Table Saw Vs Circular Saw

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In our opinion, every workshop should be prepared for a number of different circumstances. This means that you may need to be prepared to have more than one circular saw on hand in order to be able to handle different types of tasks. A power tool is meant to be powerful and versatile but they all have their limitations as well.

In this guide, we will take a look at the table saw vs circular saw and give you a complete rundown and comparison of how these saws can be similar and interchangeable but also how they differ. We would recommend having both in your workshop but if you’re just trying to decide which is better for now of these circular saws, then this guide is for you!

Table Saw Vs Circular Saw
Photo by annawaldl from Pixabay

You will find that while these are similar in what they can do, they definitely have some places where they stand out against each other too.

 

Table Saws and Circular Saws: A Complete Comparison

We find it easier to look at each saw individually, though we might make some reference comparisons while we speak of a certain saw. We do this to try to keep the information about each saw as clear and separated as possible.

Table Saw

Table Saws and Circular Saws: A Complete Comparison
Image by SKIL 15 Amp 10 Inch Table Saw – TS6307-00 from Amazon

A table saw comes in several different forms but the concept is the same. No matter which type of table saw you go for, you find that they all have a table surface with the circular saw blade incorporated into the table. The blade spins in a circular motion when the power tool is on and then you push your wood through up against the blade.

In this particular concept, one of the differences between the table saw vs circular saw is that the table saw is meant to be stationary while in use and the circular saw is not. In this case, you move the wood but with a circular saw you will move the saw.

Table saws can be quite versatile. They are often used for things like rip cuts and straight cuts or even repetitive cuts but they can be useful for angled cuts and miter cuts as well. The table or the bench that you place the saw on gives you stability so that you can cut with precision and accuracy while you work.

These saws are incredibly powerful and while they do make accurate cuts they are known for their power in cutting and ripping boards. Most table saws are designed to be heavy duty. Some table saws cut roughly when cutting wood quickly because they are powerful and fast but you can most certainly cut a variety of means with modern table saws.

How Table Saws Work

When you use a table saw, you will want to be familiar with the blade guard as well as the cutting capacity. You can make precise cuts but there may be some pre-work to do so because you will need to get your fence aligned and squared properly.

You will prepare your cutting wood and your table space and then you will power on the table saw. Most table saws are equipped or can be used with a miter gauge. Most table saws also allow you to angle the blade or the table to make angled cuts. You can even make cross cuts with a table saw as well.

You most likely will not use a table saw for curved cuts, at least not anything extensive. Keep in mind the table saw is really made for rip cuts and working quickly with plenty of power. Table saws typically also provide efficient sawdust disposal or collection system as well.

Table Saw Uses

Table saws easily fall among one of the most common power tools on the market. They have a fixed blade, apart from the ability to angle for some uses. The powerful motor is typically best suited to cutting straight lines along the rip fence. This will be your primary use.

These power saws are best for those long, straight rip fence cuts but the best table saws will be versatile to make bevel cuts and even do some things miter saws can do as well. If you choose a contractor or portable saw, it will be on a wheeled stand, making it easy to take and use on a job site.

When it comes to the table saw, you have multiple types. They include the following:

  • Modern versions traditional table saw
  • Portable table saw
  • Contractor table saw
  • Cabinet saw
  • Hybrid saw

These are the most common types out there and the cabinet table is the least portable. It’s also the most heavy duty so it doesn’t go to job sites with you.

When it comes to DIY projects, table saws are a cutting tool that you can depend on.

Pros and Cons

Now, to give the best clear picture of what you can appreciate from a table saw, let’s review the pros and cons.

