Track saws and table saws are common tools in the world of construction and woodwork.
Woodworkers and DIYers choose the type of saw to use based on the kind of cut they need and the type of wood they’re cutting. While the functions of these two tools tend to overlap, there are some distinct differences.
Here are comparative details of the track saw vs table saw:
- The primary difference between the two is that you move the workpiece against a rotating blade at a fixed point with a table saw, whereas with a track saw, you move the saw across the wood along the guided tracks.
- A track saw works like a circular saw by making a long angled cut, plunge cuts, rip cuts, whereas the table saw makes clean, precise cuts.
- The table saw has excellent repeatability, whereas the track depends on the settings.
- Track saws are portable and ideal for moving across job sites, unlike its counterpart.
- A track saw has a less powerful motor than a table saw.
If you are considering these two tools for your workshop, I will give you a breakdown of each of them in this detailed review to help you make an informed decision.
Table Saw Overview
A table saw is an excellent choice for all types of woodworking. This tool is made up of a circular saw blade driven by an electric motor and mounted on arbors. With this saw, you move the workpiece against a rotating blade at a fixed location.
Instead of moving the blade, you move the wood past the cutting device. These saws are used to make cuts down the center of plywood boards or lumber. As you put pressure on the boards, the blade creates a smooth, consistent surface.
If you are looking for a tool with power, accuracy, and repeatability abilities, a table saw is an excellent choice. It’s a powerful, versatile tool that helps you achieve accurate and clean cuts.
Key Features of a Table Saw
- Powerful Motor
This tool works through a cutting machine. The motor produces adequate power to push the device to carry out cuts with ease. When using this saw, consider using eye and ear protection against the loud noise and flying wood debris.
- Emergency Button
Table saws come installed with an emergency button to turn off the device in case the board kicks back. This safety measure prevents injuries.
- Dust Port
Some table saws come with a dust collection port that reduces the amount of debris.
Why You Should Use A Table Saw
The benefit of working with a table saw is it’s well suited for cutting durable or sturdy materials. In addition, it effectively cut down different types of wood or boards with ease.
The table saw is suitable for making repeatable rip cuts. Unlike a track saw, it doesn’t require a reset after each cut. It will rip multiple identical widths while saving you the time you could have used resetting the saw.
Cutting through tough and thick materials becomes more manageable with a powerful motor like the one in a table saw.
- Easy to assemble
- Powerful motor that can handle most materials
- It can make repetitive cuts
- Can work on all types of woodworking
- It cuts through the wood with more speed and accuracy
- Easy and convenient to use
- It’s versatile
- It can make deep cuts about 3 to 4 inches deep
- Requires a lot of workshop space
- It’s less portable
- Some models don’t come with an in-built dust collection system
- Risky exposed cutting blade
I recommend the Shop Fox W1837 table saw for its powerful motor. It comes with a 2-hp motor that is powerful enough to handle any wood. Also, it has a clear polycarbonate guard that allows you to see the blade to prevent injury.
Shop Fox W1837 also comes with a riving knife that prevents kickback and injury. This tool is easy to assemble, even for a DIYer at home. In addition, it comes with a built-in 4″ dust port to remove the debris. Finally, it’s a safe tool that allows you to make precise cuts efficiently.
Track Saw Overview
Track saws are a good choice for making long crosscuts or rips across a wide board. They are designed to run down a track to ensure you get a perfectly straight cut.
Using an elongated metal guide with a unique cutting system, it has a guide rail that constraints how long your cuts can be.
Woodworkers use track saws due to their portability across job sites. In addition, because of its track, track saws are great for cutting sheet goods. This device is also perfect if you have limited workshop space.
Key Features of a Track Saw
Track saws make smooth, clean cuts. The tracks on this tool hold the blade in place to ensure the cuts get made at the exact points. Once it aligns with the marked lines, the device does not slip or make mistakes.
- Dust Port
The dust collection system is a critical feature for woodworkers. The debris is directed to the collection port to keep your working area clean.
- Circular Blade
Track saws have circular blades that are precise, reducing kickback and blade-pinching.
- Rubber Strips
When using a track saw, you don’t need to use clamps. The rubber strips on the track bottom are firm and don’t slip. The track remains stable throughout the cutting process because of the sticky strips.
- Blade Covers
Track saws are a safer option in your workshop because they come with a covered blade. In addition, the design of this tool covers the cutter, preventing work-related injuries.
