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Winter 2013-2014

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Tool Test Bandsaws

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You're about to be marooned on a desert island. You're allowed one power tool to take with you. Which would it be? My choice would be a bandsaw. After the router, a bandsaw is the most versatile tool in a woodshop. It can cut straight or curved lines; it can turn logs into lumber or make precision dovetails. Of course, you must pick the right blade for the job, and then set the guides just so for each blade—without losing your patience. We all like lots of power. It's really handy for the big stuff. Shopping for a saw that can do all these jobs can drive you nuts, however. The choices are overwhelming. For any amount you're willing to spend, there's another machine that costs only $100 more—or $100 less. To help you, we've undertaken the most comprehensive bandsaw test we've ever done. In this issue and the next, we'll look at 14-in. and larger saws that cost less than $1,500. In this issue, we'll review 19 saws that cost less than $1,000. Their wheels range in size from 14 to 17 in. and their motors are between 3/4 and 2 hp. In the next issue, we'll tackle 13 more-expensive bandsaws. This test has three parts. First, we'll review the important features any bandsaw should have. Second, we'll take a close look at individual models. Last, you'll find a chart with side-by-side comparisons and recommendations for saws in four price ranges.
Features to Consider
Bandsaws are used in so many ways that every woodworker has a slightly different take on which features matter most. Whether you're rough-sawing curved parts, cutting joints or resawing door panels, here's the short list of points to check.


Key Features
The biggest pet peeve among bandsaw users is blade guides that are a pain to adjust. We gave this factor a lot of weight in our ratings. Blade guides are located both above and below the table (see photos, right). For an accurate cut, it's equally important to set both correctly—even more so the smaller the blade you use.
How often do you have to adjust the guides? For best results, you should change blades to cut curves of different sizes and wood of different thicknesses. That means changing the guide settings, too. However, many bandsaw owners rarely fiddle with the guides, making do with a single size blade for almost all their work.
If you're a fastidious woodworker who'll switch back and forth between blades, look for a guide system that we rate as easy to adjust. We believe that the more complicated the design of the guide system, the less likely you'll set it right. If you don't mind getting by with one blade, any guide system will work. A good guide system is a combination of two things: the guides themselves and the adjustment mechanism that holds them. Guides come in three types: block, bearing and disc. Which type is right for you depends on the range of blade sizes you use and your level of patience (see “Types of Bandsaw Guides,”). We prefer an adjustment mechanism that moves the guides and thrust bearing independently. (A thrust bearing sits directly behind the blade, preventing the blade from bending backward.) On saws without an independent system, you must remember to set the guides first, then the thrust bearing. One setting depends on the other. That can be frustrating. We also prefer saws that have easily accessible micro-adjust nuts or cams for positioning upper and lower guides and thrust bearings. On saws without micro-adjust nuts, you must manually push or pull the guides and bearings into place.


Easily adjustable blade guides are mighty convenient when you switch blades for different jobs. We prefer micro-adjust nuts that let you dial in how close the guides are to the front of the blade. We also prefer a system that lets you independently move the thrust bearing either before or after setting the guides.

 

Lower blade guides are often overlooked in all the stuff under the table. They should be easy to adjust, too, because they're as important as the upper guides. We prefer  lower guides that are  high up and relatively close to the table, because that minimizes the length of unsupported blade. This is particularly important with 1/4-in. and smaller blades.

horsepower
If you want to cut lots of thick stock, go for power above all else. If you won't cut big stuff often, easy-to-adjust guides are more important. Motors range from 3/4 to 2 hp. More horsepower generally costs more money. Power affects both a cut's speed and quality. The higher the horsepower, the faster you can feed thick stock without slowing down the motor (see photo above). If the motor bogs down or stalls, the blade wanders and makes an irregular rough cut. For sawing hardwoods less than 2 in. thick, 3/4 hp is plenty. You can resaw wood of any thickness with a 3/4-hp motor, but you must carefully monitor the feed rate to keep the motor turning at top speed. A 1-hp motor is much better for wood up to 6 in. thick. Look for 1-1/2 to 2 hp to cut wood from 6 to 12 in. thick.


More power yields the best results when resawing. You get a smoother cut because you can maintain a constant feed rate. All bandsaws have plenty of power for work less than 2 in. thick, but you really notice a difference sawing boards 6-in. thick or more. For resawing, look for a saw with 1-1/2 to 2 hp.

 

 


Voltage
Most saws with 3/4- to 1-1/2-hp motors can be plugged into a standard 120-volt outlet. Every saw with a 2-hp motor requires a 240-volt outlet.

