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Unlike other power saws, most of which have round rotating blades designed for making straight cuts across lumber, scroll saws are typically the go-to machine for making puzzle pieces, wooden figurines, intarsia, and beveled edges.
Scroll saws have thin, bandlike blades that slice in an up-and-down motion, making it easy to follow curves or complex patterns. While it's not an essential tool for most DIYers, if you love to create intricate designs, make toys, or enjoy other detailed woodworking projects, this is a worthwhile saw to add to your tool collection.
Here are our favorite scroll saws in several categories.
The DEWALT DW788 is the whole package when it comes to scroll saws—this model is relatively quiet, easy to operate, and versatile enough to meet the needs of beginner and more discerning woodworkers alike.
One of the top overall scroll saws, the DEWALT DW788 has a throat depth of 20 inches that allows cuts up to 2 inches deep or as shallow as ¾ of an inch. It accepts only pinless (straight) blades, which may be a bit of a learning curve, but allows for easy, tool-free blade changes with less frustration.
The power switch, speed control, and tension lever are all conveniently located on the front of the upper arm and within easy reach as you work. The oversized cast iron table provides ample workspace for your projects, and the machine has a double parallel-link arm that helps reduce vibrations.
While the DEWALT DW788 isn’t the most robust scroll saw on the market, it’s an excellent option for woodworkers of any skill level and provides a wide array of options at a mid-range price point. Its simple operation and straight-forward design ensure that you’ll spend less time fiddling with the machine’s operation and more time creating the unique shapes and intricate cuts that a scroll saw is known for.
Make intricate woodworking cuts without gouging your budget by choosing a basic scroll saw like the Ryobi Corded Scroll Saw. This model features a 16-inch throat and tool-free blade changes to make life easier.
For less than $200, this budget scroll saw still offers plenty of useful features and versatility. A cast aluminum tilting table can be set between 0 and -45 degrees, which is useful for beveled projects like inlays and bowls. The machine also accepts either pinned or pinless blades, depending on your preference. A cast iron base supports the saw and minimizes machine movement, although you'll still have to deal with some vibration.
While this budget scroll saw may not be able to handle intense scrolling projects, it's a fine choice for basic woodworking crafts. Since it’s lightweight, it’s easy to move on and off the workbench. Choose the Ryobi 16-Inch Corded Scroll Saw if you’re looking for an affordable way to complete basic scrolling projects or want a scroll saw with a tilting table that won’t throw your budget off balance.
If you’re getting started with scrolling projects, shop around for a basic scroll saw that will give you all the essential features while skipping the pricier add-ons you aren’t likely to use. The Dremel Moto-Saw is a compact scroll saw that is perfect for woodwork hobbyists and more light-duty scroll saw users thanks to its versatility and easy operation.
This Dremel has variable speed settings that let you easily control the saw’s cutting motion, and it offers surprisingly quiet operation—which many people appreciate when using it for home crafts.
The Dremel Moto-Saw only uses pinned blades, which are easier and quicker to change than pinless blades. However, they limit the types of cuts you can do and are better for simpler projects. One other thing to know about this entry-level scroll saw is that it lacks a miter gauge or rip fence, but these can be purchased as add-ons through the manufacturer if desired.
A bonus of the Dremel Moto-Saw is that can be used in handheld mode, making it a go-anywhere coping saw.
Tackle larger woodworking projects with a scroll saw that offers plenty of power and a greater throat depth. Delta Power Tools offers a 20-inch scroll saw with enough room and plenty of power to handle projects of all shapes and sizes.
Model 40-694 from Delta is a scroll saw with a 20-inch throat, which allows for cutting thicker pieces of wood than a 16-inch or 18-inch throat. The table tilts between 0 and 45 degrees to allow for beveling. Making this scroll saw even easier to use is the fact that the upper arm can be lifted and locked into position when making blade changes or adjusting position. When tackling large projects, it offers plenty of power and speeds up to 1,750 strokes-per-minute to cut through even tough woods like walnut, and the dust hose efficiently keeps up with sawdust as you work, keeping pattern lines or the work surface free of dust and debris.
Out of the box, this scroll saw from Delta Power Tools will only accept pinless blades. If you want to use pinned blades, you’ll need to shop for an adaptor. Overall, the Delta 40-694 20-inch Variable Speed Scroll Saw is an investment of a few hundred dollars that will give you the power and capacity to tackle scrolling projects of all sizes, but it’s larger throat size and variable speeds make it perfect for bigger jobs.
