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+44 (0)24 7661 9267 | Contact Us

What’s the Difference Between a Band Saw and a Cold Saw?

Cold saws tend to be less well known among our catalog of machines, especially compared to band saws, a familiar shop staple. One of the most common questions we get at Baileigh HQ is, “How are cold saws different from band saws?” Let us break it down for you.

Cold Saws: Better Cut Quality

The most important difference between cold saws and band saws is the amount of burr on the cuts that they produce. Cold saws make clean, burr-free cuts like no other machine. A band saw can give you good quality cuts, but can’t match the smoothness of results from a cold saw. Cuts made by a band saw will always be significantly rougher.

See the difference below?

If you choose a band saw, you’ll probably need a deburring machine or a metal grinder to smooth off the edges, depending on what you’re cutting. By contrast, cold saws can save you time by making pristine cuts that don’t require any finishing.

Band Saws: Faster Cutting and Larger Capacity

Metalworkers sometimes refer to cold saws as circular saws, because they use hard disc-shaped blades that spin to slice through metal. On the other hand, band saws cut with long, flexible blades.

Because band saw blades are straight, they can cut more material at once, all at the same depth. The edges of cold saw blades cut through material at different depths. That is, the middle of the circular blade’s edge makes contact with the material before the sides of the blade.

As a result, band saws tend to have larger capacities than cold saws in a similar (or even higher) price and horsepower range. For example, Baileigh’s smallest band saw, the portable BS-127P, can cut up to 5” round at 90° with its .5 hp motor. By contrast, our smallest cold saw, the manually operated CS-225M, can only cut 1.75” solid round at 90° with its 1 hp motor.

Due to their straight blades, band saws also cut material more quickly than comparable cold saws. If you need fast production, a band saw may be the right choice. However, if you need pristine cut edges, you might lose time buffing out the roughness left by a band saw blade.

Cold Saws vs. Band Saws: Which One Is Right for You?

Go with a cold saw if:

  • You need pristine cuts straight from the machine.
  • Smaller capacity is acceptable for higher quality results.
  • A little more time to make a cut doesn’t bother you.

Go with a band saw if:

  • Slightly rougher edges aren’t a problem. You’re willing to use a grinder or a deburring machine.
  • You want the largest capacity for your budget.
  • Speed matters most when it comes to cutting.

We can help you figure out what’s the best saw for your shop and projects. Our customer service reps all have hands-on metalworking experience.

Give us a call at 1-920-684-499 and talk to a Baileigh expert.

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