Pros:

  • Versatile to cut wood in just about any capacity you need
  • You can make straight and precise cuts with the rip fence
  • Perfect for DIY or repetitive work
  • Typically is equipped with dust compartment
  • Easy to use and adjust to your needs
  • Perfect for ripping cuts

Cons:

  • Vs circular saws they are not as easily portable
  • These power saws can get pretty pricy depending on the model
  • Higher number of injuries reported
Bestseller No. 1
DEWALT Table Saw for Jobsite, Compact, 8-1/4-Inch (DWE7485)
  • Portability: Compact size for ease of transportation and storage
  • Easy adjustments: Rack and pinion telescoping fence rails make fence adjustments fast, smooth and accurate
  • Variety of cuts: 24.5 inches of rip capacity for ripping 4x8 plywood or OSB sheets
  • Power: 15 Amp, 5800 rpm motor
  • Onboard storage: Onboard storage provides easy access to the site pro guarding components and push stick when not in use
Bestseller No. 2
DEWALT 10-Inch Table Saw, 32-1/2-Inch Rip Capacity (DWE7491RS)
  • Your purchase includes one Dewalt table saw, 10inch 24-tooth carbide blade, rolling stand, push stick, miter gauge, rip fence, 2x blade wrenches, blade guard assembly manual
  • Other Specs: Max rip to left of blade – 22inch | Max rip to right of blade – 32-1/2inch | Max width of Dado – 13/16inch | Arbor size – 5/8inch | Amps – 15 | Depth of cut at 45inch – 2-1/4inch | Depth of cut at 90° – 3-1/8inch | No Load Speed: 4800 RPM
  • Rolling stand designed for easy set up and breakdown with excellent stability
  • Rack & Pinion Telescoping Fence System Make fence adjustments fast, smooth and accurate
  • Features a 15.0A high torque motor with the power to cut pressure treated lumber and hardwoods
SaleBestseller No. 3
SKIL 15 Amp 10 Inch Table Saw - TS6307-00
  • RACK AND PINION FENCE RAILS – Ensures fence stays parallel to blade for fast, smooth, and accurate cuts
  • INTEGRATED FOLDING STAND – Legs quickly fold in to provide portability and convenient storage
  • PARALLEL BLADE ALIGNMENT – Available micro-adjustment of blade so that it is parallel to rip fence and miter slot
  • 4x4 CUTTING CAPACITY – Cuts material up to 4x4 at 90 degrees
  • 2-47° BEVEL CAPACITY – Cuts between 2 positive stops at 0 and 45 degrees with quick release lever

Circular Saws

When it comes to working on construction sites, sometimes you need might need smaller blades or perhaps just a smaller tool for the woodworking project at hand. A circular saw might just be the tool here. Table saws and circular saws can do a lot of the same things but a circular saw is a handheld tools that doesn’t require a table to function.

The circular saw is a handheld saw that might fall into the realm of specialty tools. You will need a good table to support the work you’re doing but a good circular saw is designed to be used in your hand and to work with different materials.

Basically if you have power outlets and an extension cord, you can take your circular saw wherever you need to in order to get the work done! They can cut metal as well if you have the right blade on the saw. You can handle wood stock and a variety of materials and even novice woodworkers can put the a good circular saw to use for themselves.

If you’re on a tight budget, the circular saw is a really great place to start. These handheld saws can make a precise cut to exact dimensions but they can also make a rip cut and basic shapes. Some uses are better appraised to more experienced woodworkers.

In general, you can make more accurate cuts with these handheld saws because you are in control of the saw the entire time. Some hand held saws like these even have a single beam laser to help keep you on track.

How Circular Saws Work

How Circular Saws Work
Image by SKIL 5280-01 Circular Saw with Single Beam Laser Guide, 15 Amp/7-1/4 Inch from Amazon

Since circular saws are held in your hand, you have control over them for the most part. Your hand gets to guide the saw across the wood or other material. This tool is popular on job sites because you can make precision cuts and you can do so quickly still.

Some circular saws have a dust blower to help minimize dust but they most likely won’t have a full collection or port system in place. The main differences in a good table saw vs circular saw is that with a circular saw you are holding the saw in your hand but with a table saw you are holding the wood in your hand. The sawdust management is also a significant difference.

