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Friday, September 30th, 2022

Table Saw Vs. Circular Saw [Differences & Winner]

Table Saw Vs. Circular Saw

Disclaimer | This article may contain affiliate links, this means that at no cost to you, we may receive a small commission for qualifying purchases.

If you are a beginner at woodworking, choosing between a table saw and a circular saw will be hard. 

While beginning to set up your workshop, selecting the correct power tool is essential. However, because of the many choices, novice woodworkers may end up making the wrong decision. 

Hence, to create a smoother process, we have come up with a guide that compares the two types of saws. And, to be honest, even professionals often need a bit more help when it comes to purchasing new tools. 

Table saws and circular saws may look starkly different, but both are capable of performing similar tasks. Unfortunately, this makes choosing between the two even more confusing. 

But, you don’t need to worry, as we are here to give in-depth information about both products. Additionally, the differences will give you a clear idea of what to expect from each variant. 

So, without much ado, let’s learn about the saws! 

Table Saw Vs. Circular Saw

Construction Worker using Table Saw Vs. Circular Saw

Before we start putting out the differences between these saws, it’s best to give a brief overview of both. This is especially for beginners who are just starting to learn about different saws. So, we will begin with the most basic features seen in the products. 

Now, let’s have a look at each saw separately. 

Table Saws

Table saws are a boon for woodworkers when it comes to DIY projects. Compared to earlier times, this power tool has made shaping and cutting wood much easier. However, irrespective of the manufacturer, most table saws have some basic characteristics. 

To begin with, the word “table” in table saws is self-explanatory. This table or work surface is the stationary portion of the saw. The surprising part is the circular blade that comes up through a slit placed on the table. 

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Because it comes with an attached table, it’s easy to get a sharp cut with the saw. The user only needs to push the wood piece towards the blade to create the cut. As there is no wobbliness, every cut comes out clean and precise. 

You can easily recognize table saws in workshops due to their immense size. The top and sides are usually made of metal, and it’s often placed on an elevated surface. Further, the low learning curve of table saws boosts a user’s confidence in creating new projects.

Moreover, even professional woodworkers love table saws because of their high accuracy. This is mainly made possible through the guide rails present beside the work surface. Additionally, some models may even come with laser pointers for proper measurement. Other qualities include effortless cross-cutting and ripping wood boards. 

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As a long-lasting and easy-to-use option, it is the foremost choice of new woodworkers. Also, with a little more practice, users can even perform angled cuts with a table saw. It might not be as proper as a miter saw, but it works well for beginner-friendly projects. 

In addition, newer models have started getting smarter with the inclusion of more features. For example, some table saws also come with the ability to angle the blade for diverse cuts. 

Circular Saws

The foremost thing to notice about this saw is its true “circular shape.” As it’s a handheld device, this saw feels much more potent as a power tool. 

Even though it can be expensive, many professionals prefer to have it due to its versatility. Rather than just working with wood, circular saws can even cut through concrete or tiles. Also, with a proper option like that of a diamond blade, it can prove to be more powerful. 

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To make a cut, a user needs to place the blade directly on the wood. It might not be as stable as a stationary surface, but the control comes from the user. 

Like table saws, it cannot produce angular cuts, but it’s suitable for straight cuts and ripping. Hence, many professionals prefer circular saws to cut through thinner wood and plyboards. 

Additionally, its portability makes it a good choice for woodworkers who need a power tool for job sites. But as it’s an expensive option, a beginner may find it intimidating due to the initial investment. 

Circular saws can either run on external power or batteries, which add to the portability. Also, most will have a plastic body to make it lightweight for a better user experience. And, depending on the model, it might have interchangeable blades for cutting different materials. 

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A novice woodworker will need to dedicate time to practice and master using the circular saw. The main reason behind it is that shaky hands may cause uneven cuts and affect the look of the finished project. 

The circular saw can be easily packed up and stored in a cupboard, making it a space-saving option. Moreover, it seldom occupies a lot of space, making it an excellent tool for those lacking a workshop area. 

Table Saw Vs. Circular Saw Differences 

Yes, we have reached the point where we will lay down the major differences between the two saws. These may appear a bit obvious, but it’s essential to know about them before getting a power saw. 

Additionally, this will also help out those who are still unsure about their projects. If you are new to woodworking, pay extra attention to this crash course of knowing a power tool. 

  1. Ease Of Use

On the first point, we would like to bring up the factor of useability. Think about the first time you got a power tool. It must have come with a manual, but that wouldn’t have been much help. 

The only way of demystifying the use of such tools is by continuous practice. Moreover, individual products do come with a learning curve. While comparing the saws, the table saw invariably came up as an easy-to-use power tool. 

