Best Scroll Saw 2020 – Buyer’s Guide

Scroll saws are great for the decorative side of serious woodwork and for crafting. Their small size means that they are easy to store and can be used indoors at regular tables. They are also relatively quiet compared to bigger machines.

Some scroll saws are practically silent in use. Even those that are not can often be made reasonably quiet if you put them on an anti-vibration mat.

Our experts have gone out and reviewed the best scroll saws in the UK market.

Let’s get right to it!

The Best Scroll Saws – Our Top Picks

IMAGE PRODUCT DETAILS
Proxxon DSH 2 Speed Scroll Saw
  • Type: Corded
  • Wattage: 205
  • RPM: 900/1400
  • Cutting Depth: 50mm (90°)/25mm (45°)
  • Angle of Cut: 90° - 45°
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Scheppach SD1600F Scroll Saw
  • Type: Corded
  • Wattage: 90
  • RPM: 400-1600
  • Cutting Depth: 50mm (90°)/25mm (45°)
  • Angle of Cut: 90°-45 °
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Dremel Moto-Saw MS20 Scroll Saw
  • Type: Corded
  • Wattage: 120
  • RPM: 200-1700
  • Cutting Depth: 50 mm
  • Angle of Cut: 90° - 45°
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Best Scroll Saws

Proxxon DSH 2 Speed Scroll Saw

Overall the Proxxon DSH 2 Speed Scroll Saw is the best scroll saw on the UK market. It cuts with both power and precision and really is super-quiet. In fact, if you put it on some sort of anti-vibration mat, it makes hardly any noise at all.

There are, however, some minor issues with this scroll saw. The main one is that blade-holding bolts are only marginally useful at best. They are easy enough to swap out with better ones. It’s just a bit of a shame that the manufacturer didn’t choose something better.

Similarly, the supplied blades are definitely not the best scroll saw blades around. To be fair, this scroll saw is very competitively priced, so you’re still getting a good deal. Again, however, it’s a bit of a shame that the manufacturer didn’t choose a more robust option.

The last issue is really a minor gripe. This scroll saw needs an Allen key to change the blades. You do get one included but there’s nowhere to attach it to the saw. This means that the onus is on the buyer to remember where they put it.

Specifications

  • Type: Corded
  • Wattage: 205
  • RPM: 900/1400
  • Cutting Depth: 50mm (90°)/25mm (45°)
  • Angle of Cut: 90° - 45°

We like

  • Super quiet
  • Practical zero vibration
  • Two speeds
  • Can cut non-ferrous metal as well as wood (with the right blade)

We dislike

  • Blade-holding bolts aren’t great

Scheppach SD1600F Scroll Saw

This set really is everything a beginner needs to get started crafting with a scroll saw. That’s both its big advantage and its big drawback. If you’re sure you’re serious about getting into using a scroll saw, then this is amazing value. If you’re not, then it’s a lot of money to spend on something you might not end up using.

That said, the quality is high enough that you could probably get most of your money back by selling it pre-loved (assuming you missed the return date). This scroll saw is easy to set up, has very decent cutting power at a range of speeds and creates minimal vibrations. In fact, if you set it on an anti-vibration surface, you’ll barely hear more than a background hum.

In short, this scroll saw could be a great buy for anyone learning woodwork. It would also suit experienced crafters looking to expand their range of skills. It’s high enough quality to give decent results but still priced at an affordable level.

Specifications

  • Type: Corded
  • Wattage: 90
  • RPM: 400-1600
  • Cutting Depth: 50mm (90°)/25mm (45°)
  • Angle of Cut: 90°-45 °

We like

  • All-in-one package, everything a hobbyist needs to get started
  • Very simple to use
  • Decent cutting power

We dislike

  • A lot to pay if you don’t use it
  • Using the accessories can be a bit of a challenge for beginners

Dremel Moto-Saw MS20 Scroll Saw

This mini scroll saw nearly landed up in the hobby scroll saw reviews section. That would, however, have been very unfair. This is a very decent budget scroll saw. It just has a bit of a quirky design.

The way this scroll saw works is that you mount it with two clamps (provided). Each clamp has a large screw going through it and you tighten this to secure the mounting. There are three downsides to this. 

Firstly, it’s not really ideal for working with tougher materials. That said, if you’re buying something like this, you’re probably working with wood or maybe metal or acrylic, not thick sheets of steel. Secondly, the power and speed controls end up under the worksurface. Thirdly, it means you’re stuck using this scroll saw at 90° – unless you take it off completely.

Where this scroll saw really comes into its own is when you use it handheld. This gets around all the previous limitations. The only remaining one is the speed and that’s part of the price you pay for the compactness. That said, it can also be useful as it puts you under less pressure when guiding the blade. This could be very useful for beginners.

Overall, if you’re in a really tiny space but still want a decent scroll saw, then this is definitely worth considering.

