The 5 Best Scroll Saws – Reviews & Buying Guide
If you are one of those creative or artistic woodworkers that like making crafts, a scroll saw is one of those power tools that you need to add to your toolkit.
Scroll saws look quite similar to the band saw, but they do not use a continuous blade. Instead, the blade on these saws will move up and down using a reciprocating mechanism.
The scroll saw will also include a worktable for holding the material and most will have a variable speed to make them suitable for a variety of uses.
Although they have a wide range of capabilities, these saws seem to excel when it comes to making clean, delicate and intricate cuts.
Some of those cool sculptures that you find in craft saws and jigsaw puzzles are a product of this handy saw.
And to make sure that you get top-notch service from these power saws, you need to pick the best from the many options in the market. This will require you to consider vital elements such as the motor power, speed range, and throat depth when shopping for a scroll saw.
You can also read other product reviews such as scroll saw for beginner, scroll saw brand, scroll saw blade, jig saw, band saw. If you look for scroll saws in detail, here are some reviews that I recommend for you to read like Hegner scroll saw, Rockwell scroll saw, Craftsman scroll saw, Excalibur scroll saw.
Table of Contents
- 5 Best Scroll Saws - Reviews
- How to Buy Scroll Saws
- Best Scroll Saw Blades
- Scroll Saw Blade Types
- How to Choose the Right Blade
- Scroll Saw Q&A
5 Best Scroll Saws - Reviews
Speed Range SPM
1. Wen 3920 Variable Speed Scroll Saw
400 - 1600
2. DeWalt DW788 Variable Speed Scroll Saw
400 - 1740
3. Shop Fox W1713 Variable Speed Scroll Saw
550 - 1700
4. Delta 40-694 Variable Speed Scroll Saw
400 - 1750
5. Dremel MS20-01 Variable Speed Compact Scroll Saw Kit
1500 - 2500
#1. Wen 3920 16-Inch Variable Speed Scroll Saw
Editor's Rating: (4.1 / 5)
Wen 3920 is the cheapest item on our scroll saw reviews but it is still a high performing 16-inch model that provides a variable speed of between 400 and 1,600 SPM. And you can adjust the speed easily with the speed knob that is mounted on the front of the saw.
The unique design of this scroll saw allows it to accept blades in both standard and 90-degree direction to give woodworkers more ripping capacity.
With the spacious work table on this scroll saw you will have sufficient space for your workpiece and you can cut material that is up 2 inches thick. And the spacious table also tilts up to 45 degrees to the left.
You can use both pinned and pinless blades on this scroll saw as it handles both. And you never have to worry about seeing the tasks at hand when cutting as there is a handy air pump for blowing sawdust from the cut line.
This scroll saw comes with a sturdy cast iron base that will not only keep it stable but also minimizes the vibration when making cuts.
The flexible LED work light is also a great addition to the saw as it makes it possible to illuminate the workpieces when working in low light environments.
#2. DeWalt DW788 20-Inch Variable Speed Scroll Saw
Editor's Rating: (4.4 / 5)
With the 1.3-Amp motor on the DeWalt DW788, woodworkers will get more than enough power for clean and intricate cuts for their crafts projects.
The variable speed with a wide range of between 400 and 1,740 SPM also helps to make this a dependable tool for a variety of projects.
Controlling the scroll saw is also easy and convenient since all the important controls are in the front part of the upper arm.
The unique double parallel-link arm design will pivot from the back to the front to reduce the distance that it has to cover for reduced vibrations and a quieter operation.
Also, there are minimal downtimes when using this scroll saw as the tool-free blade clamps make it possible to change the blade in just seconds.
#3. Shop Fox W1713 16-Inch Variable Speed Scroll Saw
Editor's Rating: (4 / 5)
If you are beginner woodworker or are want to start doing some crafts in the workshop, the 16-inch Shop Fox W1713 variable speed scroll saw will work well for you.
Like most other high performing scroll saws, it is a variable speed model capable of speeds of between 550 and 1,700 spm.
And besides, from the variable speed settings, it will also accept both pinned and pinless blades to make it an even more versatile scroll saw.
The large work table will tilt up to 45 degrees to accommodate larger materials and also to make them easy to maneuver when making cuts. This scroll saw also has a sturdy cast iron construction that makes it highly durable.
Other notable features of the Shop Fox W1713 are the gooseneck work light, dust blower, and a standard size dust port.
#4. Delta 40-694 20 Inch Variable Speed Scroll Saw
Editor's Rating: (3.9 / 5)
The price of Delta Power Tools 40-694 only comes second to one tool (the DeWalt DW788) on our list. But, is worth every coin you spend on it as it provides top-notch performance.
