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

person operating a bandsaw

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Every woodworking shop needs a reliable power tool to cut the materials needed in different DIY projects. But as you browse for great tools to buy, your first purchase could lead you to compare band saw vs. table saw options. 

It makes you wonder, how different are these power tools from each other? Here are brief explanations from our experts to avoid further 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 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. 

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, we 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

If you inspect both power saws as we did, you’d know that a table saw is designed to have a wider blueprint rather than a tall structure. Although there are small table saw options in the market, it’s a no-brainer that they’re meant to occupy more working space. 

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

As for build quality, it highly varies per model and brand. However, we urge you to buy a unit made with durable steel to enhance operational stability.  

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

It’s also versatile enough to cut grooves or dados. However, it involves removing the unit’s blade guard and riving knife, which we don’t encourage due to safety reasons discussed in the below section.

Cut Quality and Accuracy

As long as the fence is properly set up, the accuracy of getting parallel and square cuts using a table saw is guaranteed. We also suggest keeping your table saw blade sharpened and well-maintained as this could help you produce cleaner cuts. 

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. 

Our Handpicked Recommendations

1. DEWALT DWE7491RS Table Saw

2. Grizzly Industrial G0803Z Band Saw

Conclusion

We all know that not everyone has enough floor space in their workshop to accommodate both cutting tools. So when the table saw vs. band saw debate arises, our team suggests weighing your project requirements. 

Remember that these cutting machines cater to different materials and applications, which all boils down to your needs. 

Robert Johnson is a woodworker who takes joy in sharing his passion for creating to the rest of the world. His brainchild, Sawinery, allowed him to do so as well as connect with other craftsmen. He has since built an enviable workshop for himself and an equally impressive online accomplishment: an extensive resource site serving old timers and novices alike.
Robert Johnson
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