WE DID THE WORK TO FIND THE BEST AND THESE ARE THE RESULTS:
DEWALT DW788 1.3
Delta Power Tools 40-694
Best for the Money
Shop Fox W1713
Best on a Budget
Scroll saws are some of the most useful tools in a woodworker’s arsenal. The best scroll saws are designed to be used quickly and safely by even the most inexperienced woodworkers and are capable of producing extremely fine cuts that other saws simply aren’t able to create. However, each scroll saw has its own unique advantages and disadvantages that set it apart from its competition. In the following scroll saw reviews, we’ll compare these pros and cons and talk about the features that each model has that set it apart of other saws on the market.
Best Scroll Saw
The most popular scroll saw and our best scroll saw overall!
Our top pick across the board is the DW788 1.3 Amp 20-Inch Variable-Speed Scroll Saw from Dewalt. This saw is expensive, but it has the raw power and flexibility to get any job done, no matter what material you’re working with. The DW788 puts all of your controls on the front of the machine for easy access and has a built-in dust blower to keep your area clean while you work. While other scroll saws require you to manually remove the blade to perform interior cuts in your design, which the DW788 also makes a breeze out of with its tool-free blade clamps, this saw allows you to lift the blade arm up and over your material in seconds without even touching the blade itself.
Best Scroll Saw for the Money
Delta Power Tools 40-694 20
Of course if you don’t have the money for the DW788, we certainly wouldn’t fault you for going with the 40-694 20 In. Variable Speed Scroll Saw from Delta Power Tools. The 40-694 has an adjustable-speed motor that can be adjusted from 400 to 1,750 SPM (Strokes Per Minute). Like the DW788, it has a liftable blade arm for fretwork on your interior designs as well as an adjustable dust hose to blow loose dust and debris away from your work area. The 40-694 also has a built-in storage area on the top of the machine for neatly organizing and storing your blades. Two straight blades are provided for you with your purchase of the saw. The table itself also swivels up to a full 90 degrees to seamlessly cut any angle that you need.
Best Scroll Saw on a Budget
Includes a gooseneck work light, dust blower and dust port
Although both the DW788 and the 40-694 are some of the best scrolls on the market, if you just want to get in and out of the store while spending the least amount of money possible and simultaneously purchasing the saw with the most features, we highly recommend that you go with the Shop Fox W1713 16-Inch Variable Speed Scroll Saw. The W1713 features a 1/8th horsepower motor, a gooseneck work light to help you work in the dark, a fixed-position dust blower and dust port, and a liftable plastic cover that protects your hands from the blade while you’re working. It has a 45 degree tiltable table for angular cuts, and a pin-end blade for easy removal with the included adapters.
Why Should I Buy A Scroll Saw?
Before we compare these products in full detail, let’s look at a few things about scroll saws that you should be aware of before deciding on which product to purchase.
Quick, Precise Cuts
Although scroll saws aren’t the quickest or most portable saws, they do provide the most accurate cuts. Scrolls saws are able to cut out amazingly accurate patterns in wood and other materials that can be used for jigsaw puzzles, ornate furniture, or decorative pieces. Most people start by drawing a picture or design directly on the piece that is to be cut or on a piece of paper that is then secured to that material. The scroll saw is then used to easily trace through the lines of the design in a safe, controlled manner. The blade can even be detached and centered inside of a pilot hole within interior designs to cut out intricate patterns that wouldn’t be possible with any other type of saw.
Scroll saws aren’t often used in typical constructions projects, but when they are, they create true works of art. Scroll saws are often used to cut baseboards, crown molding, window sills, and doors. They’re also used for custom pieces that weren’t accounted for before the job began, such as made-to-fit end pieces for walls and floors. Scroll saws are often used instead of jigsaws and circular saws because they are thinner and, therefore, more accurate and produce less waste.
While scroll saws aren’t typically used in most construction projects, they are used very often in woodworking projects. Scroll saws are great tools for cutting components for desks, chairs, tables, beds, and virtually any other piece of furniture. Scroll saws are also excellent at cutting precise lines in decorative wall pieces, statues, and, despite the name, jigsaw puzzles. Thanks to their very fine blades, scroll saws are capable of producing cuts that would be impossible with any other blade.