Because of its fixed table or workspace, the user doesn’t need to focus much on being steady. Instead, all it requires is to push the wood against the serrated circular blade. Hence, even a beginner feels comfortable using a table saw because of its user-friendly design. 

The situation flips completely while using a circular saw. Unlike the table saw, it lacks any stability, and the user will need to learn the proper way of controlling it. 

Moreover, as it’s a handheld device, a woodworker will need to get used to the added weight. So, a circular saw might not be the most comfortable thing you may hold as a novice builder. 

  1. Portability 

Are you someone who likes to work outside? If yes, then lugging a table saw to the woodworkers’ meet may not be the brightest idea. For such times, when you need to use a power tool outside the workshop, the circular saw comes up as a savior. 

It makes things much easier for woodworkers who may need to work on-site. The portable design of the circular saws provides the option to carry it along with you. Additionally, newer battery-powered models are able to run without a fixed power source. 

In comparison, the table saws sitting in the workshop seem like antique tools. Besides, you will also need to make room for this giant power saw. Also, working with it becomes tricky if ample space isn’t left around the table. So, it’s best to think about having a proper workspace before purchasing this bulky power tool. 

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  1. Precision And Accuracy 

The table saw has the upper hand when it comes to precision and accuracy. Its stationary design and comfortable working space provide the sharpest cuts. As a result, even a beginner seldom faces a problem when using a table saw. 

Additionally, the current models have features like laser lights and guide rails to increase precision. After taking the measurements, you just need to push the wood into the blade to cut. Because of its stable surface, it drastically reduces probable messes while cutting. 

Even after the portability offered by circular saws, many professionals prefer to work with table saws. Moreover, it is also easier to crosscut and rip big pieces of wood on stationary surfaces. 

In contrast, circular saws perform poorly when it comes to precision and accuracy. You would need to learn ways to control the blade if you expect similar results as a table saw. Also, it’s much easier to make mistakes with it because of shaky hands. 

However, when it comes to time spent on preparation, the circular saws take much less time. All you need is to attach the correct blade and proceed to cut the material. Whereas, in the case of table saws, you will need to invest time in setting up the height of the table and the saw fence. 

  1. Versatility 

To keep up with the latest materials used in woodworking, you need a tool that offers versatility. The flexible design of circular saws makes it one of the most valuable tools to have for a professional. Unlike stationary table saws, they can cut through various materials. 

Superior quality circular saws come with interchangeable blades for ease of use. Additionally, some diamond blades can even cut through concrete and ceramic tiles. Some models also contain the ability to provide different cuts compared to table saws. 

Having a versatile tool allows you to face all kinds of materials while creating new projects. However, it is better for small to medium-sized pieces than table saws to cut large wood boards. When it comes to table saws, it is only suitable for woodwork. Hence, someone who wants to work with multiple materials will need to invest in a good circular saw. 

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  1. Sawdust Disposal 

Sawdust gets blown into the air when you cut through the wood. This can block your vision, along with being unhealthy for your body. However, there is usually a sawdust disposal method in most table saws that prevents it from making the place dirty. 

Additionally, a disposal system also helps keep the workspace clean while working with multiple pieces of wood. So, you wouldn’t need to tidy up the space after cutting a single piece of wood. 

In contrast, most circular saws lack a sawdust disposal system. Some may have a guard, but it is inefficient in most cases. You will need to spend time cleaning up a large area, having finished working with the tool. 

As a side note, we would like to add that it’s important to wear safety goggles and a mask while working with saws. It helps to remain safe from ingesting sawdust. 

  1. Safety 

Using a power tool may seem intimidating for a beginner. The foremost reason for this worry is the issue of safety. While thinking about these powerful tools, we are bound to consider the problems that may occur. 

When it comes to a power saw, the sharp serrated blade may give the chills owing to countless horror movies. However, the table saw manufacturers have done a fabulous job in making them as safe as possible. Also, the pro woodworkers often recommend starting with a table saw to season your hands. 

In contrast, the circular saw may make nightmares come true if proper safety isn’t followed. It does require you to practice a bit more to get the hang of using it. Nevertheless, newer models are much safer than their predecessors due to the added safety measures. 

As you aren’t directly exposed to the blades of a table saw, it appears to be a much safer option. Moreover, current models also include blade guards as protection. 

On the contrary, the circular saw has much less safety due to the exposed blade. Also, we should make it clear that it is crucial to wear proper protective gear while working with any type of saw. This includes respiratory masks and safety goggles to protect against harm from the sawdust. In addition, wearing proper woodworking gloves also ensure that your hands remain appropriately protected. 

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  1. Maintenance

Seldom do we think about the maintenance of a power tool before deciding to buy it or not. However, missing this point will only bring more trouble afterward. 

The most common steps of maintaining a saw include cleaning and lubrication. Other than that, you may also need to check the power system at times. 

