Table Saw vs. Circular Saw: 7 Things You Need to Know


Often, Saw blade users run into major problems on jobs due to the wrong choice of tools. It is not enough to have worked with a saw in the past or operated it. You must prioritize present and future tasks to choose the right saw. Whether at a crossroads on which power saw to purchase for yourself or supply your customers, you want to know more about the table saw vs. circular saw. Then look no further; this article is just what you need to get it right.

Table of Contents

1. Basics about both tools

Table saw

Typically, for a table saw, the workpiece is fed to the blade, i.e., the saw blade is stationary while the workpiece is pushed through the blade by you/the operator. They are the best tool for accurate and clean angular cuts, especially for woodwork and tile cutting. However, its non-portability and size make it only suitable for large workshops.

It is safe to say a table saw is more like a circular saw fastened to a table protruding through a slit somewhere around the middle of the table. Unlike a circular saw, it features a large table that lets you conveniently lay/rest your workpiece while cutting. Other special and unique features include a crank to adjust the blade to vary cutting depth or angle, adding extra components to better its functionality, a guardrail to guide the feed of the workpiece to the blade for accuracy, etc.

Circular saw

Whenever you have a stationary or fixed workpiece, a circular saw should come to mind. Circular saws are portable and handheld power powered by a battery, electric motor, or electric cord. They are regarded as the most versatile power saws in a workshop. Unfortunately, it lacks accuracy and precision derived from a table saw.
Depending on the output power of the saw, the mode of driving the blade differs. High-horsepower circular saws have electric motors that connect to the arbor carrying the blade through a belt. Small-sized circular saws, on the other hand, utilize a rechargeable battery. Circular saws for concrete or asphalt cutting are electric motor driven, while those used for woodwork or plastic cutting are directly plugged in or have rechargeable batteries.

In the hands of professionals, its portability guarantees easy maneuvering when cross-cuts and rip-cuts are made.

Picture showing the portability of circular saws

Figure 2: Picture showing the portability of circular saws.

2. Specific Applications

No doubt, table saws have high efficiency as they simplify cross-cutting and flipping boards. In practice, table saws are primarily for wood cutting. They cut easily through dado, tenon, and lap joints.

A Circular saw it is applied to a variety of cutting jobs. You can use them to make excellent wood, plastic, metals, tile, and concrete cuts. However, as a beginner or DIYer, you might find it hard to handle at first, especially for cutting materials other than wood.

A woodworker making rip-cut using a table saw

Figure 3: A woodworker making rip-cut using a table saw.

3. Accuracy of cut

One prominent characteristic that continues to distinguish a table saw from a circular saw is the accuracy of the cut they both produce. A table saw helps you achieve highly precise and accurate cuts with relative ease. You can make fine, fast, and even angled cuts with the help of an adjustable guardrail beside the blade. Another reason for the perfect cuts is that the saw is stationary, giving you enough opportunity to position and maneuver the workpiece properly. The high accuracy of this saw also makes it a favorite among woodworkers.

For a circular saw, the level of accuracy is much lower than that of the table saw. To produce the same perfect cuts with a circular, a lot of practice is required to avoid mistakes. Again, the reason for the lack of high accuracy and precision is not far-fetched- it is due to the mobility of the saw. Excessive vibrations could set in, which is a great disadvantage when cutting. To, therefore, get better cutting accuracy, then you need to install a proper guide.

A precise and accurate cut on a table saw

Figure 4: A precise and accurate cut on a table saw.

4. Which service life is longer?

Even though the table saw is larger, the maintenance is still easy-peasy. Most of its frequently damaged parts are easy to access for removal and replacement when broken. Its largeness leaves you with several internal parts that need to be cared for; Its stationary position means you need not worry about it falling or accidentally damaging it when taken out and into your store. We need not also mention that adequate maintenance is pivotal to the useful service life of any tool or equipment. It implies that a table saw will last far longer than a circular saw.

Despite circular saws requiring little or no maintenance, they are not built to last forever. Owing to easy mobility, you are likely to lose parts and tiny components unconsciously while moving from site to site or even lending it out to a friend. Lost parts could negatively affect performance, leading to a quick breakdown.

Generally, the table saw is durable and has an excellent tool life, while the circular saw has just about an average tool life.

5. Price comparison

If your budget is considerably tight and low, you should not go for a table saw because they are quite expensive. Its bulkiness and complexity also contribute to the high price. If you are also not considering keeping the saw blade for a long time, you shouldn’t opt for it. It would not be worth it to spend so much an amount on a saw to want to dispose of it after a few months, a year, or two. It is encouraged if you have a very long-term continuous project.

Circular saws are relatively cheaper and would be a good buy for you if you do not have a lot of cash to spare. A circular saw would purchase circular for just a fraction of the cost of a table saw. This saw’s low price is due to its simplicity of design, as it contains fewer parts than a table saw.

6. Which is more convenient to use?

Generally, convenience is not a one-way thing. No saw can qualify to be the most convenient. It all depends entirely on your intention and long-term goal for your saw. The table saw would suit you best if you have a large workshop. It is because you have enough room to take on large board cutting without fear of mistakes or inaccurate cuts.

In contrast, a circular saw would fit you if you are a site contractor with a truck moving from one place to another or if you have small materials to cut indoors or outdoors.

7. Safety/ how to handle

Table saw

The issue of safety is no joke in any working environment. The blade’s exposure is a constant danger to operators or even careless passers-by. Inexperienced/amateur users are the ones highly at risk. Instead, brake systems have been incorporated into the design of the table saw.

In handling this saw, you should worry less about how to operate it and more about properly placing your workpiece when feeding into the blade. Proper placement and monitoring are important to avoid the blade from roughly cutting the workpiece.

During use, the table saw has an effective sawdust disposal system. A Pile of sawdust or other material chips is collected into the dust collector for easy disposal afterward.

Circular saw

When you opt for this saw, you have fewer chances of injuring yourself or other people around you. A permanent cover plate covers the blade up to half its circumference, leaving the other half to feed into the workpiece. It’s reasonably easy to operate and handle when in operation.

With so much dust thrown around, You would need to properly clean up after use.
All necessary safety precautions guiding the use of both saws must be strictly adhered to for accidents not to occur.

Figure 6:Cutting the circular saw blade shows its cover.

Cutting the circular saw blade shows its cover


In summary, from all the enumerated points above, you can deduce the different scenarios where you need the table and circular saw specifically. You should also be able to make your preferred choice after having digested this article’s content. For more information, kindly contact us at NCCuttingtools. We will be ready to offer relevant assistance and consultation service to help you achieve your aim.

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