Let me be clear: we’re not necessarily recommending you buy this. In fact, we wonder whether it’s worth the cash or not. That said, however, we’re always interested in cheap-ass tool alternatives, and there’s something intriguing about the idea of a sub-$100 portable band saw. (Compare that, for example, with about $230 for Mikwaukee’s model.)
Specs look pretty much like you’d expect: a 6A motor, driving the blade at 0-230 FPM. Cutting capacity is around 4-1/2″.
But specs aren’t really where Harbor Freight’s cheap-ass knock-offs fall short. In our experience, these kind of HF tools don’t last very long — like somewhere in the range of a single project to a couple of projects. When you’re talking about a $10 cordless drill (compared to even a $50 also-not-so-great drill), it’s easy to justify the concept. If it breaks, just throw it away. Hell, get two if you’re concerned. But $100 is a lot of dough — might it just be better to shell out the additional $120 to buy one that’ll last pretty much forever?
Granted, I have an old cheap-ass HF polisher that my father picked up sometime around 2000 for the sole purpose of mounting a knot cup brush for cleaning up welding work. (This is a great idea, by the way. The slower spin is a lot safer for you, as most brushes start to disintegrate well below the 12,000+ RPM limit of grinders. Most polishers spin around 1,000 to 3,000 RPM.) The damn thing still works more than a decade later, though I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t use it on a daily basis.
So what do you think? Is this worth the risk, or is it just junk?
Portable Band Saw [Harbor Freight]