This scroll saw runs on a 1.3-Amp motor which is also one of the most powerful on our list and with a variable speed of between 400 and 1,750 spm. The wide speed range makes it a suitable scroll saw for a wide variety of applications.
Delta Power Tools 40-694 has a dual parallel-link arm design that reduces the vibrations when cutting and also minimizes under and over cutting for improved accuracy and cut quality.
There is also a tool-free clamp on this scroll saw that will allow for a quick and easy change of the blades to minimize the downtimes.
#5. Dremel MS20-01 Moto-Saw Variable Speed Compact Scroll Saw Kit
Editor's Rating: (3.9 / 5)
With the 10 cutting blades that you get when you buy the Dremel MS20-01, you can make some detailed cuts in various materials including plastic, metal, and laminates.
This scroll saw is the lightest on our list and it is easy to set-up, operate and store hence making it a very convenient tool. And although it is a stationary power saw, it is possible to remove it from the base and use it as a portable and motorized coping saw.
The fast-clamp base also adds to the convenience of this scroll saw as you can attach it to various workbenches, tables, and other surfaces.
Also, the auto tensioning is another fantastic feature as it makes accessory change easy and also ensures that the blade remains taut and ready to cut when you need it.
How to Buy Scroll Saws
A scroll saw allows you to make some intricate or detailed cuts in a variety of materials. Although they are the best saws for crafts all are not the same.
The different models and brands out there have different capabilities and so it is important to know how to pick the best. But, this should not be a problem as you only need to consider the following vital factors when shopping.
The throat size is one of the terms that you will come across often when shopping for a scroll saw. And this is rightfully so as it is one of the crucial things to consider when buying these saws.
Throat size or depth is the distance from the back of the blade to the back throat of the saw. What makes it important is the fact that whatever throat size you pick you can cut stock that is double that length.
For example, the 16-inch scroll saw will cut a 32-inch wood piece. These 16-inch scroll saws are pretty basic and will be best suited for beginners. The 20 or 21-inch throat size scroll saws, on the other hand, are the best for experienced woodworkers.
The worktable holds the material and it also provides the work surface for a woodworker when using a scroll saw. And when it comes to the work tables the three important things to consider are the size, material, and durability.
Size will vary from one brand to the other, and the best scroll table for you is one that provides enough room for you to work on your workpiece comfortably. Also, it should be large enough to support the piece fully.
For the material, make sure that it is smooth enough so that it does not cause resistance when you are moving the workpiece as this can affect the quality of the cut.
The durability of the work table is obvious as you do not want to buy a new scroll saw after every few months. Look for something tough enough to hold your workpiece, and the best idea is to avoid wooden tables and go for aluminum or the cast iron ones.
The older scroll saw models feature only one or two speeds settings which limit their uses. Modern ones, on the other hand, will have variable speed settings that make it possible to choose any speed within a certain range.
Since different materials will require different cutting speeds, the best scroll saw for woodworking is always one with a variable speed.
With these power saws, the speeds will range between 400 spm (or less) to 1,800 spm or more depending on the model.
Scrolls saws will accept two types of blades which are pinned and pinless or unpinned. The pinned or pin end blade types are thicker blades that are best suited for cutting thicker woods but they will not allow for fine detailing.
The pinless blade types are the more common of the two and what most woodworkers will use. These blades will provide more cutting options and they are best for tighter and more intricate and detailed cuts.
Scroll saws are not the most powerful power saws, and this is because they do not need a lot of power to do what they do.
What is more important is to ensure that the motor delivers enough power for the blade to make your detailed cuts into a variety of materials. A scroll saw with at least a 1.2-Amp motor should be powerful enough for most scroll cutting needs.
Sawdust poses a serious health hazard and it also means that you will have a lot of cleaning to do afterward. And so it is important to make sure that your scroll saw has an efficient system of managing it.
A standard size dust port is a great addition to any scroll saw as it makes it possible to connect your saw to a shop vac or any other dust collection system.
Best Scroll Saw Blades
The blade is one of the most important parts of the scroll saw as it is what makes the actual cuts. Also, it is the only part of the saw that you can be sure you will need to change at some point.
The many kinds of scroll saw blades and the fact that they come in various sizes can be quite confusing and this is more so for the beginner woodworker.
But, you only need to know some of the common types, and how to pick between them to ensure that you always get the best scroll saw blades for your projects.
Scroll Saw Blade Types
- Standard blades: The teeth on these blades are the same size and similar distances apart. And they are available in wood versions that have larger teeth and more space between them and the metal version with smaller teeth and less space in between.
- Skip tooth blades: Blades that skip a tooth or where the gullet which is the space between the teeth is wider than what you get on standard blades to keep them cool. Everything else besides from this is similar to the standard tooth blades.
- Double-tooth blades: Their main characteristic is the large space between the teeth as they also skip a tooth. And although they are slow-cutting, they also produce super smooth cuts.
