Power tools are the heart of any workshop; consequently, choosing a suitable power tool is an essential part of the lives of all carpenters and even DIYs.
If you are a professional, then you probably already know your job needs, and therefore, choosing between them will not be hard at all.
However, if you are still an amateur, this article will help you a lot in trying to figure out the features that suit you and your work best, and consequently, what model is better for you.
Carry on reading to find out the main similarities and differences between table saws and circular saws.
Table Saw Overview:
A table saw is a circular saw that has a spinning blade to cut wood. The blade is placed beneath the table and protrudes out from the surface of the table through a slit. To cut anything, you need to run that thing across the blade, and the blade will do the rest.
It is a very popular tool that you will find in any carpenter’s shop and any job site. This is because it can do any job, even if you need it to perform a cut that the miter saw is specially made for. However, it will not perform the cuts with the same quality and it is a bit more challenging.
Circular Saw Overview:
A circular saw is a hand-held tool that has a flat circular blade. You have to move the circular saw through the material you want to cut. Their blades have very sharp teeth and work in a circular rotary motion.
Such tools are not very common among workshops, because they mainly depend on their mobility, so if the carpenter does not move around a lot, he probably won’t have one. However, this does not, in any way, mean that they are not worth buying. Their mobility and versatility make them very popular, still.
Table saws are not portable. They are tough to move around, so it is impractical to even try to do so. You can buy a portable table saw, but it is still very bulky and heavy to move around. Moreover, they take up a lot of space; therefore, before buying one, make sure you have a place to set it up.
On the other hand, circular saws are very compact and lightweight. They are the perfect tool if you need to move around a lot from one job site to another. You can even buy cordless circular saws which will make your tool a hundred times more portable.
Typically, table saws perform more accurate cuts than circular ones. What eliminates the percentage of doing wrong cuts is that table saws are fixed, and you don’t need to move your material. Moreover, table saws will even allow beginners to produce accurate crosscuts and ripping boards.
However, getting an accurate cut by using a circular saw depends on the skill of the user. You can manage to produce precise cuts using a circular saw with a lot of practice and excellent skills. You can also use straight-edge or circular saw guide rails to improve your cuts.
Indeed, a circular saw is not as accurate as a table saw, but its versatility makes up for this. A circular saw can do tons of different cuts; including but not limited to, long rip-cuts, crosscuts, miter and bevel cuts. Moreover, you can even increase its versatility with the right blade; for example, if you put a diamond blade, you can cut tiles and bricks. Think it just stops here? Well, you are wrong! It even accepts abrasive discs so it can cut metal.
Conversely, a table saw is mainly suitable for wood material, but it can cut softer material like plastic and others. Also, if you want to cut hardwood and MDF, use carbide-tipped blades.
It is semi-similar to a circular saw in the idea that it can perform different cuts; however, it has its limitations. For example, if you want to perform a crosscut on a large size of wood, you will need a huge sized table, and even maybe some additional supports.
Corded vs. Cordless:
One more extra nice feature of circular saws is that some models of them come with no cords; batteries power them. Why is this a good thing? Well, first of all, your working place will no longer be limited to a location with an electrical outlet. You can work in literally any place you need or want to work.
Moreover, they make handling the tool easier than handling corded tools because you do not need to work your way around the cords. Also, they make you safer because you will not trip and fall.
On the other hand, cordless table saws are very few and extra expensive.
Ease of Use:
It is true that working with a table saw demands way less skill and experience than working with a circular saw because you are not asked to handle the tool. You just need to focus on cutting the material you need to cut, know some basic skills and focus on the safety measures. Piece of cake? Not so much.
The exposed blade on the table saw increases your chances of getting hurt. You should always pay attention when you are using this tool, (and any other tools for that matter) because you do not want to end up cutting a limb of yours instead of wood. I should also mention that a table saw has a brake system and other safety measures.
However, if you are going to work with a circular saw, you need to learn how to handle it safely and accurately, which is easier said than done.
Table saws are immortals, circular saws are mortals, or at least this is how they are designed to be.
Circular saws will not require much maintenance; however, they will eventually break down over time.
In contrast, for a table saw to stay proficient, it requires lots and lots of maintenance, love and care due to their various internal parts. If you keep on taking good care of it, it will probably last for as long as you live. It’s so easy to maintain, though because it provides easy access to the parts that need regular cleaning.
If you are going to work in a shared garage, or if you prefer working in a clean place, then get a table saw. Table saws produce minimal dust because most of the dust gets thrown below the table. You can easily add a basket below the table so that by the end of your work, you can find all the dust compiled in that box. Regarding the minimal amount of dust that is on the table, you can use a small vacuum cleaner for it.
However, circular saws scatter lots of dust everywhere. You need to know that you will be spending a lot of time cleaning after work. This is a feature to consider before buying a circular saw.
Pros and Cons:
- Less dust
- Easy to use
- Accurate cuts
- Easy to maintain
- Long life span
- Not portable
- Relatively cheap
- Lots of dust
- Requires advanced skills
- Cuts are not necessarily precise
If you need to start a workshop, getting a table saw is one of the essential things you should do. However, if you know that you will not be working at your workshop and that you will be on the road a lot, then the mobility of a circular saw shall be your saviour.
Also, if you are going to be working with friends or other people, buying a table saw will save all of you from getting buried in dust. If you are new in the job, getting a table saw will make things a lot easier for you, since it only requires basic skills from you, and you, as a beginner, will appreciate that.