Last Updated on August 28, 2022 by Barry Gray
If you’re reading this, you’re probably a woodworker who’s unsure whether to buy a table saw or a band saw. Well, you’re not alone. Some woodworkers argue that every shop needs a table saw, while others would rather get a bandsaw.
Table saws and band saws have different qualities that make them unique. Your choice will depend on the kind of project you’re working on. A table saw is better for making rip and crosscuts on lumber. However, bandsaws are better for making curved cuts, irregular shapes, and straight lines.
If you don’t have time to go through the entire article, here are some key points to take away:
- Table saws are woodworking tools that are used for making rip cuts and crosscuts on lumber.
- Bandsaws are woodworking tools that are used for making curved cuts, irregular shapes, and straight lines
- Table saws take more floor space than bandsaws
- Bandsaws are more versatile than table saws. They can cut through wood, plastic, and metal, while table saws can cut wood and soft metals
- Table saws make more precise cuts than bandsaws
Before choosing which power saw to buy, it’s important to learn about their key differences and similarities. Read on to find out more about table saws and band saws.
Table saws and band saws are two power saws that can make different cuts on wood. However, they are unique tools in more ways than one. Let’s take a close look at each tool and its qualities:
A table saw is one of the basic tools you’d expect to find in a woodworking shop. Also called bench saws, they can cut through lumber using a mounted circular saw blade that is spun by an electric motor. Due to their miter gauge slots, they can make cross cuts and rip cuts with precision.
Table saws can take the place of circular and miter saws. Modern table saws allow woodworkers to make bevel cuts without needing a separate tool. That said, they’re also a bit limited since they are primarily designed to cut lumber (wood.)
Table saws are used for cross-cutting, ripping, dadoes, casing, grooves, and tongues,
- They make crosscuts and rip cuts with precision
- Table saws allow you to make quick and efficient cuts with relative ease
- They are versatile power saws due to their usefulness in different scales of work.
- Modern table saws with tilting wheels allow you to make bevel cuts
- They are primarily designed to cut lumber(wood)
- They are bulkier and make rougher cuts compared to band saws
- They make a lot of noise
- Table saws account for most accidents involving power saws
Whether you’re walking into an amateur or professional woodworker’s shop, the chances of finding a bandsaw somewhere are pretty high. This power saw is popular because it can cut through a wide variety of materials, including thin metal and plastic.
The bandsaw comes with a long thin blade that stretches between two internal wheels. This motion allows band saws to cut through different materials. It also enables it to make cuts like a jigsaw. This means you can easily make curved cuts with a bandsaw.
Bandsaws don’t make as much noise as other saws. They also don’t take up much floor space which is good news if you’re working in a small workshop. They are best used for making irregular cuts, resawing, and cutting curves.
- They allow you to cut through wood, thin metal, plastic, MDF, and plywood.
- Bandsaws evenly distribute the cutting load across the blade’s teeth which allows you to make uniform cuts
- With bandsaws, you can make difficult irregular cuts more efficiently.
- They are relatively quiet compared to other saws
- They may leave rough edges on projects that require smooth cuts.
- They’re slower than table saws when making straight cuts
- They aren’t as powerful as table saws
- You can’t adjust blade height on band saws which means they can’t cut long grooves.
7 Differences between Table Saws and Bandsaws
Now that we know what both saws can do, here’s how they differ:
Both saws have distinct sizes. Table saws have wide footprints. A full-size unit can occupy a floor space while a tabletop model will take up a portion of your workbench.
In comparison, bandsaws take less space. Unlike table saws, they’re taller and more narrow. Hence, they make effective use of your shop’s lateral space while saving floor space. Therefore, bandsaws are perfect for shops with smaller floor space.
Table saw allows you to make rips when you need straight, long cuts and crosscuts when you need to make squares. You can also use table saws to make grooves, insects, dados, and angled cuts like miters and bevels.
Bandsaws can make rips and cuts too. However, the table saw’s narrow, flimsy blade makes it a more practical tool for the job. With bandsaws, you can cut curves, straight lines, and other irregular shapes.
In terms of blade versatility, both saws have their strong points. Bandsaws are more or less specialty saws. Hence, you probably won’t be needing them as much as you’ll need a table saw. Table saws can make a wide variety of cuts, making them more useful.
However, bandsaws can cut through thicker materials. This makes them ideal for cutting plastic, thin metals, and other materials. Although you can modify table saws to cut metal and other materials, they’re primarily designed to cut wood.
Anyone using a power saw should always follow the required safety precautions, including wearing the correct PPE. That said, band saw blades are thinner than table saws. This means you can easily manipulate them to make cuts without harming yourself.
However, table saws aren’t quite as safe. Their blades are wide and pose a significant risk while in motion. Luckily, some models come with a blade stop system that can detect human flesh. Even so, bandsaws are safer than table saws.
A single pass is all you need to make a significantly clean cut with a table saw. The cut is even cleaner if the saw has been modified to make bevel cuts. However, bandsaw cuts aren’t so clean. Hence, you’ll need extra sanding to make a curved cut look good with a bandsaw.
Band saws and table saws have different levels of precision when cutting through wood. Band saw allows you to make scroll and curved cuts with no extra accessories needed. On the other hand, table saws don’t offer the same precision when making curved cuts. However, they make precise rip and crosscuts.
In terms of the noise they make while in use, band saws produce way less noise compared to table saws. Hence, you can comfortably use a bandsaw in your home without bothering other occupants.
However, using a table saw in a home with other inhabitants is a bad idea. It produces so much noise, you’d need ear protection for safety.
Should You Choose Bandsaw or Table Saw?
Both saws have their uses and specific projects that they’re perfect for. Hence, your choice will depend on the kind of projects you’re working on. If you need to make precise rip and crosscuts, you should invest in a table saw. However, if looking to make accurate curved cuts, you’re better off buying a bandsaw.
You may also want to consider other qualities when choosing between both saws. If indoor noise is going to be a problem, owning a table saw would pose a few issues.
Also, bandsaws can cut through more materials. So, if you work with different materials like plastic and metal, a bandsaw would do a much better job. Overall, a woodworker would find more uses for a table saw than a bandsaw.
Of Course, you don’t have to choose between a bandsaw and a table saw. Many professional woodworkers have both saws in their shops. But if you’re starting out and working with a strict budget, it makes sense to get the most functional saw. In that case, a table saw’s ability to make a wide variety of cuts tips the scales in its favor.
- Are table saws more expensive than band saws? No, table saws are slightly less expensive. However, you’ll find high-end and budget options for both saws.
- Can table saws cut metal? Table saws aren’t designed to cut through metals. But there are special blades that allow you to cut through metals on a table saw.
- Why are table saws more popular than bandsaws? Table saws are more popular because they’re the most commonly used woodworking machine in a woodshop.