Can A Track Saw Replace A Table Saw? A clear Answer

Ever found yourself caught in the quandary of choosing between a track saw and a table saw for your woodworking endeavors? Trust me, you’re not alone! There’s an intriguing point to digest – depending on your task at hand and space constraints, it often happens that a track saw can seamlessly step into the shoes of a table saw.

In this enlightening piece, we will dissect these two pivotal tools; shedding light on their pros, cons and situations where one might triumph over the other. Buckle up to unravel which tool could be your workshop’s crowning glory!

But before we dive into this content, I’m sure you want to get a short answer to your question.

So, Can a track saw replace a table saw? Well, yes, a track saw can be a table saw alternative, however, there are some limitations. For example, when you use a table saw, it is easier to make smaller cuts than when you use the track saw.

Key Takeaways

  • A track saw can replace a table saw for tasks such as achieving splinter – free edges, making long angled cuts, cutting wider plywood pieces, and working with irregular edges.
  • However, there are limitations to using a plunge saw, such as difficulties with narrow rip cuts and cutting small pieces of wood.
  • Alternatives to purchasing a table saw include using a circular saw with a track guide or renting a table saw when needed. Hiring a professional for specific tasks is also an option.

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Comparing Track Saws and Table Saws

Track saws and table saws each have their own capabilities and advantages. To see more about the differences between a table saw vs track saw, you can visit my article Track Saw Vs Table Saw Which One Is Best for You? 

Capabilities of a Track Saw

Cutting plywood with the Festool TS 55 with dust extraction
The track saw I have in my workshop (Festool TS 55)

A track saw is a great tool to have. It can cut long and straight lines like a table saw. But it does more! You can also use it for plunge cuts or hard-to-reach areas that a table saw can’t get to.

Plus, you don’t need much space to work with the track saw. It is small and light so you can take it anywhere with ease, together with a foldable mft table. This makes your jobs easier if you don’t have tons of room in your shop! However, keep in mind that this tool may not be able to do some cuts as well as a table saw, such as dados (notch cuts).

Only choose a track saw if these are not tasks you often do. For inspiration, check out the review i did on my track saw in my article Festool TS 55 Track Saw Review. My Honest Thoughts.

Advantages of a Table Saw

Cutting plywood on a Makita table saw in my workshop
My Makita table saw in my workshop

A table saw is a great tool for woodwork. It can make quick and straight cuts. This type of saw helps when you need to cut larger pieces of wood. You can also use it to do rip cuts.

Rip cuts are long, straight lines down the length of a board.

With a cabinet saw, you get neat dado cuts too. Dado cuts are slots or trenches in wood that help join pieces together. Therefore, you will need specialized table saw blades. You can find more information in my article Can I Use Dado Blades on My Table Saw? Solved! The neat thing about a table saw? You can adjust the blade height! So, you have control over how deep the cut goes into your wood.

It’s also good if you need to do many cuts at once because it’s fast and efficient.

Ebook part 1 woodworking basics

When Can a Track Saw Replace a Table Saw?

A track saw can replace a table saw for tasks such as achieving splinter-free edges, making long angled cuts, cutting wider plywood pieces, and working with irregular edges.

Splinter-free edges

track saw is a great tool if you want clean, splinter-free edges. The blade of the track saw cuts into the wood at a set angle. This gives you control and precision. No more rough or chipped edges! Your cuts will always be smooth and neat, just like you want them to be.

Make your woodworking projects look even better with this tool!

Long angled cuts

For long angled cuts, a track saw can be a great alternative to a table saw. With the help of its guide rail system, you can easily make precise and clean cuts at various angles. This is especially useful when working on projects such as cutting trim or moulding.

The track saw’s ability to smoothly glide along the guide rail allows for accurate and consistent results every time. So if you need to make long angled cuts, the track saw is definitely worth considering as it offers both portability and precision.

Wider plywood cuts

When working with wider plywood cuts, a track saw can be a great alternative to a table saw. With its long guide rail and plunge-cutting ability, a track saw allows you to make precise and straight cuts on large sheets of plywood without the need for a cumbersome table.

