How to Use a Portable Band Saw — Easy and Simple Guide

Makita DPB182Z 18V LXT Portable Bandsaw in use

If you buy something through our posts, we may get a small commission. Read more here.

Believe it or not, portable band saws have a thousand different uses and maybe a hundred types, yet no one really uses them. Our team prepared this guide about everything you have to know about this multi-purpose power tool.

Step by Step Guide: How to Use a Portable Hand Saw

Portable hand saws aren’t the easiest tools to learn, in reality. But with a little help, we’re certain you’ll do your cutting job in an efficient and safe manner.

Step 1: Preparation Process

There are a hundred types of portable band saws, each and every single one of them which could be used differently at varied effectivity levels. That said, it’s important you fully understand the specific type of work you’re trying to accomplish. By doing this, you can effectively evaluate what kind of portable band saw and materials you need.

Dewalt 20V MAX Portable Band Saw no background
Afterward, you can now pick your equipment up and prepare your setup. Mark your materials where you have to as well. This should go unsaid, but remember to keep your cutting area clean.

Step 2: Saw Handles

Now that you have your equipment on hand, prepare for the cutting process. Hold the saw handles with both hands to prepare yourself for the pressure and have enough control of the saw. Then stand in a firm and comfortable position, and finally start the long-awaited cutting job!

Step 3: The Cutting Process

For the cutting process, align your saw blade to the first line marker, keeping it parallel to the cut line. And then press the trigger. At this point, make sure you’re only applying slight pressure, just enough for the saw to slide through.
Makita DPB182Z 18V LXT Portable Bandsaw in use
Too much pressure could cause the blade to snap, so remember not to forcibly cut through your materials when doing this. Holding the saw steady while you let it do its job is undoubtedly your best bet.

Step 4: Watch the Blade

While you continue on with the cutting process, remember to watch the blade. It should follow your line markers to provide you with accurate pieces. But in any case your saw goes out of the markings, don’t panic. You may gently move the saw and align it with the markings once again. While readjusting the blade, remember not to force the blade through the material either.

Step 5: Slow Down

When the cut is about to finish, it’s very possible the piece is going to fall off. So when you near the end of the material, slow the blade down a bit and just let it through. This way, we’re preventing any additional pressure and complications on the blade. Finally, when the cut is complete, turn the saw off and let it completely stop before you put it down.

Tips and Tricks

While we did try to make the tutorial [1] as simple as possible, we understand that nothing about the portable band saw is easy.

Ryobi 18-Volt ONE+ Cordless 2.5 in. Portable Band Saw in used on a metal pipe
It requires a lot of practice and getting used to before you’re able to perfect your cuts. That said, here are some tips to help you out!

Tip #1: Read the Manual

We cannot stress this enough, read the instruction manual before you start working with your powerful metal cutting saw. The manual is also specialized for the model of your saw, so the information they’ve provided is the best guide for the job.

Tip #2: Turn off the Blade

When you’re changing your blades or finally clearing out your area after a day’s length of hard work, make sure the blade has completely stopped. The blades of portable band saws are always exposed, so use them with care and turn it off for the sake of your safety. This should also keep your blade in good condition.

Tip #3: Support Loose Material

If you can find someone to help you out while you’re working, then that would be great! Having the cut material fall off during the process is inevitable. But it helps to have a round pipe or bar to prevent the material from spinning while it has yet to fall off. This is especially true when you’re working with metals.

WEN 94396 10-Amp 5-Inch Variable Speed Handheld Portable Band Saw for Met
For example, bent metals could bind the blade and possibly make you lose control of the saw. It’s not specifically required to perform this tip, but do consider it before you work! After all, the best way to cut with this saw is one that’s safe and effective; the portable band saw is complicated as it is.


Portable band saws are extremely useful, that’s a fact none of us can deny. But they’re much more complicated than other tools, given their functionalities, it’s certainly worth to try. Just remember to take note of all the general guidelines above, dress appropriately, and wear your safety glasses and gloves at all times, you will be fine.

If you are looking for excellent bandsaws to add to your woodshop, we have the list below: 

Robert Johnson is a woodworker who takes joy in sharing his passion for creating to the rest of the world. His brainchild, Sawinery, allowed him to do so as well as connect with other craftsmen and women. He has since built an enviable workshop for himself and an equally impressive online accomplishment: an extensive resource site serving old timers and novices alike.
Robert Johnson
Latest posts by Robert Johnson (see all)