In-Depth Review: SKIL 3386-01 2.5-Amp 9-Inch Band Saw
The SKIL 3386-01 2.5-Amp 9-Inch Band Saw - Power Band Saws is a good saw for home repair and hobbyists. Compared to stronger table saws, it offers a good midway option to scroll saws that aren't powerful enough to deal with larger pieces of horn or timber as well as table saws that overpower smaller wood or horn slices to the point of turning them into saw dust.
The SKIL 3386-01 comes complete with a one-speed motor that's strong and speedy enough to cut through metal, plastic, and wood materials as well as a rack and pinion table adjustment option to allow for height and angle adjustments.
Ease of Use
- The price is amazingly low for a quality stationary power band saw.
- Its cuts and straight and accurate thanks to its rip fence.
- The 1½ dust port ensures that the work area is clear of dust every time.
- Quick height and angle adjustments with rack and pinion table.
We Don't Like
- Too light and flimsy for a stationary saw.
- Some units don't come with a rip fence as advertised.
As a mechanical contractor who collects different power tools as part of my job, I've recently taken to restoring vintage straight razors as my hobby. I looked into adding various saws into my collection because I wanted to cut stock for making new scales. I don't need a band saw that's portable since I already have one in my collection.
I'm specifically searching for something that's stable and heavy as well as powerful enough to provide a high cut capacity. I particularly favor band saws featuring a built-in light and a stable stand. It should also have enough weight behind it to support straight and clean cutting. Unlike a portable or power tool version of the band saw, I wish to get balanced and clean cuts without making freeform curves and whatnot.
No pun intended, that's what the SKIL 3386-01 2.5-Amp 9-Inch Band Saw brings to the table. It's exactly what I need to continue with my line of work as well as satisfy the needs of my hobby. Although there are more than a few negative reviews on Amazon.com regarding the lack of a rip fence, the one I got definitely had one (thankfully).
Who Is It For?
A band saw in general is made for construction workers and metal fabricators. This is certainly evidenced by the reviews given to the SKIL 3386-01. Aside from that, the machine also caters to wood workers, metal workers, lumberjacks, architects, plumbers, HVAC maintenance and repair, and homeowners who wish to do some DIY home improvement by cutting down pipes and tiles as cleanly and accurately as possible.
While the portable band saw can be depended on when it comes to cutting work pieces too large to move to a stationary table saw, the stationary band saw is still the superior table saw type in light of its improved ability to make curved cuts that would make a jigsaw proud. This further explains why so many people favor band saw usage.
A band saw isn't only able to cut through pretty much anything at quite an impressive depth level. It can also double as a scroll saw, table saw, and jigsaw all in one tool because of its sheer versatility on top of its impressive sharpness. In regards to the SKIL 3386-01 band saw in particular, it's made to cater to construction and metal work in particular, but you can also use it for butchery or meat cutting as well as woodworking or timber cutting.
What Benefits Should This Band Saw Have?
Here are the benefits the SKIL 3386-01 should have in order to keep up with its competition.
- Safe and Low Impact
Because band saws like the SKIL 3386-01 have stands, you should be able to use these band saws for longer than usual. It should be a user-friendly kind of machine that's supposed to be safer to use than a table saw, particularly when it comes to cutting up small pieces. It should also be more stable and balanced than its mobile power tool counterpart.
In terms of band saws with tables and stands like SKIL 3386-01, this means the ability to cut up various materials and be useful in multiple applications or industries (from butchery to plumbing and factory work). A band saw is the type of machine you'd use in order to quickly scale small pieces that you can't cut in any other way.
- Cutting Curves and Resawing
The metal blades and rip fence of the SKIL 3386-01 should also cut curves and resaw in ways that an ordinary table saw can't, or else you might as well stick with the table saw. Many band saw buyers (such as myself) make extensive use of the band aw for the sake of better joinery work.
Things to Consider When Buying a Band Saw
Here's a checklist of things to look out for when buying a band saw.
- 2-Wheel Saw with 1 HP Motor
This is your best bet for excellence in stationary band saw cutting. The motor in particular is essential because anything else and your band saw will struggle. Take note that because it has a stand serving as its stabilizer, workers tend to cut the thickest of materials on it that they won't ever try with a more mobile band saw.