When we look at the table saw, it is baffling to see the numerous intricate parts that make up this tool. Nevertheless, because of its robust parts, a table saw will seldom get sick. 

When it comes to cleaning, the process is super simple. Most table saws contain a dust collector that needs cleaning after the work gets over. You may choose to wax the metal top surface from time to time, but overall maintenance is straightforward. 

On the other hand, circular saws may require a bit more care. You will need to clean the blade after every use, and it may also need lubrication or oil filling. Also, for cordless models, regular battery changes might be necessary. But, when you get into the routine of using the saw, maintenance does become like any other chore. 

By now, you must have guessed table saws tend to last more than circular saws. The latter may also require a frequent blade change compared to the former variant. Also, many cheap circular saws die out fairly quickly.

Table Saw: Advantages
  • Precise and accurate cuts
  • Easy to use
  • Beginner-friendly
  • Last for a long time
  • Best for rip and cross cuts
  • Useful to cut big wood pieces
  • Better safety
Table Saw: Disadvantages
  • Requires space
  • Lacks portability
  • Expensive
Circular Saw: Advantages
  • Portable and lightweight
  • Works with various materials
  • Great for outdoor projects
  • Affordable
  • Quicker cuts
  • Easy storage
Circular Saw: Disadvantages
  • Demands skill
  • Average lifespan
  • Mastery needed for straight cuts
  • Requires additional safety measures

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Table Saw Vs. Circular Saw FAQ

More than often, we have come across questions regarding both saws. Here is our trial to quickly demystify some of them. 

Can a circular saw be used as a table saw?

In essence, a circular saw should work just like a table saw. However, when it comes to actual practice, using circular saws requires some amount of skill. Nevertheless, spending a bit of time honing your ability to get straight cuts will give good results.

Which is more dangerous: table saw or circular saw?

In general, circular saws are regarded as less safe compared to table saws. However, we wouldn’t call it a dangerous tool as it’s an essential equipment for woodworking. Instead, it’s always better to follow proper safety measures and usage precautions to avoid accidents.

Is a circular saw worth it?

The versatility and portability of circular saws make them a worth-it product. It is a vital instrument for professional woodworkers who may need a saw for an outdoor project. Also, the circular saw can cut through various materials like plastic and metal, making them even more helpful.

Who Should Go For A Table Saw?

As we near the end, it’s time to come up with a verdict. But, before doing that, we would like to talk a bit more about who should go for which saw.

To speak of table saws, it is an excellent tool for anyone looking to get precise straight cuts while working with wood. This makes it apt for beginners and amateur woodworkers who are starting with woodcutting. Seldom do things go wrong with table saws, and it creates an excellent environment to catch up on new skills.

If you want a saw that provides a fuss-free woodcutting experience, go for a table saw. Additionally, it is also a great investment for setting up workshops. Also, nothing can beat a table saw when it comes to cutting large pieces of wood.

Ultimately, the table saw is an excellent option for anyone who wants an accurate, easy-to-use, and low-maintenance power saw.

Who Should Go For A Circular Saw?

The decision to pick a specific group is tricky when it comes to a circular saw. It may seem inferior to the table saw, but there are times when it becomes a necessity.

Having a circular saw is a must for those who value portability. It would allow you to work with it from anywhere, especially if it’s a cordless model. Moreover, circular saws are excellent to widen the power tool collection of professionals.

When it comes to versatility, a circular saw will win the race. With interchangeable blades, you can cut through various materials and even through concrete. This makes it valuable for those who seek to widen their horizon to use newer materials.

An additional advantage of circular saws is the ability to perform bevel cuts. Yes, you may need to spend more time practicing on circular saws, but it is worthwhile. This makes it an excellent choice for avid DIY-ers.

Table Saw Vs. Circular Saw 103

Table Saw Vs. Circular Saw: Winner

So, you must be quivering to know the winner? However, there’s really no clear champion when it comes to Table vs. Circular saws; both are good in their ways. Even though there are some hiccups while using a circular saw, practice is likely to solve most of them. 

If you are brand new to using and purchasing a saw, the table saw is the way to go. Besides, the table saw is the winner for anyone who likes to finish projects in their workshop. 

On the other hand, the versatile circular saw seems like a good investment for anyone who needs portability. Also, professional woodworkers should definitely think about getting it if they feel confident about picking up a new skill. 

Now, go and look for the saw that suits you. And do let us know if there are any further queries. 

Till then, stay safe! 

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Anna Vaughn

Anna Vaughn

Anna Vaughn | Art Contributor

Anna is a highly motivated self-taught painter and design aficionado that loves pouring her passion into words here on Homesthetics; in her free time she runs The Little Painters, a small local painting workshop for children that invites the little ones to explore painting through simple and creative means in a safe, loving and extremely colorful environment.

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