The track saw is actually just about the greatest counterpart to the trusty table saw. People spontaneously think of a table saw when they talk about cutting wood, and I have to admit that I am too. However, the table saw has a few drawbacks. When you are about to set up a workshop, it is good to think about the choice you have to make between a track saw vs table saw. Table saws have some advantages over plunge saws, but the opposite is true as well. This article was written to help you understand the differences between a track saw vs table saw.
Table saws have the advantage of being fast and repetitive, while the track saw has to be reset every time. On the other hand, the track saw is the better choice for cutting large pieces of plywood or making longer cuts with less tearout.
To this short answer, I’d like to delve a little deeper into this article so you can understand the differences between a track saw vs table saw. I recently purchased a track saw to use in conjunction with my table saw, and in this article I will share my experiences with both devices. This way, you’ll understand the differences between a track saw vs table saw and how to use these two fantastic tools in your workshop to create the ideal workflow.
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The Differences Between Track Saw vs Table Saw In How They are Built.
What Is a Track saw
A track saw with track is a kind of circular saw (see the differences here) where you can plunge the circular saw blade to the desired depth. The track saw runs along a saw track making it super easy to get perfectly straight cuts . Angled cuts up to 45 degrees are also perfectly possible.
When cutting the wood, the saw track is attached to the wood and you push the circular saw blade through the wood while the wood remains stationary. If you want more details, check my article, Is a Track Saw Worth It?
There are many accessories that can make your track saw even better or easier to use. To see more, check out my guide 10 Must-Have Track Saw Accessories to Enhance Your Cutting Experience
What Is a Table saw
A table saw has a flat table with a built in saw blade that allows you to make different cuts at different depths and angles up to 45 degrees.
A motor located beneath the table powers the circular saw blade, which protrudes through an opening in the table top.
The wood is pushed through the blade of a table saw while the tool remains stationary . For more information on the table saw and how to use it, I recommend reading my main table saw article, How To Use A Table Saw—Easy Beginner’s Guide For Perfect Cuts.
Track Saw vs Table Saw Quick Comparison Table
Now that you have read the previous information and understand the external differences, it is important to be able to make the right choice between them. Therefore, before I proceed to discuss the differences between track saw vs table saw in detail, let me give you a clear overview. This overview will help you understand the rest of the article more easily and how these two tools can help you.
Here is the short summary table of track saw vs table saw:
|Track saw||Table saw|
|Purpose||Perfect for long cuts or breaking down plywood||All types of woodworking cuts, less suitable for breaking down plywood|
|Accuracy||Very accurate thanks to the track||Accurate, depending on the type of table saw|
|Size||Small and very portable||Medium large to large, less portable|
|Weight||Light weight||Heavy to very heavy|
The Differences Between Track Saw vs Table Saw In Greater Detail
Table saws are good at making quick, repetitive cuts. If you have to repeatedly cut the same parts with the same dimensions, it’s easy to get frustrated using a plunge saw because you have to measure each board and position the rail perfectly for each cut you make. By adjusting the stop of the table saw once, this problem is completely gone with the table saw. The table saw is also better at cutting smaller pieces.
On the other hand, running a full sheet of plywood over a table saw is challenging, and it’s not that safe either. At that point, the track saw with track is the better choice. With a track saw, you simply clamp the saw track on the surface and slide the saw over the plywood without struggling like you would do with the table saw and creating unsafe situations. Oore info can be found in my article Do You Need to Clamp a Track Saw? a Clear Guide
With the plunge saw you can easily make long cuts and you can also set the angle at which you are going to saw very accurately . Long miter cuts are therefore much easier to make than with the table saw.
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It can be difficult to cut a long sheet of plywood. Consider yourself alone in your workshop with a large piece of plywood . You will notice that you can barely touch the switch when you finally have the sheet of wood roughly on the table saw. When you finally succeed, you must observe how and where you push the sheet of plywood against the saw blade from a great distance. Small changes in the way you push the wood through the blade can cause the blade to bind, resulting in kickback.
So this is a lot of hassle. With the track saw, all you have to do is position your track at the angle you need it to cut , set the angle of your saw blade and you’re good to go.
Ripping is another factor to consider when deciding between a track saw vs table saw. Tearing out is something that a table saw does anyway, but the plunge saw performs better here as well. The rail on which the plunge saw runs supports the wood and prevents it from cracking. This gives it an added advantage when cutting plywood sheets to size, which are prone to cracking.
Also read my article Miter Saw vs Table Saw: Which is Better for Your Woodwork Projects?
Track Saw vs Table Saw – What is Best For You
So can a track saw replace a table saw or the other way around. Well, there are several factors relevant to your workshop and what you intend to build will determine which of these two tools is best for you.
The track saw with track is ideal for making long cuts or cutting big sheets of plywood. This is also the best option for smaller workshops. To find the best track saw for you, you must first make a decision. What to Look for When Buying a Track Saw – Important POI can be of great help to you.
The table saw can handle finer work more quickly, but it is less suited to long cuts or breaking down sheets of plywood.
My article What to Look for in a Table Saw – 3 Tips to Find the Best One will walk you through the process of selecting the best table saw for your workshop.
The ideal solution does away with the need to select between a track saw vs table saw. I can get a lot more done and work more precisely now that I have both in my workshop. The track saw and table saw work well together and I’m sure they will help you improve your woodworking skills.
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I hope this track saw vs table saw comparison was helpful, and that this blog gives you the answer to know if you should buy a track saw instead of table saw, the other way around, or both.
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Christophe, founder of Christofix.com
Woodworking | DIY | Home decoration