Rikon Bandsaw Comparison: What The Real Users Are Saying!

In this review we are taking a look at three Rikon bandsaws types that are typically seen in workshops all over the United States.  We going to compare and contrast the size and features so you can decide which Rikon Bandsaw works for you.

Know what you want to see, then click on the contents list item below.

Rikon 10-305 (10 Inch)

This may be the smallest member of this brotherhood of bandsaws, but don’t be make any presumptions.  Make no mistake, this really is a great table top bandsaw.  Get optimal height when placed on a bench top, so you are right up close and personal with your project.

10-305_big5 (Table)

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Particularly helpful for the more intricate work and you can pack it up and put it away when you’re not using it, so really useful if you have a small workshop.  This is a woodcutting saw, so if you’re wanting to cut metal, then this saw is not the right choice.

Assembly & Initial Setup

The saw comes well packaged in a form fitting Styrofoam case within a cardboard box. It weighs in at about 60 pounds, so you’re able to put this together on your own.  It comes partly assembled and the manual takes you through the process.  As is normal, the table comes greased up in order to prevent rusting.  This is normally easily removed with any decent household degreaser, but always apply a paste or oil, as it will rust if left untreated.

It doesn’t come with a stand, so if you want one, then you’ll need to purchase that separately.  In the most part however, this particular model is categorised as a bench top bandsaw and it is recommended that you bolt down to the table top.

Once you have attached the table, you’ll finally need to connect the guiderails and fence.  Take care to make sure your table is square on to your blade, which can be readily achieved and again the manual is really useful in explaining how.  Additionally, in these modern days of the internet, there are a host of really helpful videos that you can view which provide real practical advice on how to tune and set up your bandsaw.

 Best practice is to re-set your saw every time you change the blade

Like pretty much every bandsaw, spending some time getting it well aligned and adjusted will be time well spent and definitely worth the effort, although the process is certainly a whole lot less intensive compared to larger models.  It’s not difficult to change the band saw blade either.  Loosen the knob on top to give slack on the blade, pull the existing blade off the upper and lower wheels, hold the blade against the square tubing and slide it out of the channel.  Reverse the operation to put the new blade on.  Best practice is to re-set your saw every time you change the blade.

Making Cuts

The table tilts to a impressive 45 degrees with easily adjusted setting for making those angled cuts.  This bench top Rikon bandsaw comes with a 4 and 5/8th inch resaw capacity, although you need to take care about the type of wood you are passing through and speed of feed.  This machine comes with 1/3 (one-third) horsepower, so you’re going to be pushing this little fella very hard if you want to resaw 4 inch hardwoods.  Do keep in mind that for whatever tool you buy, buy a tool that is capable of performing the job you want to do without overworking the machine for that particular task.

….right at the top of the range for a 10″ bench top bandsaw….

Like any power tool, you just need to take care not to overburden the saw, feeding in your work at an appropriate pace will ensure you get quality and precise cuts.  As long as you feed the stock properly the saw cuts fine. You shouldn’t force wood into any saw or equipment faster than the wood wants to be cut.  Don’t expect full size production from this small bandsaw. You get what you pay for and this is right at the top of the range for a 10″ bench top bandsaw.

Consider this!  Even if you already have a bandsaw in your shop, then this may still be right for you!!

If the nature of your work means switching between the intricate to the more straightforward sawing or resawing, then perhaps it may be worth considering purchasing this smaller fella as an additional member of the family.

Bolted onto your bench, at a really helpful height, it comes into its own when you want the precision curve cuts.  Just imagine the time you are saving not having to continuously switch out your blades and re-tuning, leaving your larger bandsaw for the heavier work

So what are the real users saying?

The Pros

  1. Comes with a ¼ inch blade, however like many stock blades it just might not cut it for you (if you pardon the pun)
  2. The saw runs very smoothly and has no significant vibration or noise.
  3. A heavy and sturdy construction with a compact footprint, this saw actually operates quietly
  4. Tracking and adjusting is straightforward as long as you follow the instructions
  5. Should you be unfortunate enough to run into any difficulty then the Rikon customer support have received excellent reviews

The Cons

  1. There have been reports that the upper blade guide twists out of square when the locking wingnut is tightened, which can be resolved so long as you know your way around this bandsaw
  2. Some reports of a slight lack of precision on the table in that doesn’t run square to the blade
  3. Stand and mitre are not included
  4. A little more expensive when compared to its other 10 inch rivals, however its build quality is what sets it apart

Rikon 10-325 (14 Inch)

You are really making a significant addition to your workshop should you ultimately choose to purchase this exception bandsaw.  With a huge resaw capacity at 13 inches, it leaves most of its competitors in its wake.

10-325_big5 (Table)

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A large sized table, together with heavy cast iron wheels (that prevent vibration) this 14 Inch bandsaw is hugely versatile, and is able to deal with the intricate curve cuts, as well as your more challenging sawing requirements.

