Whether you are into crafts or a regular DIYer or woodworking that often has to make precise and intricate cuts into thin materials, having the best scroll saw around will always make life easier for you.
Scroll saws use a long and thin blade that will cut in a reciprocating manner and will also be very useful when you need to make some fine cuts, whether you are making jigsaw puzzles or ornaments.
However, like any other power tool, they are available in several types and models that will differ in everything from the power and speed to throat size. And to help you pick one that fits your needs, here we look at some top-rated scrolls saws and provide a handy buying guide.
Scroll Saw vs. Band Saw Comparison
Both the scroll and band saw will have a work table and a blade that is typically in the middle of the machine.
Because they look quite similar, many users often think that they can use them interchangeably, but this is hardly the case as they are two distinct tools meant for different jobs.
Scroll Saw Overview
The scroll saw will have a smooth and flat table and column that will extend from the back straight up.
On this column, there will be an arm that extends out parallel to the work table. There is also a thin vertical blade, which will cut in a reciprocating manner.
These saws are for making clean and intricate cuts, and the user is always in control of the cut as the blade speed is often variable and easily adjustable.
The thin blade on these saws is perfect for crafts that will require intricate patterns.
Scroll saws are ideal for plunge cuts, and some projects you can do with these saws include making jigsaws puzzles and Christmas ornaments.
But, the thin blade on the scroll saw means it will not be very ideal for cutting thicker boards. Also, unlike the thicker blade on the band saw, it swerves and wanders a lot, and hence making it hard to make long, straight cuts.
- Delivers highly precise and accurate cuts
- Great for a variety of crafts
- Can make plunge cuts
- Does no cut very thick materials
- Blade tends to swerve a lot
Band Saw Overview
Band saws will have flat table surfaces, just like the scroll saw and a blade that will run perpendicular to the center of the machine. However, the similarities between these two seem to stop there as the band saw will have a thicker blade and are more powerful.
With the right blade types on your band saw, you will have a more powerful tool that you can use to cut a wide variety of materials including metal, something that you might not achieve with the scroll saw.
The more powerful motor and the thicker blade will allow this saw to cut through thicker boards. Also, the saw cuts much faster, and it will take less effort to make long, straight lines with a band saw.
However, the band saw will cut more roughly, which means you are more likely to end up with rough edges. And the design of the saw also means it will be almost impossible to make plunge cuts.
- More powerful
- Cuts a wide variety of materials
- Ideal for cutting straight lines
- Higher cutting speeds
- Leaves a rougher edge
- Does not make plunge cuts
Our Tips: The jobs you intend to use the saw for should guide you when choosing between scroll and band saws.
That said, the scroll saw will be perfect for cutting thin materials and making intricate patterns for crafts and decorative work.
But, if you will be working with thicker materials and need to make long, straight cuts often, you are better off buying a band saw.
What To Check Before Buying Scroll Saw?
1. Throat Size
The throat size is the length of the blade on a scroll saw from the table to the saw’s frame. Throat size is a vital factor to consider when shopping for the best scroll saw as it will determine the material size you can cut.
With scroll saws, you can cut materials that are double the throat size. For example, if you have a 16-inch scroll saw you can cut material up to 32 inches.
That said, the 16-inch throat size scroll saws like Wen 3921 are often large enough to handle most DIY tasks and crafts.
However, if you plan to use the scroll saw for heavy-duty applications that involve large materials such as in a professional woodworking workshop, something with a greater throat size like the 22-inch Jet 727200K will be perfect.
As you choose a scroll saw, you need to consider the size of the worktable that you get as it will determine how much space you will have for your workpiece.
Besides being large enough, the worktable needs to be flat enough and firm to ensure that it can accommodate any workpiece. A sturdy scroll saw worktable can handle the continuous motion of a scroll saw and take the vibrations that come with using the tool.
Also, it will be better to go for a worktable that tilts as it will be more versatile. A standard 45-degree tilt worktable like what you get on the Porter-Cable PCB375SS should be good enough. But, depending on the specific projects that you will be tackling, even the shallower 15-degree tilt tables can still work for you.
There is no one universal speed that can work for all materials. Hence, as you shop for a scroll saw, you need to make sure that what you choose will not only be fast enough but also has a variable speed for increased versatility.
Variable speed scroll saws will allow you to fine-tune the machine speed to suit the material you are cutting or projects you are undertaking.
Ultimately the right speed range for you will depend on how exactly you will be using the scroll saw. However, something that delivers a variable speed of 400 to 2,600 strokes per minute like Wen 3921 should be versatile enough for most typical scroll saw projects.
4. Blade Types: Pinned or Pinless
The type of blade you get on your scroll saw or the type it can use also matters a lot. Here, you will need to choose between pinned and pinless blades, and while some scroll saws can use both, most will only take either.
Pinned blades are the types that will be held in place by pins, and they are prevalent on old model scroll saws. This design makes the blade quick and easy to change. These blades will be ideal for large size projects, but they tend to break easily when making sharp angle cuts.
The pinless blades are threaded through the piece, which means they will take a lot of effort to change. However, these blades are ideal for working in tight places and will be perfect for smaller projects.