Scroll saws are great for wood, but they’re also capable of cutting through other materials. The most common type of blades are large-toothed blades for cutting through wood and small-toothed blades for cutting through metal. Rougher tungsten carbide grit blades can also be purchased for scroll saws that are designed for cutting through tile, concrete, and stone. Any of these blades can also be used to cut through plastic, although the small-toothed metal-cutting blades are the best as the larger-toothed wood-cutting blades can chip plastic and result in a less precise cut.
Scroll Saws vs Other Saws
Scroll saws are often confused with jigsaws and band saws, which are essentially just jigsaws that are mounted on a table for hands-free cutting. Although scroll saws and band saws are similar, scroll saws have a much thinner blade and are often less powerful than band saws. While jigsaws and band saws are used to quickly cut through wood and other materials, scroll saws are designed for slower-paced work that requires more attention to detail and also has the benefit of producing cleaner cuts, which means less sanding, if any at all.
What Makes A Great Scroll Saw?
When selecting a scroll saw, you have to be careful about which model you choose to purchase. Not all scroll saws are created equal and there are many different factors to consider that can have a big impact on how clean and accurate your finished projects come out as well as your health and the ease at which you complete projects. The following are just several considerations to take into account when choosing the right scroll saw for your project.
An important aspect of any scroll saw is how efficient it is at actually cutting through the material you’re working with during any given job. While most scrolls saws are typically less powerful than circular saws and even jigsaws, they are often rated for slow, moderate, or fast-paced operation. Some scroll saws, however, have a variable speed that lets you change how fast it goes by turning a knob or lever. These saws are the best because they can be adapted to any particular job that you’re working on. Variable speed scroll saws can be set to high speed when you need to quickly cut off an excess piece of lumber while the slower settings will give you better control over how accurate your cut is.
It is also important to choose a scroll saw that lets you use different blades to cut through different materials. Like circular saws and jigsaws, scroll saws can use wide-toothed blades to cut through wood and short-toothed blades to cut through harder materials, such as metal and plastic. While most scroll saws give you the option to change the blade, some models make the task easier than others. The scroll saw that you choose should hold the blade firmly, but allow you to quickly take it on and off in order to change the blade or reposition it for interior design cuts.
Another thing to consider is how messy your workplace is going to be when you’re finished with your project. While circular saws and jigsaws both tend to produce large amounts of shavings and dust, which often requires you to wear a respirator or dust mask and spend extra time cleaning up your work area, scroll saws create very fine cuts and, therefore, don’t produce nearly as much of a mess as other saws do. However, scroll saws do produce a small amount of shavings and loose pieces of wood or other materials that you’re working with may get broken off while you’re working and be violently ejected by the blade. To keep your area clean and protect yourself from loose shrapnel, be sure to purchase a scroll saw that has a dust collector or vacuum unit that continuously pulls your waste material away from you and your work area.
Variable speed scroll saws can be set to high speed when you need to quickly cut off an excess piece of lumber while the slower settings will give you better control over how accurate your cut is.
At some point, you’re probably going to want your scroll saw to be able to tilt in at least one direction in order to cut your material at an angle. Many decorative pieces, for example, have interlocking components that sit on top of one another and that can only happen if the components are bigger on one side than they are on the other. Since it’s easier to cut objects on a level surface, the best scroll saws let you move the actual saw back and forth instead of moving the table. Although it isn’t nearly as important, your scroll saw may also let you adjust the height of the blade as well in order to cut larger materials.
Scroll saws are often touted as being among the safest saws in the world because of their relatively low speeds and lack of power. While a circular saw could cut halfway through your hand before you even realize you’ve been injured, a scroll saw would only nick you at best before you pulled your hand away. Still, it’s a wise decision to keep your eye out for potential safety features whenever purchasing any new tool, especially when that tool has a motor-driven blade attached to it. While circular saws and some jigsaws have guards on them to protect your hand, scroll saws don’t. However, some scroll saws are equipped with a foot switch that immediately disables the blade when you take your foot off of the pedal. There is also a new technology on the market that’s currently only available for table saws called the SawStop that’s capable of detecting the difference between a hard material like wood and the soft tissue of your skin. This technology isn’t yet available for scroll saws, but it’s certainly something to look for in future models.
Once you’ve considered these other elements, it’s time to form an overall opinion about a particular model that you’ve had in mind. At this point, there are several things to ask yourself. Does this scroll saw meet your budget requirements? Does this scroll saw have any safety features? Does this scroll saw meet the requirements of the jobs that you are expecting to use this saw for? We’ll be using these criteria below to review and compare some of the best scroll saws that we’ve found on the market. While you’re free to look at other scroll saws as well, these are the products that we highly recommend.