It provides stability and accuracy, ensuring clean and smooth edges on your plywood cuts. Brands like Festool, Milwaukee, Makita, and Dewalt offer popular track saw options that are capable of handling wide plywood cuts effectively.

So if you’re looking to tackle projects that involve cutting wider pieces of plywood, consider using a track saw instead of a table saw for convenience and ease.

Cutting irregular edges

Cutting irregular edges can be a challenge, but a track saw can handle it well. With the help of a guide rail, you can make precise and clean cuts on uneven or curved surfaces. This is especially useful when working with materials like plywood or laminate that may have irregular edges.

Unlike a table saw, which requires a flat surface to cut accurately, a track saw allows you to follow the contour of the material for seamless results. Whether you’re trimming an edge or creating unique shapes, a track saw provides the flexibility needed to get the job done efficiently and precisely.

Limitations of a Track Saw

While track saws offer many benefits, it’s important to consider their limitations as well. From narrow rip cuts to difficulties with cutting small pieces, there are some tasks that a track saw may not be the best choice for.

Find out more about these limitations and explore alternative options in the full blog post.

Narrow rip cuts

For narrow rip cuts, a track saw may not be the best choice. Track saws are designed for making long, straight cuts on large pieces of material like plywood. They excel at breaking down sheets into smaller sections and cutting along the length of the board.

However, when it comes to ripping narrow strips from larger boards, a table saw is more suitable. A table saw allows you to adjust the width of the rip cut precisely and provides stability for cutting thinner pieces without compromising safety.

If you frequently need to make narrow rip cuts, it’s advisable to have a table saw in your workshop alongside your track saw.

Cutting small pieces

When it comes to cutting small pieces of wood, a track saw may not be the best option. Track saws are designed more for making long, straight cuts, rather than intricate or precise cuts on smaller pieces.

Their large guide rails can make it challenging to maneuver and control the saw when working with tiny parts. In these situations, a table saw would be more suitable as it provides a stable platform and adjustable fences that allow for accurate and safer cutting of smaller pieces.

So, if you frequently need to cut small components for your woodworking projects, having a table saw in your workshop would be beneficial.

Drawbacks of the track saw

One drawback of the track saw is that it may not be able to make narrow rip cuts as effectively as a table saw. This means that if you need to cut thin strips of wood, a track saw might not be the best tool for the job.

Additionally, when working with small pieces, it can be more challenging to control and maneuver a track saw compared to a table saw. This could potentially increase the risk of accidents or mistakes.

Finally, while track saws are versatile and portable, they do have some limitations when it comes to certain types of cuts and tasks. So it’s important to consider these drawbacks before deciding whether a track saw can fully replace your table saw in your woodworking projects.

CriteriaTrack SawTable Saw
PortabilityHighly portable and easy to transportGenerally stationary and heavy, not easy to move around
Space RequirementRequires minimal spaceRequires a larger workspace
Types of CutsLong straight cuts, plunge cuts, angled cutsQuick and straight cuts, rip cuts, dado cuts
Ease of UseEasier to set up and use, especially in constrained spacesTakes time to set up but offers more stability
VersatilityGood for cutting irregular edges, and larger plywood sheetsBest for quick, straight, and multiple cuts; specialized cuts like dados
SafetySafer for long, straight cuts especially on larger materialProvides a stable platform for cutting smaller pieces safely
Cutting Small PiecesNot ideal for cutting small piecesExcellent for small piece cuts
Narrow Rip CutsNot suitableMore suitable
Splinter-Free EdgesExcellently provides splinter-free edgesMay require additional equipment for splinter-free edges
Depth ControlLimited depth controlAdjustable blade height for depth control
CostGenerally less expensiveMore expensive, especially for advanced models
Alternative UsesCan be paired with a foldable MFT table for increased versatilityRequires specialized blades for different types of cuts
Skill LevelEasier to use for beginnersMay require more skill and experience
When to ConsiderWhen you need portability and have limited workspaceWhen you require precise, multiple cuts and have the space for it

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Alternatives to Purchasing a Table Saw

There are several alternatives to purchasing a table saw. One option is to use a circular saw with a track guide, which can provide similar precision and accuracy. Another alternative is renting a table saw when needed for specific projects, rather than making a full investment in one.

