Table Saw vs Circular Saw: What is each saw good for?

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The decision between a table saw vs circular saw is quite the tricky one, especially for beginner power tool users. You must learn about the differences between both the saws before you pick the one best suited for your use. Without further ado, let’s start discussing both the saws:

DEWALT DW745 10-Inch Table Saw, 20-Inch Rip Capacity
SKIL 5280-01 15-Amp 7-1/4-Inch Circular Saw with Single Beam Laser Guide

Table Saw vs Circular Saw Explained

We are first going to talk about the uses of both saws to give you an idea of what you can use each saw for:

Uses of a Table Saw

Table saws are generally used for straight and smooth cuts on longboards and smaller pieces of wood. Table saws can be extremely versatile and deliver highly accurate and precise cuts. Naturally, more experienced power tool users can make better use of this saw than beginners.

Keep in mind that there are different types of table saws that cater to different types of materials. For example, bench-top saws are perfect for plywood or pine boards.

However, you will have to make use of a much more heavy-duty saw for sturdier pieces of wood.

Uses of a Circular Saw

A circular saw is best used for cutting straight lines in pieces of wood, but realistically, you can do any kind of cut you want with a circular saw.

Circular saws have a vast variety of uses that a professional can get from them. You may need a little practice to really get the most out of your circular saw, but it’s definitely one of those saws that’s a must have in any woodworkers toolkit.

The smoothness and the cleanliness of the cuts you make with a circular saw almost entirely depend on the blade that you make use of. Other than that, you either need a table to place the material you intend to cut on, or you need to clamp the material down in some other way.

What is a table saw used for?

Ripping Wood – Table saws are the most reliable saws to cut large wooden boards into smaller pieces that you can easily manipulate.

Kerfing – This refers to giving a slight bend or curve to a strip of wood and can be easily managed with a table saw

Bevels – You must tilt the saw blade to an angle to achieve bevel cuts, and table saws are the perfect power tool for this effect.

Joint Cutting – You can make a large number of joint cuts using a table saw, these include the Lap, Dado, Dovetail, Finger, etc.

Rabbets and Grooves – Long, narrow cuts on the sides and center of your board respectively are known as rabbets and grooves and are easily achieved with the help of a table saw.

Crosscuts – Cutting across the grain of the wood is known as a crosscut and a table saw can easily achieve this cut

What is a Circular Saw Used for?

You can make almost all the same types of cuts with a circular saw that you can with a table saw. For example, you can rip wood, make crosscuts, bevels, or even cut joints. However, it is important to have experience with the circular saw to make the most of it.

Circular saws can be fitted with a variety of different blades that can not only cut through wood, but also steel, ceramic, and other materials.

Skill Level

There is a different skill level that can be attributed to using each type of saw:

Table Saw

The table saw is suited for beginners and professionals alike. Table saws are highly accurate and precise and it does not take a lot of experience to make professional-level cuts with a table saw.

Circular Saw

A circular saw is best handled by a professional who knows their way around it. It is a lot freer to use than a table saw since it is hand-held. There are a lot of techniques and tips that you need to master before making the best use of this saw.

Portability

Naturally, there is also a difference in the portability of each type of saw:

Table Saw

The table saw is much less portable than a circular saw. As the name suggests, it rests on a table that cannot easily be carried everywhere. Other than that, most table saws need to be plugged into an outlet to be used. There are portable table saws that fold up and can be wheeled around, though they will still take up a lot of space even when folded.

Circular Saw

Circular saws are much more compact and handheld as well so naturally, they are much more portable than table saws. In fact, many circular saws need use instead of mains power to operate. This makes them even easier to carry around as needed.

Table Saw Pros

  • Best for ripping any lumber or plywood
  • Can make cuts of any length
  • Highly accurate and precise
  • Can cut wood boards of nearly any thickness
  • Can make a vast variety of cuts for nearly every kind of use

Table Saw Cons

  • Not portable
  • Can collect sawdust
  • Need an outlet to function
  • Require a lot of power

Circular Saw Pros

  • Lightweight and portable
  • May also use a lithium-ion battery instead of a cord
  • May include a laser guide for precision cuts

Circular Saw Cons

  • May take a long time to charge
  • Need a lot of experience to use accurately
  • Not as accurate or precise as a table saw

Table Saws Worth Considering

DEWALT DW745 10-inch Table Saw

DEWALT DW745 10-Inch Table Saw, 20-Inch Rip Capacity

Overview

The DEWALT DW745is a portable table saw which gives you a bang for your buck. It weighs around 22 kg so it is not very difficult to move around if the need arises. This is a corded table saw. You can easily use it to make rip cuts, cross cuts, bevel cuts, and many others too!