Assembly & Initial Setup

This Rikon bandsaw is a large and very heavy unit coming in at a fighting weight of around 260 pounds, so you’re going to need some help if you want to put this together safely.  You’ll also need to set aside pretty much half your day to get this big fella up and running in good order.  First of all, you will need to assemble the stand upon which the saw sits; this is quite simple to put together with simple nuts and bolts

Getting the bandsaw onto the stand is DEFINITELY a two-person job

Rikon do provide you with a standard wrench, but it is recommended that you get yourself a ratchet wrench to speed the whole process up.  Once you have removed all of the grease, it is strongly suggested that you apply an anti-corrosion protection, such as a paste-wax.  You will need to attached the fence bar, seat and the fence itself, before finally installing the tool holder at the back.

Again, ensuring that the blade is square on (i.e. 90 degrees) to the blade, against both edges of your blade.  Setting the tension of your blade is made easy by a viewing window in the upper wheel housing.  You also want to make sure your blade is tracking is also straightforward by manually spinning the wheel and adjusting whilst looking through the side on viewing window.  Blade guide bearings should also be adjusted so you are getting accurate cuts with your saw

Bottom line is that there is a fair amount of setting up and adjustments that you will need to perform before you can start using this bandsaw to good effect.  However, this investment of time is well worth the effort and your reward will be immaculate, pristine cutting

Making Cuts

The 14-inch Rikon Bandsaw really is the workhorse of your typical workshop.  Its value is in its versatility, having the finesse to deal with your curved and intricate work, as well as the power to cope with the heavy load resawing.  It comes wired to work at 110 volts but can be switched over to 220 volts for household power; just make sure you know what you are doing, or get someone who does.  If you are wondering whether you should change the voltage of your motor, then click here to understand the benefits.

Its value is in its versatility…..

The motor punches a good 1 ½ horsepower and can run at two speeds, from 1500 to 3000 feet for per minute.  Changing the speed can be changed by adjusting your pulleys in the lower wheel housing where the motor is attached.  Higher speed is used predominantly for woodcutting, whilst the lower speed is for metal cutting

The table top that tilts 10 degrees to the left and 45 degrees to the right.  It has over 13 inches of resaw capacity which is massive when compared to its rivals

So what are the real users saying?

The Pros

  1. Solidly made, with a big cast iron table and cast iron wheels, with tilt adjustment for the top wheel making tracking the blade easy
  2. Is able to resaw 13-inch hardwood, but only with the right RESAW blade and having set it correctly; the stock blade is simply not good enough for the toughest jobs
  3. The provided fence is adequate and will do just fine for guiding cuts, however for resawing then may need to build or buy a higher fence to support the stock

The Cons

  1. User manual and assembly instructions could be better, although with so much resources on YouTube and the like, you will never be alone
  2. While nothing is very complicated, it is time consuming if you want to do it properly and a machine of this quality warrants the attention
  3. This is a real heavy machine, so if you have a small workshop and need to switch things around all the while, then this will give you a workout.  To make things easier, you can opt to buy the mobile base separately
  4. The light positioning could be better and sometime serves to cast a shadow on your; some users have also mentioned that the arm is not strong enough to hold the light in position

 

Rikon 10-345 (18 Inch)

Moving onto the 18-inch Rikon  bandsaw and you are really stepping up on the dimensions when compared to its 14-inch cousin.  A large resaw capacity, paired with a much larger motor and table, means you are able to deal with the larger work pieces more easily and really cut down on your cutting time.  If you’d like to understand the physics of resawing and how to ensure that you approach resawing in the most effective manner, then this excellent video is certainly worth a view.

Quite simply, this is one big, BIG saw!

There is very little that this beast is unable to content with!  As you would expect, the process of assembling the Rikon 10-345 is very similar to the 14-inch equivalent, but we’ll summarise the main aspects here.   Did I mention how BIG this saw is?

Assembly & Initial Setup

Comes in a single box, stands at over 6 feet tall, 3 feet wide and 2 feet deep; it weighs in at a very, VERY hefty 400 pounds.  Mr Universe is going to struggle with this beast on his own, so make sure you have help before you start assembly, as you don’t want to start out by hurting yourself.

Like its 14-inch cousin, there is no particular rocket science to putting this Rikon bandsaw together, and as long as you don’t rush it or cut corners, then you should be able to set it up just fine.  One of the first things you’ll need to do is stand the machine up and it comes with a hoist ring to help with that process.  The table, which measures in at 21 x 19 inches, is attached to the upper trunnion with 4 bolts and washers.  Before attaching the table, you will need to remove the protective anti-corrosion grease which can be achieved with any household degreaser.  Remember to reapply a product to protect that table top such as a wax.

