Ultimate Guide: Track Saws vs Table Saws
Having the right tools for the job is important. Different jobs require different saws. Depending on the type of wood you’re cutting or the type of cut you want to make, will influence what saw you need.
A straight line cut can be done with almost any saw. A track saw or table saw makes the job even easier but which one is best?
Can a track saw replace a table saw? In some ways, yes. Tracks saws are just as capable of doing certain cuts just as well (or better) than a table saw.
You may not get the best rip cuts from a track saw but they can still be done. A table saw does have the advantage of being able to make a lot of cuts in a short space of time, whereas a track saw isn’t really able to match that.
So what are the other differences between a track saw and a table saw? Let’s find out!
What Is A Track Saw?
A track saw is a circular saw that has a rail where the saw slides along when in use. The benefit of having the track (the rail) is that it makes sure your cuts are precise - even the long ones.
You have great visibility when performing your cut due to there being no guard rail. Your wood is still secure, it is kept in place with the use of rubber strips. These rubber strips go along the bottom of the track, keeping your wood still as you work.
The idea of not having a clamp to secure your wood in place may seem a bit alien at first and I get that but the rubber strips do work well so a clamp shouldn’t be needed.
Track saws are increasing in popularity, especially professionals as they have a lot of unique quality features; they’re lightweight so easy to carry around, they aren’t difficult to use and the cuts can be done with high precision.
What Are The Advantages Of Using A Track Saw?
They collect dust - The dust that is generated from cutting doesn’t go everywhere like with a lot of saws. The dust is collected in a shroud. Disposing of it is painless, just empty the shroud!
I know this may seem like a small point but if you’ve ever had to clean up sawdust after doing a lot of cutting then you know just how useful this can be!
Set-Up - Initially this may seem like a time consuming exercise. Once you get into, it really is straightforward and the set-up becomes a joy.
Space Saving - The more your collection of power tools grows, the more you appreciate the ones that can be stored easily and a track saw can! The actual saw is quite small so storage shouldn’t be too much of an issue. The tracks can be stored neatly upright.
Accuracy - One of the main selling points of a track saw is how accurate they are. The cuts are precise and clean.
What Is A Table Saw?
Putting it simply, a table saw is a table that has a blade built into it. This design is popular with many because it allows you to do a whole host of different cuts.
The reason so many people own table saws is because they can do many different cuts and do them with a high level of accuracy.
Using a table saw is relatively straight forward. Place the wood (or whatever material you are looking to cut) onto the table. You then push the wood against the saw when it’s operating. This will give you very precise cuts.
What Are The Advantages Of Using A Table Saw?
Precision - Table saws are popular with professional and hobbyists alike because precise and accurate cuts are easy to achieve. The saw and table pairing make for a very stable combination.
Cuts can be done easily - Woodworking involves a lot of ripping boards and crosscuts. This is where a table saw shines. Both of these cuts can be easily and quickly done using a table saw, even a newcomer to woodworker will find this doable.
Collects Dust - There are dust compartments with a table saw so you should never have too much of a clean up job after you’ve finished sawing. Huge plus!
Maintenance is easy - There is no getting away from the fact that tools should be looked after. The great news is, a table saw doesn’t require too much in the way of maintenance. Each part of the tool is easily accessible too so when looking after it, it can be done without too much trouble.
What Can You Do With A Track Saw?
Though similar in appearance to a circular saw, there is much more to it than that. You will find that with track saws they can make very accurate and straight cuts, they also have the added advantage that they are super portable and can be used safely.
Different cuts you can do using a track saw:
- Angular cuts
- Mitre cuts
- Rip cuts
- Plunge cuts
As you can see, a track saw is capable of doing a lot of different cuts and the great thing about this tool is that it is so portable.
What happens if you need to make a cut on site and your only tool is a table saw? You’re probably going to have to haul the wood to your saw and then come back again.
That problem goes away with a track saw. They are fantastic when it comes to the portability factor. Though portable table saws are now a thing!
A track saw is able to take on a board of any size and cut it. This is not the case with a table saw as you are restricted to what it can take. So if you need a saw that for cutting lots of different sizes of wood, a track saw may suit you better than a table saw.
What Can You Do With A Table Saw?
People have been using table saws for hundreds of years, the popularity has never gone away, which is pretty remarkable!
The cuts that can be made on a table saw are incredibly accurate. If you’re cutting boards, this can be done so quickly and it requires minimal effort. Sounds fantastic, right?
Narrow Rip Cuts
When it comes to making rip cuts, a table saw will serve you very well and is one of the best tools for the job. They particularly stand out if you need to do narrow rip cuts.
If you are using a track saw, this is something you may find really quite difficult. Especially without the aid of additional equipment. A track saw just isn’t designed for this type of job. Though there are many other jobs a track saw can do!
Making Small Pieces of Wood
With an exposed saw blade, the table saw really comes into its own when you want to cut up small pieces of wood. You get great visibility and overall it can be done much more safely.
A table saw has the slight edge over a track saw for the majority of cuts but both will do the job nicely.
This will vary as a lot depends on what size blade is being used in any saw. However, a table saw can usually do deeper cuts than a track saw (3 to 4 inches deep compared to around 2 inches for the track saw).
A table saw can complete quite a lot of quite quickly, more quickly than a track saw. For people wanting to make the same cut over and over again, then a table saw could be perfect for you.
Which is better; a Track Saw or Table Saw?
Comparing a track saw and a table saw is no mean feat. In many ways they are very different machines, designed to do very different jobs and that’s great, it means we have plenty of versatility and choice when it comes to our tools.
Neither saw is better than the other. A track saw has a different purpose to a table saw, there is some crossover. In some cases, which one you use for a job comes down to personal preference too.