The Best Scroll Saws for Every Type of DIY

Updated: Jun. 05, 2024

Scroll saws are accessible to every skill level, but they provide different levels of detail. Find out which kind you need for your next scrolling project.

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Looking to add the best scroll saw to your workshop? Whether you’re a seasoned woodworker or just starting out, finding the right scroll saw can make all the difference in your projects. Unlike a jigsaw or a bandsaw, scroll saws are used for detailed and intricate woodworking, offering precise accuracy in your projects, says Jeff Palla, the President of Mr. Handyman.

Gary McCoy, a power tool expert and store manager at Lowe’s, further explains: “These stationary or benchtop saws let you cut curves and complex designs in materials like wood, plastic and soft metal.” When purchasing a scroll saw, McCoy says to consider your experience level, the project’s intricacy, your budget and the material you’re cutting. “But, the most important thing to consider is the safety precautions and to ensure they are followed while the tool is in use,” he emphasizes.

With a variety of models offering different features and capabilities, choosing the best scroll saw for your needs can be overwhelming. Whether you’re a beginner working from pre-fab hobby patterns or a master craftsperson creating intricate custom intarsia, we’ve researched and found the best options on the market.

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Best Overall

DeWalt DW788 Scroll Saw

DeWalt invests a lot of time and research into consistently creating some of the best tools available. The DeWalt DW788 scroll saw incorporates pro-level features and smart innovative design into a mid-range price package. The unique double parallel arm design limits vibration and noise. With a 20-inch cutting capacity and the large cast iron table that bevels both left and right, you can easily work with larger pieces. The arm lifts for threading blades into your work, and the blade clamp requires no tools. The on-off switch, variable speed control, blade tensioning knob and dust blower are all on the front upper arm for convenient access. With its ease of operation, this saw will give amazing results for the beginner and the experienced woodworker.

Throat Size: 20 inches
Vertical Capacity: 2 inches
Table Size: 16 by 23.75 inches
Weight: 56 lbs.

Pros

  • Foolproof to use
  • Tool-free blade change
  • Very accurate

Cons

  • More expensive than other options
  • Only accepts pin-less blades

Wen 3921 16 Inch Two Direction Variable Speed Scroll Saw With Work Light Ecomm Amazon.com via merchant

Best Value

Wen 3921 Scroll Saw

The Wen 3921 saw gives our best overall pick a run for its money. The ingenious part: You can install the blades in two directions (standard and 90 degrees), giving you a cutting capacity beyond the 16-inch depth at the saw’s throat. Beyond that, it has all the features you could ask for: variable speed, a dust blower, vacuum port, tilting table and even a flexible LED work light. It also will work with pinned and pinless blades. Perhaps not quite as heavy-duty as other comparable saws, yet at less than half the price, this saw will not disappoint.

Throat Size: 16 inches
Vertical Capacity: 2 inches
Table Size: 16 by 11 inches
Weight: 25.5 lbs.

Pros

  • Inexpensive
  • Two direction blade mounting
  • Very accurate

Cons

  • Some vibrations due to lightweight nature

Dremel Ms20 01 Moto Saw Variable Speed Compact Scroll Saw Kit Ecomm Amazon.com via merchant

Best for Beginners

Dremel Moto Saw

Compact and portable, the Dremel MS20-01 moto saw is the perfect saw for the beginner or occasional hobby scroller. Clamp it to a tabletop or detach it from its base to use as a motorized coping saw. With its variable speed, you can cut through a variety of lightweight materials. The blade requires no tools for changing and has an auto tensioning feature to keep things running smoothly. Unfortunately there is no dust blower, but it has a port to attach a vacuum and keep your workpiece dust free. With a storage case and 10 blades included, you’ll have everything you need to cut your first scrolling project.

Throat Size: 10 inches
Vertical Capacity: 0.75 inches
Table Size: 12 by 8 inches
Weight: 9 lbs.

