In the power tool world, it doesn't get much better than Hilti. Understand, it is often because the tools are associated with professionals, rather than homeowners or DIY'ers. More often that not though, a Hilti tool is affordable enough for someone who isn't a pro, and the Hilti SB 4-A22 Compact Bandsaw is a shining example. Assuming you have a use case for this scaled down beast, it'll last you forever and get the job done without a hitch.
When the name Hilti is mentioned, it is unanimously associated with quality. It's worth noting, that reviewing the compact bandsaw is indeed my first foray with Hilti personally. Granted, I have handled their tools over the years, but never had the pleasure of one living in my garage. Over time, it bothered me not having one, just to know if the quality was really all it was cracked up to be. As someone who owns tools for purpose rather than a collection, I waited until I actually needed something to dive into the Hilti brand.
This is exactly where the Hilti SB 4-A22 Compact Bandsaw comes into play. Sure, I have other metal cutting instruments, but not a bandsaw. And since my metalworking is typically small scale fabrication, there is no point in owning a beefy bandsaw that will end up needing a stand or mount anyway. For most, the answer to this void is answered the same – through a compact bandsaw that weighs very little, but can get the job done for small and medium rated fabrication.
Hilti 22 volt Compact Bandsaw Review Overview
Coming in at around 7.7lb (bare tool), and an overall length of 13.in the SB 4-A22 Compact Bandsaw is deceptively powerful and quiet. After charging up 2 of Hilti's 22 volt 3.0Ah batteries, I couldn't help but gawk at the overall quality of the tool, even before exploring the inner build quality. I guess this is why Hilti has such a great reputation among its peers.
As a compact bandsaw, you are a bit limited with your workpiece size, but it is worth mentioning that the Hilti has about 2.5″ of cutting height. This will allow ample real estate for most jobs that you're taking a smaller bandsaw with you for. The .5″ blades come in 10, 14 and 18TPI, giving a little bit of variety for your cutting needs.
Though the motor's RPM isn't advertised, it is single speed and gets the job done easily on all different types of pipe, especially 1 and 2 EMT, as well as other stainless channels, and unistrut. For the right application, this bandsaw is an absolute beast, especially paired with the 3.0Ah batteries. I cut some steel tubing, and flat hot-rolled pieces to see how it stood up. Granted, this is pretty heavy gauge – but it handled it with ease
Hilti 22 volt Compact Bandsaw Review Features
The safe Trigger mechanism requires a short slide of a safety switch before the trigger can be engaged. This is especially nice for working overhead or in tight spaces where an inadvertent trigger press is more likely.
The typical thermoplastic elastomer grip is prominent on the grip, providing ample room for paws of all sizes.
Speaking of ergonomics, there is a removable handle for better control of the tool. If you don't have a firm grip, the bandsaw can certainly run away from you!
The general build quality is fantastic. Right off the bat, I noticed the aluminum die-cast body, complemented by other sections made of 30% glass fiber reinforced plastic.
The polybutylene wheels are a strong polymer material that will be able to withstand all of the elements while holding the blade in place.
Brownie points on Hilti for using robust Torx fasteners that won't cam out on the entire tool, but especially on the blade guards!
The robust blade guides are nicely accessible for adjustments, a nice improvement on some other systems in the same class.
I especially enjoyed the included (but optional) skyhook. When I'm using this around the shop, it's nice to be able to hang it instead of throwing it around, preventing any snag on the blade. I can imagine this would be much the same in the field!
Making the blade changes easier, a keyless blade change feature is present.
After the keyless change lever is turned 180 degrees, the blade guards can be removed for the blade. After this, the lever easily tightens the blade and you're all set!
Hilti 22 volt Compact Bandsaw Review Performance
Being the nonconformist and risk taker than I am, rather than cut some basic stainless, I decided to put the Hilti through some more rigorous testing. I decided to cut (a fair amount) of hot rolled steel tubing, as well as some 3/16in flat hot rolled steel. Overall, the Hilti ate through it without a problem. I had plenty of jagged edges from grinders to get rid of before storing and sliced through all of it with ease.
In terms of stainless and plastic pipe, it was much the same. The Hilti simply does what it's told, with no bells, whistles, or over the top styling. It's a tool, a tough tool. It'll do the job, and get put away when it's finished (with plenty of battery life left!). As someone who pretty much works out of their garage, the Hilti won't get beat up like it would at the job site, but with most of what I do, it'll encounter some unique situations, and I can't wait to see how it's doing a year from now.
Hilti 22 volt Compact Bandsaw Review Value
Coming in at around $200 retail, the Hilti is a bit higher in price than its in-class peers. The delta is, it excels in quality and generally expected longevity. If you take home a Hilti, it's going to be around for a very long time. Taking the above features above into account, and the robust build, the Hilti is a generally good value for someone with a use case for the tool, that'll end up putting it through its paces. This is certainly not the homeowner or maker's bandsaw.
With that being said, if you already have a few Hilti 22 volt batteries laying around, this is an even more fantastic addition to your Hilti lineup. Of course, if you don't, it's worth dipping into the Hilti lineage. Hilti makes a great fleet of cordless tools that prove priceless time and time again.
Hilti 22 volt Compact Bandsaw Review Final Thoughts
I simply can't wait to take a look at this tool again a year from now and share my thoughts. My first impression as a new Hilti owner is that corners aren't cut like some more mainstream hardware store brands. The pro-quality shines with the Hilti, right down to the fasteners and materials used. If the use case is strong enough, it'll pay dividends down the road to own a tool like this. In the meantime, I'll keep burning through blades while I cut through material like butter. I can't recommend the Hilti SB 4-A22 Compact Bandsaw enough for pros and hardcore weekend warriors.