Ridgid BS1400 Band Saw Review – My Honest Take
This post may contain affiliate links. You can view the affiliate disclosure here.
When trying to judge a good band saw, as with any other tool, it’s important to realize that there is no such thing as perfection. People are used to different things and have different needs that make some models work better for them than they would for others.
During my preparation for this Ridgid BS1400 Band Saw review, I expected that at least some things wouldn’t work to specification, and also that some oiling and pampering would be needed for larger pieces of wood. After all that preparation, I was still underwhelmed.
Here are my thoughts…
While the machine looks good on paper and while the price that I got it for was reasonable for a 14-inch tool, the problem with this band saw is that it is just not finished.
Everything on it is just a bit out of sync. The blade is a bit off, the motor is a bit off, the belt is strangely tense – every single part is slightly mismatched with the other, making the end result, while nice on the eyes, bad in every other regard.
There are obvious safety precautions one must take (1) when handling a band saw; thankfully, I upheld all the preventative measures when testing and had no accidents.
Having said that, it’s a good tell when the manufacturer doesn’t cite the quality of the saw itself and the type of metal it uses. Mild steel is expected with some chopping saws, but carbide steel became the standard in band saws many years ago, and nowadays it’s pretty much expected with a professional saw. In the case of the BS1400, the steel is very sub-standard, with such a degree of impurity that it’s almost impossible to weld.
And I didn’t even need to weld it: the saw snapped in two on only medium tests, after vibrating heavily on even the simplest plywood.
While the BS1400 comes with all the safety features you would expect from a modern band saw, the finish is so poor that it presents a whole new set of problems in addition to the usual ones.
The belt is obviously the wrong type, and it requires an immediate change to a fan belt.
This is not a problem when you’re assembling your tool yourself, but when you are ordering something as a finished product, you are expecting a finished product and not something that will need third-party parts and an engineer to work properly.
The BS1400 features a 3/4 HP TEFC induction motor which is not weak by any stretch, but it needed a new saw and a new belt with some serious alignment so as not to suffer under the stress of cutting a 6-inch piece.
After these corrections were made, the motor did pull its full strength while still being very loud on occasion.
If you are using the original parts, the motor, belt and saw would need almost constant maintenance; you would need to align everything after every use and use considerable amounts of oil.
If you replace the model with proper components, normal maintenance should be sufficient. To avoid having to lug around all 200 pounds of the machine, I advise keeping it in a location where it’s always dry.
The price wouldn’t be so unreasonable if replacing parts wasn’t a necessity. If you can get it for dirt cheap and you have the technical skills to make all the necessary changes, the BS1400 may be a decent option for you.
In all other cases, you should choose something from the same price range like the Grizzly G0555. The G0555 has been proven to have a definite edge over the BS1400, not to mention the fact that you don’t have to worry about tinkering and changing out ineffective parts.
Ah, customer support… this warrants a post of its own. While I have found the staff from Ridgid to be quite nice, I couldn’t get the information I needed regarding the parts I needed to change, which are under warranty.
After looking at other reviews online, I realized that this is not uncommon. Customer support is not unresponsive; they’re just unable to assist you with the fact that their product needs to be more or less rebuilt.
While on paper the Ridgid BS1400 seems like a solid band saw for a reasonable price, in the end what you get is an unfinished product.
Now, if you’re a person who has already planned a project where you’ll change all the parts and give it your own personal touch, this might be a good way to get a solid motor and a very heavy frame.
In the case that you need a good band saw and you need it the moment it arrives in full working condition, you’d best look at other options like the Grizzly G0555 or maybe even the smaller Studio Pro Precision 2000 if you don’t plan on using 14 inches.
I think the Grizzly G0555 is a really fantastic choice, as it not only comes with all the features of the BS1400, but the parts are in sync, it boasts a stronger motor and a plethora of features that more than make up for the $70 in price difference.
While with the Ridgid I had troubles from the get-go, the Grizzly has adjustable ball bearings on the saw that make even the slightest corrections fast and easy. If I were to choose between the two under normal circumstances, the choice would be obvious.
Get the Grizzly G0555 Bandsaw at a great price HERE.
All in all, unless you’re prepared to reassemble the Rigdid BS1400 practically from scratch, the machine probably isn’t for you. I’m hoping this review will save unsuspecting readers who are thinking of getting this band saw a lot of grief, wasted time and wasted money.
Thanks for reading this review. Feel free to share this page using the buttons below. If you had a different experience with this band saw than I did, let me know in the comments or by contacting me.
I used this saw myself years ago and I can verify a lot of what you say here. Many of the stock parts, including the blade, are pretty much useless. It lacks power and the engineering is poor. You can tune it for a couple hundred bucks, but you might as well just get a better saw. One thing that stood out to me in particular was how much the (non-coplanar) wheels were out of balance. Definitely not worth getting, but the model has been discontinued anyway. I’ve heard great things about the G0555, but I ended up getting this model quite a while back and I’m very happy with it. Thanks for the review Scott.
Thanks for your comment. Yep, you’re right. Most of the parts simply aren’t usable, and the fact that the wheels are out of balance is shocking considering it’s supposed to be a staple on any decent saw. It’s made in China. I was extremely disappointed with it. There are plenty of excellent alternatives that deliver real performance, so I would just pretend this model never existed.
haven’t heard of this model but I’ll be sure to stay away from it. thanks.
You’re welcome Jack. Thanks for checking out the review!
Nice review of the BS1400. Very useful info. I haven’t used it myself, but a friend of mine has, and he didn’t have a good experience with it. It’s an old model anyhow, but if it was a new release, I would definitely be staying away from it. Thanks and good luck.
I got this same saw from a friend that was moving away. I paid $150.00 for it and promptly used it for cutting birds mouths in some 2X6’s for a small roof I was building on a pump house. I wasn’t after perfection so it worked well with the blade my friend had installed. I haven’t used it since. Looks like if I plant I’ll have some tuning up to do. Thanks for laying out what I’ll have to look a closer.