What are the differences between Rikon’s 10-inch bandsaws? Should you get the 10-305 or 10-306? Find out in this article
Rikon makes two 10-inch bandsaws, and at first glance they look identical. Why then is one about 50% more expensive than the other?
To find this out, I’ve compared both saws side by side. In short, the 10-306 has a better build quality and more features. Keep on reading for the details.
Tip: You can compare all the detailed specs side by side in our comparison tool.
The 10-306 has a clever guide system. The guides are spring-loaded and have plastic knobs on the them. To put them in the correct position, all you have to do is pinch them together and secure the knobs. This goes for both the side and thrust bearings of the guides.
In contrast, on the 10-305 you have to use Allen keys to unlock and secure the position of the guides, which is much more cumbersome. But once secured in the right place it shouldn’t really make any difference on cut quality.
Conclusion: The 10-306’s guides system is clearly superior in terms of convenience, and makes changing blades much easier.
The major downside of the 10-305 is that the fence is quite shoddy. It’s a light duty fence and secured with a simple lever that doesn’t always hold it tight. It is prone to moving if you put a lot of pressure against it.
On the 10-306, the fence is much better. It is heavier duty, locks tight very well and can be put in both a high and low position, which isn’t possible on the 10-305. This can help with cutting very tall or thin pieces of stock.
Conclusion: The fence on the 10-306 is a clear upgrade from the 10-305.
If you already own the 10-305 but would like to upgrade the fence, that is definitely possible. There are some really good aftermarket bandsaw fences out there, like the blue one made by Kreg.
The 10-306 uses heavier, higher quality materials for some parts compared to the 10-305. One of these is the blade tensioning system. It is much heavier duty, and the spring is stronger too. This allows you to put more precise tension on the blade and will maintain the correct tension for longer.
This means you don’t lose tension on the blade after a few cuts, as can happen on bandsaws with weak tension springs, and maintain the same high quality cuts for a long period.
The wheels on the 10-306 are also more substantial and heavier. This also helps to maintain a consistent cut quality and reduces chances of binding.
Another great feature found on the 10-306 and not on the 10-305 is the quick release lever for the blade tension. This makes it much easier and faster to swap blades. And it’s convenient to remove tension when you’re done working ont he machine, which can prolong the lifespan of your blades.
But it is also 50% more expensive. Is it worth the cost? I would say yes, because the 10-305 has quite a few limitations that can start to annoy you in the long run. No one wants to work with a shoddy fence or spend copious amounts of time setting up guides correctly.
With the 10-306 you get a well-rounded machine with useful features and a good build quality, and it still isn’t very expensive. Those upgrades are very much worth it in my eyes.
Tip: If you’d like to see the differences more visually, check this video by Ethan from Stockroom Supply.
If the 10-305 and 10-306 product names weren’t confusing enough, Rikon has recently released the 10-3061, which is also a 10″ bandsaw. It is exactly the same as the 10-306 but with a few minor upgrades, and will actually replace the 10-306.
Compared to the 10-306, the 10-3061 has sturdier door hinges, an improved dust port, and a slightly better fence which is supposed to slide better.
Rikon has even removed the 10-306 entirely from their website, suggesting they will only sell the 10-3061 moving forward. You may still be able to buy the 10-306 at some websites though, and although the 10-3061 has a few nice upgrades, I wouldn’t say it’s a major difference and either one would be just as good.
If you’re reading this article and you’re living in the EU, you might be interested to know that these two saws are also sold in Europe.
Record Power sells the BS250 and Sabre 250, which are 100% the same as the Rikon 10″ saws, just a different colo
© Machine Atlas 2021