What do you find at the core of any woodworking project? The answer is a power saw, along with other tools, used to its perfection by a capable worker. And there are a plethora of power saws for you to choose from. We will only talk about two different types in this table saw vs circular saw guide.
Each has its own individual functions, and some of them can even be used interchangeably. Now that being said, there is not a single power saw that is capable of handling every single task you throw at it.
Because of the vast variation in woodworking projects, you will often face difficulty finding the right power saw for your needs. For this reason, you need to understand what sets one device apart from the other one to ensure you are using the right tool for the right project.
With that view in mind, in this article, we will look at two such power saws; the table saw, and the circular saw, and see where the significant differences between the two devices lie.
Table Saw Vs Circular Saw
First, let us take a quick look at both devices before we get into the main circular saw vs table saw section.
A table saw is commonly used by most DIY users. It is as easy as you can get with a power saw, and the tool offers you a lot less room for errors. All you need to do is set up the miter or rip fence, and you can get perfect cuts. A table saw gives you high precision without too much hassle.
With a circular saw, you might need a little more skill. However, it is also quite similar to a table saw in regards to what you can do with it if you are skilled enough. For a novice user, it might not be the best option. But in the hands of an expert, there is nothing that a table saw can do that a circular saw cannot follow.
If we dig a bit deeper, the similarities and differences between the two devices become apparent. At a glance, they might feel like the same tool, and in many ways, they are quite similar.
You can use a circular saw as a table saw and also make a table saw from a circular saw. But that’s a topic for another day. But in the next section, we will show you exactly how different they are from each other.
A Table Saw
For any beginning woodworker, a table saw is an essential tool in his workshop. It lets you take on a wide range of tasks, and as a result, most beginners start off with this equipment. Not only amateurs, even experts often make most of their first cuts with this device. A table saw may also cause of fire hazard therefore use it carefully.
It features a stationary work table that has a circular blade attached to the arbor. The blade in a table saw sticks out through a crevice in the middle of the table where you take care of all your cutting applications. This might be the most distinctive visual feature of the table saw.
The blade in the middle can vertically throughout the surface of the table. With modern variants of the device, you can also adjust how deep the blade can cut. You can also find models that allow you to change the blade’s angle, opening up even more creative possibilities for you.
Because of the simple design of the device, you can take on any sort of cutting job with minimal experience. The cuts you get with a table saw are precise and accurate. The chances of you making a mistake while working with this device are less compared to any other power saws.
You can even change up the blades in the table saw to get different outcomes from your cuts. A table saw at the hand of an experienced woodworker is an extremely versatile machine.
Some of the reasons why you should choose a table saw are:
Precision and accuracy: One of the primary reasons for getting a table saw is its high precision and accuracy. Because of the design of the device, you get the stability you need to make perfect cuts. Its ability to deliver precise cuts is what makes this one a favorite among many woodworkers.
Efficient sawdust disposal: With a circular saw, you have no way to get rid of sawdust while working. However, with a table saw, you do not need to worry about it. Most table saws come with a compartment that contains all the wood dust that you can get rid of after your work is done.
Perfect for cross-cutting: Cross-cutting or ripping might be hard for beginners when using a circular saw. But with a table saw, the difficulty of this task becomes non-existent.
Easy to maintain: A table saw is a stationary device that demands a lot of space in your workshop. Despite its bulky nature, it is quite easy to maintain. You have easy access to all the moving parts of the unit so that you can replace them when you need to. It also lasts a long time if you take proper care of it.
A few drawbacks of a table saw are:
Expensive: The primary drawback of a table saw is the huge price tag that comes with it. For a beginner, it might not be the best investment because of its cost.
Not portable: Another problem with the table saw is its stationary nature. A circular saw offers you a level of freedom in mobility that the table saw cannot match.
What is a Circular Saw?
A circular saw is also quite popular among beginning woodworkers. It allows you to take on a wide range of cutting tasks at an affordable price. Because of this feature, this device is a favorite of many professionals. However, there are some limitations to this tool.
In the hands of a professional, there is absolutely nothing that the circular saw cannot do. Keep in mind; it is a handheld tool. As a result, experience with holding the device is essential, and it takes some time to get used to holding it perfectly. If you understand which jig to use for your purpose, you can make any type of cuts you need for your project.
The circular saw features a blade that is anchored to the arbor in a compact handheld fashion. When you look at other stationary power saws, it offers a big advantage because of its portability. Additionally, since you are guiding it with your hand, you have more control over the shape of the cut.
You can find blades of different sizes and designs for a circular saw. Depending on your purpose, you can change up the blades quite easily. For instance, you will not use the same blade for crosscutting and ripping. Thanks to this customizable feature, a circular saw is extremely versatile.
Now that you know how a circular saw works, here are a few ways it can bring value to your workshop.
Versatility: A circular saw might not be the most precise instrument, but what it lacks in accuracy, it makes up for it in versatility. You can handle a plethora of cuts by changing up the blade. By choosing the correct blade type, you can even cut through materials other than wood.
Affordable: When compared to a table saw, a circular saw is highly affordable. If you are just starting out, and do not have a lot of money to spend, investing in a circular saw might be the smartest decision for you.
Portable: Another great feature of a circular saw is its portability. It is a handheld tool compared to the bulky table saw. As a result, you can take your job almost anywhere you want. You can even buy a battery-powered device if you do not want to plug into the wall socket for even more mobility.
Easy to store: Because of the small size of the device, you can store it easily after your work. It does not take up much space and will not tax your inventory space too much.
Here are a few limitations of the circular saw.
Not very accurate: Since the circular saw is a handheld device, your accuracy depends entirely on your hand. If you are not very precise in your movement, you will not get that much accuracy in your cuts.
No Sawdust disposal: Another major disadvantage to using a circular saw is you need to be prepared to deal with a lot of wood dust. You have no means of dealing with the sawdust unless you get rid of them manually.
As you can see from our table saw vs circular saw guide, there are a lot of differences between the ability of a table saw and a circular saw. Though they offer a similar amount of versatility, the outcome of choosing one over the other is drastically different.
If you are a beginner and have a limited budget, you should always go for a circular saw. It would help you get a grip on the task and help you master the skill necessary for woodworking.
However, if budget is not an issue, a table saw might be a better investment. Because of its precision and accuracy, you can get a wide range of cutting applications done with minimal errors.