5. Dust Port
Like with any other sawing tool, using a scroll saw will generate a lot of wood dust. And so as you pick a model for your projects, you need to make sure it will have an efficient way of managing dust.
A good dust port is often enough for a scroll saw as it will allow you to easily connect it to your shop vac or any other dust management system you have in place for efficient dust extraction.
Most of these scroll saws will include a 1-1/2 or 1-1/4-inch dust port, which should work with most dust extraction systems. But, the good news you can always use an adapter in case the port is not compatible with your dust extraction system.
6. Your Budget
Scroll saw will retail from as little as $100 or even slightly less to over $1,000. Also, there are some industrial-grade models meant for professional use that will require you to part with thousands of dollars.
What all this means is that there is something for everyone out there. Hence, you only need to come up with a budget and shop for something that suits your needs within that budget. For budget shoppers, something affordable like Wen 3921 should give the best value.
7 Best Scroll Saws of 2021 Reviewed
1. DeWalt DW788 (Best Overall)
2. Wen 3921 (Best For the Money)
3. Dremel MS20-01 (Best For Beginner)
4. Porter-Cable PCB375SS (Best Brand)
5. Delta Power Tools 40-694 (Noise & Vibration-Free)
6. Jet 727200K (High Capacity)
7. Skil 3335-07 (Precise & Functional)
1. DeWalt DW788 – Best Overall
- Throat Size: 20 inches
- Speed: 400 – 1,750 SPM
The double parallel link arm design is one of the key highlights of the DeWalt DW788, and one of the main factors that make it our best overall model. With this design, you get a huge reduction in vibration and noise for maximum cutting accuracy.
The editors at Wood Magazine are highly impressed with this scroll saw’s accuracy and describe it as a tool designed to help you create accurate and highly detailed workpieces.
With the 20-inch throat size, this scroll saw will give you a relatively larger capacity to handle bigger workpieces, and it provides cuts up to 2 inches deep. Better yet, the 400 to 1,750 SPM variable speed means it has the cutting speed to go with it.
This scroll saw has tool-free blade clamps that will make blade changes quick and easy. And the arm design will pivot back to front, and hence shortening the movement for smoother and quieter operation.
Many users will love the larger cast-iron work table as it will provide excellent support for the material you are cutting. To crown it all, this saw will have the on/off switch, variable speed and blade tensioning lever on the front upper arm for easy access and operation.
The provided manual seems quite lacking as there is no enough troubleshooting information. However, this is an easy tool to figure out, and you can find all the information you need online.
- Reduced vibrations and noise
- Minimal under/overcutting
- Convenient control locations
- Quick and easy blade change
- Spacious and durable worktable
- Manual is lacking
2. Wen 3921 – Best for the Money
- Throat Size: 16 inches
- Speed: 400 – 1,600 SPM
Being the cheapest option on our scroll saw review, Wen 3921 will ensure that you get the best value for your money. One of its most impressive attributes is the unique design that allows it to work with standard pinned and pinless at the standard position and pinned blades at 90-degrees. This design increases the cutting capacity and gives it infinite ripping capability.
The sturdy cast iron base will help ensure this saw remains stable when in use. And with the 0 to 45 degrees tilt, the table on this saw will give you increased cutting capacity and greater versatility.
Changing the blade will be quick and easy thanks to the thumbscrew blade adapter. This scroll saw will include an air pump and dust port that will make dust extraction more effortless.
At high speeds, this scroll saw seems to vibrate a lot, but this is typical of most budget models and should not be a deal-breaker. While the light could be longer to ensure it will not cast a shadow, it is still highly useful for illuminating the material.
- Relatively more affordable
- Accepts both pinned and pinless blades
- Beveling table for versatility
- Sturdy base
- Easy, tool-free blade change
- Vibrates at high speeds
- Light can cast a shadow
3. Dremel MS20-01 – Best For Beginner
- Throat Size: 9.8 inches
- Speed: 1,500 – 2,250 SPM
With the easy-to-use design, the Dremel MS20-01 is our best scroll saw for beginners as anyone out there can master it whether they have used this type of saw before or not.
This scroll saw is destined to be one of the most useful tools in your workshop, as you can use it both as a scroll and coping saw. With the fast clamp base, you can easily attach it to a workbench, table, and other flat surfaces.
With the automatic tensioning mechanism, changing the accessories and tensioning the blade should be more effortless. You can use this saw to cut into a wide variety of materials from wood and plastic to laminate and thin metals.
Many users seem disappointed to find that this saw will not include a miter gauge. But from the description, this is clear enough, and so you should remember to order a miter gauge when buying the saw.
- Easy to use even for newbies
- Simple accessory change and tensioning
- Works as both scroll and coping saw
- Attaches to workbenches easily
- Cuts a wide variety of materials
- No miter gauge
4. Porter-Cable PCB375SS – Best Scroll Saw Brand
- Throat Size: 18 inches
- Speed: 500 – 1,500 SPM
After more than a century of making all kinds of power tools, you can trust Porter-Cable to have the right scroll saw for your workshop. Their model PCB375SS is a top-notch option that will work for both DIYers and professionals and shows why they are one of the best scroll saw brands.
