I don't know if this helps or not because it's mostly hearsay, but never shy
to give an opinion even if I don't have one, here goes.
JET - I have several JET tools and have been very happy with all of them. I
don't have the bandsaw though (well actually I bought one last night, but
haven't used it yet). JET consistently comes out towards the top in tool
tests along with Delta, but again I don't know for sure about their bandsaw.
I've looked at it in their warehouse that's a couple miles from my house
(lucky me!) and it's a nice saw. I think the price of their lowest-priced
bandsaw is over $500 though.
Delta - I can't believe I don't own any Delta tools, but I guess with JET
being so close I've bought mostly JET stuff. Anyway, they usually rank at
the top or tied for the top spot in tool tests. Their bandsaw is more than
Grizzly - I've never bought any of their tools either, but I've been at
their warehouse in Bellingham. The tools seem well built. There are
numerous threads about the Grizzly 14" bandsaws so if you do a Google search
you'll find lots of reading. I believe Grizzly has a good reputation for
tools, but not as high as some of the higher-priced options (e.g.
Ridgid - I've heard comments both ways on their tools, but my perception is
most people are happy with the Ridgid tools. They also score reasonably
high on tool tests. I have their planer and have been quite happy with it.
They seem to do a better job (my opinion) than other companies of adding
useful user features (soft knobs, handles in the right place, on-tool
storage for wrenches, etc).
Harbor Freight (don't laugh, I'm being serious) - Some (most?) of the HF
stuff is very low end, but I've read some threads about the HF bandsaw and
it sound like lots of people are happy with it. IIRC most of the happiest
users are those that spent the time and had the skills to tune the saw up
properly. Again DAGS and you'll find these threads.
Used - this takes more patience and care, but you can ultimately end up
with more saw for your $500. After about a year of looking I finally found
a nice JET 14" with the riser block and fence at an auction. I might have
paid more than I should have, but it was $225. If you are willing to spend
$500 you could pick up a very nice used saw or you could save some of your
money and buy the equivalent of a $500 saw.
Now that I re-read what I wrote, I strongly suggest you DAGS on each of the
saws listed above because each has had numerous threads about them. You'll
be able to find many comments about the pros/cons of each.
Larry C in Auburn, WA
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