Specifications

  • Type: Corded
  • Wattage: 120
  • RPM: 200-1700
  • Cutting Depth: 50 mm
  • Angle of Cut: 90° - 45°

We like

  • Tiny size makes it really easy to store
  • When used handheld can cut at any angle
  • Very quiet

We dislike

  • Quirky mounting system
  • No tilt when mounted
  • No tilt when mounted

Scheppach SD1600V Scroll Saw

This scroll saw delivers where it matters and the price is pretty reasonable. It’s easy to set up and, for the most part, works well. It certainly has the power to deal with tougher material like metal. The dust blower is a nice touch. It’s just a shame that it’s let down by noise and a couple of minor issues, which could easily have been fixed by the manufacturer.

First of all, this scroll saw is definitely on the noisier side, especially at higher speeds. A foam pad is a good investment. Speaking of investments, you need to buy an adapter to use plain-end blades. These are hardly expensive, but it would have been nice if one had been included.

The included blades are decent, but not particularly great and they could be easier to swap out. That said, if you can find this scroll saw for sale at a reasonable price, it’s certainly worth considering.

Specifications

  • Type: Corded
  • Wattage: 120
  • RPM: 200-1700
  • Cutting Depth: 50 mm
  • Angle of Cut: 90° - 45°

We like

  • Decent speed variation
  • Effective dust blower
  • Powerful enough to cope with metal

We dislike

  • A bit noisy

Einhell TH-SS 405E Scroll Saw

This scroll saw offers a lot for an affordable price and in a very compact package. It’s fairly easy to set up and if you do have questions, there’s a lot of help online. 

The cutting power is pretty impressive, especially given the size of this scroll saw. It can handle thinner metals capably, as long as you use decent blades.

What’s more, this scroll saw comes with a pair of blade holder attachments, which allow it to use plain blades (as opposed to the default pin-end blades). This is not at all clear from the documentation, which is a pity as it’s really useful.

There are, however, a couple of downsides to this scroll saw. Firstly, it’s relatively noisy. That’s because it vibrates a lot. An anti-vibration base can help here. Secondly, the worktable is relatively flimsy. This may contribute to the vibration and unfortunately, there’s not a lot you can do about it.

A minor gripe is that the included blades aren’t great. It’s easy enough to swap them out for better ones but it would have been nice to have had some decent ones to use straight out of the box.

Overall, this scroll saw is way too robust to be designated as a hobby scroll saw. Its size, however, means that it’s definitely best suited to smaller projects. That being so, it could be a good choice for people with small-scale “hobby businesses”, making craft products to sell.

Specifications

  • Type: Corded
  • Wattage: 120
  • RPM: 1600
  • Cutting Depth: 52mm (90°)/20mm (45°)
  • Angle of Cut: 90° - 45°

We like

  • Budget-friendly price
  • Lots of clearance to move wood
  • Blade is released by a lever

We dislike

  • Fairly noisy

Scroll Saw Buying Guide

What is a scroll saw?

A scroll saw is a type of saw generally used for cutting intricate patterns into material. Scroll saws are often used for cutting wood but are sometimes used for fine metals.

Parts of a scroll saw

Work-table

This is where the material goes. The size of the work-table will influence the size of the material you can use. In theory, bigger is better. In practice, bigger is also more expensive and harder to store. If you only cut small pieces of material, you may be better going for a smaller scroll saw.

Bevel scale

Most scroll saws can tilt to some extent, usually about 45°.

Sawdust blower

Budget scroll saws may skip these, as may mini scroll saws. In both of these cases, this may be an acceptable compromise. Overall, however, a sawdust blower is a really handy feature as it does exactly what it says and hence keeps your work area clean. If you don’t have one, you’ll probably need to stop quite often to clean your work-space.

Blade

There are two types of blades which can be used in scroll saws. These are pin end blades and plain blades. Most scroll saws can take both kinds of blades. Some will do so out of the box, others will require the use of an adapter to switch from the default blade type (usually pin end blades) to the alternative blade type (usually the plain blades).

If a scroll saw needs an adaptor, this may be included in the box. If it isn’t then you can generally buy an adaptor anywhere you can buy a scroll saw. They’re normally very affordable. It’s worth making the investment as being able to use both blade types can really increase your options for making the most of your scroll saw.

Pin end blades literally have a pin at the end which you use to lock the blade into position. This automatically sets them to the correct tension. The simplicity of pin end blades makes them good for beginners to learn on. Once people master basic skills, however, pin end blades can quickly become restrictive on their own. It’s still handy to have some, though, as they are good for cutting thicker materials.

Plain blades don’t have a pin, so they can be made much thinner. This means that they can be harder to put into the scroll saw. Furthermore, you have to take care of locking the blade correctly and adjusting the tension as necessary. Your payback for this, however, is access to the widest range of blades and hence the widest range of options for using your scroll saw.

Blade guard

You’ll hopefully never see a scroll saw without a blade guard and if you do you should leave it well alone. The blade guard should be down at all times when the scroll saw is plugged in/has the battery in.