Frame and Base Style
The rigidity of a saw's frame and base really counts when you're cutting big, heavy stuff. You want the table to stay put, not wiggle. Bandsaws have cast-iron or welded-steel frames (see “Features to Consider,”). The most stable saws have a welded-steel column that runs to the floor. Some saws with a separate base have an annoying front-to-back shake when you cut thick wood. It's most pronounced on saws with open stands. The amount a closed-stand machine shakes depends on how much the base's top is reinforced. Frame style in general, though, doesn't affect how much the upper wheel flexes under a load, or the vibration and noise levels, which vary widely.

Resaw Capacity
If you want a saw that's ready for any job, look for one with a 12-in. maximum resaw capacity. For most work, 6- to 8-in. capacity is plenty. But once in a while, you may wish you had more. Woodturners prefer 12 in. of resaw capacity for making large bowl blanks from logs. Welded-steel saws have a fixed capacity, but 14-in. cast-iron saws are more flexible. Their capacity can be increased when you need it. At the base prices we list, cast-iron saws have a 6-in. capacity. This can be increased to 12 in. by inserting a riser block. Add the riser block's cost ($50 to $100 extra) when you compare saws by price. Unfortunately, riser blocks aren't available on some cast-iron saws.

Wheel Diameter
Power, capacity and price don't necessarily increase with the size of a saw's wheels. Some 14-in. saws have very powerful motors, for example. A 16-in. saw may have less capacity than a 14-in. saw with a riser block, and cost less, too.So what do you get with bigger wheels? Clearly, you get a bit more throat capacity left of the blade, but that's not a big deal. The most important advantage of a wheel over 14 in. is being able to easily run big, wide blades for ripping and resawing. You get more traction and transmission of power with a large-diameter wheel, because the blade contacts more surface area than on a small-diameter wheel. Thick blades last longer on large wheels. Most blades up to 1/2 in. wide are 0.025 in. thick. Most 3/4-in. and wider blades are 0.032 in. thick or more. Carbide-tipped blades are often extra-thick, too. Thick blades are prone to prematurely breaking from metal fatigue on 14-in.-dia. saws because they're constantly bent around a wheel that's too small. They're better suited for 16-in. or larger saws. (For thin 3/4-in. blades suitable for 14-in. saws, call Suffolk Machinery, 800-234-7297).

Types of Bandsaw guides



What keeps a bandsaw blade from twisting or wandering side to side? It's the guides. They may be small, but they're a critical part of any bandsaw. You've got a choice of three different types of guides: block, ball bearing and disc. Ideally, guides should be easy to set up, support the full width of a large blade and require little or no maintenance.

Blocks
Blocks are the most versatile guide. They're our pick for a saw that's often asked to run both narrow and wide blades. There are four types: Steel. Steel blocks can dull a blade's teeth if they touch, so setup is tricky with 1/4-in. and smaller blades. The faces of steel blocks are long-lasting, but you must occasionally redress them to stay flat. They can be tedious to file or grind. Polymer. These blocks won't dull a blade, but they wear quickly. They're easy to redress. Phenolic. Sold under the trade name “Cool Blocks”, these are our favorite because they're so forgiving to set up. They won't harm a blade's teeth. On small blades, you can set them right up to or on top of the teeth. They wear slowly and are easy to dress flat. Ceramic. White ceramic blocks are low maintenance because they don't wear down. They'll dull a blade's teeth if they touch them, though, so they're hard to set up with small blades. They also make small but harmless sparks. Most blocks are interchangeable. We recommend replacing steel and polymer blocks with phenolic ones. They cost about $12 for a set of four, and are available from Iturra Design, (888) 722-7078. Ceramic blocks are also available from Iturra at $16 a set of four.

Ball Bearings
The primary virtue of ball bearing guides is that they're low maintenance. Their faces spin and can't wear down. Setting these guides is very easy on wide blades, but on narrow blades you must be careful to avoid contacting a blade's teeth. Ball bearings come in three sizes. The most important difference is how much support they offer a blade. Stacked and large bearings do a better job than small bearings on wide blades.


Block guides support a blade up to 1/2 in. deep. This width is important for steadying wide blades.

 

Disc guides can use their full diameter to support the blade.


Small ball-bearing guides support 1/4-in. worth of blade. Stacked bearings double that support.

