Table Saw vs. Circular Saw: Which is Better for You?

tablesaw vs. circular Saw

Power tools are always at the heart of every woodworking project, and they are also vital for most DIY projects. And although there are various handy power tools that you can have in the workshop, power saws are one of the must-haves.

Every DIYer and woodworkers understand the importance of a power saw in the workshop, but the problem arises when you have to pick on from the many options.

One of the most common issues that DIYers and woodworkers will face is whether to go for a table saw or circular saw. And this is more so when they only can afford to buy one.

For experienced woodworkers, the choice between the table and circular saws should be natural because they already know what is handy for most of their projects.

But, the choice between the two helpful power saws should also not be hard for a novice or beginner woodworker. The most important thing is always to understand the capabilities of each saw and its pros and cons.

Table Saw

Table saws are among the most common power tools, and it is almost a must-have for professional woodworkers. It is also what the pro woodworkers will use to make most of their cuts.

This stationary saw will consist of a circular blade mounted on an arbor. And the protruding nature of the saw's blade through the table surface is its most distinctive feature.

Modern versions of the table will make it possible to vary the depth of the cut as the blade can move up and down through the table’s slot. Also, many will allow you to adjust the angle of the blade to make various cuts.

Table saws are very efficient power tools because they make cross-cutting and ripping boards look almost effortless. These power saws will also deliver precise and accurate cuts, and the chances of errors are minimal.

With the right blade and in the hands of an experienced woodworker, a table saw can make almost any cut that you can think of including tenon, dado and lap joints.

Pros

  • Precise and accurate cuts. One of the things that make the table saw a favorite of many woodworkers is that it delivers some highly precise and accurate cuts with relative ease. The permanyent nature of the saw and the design of the blade combine with its other features such as miter or rip fence to ensure that you always get perfect cuts.
  • Efficient sawdust disposal. Unlike the circular saw that always leaves a pile of sawdust, you will never have to worry about wood dust when using a table saw. And this is because most of the sawdust will go in one direction and into the dust compartment to make clean up easy afterward.
  • Makes cross-cuts and ripping boards easy. With a table saw, cross-cutting and ripping boards which are some of the most common tasks in the workshop will be pretty easy. It is quite hard to mess up either of the two with this saw even if you are a beginner.
  • Easy to Maintain. Although the table saw is larger than the circular saw and also stationary it is still easy to maintain as it provides easy access to the parts that tend to break a lot. And if you do adequate maintenance it will also last for longer than the circular saw.

Cons

  • Not portable: Most table saws will be a permanent fixture in your workshop. And this means that you can only use it from one point in the garage or workshop and also that you will have to dedicate a significant amount of valuable workspace to it permanently. However, it is also possible to get some modern ones that are small, lightweight and portable.
  • Quite expensive. Table saws are quite expensive if you compare them to the circular saw. If you are shopping for a power saw on a tight budget they might not be a good choice as you will need to part with a significant amount of money. Also, the high cost means that they will not be worth buying if you do not intend to use the saw regularly.
  • Dangerous to use. The exposed nature of the blade on the table saw means that it poses a significant danger. Although they still have a brake system and other safety measures, they are still dangerous tools, and this is more so for inexperienced woodworkers.

Circular Saw

circular saw

The circular saw is one of the most versatile power saws that you can have in the workshop, and it is hard to think of any cut that it cannot make it. Although it also has some limitations and shortcomings, it is one of the first power tools that you should buy.

The circular saw is another favorite power saw of both professional and beginner woodworkers. And most woodworkers like it because it is not only affordable but also quite a versatile.

In the hands of a professional or experienced woodworker and with the right jig, the circular saw can make almost all the cuts that you can achieve with a table saw.

This handheld power saw will feature a circular blade that spins around an arbor, and you can use it to cut through different types of materials.

And like the table saw it is also possible to use the circular saw to make crosscuts, rip cuts or even a combination of the two.

Blades for the circular saw will come in different designs and sizes, and this is one of the things that make it very versatile. You can get a blade for everything from ripping and crosscutting to cutting plastic laminates.

Most woodworkers will prefer to use the circular saw to cut small boards and plywood, and its portability means that it can be handy in different worksites.

Pros

  • Versatile saw. A circular saw might not offer the precision or accuracy of a table saw, but it makes up for this with its versatility. This portable power tool will not only help you make various cuts, but with the right blade, you can also use it to cut different materials.
  • Relatively cheap. Circular saws will only cost a fraction of what you would spend on a table so. And so they will be a good buy as your first saw when you do not want to spend a lot of cash.
  • Portable power saw. If you want a mobile power saw for use in different worksites, the circular saw is one of the best options. It is both lightweight and portable, and you can also get cordless and battery-powered ones that you can use even in places where there are no power outlets.