It consists of a steel cage for drop protection as well.

Other than that, the saw has an 1850 watt motor with a 24 tooth 30 saw blade that gives it a 610 mm rip capacity.

The saw is very easy and efficient to use and it delivers highly precise and quick cuts with relative ease. It has a variety of good, useful safety features as well such as a guarding system that protects your hands and fingers from the saw.

This DEWALT saw is also very durable and perfect for both beginners and experienced workers. It is not very cheap, but it is worth the money. So if you are looking for a good table saw to invest in, this just might be the one for you.

Circular Saws Worth Considering

SKIL 5280-01 15-AMP Circular Saw

SKIL 5280-01 15-Amp 7-1/4-Inch Circular Saw with Single Beam Laser Guide

Overview

This SKIL saw is a powerful and accurate saw with a 15 amp motor that delivers 5300 RPM for quick and efficient cutting.  It also consists of a 7.25-inch carbide tipped blade that has a bevel capacity of 51 degrees as well.

There are many handy features that this saw contains which enhances the user experience quite a bit.  These include a laser beam for accuracy in cutting which is difficult to achieve with circular saws generally Other than that, it also has a dust blower for clearing up the workspace one you are done with a cut. It even has an anti-snag mechanism for reducing snags when making narrow cuts.

The saw is also very lightweight and portable so you can easily carry it anywhere with you.

Overall, this saw is also perfect for circular saw users of all skill levels and it is more on the expensive side as well. However, it is the perfect investment of you want a highly efficient saw that will last you a long time.

What to Look for When Buying a Table Saw

Type of Table Saw

There are a few different types of table saws that include the following:

  • Benchtop saws – These saws are more on the portable side but they need a table or a workbench to be supported.
  • Stationary saws – These saws are not portable and can be further classified as contractor saws, hybrid saws, and cabinet saws. Cabinet saws are the most powerful stationary saws amongst these three.

Blade

Blade features that you need to look at for the saw include the following:

  • The teeth – they can be anywhere from 24 to 80
  • Tilt – blades can tilt in either the right or the left direction and you should know your preference.
  • Diameter – most table saws commonly consist of 10 or 12-inch blades but even smaller or larger varieties are available.

Safety Features

Needless to say, that table saws are very powerful tools and if used incorrectly or inefficiently, they can cause you real harm. Therefore you must make sure the saw you want to buy has ample safety features to protect you from work hazards. 

Motor

Stationary table saws usually have more powerful motors that can deliver quick, accurate cuts with relative ease. Bench-top saws can usually not deliver the same performance.

What to look for When Buying a Circular Saw

Power and Cutting Depth

The power rating of your circular saw will determine the depth of cuts it can easily and accurately make. For even the most lightweight work you can think of, you will need at least a 1200 watt power rating. On the other hand, for deep cuts that reach 100mm or more, you will need a power rating of more than 2000 Watts.

Blade Type

There are many factors to discuss when choosing a blade for a circular saw. These include the following:

  • The diameter – the diameter of the blade determines the depth of cut you can make. For example, a 185 mm diameter blade can make 60 mm deep cuts, a 230 mm blade can make 85 mm cuts, and so on.
  • The number of teeth – the more teeth you have in your blade, the slower and neater your cut will be.
  • The material of the blade – Carbide-tipped blades are used most commonly because they are durable and deliver very clean cuts but they are expensive as well. You can also make use of high-speed steel blades even though they are not very durable.

Corded or Cordless?

The option to choose between a corded or cordless saw is one of the best features of a circular saw. Corded saws are gener?ally more powerful then cordless saws but the cordless ones are much more portable and not dependent on an outlet.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can a circular saw be used as a table saw?

Yes, you can use a circular saw as a table saw, however, it is not an easy job. You will have to build a table that nestles and attaches the saw to itself and then uses it as a table saw. It is quite possible that you will not be able to cut as accurately and smoothly as with an actual table saw, but this method does work!

Do you need a table saw?

You don’t exactly need a table saw to cut through any piece of wood or metal. You can do the job just as easily with a hammer and a chisel. There are other saws out there as well that you can use as an alternative to a table saw as a router saw or a circular saw.
However, none of these methods are as quick and efficient as the use of a table saw. So the question is more about how much efficient and accurate work matters to you than it is about needing a table saw.

Conclusion

While the choice is ultimately dependent purely on our preference of whether we want to use a circular saw or a table saw, there are still a few things that we would like to point out.

Circular saws are portable and handy but need lots of accessories and a very experienced hand to be used efficiently. On the other hand, table saws are highly accurate and precise and workers of nearly any skill level can make good use of it.

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