 

 

 

Discs
Discs' best feature is the huge amount of support they offer a blade. Their faces are hardened, so they shouldn't require redressing. They must be set away from a blade's teeth. Discs have two disadvantages. They're hard to position on 1/4-in. and smaller blades. They can also wear inside their shafts, causing them to wobble or freeze. Discs must be replaced as a whole unit.

Blade Capacity
Most saws claim to take up to a 3/4-in. blade, which many woodworkers prefer for resawing. It's true that they do fit, but that's not the whole story. It's impractical to run most 3/4-in. blades on 14-in. saws, because they're too thick. Fortunately, a 3/4-in. blade is not a must for resawing. Yes, it's less prone to bending in the cut than a narrower blade, but you can get very good results with 1/2- and 5/8-in.-wide blades. At the other extreme, all saws can handle 1/8-in. blades, but some guides are easier to set than others (see “Types of Bandsaw Guides,”).

Table Size and Rigidity
A bigger table is a real bonus, because it's easier to support long and wide stock. A rigid table helps improve a saw's performance. Press down hard on the edge of some tables and you'll see them wobble or tilt. This doesn't affect small work but does matter when you're resawing large, heavy timbers or cutting bowl blanks from heavy, green wood.

What's the Deal with Quick-Release Tension Levers?
Woodworkers have been told for years to take the tension off the blade after using a bandsaw. That's supposed to prevent flat spots on your tires and prolong the life of your blades. Reality check: Who actually does this? Turning and turning the tension knob is just too much trouble, particularly when it's high on a saw with a riser block. Manufacturers have been listening to our complaints. They've introduced a number of different levers that quickly reduce tension. The best type of lever takes all the tension off the blade, so it's loose from the wheel (see Chart). This makes it much easier to change blades—a huge bonus. Other levers only partially release blade tension. That helps the tires, but you still have to turn an awkwardly located tension knob to change blades.Speaking of tension knobs, why doesn't anyone install a crank instead? A crank is much easier to turn and is the next best thing to having a quick-release lever.


Other Features
• Quick-release tension lever.
• Dust ports. Dust collection isn't terrific on most saws, but a 4-in. port helps if you have a large dust collector. Smaller, 2-1/2-in. ports don't work very well. Two ports are better than one. The upper port, located below the table, strips dust directly from the blade. The lower port cleans the bottom of the wheel cavity.
• Motor upgrade. You can soup up many 3/4- and 1-hp saws with a more powerful, similar-speed motor when your budget allows. Upgraded motors generally aren't available from manufacturers, however. Before you upgrade, ask the manufacturer whether the machine can handle extra power. You'll have to match the mounting plate and pulley size. Also, match the switch's horsepower rating and cords' amperage to the new motor. Some motors have special mounts that are difficult to replace.
• Fence. Many saws come with a fence that's suitable for short joinery cuts. None are ideal for ripping or resawing because, with most blades, you must slightly angle the fence to cut a long, straight line. We're disappointed that these fine fences can't be easily adjusted to compensate for blade drift.
• Easy left tilt. All tables tilt left and right. Left tilt is useful for cutting dovetails or angled tenons. To tilt a table left on most saws, though, you must remove the 90-degree stop and reset it when you're done. Some saws have stops that easily swing out of the way.
• Two speeds. Some bandsaws have an additional low speed that's useful for resawing wood and cutting aluminum. You get more torque in low gear, so there's less strain on the motor. It's easier to maintain a steady feed rate. That's a big plus for 1-hp or smaller saws. For wood, slowing down the blade often produces a more corrugated surface, however.

 

Jet Group
                    JWBS-14OS    JWBS-14CS    JWBS-14X

• Price:        $530                     $575                $715
• Power:     120 volt, 3/4 hp    120 volt, 1 hp     120 volt, 1-1/4 hp
• Maximum resaw capacity:   11-3/4 in.     11-3/4 in.     11-3/4 in.
• Wheel diameter:    14 in.    14 in.    14 in.
Pros
All three of these Jet models are fine general-purpose saws. The major difference among them is horsepower. All three have guide systems that don't require tools to adjust and are fairly easy to set up. The 14OS and 14CS models are priced about the same as their Delta counterparts, the 28-276 and 28-206. Picking between the two brands is a close call. Your best bet is to wait for a rebate or sale price and buy the less-expensive saw. The JWBS-14X has better dust collection than the other Jet models, stiffer and heavier cast-iron (rather than aluminum) wheels and a quick-release tension lever.
Cons
The guide-system micro-adjust knobs under the table on all three models are awkward to reach. We recommend replacing the polymer guide blocks on all models with phenolic Cool Blocks. The guide blocks' thumbscrews have small heads that are hard to grasp, and those holding the upper guide blocks obscure your line of sight. The quick-release tension lever on the JWBS-14X doesn't fully release the tension, so you still have to turn the tension knob to change blades. It's similar in design to the Grizzly G0555.