- Cutting Height and the Firmest of Guides and Rollers
Remember that as far as cutting height is concerned, anything less than 6 inches won't be enough for your needs (this unit offers 9 inches, incidentally), especially for all the woodworkers out there. As for your guides and rollers, there should be no play and absolute firmness from there, or else you may have ended up with a flimsy piece of equipment.
- Blades and Motors
As for how your blades are supposed to interact with your motors, you should have a healthy amount of cutting depth or cut capacity (the SKIL 3386-01 has an okay 3½ inches of cut capacity in it) from your power tool. If you intend to use your band saw as wood turner, make sure you have a general purpose or coarse cutting blades available to do the job and ensure clean cuts every time.
The SKIL 3386-01 2.5-Amp 9-Inch Band Saw is a stationary band saw that includes a rip fence to ensure that your every cut is accurate and straight. Incidentally, woodworkers and metal cutters depend on the rip fence or the metal bar that runs parallel to the saw blade for ensuring straight and non-crooked cuts every time. The power tool also includes a powerful motor, rack and pinion adjustment, and your requisite LED work light.
- Dimensions: 31.1 x 16.2 x 12.8 inches
- Item Weight: 37.9 pounds
- Cut Capacity: 3½ inches
- Trigger Type: Single speed
- Voltage: 120 volts
Features & Benefits
Here are the specific features and benefits of the SKIL 3386-01 2.5-Amp 9-Inch Band Saw.
What's more, saw dust or metal shavings won't be an issue with the stationary band saw's 1½-inch dust port as well. It doesn't only cut materials clean as a whistle, what little particles you've gathered from cutting so much wood or metal can easily be sucked up with a shop vacuum thanks to the dust port included with the band saw.
The effectiveness of the SKIL 3386-01 2.5-Amp 9-Inch Band Saw is readily apparent once you start using it. This band saw enables you to not only cut much faster but also have the ability to cut material into pieces that are smaller than what an ordinary table saw could accomplish. What's more, your handiwork is much more visible thanks to the band saw design, allowing for fewer second guesses.
More Cutting Options
A band saw like the SKIL 3386-01 also enables you to do stack cuts, which is something that even the great curved-cutting and freeform-cutting jigsaw has difficulty accomplishing. Meanwhile, depending on the specs of your band saw of choice, this tool can also cut through thicker material that's usually reserved for a table saw. It even features the same rack and pinion adjustment options present in table saws, only this time you have even more cutting options on top of angular changes.
Every last feature of your non-portable band saw should work to your favor and not feel needless or superfluous. It's the case when it comes to the SKIL 3386-01 band saw's articulating LED work light, rack and pinion adjustment, and 1½-inch dust port that all work hand-in-hand with your rip fence and one-speed motor to make your band saw extra special.
- You'll get more than your money's worth when you buy this particular band saw.
- Accuracy is ensures due to its powerful motor and rip fence guide for straight cuts.
- All its features, from the LED light to the rack and pinion adjustment, work in harmony to ensure consistently excellent cutting results every time.
- The huge 1½ dust port allows easy clean up and vacuum too.
- The rack and pinion adjustment switches further vary your different possible cut angles.
- Comparably flimsy and light compared to other stationary band saws or even table saws.
- Some units have missing rip fences
Reviews & Testimonials
From what I've read in regards to SKIL 3386-01 2.5-Amp 9-Inch Band Saw reviews, this unit is held in high regard by the majority of those who've used it.
However, most of the complaints root from poor technical support, flawed units out of the box, and some band saws never arriving to their owners. The reviews for the machine are more favorable for those customers who've received them in one piece and in perfect working order (although it still has flaws they take note of).
This is the kind of band saw that cuts down your installation time for HVAC or streamlines your plumbing if you're a plumber who's out there to slice the right sized pipes for water main repair and whatnot. The positive reviewers take particular note and praise of the quietness of the unit and its lack of vibration (which allows for extended work).
The SKIL 3386-01 is capable of many feats, including slicing through 1½ by 6 inches of desert ironwood or splitting buffalo horn into ⅕-inch slices. The band saw is capable of going through most material like soft butter or even air because it has power to spare and its general-purpose saw is quite sharp. It's best used by homeowners for house repair jobs or hobbyists as well as professionals.
Without further ado, here are the five alternatives to the SKIL 3386-01.
