Track Saw vs Table Saw: Key Differences You Should Know

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Not sure if you should go for a table saw or a track saw? You’re not alone! Picking the wrong one can be a real head-scratcher. Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. Dive in to discover the ins and outs of each, so you can nail that decision with confidence.

Differences Between a Track and Table Saw

Festool TS5 Req-F-Plus guide ridge

Sheet Goods

With the assistance of a track saw, you can effortlessly dismantle plywood and other thick sheets. Instead of pushing a large sheet of plywood through a table saw, you can easily glide the track saw over the plywood, making the process more manageable and efficient.

Repeated Rip Cuts

A table saw accelerates the procedure if you make multiple rips. The fence doesn’t need to reset after each cut. Once done, you can start ripping the sheet to the same width. Even the most challenging circular saws might complete the work in a fraction of the time.

Mitered or Angled Cuts

The track saw comes in handy when you need to make a lengthy, slanted cut across a large portion of material. It could be useful for cutting panels if you make a unique desk or built-in shelf.

Is a Track Saw Capable of Replacing a Table Saw?

Splinter-Free Cuts

A track saw can make your cuts splinter-free, one of its best attributes. Cutting plywood on the table saw with the cross grain might make splinters difficult to conceal. Cleaning your blade may be the answer if you’re having trouble with the cuts.

Wider Cuts on Plywood

The insufficient cutting capabilities of a commercial table saw is an issue. Suppose you want to extend a fence by more than 28 inches. But with a track saw, there is no limit!

cutting plywood with a track saw

Perfect for Cutting Asymmetrical Edges

The track saw guide can be easily adjusted and positioned to make cutting asymmetrical edges on MDF or plywood much easier. You will save time and material with it.

Disadvantages of Track Saws

What are Track Saws and How Do They Work?

This type of saw has a design that allows it to go on the track so that you may make exact precise cuts on the side of a hardwood board. It is more stable because the redesigned structure enables it to sit properly on the track. 

Depending on the task, you can choose from various products that include a range of track sizes.

track saw blade

While a table saw is often used to slide a piece of wood across its blade, this innovation allows you to manage the cuts by moving the blade itself.

Blade

6.5-inch blade size is standard on many models, but greater diameters are also available.

Bevel

Bevel cuts of 45 degrees are possible with a track saw, almost like a circular saw.

Speed Adjustment

You can adjust the speed on several track saws. Use the speed adjustment to avoid leaving burn traces on a certain type of wood.

Vacuum Port

Dust management on these saws is usually excellent.  They allow vacuums to be attached so you can keep the workspace spotless.

Bosch track saw

Track

The straightness of the cut is ensured by the track saw’s usage of an aluminum guide having grooves. These come in various sizes and may be combined to make a long track.

Types of Tracks Saw

Standard Track Saw

The most common type of track saw. It is also known as a plunge saw and for cutting plunges. 

Cordless Track saws

Rather than relying on an electrical outlet, this device uses rechargeable batteries, unlike most track saws.

Circular Saw With a Track Guide Rail

This type allows you to purchase kits and guides to convert it into your own track saw.

When to Use a Track Saw

For a novice DIYer, a track saw is an excellent choice since it enables you to create straight cuts using a compact saw. As with a regular handsaw, you may make free-hand cuts using a tool with no guide.

Makita track saw

How to Use a Track Saw

  1. Protection – Before any DIY projects, our woodworking experts advise the use of ear and eye protection
  2. Pick the right type of blades – For rip cuts, use a lower tooth count ripping blade; for cross cuts, use a high tooth count and larger blade diameter.
  3. Keep your workspace protected – Foam insulations are best for protecting your workspace.
  4. Adjust the cutting depth – Set it so it can cut properly through the board.
  5. Line up your track – The guide should be in line with the cutting line.
  6. Make cuts – Higher speeds for softwoods and lower speeds for hardwoods.

What are Table Saws and How Do They Work?

