A scroll saw is an excellent home woodworking tool. It is a table saw with a slender blade for precision work, allowing the user to make intricate cuts into wood, metal and even thin plastic.
If you’re looking for a saw capable of round, detailed cuts (or plunge cuts) then this is probably the ideal option for you. We’d always recommend the use of a scroll saw for clean cuts in thin materials, especially on projects where you need a lot of control.
In this guide we take a look at some of the best scroll saws available to buy in the UK. Specifically, we’ve rated options based on their effectiveness, features, cutting height, blade quality, cutting speeds, safety features and cost – to bring you our #1 best pick and value options. We hope our choices help to bring you the best results for your project.
Last update on 2021-02-13 / All Pricing & Imagery from Amazon Product Advertising API
A quality machine at a surprisingly affordable price
The Record Power SS16V is a variable speed machine – ideal if you’re planning on working with a number of different materials. Its table tilts from 0 to 45°, allowing for bevel cuts and bowls.
This unit is very sturdy, with minimal vibrations – especially if bolted to a fixed bench. However, there are some points in the speed control where vibration may become an issue if the saw is not fixed to a firm surface.
You can use a pinned or plain-ended blade for the best results. For those planning on complex fretwork, the blade changing may be a little slow for your needs. Beginner and intermediate users should not find this a problem.
This model is excellent value for money as a top bit of kit for hobbyists and advanced users at a very reasonable price. It’s well-made and durable enough to meet the needs of most users.
- This saw is incredibly accurate. The speed control is among the best and works exceptionally well with soft wood.
- Variable speeds make it easy to work with plastics and low-weight metals at slow speeds and softwood at greater speeds.
- A very reasonable cost for such an advanced machine.
- It’s actually fairly quick to change the blade if you take off the panel on the left-hand side of the unit.
- Utilises an on/off switch that flips when power is cut out. Unfortunately, this means it’s not conducive to use with a foot pedal.
- The dust collection unit isn’t the most effective.
A low-cost option that is ideal for beginners learning the ropes
The Einhell TC-SS is our low-cost best pick because it offers reasonably good quality at a decent price-point. It’s surprisingly powerful and capable of dealing with thick metals and hardwoods with surprisingly good results.
The tool has a max cutting height of 20mm at 45° degrees and of 52mm at 90°. It has a quick-release clamp for fast changing of the saw blade.
It has a connection for a dust extractor, though sadly this is not included in the design. You’ll need to work out your own solution for this, as it can become difficult to clean inside when debris begins to collect. The diameter is 36mm, which should make it easy to find a suitable adapter.
The machine has the capacity to work with pinned or plain-ended blades for internal cuts. It also includes a ‘hold-down’ workpiece device that keeps your material in place during work – definitely beneficial for safety during use.
The saw can easily be fixed directly to a workbench – highly recommended if you want to minimise vibrations. This is especially true if you’re planning on using this unit at top speeds, where it can become an issue.
- Variable speeds and a powerful motor make it easy to work with a variety of materials – even harder timber like American Oak and thick aluminium sheeting.
- At such a low cost, it’s the perfect introductory tool if you’re a beginner looking to get started.
- The allen key bolt that comes with the machine to change blades is pretty flimsy – we’d advise using your own to avoid it snapping.
- Vibrations become an issue at high speeds if the unit is not securely fixed down.
- You’ll need to purchase a dust extractor or air compressor at an additional cost.
Dual-use machine, ideal for home hobby use and craft woodworking
Cost: Price not available
The Dremel ‘Moto Saw’ is a hybrid machine with uses as both a scroll saw and a fret saw in one. This dual function is actually really useful as it allows for a stationary mode for precision work, while the detachable handheld fretsaw can be used for larger work.
It has variable speeds between 1,500 – 2,250 RPM for full control depending on the materials you’re using. It also comes with a handy carry case that makes it easy to move into storage. If you need a compact machine that won’t take up too much room and can be easily stored-away, then this is probably the machine for you.
One of the best things about this machine is the accessories that are included. The kit comes with two general purposes wood-cutting blades, ideal for straight and curved cuts in wood and plastic materials; two fine wood cutting saw blades; and a metal cutting saw blade, ideal for soft sheet metal.
Because of its range of accessories and different uses this machine is perfect for intricate craft-work and home hobby uses. If you’re looking for a heavy-duty machine for home DIY or workshop applications, then you’re probably better looking elsewhere for a machine with a little more power.
- A dual-use machine that includes a detachable fret saw for bigger projects.
- A compact little machine that is easy to pack away into storage.
- Variable speeds and multiple blade types; ideal for use with wood, plastics and metal.
- Very accurate – great for intricate cuts. Highly recommended for hobbyists.
- Not great for heavy-duty applications – definitely not recommended for workshop use.
- The saw blade can be very fiddly to attach and won’t always sit square for straight lines of work.
A durable, heavy-duty machine for workshop applications
The FERM 120W scroll saw is a powerful unit, ideal for DIY applications. It comes with a dust extractor connection and variable dust blower to keep your workspace free of dust and debris.
