Both table saws and track saws are common tools used in woodworking projects. They will create the same cuts but the operation of each is different. Choosing between a table saw vs track saw is quite a challenge. Today, let’s define their differences and decide which one is suitable for you.
Table of Contents
- General information
- Differences between a table saw and a track saw
- The table saw: Pros and Cons
- The track saw: Pros and Cons
- Which one should I choose, a table saw or a track saw?
- Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is a table saw?
A table saw, aka a bench saw or a sawbench is a woodworking tool.
It consists of a rotary saw blade and a table or bench. The sawblade is secured under the table with the cutting edge protruding above the surface. A table saw needs electricity to operate.
A table saw is an effective tool to make accurate and clean cuts for durable or sturdy materials.
2. What is a track saw?
A track saw, also called a plunge saw, is a kind of handheld circular saw. When using, the circular saw will slide on a rail to cut. A track saw has a fixed guard and an exposed blade. So, you can plunge this saw at anywhere of the material to cut.
Because a track saw is versatile, you can use it in many different projects. It is useful in mitering, making straight or plunge cuts, and making splinter-free edges.
Differences between a table saw and a track saw
A table saw is quite voluminous, so it needs a large space for storage. A track saw is compact and takes up very little space in your working area.
2. Cuts made
A track saw can produce long rip and crosscuts in heavy and large sheet goods. Meanwhile, the strength of the table saw is making accurate and clean cuts.
A table saw is not good at making cuts in large sheet goods. A track saw can’t produce repetitive cuts as a table saw.
3. Cutting manner
When you work with a table saw, you bring the material to the saw to cut. A track saw is portable, so you can carry it to the material and place it on the material to cut.
When cutting by a table saw, you will move the workpiece against the blade at a fixed point. If you use a track saw, you will move the saw across the material along the track rail.
4. Motor used
A table saw has a high-speed motor mounted under the table. A track saw also has a motor, but this motor is less powerful than the motor of a table saw.
The table saw: Pros and Cons
- High accuracy: You can make precise and clean cuts of wood at any length with a table saw. Its permanent structure allows you to do your projects with most materials quickly.
- Versatility: You can attach a rip fence or a miter gauge to a table saw. This will help you produce accurate pieces easier.
- Easy to use: A table saw is very easy to use because it operates in one cutting direction. You can easily predict the cut and do more exactly.
- Dust collection: In some models of table saw, there is a built-in dust collection system. This will make your working space neat and clean. But the table saw with this feature may be more expensive than others.
- Low portability: Table saws are rather bulky, except for portable table saws. So, if you want to use a table saw, you will have to work off-site. This can cause some difficulties if you work alone.
- Less safety: Using a table saw is more dangerous than using a track saw. You can get injured by the exposed saw blade of the table saw. So, remember to keep your hand out of the surface when cutting with a table saw.
- Not novice-friendly: For those who work with a table saw for the first time, it may be a bit struggle.
Putting the materials into the saw requires proper support and the right pressure. Otherwise, the wood pieces can fly away from the blade at high speed. This can cause injuries or damages to your walls or windows.
The track saw: Pros and Cons
- High portability: A track saw has small in size and lightweight, so it is easy to carry along with you. You can bring a track saw to anywhere to cut the materials.
- Dust collection: Most track saws come with a dust collection system, so your working space will be clean.
- No clamp needed: On the bottom of the track there are non-slip rubber strips. These strips will secure the track on the boards, so you don’t need any clamp.
- Less cut variety: A track saw mainly produces long rip cuts and crosscuts. It doesn’t work well with other cuts, especially repetitive cuts.
- Time-consuming setup: To have accurate cuts, you’ll have to secure boards to the cutting surface. This takes you rather long for measuring and bolting.
- Less powerful: The motor of a track saw is less powerful than that of a table saw. So, it is rather difficult to use a track saw to cut thick and hardwood.
Which one should I choose, a table saw or a track saw?
A track saw is an ideal tool if you work with wide boards. It can produce perfect long rips or crosscuts.
Using a track saw is also safe and effective when you work alone. It also helps you to make precise angle cuts on wide sheet goods. Besides, the blade of a track saw has a guard, so you are less likely to get injuries with it.
If you are looking for a powerful and accurate cutting machine, a table saw will be a good choice. It works well with precise, clean, and repetitive cuts.
A table saw will take much room for storage, but it is not a problem when you work in a fixed place. For cutting thick and hard boards, a table saw will be more suitable.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can a track saw replace your table saw?
You can’t use a track saw to do all the woodwork. But it can replace the table saw in many cutting cases.
If your materials are not too sturdy and you work alone, a track saw can help. In the case of heavy-duty works, using a table saw is better.
2. Should I get a table saw or a track saw for my woodshop?
It depends on your shop. If your shop has a large floor, go for a table saw. It is useful for many woodworking projects. You can consider a cabinet table saw, especially when you usually work with heavy and large materials.
With small shops, a track saw can save valuable spaces. It also works well with DIY projects when you have limit supports.
3. How can I make the most of a table saw?
To use a table saw most effectively, you should work with other people. Having supports in handling materials will produce accurate cuts and prevent the risk of getting injuries.
In case that there is no helper, you can use extendable roller stands. They will extend the reach of your saw’s table, which makes it easier to handle large boards. Besides, you should secure the table saw to avoid vibration when cutting.
So, we have provided the full information about table saws and track saws. Hopefully, you can decide which one is more suitable for you.
Reference Source: Table Saw vs Track Saw vs Circular Saw! Which Should You Buy?