This scroll saw will come with a tabletop bevel scale that is very helpful as it will ensure you get accurate and convenient readings. Also, you can cut more accurately thanks to the large and more stable die-cast aluminum worktable that holds the material perfectly.
Blade changes are guaranteed to be more effortless thanks to the tool-less blade holder. With the upfront controls, the operation will be quick and easy. This scroll saw will come with a sturdy steel stand. And it will make dust management more effortless with the dust blower and dust port.
Aiming the light seems to be a problem as it does not stay in one direction, but this LED light is still a beneficial feature. The top speed could be a little higher, given it is one of the lowest on our scroll saw review, but for most scroll saw projects, it is still okay.
- Reliable saw from a leading brand
- Accurate angle readings
- Large and stable worktable
- Upfront controls
- Easy blade changes
- Aiming the light is a little hectic
- Lower maximum speed
5. Delta Power Tools 40-694 – Noise and Vibration-Free
- Throat Size: 20 inches
- Speed: 400 – 1,750 SPM
Noise and vibration are two of the most annoying things when using any power tool, and for a scroll saw, they can affect the accuracy. With the Delta Power Tools 40-694, they will hardly be a concern as the dual parallel link arm design eliminates them completely.
The upper arm on this tool lifts and can be locked in place, which will make blade changes and adjustments a breeze. Also, with the tool-free blade clamp, changing the blade will be quick and easy.
There is a flexible dust blower that will keep the workpiece debris-free to ensure you maintain good sight of the cutting line. With all the main controls like the on/off switch and tension dial conveniently located on the front part of the upper arm, the operation will be more effortless.
The power button is a little too easy to engage when grabbing the arm to do other things like adjusting blade tension. But while this can have obvious safety risks, it will become harder to push the button accidentally as you get used to the tool and master the location of all controls.
- Runs with little noise and vibrations
- Convenient upper arm lifting and lock
- Quick and easy blade
- Efficient dust management
- Convenient controls location
- Power button poses a safety risk
6. Jet 727200K – High Capacity Scroll Saw
- Throat Size: 22 inches
- Speed: 400 – 1,550 SPM
According to Jet, their Jet 727200K combines the best-in-class features with a highly innovative and well-thought-out design to create an impeccable scroll saw. And one of the key highlights of this machine is the 22-inch throat size as it gives it the largest capacity on our list, which means it will handle large stock with ease.
This scroll saws comes with a more spacious and highly durable cast iron worktable that will support large materials. With the 45-degree right and 40-degree left tilt that you get from the arm, you can make more accurate and a wide variety of cuts with this machine.
The one-step blade clamp is beneficial as it will make blade clamping and tensioning more effortless. Also, this scroll saw has a slotted table designed to allow for quick and easy blade changes.
Other things that make this a fantastic choice include the integrated blade storage and a removable dust port that makes dust extraction easier.
This Jet scroll saw is the priciest item on our list, but for the quality that you get and the high capacity, it is a worth way much more than what you pay, and so the price is just right.
- Larger cutting capacity
- Spacious and durable worktable
- Convenient one-step blade clamp/tensioning
- Easier and quick blade changes
- More accurate cutting with tilting arm
- Relatively expensive
7. Skil 3335-07 – Precise and Functional
- Throat Size: 16 inches
- Speed: 500 – 1,700 SPM
With a top-rated scroll saw like the Skil 3335-07, woodworkers and craftsman are right to expect nothing short of the best service. This scroll saw does not disappoint as it uses a combination of different features to deliver precise cuts and excellent functionality.
The 0 to 45 degrees tilting table is one of the main elements that will ensure maximum precision. However, the wider 500 to 1,700 SPM speed range that allows you to match the speed to the task at hand is a contributing factor.
This scroll saw includes an articulating LED work light. With this light and efficient dust management system that keeps the cut line clear, you can cut accurately any time of the day.
There is convenient onboard storage for the blades, and this scroll saw will allow for a hassle-free blade change as it with then keyless blade change.
This scroll saw does not seem entirely vibration-free, and this is more so at high-speed settings. Nevertheless, the vibration produced is not very significant and will hardly affect the accuracy of your cut or even the ease of using the tool.
- Tilting worktable for maximum precision
- Handy LED work light
- Efficient dust removal system
- Convenient onboard storage
- Simple blade change
- No completely vibration-free
Finding the best scroll saw should now be a breeze because regardless of your needs and preferences, there is at least one model that will work well for you on our list.
To ensure the choice is even more effortless, the DeWalt DW788 is our best overall model thanks to the double parallel link arm that delivers a noise-free operation and greater accuracy, larger 20-inch capacity, and convenient lifting arm.
But, if you prefer something more budget-friendly, the Wen 3921 is our recommendation. This scroll saw also has a beveling table and will provide infinite ripping capability.
In this post:
- Scroll Saw vs. Band Saw Comparison
- What To Check Before Buying Scroll Saw?
- 7 Best Scroll Saws of 2021 Reviewed