Pros

  • Super portable
  • Auto tensioning
  • Can be used handheld as coping saw

Cons

  • Short throat
  • Only for lightweight material cutting

Delta 20 In 1.3 Amp Variable Speed Scroll Saw Ecomm Lowes.com via merchant

Best Large Capacity Scroll Saw

Delta 40-694 Scroll Saw

With its 20-inch cutting capacity and 24-by-16-inch table, the Delta 40-694 scroll saw provides a generous work surface for managing larger projects. I like its large knobs for beveling the table left or right and tensioning the blade. The on/off switch and the variable speed control are easy to grab. The dual parallel arm design reduces vibration and also locks for easy tool-less blade changes. Quiet yet hefty, the 1.3 amp motor and three-quarters inch stroke makes for an aggressive and clean cut. This is a great saw if you’re regularly working with thicker hardwoods. Delta has provided the best tools for the professional woodworker for nearly 90 years. This saw is testimony to that legacy.

Throat Size: 20 inches
Vertical Capacity: 2.125 inches
Table Size: 24 by 16 inches
Weight: 70 lbs.

Pros

  • User friendly
  • Whisper-quiet
  • Onboard blade storage

Cons

  • Doesn’t come with a light
  • Expensive compared to other models

Porter Cable 18 In 1.6 Amp Variable Speed Scroll Saw Ecomm Lowes.com via merchant

Best for DIYers

Porter Cable Scroll Saw

For a saw that covers all of what a scroll saw can do, the Porter Cable variable speed scroll saw is a great choice. The solid aluminum table has an integral bevel scale view finder so you don’t have to bend over to see your settings. Both the variable speed control and on/off switch are within easy reach, as are the dust blower and LED light which conveniently adjust to your workpiece. This saw has the capability and feel of a pro saw at a significantly lower price point.

Throat Size: 18 inches
Vertical Capacity: 2.25 inches
Table Size: 20 by 12.5 inches
Weight: 45 lbs.

Pros

  • Bevel scale view finder makes switching settings easy
  • Built-in LED light
  • Included stand
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Assembly instructions are lacking
  • Throat plate isn’t flush to the table

Jet Jwss 22b, 22 Inch Scroll Saw With Foot Switch Ecomm Amazon.com via merchant

Best for Woodworking

Jet JWSS-22B Scroll Saw

The design features on the Jet JWSS-22B Scroll Saw, combined with its large work surface and three-quarter-inch cutting stroke, make it a great home shop saw. Jet’s blade change mechanism allows you to clamp and tension the blade in one step without any tools. The upper spring-loaded arm moves up out of the way for blade changes and ease of situating your work. All the features you’d expect are part of this saw, from a foot pedal switch to LED work light to handy blade storage. Though loaded with big saw features, the footprint of this saw is small and won’t eat up space in your shop. And Jet backs up its tools with a five-year warranty.

Throat Size: 22.375 inches
Vertical Capacity: 2 inches
Table Size: 23 by 12.875 inches
Weight: 68.2 lbs.

Pros

  • High quality materials and make
  • Tons of helpful features to make using the saw easy
  • Included foot switch
  • Five-year warranty

Cons

  • The quality means a high price tag
  • The blade is very close to the table’s front edge

Hegner 18 Variable Speed Scroll Saw Ecomm Amazon.com via merchant

Best for Professionals

Hegner 18-V Scroll Saw

The Hegner 18-inch variable speed scroll saw is a professional grade scroll saw with a powerful yet quiet motor capable of scrolling smoothly through any material. Even with the variable speed topped out at 1700 rpm, there is no detectable vibration in the blade. This is testimony to the quality build of this machine that includes a unique dust management system with three options to eliminate most of the dust produced during operation. Hegner also designed this saw with a quick-lock tension system including a quick release for ease in changing blades.

Every feature you could ask for is smartly and solidly built into this saw. If you’re running a woodworking business and want a reliable tool that gives consistent quality results, all day, every day, this saw is worth every penny.

Throat Size: 18 inches
Vertical Capacity: 2.625 inches
Table Size: 17 by 9 inches
Weight: 50 lbs.

Pros

  • Widest capability of saws on the market
  • Powerful
  • Incredibly smooth cutting
  • Includes 76 assorted blades
  • Quiet

Cons

  • Very expensive
  • Blade change system is finicky
  • Base is not included

Types of Scroll Saws

  • C-type: “A C-Scroll model is an arm shaped like the letter C with a blade attached to the end of the letter. This design only has one pivot point and does not shut off when the blade breaks, making it better suited for professionals,” explains McCoy.
  • Parallel: “This design features two parallel-running arms with two pivot points, and the blade moves in an up-and-down motion,” says McCoy. This is an excellent option for beginners because of its safety features. “When the blade breaks, the saw stops immediately and automatically,” he notes.
  • Double-parallel: “A double-parallel link arm is the most cutting-edge model, making it great for seasoned users,” says McCoy. This design relies on two parallel arms that move back and forth, converting this motion at the tips of each arm into a precise up-and-down blade movement, explains Palla.