Cons

  • Not very precise or accurate. Since you have to move the saw when making cuts it is hard to get precise cuts. At least not the same level of precious or accuracy as you would get with a table saw. But, you can improve them by using a proper guide.
  • No Sawdust disposal. If you are using the circular saw for projects that require you to make several cuts, then you can expect to end up with a pile of wood dust all around you. While this might not look like a significant demerit, any experienced DIYers and woodworker will tell you that sawdust management matters when picking power saws.

The Bottom Line

ablesaw vs. Circular Saw - infographic

The choice between the circular and table saws should be simple for most experienced DIYers and woodworkers because they already know what is ideal for most of their projects.

For the beginner or novice woodworkers, the choice between the two tools is not always straightforward. But, while both are fantastic power tools they will be ideal for different situations.

If you are shopping for an affordable and versatile power saw that you could use from almost anywhere and to make a variety of cuts in various materials, the circular saw is the best option.

Also, the portable circular saw is the best choice for those with small workshops and do not have space for mounting a permanent power saw.

The table saw, on the other hand, will be ideal for those that are into woodworking for the long run and want something that makes precise and accurate cuts and is also built to last.

Also, the table saw will work well for those that want something that is easy to use as you only need to focus on the angle of the cut when cutting. Things are not that easy when using the circular saw.

Best Table Saws

1. DeWalt DW745 10-Inch Compact Job-Site Table Saw

DeWalt DW745 Jobsite Table Saw

Most table saws are bulky and stationary power tools, but it is still possible to get a modern and portable one like the DeWalt DW745 that weighs only 22 kg.

The saw comes with a steel roll cage to protect it from impact and drops. It also has an efficient fence system and clear scales that combine to ensure that you always get accurate cuts while also making it easy to use.

The 610 mm rip capacity will make the Dewalt DW745 an ideal power saw for cutting large sheet materials. And the powerful 15-Amp motor will provide all the power you need to rip through hardwood with relative ease.

This table saw will also feature a cast tabletop design for accuracy and precision, quick bevel lock and an overload protection system.

2. Bosch 4100-09 10-Inch Worksite Portable Table Saw

Bosch 4100-09 Portable Table Saw

Most modern table saws are not as bulky as the older models, and so they are also usable from almost anywhere. The Bosch 4100-09 also comes with a wheeled stand to make it simple and convenient to move around.

The adjustable and collapsible gravity stand that comes with this table saw makes it possible to alter the height to suit your needs and hence making the saw more convenient.

But besides from the fantastic stand this table saw is also an efficient cutting tool. And it features a large cutting surface and a powerful motor that provides up to 3,650 no load RPM for precision cutting.

This highly efficient table saw will also come with a SquareLock rip fence to increase the cutting accuracy and anti-kickback pawls to protect woodworkers from kickbacks.

Best Circular Saws

1. DeWalt DWE575SB Lightweight Circular Saw

Dewalt DWE575SB 7-1/4" Lightweight Corded Circular Saw

The lightweight and compact DeWalt DWE575SB circular saw is as easy to use as circular saws get. And it will be a perfect choice even for beginner woodworkers.

It runs on a 15-Amp motor that provides more than enough power for cutting various kinds of materials and a 7 1/2-inch blade that will be ideal for most lumber cuts in the workshop.

With this circular saw you will get a bevel capacity of 57 degrees and with stops at 45 and 22.5 degrees to increase the versatility of the cuts that you can make.

The tough and durable power saw also uses an electric brake system for safety. And besides from woodworkers, it will also work well for remodelers and general contractors.

2. DeWalt DCS391B Cordless Circular Saw

DeWalt DCS391B 20-Volt MAX Li-Ion Circular Saw

For the woodworkers that prefer to use cordless circular saws here is a reliable and efficient one from DeWalt. And apart from the convenient 20V lithium-ion battery power source, it also has all the good features that you can wish for in a circular saw.

The powerful motor delivers up to 5,250 RPM to ensure that you have the speed and power that you need to make even the most demanding cuts and do it with ease.

The high strength magnesium shoe will deliver job site durability and also ensure that you get long-term accuracy from the saw. And the 0 to 50-degree bevel capacity will allow woodworkers to make some aggressive bevels to make this circular saw ideal for a variety of applications.