10-345_big8 (Table)

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Really important to install the levelling screw, which keeps the two halves of the table in the same plain; the table is in two halves to allow for installing or removing the blade.  The fence rails are pretty easily installed, and the fence simply slides on and locks in place.

Now that your saw is fully assembled you’ll need to make some adjustments so you’re making accurate cuts from the get go. Ensuring that the blade is square on (i.e. 90 degrees) to the blade, against both edges of your blade really is critical.  Setting the tension of your blade as well as tracking is made easy by the viewing windows provided

The upper and lower bearings that need to be adjusted close to your blade in order to maintain your accuracy through the cut.  Remember, bearings should be close to touching, but definitely NOT touching the blades.

Making Cuts

Everything is bigger, including the mass of the wheels, so it able to deal with larger work pieces.  The 18-inch Rikon bandsaw is probably more suited to the professional with a large workshop.  What sets it apart from its 14-inch is its power to cut through the most challenging of jobs with relative ease.

What sets it apart is its power

It comes wired to work at 220 volts and the motor kicks out an impressive 2 ½ horsepower and can run at two speeds, from 1510 to 3220 feet for per minute.  Changing the speed can be changed by adjusting your pulleys in the lower wheel housing where the motor is attached.  Higher speed is used predominantly for woodcutting, whilst the lower speed is for metal cutting.

Table top that tils 45 degrees to the right and 10 degrees to the left.  This model comes with 12 inches of resaw capacity which likely more than adequate for the vast majority of jobs.

So what are the real users saying?

The Pros

  1. Changing blades takes about 10 to 15 minutes
  2. Unlike some competitors, the motor speed can be adjusted without need for a wrench
  3. Very responsive customer service department, who bend over backwards to try to help you
  4. A powerful motor together with quality cast iron components means that this saw can tackle pretty much any resawing job, up to 12 inches, even hardwood
  5. Massive cast iron wheels prevent vibration in your cut
  6. You’re not waking up the neighbourhood with this surprisingly quite bandsaw

The Cons

  1. Mitre gauge is an optional add-on, but not overly expensive
  2. The stock blade that comes with it is sub-standard and your need to get yourself a decent one in order to see the real benefits of this saw.  Most users opt to upgrade to a Timberwolf bandsaw blade.
  3. Unlike its 14-inch, this saw comes wired for 220 volt usage, however without the 110 option

Features and Specification Comparison

Spec Table

So, what is our recommendation?

The Rikon 10-345

As you have come to see in this review, you can’t automatically assume that the bigger you go, the more a saw can do.  For example, whilst the bigger Rikon 10-345 can resaw with a capacity of 12 inches, its smaller 14-inch cousin is able to surpass this with 13 inches.  That said, the 18-Inch does have a far greater width capacity and comes with far more powerful motor.

So, if your work entails lots of sawing and resawing, then you will not go wrong with the Rikon 10-345.  With oodles of power, weight and balance, you’ll simply be spending less time pushing work through.

The Rikon 10-325

The versatility of the Rikon 10-325 14 Inch bandsaw is what sets apart in this trio.  It may not have the power of the 18-inch, but its more than capable of handling large items of work.  It is also more than capable of dealing with curved cuts through a smaller blade, just as well as its little 10-inch brother.

Sure, there are 14-inch bandsaws out there that may be more powerful and have a few extra features, but will probably be three time the price.  Simply put, this is probably the best value for money bandsaw on the market

The Rikon 10-305

The smaller of the trio, the Rikon 10-305 must not be dismissed as an option and it definitely has its place in the workshop, for the professional or the hobbyist.

Put it away when you are not using it, Its comparatively lightweight compared to other two, but is a heavyweight compared to its peers.

A luxury it may seem to have to bandsaws, but its relatively low price might just mean it may be far more affordable than you think.

 

Summing it up……

Bottom line is that you’re always going to have to weight things up and decide what is best for you based on your particular needs, what kind of woodworking projects your’re planning to undertake, plus what you are able to afford.  What you can have confidence in is the fact that Rikon create high quality and long lasting products, and for not too high a price.  Quite modest in fact when compared to many of their competitors.

Rikon create high quality and long lasting products, and for not too high a price!!

Sure, a small few users may encounter one or two minor issues when first getting the saw.  However, many of he issues faced by customers probably owe to spending insufficient time setting it up right in the first place.  But, I guess we are all sometimes guilty of getting too excitable in anticipation of the thrill to just get going!

You also need to know that Rikon pride themselves on their products, value your custom and are always there to help.  We have analysed hundreds of reviews and the provision of great customer service is a really strong theme throughout.

We really hope that you found this review useful and that it has helped to inform you make a better decision.  Drop us a line in the comments box below if you have any questions or think that we have missed anything.

All that leaves us to say is, good luck on your POWER TOOL QUEST!!

 

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