The table saw vs circular saw decision is a debatable point in workshops that have the budget and space for both. These are popular tools that most woodworkers tend to use for different tasks because they have unique pros and cons.
But, if you are new to woodworking, it can be hard to choose which saw you should buy first. In this article, we will look at both saws in more detail to help you make an informed purchasing decision.
What Is a Table Saw?
The main difference between a table saw and a circular saw is that one is mounted on a table and the other is a hand tool. At first glance, the table saw may look like a complex tool, but it’s just a circular saw that is built into a handy table.
This allows you to make small changes to the blade to make very accurate cuts. There are built-in guide rails to keep the wood straight as you cut longer pieces of wood.
What Can You Use a Table Saw For?
A table saw is the perfect choice when you need to cut larger boards because the cuts are very straight across longer distances. The blade and guide rails can be adjusted, and the wood can be cut at accurate angles.
The wood is pushed into the blade, the table saw is simple to use and it’s ideal when you need to cut several boards at the same time. One drawback is that a table saw is expensive, large, and heavy.
So, a table saw is not as portable, and you need to bring the wood to the machine to make the cuts. A table saw can also be harder to clean because the sawdust tends to get trapped in the table.
What Is a Circular Saw?
A circular saw is a handheld tool that may have rechargeable batteries, or it could be a plug-in model. The steel blade is usually 7¼” in diameter and it’s paired with a rotary motor. The blade is spun to the speed and torque that’s required to cut lumber or other materials.
The operation is simple, line up the circular saw with the guideline, press the trigger and saw the wood. There are guards to protect your hands as you work and an automatic brake which stops the blade when the trigger is released. Most models have guide markings to follow pre-drawn lines to make cutting easier.
What Can You Use a Circular Saw For?
A circular saw is a very useful tool, it’s ideal to cut smaller pieces of lumber such as 2×4 plywood and larger boards when you are more experienced.
The tool is light and portable and wood can be cut at angles lengthwise. When you’re starting out, a circular saw is inexpensive when compared to a table saw.
The main drawback of a circular saw is that it’s not an ideal tool to cut larger boards because you’re pushing the saw by hand.
Also there is bound to be some deviation and even with guides it’s not as accurate as a table saw. As you stretch your body to cut a large board, you may experience fatigue and a straight cutting line is hard to achieve.
Pros and Cons of Table Saw vs Circular Saw
|Table Saw||Can produce accurate cuts|
Ability to cut large boards
|Not as portable|
Potential cleaning difficulties
|Circular Saw||Highly versatile|
Ideal for DIY projects
|High user fatigue|
Difficult to maintain accuracy
4 Main Differences Between Table Saw vs Circular Saw
- A table saw must be placed on a flat surface and a circular saw is a handheld tool.
- Circular saws are more affordable than table saws.
- A table saw can make more accurate cuts on larger pieces of wood.
- Circular saws don’t have a dust disposal unit, but a table saw does have this feature.
Which Is Better: Table Saw vs Circular Saw
When you make a direct table saw vs circular saw comparison, it’s helpful to remember when they should be used:
The Circular Saw Should be Used:
- To cut small boards.
- To make small precise cuts.
- To work remotely when you need portability.
The Table Saw Should be Used:
- To cut larger boards.
- To make large and precise cuts.
- To process large amounts of lumber per day.
FAQ’s-Table Saw vs Circular Saw
Can I Use a Circular Saw as A Table Saw?
If you have sufficient skill and some practical experience, it is possible to use a circular saw as a table saw. But the time that’s required to reach this level of skill makes the purchasing price of a table saw a bargain.
Both saws have a similar design, but a table saw is purely designed for woodwork and cutting larger boards. A circular saw is more flexible, it’s light and portable and can be used in several trades.
Is A Table Saw Safer Than a Circular Saw?
Table saws are beginner friendly, they require more space, but they have a shallow learning curve for people that are still developing their skills in cutting. But these tools are expensive and there is a serious risk of injury due to the large, exposed blade.
Circular saws spin faster which may seem riskier for new woodworkers. But the blade stops when the trigger is depressed, and this is not the case when you’re using a table saw.
Are Circular Saw Blades the Same as Table Saw Blades?
The circular saw blades can be used with different types of saws, including table, miter, radial arm and circular saws too. Most circular saw blades are interchangeable between these various power saw types.
Do You Need a Circular Saw and A Table Saw?
A circular saw is a great power tool for most people that are new to woodworking or other trades. Inexperienced users will find a circular saw to be simple to use, light, versatile, portable, and inexpensive.
When you consider these advantages, it’s an ideal solution when you need to fix window and door frames on site.
Circular saws can be used for many odd jobs at home or work which need small and accurate cuts. The table saw is ideal for more experienced woodworkers with a larger workshop. If you need to cut and process a lot of wood for larger projects, a table saw is a must.
Conclusion-Table Saw vs Circular Saw
As you can see, the table saw vs circular saw comparison is not easy because these tools may be similar, but they are used for different tasks. The circular saw is a more flexible tool than a table saw and with some practice, you can do a lot with that one tool.
But, if you’re a beginner or setting up a workshop where you will cut a lot of wood, a table saw is a great choice. People on a strict budget are more limited in their choices and a circular saw would be the logical choice. If the budget is unlimited, it’s a great idea to get both saws and many woodworkers ultimately own both eventually.
I’m Thomas Steven with more than 12 years of experience in woodworking. It has always been my passion to become a successful woodworker. I have completed hundreds of successful projects. This blog is a way of sharing my woodworking experiences and what tools get the best results. I write about woodworking while being an associate with Amazon and I earn a little commission from every qualifying purchase.