Much like table saws, circular saws do come in different sizes as well as different types. You can find this cutting tool in anything from corded to cordless and even mini circular saws for those tight and narrows spaces that you need to make a cut in.

You will need some physical strength to be able to handle a circular and make accurate cuts but it is not overly hard. Cordless circular saws allow you the freedom to work without the hassle of a cord.

Much like a table saw, a circular saw uses a circular blade. In this case, the blade is enclosed inside of a casing. This may be an impressive gravity rise frame or simple plastic laminates but they are typically designed for safety and durability.

Circular Saw Uses

The circular saw is notorious for DIY projects, job site table use, and taking on the go with you. They are versatile and multi-purpose tools that can handle a number of different uses. The circular saw can be taken anywhere and the circular blade runs just like a table saw but almost in the opposite form.

Remember that on a table saw, you are pushing the wood through the blade but on a circular saw you are pushing the blade through the material.

The circular saw design allows you to use the saw for just about any type of cut. You can use both table saws and circular saws for ripping boards but the table saw is really better suited. Apart from that particular task, use the circular saw to make straight cuts, repetitive cuts, narrow cuts, angled or beveled cuts, and even cross cuts.

You can cut some basic shapes because you are in control of the movements of the saw the entire time that you are working. While beginners can use these just fine, you will find that you need some experience for some of the more advanced cuts out there.

Pros and Cons

Much like the table saw, there are both advantages and disadvantages to using a circular saw. Check out these pros and cons here.

Pros:

  • Handheld and easy to operate
  • You’re in control of the movements
  • Versatile for different materials and projects
  • Tends to be more affordable than the best table saws
  • Great for job site use
  • Made to be portable

Cons:

  • You may need some skill and expertise to really handle the best
  • You may not get as much cutting depth
  • You still may need a jobsite table for some tasks
SaleBestseller No. 1
SKIL 5280-01 Circular Saw with Single Beam Laser Guide, 15 Amp/7-1/4 Inch
  • Powerful 15-amp motor delivers 5,300-RPM for greater speed and faster cuts
  • 7-1,4-inch carbide-tipped blade included. Spindle lock for easy blade changes.
  • 51 degree bevel capacity for a wide variety of cuts. Arbor size: 5,8 inches, cord length: 6 feet
  • Lightweight 6.95-pounds design reduces fatigue
  • Dust blower keeps line-of-cut free of sawdust for improved visibility. Anti-snag lower guard reduces snags when making narrow cut-offs
SaleBestseller No. 2
DEWALT 7-1/4-Inch Circular Saw, Lightweight, Corded (DWE575)
  • DEWALT 7 1/4 circular saw is one of the lightest saws in its class at 8.8 lbs
  • Corded circular saw has 15 amp motor, powerful enough for even the toughest applications
  • The compact circular saw has the bevel capacity of 53-degree with stops at 45 degree and 22.5 degree
  • 2 9/16 " Depth of cut capacity provides additional versatility of applications
  • Anti-snag Ball bearing lower guard provides smooth guard operation and long life in harsh environments
SaleBestseller No. 3
DEWALT 7-1/4-Inch Circular Saw with Electric Brake, 15-Amp, Corded (DWE575SB) , Yellow
  • DEWALT 7 1/4 circular saw is among the lightest saws in its class (8.8 lbs.)
  • Electric brake of the corded circular saw stops the blade after trigger is released
  • 15 amp motor of the compact circular saw delivers power for even the toughest applications
  • 57degree beveling capacity with stops at 45 degree and 22.5 degree
  • Depth of cut capacity of 2 9/16 inch

Circular Saw Vs Table Saw: The Main Differences

Now, let’s review what we’ve discussed here and break down the main differences in these two different tools. While they can handle a lot of similar tasks, they really are designed very differently overall and this very well might make a difference when it comes to deciding which one you will be adding to your tool list first.