Give your scroll saw a dedicated spot in your shop with a stand that elevates your work and gives the saw a sturdy place to sit. The Porter-Cable 18-inch Variable Speed Scroll Saw is our top pick for a scroll saw with stand.
This model of scroll saw from Porter-Cable features an 18-inch throat depth and variable speeds from 500 to 1,500 rpm. The saw’s cast iron dual tilt table features a bevel scale that is easy to read and a unique feature among scroll saws on the market. The machine accepts both pinless and pinned blades and requires no tools for blade changes.
The scroll saw sits on a sturdy steel stand, saving you space on your workbench. While many scroll saws with a stand cost $500 or more, this model from Porter Cable comes in at under $200. It may not be as powerful or precise as the higher-end models of scroll saws, but it performs to most user’s expectations. A notable plus for this Porter-Cable scroll saw with stand is the lack of excessive vibration. If you want to keep your workbench free for projects and your scroll saw elevated on a sturdy stand, the Porter Cable 18-inch Scroll Saw with Stand is a solid choice.
If you enjoy pattern work, shop for a scroll saw with blades that can be inserted in two directions and variable speeds to allow for greater control. The WEN 3921 Scroll Saw is our top pick for a scroll saw for patterns.
This scroll saw accepts both pinned and pinless blades, allowing you the choice of blade type. Additionally, you can position the blades in a standard or 90-degree position, giving you more flexibility when following scrolling patterns. One thing to know is that pinless blade changes aren’t as easy on this scroll saw as some other models—the threading attachment is hard to reach and you’ll need an Allen wrench to complete the job.
Overall, the Wen 3921 has an impressive feel for its affordable price tag and it has the power and versatility needed to make basic cuts and shapes easily. It might not be the most high-powered or intricate scroll saw on the market, but the WEN 3921 wins for its versatile blade placement, variable speed sightings, and suitability as a basic pattern scroll saw.
To create the rich, detailed artwork of intarsia, you’ll need a scroll saw that combines power with intricate cutting abilities. The Jet 727200K Scroll Saw with Stand is a popular choice for intarsia enthusiasts and serious woodworkers.
Unlike many other scroll saws on the market, the Jet 727200K features a tilting arm instead of a tilting table. This makes it much easier to replace a worn blade with a fresh one that can keep up with the demands of intarsia woodworking. Blade changes are also simplified thanks to improved upper and lower blade holders—the upper mechanism will clamp and tension the blade simultaneously while the lower mechanism allows for tool-free blade changes.
A five-year warranty protects your investment in this scroll saw. The 22-inch throat lets you easily cut thicker pieces of wood, and the machine is robust enough to stand up to even hardwoods like mahogany. The included stand will make life easier as you tackle woodworking projects or your next intarsia creation. While this model costs more than your average scroll saw, it won’t disappoint intarsia fans or woodworkers looking to take their projects to the next level.
If you’re looking for a scroll saw that will run circles around most other hobby saws on the market, check out the Hegner 18-inch Variable Speed Scroll Saw for the ultimate in quality and construction.
Widely regarded as one of the top scroll saws on the market, the industrial-looking Hegner model leaves no doubt that it’s capable of serious woodworking and crafts. An 18-inch throat provides plenty of clearance for most projects, and a dual tilt saw table gives you easy cutting angles. The Hegner 18-V also is equipped with a Quicklock tension system that allows for a quick release when it’s time for a blade change.
The high price tag of more than $1,500 makes the machine more attractive to serious woodworkers than casual hobbyists, but either group can appreciate the smooth operation and precise cutting of the Hegner 18-V. It can even accept blades capable of fitting through a hole as small as 1/32 of an inch, giving you nearly limitless options for detailed work. The machine is backed by a 7-year warranty, which is one of the best warranty periods for any scroll saw on the market.
The Dewalt DW788 Scroll Saw (available at Amazon) is our top choice for several reasons. It’s easy to use, even for a beginner to this type of tool. It’s versatile, fairly quiet, and reliable. Perhaps that’s why it’s one of the bestselling scroll saws on the market today. But if cost is a major concern, you’ll find that the Ryobi Corded Scroll Saw (available at Amazon), while not as versatile or easy to use as our top choice, does meet the needs of most hobbyists and comes at a very reasonable price point.