The machine is operated using a press and release footswitch and includes a quick release lever to easily change the saw blade. This leaves your hands free, making it easy to control the workpiece. The blade can be tensioned quickly, and the worktable can be adjusted by up to 45° for bevel cuts.
It comes with a host of accessories to allow you to get started straight away. This includes three different types of saw blades, ranging from 10, 15 and 25 TPI – as well as some adapters for universal saw blades. With two of each, you’re all set to go without needing to buy a host of accompanying accessories.
Safety-wise this machine includes a transparent protective cover that helps keep your hands out of the way of the saw blade.
- Includes a foot-pedal switch – ideal if you’ve become accustomed to this way of working. The machine can also be switched into ‘continuous operation’ mode.
- A multitude of blade types makes it easy to work with variable materials.
- Transparent protective cover to help keep your hands in a safe position.
- Some vibration issues if the machine is not securely fixed to the bench.
A simple but robust unit that offers excellent value for money
Cost: Price not available
This unit is the younger brother of the 120W model above, with slightly less power – and a lower price to boot! This model doesn’t include a foot-pedal switch, so you’ll need to opt for the machine above if this is an essential requirement.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t have variable speed settings, so if you’re looking to work with a variety of materials, you might be better served looking at our other best picks.
It has a slightly underwhelming sewing capacity of 40mm at 0° and 10mm at 45°. If this isn’t an issue for you, then the rest of the features should make this an ideal choice.
It has a retractable transparent cover, with two saw-blade adapters and ten(!) saw blades included in the price. The mitre guide also makes it very easy to ensure accurate results with clean saw lines.
- Very quiet when cutting, especially if bolted down.
- Includes ten saw blades as attachments.
- Easy to achieve clean, accurate results with softwood and non-ferrous metals.
- No variable speed settings – suitable for basic use only.
- The fence is pretty flimsy and not worth
- The dust blowing system is pretty ineffective, so you’ll probably need to figure out a custom solution for dealing with this.
How To Safely Use A Scroll Saw
Scroll saws are an ideal piece of kit if you’re looking to cut intricate designs in wood and metal craft projects. The saw itself moves up and down when turned on – and most include variable speed settings for different types of materials.
1. Utilise Protective Wear
There are a number of dangers when using a scroll saw. Most significant are the risks to your hands, of your hair or clothing becoming caught in the blade and of dust and other debris flying into your eyes.
We always recommend using protective goggles, protective gloves and tying up your hair and clothing so that there’s nothing loose that may get caught in the saw.
2. Secure your scroll saw
Not all machines need to be secured to your workbench, but it usually helps if they are for safety reasons. Bolting your saw down will also reduce vibrations that can cause inaccuracies with your saw-work.
3. Choose the right blade for your project
Hopefully you have blades of varying thicknesses for use with your scroll saw. Generally, the following rules apply:
- The thinner the material, the thinner the blade you’ll need to use
- The thicker the material, the thicker the blade you’ll need to use
Ideally, the thinner the blade you can use, the better. This is because thin blades cut through timber slower, allowing for more control and intricate work.
As a rule of thumb, where blades are numbered, you’ll usually find that the lower the number, the thinner the blade.
Remember that cutting more than one piece of wood in a stack will require a thicker blade. When fitting, make sure to square the blade to the table using a simple carpenter’s square.
You will need to set the tension of the blade once fitted, in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. Most machines will have blade tensioning knob that should be in a fairly accessible location on the unit. You will need to continually tighten the tension for just about every cut, so it’s important that you learn how to work well with this.
4. Turn the machine on
Plug the saw into an electrical socket and turn on. If your saw includes a lamp or light source, make sure this is positioned appropriately. It’s important to fully light-up your work area so visibility is maximised – especially important given the sharpness of the tool you’re working with.
5. Test the machine using a piece of scrap material
Use a piece of scrap wood, metal or plastic (depending on the materials used in your project) to test the machine. This can help to ensure that you have the right blade size and tension before getting started.
If you have a variable speed machine, for a thin material you’ll need to set the blade speed at a lower level for maximum accuracy. Thicker material will need a faster speed to be effective. Softwoods will also need to operate at quicker speeds.
6. Begin cutting your design
Using the saw blade, direct the blade towards the first line you’re cutting. Use both hands to control the saw, moving along the marked lines on the wood, being careful not to move your hands too close to the blade.
Make sure you take your time and don’t rush – especially if you’re a beginner. Setting the blade at slow speeds and working slowly is the best way to learn the ropes in a safe manner.
You should look to press the board down firmly with one hand and use the other to do the turning. If you’re struggling to keep to the line, just reduce the speed of the blade and take your time.
7. Add any finishing touches
Use sandpaper to smooth any rough edges and use oil or lacquer to add a protective coating to your piece.
Remember that it takes a long time to master the scroll saw – don’t be discouraged if you’re not an expert at woodworking straight off the bat!