Considerations When Deciding Between a Bandsaw and a Table Saw

Buying a bandsaw vs table saw is a great addition to your home workshop. However, if you are starting a woodworking hobby, you may wonder which is best —a table saw or a bandsaw. This question typically arises if you’re setting up a homework shop, have limited space, or are on a tight budget.

Advantages of a bandsaw

There are several considerations when deciding between a bandsaw vs table saw. For example, what type of work will you do with your new bandsaw and table saw? Will you need to switch the blade frequently for crosscutting or ripping? And what kind of cut do you need? For example, a bandsaw tends to leave cut marks, whereas a table saw will make smooth, clean cuts.

To help you get started in your DIY hobby, we decided to compare these two tools in this article. You will learn about the various features of a bandsaw vs table saw. We are also sure that knowing the advantages and disadvantages of each type of saw will help you to decide.

So, if you want to buy a new bandsaw or table saw, please continue reading to know how these saws compare.

What is a Bandsaw?

A bandsaw is a power woodworking tool comprising of a long continuous blade. The sharp-toothed band is stretched between two metal wheels. Bandsaws are extremely versatile because you can change the size and tooth pitches. This allows you to cut in straight lines or cut irregular, curved shapes.  

What Is a Table Saw?

A table saw is a powerful motorized tool for woodworking. The table saw has a circular blade that emerges through a slot in the steel or cast-iron work surface. This type of saw is used for making rip and crosscuts, as well as miters, bevels, dadoes, and rabbet cuts.

Tables saws can be jobsite saws, contractor saws, cabinet saws, or hybrid saws.

Comparison Table — Bandsaw vs Table Saw

 Table SawBandsaw
Blade typesCircular saw bladeA narrow metal band forming a continuous loop and has a toothed edge creating the bandsaw blade
Type of cutsStraight cuts, bevel cuts, and miter cuts. Ideal for ripping and crosscutting.Straight cuts, miter cuts, and curved cuts.
Cutting methodThe table saw blade spins toward the userThe bandsaw blade moves downward
Working methodFeed the workpiece against the spinning bladePush workpiece against straight blade going in a continuous loop
KerfRelatively wide kerfThin kerf
MaterialCutting plywood sheets, 2x4s, lumber, MDFCuts all types of lumber, including metal, brass, aluminum, and even meat
SafetyProne to accidents and a high noise levelLess prone to accidents and a low noise level
Best forRipping, crosscutting, bevels, miters, dadoes, and rabbetsSlicing timber along the grain (resawing) and cutting curves and irregular shapes

Which Is Better — Bandsaw vs Table Saw?

Deciding which is best for your woodworking needs — a bandsaw vs table saw — depends on the cutting type.

A table saw is ideal for making straight cuts. Additionally, the miter gauge and vertically adjustable blade mean you can make precise angled cuts by changing the blade position. Therefore, a table saw is best if you build cabinets or make furniture or picture frames. However, there are some issues with a table saw to be aware of.

For example, the blade of a table saw spins toward you. This means that the rear edge of the blade is spinning in an upward direction. Therefore, there’s a risk of kickback, sending workpieces flying towards the operator. Of course, modern table saws have several safety features to prevent kickback accidents. These include anti-kickback pawls, blade covers, riving knives, and splitters.

A band saw is inherently safer than a table saw and is ideal for ripping large pieces of timber. For example, the width and cutting height is more extensive. Additionally, because the blade cuts in a downward motion, the workpiece stays on the table as you cut. Also, the narrow, sharp blade makes cutting tapers and curved or irregular shapes easy.

Is a Band Saw More Versatile Than a Table Saw?

Typically, a table saw is more versatile than a bandsaw if you make furniture, cabinets, or other pieces of joinery. The secure rip fence, adjustable miter gauges, and adjustable circular saw blade ensure you make precise, accurate cuts. With a table saw, you can perform any type of cut that a circular saw or miter saw does.

However, a table saw isn’t as good as a band saw if you want to cut curves or really thick workpieces. But it’s better than a band saw for cutting long, straight cuts.

What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of a Table Saw

A table saw can be useful for DIY hobbyists or beginner woodworkers. You can use the power tool to cut wood or other materials. It has many advantages, including being able to cut with high precision. However, there are also some disadvantages, like being unable to cut curves.

Let’s look at the pros and cons of a table saw in more detail.

Advantages of a table saw

Man Using a Table saw
  • Speed: Compared to a bandsaw, a table saw cuts faster without any hassle. The rip fences provide a straight line to feed the workpiece through the cutting blade.
  • Precision: The blade’s design, powerful motor, and miter gauge slot mean that a table saw is extremely precise.
  • Versatility: One of the benefits of a table saw is its usefulness. It can perform several types of cuts, like compound cuts using the miter gauge or various additional jigs.
  • Bevel cuts: An advantage of many table saws is that the blade can be adjusted vertically, making them ideal for cutting angles and bevels.
  • Noisy: Table saws are notoriously loud, and it’s recommended to wear ear protection when cutting wood.
  • Blade change: The position of the cutting blade makes it straightforward to change blades. This is ideal if you switch between ripping and crosscutting.

