Bandsaw: 14" or 18"

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Forum topic by DavidNJ posted 04-13-2013 08:15 AM 3504 views 0 times favorited 34 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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389 posts in 1962 days

04-13-2013 08:15 AM

First, I already belabored this topic to death:

From that the Rikon appeared as a top value and performer in home workshop bandsaws. It still wasn’t on my shopping list until 2014. However, Woodcraft has a sale on the 14” and 18” Rikon saws now, and for an unrelated reason my table saw purchase was delayed, meaning I can combine the delivery charges. Net: time to get the bandsaw.

Now to choose between the 14” and 18”. Prices are $800 and $1050. However, an extra shipping charge and a sales tax make the difference $330. Still, this is a one time purchase (the saw will probably outlive me) and $330 over 10 or 20 years isn’t much.

The 14” is more of a KD kit, where the cabinet needs to be assembled. The 18” comes assembled, which makes it harder to transport and move to the basement.

The 18” has a more powerful motor, 2.5hp vs. 1.5hp. It takes 1” wide blades and flexes blades less with the larger diameter wheels. Some blades for cutting green lumber only come in 1” and bigger.

The 14” actually has a greater cutting height, 13” vs 12”. The 18” has an 18 3/8” cutting width compared to the 14” 13 5/8” cutting width. Nearly 5” greater.

Both have large tables: the 14” is 16”x21”, the 18” is 21” x 19”. Rikon has a funky table slot for the blade, coming through the front of the table. On the 14” they made the fence rail just to the left of the slot. The 18” has front and rear fence rails which should be more stable. The rail goes the full width of the table. The front rail is held on with thumb screws that allow it to be removed for changing the blade.

I’m not sure how much of an issue storing the longer blades is.

I’ve been told I probably don’t need anything more than the 14” However, I’ve never heard anyone say their bandsaw has too much power. More power makes it less likely that the operator will force the work causing drift.

They are about the same height and depth (the 18” 1” and 1.5” bigger). The 18” is 5 3/4” wider and 140 lb heavier.

What are your experiences with 14” and 18” bandsaws? Has anyone used both and formed an opinion? My gut says get the 18” but my head says get the 14”. Which should I listen to?

I need to decide by April 25th.

34 replies so far

View JoeinGa's profile


7735 posts in 1976 days

#1 posted 04-13-2013 11:07 AM

Well I dont have either one.. but think on this.
In a few years (or maybe it’ll only take a few months) will you be saying “Geeze, I wish I’da bought the 18” model” ?

With the features and benefits you have listed above, the 18 sounds like a much better saw. So if that 330 bucks wont break you, I’d say go for it now. Because if you get the 14 now and realize later that you should have gone with the 18, it’s gonna cost you a WHOLE LOT MORE than just $330 to upgrade.

Too many times I’ve bought “cheaper versions” of things based on price, only to realize later on that if I’d have bought the one I really wanted at first, I’d be ahead of the game.

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View toolie's profile


2120 posts in 2597 days

#2 posted 04-13-2013 12:32 PM

i have a 10-340, predecessor of the 345. it replaced an 18” jet (happy day when that left the shop!). the 10-340 is built, especially when compared to the jet. if serious resawing is in the cards, the 345 is probably the way to go. it’ll take that 1” blade where the 325 won’t, according to rikon’s specs. if a 1” blade isn’t needed, the 325 is a lot of saw. i’ve seen precious few negative comments about either saws.

-- there's a solution to every just have to be willing to find it.

View DIYaholic's profile


19597 posts in 2644 days

#3 posted 04-13-2013 12:43 PM

I have the 10-325, love it, but haven’t really put it through it’s paces yet. So I wouldn’t presume to say it would serve your needs. That is something only you can determine.

They always SAY that size doesn’t matter, but we all KNOW different!!! I say if you have the space, power supply, capital, I don’t think you’d regret “Going BIG”!!!

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

View horsefly's profile


35 posts in 2763 days

#4 posted 04-13-2013 01:57 PM

No question, the 18”!!!
Interesting comment from toolie above…I have a Jet 18 and have had NO problems. I’ve used it extensively
for over 10 years. Oh well, to each his own.
I think you will find the 18 more stable when resawing wide wood, the 1” blades are excellent for this and
I have had no drift problems at all.
Good luck,

-- Bob, Maine"The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not". Thomas Jefferson

View unbob's profile


808 posts in 1872 days

#5 posted 04-13-2013 03:49 PM

I have not seen much for negatives on the Jet 18”.
My only complaint would be adjusting the lower guide, not a big deal.
Mine is an older white one.

