Table Saw vs Circular Saw: Which Do You Need?

Table Saw vs Circular Saw: Which Do You Need?

Every woodworking project requires the use of power tools which also come in handy for DIY purposes. You can have a wide range of power tools in your workshop but power saws are certainly a must-have.

Picking the right saw can be tricky and many woodworkers don’t know whether they should opt for a table saw or purchase a circular saw.

If you want only one of these two types of power saws and you don’t want to invest in both of them, you should keep reading because, in today’s article, I have covered a comparative review that will help you decide which saw suits your projects the most.

Main Differences between Table Saws vs Circular Saws

The main differences between Table Saws vs Circular Saws are:

  • Table saws are placed on a flat surface, whereas circular saws are hand-held tools;
  • Table saws are more expensive, whereas circular saws are more affordable;
  • Table saws make accurate cuts, whereas circular saws make less cuts;
  • Table saws come with dust disposals, whereas circular saws lack this feature.

Table Saw vs Circular Saw – What Are They?

circular saws

Let’s start by finding out what these power tools are and what they are used for. Knowing as many details as possible will help you make a final purchasing decision based on facts.

What Are Table Saws?

A table saw features a circular blade but the entire construction is built in a table or a work surface and the blade shows up through a hole in that surface. Table saws are appreciated for their high level of accuracy when it comes to cutting straight lines. You cannot cut curved lines with them.

The user operates this power tool by placing the material that needs to be cut (mostly wood) on the table. Being guided by a mechanism from the saw’s table, the woodworker pushes the piece of wood against the blade to achieve precise and accurate slices.

More modern versions allow users to adjust the cut’s angle and height which provides a lot more flexibility that further translates into a higher number of possibilities regarding the types of cuts.

What Are Circular Saws?

These types of power saws also have a circular blade but they are hand-held instead of being inserted into another surface. There are several different subcategories of circular saws such as mini circular saws and worm drive saws.

You can use a circular saw by placing it directly on the wood piece that you want to cut. More experienced woodworkers can easily perform straight cuts by eye while beginners normally use a kind of jig that helps them obtain more accurate cuts.

Just like table saws, circular ones cannot cut curved lines. Another similarity is the way you can modify both the angle and the height of the cut.

Table Saw vs – Pros and Cons

circular saw

These two power tools come with advantages and disadvantages. Let’s see the most important of their pros and cons.

Table Saw Pros

  • The cuts are precise and accurate – most woodworkers would rather use a table saw due to its high level of accuracy and its ease of use. The stability of the table combined with the saw’s design makes this combo a very sturdy and precise one;
  • You can perform ripping boards and cross-cuts easily – the most common chores a woodworker does are cross-cuts and ripping boards both of which become easier to do with a table saw, even if you’re a beginner;
  • It comes with efficient sawdust disposal – with a table saw, you will never have to deal with piles of dust after you complete a project becomes most of it goes directly inside the dust compartment;
  • It is easy to maintain – table saws occupy more space than circular ones and they are stationary but they are very easy to maintain and you have access to all their parts without too much effort. This comes in handy especially when you want to reach for a part that tends to break from time to time.

Table Saw Cons

  • It isn’t portable – this type of saw will be fixed in a workshop and will remain there all the time. This means you will have to make sure there’s enough room to fit this tool plus you won’t be able to move it around. Still, some models are more compact, lightweight, and quite portable than others;
  • These types of saws are pretty expensive – table saws cost more than hand-held ones so if your budget is tight, these power tools might not be your ideal option. They are the ideal alternative for those who will use them on a daily or at least regular basis;
  • It might be dangerous to use if you’re a beginner – the blade of this saw remains exposed at all times which might represent a risk if you’re not careful enough or if you have never used this type of power saw before.

Circular Saw Pros

  • It is a highly versatile power saw – although a table saw is more precise, a circular saw offers a higher level of versatility. This means you’ll be able to perform various types of cuts with it and cut through different materials, as long as you use the right blade type;
  • This saw is portable and you can carry it around with you – this is a great choice for those woodworkers who go from one project to another and must carry the tool with them. Circular saws are mobile and lightweight and there are even battery-powered and cordless versions available on the market which can be useful in places where you cannot find any power outlets;
  • It is more affordable than a table saw – circular saws are quite cheap so they represent the go-to choice when someone doesn’t want to spend too much money.

Circular Saw Cons

  • Its cuts aren’t as precise as the ones made with a table saw – you will have to move this hand-held saw when performing a cut so it gets trickier to do completely precise cuts compared to a table saw that has a fixed blade. Nevertheless, you can improve the outcome of your projects by using the correct guide;
  • There’s no sawdust disposal – if you do more than just one cut with a circular saw, you should expect to see quite a lot of dust piling up around you because hand-held saws don’t feature a dust disposal compartment. It seems that, for most woodworkers, sawdust management is pretty important.

Table Saw vs Circular Saw – Their Use and Purpose

Table Saw vs Circular Saw

What Are Table Saws Good for?