Disadvantages of a table saw

  • Safety: All saws are dangerous tools. However, table saws cause the most common injuries compared to other stationary saws. And despite a range of safety devices, these can make cutting wood awkward. According to some studies, 73 percent of table saw injuries occurred when the user had disabled one or more safety features.
  • Limited cutting depth: A table saw will struggle to cut lumber more than 3.5” thick.
  • Bulky: It’s good to remember that a table saw will take up considerable space. Of course, a benchtop table saw, or jobsite saw is more compact and portable. However, if space is a premium in your shop, then you may need to consider buying a circular saw.
  • Only for wood: Unlike a bandsaw, a table saw is only recommended for cutting wood. While this may not be an issue, it’s something to consider when buying a stationary workshop saw.

What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of a Band Saw

While not as versatile as a table saw, a band saw has several advantages. Depending on the type of woodworking projects you plan to undertake, a stationary band saw may be the best option.

Advantages of a bandsaw:

  • Cutting curves: The primary advantage of buying a band saw is for cutting curves. The types of curves and irregular shapes you can cut depend on the blade’s thickness.
  • Safety: Compared to table saws, band saws are safer. One study into injuries caused by stationary saws found that only 12 percent were caused by band saws, compared to 73 percent for table saws.
  • Cut a wide range of materials: The design and shape of the blade’s teeth and its thickness mean you can use it to cut almost anything. For example, a band saw will slice through thick lumber, plywood, plastic, metal, and even meat.
  • Noise levels: A bandsaw produces significantly less noise than table saws and other woodworking machines. Therefore, you don’t need to be concerned about making too much noise when using a bandsaw.

Disadvantages of a bandsaw:

  • Messy cuts: Expect the cut surface to have some rough edges when cutting wood with a band saw. Therefore, after finishing, you’ll need to use some sandpaper to get rid of any rough edges.
  • Impossible to cut grooves: You cannot cut long groves with a band saw because you can’t raise or lower the blades.
  • Bevels are tricky: Using a band saw to cut precise angles in wood is challenging, making them unsuitable for cutting bevels.
  • Precision is difficult: With a lack of rip fences and only a line to guide you, it is hard to get perfectly straight cuts. This also makes using a band saw more time-consuming. Additionally, repeat cuts are not as precise as a table saw.

Which Should I Buy — Bandsaw vs Table Saw?

A table saw is generally the best option if you must choose your first power saw.

bandsaw vs Table saw

Table saws are usually the most widely-used types of stationary saws in a woodworking shop. This is because the saw offers you the most precision — more precise than a bandsaw, circular saw, or miter saw. And if you are starting a woodworking hobby, the table saw will allow you to produce quality items in no time at all.

However, there are two things you cannot do on a table saw that you can do on a band saw. These are cutting curves (scrolls) or ripping pieces of wood over 3.5” thick. But on the other hand, the thin, relatively flimsy blade means that the cut isn’t as clean, and it may struggle to cut some types of wood.

How to Choose Between a Bandsaw vs Table Saw

The decision to buy a Bandsaw vs Table Saw comes down to the type of woodwork project you plan to do. Also, you may have limited space in your workshop or garage, which will impact your choice. Looking at the advantages and disadvantages of bandsaw vs table saw can help you decide.

So, which type of saw for which cut? Here’s a short guide to deciding on a table saw or band saw.

  • Ripping and crosscutting: A table saw comes out tops because it’s more powerful and has rip fences and miter gauges.
  • Miter cuts: You can use both types of saws for cutting miters.
  • Bevel cuts: It’s nearly impossible to cut bevels using a bandsaw; therefore, choose a table saw.
  • Curves and irregular shapes: If cutting irregular shapes and curves is a significant part of your hobby, choose a band saw. Alternatively, you can buy a handheld jigsaw or scroll saw for small projects.
  • Grooves and dadoes: The adjustable blade depth of a table saw makes it better for grooves and dadoes than a band saw.

What’s the bottom line? Choose a table saw for joinery, cabinet making, bookshelves, and other types of “square work.” However, buy a band saw if you want to cut thick pieces of lumber, curves, or irregular shapes.

Bandsaw vs Table Saw— In Conclusion

After reading this saw comparison guide, you probably realize that bandsaws and table saw have different purposes. Therefore, it’s not as straightforward as a “Bandsaw vs Table Saw ” comparison. However, if you are just starting out and want to buy a stationary saw, choose a table saw and a handheld jigsaw.