As someone who really enjoys woodworking and wood carving, I find scroll saws to be essential in most of my projects. These professional tools help me make clean cuts when I need to craft a specific shape out of my woodblock, and the best part is that they make smooth and precise cuts, so afterward I need minimal efforts to sand the cut surfaces. When it comes to finding the best scroll saw, it is important to know what your preferences are, and I will talk more about the main criteria that is needed to estimate which saws are good for which project type. I wrote these scroll saw reviews based on my personal experience while trying to highlight which tool is better for each wood structure. The best-rated scroll saw is not always the best pick, but again, that mainly depends on your needs and level of expertise as a craftsman.
- WEN 3921 16-inch Two-Direction Variable Speed Scroll Saw
- Best for beginners, and a great value when you are working on small projects.
- DEWALT Scroll Saw, Variable-Speed, 1.3 Amp, 20-Inch (DW788)
- Best for professionals, an excellent tool for cutting softwood and hardwood.
- Shop Fox W1713 16-Inch Variable Speed Scroll Saw
- Best for hardwood cutting, for beginners. The throat is good for both plain and pin blades.
- Delta Power Tools 40-694 20 In. Variable Speed Scroll Saw
- Best for woodworkers who need a scroll saw on a daily basis. Works best with softwood.
- SKIL 3335-07 16", Scroll Saw With Light
- Best for beginners working with softwood projects. Requires little sanding and provides really clean cuts.
In my latest relief carving project, I have used a scroll saw to cut out the excess edges of my woodblock, after which I have been digging deeper for a top-notch relief project. In relief carving, I have used Beavercraft tools, and I wrote the reviews of these knives in my BeaverCraft Wood Carving Tools Review article, which you can also check out. On top of that, I have engraved a sentence on the bottom, as the project I was preparing was intended as a gift to a very good friend of mine. For tips on choosing the engraving tools, you can see my post on Top 6 Tools for Engraving Wood. While I was experimenting with this awesome tool, I discovered many different patterns that I will be trying out in the following weeks. Here is a gallery on my website with patterns you can try out as well: Scroll Saw Pattern.
What to consider before buying a scroll saw
Scroll saws vary in many different aspects, and here are the main ones I consider before choosing which one to use for my projects. The first thing I consider is whether the scroll saw fits the needs of my project, which mainly depends on the type of wood I use and the thickness of the wooden block I am working with at the time.
So, first and foremost, I choose the saw based on how thick is the wood I am working with. Thus, what I need is a saw with a big enough jaw. The throat capacity means the maximum depth the saw can cut through, and these sizes vary from shallow 12 to deep 30 inches.
The best scroll saw, in my opinion, has a flexible tension setting, which means I can adjust the tension for the cutting blade depending on the depth of my project and the requirements that depend on the wood I am working with. Thin blades are easier to break or bend when the tension is really high, and this applies especially when working with hardwood such as oak.
There are two types of blades when it comes to a scrollsaw – the plain-end and pin-end blades. Plain-end blades are the most common ones, and they are firmly attached to both top and the bottom of the saw. Pin-end blades have pins from both sides, and this is a good thing from the point that you don’t need any other tools to support your cuts, but at the same time these two blades can vary and be wider than you need them to be.
The speed is important to consider when purchasing a scroll saw, and these vary from 400 to 1800 strokes per minute. Small speed is fine when you work with softwood such as basswood, but a higher speed is optimal for harder wood types.
For these scroll saw reviews, I also considered whether the overall value of each product is satisfying and if they are priced for beginners or professionals. For professionals, it is probably convenient to invest in a high-level quality saw, but for beginners, they can be overpriced.
WEN 3921 16-inch Two-Direction Variable Speed Scroll Saw – Great value for beginners working on small projects
This is a good WEN scroll saw tool, featuring a table that bends up to 45 degrees to the left, plus it offers the variable speed feature. It has a capacity of 16 inches, so it if enough for small and thin projects.
WEN 3921 also comes with some special features such as the LED illuminating light to spot your cutting point, plus the dust collecting point and an air blower to keep your work smooth. You can change the pin-head blades quickly, and the speed includes a full range from 400 to 1600 spm. The price is fairly affordable, both for beginners and professionals.
- Great speed range.
- Easy to change the blades.
- The light is included, plus the air blower for a smooth work environment.
- A small throat capacity, not suitable for projects wider than 16 inches.
To Sum Up
This scroll saw working is pretty neat and gets the job done rather easily. It is a great value for the price, and I would recommend it for beginners since it is easy to use and adapt for any project type, as long as your wood is not thicker than 16 inches.
DEWALT Scroll Saw, Variable-Speed, 1.3 Amp, 20-Inch (DW788) – Professional tool that gets every job done
This DEWALT scroll saw also comes with variable speed which goes from 400 to 1750 spm, which is handy for strong and persistent wood types. It has a 20-inch wide jaw, so it is suitable for a bit larger projects and comfortable enough you don’t need to worry whether your project will fit just enough.
DW788 goes with classic plain-end blades, and the tension release is as easy as pushing a button. The tension release makes the blade safe and your project clean from any harm that might happen while cutting. The table bends 45 degrees in both directions, and the light and air blower are included in the tool.