The primary difference between the two is that the circular saw is handheld while the table saw is not. If you’re looking for portability, the circular saw is most likely going to be your best bet. Remember that one saw may be better suited to specific cuts than the other, even though these can handle similar functions.

If you’re just looking for the all-purpose saw that can handle almost anything, a table saw will do that for you. The table saw is generally not very portable so this is something to pay attention to. The circular saw might require some additional expertise and strength to really be able to handle it properly.

Circular Saw Vs Table Saw: The Main Differences
Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Both the circular saw and the table saw can handle pretty much the same types of cuts as a whole. Again, you may need more skill to maneuver the circular saw in some cases than the table saw.

You will find that the table saw mostly handles wood. It might be able to handle some other materials but probably not without a blade change. The circular saw is more likely to be able to handle different materials and it can also work in harder to reach or maneuver places as well.

With both saws, you will need to plan on some setup requirements in order to use the saw. You may need your speed square to get things lined up and adjusted properly for your saw.

When it comes to pricing, the circular saw is far more affordable. A table saw can be pretty pricy and while you can purchase some budget-friendly options, you should plan to pay more up front for a table saw than you will for a circular saw.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can a circular saw be used as a table saw?

Not really. While you can use them for similar functions, they are not designed to be the same. A circular saw is handheld while a table saw is not. You can use a circular saw in conjunction with a table on a worksite though.

Which is safer table saw or circular saw?

Both saws have safety elements in place. There are fewer reported injuries with circular saws because of their overall design. They also have a bit less power behind them so this can make a difference as well.

What is the best saw for a beginner?

As a beginner, we recommend the table saw. These are easier to figure out and maneuver. The circular saw may take some skill and practice to really get the movements down for better precision and accuracy.

What are table saws good for?

The table saw is great for just about anything. You can rip lumber, make straight and repetitive cuts, angles, miters, bevels, and even cross cuts. You cannot make intricate shapes though so this is a limitation.

Conclusion

We hope that you find this guide to differentiating between the circular saw and the table saw to be a valuable resource. While they can do a lot of the same things there are certainly some differences and things to be aware of between the two.

Which saw do you plan to try first?

Amazon Recommends:

Bestseller No. 1
DEWALT 10-Inch Table Saw, 32-1/2-Inch Rip Capacity (DWE7491RS)
  • Your purchase includes one Dewalt table saw, 10inch 24-tooth carbide blade, rolling stand, push stick, miter gauge, rip fence, 2x blade wrenches, blade guard assembly manual
  • Other Specs: Max rip to left of blade – 22inch | Max rip to right of blade – 32-1/2inch | Max width of Dado – 13/16inch | Arbor size – 5/8inch | Amps – 15 | Depth of cut at 45inch – 2-1/4inch | Depth of cut at 90° – 3-1/8inch | No Load Speed: 4800 RPM
  • Rolling stand designed for easy set up and breakdown with excellent stability
  • Rack & Pinion Telescoping Fence System Make fence adjustments fast, smooth and accurate
  • Features a 15.0A high torque motor with the power to cut pressure treated lumber and hardwoods
Bestseller No. 2
BOSCH 10 In. Worksite Table Saw with Gravity-Rise Wheeled Stand 4100XC-10
  • Powerful table saw has 15-Amp saw with 4.0 max HP and 3,650 rpm, for rip-cutting and cross cutting of fine and rough materials
  • Dimensions: 32.5" D x 27" L x 13" H, Product weight: 94 lb
  • Soft-start circuitry – manages intensity of motor start-up and minimizes the likelihood possibility of tripping a circuit breaker
  • Constant Response circuitry: Helps maintain speed under load
  • Restart protection: Helps to avoid accidental startup
Bestseller No. 3
Grizzly Industrial G1023RLWX - 10" 5 HP 240V Cabinet Table Saw with Built-in Router Table
  • All sealed ball bearing construction Serpentine drive belt Powder coated paint Quick change between riving knife & splitter guard Base dimension: 20-1/2" x 20-1/2" Approx shipping weight: 623 lbs.

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