- Precision ground blades: A version of the skip-tooth blade that features some smaller teeth ground to shape instead of just being filed. They tend to be sharper than most types and will cut in a straight line and the cuts are very smooth.
- Spiral blades: They are the kind that allows you to cut in all direction. And they are just a bunch of blades twisted together to provide teeth all the way around. With the blades, it is possible to cut in all directions without having to turn the workpiece.
How to Choose the Right Blade
Now that you know the common types of scroll saw blades out there, the other important thing is to pick the right one for your projects. But this is also easy as you only need to consider the following things.
Material: Consider what you are going to cut because different types of blades are ideal for cutting different materials. While some can cut a variety of materials, most will be for use on either wood, plastic or metal.
Workpiece Thickness: Thicker materials will require you to use bigger blades or those with larger teeth because the small ones cannot handle the cuts. Thin and delicate materials, on the other hand, will require smaller teeth blades.
Pattern Complexity: If your project requires you to make some intricate and highly detailed patterns and inside cuts (fretwork) you need to go for a blade with small teeth. But, if you are making simple patterns with lots of straight lines or just outside cutting a standard blade would be okay.
If you are looking for a good blade that cuts both hard and soft wood and most types of plastic you should try the Olson Saw FR49501 Pin End Scroll Saw Blade. The Olson Saw PG49802 Precision Ground Scroll Saw Blade, on the other hand, will be a great scroll saw blade choice if most of your projects entail cutting hardwoods.
Scroll Saw Q&A
Q: Band saw vs. scroll saw: which one should I buy?
A: Both if possible as they will be handy for different projects. However, if you must choose one, the types of projects that you want to use the saw for should direct your choice.
Scroll saws are cheaper than band saws and they will also be the best for small and intricate woodworking projects and crafts.
Band saws, on the other hand, are a great power saw for increasing productivity in the workshop. They are also highly versatile as they can make most specialty and almost all the common cuts.
If you are looking for something to make intricate cuts go with a scroll saw and if you want something that offers speed and accuracy go for a band saw.
Read more: Scroll saw vs. Band saw
Q: What’s the difference between scroll saw and jigsaw?
A: While both the power saws are ideal for cutting scroll or non-straight lines, that is almost where their similarities stop. And so it should be easy to pick between the two.
The scroll saw is a specialized power saw that is handy when cutting delicate and highly intricate designs. But, it will only make these cuts on materials that are 2 inches or less in thickness.
Unlike the jigsaw, scroll saws are also relatively quitet tools and will also produce less dust than the latter. And they will also make 3-D fractals and plunge/pierce cuts which you cannot do with the jigsaw.
The jigsaw is a handheld and highly portable power saw with a blade that moves up and down like what you get on a scroll saw. However, most will also feature an orbital action.
Jigsaws might not make delicate and intricate cuts like scroll saws, but they are a jack of all trade as they can make almost any type of cut. They are handy for cutting odd shapes, curves, and circles.
Read more: Scroll saw vs. Jigsaw
Q: What materials can be cut on a scroll saw?
A: It depends on the blade that you have on the saw. There are several kinds of scroll saw blades and each is suitable for cutting a particular material type and thickness.
Overall, you can use the scroll saw to cut both soft and hardwood, plastic, metal and even glass. The saw will also cut both sheet and solid wood material.
But, when you are cutting certain kinds of materials like metals and glass you will need specialty blades. For example, you can only cut glass with a diamond-impregnated scroll saw blade.
Also, when using a scroll saw to cut acrylic plastic material you will need to use beeswax or tape to lubricate the blade because this material tends to melt back together. However, you can use any scroll saw blade when cutting acrylic plastic.
Q: Can you use a scroll saw to cut metal?
A: Yes. You can use the scroll saw to cut metal and various other materials like plastic and glass. However, you will need a skip-tooth blade when cutting metal with a scroll saw.
With the right blade, you can use your scroll saw to cut through almost all kinds of metals from copper and brass to bronze, rolled cold steel and even aluminum sheets. Scroll saws are a great tool for cutting metal that is up to 1/8-inch thick
However, you need to take extra precaution when dealing with thin metal to avoid scratching it when cutting. And one simple way to do this is to sandwich the thin metal between some scrap plywood when making the cut.
Q: How does a scroll saw work?
A: A scroll saw is a small and stationary power saw for making intricate and non-straight cuts into various materials. And it uses a thin blade that is moved up and down by a reciprocating mechanism when making a cut.
There is also a small table on the saw that holds the workpiece. When making the cut you have to guide your material through the blade following the pattern or design that you want to cut.
While there are some scroll saws that will run on a battery most are plugged in and they have a variable speed to make them ideal for various applications.
Read more: Top 5 Scroll Saw Problems - How to Improve