Ok... I have had a couple chop saws over the years. My first one was an HF one. It worked great for years even though I had bought it thinking I was only going to use it for one job. It still works, but the brushes are about toast. If I could find which tool box I tossed the spare brushes in it would be a great spare. In the mean time I purchased a Ridgid one. Mostly because I had such great luck with their table saw. Awesome power and consistent settings. (what does a table saw have to do with metal working? I use it to cut and shape aluminum) Anyway, when I went shopping for a (wood cutting) band saw I bought Ridgid. It worked great and I used it for all the detail cuts when I did the hardwood floors in our house, and for tons of projects since.
Oops. Starting to sound like a Ridgid commercial. Didn't mean to. Anyway, I have found I get pretty decent cuts in rolled steel tube, square, angle, and even with my Ridgid chop saw using fiber reinforced 14" cut off discs. They last long enough that I can actually finish a project or two without replacing them. However as all people do I have begun to wonder if a band saw might do a better job for some things. I don't think I would use my vertical band saw for this, but rather invest in one designed to work in place of a chop saw. I have heard lots of folks say it's the way to go for cutting steel, but my own personal experience tends to make me wonder. I've only watched folks cut steel with a band saw a couple times, and its been a long time ago, but on bigger pieces it seemed to me that it tended to walk off to one side and make an angled cut instead of cutting straight through. What am I missing? Is it worth it? The base models from the import stores seems to cost the same as a good quality name brand chop saw and go up from there.
I want straight cuts, and I would like to not have to spend as much time doing clean up on the cuts. I'm also considering a tounrey blade in a miter saw for some things, but I am concerned about the listed RPM ranges.
Bob La Londe