table saw vs miter saw

Saws – the most important tool in the life of a woodworker and a carpenter. People say that a saw is the center of a wood workshop. But there are wide collection saws for you to work with. With these much of collection, it is quite normal to be confused. For example, there are table saws and miter saws. They both can perform almost the same type of jobs. So, who would win the verdict while choosing one of them? A table saw vs miter saw – we will help you to find a closure to this debate.

A saw is an essential element to help to create and craft your desires. But “one saw for every situation” attitude will not help you in any way.

You need to consider trade-offs. If you are looking for precision, you might have to let go of the idea of handling fast-bulk wood processing.

End of the day, you have the sole freedom to choose the kind of saw that satisfies YOUR needs. All we can offer is – discussing every little feature of each kind of saw and help you decide.

So, let’s get off to today’s head-to-head battle (!) – table saw vs miter saw.

What is a Table Saw? The Detailed Version

What is a Table SawThe name of this saw is quite self-explanatory!

As you can imagine, there will be a table where you will rest the workpiece or the block of wood. Of course, there is a blade mounted on the top of the table.

If we were to give you a constructive definition, we would say, a table saw is a power-driven tool that uses electric powered circular saw mounted on a plane surface to cut off materials like woods, plastics, or metals.

This is pretty much the basic construction of a table saw!

However, that is not all the components that a table saw has. To get a better idea, you should look at the construction of a table saw.

The Construction of a Typical Table Saw

Okay, first things first, a table is very versatile in nature. You can do pretty much every kind of wood processing in a table saw. So, you can find table saws with hundreds of additional attachments.

We will just discuss the basic components that a table must have to be called a table saw.

In a typical table saw or a saw-bench, you can find the following components –

  • The base
  • The table
  • Extension wings
  • The ripping fence and the rails
  • A miter-gauge
  • An electric motor
  • The trunnions
  • Arbor assembly

These are pretty much everything that can construct a table saw.

Let’s get to the details, shall we?

The Base

The base creates the platform on which the whole saw resides. But the base serves another vital purpose. It houses the electric motor, gear mechanism, arbor, control panel, and the arbor.

You can find two different variants of the base –

  • The Cabinet Type – Has enclosed box to hide the inner parts.
  • The Open Type – All the parts are kept open.

You can also find a hybrid version these days where some parts are enclosed, and some are open.

Which one should you pick?

It depends on your need!

The Table

This is the most iconic part of a table saw. Upon this table, the workpieces reside. The secondary function of the table is to give support to the workpiece so that the woodworker gets more precision.

Generally, the table is made of cast iron. Cast iron is a heavy material. The heavier the table-top is, the more vibration-proof the saw becomes.

You don’t want your saw to vibrate while feeding the material to the blade, do you?

The Extension Wings

The extension wings are just extended table-tops. It gives more working space and support while cutting.

The sole purpose of the wings is to give more surface area. The construction material of the wings is the same as of the table top.

The Ripping Fence and Rails

They are the guiding mechanism of the saw. Table saws are best for making rip cuts or the cut along the length.

When you are ripping about 10-12 feet long planks, you will need some form of support for feeding with accuracy. The fence and rails are there to help you.

They are attached to the edges of table and kept in parallel of the blade.

The Miter-Gauge

The table saws come with miter-gauges for making miter cuts. So, you can do everything a miter saw can with a table saw.

As we have said, the table saw is a like a jack of all trades!

The miter-gauge can handle any angle between 30-90 degrees.

The Motor

As a power tool, it no surprise that it will have an electric motor. These motors typically have 1-5 horsepower and require 110-220 volts to operate.

The Trunnions

General construction has two trunnions – the front and the rear. The trunnions have three purposes –

  1. Holding the motor and the arbor assembly together in a place.
  2. Damps vibration.
  3. Keeps the blade in alignment with the ripping fence and miter-gauge.

The Arbor Assembly

The arbor and the gear shifting mechanism comprises the arbor assembly. The arc-shaped sector gear and the worm gear control blade movement operation.

Simply speaking, you can adjust the lifting and lowering of the blade with the arbor assembly.

Types of Table Saws

The table saws are one of the oldest models of saws. Over time, the design evolved and gave birth to several types of table saws.

