May 1, 2021

Track Saw vs Table Saw | Everything You Need To Know

If you are looking for a saw, you may be spoiled for choosing between a track saw vs table saw. I have been using these models for some time and am in the same difficulty. Through my experience and research, I have gathered information that adds value to the debate.

When weighing your needs, compare the type of cut each model offers. Look at cost, durability, portability, ease of use, material, design and dust collection system. Both models are accurate and fast and provide a wide range of models to choose from. Still, the differences in the above features set them apart. As a first-time user, you may find this article informative as it will help you choose the best model.

Overview of the Track Saw

A track saw, also known as a plunge saw saves you from having a circular saw and a table saw for accurate cuts on large pieces of wood. A track saw cuts along the grain on wooden boards. It is also known as the plunge-cut saw. It uses a metal track that is attached to a workpiece. The use of the saw track is to stabilize the track saw. The chances of having the saw slip off the marked line are slim. It is also for crosscuts and angular cuts. 

The track saw is mobile and easy to use. It cuts down wood into smaller, rectangular pieces. It cuts through plywood and hardboard. When using the track saw, you need to mark the position you cut on the wood piece. You guide the wood piece into the blade to take the saw blade to the marked place. In short, the metal track has to be on the spot, and you are good to start cutting. Accurate cuts are easy to run. Large wooden boards are cut with accuracy as you keep the saw stable. 

You move the track saw with ease due to the small size. The track saw is difficult to use in tight spaces. The Makita and Festool are leading brands in producing high-quality track saws. The Makita SP6000J1 is excellent for cutting large wood panels and remains portable. It has a 55inch guide rail system made from aluminum. It has a 12Amp motor that has electric speed variance control. It produces up to 2,000 to 5,000 rotations per minute.

Pros

  • Ease of use
  • Portable
  • Accurate
  • Cuts large boards
  • Stable

Cons

  • Additional support needed for thin material
  • Ideal for short pieces 

Key Features of the Track saw

Blade

Some models cut steel, metal, and ceramic. I urge you to use the correct saw blade for your track saw. It has to stay sharp and has a diameter of 160mm and a 20mm arbor bore. A blunt saw blade consumes time and produces inaccurate results, and it is also not safe for the user. The saw blade is easy to change.

Guide rail

The track saw should stay firm when in operation. Hold down the tool to remain precise when working on thin materials. The handles keep the saw sturdy. As much as the guide rails are optional, get used to them as they ensure your safety. The guide rails are a clamping tool for your material.

Riving knife

The riving knife keeps you safe from kickbacks. It is adjustable, producing quality work, and you must align it with the blade. The Dewalt Flexvolt Track saw with a continuous anti-kickback mechanism prevents kickbacks when engaged.

Depth of cut

Set the depth of the cut since the thickness of materials differs. The maximum cutting depth is 18inch. A deeper cut is appropriate for thick materials, but it compromises the function of the saw. The Makita SP6000J1 has a large cutting capacity of 23/16 inches at 90 degrees and 19/16inches at 45 degrees.

Power trigger

Press the lunge release and the power trigger when activating your track saw. Your saw comes with a soft start that ensures you smooth start-ups. You have to let the saw tool reach its maximum speed before use. 

Overview of the Table saw

What is unique about a table saw is the ability to withstand longer and wider materials, and it is more extensive and ideal for materials that require longer cuts. There are table saws that come with additional shelf space. The Rockwell Tabletop Saw has onboard accessory storage that keeps extra blades, the miter gauge, and the rip fence. That brings convenience to the user when you need to replace your blade. 

There are also industrial table saws with large surfaces and workbench table saws ideal for DIY enthusiasts. The blade on a table saw is fixed, and the height is adjustable as you raise it lower or higher, depending on the thickness of the wood you are working on. The solid base makes the tool sturdy as it stays in place. You connect your tool to a dust management system that keeps you healthy from diseases caused by inhaling dust saw. 

The blade is stationary. For accuracy, the blade guard and rails guide the material. There are four types of table saws. These are the bench, contractor, cabinet, and hybrid table saw. The contractor and the cabinet table saws are portable for household activities. The cabinet table saw combines the two, and the hybrid table saw is a heavy-duty table saw.

Pros

  • Onboard accessory storage 
  • Adjustable blades
  • Accurate
  • Effective dust management system
  • Specific table saws for different locations

Cons

  • High noise level
  • A bit unstable

Key features of the table saw

Motor

The Dewalt 10inch table saw has a 15A high torque motor powerful enough to cut through treated hardwoods. The size of the horsepower determines the cutting power. Bench saws are compatible with the 3/4hp to 1.5hp, cutting up to 5/8 inch thick material. Large table saws have 2hp to 5hp motors, and the cabinet table saw is compatible with the 5hp engine. 

Blade size

When manufacturers are naming a table saw, they are after the blade size. Table saws come with circular blades, and the 10inch is the standard blade. The blade is adjustable depending on the material you are working on. The Dewalt 10inch table saw uses a 10inch tooth carbide blade that makes fast and smooth cuts.

Cutting depth

The cut type depends on the blade’s width, and shallow cuts attract wider blades. A 10-inch blade can make a deep cut of up to 3.5 inches, and a 12-inch table saw makes a deep cut of up to 4inches.

Fence options

The fence is the adjustable guide of the saw and keeps your material in place. The T-square is the standard fence, and specialty fences have a micro-adjust feature. The Vega U26 Table saw has micro-adjustment table support. You are allowed to fine-tune the measurements of the cut. 

Rip capacity

I recommend a table saw that rips materials with accuracy. However, it also depends on the ideal materials you will be working on. The rip capacity ranges from 18iches for the entry-level saws to 60inches for high-end saws.

Similarities

  • They both work on large wood pieces.
  • They are accurate.
  • They both use guide rails.

Differences between a track saw and a table saw

  • Track saws are faster than table saws.
  • Track saws are more light and more portable than table saws.
  • A table saw is faster on repeatable cuts than a track saw. 
  • The track saw is for long, angled cuts than the table saw.
  • Table saws are for production shops, whereas the track saw is for DIY projects.
  • Track saws use smaller space, whereas table saws use more space.
  • The blade is stationary on a table saw where the track saw allows you to move the saw blade.

Cost 

Table saws are available on a variety of price tags. They range from 250 to 5,000 depending on your budget and working conditions, and track saws are within the 400 to 700 range.

Verdict on track saw vs table saw

So, will it be a plunge saw or table saw for you? Choosing one type of saw over the other is budget, space, material, and kind of cut.  Looking at Price, these two are similar. But, a track saw excels in long rip and crosscuts. The dust collection system is close to the dust creation spot. A table saw increases productivity, which is why it is suitable for workshops. Table saws have a wide range of models that you select from. Above all, the work you do determines the saw you are taking. You should also check out How to Build a Table Saw Workstation.

David D. Hughes
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