 

 

Jet JWBS-16
• Price: $875
• Power: 120 volt, 1-1/2 hp
• Maximum resaw capacity: 10 in.
• Wheel diameter: 16 in.
Pros
This sleek-looking saw has a sturdy frame and can easily take a wide blade. It only requires 120-volt power. The table is large and stiff. A crank adjusts the height of the guide post, and an easily accessible wheel located below the upper frame adjusts tension.
Cons
Other 1-1/2-hp saws seem to have more guts. The lower guides are very frustrating to precisely adjust front-to-back. Removing the table makes it easier, but that's a pain. It's hard to adequately lock down the  small thumbscrews on the thrust bearings.

 

 

Powermatic PWBS-14CS
• Price: $900
• Power: 120 volts, 1-1/2 hp
• Maximum resaw capacity: 12 in.
• Wheel diameter: 14 in.
Pros
This powerful saw runs on household current and is loaded with accessories. The list of extras includes a good Carter-brand quick-release tension lever, guides with two bearings per side for extra support on wide blades, a gooseneck light and an effective blower and nozzle to remove dust on top of the workpiece. All that adds up if purchased separately, but you get it all for about the same price as the Delta 28-475X, which doesn't have many of these goodies.
Cons
There's nothing to dislike. The blade guides are maintenance-free, but fussier to adjust than phenolic blocks in a Delta when running a narrow blade. The lower guides aren't as close to the table as in the Delta saws, so there's 1-3/4 in. more unsupported blade. Although there's a quick-release tension lever, you still have to turn a tension knob to change blades.

 

 

Bridgewood BW-14WBS
• Price: $600
• Power: 120 volts, 1 hp
• Maximum resaw capacity: 8 in.
• Wheel diameter: 14 in.
Pros
This saw has easy-to-adjust ball bearing guides and micro-adjust knobs both above and below the table. It's got a reasonable amount of power. Other features are also up-to-date: You get a first-class quick-release tension lever and a 4-in. dust port.
Cons
Resaw capacity is limited to 8 in. The table is small and not as rigid as we'd like. The largest blade setting on the tension scale is 5/8 in., although the spring can handle a 3/4-in. blade. The guides are single, small bearings. They don't support wide blades as much as other styles of bearings do.

 

 

Bridgewood BW-17WBS
• Price: $900
• Power: 240 volts, 2 hp
• Maximum resaw capacity: 11-3/4 in.
• Wheel diameter: 17 in.
Pros
This welded-frame saw has plenty of power and a huge resaw capacity. It runs quietly and smoothly, due in part to its heavy, rigid cast-iron wheels. The guides are large-diameter ball bearings. Setting blade tension is very convenient with a handwheel under the upper arm, and you get a good quick-release tension lever. There's a rack-and-pinion mechanism for raising and lowering the large blade-guide post. The oversize table is very rigid, perfect for cutting logs into bowl blanks. The saw has two 4-in. dust ports and is one of the few saws with a magnetic switch and thermal-overload protection.
Cons
It looks enormous, but this saw has a footprint no larger than open-base 14-in. saws. (It weighs 286 lbs., however.) The lower blade guides are awkward to adjust. They work fine, but you can't be in a hurry. The table is low at 37-1/2 in.; we'd put this saw on a stout 5-in. tall box as large as the saw's base.

 

 

Laguna LT-14
• Price: $950
• Power: 120 or 240 volt, 1-1/2 hp
• Maximum resaw capacity: 8-5/8 in.
• Wheel diameter: 14 in.
Pros
This is one solidly built saw. There's virtually no vibration when resawing at full capacity. The motor is a Baldor, reputed to have a long, service-free life. Extra-wide, maintenance-free ceramic guides offer more support than on any other saw. You can get substitute phenolic blocks from Laguna for 1/4-in. and smaller blades ($85). Other nice features include heavy cast-iron wheels, a solid table, a magnetic switch and a rock-solid fence. You can buy the saw prewired for 120 or 240 volts. Although it has a single port, dust collection is very good.
Cons
Resaw capacity is limited to just over 8 in., but that's plenty for most work. The ceramic guides occasionally send off small sparks. The dust port is an odd size (3 in.). The stand under the saw shown above is a $90 accessory. There's one frustrating aspect to this saw: setting the guides. It takes patience. You need three different wrenches to set the lower guides, and you must follow a particular order.