Why You Should Buy a Track Saw
With track saws, you get a perfectly straight cut. You’ll also be in more control of the cutting process because the wood doesn’t have to move while you cut.
The ease of placement and adjustment of the track saw makes the cutting much more manageable. As a result, you can save on time and material used with this tool.
Due to its versatility, this lightweight device is ideal if you need to move across work sites. It’s also less messy because of the dust collection port.
- It makes clean, precise, and smooth cuts
- It has an efficient dust collection port
- Very portable
- Can make angled and plunged cuts
- It’s a good choice for cutting sheet goods
- It takes up little space in your workshop or space
- Relatively safer to use
- Has excellent stability
- Less prone to injuries
- It has less motor power
- The set-up process is time-consuming
I recommend the Makita SP6000J1 6-1/2-inch saw. It has a powerful 12-Amp motor that will cut through even the hardwoods easily. In addition, this track has electronic speed control, which keeps things running smoothly.
This saw has a depth adjustment feature that allows you to do preliminary or partial cuts. It also has a long guardrail approximately 55″ long, well suited for most projects. It has a super deep cutting capacity with extensive cutting depths.
What to Consider When Buying a Track Saw or Table Saw
Before deciding on the type of saw to purchase, you need to consider the needs for the tool, the type of workpiece you are dealing with, and what kind of project you have at hand.
Here are some things you should consider when choosing between a track saw or a table saw.
Depending on the project, you might need a tool that you can move around or one that’s set in a workshop. For example, if you need to cut materials on-site, a track saw might be a much better option. You can move it from one job site to the next with much ease.
For projects that need a workshop space, a table saw is well-suited. However, due to its size, it’s less portable.
- Motor Power
Complex materials such as thick hardwood require a saw with a powerful motor. Having the correct saw is crucial in handling all types of projects. Table saws have more powerful electric motors that make cutting easier and accurate.
If you need a saw that can handle most wood materials, a table saw is a go-to option.
- Safety Measures
Working with any type of saw can be dangerous and could cause bodily harm. As you shop for a saw for your home improvement projects, consider the safety of your device. An exposed blade is risky and could result in injuries if you make any errors.
The track saw is much safer compared to the table saw due to the presence of blade covers. It allows the user to see the blade movements. If there’s a kickback, the device locks and stops the saw from hurting the user.
Also, remember to check that the tool has riving knives, blade guards, or a saw stop to protect against cuts.
- Types of Cuts
The table saw allows for accurate, small, and narrow rip cuts. You can also make repetitive cuts without adjusting the saw. On the other hand, the track saw makes angled and plunged precise cuts.
Depending on the project at hand and the materials being used, you can determine what types of cuts you need to make. Then, using this information, you can go for a tool that can handle the exact type of cuts you need.
- Work Space
The available space for your work project is a factor in choosing between a table saw and a track saw. Table saws take up large spaces in your workshop and will require you to have extra storage space.
Before deciding on space, the size has to meet the justification. For example, if most of your projects involve cutting sheet goods, a track saw is a much better option. It doesn’t take up a lot of space and is portable; therefore, you can move it from one workstation to the next.
- Dust Port
In any cutting process, there’ll be a lot of debris to get rid of. A table saw, or a track saw with an efficient dust collecting system makes it easier to keep your workstation cleaner.
This feature is critical if you are working on a project in your home or at a client’s space. Get a tool with an in-built collection system to keep your environment and air clean.
Track saws and table saws are essential tools for DIYers, professional woodworkers, and individuals involved in home improvement projects. However, both devices have their pros and cons. Therefore, you can choose the most suitable tool depending on your needs and project type.
I have highlighted the distinct differences that can guide you in making a choice. If you need a powerful saw that can handle all types of woodworks, go for the table saw. A track saw has better safety features and is more stable during cutting.
In some cases, one may act as a substitute for the other. But as a pro user, you should consider the specific strengths of each tool before deciding on one.
- How Do You Choose the Best Beginner Table Saw?
If you are a newbie using a table saw, you consider your budget, ease of use, space available, and safety measures. Woodwork-related injuries are common when dealing with table and track saws. Before buying this tool, ensure it has safety features such as a blade guard or riving knives to protect you from accidental cuts.
- Can a Track Saw Replace a Table Saw?
A table saw will always have a place in a woodwork workshop. It might be harder to entirely replace it, especially if you deal with thicker slabs of exotics and hardwoods.
A track saw comes in handy when you need to move around from one job site to another. Each of these saws have their own specific needs and uses; therefore you might require them both.