To help you find the best scroll saw, we looked into 15 products and analyzed their ease of use, blade types, cutting speed, worktable quality, and dust management system.
We picked the Rockwell BladeRunner X2 as our top choice for the best scroll saw because of its tool-free blade change feature, variety of blades, accessories that give better control of the material being cut, built-in dust port, and portability. Keep reading for more details about the Rockwell Scroll Saw and four other highly recommended products.
Top 5 Best Scroll Saw
#1 Rockwell BladeRunner X2 Scroll Saw
Award: Top Pick
WHY WE LIKE IT: This portable scroll saw with a tabletop handle is for DIYers who want a kit that’s light enough to carry around and won’t take up that much space. This tool-free product is versatile despite its size with its five blades, miter gauge, steel rip fence, and vacuum port for mess-free cutting.
An upgrade of the original BladeRunner, this lightweight, tabletop Rockwell model features five T-shank blades, each with its specialty: woodcutting for smooth and scroll cuts, ceramics, aluminum, and metal. The assortment of blades allows you to do several jobs from this machine from rip and cross cutting to more intricate miter and scroll cutting.
The machine runs on a single speed of 3,000 strokes per minute (no-load). Even though its work table measures only 15 3/4″ x 17,” BladeRunner X2 is powerful at 5.5 amps. It also comes with a rip fence and hold-down guard so you can control your material even for wider cuts. You can attach a hose into its vacuum port so your work area will be kept free from sawdust. Plus, BladeRunner X2 also comes with a 3-year warranty. Pro tip: The best corded drill will help you make certain cuts the easy way.
#2 WEN 3921 Scroll Saw
Award: Honorable Mention
WHY WE LIKE IT: WEN 3921 comes with a unique two-directional blade and variable speed control. You can easily shift from level to angled sawing with the machine’s foot-lock clamp, beveling table, air pump, and stable cast iron base.
The successor of the popular WEN 3920 scroll saw, the 3921 model has an adjustable 11″ x 16″ table that tilts up to 45 degrees to the left. It’s also equipped with a speed dial found in front of the machine that can be set from 400 to 1,600 strokes per minute and a snake light to help you better view your intricate cuts when necessary.
The 1.2-amp machine offers five pinned and pin-less blade options that can cut through hardwood. You can position them in either the standard direction for angled and inside cuts or at a 90-degree position. The latter is for moving and cutting wood across the width of the table, instead of from the front to the back, for larger workpieces. WEN makes other great scroll saws as well, like the WEN 3922 16-Inch Variable Speed Scroll Saw with easy access blade changes, 550-1600 SPM, and a 2-inch cut capacity at 90 degrees with a 16-inch throat depth. It reduces vibration and overall makes your wood scrolling more accurate. It’s one thing that WEN tools are powerful and good quality, but ultimately, you get a great deal for what you pay for. You can clean your wood with a cloth while doing small projects, there’s no need to use the best power scrubber.
#3 Dewalt DW788 Scroll Saw
Award: Best Quality
WHY WE LIKE IT: Do projects with reduced vibration and noise with this double parallel arm model from Dewalt. The 20” beveling table, liftable saw arm, and conveniently located blade tension knob make this machine the best scroll saw for intarsia.
Hobbyists and contractors will love Dewalt’s scroll saw because of its liftable arm, tool-free blade clamps for easier blade-threading for inside cuts, steady cast-iron surface, and blade tensioning lever positioned in front of the upper arm.
This 1.3-amp machine is considered a commercial grade as its table can tilt up to 45% to the left and right. It comes with two pin-less blades, the cutting speed of which can be adjusted from 400 to 1,750 strokes per minute. The product comes with a 3-year warranty and passes the safety standards of the CSA Group and OSHA. This will make your cuts, while the best disc sander can smooth your wood.
#4 Shop Fox W1713 Scroll Saw
Award: Best Dust Collection
WHY WE LIKE IT: This Woodstock International product is built with your safety in mind as it comes with a clear, hard plastic blade guard and a gooseneck light. Its variable speed controls, tilting table, and dust port ensure high performance whether you’re working on softwood or hardwood.
This 16” scroll saw with an adjustable speed of 550 to 1,650 strokes per minute is the only item in this review with a protective plastic blade guard mounted on top of the hold-down shoe rod.
Although the 1.2-amp machine accepts both pinned and pinless blades, it uses a tooled blade system that requires you to use a tool for changing the two blades it comes with. The saw has blade adapters for pinless blades, but they might be challenging to mount. You can bevel the table up to 45 degrees and get a clear view of your work with its gooseneck work light. These machines make it easy as there is no need to use the best hacksaw for your cuts.
#5 Delta Power 40-694 Scroll Saw
Award: Best Mid-Range Commercial
WHY WE LIKE IT: This tool-free Delta Power product offers plenty of user-friendly features with its liftable arm with lock, beveling table, and forward tension adjustment. Its long cast iron table, superior blade features, and dust blower make it the best scroll saw for model-making.