 

 

Grizzly G0555
• Price: $375
• Power: 120 volt, 1 hp
• Maximum resaw capacity: 12 in.
• Wheel diameter: 14 in.
Pros
Here's the saw with the most features for the lowest price. It's easy to set up and can do a reasonably good job cutting thick or thin boards. The motor has enough power for resawing at a reasonable pace. You get easy-to-adjust ball bearing guides, micro-adjust knobs all around, a 4-in. dust port and a fence.
Cons
The short arm of the quick-release tension lever is awkward to pull. It reduces, but doesn't completely release, tension. You still must turn the tension knob to change blades. On our saw, the tensioning spring was almost fully compressed at the 1/2-in. mark. Extra available tension is always handy for tweaking a blade's performance and protecting a saw's frame and bearings from a sudden shock, but this spring doesn't have much slack.

 

Grizzly GI073
• Price: $625
• Power: 240 volt, 2 hp
• Maximum resaw capacity: 7-5/8 in.
• Wheel diameter: 16 in.
Pros
This is the least expensive saw in our test with a 2-hp motor and a wheel diameter over 14 in. It'll easily handle any 3/4- or 1-in. blade. You don't need any tools to adjust the guides. The table is quite large. The fence is exceptionally sturdy for resawing heavy boards.
Cons
This saw promises a lot for resawing, but the cons outweigh the pros. A few more inches in resaw height would be great, but you can't extend the saw's capacity. Although the table is large, it also flexes easily under a heavy load. The blade guides are small steel rods that don't offer as much support for large blades as other guide systems do. There's no tensioning scale and the dust port is small.

 

Grizzly G0513
• Price: $750
• Power: 240 volts, 2 hp
• Maximum resaw capacity: 12 in.
• Wheel diameter: 17 in.
Pros
This saw has many, but not all, of the same terrific features as the Bridgewood BW-17WBS for $150 less. It's the best value saw in its price range. This 2-hp saw has a slightly more powerful motor than the Bridgewood, but it, too, requires 240-volt power. 
Cons
You get disc guides with this saw (the Bridgewood has ball-bearing guides). They're slightly harder to set up with small blades. The wheels are not cast iron and are lighter in weight. The power switch isn't magnetic.

 

 

Craftsman 22424
• Price: $500
• Power: 120 volts, 1 hp
• Maximum resaw capacity: 6 in.
• Wheel diameter: 14 in.
Pros
This is a fine, no-frills machine. For the price, this saw packs plenty of power. Resawing at its 6-in. max. capacity is no problem. Changing blades and setting guides are easy enough, although there aren't any micro-adjust nuts on the guides below the table. The power switch has a removable child-safety key. 
Cons
Craftsman doesn't make a riser kit for this saw. The maximum blade capacity is only 1/2 in. The guides are steel blocks, but you could easily substitute phenolic Cool Blocks for easier setup. The table is larger than those on many saws, but not particularly rigid. Dust collection isn't very effective.

 

 

General International 90-150 M1
• Price: $620
• Power: 120 volts, 1 hp
• Maximum resaw capacity: 7-3/4 in.
• Wheel diameter: 14 in.
Pros
This is a good general-purpose saw, with adequate power for its capacity. You don't need any tools to adjust the guides. There's a quick-tension release lever and a crank for raising and lowering the guide-post assembly. This saw is light in weight but the frame is exceptionally stiff.
Cons
This is the only saw with a built-in dust blower and bag, but it doesn't work as well as we'd like. You're better off hooking up a dust collector to the 4-in. port. You don't get a full 12 in. of resaw capacity to complement the width of a portable planer, but you get enough to match the capacity of an 8-in. jointer.

 

 

Ridgid BS 1400
• Price: $380
• Power: 120 volt, 3/4 hp
• Maximum resaw capacity: 12-in.
• Wheel diameter: 14 in.
Pros
The best features of this saw are its low price and ready availability (it's sold exclusively at Home Depot). It's a straight-ahead machine: noth- ing outstanding, but no deal-breakers, either. The blade guide adjustments are tool-free and easy to use. There's a removable child-safety key on the power switch.
Cons
Resawing goes more slowly  than on more powerful saws. The saw comes with steel guide blocks. They're OK, but we'd upgrade with phenolic Cool Blocks. Dust collection isn't very effective and the table isn't as rigid as other models. Like other open-stand saws, it shakes more than we'd like when resawing very large boards.