Table saws are big saws that are integrated into a tabletop. They chop up wood instead of cutting it down. To cut a perfect line for a project, you may use the huge table saw’s ample space for installing guides.

table saw

Blade

It’s common for their blades to be 10 inches in size.  However, you may use a variety of blades with this tool, like many other saws.

Blade Guard

Protecting your hand is made easier with the blade guard. However, some experts frequently detach these guards to expedite certain jobs.

Riving Knife

Do not remove the riving knife because it reduces the risk of kickback.

Rip Fence

You can dial the cut’s width using a rip fence by moving it along its blade.

Height and Bevel

The saw’s blade is raised and lowered using this crank handle located in front. Several versions utilize the same handle to rotate it for beveled cuts.

operating table saw

Power Switch

It often includes a power switch in front. The power switch is usually placed so you can swiftly switch it using your knee.

Push Stick

Although it isn’t a component of the saw itself, it is essential. Maintain a safe distance from the blades using a push stick to slide objects through them.

Types of Table Saws

Benchtop Table Saw

These compact types of saws are known for their lightweight, portable designs that make storage and transportation a breeze.

Jobsite table saws

These saws have sturdier guides, large tables, and foldable stands.

Contractor Hybrid Table Saw

This type has greater power, precise adjustments, and accurate building material.

hybrid table saw

Cabinet Table Saws

You’ll have to spend extra on this power tool, but you’ll receive the highest quality and features you can use in any of your woodworking projects.

Pros and Cons

What i like

What i don't Like

When to Use a Table Saw

The main advantage of a table saw vs. a track saw is that it allows you to cut into the middle and the sides of the board. 

Since the table underneath provides ample support, the material will not squeeze its blades. It helps cut big chunks of wood that other saws may not accomplish.

black table saw

How to Use a Track Saw

What to Consider When Choosing Between the Two Tools

Blade Size and Cutting Depth

The most common table saw blade diameters are 8, 10, and 12 inches. Most woodworking experts suggest that cutting materials as thick as 4 to 6 inches should be possible with these blades.

table saw fence rail

Safety

Table saws are dangerous because of their huge blades and rapid RPM. Using a circular type, you risk cutting yourself on it, and the dust you create while using saws can enter the eyes and the lungs and may cause temporary vision problems and more lasting lung damage [1].

Dust Removal

You can find dust removal technology in many models, but it’s important to examine the box before you buy one. Several brands have an attachment that allows you to vacuum the dust while you work for a more hygienic and less hazardous working environment.

FAQ

How can you make a track saw stay in place?

You can use grips made of rubber to cover the bottom of the track. Without damaging the wood, these grips maintain it in place. You can also put specific clamps beneath the grooves to keep them from sliding on the surface.

How much does a table saw cost?

You should expect to pay around $500 for a nice portable hybrid table saw. A cabinet saw sells for thousands of dollars, so if you’re looking for affordable equipment for a job site or your shop, you may want to steer clear of it.

How to choose a good table saw?

If you are an expert woodworker or have a huge workspace and use a table saw regularly, then you should choose a stationary type of saw. But if you are an occasional DIYer or only need a piece of affordable equipment, then go for a portable type of saw or models intended for smaller shops.

Is a track saw as accurate as a table saw?

A track saw is as accurate as a table saw. However, the latter will let you create better, accurate cuts because it allows for few adjustments and quicker fence alignment. A table saw will also save you more time and effort.

Is a track saw safer than a table saw?

A track saw is safer than a table saw because it has a smaller blade and can be operated at a much lower speed. On the other hand, a table saw is larger and difficult to move around. It also has an exposed blade, which means it is accident-prone.

Conclusion

When deciding between a track saw and a table saw, it’s essential to weigh the benefits and drawbacks of each tool. Think about what each one can handle, how long they’ll last, and which fits your skills and projects best. This comparison will guide you to make an informed choice.

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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