces of wood as well as smaller ones.

Lumber cuts: The saw can systematically cut large pieces of lumber by the grain’s side into many functional parts of equal size.

Metal cuts: To achieve effective and accurate metal cuts, you need a specially-designed bandsaw metal blade. 

Re-sawing: A bandsaw cuts across thick pieces of wood with ease and slices them into smaller parts.

Rip cuts: Rip cuts involves cutting a piece of wood or metal across the grain.

Circular Saw

circular saw

A circular saw is a popular mechanical tool among professionals and DIY enthusiasts for its precision and high sawing capacity. You can use it in a workshop and construction site.

It has a round blade with sharp metal teeth that rotates smoothly to cut.

The saw’s handle has a trigger switch, a nut to secure the blade, and a guard for safety.

A circular saw can perform almost any sawing task, both small and large.

Uses

Cutting large-sized timbers: Bigger circular saws with a radius of up to 3 meters are perfect for cutting forest timbers into small manageable sizes.

Slicing logs into firewood: Industrial firewood manufacturers benefit from the excellent performance of a cordwood circular saw.

Cutting metals: Certain circular saws known as cold saws are useful in cutting brass, steel, and bronze to smaller sizes.

Making straight cuts: A circular saw is ideal for cutting 90-degree angles and straight cuts on lumber, metal, and board. A less-teethed blade is faster and produces more abrasive cuts.

Crosscutting: If you want to shorten long pieces of timber, a circular saw is faster and reliable.

Bevel cuts: A circular saw is mainly used in construction sites where accuracy and precision are overlooked.

Cutting plywood: The saw does better in cutting plywood than most saws.

Comparison Table

Band SawCircular Saw
Perfect for cutting curves and shapesIdeal for cutting straight lines
Produces rough finishesOffers cleaner cuts
This saw takes longer to accomplish a taskVery fast
Produces less kerfProduces more kerf
Can cut large and thick materialsHas limited cutting depth

Bandsaw Vs Circular Saw: Differences

Here, we will look at the key features that distinguish a bandsaw from a circular saw.

Type of Cuts

The small thin blade design of a bandsaw gives it versatility in making a wide range of curves and shapes. Unfortunately, a bandsaw is not reliable in c5utting perfectly straight and accurate lines.

A circular saw with a large diameter blade is perfect for making straight lines. However, it is impossible to cut curves and shapes with a circular saw.

Cutting Speed

The blade of a circular saw moves at a ridiculously high speed. It can cut through a pile of wood in seconds. Bandsaws are slower than circular saws.

Size of Material

A circular saw has a 10-inch blade that cuts a material depth of fewer than 5 inches. A full-size cabinet bandsaw handles wide and thick materials of even 80 inches. 

You can make larger cross-section cuts with a bandsaw. A bandsaw also allows for bundle cutting, while a circular saw does not.

Quality of Finish

Bandsaws have thick blades and limited speed. As such, they do not leave a smooth finish on the wood. The wood may also splinter or tear out after a cut.

Circular saws produce cleaner cuts, especially when using a carbide-tipped blade, as it is not prone to friction and heat buildup.

Portability

Bandsaws are available in different models. We have compact portable bandsaws and full-size floor bandsaws. The portable versions of bandsaws are heavy, clunky, and awkward to hold.

When comparing the two saws, circular saws are more portable than bandsaws.

Blade Kerf

Bandsaws have thinner blades than circular saws. As a result, they produce less kerf (material removed after cutting). This feature makes these saws suitable for small workpieces and intricate tasks.

When using a circular saw, more material gets wasted because of the saw’s wide blade.

Cost

An average bandsaw costs less than a circular saw. However, if you a looking for a large, high-quality bandsaw, it will be pricier than a standard circular saw.

Bandsaw Vs. Circular Saw: Which One Should You Use?

If you want to make straight cuts, a circular saw is a perfect choice. It operates at high speed and provides a clean finish. The saw is ideal for making quick crosscuts such as cutting floorboards and wall beams.

If your project involves making bundle cuts, cutting out curves, and other shapes, a bandsaw is an ideal choice.

Conclusion

Bandsaws are highly versatile and can cut virtually any material, but they produce rough finishes. Circular saws can’t switch between materials due to their machine specifications, but they offer precise clean cuts.

When choosing between bandsaw vs. circular saw, it is recommendable first to clarify your needs and choose one that suits you.

Marcus Weldman

Marcus Weldman is the main author of WiseMakr.com. Marcus is a tool and DIY enthusiast. He spends his time discovering the comparative differences and practical limits for all kinds of tools.