Blade tension lever/knob

Blade tensioning is done by either a lever or a knob. Unless you have a really strong preference it doesn’t actually matter which. It does, however, matter a lot where the blade tension mechanism is located. Ideally, you want it to be at the front of the scroll saw. This will allow you to adjust the tension quickly while you’re working, which can be very convenient.

Blade-changing mechanism

There are really only two kinds of blade-changing mechanism. These are tooled and toolless. Tooled blade-changing mechanisms can be a challenge to use. Some of them, however, work very well – as long as you remember where you put the necessary tool(s).

Toolless blade-changing systems are generally simple to use and you never have to worry about remembering where you put your tools. There is, however, a downside to them. Some of them are pretty delicate and hence break quite easily. This is likely to be classed as user-error and hence outside your warranty.

If you’re going to go for a toolless system, treat it gently. Scroll blades are delicate, you shouldn’t need to force them. Also, wear safety glasses just in case something does break (and, of course, make sure that the scroll saw is fully unplugged/has had the battery removed).

Drop foot

Most scroll saws will have a drop foot to help keep the material on the work table. This is generally a handy convenience rather than a deal-breaker.

Scroll saw vs band saw what is the difference?

Physically, the only real difference between a scroll saw and a band saw is the way the blade works. In a scroll saw, the blade goes up and down. In a band saw, the blade goes round and round in a continuous loop. So basically a scroll saw works like a miniature version of a traditional hand saw whereas a band saw works like a miniature version of a circular saw.

This physical difference does, however, have major implications for how the two types of saw are best used.

Scroll saws

Scroll saws are best used for the most intricate work and/or the finest materials. Essentially, they’re for the decorative side of serious woodworking and for crafts. With a scroll saw, you can drill a hole into the interior of your material and work from the inside.

What you can’t do is work with anything tougher than wood or fine metal. In fact, you even have to be careful with wood. The harder the wood gets, the more challenging a scroll saw will find it.

Band saws

Band saws are best used for making lots of straight cuts very quickly. You can use them for decorative work, but you can only cut from the outside. So, for example, you could carve a piece of material so it was shaped into an arch, but you couldn’t cut an arch in the middle of a piece of material.

You can, however, work with material a scroll saw just couldn’t handle. Basically, as long as you have a decent blade and can physically fit the material into the band saw, a band saw can cut it.

How thick of wood can a scroll saw cut?

That depends partly on the scroll saw, partly on the blade you choose and partly on the thickness of the wood. As a rule of thumb, even an entry-level scroll saw with a decent blade should be able to cope with wood up to 5CM (2”) thick.

Are scroll saws dangerous and what safety measures do I need?

Although scroll saws are much less powerful than other types of saws, they are still power saws with sharp blades. This means that they have the potential to be dangerous and hence need to be treated with respect. Here are some helpful safety tips.

Always wear safety glasses and a mask

This may seem excessive for such a small machine, but dust can do a lot of damage if it gets into your eyes or nose. Also, there is always a small possibility that a blade might break or a piece of material come off unexpectedly. If that happens, you need your eyes to be protected.

Make sure you can see properly

You may need more than standard overhead lighting so look at task lighting. This could be as simple as moving a lamp. You might also want to look at using some kind of magnification. You can buy safety glasses with magnification or you could invest in a table magnification stand.

Watch your fingers

A scroll saw may not have the raw power of a band saw, let alone a circular saw, but it certainly has more than enough power to take off fingers. This means that you need to keep your fingers well away from the blade when it is powered on.

If you’re lifting the blade guard for any reason, then not only must the scroll saw be switched off, it must be unplugged/have the battery taken out.

You might want to consider using a tool to hold the material. If you regularly work with round material then you might want to invest in a v-block. Alternatively, a plain old flat eraser can be great for manipulating the material. It grips well, protects your fingers and won’t damage your scroll saw.

Take regular breaks

A lot of safety is just paying attention to what you’re doing. This is linked to focus and concentration and there’s a limit to how long you can maintain these, especially when undertaking detailed work. Make a point of taking regular breaks. You might even want to set a timer. Walk away from your work-table, clear your head, refocus and, if necessary, start again when you’re ready.

Take care of your blade

Take care of your scroll saw in general, but, in particular, take care of your blade. After each use, give it a quick once-over with a brush (a small paintbrush is good). Then give it a wipe with solvent.

Be realistic about the lifespan of scroll saw blades. They’re fine blades and even though they’re used for fine work, they’re highly unlikely to last as long as the more robust blades used in other types of saw.

Taking care of them will make them last as long as possible. You are, however, still going to need to change them fairly often. Do this as soon as you feel that a blade has stopped cutting the way it should. It will be safer for you (e.g. you will be less exposed to splinters) and better for your work.

Are scroll saw blades universal?

In principle, this depends on the scroll saw. In practice, most scroll saws will take universal scroll saw blades. That said, there is a bit of a twist to this. You may find that your scroll saw only takes pin end blades. This may not bother you, but if it does check if you can get an adapter for your scroll saw to allow it to take plain blades as well.

Come check out our other reviews of the best mitre saws, best circular saws, and our article on how to set up a DIY table saw.