- Variable speed scroll saw suitable for both softwood and hardwood.
- 20 inches wide for medium-size projects.
- Lighting and air blower are included.
- There is no dust collection point.
- Very expensive.
To Sum Up
DEWALT 788 is an excellent tool and offers a lot of possibilities for working with bigger wood blocks, no matter whether they are made of maple, oak, or cheddar. It is way more expensive, but it is designed to fit the needs of professionals, and it is a real good tool to choose from.
Shop Fox W1713 16-Inch Variable Speed Scroll Saw – Good value tool for smooth cutting
The Shop Fox scroll saw offers the possibility to use both the plain and pin blades, which is a great innovative approach. It is a mini scroll saw, 16 inches throat-wide, and suitable for different projects with its variable speed.
The speed range goes from 550 to 1700 spm, so it can handle harder wood types with ease. The downside, however, is that the tension release is not solved in the best way so unless you make a great pre-set, you risk breaking the blade and damaging your project. All the perks are included, though, the light, air blower, and dust collector.
- Fits both plain and pin blades.
- Lighting, dust collector, and air blower included.
- Variety of speed makes it good for harder wood.
- Fairly good price for the product.
- The tension release is not managed well, so the blades can bend and break.
To Sum Up
Shop Fox scroll saws are good tools for the price, all things considered. The only thing you must pay attention to is fixing the blades before you start cutting, especially at a high speed, as they are under high tension and easier to break.
Delta Power Tools 40-694 20 In. Variable Speed Scroll Saw – Good scroll saw with many possibilities for general use
This Delta scroll saw is a great choice for day-to-day woodworking chores. It is a versatile tool able to pull off good speed varieties and performs rather well, especially with softwood projects. The table of this saw bends for 45 degrees to both sides, and it can pull off speed as small as 400 and up to 1750 spm. With 20 inches of throat capacity, you can also maneuver with demanding thick projects.
Delta scroll saws are built with good quality blades, in general, and this one operates with plain-end blades in particular. The tension control is adjustable with this tool, although I didn’t have the best experience with high speed for hardwood when my blade started bending over the wood. The tool controls the vibration and offers quite a bit of control, plus it comes with a LED light and an air blower.
- The speed variety is very high.
- Large throat capacity for medium-size projects.
- The tool cuts with ease through any softwood material.
- It offers tension control, good light, and an air blower.
- It doesn’t perform very well with hardwood, despite the high speed and tension control.
- This tool does not include the dust collection section.
- This Delta tool is a very expensive one.
To Sum Up
Delta 40 694 is one of the better Delta scroll saws and it gets any softwood work done with ease. The speed adjustment and tension control allow a wide range of projects to be executed and the equipment offers everything you need, except the dust collector. It is among the more expensive tools, so not the best purchase for a beginner, overall.
SKIL 3335-07 16″, Scroll Saw With Light – Great tool for beginners in small projects
Skil scroll saw is an affordable tool for small projects up to 16 inches thick. It performs well for cutting signs and boards, which is what I used it on the most. It integrates a dust removal system to keep the work clean, and this feature is among the best ones with this tool than the other ones on this list.
This is a scroll saw for beginners because you can get a fair product for a fair price, and get a lot of work done with just this machine. The table also bends for 45 degrees, plus the saw includes a bright light illuminating the work very well as you cut through. It has variable speed control, but it doesn’t perform well with anything harder than pine.
- Good value tool.
- Great light for full control over the cuts, plus the functional dust removal system.
- Works well with small softwood projects.
- Good for beginners.
- It does not include the air blower.
- This is a small tool, not convenient for thick professional projects.
- Not the most versatile blades.
To Sum Up
Skil scroll saws are my honest recommendation for those woodworkers who are dealing with small-scope projects, working primarily with basswood. The tool is affordable and easy to use, however you cannot grasp a complex project using this machine only.
ShopSeries RK7315 16″ Scroll Saw with Variable Speed Control – Durable tool for small scope projects
Even though this is one of the best-rated scroll saw, this tool comes with some downsides as well. First of all, the throat is 16 inches long, which is limiting and it is definitely not the best tool for a professional woodworker.
The table is made of die-cast aluminum, which guarantees the quality of the tool as well as your wooden project. It bends at 45 degrees, The blades are made of solid quality, and they are not easily breakable. The tool is quite basic and doesn’t perform greatly, especially when compared to my WEN scroll saw review.
- Good quality table.
- Strong blades with good power over the jaws.
- Good for beginners.
- The manufacturer offers a 2-year warranty.
- It doesn’t include many things such as the lighting or air blower.
- It is more expensive than the other tools with higher features.
To Sum Up
Although some craftsmen might say this is the best affordable scroll saw, I would like to disagree and say this is an average tool for the price it offers. The tool is versatile, especially the blades, but the performance with this tool is very limiting.
After using different scroll saws, I was very careful which one I would choose within which project. I had a lot of fun experimenting, and I must say every woodworking job is much easier when you have the right scroll saw tool in your workshop. The best scroll saw for you depends on the type of project you are eager to do and what is your level of expertise and skill in using this kind of machine. I hope my scroll saw reviews could contribute to you and your next decision, and that you can estimate what best-rated scroll saw is a good choice for you as a beginner or a professional craftsman.