Best Scroll Saw for Intricate Cutting

Can’t decide which scroll saw is best?

The Wen 16-inch was the best we could find. For more space and a heightened user experience, we recommend the DEWALT DW788 scroll saw is the next best choice.

If instead, you need a handy scroll saw on a budget or are looking for simplicity, you’ll find all of this and more below.

Let’s get started.

Best Scroll Saw

Wen 16-Inch Two-Direction Variable Speed Scroll Saw

The best choice for superior performance, value, and usability. 

  • Variable Speed: Yes
  • Dust Blower: Yes
  • Throat Depth: 16”
  • Power Type: Corded electric

What I like

One of the most user-friendly features of this scroll saw is that it has onboard storage for all of the accessories. This lets you keep the blades secure and close by for whenever you need to switch them out, and it will help lower the risk of losing tools you may need later on.

Since this model accepts blades in two directions (standard and 90 degrees), you won’t run into any limitations with your projects. Instead, you’ll be able to rely on a nearly infinite ripping capacity and enjoy the benefits of angled cuts.

The flexible work light is shaped like a worm in order to provide light where you need it most. Whether you want to illuminate a specific section of the material or the entire work area, this light can adapt to your needs while remaining out of the way.

What I don’t like

Although the addition of the dust blower is a great thought, it doesn’t perform as well as you’d expect, or even as well as what is required to actually keep the field clear.

Verdict

Overall, this Wen 16-inch two-direction variable speed scroll saw is the perfect choice for people looking for a well-rounded tool that can handle nearly any project you have in mind. It is designed for the user experience and doesn’t have many features that fall below expectations.

Also Great Scroll Saw

DEWALT DW788 1.3 Amp 20-Inch Variable-Speed Scroll Saw

The runner-up for precision and functionality. 

  • Variable Speed: Yes
  • Dust Blower: Yes
  • Throat Depth: 20”
  • Power Type: Corded electric

What I like

The double parallel link arm is a unique design that dramatically reduces the amount of vibration you’ll feel during operation. This will help you stay accurate with each cut and ensure you’ll get a clean-looking finished product.

The 20” throat depth on this machine is extraordinary since most average around 16”. This is a huge benefit allowing you to cut larger pieces of wood and improve your efficiency on small and large projects alike.

The electronic variable speed that gives this machine its power is one of the most notable features. Variable speed ensures that you can adjust the performance to the material type and size of the object you’re working with. As a result, you’ll always achieve a clean line and maximize your efficiency.

What I don’t like

One of the things that is lacking in regard to this machine is the blade quality. If you plan on using this machine frequently or with tougher material types, it is a good idea to invest in some higher-quality blades.

Verdict

Overall, this DEWALT DW788 1.3 Amp 20-inch variable-speed scroll saw is a pretty impressive piece of equipment. It has a handful of useful features all located on the front of the upper arm for accessibility, and is well built and made to last.

Best Scroll Saw for Beginners

Dremel MS20-01 Moto-Saw Variable Speed Scroll Saw

If you need a little help achieving precision with a scroll saw, look no further. 

  • Variable Speed: Yes
  • Dust Blower: No
  • Throat Depth: 9”
  • Power Type: Corded electric

What I like

The superior portability of this scroll saw is one of the things that sets it apart most from its competitors. While it can be used on a platform/table like most scroll saws, it can also be removed to act as a handheld unit. When you can’t bring the project to the saw, you can bring the saw to the project.

Automatic tension adjustment is one of the features that is most appreciable when it comes to this tool. Rather than fiddling with a tension knob and constantly checking for consistency, this saw takes all the guesswork and manual labor out of reliable cutting.

The variable speed control of this model is another thing to make note of. It allows you to work effectively on a variety of material types in order to achieve a flawless result every time, and it ensures that you won’t cause damage to either the blades or the material.

What I don’t like

One feature that is just completely missing from this tool is a dust blower. As a result, you’ll need to manually clear your work surface as dust builds up in order to maintain visibility.

Verdict

Overall, the Dremel MS20-01 Moto-Saw variable speed scroll saw is the ideal choice for smaller projects. With its shorter throat depth and handheld operation, it offers maneuverability and the option for highly detailed work.

Best Budget Scroll Saw

Worx WX572L 5.5 Amp BladeRunner Portable Electric Table

If your budget is your number one priority, this affordable option is the best pick. 

  • Variable Speed: No
  • Dust Blower: No
  • Throat Depth: 15”
  • Power Type: Corded electric

What I like

The lightweight, 15 lb design may not be the most noteworthy feature, but is one that is super convenient. Since some scroll saws can weigh upwards of 50 lbs, this lightweight model offers users some of the best portability that can be found in a full-size machine.

The safety-consciousness of this model is one of the things we appreciate the most. It has both a safety switch and a safety key, so you can be confident that it won’t ever start unpredictably or allow young children to cause harm to themselves accidentally.

The 5-blade kit included with this scroll saw allows you to handle nearly any material type with ease. Whether your project includes wood, aluminum, scrolling, ceramic tile, or steel, there is a blade included that is designed to cut with precision and reliability.