Its vibration-reducing dual parallel arms, 20” throat length, and table with left-to-right tilts make this scroll saw a close contender to item #3, the Dewalt DW788. Its edge over the DW788 is that its upper arm can be locked in place while raised. Its main drawback is its weight, 60lbs—the heaviest in our review.
The speed dial, which ranges from 400 to 1,750 strokes per minute, and blade tension adjustment of the 1.3-amp scroll saw are also conveniently found at the front of the machine. The scroll saw comes with two blades and a dust blower. It has a 5-year warranty, making it the longest in our list; the other four items offer just two to three-year warranties. Just a note, if you incorporate electric into your wood project, you’ll need the best wire strippers.
How We Decided
The shortlisted products in this review can be used by both professionals and newbies, with all five scroll saws equipped with a hold-down guard that keeps your material in place while you cut. We selected products with mainly two throat lengths, 16″ and 20″, to meet your unique space needs.
All items feature metal cutting surfaces. They come with different blades and adjustable speeds except for the Rockwell BladeRunner X2, which makes up for the lack with 5.5 amperes of power output.
The five scroll saws come with a dust collection system so that you can cut continuously with less sawdust getting in the way.
Best Modern Buyer’s Guide
The Most Important Factors to Consider
- Blade Change Mechanism
Look for products that have a tool-free or tool-less blade changing feature compared to a tooled scroll saw. Tool-free types allow you to change blades with just a squeeze of a lever or pin, unlike tooled saws that will require you to use a wrench and other hand tools to unmount and mount new blades.
- Speed Adjustment
Choose multiple over single-speed scroll saws to give you more flexibility. The faster your scroll saw can go, the more power it has to cut through harder or thicker materials.
- Types of Blades
Go for products that have both pinned and pinless blades. Pinned blades attach to the saw through small pins on each of their ends. They are thicker and can, therefore, cut better through thicker material. Meanwhile, pin-less blades, which are held by two small clamps on each end, are necessary for fine detail work such as interior cuts for fretwork. Most scroll saws, like the products included in this review, can cut wooden pieces up to 2” thick, although some models can saw materials up to 3 1/4″ thick
- Blade tensioning knob
A good scroll saw will have a blade tensioning knob at the front of the machine where it’s more accessible to you. As a general rule, it’s better to operate the saw with more tension than with loose tension. Loose tension may cause the blade to break because you’ll be forced to apply more pressure to cut through the material. It can also push the blade sideways, resulting in an imprecise cut. Lastly, loose tension can cause the blade to overheat and become dull.
- Throat length
The throat length of a scroll saw is the distance from the back of the blade to the back of the arm, measured in inches (from 16″ to 30″). The larger the throat, the more room you have to cut larger objects so you don’t have to cut them up in smaller pieces.
- Worktable size
Pick a scroll saw with a table wide and strong enough that you can spin the wooden pieces you work with 360 degrees. Choose aluminum over wooden work tables. Also, ensure that it has a smooth surface so there’ll be no resistance during actual sawing.
- Table tilt
Scroll saws with adjustable tilts will allow you to make beveled cuts. In other models, it’s the arm with the blade attached that tilts. High-end saws can tilt to the left and right instead of one direction only
Most scroll saws have parallel arms. The blade is attached to the ends of the arms that run parallel to each other. It’s the safest to use because the saw stops immediately in case the blade breaks.
Meanwhile, the C-arm type of scroll saw cuts more aggressively and moves in a slight arc. In case the blade breaks, you’ll have to shut off the machine to stop the upper arm from moving up and down.
The latest design is the double parallel-link arm found in mid-range and expensive models. Double-parallel arm types only move at the tips, unlike parallel or C-arms that move and vibrate as entire units, making them much quieter.
- Sawdust management
Several products have thin blower hoses that you can extend and position at any angle to clear an area about two inches around the blade.
Unless you plan to use a scroll saw to cut stone or metal, a machine with at least 1.25 amperes will be enough for your woodworking projects.
Scroll Saw FAQs
Can a scroll saw work with all types of wood?
Softwoods such as poplar, cedar, and plywood are good to work with when you're just getting to know your machine because they’ll produce less resistance than hardwood. You can move to hardwoods like maple, ash, walnut, cherry, and hickory when you're more familiar with your scroll saw. You can use hardwood for detailed work, and they won't smoke or chip as long as you cut at the right speed. Oak is a common hardwood in the US but has a very porous grain so it can't withstand tight cuts. Woodworking enthusiasts have also been using polywood, which is man-made lumber developed from high-density polyethylene, thermoplastics, and recycled plastic, since the 1990s.
How can I keep the blade from falling off the blade clamp?
Blades can fall off due to lubrication applied on them when they're new. They can also slip off when the interior of the upper clamp that holds them becomes smooth through continuous sawing. Try ridding the clamp of oil using alcohol, and then sandpaper the blade to improve the clamp's grip on it.
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