What to Consider When Buying a Scroll Saw

  • Throat size: A saw’s throat size refers to the distance between the blade and the back of its arm. Most scroll saws have throat capacities between 15 and 20 inches, but some reach as high as 30 inches. The need for a 30-inch scroll saw is rare. I consider 20-inch saws to be more than adequate.
  • Vertical capacity: Vertical capacity refers to the thickness of the material you are attempting to cut. Be aware that just because a saw has a large vertical capacity does not mean it has the power to slice through it. When cutting multiple stacked parts from a template, vertical capacity is most crucial.
  • Table size: The table must be large enough to support the work the throat will accept. The table size varies, but generally, the larger the better. It should be machined flat, preferably tilting both ways.
  • Weight: Portability is important, notes Palla. The weight of a scroll saw goes beyond simply lugging it around the shop. Lightweight saws often produce more vibration unless mounted on a stand or bench. If your scroll saw vibrates excessively, achieving clean results becomes nearly impossible.
  • Variable speed: A variable speed motor enhances control over various cuts, with speed ranges typically spanning from 400 to 1750 rpm. Most saws, including all listed here, offer variable speed. But if you plan to purchase an older model from an online marketplace, remember to keep this feature in mind.
  • Dust removal: As with any saw, scroll saw cutting produces dust, which you don’t want to build up on your project or underneath it. At a minimum, purchase a scroll saw with a dust collection port. A dust blower is better.
  • Blade change systems: In the past, changing blades on scroll saws required tools. These days, many scroll saws offer a tool-free blade change system. However, it’s important to confirm this feature before purchasing. Searching for tools each time you need to change the saw blade can quickly become a hassle.
  • Noise: Noise output is an important factor. Quieter power tools are beneficial for your hearing and usually result in less saw vibrations.

Why You Should Trust Us

As an associate editor at Family Handyman and a licensed contractor for more than 20 years, I am well-versed in the world of DIY and woodworking. I love improving homes by taking out walls and creating custom woodwork. With a passion for testing tools, gear and products in the DIY space, I bring a wealth of experience to evaluating the best scroll saws.

To ensure the most informed recommendations, we also sought input from industry professionals, including Gary McCoy, a Lowe’s store manager and power tool expert in the Charlotte area. With decades of experience in the home improvement industry, McCoy possesses first-hand knowledge of sales trends and customer needs.

We also consulted Jeff Palla, the President of Mr. Handyman, a Neighborly company that offers home maintenance and repair services. Mr. Handyman, which has served nearly one million customers across North America, employs highly skilled craftsmen with an average of 10 years of experience in the trades.

How We Found the Best Scroll Saw

Selecting the best scroll saw is essential for woodworkers seeking precision and versatility in their projects. Our process involved an in-depth analysis of top-selling models, focusing on basic specs such as vertical capacity, blade speed, throat and table size and ease of use. We also considered extra features like blowers, lights and foot pedals. Additionally, we consulted woodworking experts to evaluate performance, reliability and value for money. And finally, we researched user reviews to gain insights into real-world performance and customer satisfaction.

FAQ

What is the best scroll saw?

The best scroll saw depends on your experience level, the materials you’re cutting and the scope of your woodworking project. “Weight, portability, speed control, blade compatibility, the ease of blade changing ability and bevel capacity are all factors to consider when determining which scroll saw is best for you,” says Palla.

What should I look for when buying a scroll saw?

“Features to look for include dust blowers for ease of cleanup, an adjustable shoe, whether a hold-down foot is included, the blade type and the saw’s speed range. Needs vary based on project type,” says McCoy.

What is the difference between a scroll saw and a band saw?

A scroll saw uses a small, straight blade that moves up and down for intricate, detailed cuts in thin materials. A band saw uses a larger, continuous loop blade that rotates around two wheels, making it better suited for cutting thicker materials and making straight or curved cuts. Scroll saws are more maneuverable and better for intricate work, while band saws are more versatile and suitable for a wider range of cutting tasks.