Best Scroll Saw – Full Review
DEWALT DW788 1.3 Amp 20-Inch Variable-Speed Scroll Saw
The DW788 1.3 Amp 20-Inch Variable-Speed Scroll Saw from Dewalt features a ⅛ horsepower motor with a variable speed between 400 and 1,750 strokes per minute and a variable stroke length between ¾ inch and two inches, allowing you to cut through relatively thick plywood and even 2 x 4s with relative ease, but thicker materials will need to be cut down to the proper size before using this scroll saw.
The DW788 has an adjustable goose-neck dust blower to continuously remove unwanted materials from your work area so that dust and debris doesn’t get in your way or cause safety concerns. Though this machine doesn’t include a dust vacuum, it does feature a tool-free blade assembly that lets you take the blade off without any equipment as well as lift the blade arm to reposition the blade anywhere you need it, which means it eliminates the chances you have of leaving tools, screws, and blades on the table, which have been known to cause workplace accidents. The machine also features a short, smooth arm movement that virtually eliminates all sound and vibration, two things that can frustrate any woodworker.
The table of the DW788 is able to swivel a full 90 degrees, or 45 degrees in either the left or right position, which gives you a variety of cuts that wouldn’t be possible on a fixed-table machine.
Though the DW788 doesn’t have a hand guard or foot-controlled pedal, it does conveniently put all of the controls on the front of the upper arm so that you can quickly shut off the device in an emergency and adjust the speed of the motor with a flick of your wrist. To prevent the blade from slipping out, it rests on two adjustable hex screws that can be loosened or tightened as needed with the included hex wrench.
The machine also features a short, smooth arm movement that virtually eliminates all sound and vibration, two things that can frustrate any woodworker.
Overall, this is the best scroll saw that we know about. It has a variable speed motor that can cut through just about anything as well as an adjustable dust blower to keep your work area clean and your lungs free of wood fibers. The table is able to tilt 45 degrees in either direction while the blade arm can easily be lift up to perform interior cuts instead of having to manually remove the blade and put it back on just to thread it through a pilot hole. The blade itself is easily detachable without the use of any tools and the saw weighs 56 pounds, making it sturdy enough for precise cuts and simultaneously light enough to move it around your shop without too much difficulty. All in all, we think this is the best saw you can get regardless of your budget
Best Scroll Saw for the Money – Full Review
Delta Power Tools 40-694 20 In. Variable Speed Scroll Saw
The 40-694 20 inch variable speed scroll saw from Delta Power Tools features a 1.3 amp motor that can produce between 400 and 1,750 strokes per minute and the double-mounted blade system keeps vibrations to a minimum, which maximizes the accuracy of each cut. It includes two straight blades that can be stored in the built-in organizer found on the top of the saw. The 40-696 has a cutting capacity of 1 ⅝ inches at a 45 degree angle and 2 ⅛ inches at a 90 degree angle.
Delta Power Tools 40-694 20
With an adjustable gooseneck dust blower, the Delta 40-694 keeps your work area clear of debris, although it doesn’t have a built-in dust collection system like a vacuum or even a dispensable tray. While that’s fine for general use, you’ll still need to break out a broom and dustpan when you’re finished with your project if you want your workshop to stay clean and hazard-free.
The 40-694’s large cast iron table is able to tilt up to 45 degrees in either the left or right position for a maximum 90 degree range of motion. Although the table itself can’t be adjusted for height, the upper arm can be lifted up and locked into place while you’re changing blades in order to maximize the amount of room you have to thread the blade through pilot holes when doing fretwork.
All of your controls on the 40-694 can be found on the front of the arm for easy access, including the On/Off switch, electronic variable speed dial, adjustable dust blower, and blade-tensioning lever. The blade tensioning-lever does not require any tools and can be adjusted with a simple flick to properly adjust the blade to the correct tension and maximize both the life expectancy of the blade as well as the accuracy of each cut.
The 40-694 doesn’t have every feature imaginable, but it’s certainly the best scroll saw we found in its price range. It has easily accessible controls, a large work area that can be tilted 45 degrees in either direction, and a built-in storage compartment that comes with two blades out of the box. This saw has a variable-speed motor for both fast cutting and slow precision cuts as well as a flexible dust control system. While it’s not the saw we would pick if we had unlimited funds, you can’t go wrong with this model.