1. DEWALT DCS371B 20V MAX Lithium-Ion Band Saw, Bare-Tool
This band saw baretool lives up to its world-renowned brand name and proud power tool lineage by offering impressive specs such as dual bearing blade guide rollers, easy blade tracking adjustment, and a work light LED with 20-seond delay on top of a powerful motor capable of a 2½-inch cut capacity.
The rollers are firm and don't offer much play as suggested elsewhere on this article, the LED is bright but won't get in the way of straightening your cut, and the machine even has an ergonomic centered handle position. At 10.2 pounds though, it just doesn't have the 37.9 pounds weight advantage and greater 3½ inches of cut capacity that the SKIL 3386-01 has.
2. WEN 3962 Two-Speed Band Saw with Stand and Worklight
As a fellow stationary band saw with a stand, the WEN 3962 Two-Speed Band Saw with Stand and Worklight has a lot going for it, beginning with its 72-inch blades that could be anywhere from ⅛ to ½ inches wide and including its two speeds of 1,520 or 2,620 FPM (feet per minute).
It's also quite spacious with its 20 x 25 x 58 inches frame and 14⅛ x 12½ inches work table. However, it lacks a rip fence and the additional spaciousness of the SKIL unit (at 31.1 x 16.2 x 12.8 inches). However, the WEN 3962 weighs twice as the 3386-01 (37.9 pounds versus 73 pounds).
3. Bare-Tool Milwaukee 2629-20 M18 18-Volt Cordless Band Saw
As expected of the Milwaukee brand, the portable, compact, and cordless band saw is easy to use and durable. It also provides an impressive cut capacity of 3¼ inches and a relatively light and mobile weight of 10.2 pounds. It's capable of cutting common materials for applications involving mechanical, plumber, and electrician industries.
The 20.8 pounds unit can cut through 2-3-inch copper, conduit, and angle easily. Then again, the same could be said of the SKIL 3386-01. Sure, the SKIL unit isn't as mobile as the Milwaukee 2629-20, but that can be seen as an advantage in terms of the straightest and most precise cuts on its table surface thanks to its 37.9 pounds of weight and superior 3½ inches cut capacity.
4. Bare-Tool Milwaukee 0729-20 V28
As for this other Milwaukee offering, the Chinese-made band saw shares the same intuitiveness, longevity, and trademark high-powered Milwaukee-built motor that delivers consistent and dependable cutting speed every time. However, the Bare-Tool Milwaukee 0729-20 V28 is an improved version of the Bare-Tool Milwaukee 2629-20 M18.
To be more specific, the 2629-20 M18 is more than twice as heavy as the 0729-20 V28 at 20.8 pounds (versus 10.2 pounds). The later model also showcases 4¾ inches of cut capacity (versus 3¼ inches). It's more cutting power at the expense of mobility, but it is of note that the 2629-20 managed to have a high cut capacity while being more mobile than the stationary SKIL 3386-01.
5. Bosch Bare-Tool BSH180B 18-Volt Lithium-Ion Compact Band Saw
Last but not least is the Bosch Bare-Tool BSH180B Band Saw. This saw is probably the lightest saw on this list at 8.8 pounds. Furthermore, for something so lightweight, the band saw is able to pack a punch with its 2½ inches cut capacity that's comparable to the DEWALT DCS371B. It is pound-for-pound one of the best mobile compact band saws around.
It's most ideal for use in tight spaces or OSHA-approved overhead cutting (that many other band saw options cannot due because of the risk). But how does it compare to the SKIL 3386-01? Pretty favorably, all things considered. The SKIL 3386-01 has slightly better cut capacity and heaviness for stabilization purposes, but the BSH180B has superior cutting maneuverability.
Bare-Tool Milwaukee 2629-20
Bare-Tool Milwaukee 0729-20 V28
Bosch Bare-Tool BSH180B
The Final Cut
Sometimes, it's better to get a power tool band saw you can wield like a chainsaw in order to do jobs you can't accomplish with a stationary and immobile band saw, like cutting already installed pipes without disturbing the other pipes around it. For any work piece you can feed into the table surface of a heavy band saw with a stand, its mobile equivalent will naturally have the advantage.
The SKIL 3386-01 2.5-Amp 9-Inch Band Saw specifically excels as a band saw with a weighty stand. It might not have the highest cut capacity or weight, but it has a nice balance of the three plus various extras like a non-obtrusive LED work light and a dependable rip fence. That's what makes it a must-buy.