When it comes to choosing a bandsaw, you have a broad spectrum of tools available. At one end of the spectrum are those absolutely gigantic tools that take up half of your workshop and deliver multiple horsepower in order to rip through any material with scary precision. At the other end of the spectrum, you have those bandsaws that are on the budget end and that are suitable for making detailed cuts but only as long as you are cutting soft, thin materials.
The Craftsman 1/3 HP is a bandsaw that finds itself somewhere between these extremes but certainly a little more geared toward the hobbyist. This is a tool that wears its power on its sleeve as a 1/3HP and that tells you instantly what it is all about.
But who is this bandsaw for? Is it good value for money? Is it the best? And if you’re a hobbyist with a home workshop, should you consider adding it to your arsenal of tools? Read on and we’ll dive in a little deeper in our full review…
What are you buying?
The Craftsman 1/3 HP is a relatively low-powered bandsaw and so it is important to know what you are getting here. This is a small bandsaw that offers 1/3HP and that only offers one speed that is suitable for cutting through wood and not sheet metal. As you can see then, it will be best suited to home projects and the like. This is not intended for cutting easily through 6” walnut and neither is any 10” benchtop saw.
But don’t get me wrong – this is still a well-made, versatile and powerful bandsaw when it sticks to what it’s good at. The Craftsman 1/3 HP is smartly designed in black and grey with the Craftsman logo and if it looks at all familiar, that’s because it is pretty much the same bandsaw as the Rikon 10-305. The main difference is the branding and the price which is a little more affordable.
What is nice is that this tool has a solid cast iron surface for working on and a great, well-constructed frame. It feels sturdy and when you consider that it’s technically ‘lower end’, this is always nice to see. The bearings do make some noise when the blade turns and it’s not perfectly seamless but we can say that in our experience, cutting through 4/4 wood, it has been great to work with. The cut depth is 4-5/8” and it has a 9-5/8” throat.
Other features include the fact that that cast-iron table tilts from 0-45” for cutting bevels.
Pros and Cons
The pros and cons for this device revolve largely around the build quality and the power. This is a well made device. As mentioned, it’s essentially the same thing that Rikon is offering except without the branding, which makes it cheaper. You get the same cast iron table, the same option to tilt said table for making bevel cuts and the same good quality construction.
But this device is also very limited to doing a particular type of work – cutting through thin wood. If you want to cut through thicker wood, if you want to cut through metal, or if you want something that gives you more space to work, then you’ll want to go bigger than a 10”. Perhaps the biggest shame is that there is only one speed setting, as this would have been a useful feature even with the lower horsepower.
Overall then, this is far from being one of the most powerful bandsaws in town but it’s not trying to be. What this is instead, is simply a highly functional bandsaw that looks great, performs really well and is made from high quality materials – especially the cast iron table. It’s just icing on the cake that it costs less than comparable models thanks to the slightly less well-known branding.
In short, the Craftsman 1/3 HP is a great choice for anyone who wants an affordable table and doesn’t need to cut through metal or very thick wood. In that case, it will offer some of the best value for money and certainly won’t let you down.
For everything else, look for a bigger model!