Best Scroll Saws On A Budget – Full Review
Shop Fox W1713 16-Inch Variable Speed Scroll Saw
The Shop Fox W1713 has a ⅛ horsepower, 1-Amp variable speed motor that can be adjusted from 550 to 1,700 strokes per minute. The plain and pin-end blade can be changed with the included hex key wrench while the metal hold-down shoe prevents the piece you’re cutting from rising up with the blade, which improves the accuracy of your cut.
Includes a gooseneck work light, dust blower and dust port
The W1713 has both a fixed-position dust blower and a dust port built directly into the side of the tray, mounted just beneath the port for the saw blade. As dust and debris get knocked around by the blade, the dust blower directs it through the blade port and into a chamber below. Any shop vac (not included) or even a regular vacuum cleaner can be connected to the dust port to clean out the compartment either after or during operation.
The table is 16 inches wide and can be tilted in one direction by as much as 45 degrees. The upper arm can be adjusted up and down by a knob on the side to allow for up to 2 inches of maximum cutting depth. Other than that, this model doesn’t offer too much flexibility as far as large cuts are concerned. However, the W1713 is more than capable of cutting through virtually any kind of plywood board and even thin posts.
This Shop Fox model has a few extra features that most scroll saws don’t have that increase the safety and accuracy of every job. In addition to the hold-down shoe, the W1713 also has an adjustable gooseneck work light that rests above the unit, a flip-top plastic guard to protect your hands from the blade during operation, and the controls for both the light as well as the speed of the motor can be found on the front of the unit only inches away from your work area.
As dust and debris get knocked around by the blade, the dust blower directs it through the blade port and into a chamber below.
Overall, the Shop Fox W1713 is an amazing model that rivals many brands that are much more expensive. This saw is very portable at just 35 pounds, has a built-in dust removal system, a plastic guard over the blade, a built-in work light, a tiltable table, and a variable speed motor. Considering the price of this unit is far below that of its competition and has features that many of those models don’t even offer, this is a great scroll saw for anyone on a budget.
Woodworking a very enjoyable pastime and can even be a lucrative business for some, but it takes time and practice to be good at any craft. Those who are still gaining experience may have questions about what type of saw they should buy and how to use it once they get it. Here are some of the most common questions we get asked about scroll saws.
Q: Should I buy a bandsaw or a scroll saw? What are the differences between the two?
A: Band saws and scroll saws are often confused with each other because they look very similar and work in basically the same way. The main difference between a band saw and a scroll saw is the type of blade that it uses, although the speed of the motor also plays a role. While a band saw is basically just a jig saw that’s been flipped upside down and mounted to a table for hands-free cutting, a scroll saw has a much more narrow blade with teeth that are closer together and is made specifically for cutting intricate patterns that a bandsaw can’t do. While a bandsaw blade can cut close quartered objects, it’s jagged teeth will pulverize the material that you’re working with, leaving you with a big cleanup job and lots of sanding, and the blade is too wide to make the precise twists and turns that a scroll saw can do.
Q: My blade keeps twisting to the side every time I make a cut. What am I doing wrong?
A: Scroll saw blades tend to follow the grain of the wood you’re working with, no matter how expensive the saw is. While other types of saws also suffer from twisting, scroll saw blades experience it more often because the blades are so narrow. Try purchasing thicker, wider blades that have grounded teeth instead of stamped teeth. These blades cost a little more, but they’ll perform much better than cheap, narrow blades.
Q: How thick can my wood be?
A: Most scroll saws are capable of cutting through roughly 1-2 inches of wood (or any other material that you’re cutting through). If you need to cut through thicker wood than that, you may consider cutting the wood lengthwise first so that you have two thin slices instead of one big piece and then creating two identical pieces with your scroll saw. It’s also an important concept for any woodworker to remember that you shouldn’t rely completely on one tool for every job that you have. Scroll saws, and to a lesser extent band saws, are made for cutting intricate details into relatively thin pieces of wood, but there may be times when you need to use a table saw to cut larger pieces of wood into more manageable pieces before you get started. It may be tempting to use one saw for as much as possible, especially considering how much these machines cost, but it’s much wiser to invest in the proper equipment for the task that you’re attempting. Your craftsmanship and your experience as a woodsmith will be much better for it.