A table saw is the ideal choice when you want to cut straight lines with a higher level of precision. All you have to do is set up the tool for the cut you desire to perform and let the machine do its thing. You almost cannot go wrong with a table saw.

The user must push the piece of wood into the blade and the saw allows you to do the same kind of cut every time you use it. Table saws can also make other types of cuts such as rips and crosscuts. The tool’s ease of use makes it the proper device for novice woodworkers.

Another major advantage that these machines provide is their dust-collecting feature which means you will be able to keep your working area clean. All in all, table saws are easier to use and low-maintenance. With a table saw, you can make straight cuts, crown molding, and even correct crooked boards.

What Are Circular Saws Good for?

Circular saws are mobile tools so they are the perfect option when you cannot bring the wood piece to a table saw. Cordless models are even more flexible and portable. With a circular saw, you can even perform overhead cuts.

This utilitarian workhorse makes straight lines on lumber pieces. Just like a table saw, this tool can also make both crosscuts and rips. Unlike his fixed version, a circular saw can help you perform bevel cuts as well. With some practice, the user can eventually make flawless straight cuts with a circular saw.

The Best Table Saws to Consider

Here are some of the best table saws available on the market that you should definitely consider buying. They are listed in no particular order.

1. Shop Fox W1819 Table Saw

shop fox w1319

The W1819 model from Shop Fox has a motor power of 3 HP and a 10-inch table. This powerful table saw will help you successfully handle almost any project. It is very easy to assemble and even beginners can manage it without problems.

It comes with an excellent dust port and has amazing safety features but some users have complained about the questionable quality of the tool’s miter gauge.

2. DEWALT DWE7491RS Table Saw

dewalt table saw

The DWE7491RS cutting tool is one of the best of its kind due to its portability because the table saw stand can be removed with ease. It is very easy to adjust the saw in order to achieve the perfect cut. It is made of durable materials and it offers a lot of power.

On the other hand, the table might be a bit small but the tool compensates for this potential downside with its great dust port.

The Best Circular Saws to Consider

Here are some of the best circular saws I recommend.

1. DEWALT DWE575SB Circular Saw

dewalt circular saw

This portable saw comes with a Though Cord System that helps the user prevent accidental disconnects while also ensuring a longer product lifecycle. It has a lightweight construction and features an electric brake. The package also contains a travel bag for increased mobility.

The DEWALT DWE575SB cutting tool has a 15-amp motor and an integrated dust blower. It is hard to make cuts that aren’t almost perfect with this portable saw.

2. SKIL 5180-01 Circular Saw

skil 5280

SKIL 5180-01 is another excellent choice if you want to purchase a circular saw. It has a powerful motor and it delivers faster cuts at a greater speed. Moreover, it features a lightweight design which makes it easier for you to handle the tool and lower fatigue.

The blade is easy to change and the design is very lightweight. As a potential drawback, the place of the safety switch might be a tad hard to reach at times.

FAQs About Table Saws and Circular Saws

What Table Saw Should You Choose for Home Use?

Here’s a brief list of some of the most effective and powerful table saws for your home working place:
DeWalt DWE7491RS – the best saw overall with the perfect combination of power and portability;
SawStop PCS31230-TGP236 – the best saw for its cabinet table and its top-notch performance;
Bosch 4100-10 table saw – the best table saw due to its impressive gravity-rise frame that enables you to modify its height any way you want;
DeWalt DW745 – the best table saw due to its compact design and reasonable price tag;
Craftsman Evolv – the best table saw for its affordable price.

What Are the Best Table Saws for Novice Woodworkers?

Hitachi C10RJ Table Saw – it is well-made and handles well many types of projects. This tool has very good components;
Delta 36-6013 Table Saw – it has a powerful motor and it comes with a 5-year warranty. Also, this tool has a large rip capacity;
SKIL 3410-02 – an affordable table saw made of high-quality components that make all kinds of cuts.

What Is the Difference between Table Saws and Miter Saws?

Miter saws don’t perform large and long cuts as table saws do. By comparison, table saws cut through larger or thicker materials. At the same time, a miter saw has side extensions.

Are Circular Saws More Dangerous than Table Saws?

Compared to table saws, circular ones have faster blade movements and they spin quicker. This might represent a higher risk, especially for somebody who has never used a circular saw before.

Table Saw vs Circular Saw – Bottom Line

So, which type of saw is best, a circular one, or a table tool? There’s no such thing as the perfect or best option. It all depends on your budget, the type of woodwork you usually do, your workplace, and more.

With a circular saw, you can perform a wider range of cuts while a table saw provides higher precision. Circular saws are better for projects that require trips and mobility while a table saw is better when you work in one single place.

Consider your needs, the type of projects you’re involved in, and choose accordingly.

Further read:

Alexandra Gavrilescu

Alexandra has plenty of knowledge on all home improvement topics, from renovations to weatherproofing, interior design ideas, DIY projects, and more. You can rely on her expertise because her guidelines are practical and effective. So, we could say that she knows what she's talking about. Through UpDweller, Alexandra will provide you with a wide variety of handy tips and inspirational ideas that you can use to upgrade your house. Her improvement instructions are accurate and well-tested.

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