Additionally, hiring a professional for certain tasks that require the use of a table saw is another alternative to consider.

Using a circular saw with a track guide

I personally find using a circular saw with a track guide to be an effective alternative to purchasing a table saw. Here are some reasons why:

  • With a track guide, you can achieve straight and precise cuts similar to those made with a table saw.
  • Circular saws are more affordable than table saws, making them a budget-friendly option.
  • A circular saw with a track guide is portable and easy to transport, allowing you to work on projects anywhere.
  • This setup is versatile and can handle various woodworking tasks, including ripping plywood and cutting crosscuts.
  • By using a circular saw with a track guide, you can still achieve accurate cuts without the need for a large workspace.

Renting a table saw when needed

Sometimes, there may be a project where you need a table saw but don’t have one. In those situations, renting a table saw can be a good option. Renting allows you to get the job done without having to spend money on buying a new tool that you might not use often.

It gives you access to the power and capabilities of a table saw for specific tasks, like making precise cuts or working with larger pieces of wood. By renting, you can still complete your woodworking projects efficiently and effectively without the long-term commitment or investment in purchasing a table saw.

Hiring a professional for specific tasks

Sometimes, there are certain woodworking tasks that are better left to the professionals. Hiring a professional can be a good idea for specific tasks that require specialized skills or equipment.

For example, if you need intricate joinery work done or if you’re working with expensive and delicate materials, it might be worth hiring someone with expertise in those areas. Additionally, if you have limited experience or confidence in handling certain woodworking projects, getting help from a professional can ensure that the job is done correctly and safely.

So, don’t hesitate to reach out to an expert when needed!

Conclusion

In conclusion, while a track saw can replace a table saw in many cases, it may not be able to perform all the tasks that a table saw can. However, with its portability and versatility, a track saw is a valuable tool for woodworking projects.

Ultimately, the decision between using a track saw or table saw depends on personal preference and the specific needs of the project.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can a table saw be replaced by a track saw?

Yes, a track saw can be a suitable replacement for a table saw in many situations. While both tools have their strengths and weaknesses, a track saw offers the advantage of portability and precision. It allows you to make straight and accurate cuts without the need for a table, making it ideal for on-site or off-site work. However, it is important to note that a track saw may not be able to handle certain tasks that a table saw can, such as cutting large sheets of material or making bevel cuts.

What is the difference between a track saw and a table saw?

The main difference between a track saw and a table saw is how they are used. A track saw is a portable tool that uses a track or guide rail to make straight cuts. It is operated by manually pushing the saw along the track. On the other hand, a table saw is a stationary tool with a flat table surface and a spinning blade that protrudes above the surface. Material is fed into the blade on the table saw to make cuts. Additionally, a track saw allows for plunge cuts, while a table saw does not.

When should I use the table saw instead of a track saw?

A table saw is generally preferred when you need to make large or repetitive cuts, rip long boards or sheets, or make bevel cuts. It excels in handling heavier materials and can provide more stability and accuracy for certain tasks. If you have the space and a need for specialized cuts or large-scale projects, a table saw may be the better option.

When should I use a track saw instead of a table saw?

A track saw is best suited for situations that require portability, precision, and on-site or off-site work. It is ideal for tasks like breaking down sheet goods, making accurate crosscuts or rip cuts, or working in tight spaces. If you frequently work on remote job sites, have limited space, or require the ability to easily transport your tool, a track saw can be a valuable addition to your arsenal.

Can a track saw be used without a table?

es, a track saw can be used without a table. The track or guide rail that comes with the saw serves as a stable and accurate reference surface, allowing you to make precise cuts without relying on a table. This makes the track saw a versatile tool that can be used in various settings, including on the ground, on a workbench, or even on top of the material being cut.

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Woodworking | DIY | Home decoration

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