What I don’t like

There are two main things lacking in this budget-friendly option: no variable speed control and no dust blower. These are two features that add to the user experience and versatility of a tool, so the fact that they are both missing on this model is not ideal.

Verdict

Overall, the Worx WX572L 5.5 Amp BladeRunner portable electric table is the ideal choice for people looking for a reliable machine at an affordable price. While you will have some concessions to make when it comes to performance, it can still be quite useful, especially for beginners with simpler demands.

Also Great Budget Scroll Saw

PowerSmart Scroll Saw 16 Inch

For affordability paired with performance, this is a top choice. 

  • Variable Speed: Yes
  • Dust Blower: Yes
  • Throat Depth: 16”
  • Power Type: Corded electric

What I like

One of the most beneficial features is the adjustable tabletop. You can work on a flat surface, but also adjust the table up to a 45-degree tilt. This helps you cut angles into your pieces and also improves the versatility of the machine as a whole.

The built-in air pump is an incredibly useful feature, especially for larger tasks. In order to keep your field of view clean and ensure that you are precise with your movements, the dust blower feature will clear the air off your work area with ease.

The variable speed control built into this machine is one of the most important features a scroll saw can have. Each material you cut will have a different hardness, and will therefore cut differently. To achieve flawless performance with each material type, you can simply adjust the speed to the specifications of each material.

What I don’t like

The build quality overall leaves a bit to be desired. While it won’t fall apart on you or anything, there are a few components in the framework that hint at the cheaper materials that went into its construction.

Verdict

Overall, the PowerSmart scroll saw 16 inches is deserving of the best of both worlds title. It is a highly affordable unit, but it is coupled with great performance outputs in order to ensure that even budgeted shoppers can experience the benefits of a high-quality scroll saw.

What to Look for in a Scroll Saw

1. Throat Size

Unlike options like the circular saw or table saw, the scroll saw has a limited cutting window that controls the size of the pieces you can work with. The throat of a scroll saw refers to the total distance between the blade and the end of the saw’s frame. 

The most common size is 16”, though there are many options in the 20”+ throats as well for larger pieces. The total range when looking at compact to commercial scroll saws is 12” to 30” throats, so there is a scroll saw size for any type of project. 

2. Motor Strength

Your scroll saw is only as good as its motor. Without enough power, you won’t be able to cut through thicker or harder materials no matter how sharp your blade may be. The best way to judge the strength of your motor is to determine its SPM, or strokes per minute. Some scroll saws will have a stroke rate of only 400 while others will reach 1800 or 2000 strokes per minute.

The speed of your blade stroke determines what materials your machine is capable of cutting through without becoming a hazard. When in doubt, also choose a stronger motor over a weaker one. 

3. Variable Speed:

When cutting for any type of project, having variable speeds is important. Some materials require more force while others are safer at slower speeds, so having more options ensures you can cut every type of material smoothly and safely. 

By adjusting the speed of the scroll saw, you can cut pieces of different densities and depths. Of course, the variable speed option also gives users much more control, which can only improve the quality of their cuts and the overall outcome of their projects. 

4. Blade

The blade of a scroll saw is its most important feature. The type and size of the blade on your scroll saw determine what it can cut as well as the depth of the cut possible. There are many different types of scroll saw blades, including reverse tooth blades, crown tooth blades, spiral blades, and more. The reverse tooth blade is the most popular since it produces a smooth cut thanks to teeth pointed in both directions. 

Scroll saw blades will be larger or smaller, thicker or thinner, and with varying amounts and sizes of teeth depending on their purpose. For example, one blade may be best for softwood, some are better with metals, while another may excel at cutting ceramics. The type of blade, or likely blades, you need will depend on your applications. 

5. Accessories/Attachments:

The most commonly included accessories/attachments on scroll saws are dust management systems and additional blades. Dust blowers are a necessary attachment since they keep the workspace clean. 

Without one, your piece and your blade will become covered in a mound of dust and shavings that make it impossible to see what you’re doing. Many scroll saws come with a single blade for wood pieces, but many others will include blades for steel or ceramic, among others. 

You may also have an LED light that illuminates your workspace, which ensures precision and safety. Some saws include dust ports that can connect to hoses for more contained dust management. All of these accessories improve the usability and functionality of a scroll saw. 

6. Bevel/Tilt 

The table tilt is one of the most useful features found on a scroll saw. Also known as a table bevel, the tilt function on a scroll saw table allows users to cut into pieces at an angle. This ability is useful in a variety of applications and is, therefore, an essential feature for most professionals and DIYers.

However, the table tilt can provide an uneven, and less safe, cutting surface, so scroll saws that tilt the blade rather than the table are generally preferred over the alternative. That being said, since the goal is a precise, straight angled cut, either form will achieve your desired results easily. 

Final Thoughts

If you’re in the market for a top scroll saw, the Wen 16-inch is the right choice. If the Wen model doesn’t quite suit your fancy, we recommend the DEWALT DW788.

You can also check out our other saw buying guides here:

About Roy Cohen

I'm Roy, founder of Hack My Garage. I started out like most not knowing how to hammer a nail, but now I know more than most people about home improvement and DIY. I want to spread my wealth of knowledge with the world and hope to make it a better place.