Band Saw vs. Table Saw: What are They Used For? + Differences

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Stepping into the world of woodworking? Every craftsman’s haven requires a trusty power tool for slicing through project materials. As you scout for the best additions to your toolkit, you might find yourself torn between the band saw and the table saw. 

So, what sets these two apart? Let me break it down in simple terms and clear up any confusion!

How to Choose Between a Bandsaw and Table Saw

Generally speaking, a fully-equipped woodworking space should have both a table saw and a bandsaw in its tool list to accommodate different cutting jobs. 

However, it’s worth noting that these power saws aren’t very affordable, so we understand the need to choose between them if you have a smaller shop or a limited space. 

Nevertheless, our tool experts suggest comparing the perks of these saws to see which works best for the project. 

About Table Saws and Their Advantages

Admit it or not, a table saw is one of the most common sights in DIY workshops. This tool carries a circular saw blade, which means it’s not only capable of straight cuts but also crosscuts. 

You wouldn’t need to use a different tool to make bevel cuts because the table saw blade can execute them on the wood pieces without any problem. These power saws also include motor-controlled arbors, so accuracy wouldn’t be an issue when making long straight cuts. 

table saw

And while it’s true that most table saws aren’t meant to cut other materials except wood, its circular blade can handle tough and solid wood pieces if needed. 

If you ask us, some table saw alternatives have less material space, making this tool appear more versatile in handling different woodworking projects. And since table saw options are stationary machines, their features are often more effective in an on-site woodworking job. 

About Band Saws and Their Advantages

Band saws are also readily available in the woodworking market for both professional and beginner saw users. In fact, if you’re just starting off, you can even buy used band saws

But unlike table saws, a bandsaw blade can cut metal, plastic, and different materials other than wood. Besides that, this tool is safer and less likely to cause serious bandsaw injury

Thinner blades allow band saws to create an applied force as their internal wheels turn. Because of this, you can execute intricate cuts that a jig saw can typically do. 

Besides cutting a straight line, bandsaw blades are also effective in making curved cuts and irregular shapes because of their smaller kerf.  

person operating a bandsaw

A band saw’s entire length receives equal wearing, not just on one edge, so its blade offers a longer lifespan. Additionally, everyone using a band saw would know that it operates quietly and has fewer noise levels [1] than most carpentry and woodworking tools. 

How Each Saw Performs

Ripping and Crosscutting

You need a blade that can make perfect squares when executing rip and cross cuts. Because of this, table saws are still the best options to consider as they produce linear cuts better than the band saw models. 

Grooves, Insets, and Dados

When the project requires you to cut dados, grooves, or insets, the saw blade only needs to slide halfway through the material. Such precision is more suitable for a table saw than a bandsaw. 

It’s important to follow proper safety precautions and use appropriate jigs, guides, or accessories when making grooves, insets, or dados on either a band saw or a table saw.

Miters and Bevels

Regardless of brands, a good table and band saw can cut miters and bevels very well. However, if you want more convenience, I still recommend using table saw options as these tools have adjustable blades. 

bandsaw cutting deck

Thanks to this, you won’t need to adjust the material itself to get the angle you want. 

Scroll Saws, Curves, and More

You may not know, but scroll cuts are more intricate than you think. It’s also the case when you need to cut curves and unique shapes into your material. 

Besides the standard hand tools used in these projects, the internal wheel action that a band saw can deliver is one of the most effective ways to get these cuts.

Other Important Considerations

Size and Build Quality

When you take a close look at power saws, you’ll quickly notice that table saws are built wide, not tall. Sure, there are smaller versions out there, but it’s clear they’re made to take up a bit more room on your workbench.

Meanwhile, band saw models are engineered with tall construction. You can place a band saw in a narrow space because they don’t have wide footprints in the first place.

cutting a circle on a bandsaw

When it comes to build quality, it can differ a lot depending on the model and brand. But here’s a tip: go for one made of sturdy steel. It’ll give you a smoother experience and last longer!

Infeed or Outfeed

Being wary of the machine’s infeed and outfeed is crucial when using stationary power saws as a table saw, bandsaw, and cabinet saw options. Unlike handy machines like circular saws, the material needs to be pushed through the machine. 

Because of this, the length of your material should match the feeding space in front and behind both saws. 

Material Type and Versatility

While both tools can carry different blades to accommodate various materials, table saw options have limited versatility when it comes to this matter. For example, curving and shaping rough wood into chair legs is a task that a band saw can do and a table saw cannot. 

On the other hand, linear cuts are right up any table saw’s alley. Depending on its table size, its blade can accommodate longer wood pieces. 

operating table saw

You can also use it to make grooves or dados, pretty neat, right? But hold on! Doing so means taking off the blade guard and riving knife. I don’t really recommend that – it’s a safety thing. Curious why? Check out the section below!

Cut Quality and Accuracy

Make sure your fence is set up right, and you’re on track for perfect straight and square cuts with your table saw. And hey, keep that blade sharp and in good shape—it’ll give you those smooth, clean cuts every time.

Like miter saws, a band saw model isn’t the most ideal for precise cutting, especially for linear slices. No matter what you do, its blade will leave saw marks at one point or another. 

Blade Change

As you may already know, many woodworking projects will require switching blades to swap from crosscutting to ripping tasks. These adjustments won’t be a problem for a table saw because all you need to do is remove the nut from the unit’s arbor. 

bandsaw blade

On the other hand, doing blade changes in a band saw is a bit complicated. To remove the old blade, you’ll need to reset several features like the tension, fence, tracking, and bearings.  Many users prefer the table saw because of this factor. 

Kerf

The smaller the kerf, the less material it can remove. And because band saws have thinner blades than table saws, they’re often used for intricate cuts. If you’re ripping tree trunks at mills, a band saw is the kind of push tool that’ll help you waste fewer materials.

Noise

If you’re using a table saw, it’s a no-brainer that you’ll need ear protection. You may not know, but this machine can be very loud, especially during the cutting process. 

In contrast, band saws offer lower noise levels during usage due to their blade motion. However, we still urge you to use hearing protection when using it. 

Safety Features

Some may say that band saw options are safer because they have smaller blades and are less likely to produce a few kickbacks. However, buying a unit with a blade stop system is a great way to mitigate the risk of using a table saw. 

table saw fence rail

On top of this, it will help if your power saw has a dedicated miter gauge. With this feature, your cut will be more guided during usage. 

my Handpicked Recommendations

1. DEWALT DWE7491RS Table Saw

2. Grizzly Industrial G0803Z Band Saw

Conclusion

We get it – space in your workshop can be tight, and fitting in all the tools you’d like isn’t always feasible. When it comes to choosing between a table saw and a band saw, think about what you really need. 

Both tools have their own strengths and are best suited for different tasks. At the end of the day, it’s all about what works best for your projects!

robert headshot

Robert Johnson is a passionate furniture maker & carpenter, sought after for his knowledge on the craft.
You’ve probably seen his down-to-earth wisdom in USA Today, Bobvila, Family Handyman, and The Spruce, where he has shared commentary and guidance on various woodworking topics.

Robert is the brain behind Sawinery, where he aims to share tips, tricks, and a passion for all things carpentry.

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