 

 

Rikon 10-320
• Price: $500
• Power: 120 volt, 1 hp
• Maximum resaw capacity: 6 in.
• Wheel diameter: 14 in.
Pros
Rikon's new bandsaw has several innovative features. It has a wide, fairly rigid table with two miter slots, one on either side of the blade. There's 3 in. more support on the right side of the blade than on most other 14-in. saws. You can square the table to the front of the blade with micro-adjust screws. The blade slot in the table faces you, rather than facing right. That makes installing a blade much easier and reduces the risk of kinking. This saw, like a few others, has two speeds. The second speed is quite low, so there's plenty of torque for demanding jobs. That's very welcome on a 1-hp motor. Changing speeds is exceptionally easy. A handy blade selection and troubleshooting chart is posted inside the upper door.
Cons
The guide system can be finicky to set precisely. Its parts tend to creep out of position when you give them a final tightening. The guides have no micro-adjust nuts. This saw is noisier than most.

 

 

MiniMax S14
• Price: $650
• Power: 120 volts, 1-1/2 hp
• Maximum resaw capacity: 7-3/4 in.
• Wheel diameter: 14 in.
Pros
This is a powerful, extremely sturdy machine for the money. It's fine for both resawing and detail work. You can resaw at full capacity without slowing down the motor. The blade guides are stacked ball bearings, a type that offers quite a bit of support for wide blades. They're fairly easy to adjust, too. The wheels are heavy cast iron. For convenience, this saw has a very good quick-release tension lever, a crank for raising the blade guide post and a magnetic switch.
Cons
You can't increase this saw's capacity with a riser block. The table is somewhat small. The heads of the blade-guide thumbscrews are small, too, and hard to tighten. As with many other tools, the list price is higher than the street price we show. This saw is only available directly from MiniMax, so ask for the company's best price.

Recommendations
If all you need is a good saw for light-duty work, there's no need to spend more than $400 on a bandsaw. Our Best Buy, the Grizzly G0555 ($375), is a terrific value. If you're interested in resawing (ripping wide boards on edge into thin pieces), cutting 2-in. or thicker lumber for legs and rails or making large bowl blanks from green wood, you'll need more power and rigidity. Both cost more money. Normally, we pick an Editors' Choice in a tool test. That's the single machine that stands out as the best of its class. But with bandsaws, there aren't easily-defined classes from which to choose. You have no reason to limit yourself to a 14-in. saw, for example, when there are good 16-in. or larger saws that cost less. Rather than select a single Editors' Choice, we've chosen our favorite saws from four different price ranges.
The criteria we used to make our choices were pretty simple: plenty of power for the heavy work and easy-to-adjust blade guides for the light work. A good saw should have both. The really powerful 2-hp machines require 240-volt circuitry, however, and we know that a lot of shops have only 120-volt outlets. For that reason, in the upper price ranges, we've recommended saws in both voltages. If your budget is from $400 to $500, the choice is easy. We recommend the Grizzly G0555. It's a good, basic machine and can take a riser block for a full 12 in. of resaw capacity. From $500 to $625, we'd be happy with either the Delta 28-206 or the Jet JWBS-14CS. Sure, these two models have differences, but not overwhelming ones. We'd buy whichever is on sale or comes with more accessories. Unlike the Grizzly G0555, both use block-style guide systems, which are better to set up with 1/4-in. and smaller blades. From $625 to $750, 120 volts, we like the Jet JWBS-14X and the MiniMax S14. Both have more powerful motors than saws in the less-expensive saws categories. In this price range at 240 volts, we recommend the Grizzly G0513. This large 17-in. saw has a 2-hp motor. It's not ideal for small blades, but it resaws like a champ. From $750 to $950, we like an old 120-volt favorite, the Delta 28-475X. It's easy to set up with any size of blade and has as much power as you're likely to get on a 120-volt circuit. The Powermatic PWBS-14CS is a close second, though. Compared with Delta's block-style guides, the Powermatic's bearing-style guides are a bit harder to set up with 1/4-in. and smaller blades. At 240-volts, we like the 2-hp Bridgewood BW-17WBS. It's very similar to the Grizzly G0513 but runs more smoothly and sets up more easily with small blades for detail work. One saw that stands out in a class by itself is the Laguna LT-14. It runs like a well-made Swiss watch and has a maintenance-free blade guide system that offers more support than virtually any other saw. Truth is, though, the guides are awkward to adjust. If you use the same size blade for most of your work, this saw is a fine choice.