View crank49's profile


4030 posts in 2940 days

#6 posted 04-13-2013 04:32 PM

I would absolutey love to have that 18”.
I already have a small 10” Rikon and would keep it for curvy stuff, but the 18” is a re-saw saw.
In that light, the 18” is much better for that function, where the 14” is more universal, go both ways kind of saw, IMHO.
edit: And another thing I just meant to say and forgot. There is very little a big saw can not do that a little saw can. On the other hand, there is plenty a big saw can do that a small saw cannot.

View toolie's profile


2120 posts in 2597 days

#7 posted 04-13-2013 04:38 PM

the jwbs-18 had a reputation for frame flexing with larger blades. IIRC, jet represented the saw as being able to accommodate 1 1/2” blades, and it couldn’t (see page 6 of OM):

as bad as the saw was, WMH tool group was even worse. happy day for me when i sold the jet to some woodworker wanna be “i gotta have a jet ‘cause it’s the best” yuppy and bought the rikon from a woodnetter. the rikon is considerably more substantial than the jet was, in every respect. the OP would do well with either the 325 or 345.

-- there's a solution to every just have to be willing to find it.

View newwoodbutcher's profile


733 posts in 2819 days

#8 posted 04-13-2013 04:40 PM

I just got the Rikon 18”. I haven’t “installed” it yet but so far I’m impressed with the saw. Based on what I see so far I recommend it. I’m going to set it up as a resaw dedicated machine. It will probably get set up next week. When it’s done, I’ll write a full review.

-- Ken

View ,'s profile


2387 posts in 3516 days

#9 posted 04-13-2013 05:17 PM

For small money I would certainly go with the 18”. We have a 20” operatic and last winter I resawed about 700 bf of mesquite. That ability alone is deserving of far greater than a small investment of 300.00. Street value on mesquite is 5.00 bf. My logs cost me a couple hundred. Works great for me.

-- .

View unbob's profile


808 posts in 1872 days

#10 posted 04-13-2013 05:51 PM

toolie- thanks for posting the link to the saw that I have! I didnt get a manual with it.
You are right about 1 1/2” blades.
I found mine used ” very little use” at a super good price, with a stack of unused blades, including a couple of 1 1/2”.
1” really is the max practical size. and a bit under powered for that, but it does work.
I was using a borrowed Delta 14” before, and found this Jet 18” a considerable improvement.
At any rate, I just found a Northfield 24”, that is a whole nother story.

View Loren's profile


10278 posts in 3617 days

#11 posted 04-13-2013 07:05 PM

Get the saw that takes the wider blade.

View toolie's profile


2120 posts in 2597 days

#12 posted 04-13-2013 07:52 PM

and found this Jet 18” a considerable improvement.

glad you like your jet. mine was my first, and last, WMH tool group product. the OP has focused on two very good band saws, each of which are outstanding tools.

-- there's a solution to every just have to be willing to find it.

View unbob's profile


808 posts in 1872 days

#13 posted 04-13-2013 08:34 PM

toolie, you are the one that brought up Jet 18” bandsaws, and how they are so bad that you ripped of a Yuppy, by selling it to him.
horsefly and I simply stated, we have not found that to be the case.

View DavidNJ's profile


389 posts in 1962 days

#14 posted 04-13-2013 08:47 PM

Michael: “There is very little a big saw can not do that a little saw can. On the other hand, there is plenty a big saw can do that a small saw cannot.”

What can’t the bigger saw do? What can’t the smaller saw do? Do people with 1.5hp 14” saws complain that their saws aren’t powerful enough? Randy said: “They always SAY that size doesn’t matter, but we all KNOW different!!! ” But sometimes, smaller is better. Note: how many of us have 12” table saws?

The 14” actually has an extra inch of resaw/veneer height. However, does the larger saw add stability? Is the extra 60% power important? Is the extra weight important? Are the front and rear fence rails an advantage or disadvantage? The front rail has to be removed to change blades.

Blades (143” vs. 111”) and parts like Carter guides are more expensive on the 18” saw.

The saws are both 20amp, 110v and 208v respectively. I’ll need to run a line to either (along with lines for the table saw and dust collector, all 220v).

View Elizabeth's profile


817 posts in 3112 days

#15 posted 04-13-2013 09:19 PM

I asked myself the same question when I set up my shop. As I was nearing the end of my budget, I decided on a 14” Grizzly 0555.

Within six months I was regretting going small, and started dreaming of having two bandsaws someday.

I jumped on the Woodcraft sale you mentioned and got the Rikon 18”. It now sits next to my 14”. One is set up as a resaw machine and the other set up for curves. Today I popped back and forth between them making a bunch of bandsaw boxes. It was so easy – no more messing with tension and changing blades for different purposes, and no problems with drift on the straight cuts.

So I would vote “Get both!” if you have the budget and the interest in setting up the machines for different purposes, but if you can only get one, get the 18”.

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