Every type has specialty to handle different tasks.

Here, take a look –

Benchtop

  • Can be mounted on a table or other supporting tools.
  • Lightest variation only weighs 40-50 pounds.
  • Cheapest table saw.
  • Suitable for homeowners and DIY-enthusiasts.
  • Portable

Jobsite

  • A heavier version of the Benchtop saws.
  • Comes with stands and wheeled bases.
  • Has more powerful motor compared to benchtop saws.
  • Portable

Compact

  • Stationary saws.
  • Has sliding-miter table and miter sled.
  • Smallest of the stationary saws.

 Contractor

  • Open stand saws with induction motors.
  • Industrial grade table saws.
  • Weighs about 300 pounds.
  • Can deliver power up to 2 horsepower (750 to 1000 watts)

Cabinet

  • Biggest of the all the industrial grade stationary table saws.
  • Can deliver power up to 7.5 horsepower (5,220 watts)
  • Comes with a wide variety of attachments.
  • Some variation even has jointer, shaper, planer, and boring tools attached with-in.
  • Most expensive table saw ($5000+ in some cases).
  • These are accurate, efficient, fast, and can handle bulk work-load.

When Should You Use Table Saws?

In a single word, we would say – everywhere! The table saws are the most versatile saws out there.

You can make cross cuts, rip cuts, miter cuts with ease. A table saw can help everyone, from the hobbyists to the industrial workers.

Although, if you are a precision freak and work on smaller workpieces, you might get dissatisfied sometimes. Moreover, you have to consider the price too.

The price tag might be too much for occasional users.

Pros

  • Versatility
  • Suitable for larger workpieces
  • Offers more power
  • Perfect for sheet materials

Cons

  • Could be risky because of the naked blade
  • Requires more space
  • Pricier compared to the miter saws

What is a Miter Saw?

A miter saw is a type of chop or drop saw that can make cross cuts and miter or angular cuts the workpiece.

While the miter saws are very good for making crosscuts and miter cuts, they just cannot perform rip cuts.

So, why bother going for a miter saw? You can just go for the table saws, right?

Well, yes, but the miter saws are more accurate or should we say precisely.

We know a lot of you are DIYers who need to make those cuts as precise as possible. You cannot tolerate even slightest deflection.

If you fall on to that category, you should consider going for the miter saws.

Moreover, the compound miter saws can make bevel cuts too. Beveling is the ability to tilt the blade in a certain angle.

In a table saw, you will have to tilt the table to make bevels as you cannot tilt the blade. With miter saws, beveling so much easier.

So, to sum up, a miter saw can offer following cutting preference –

  • Miter Cuts
  • Bevel Cuts
  • Crosscuts
  • Compound cuts (miter and bevel cuts together)

Types of Miter Saws

You could be dazzled by the wide collection of the miter saws available in the market right now. It is quite normal for a newbie to feel at a loss going through these different types of miter saws.

Each type of miter saw has different purpose and functionality.

Here is the classification –

  • Standard Miter Saw
  • Single Bevel Compound Miter Saw
  • Dual or Double Bevel Compound Miter Saw
  • Sliding/Gliding Compound Miter Saw

Standard Miter Saw

This is the most basic type of miter saw. It can make only two types of cuts – the cross cuts and the miter cuts. It cannot make the bevel cuts as the blade cannot be tilted to a certain degree or angle.

The only difference with these type with the chop saws or the drop saws is that it can make miter cuts.

Typically, you can make 45, 60, and 90 degree cuts in this type of saws.

Single Bevel Compound Miter Saw

Next, in the list is the single bevel compound miter saw. They are called compound saws as they can make bevel cuts and the miter cuts at the same time.

In this type, you only can tilt the blade in one direction – either left to right or right to left.

So, you will have to flip the workpiece when you are planning to make symmetrical cuts to it.

Dual or Double Bevel Compound Miter Saw

In this type, you will not have to flip the material; you can tilt the blade in both directions. So, this type of compound saws is quite handy.

They are perfect for making decorative trimming operation or making crown molding.

Still, there is one flaw in this design; you cannot make longer cuts as the blade is stationary at a single point.

Sliding or Gliding Compound Miter Saw

This design is by far the best and the most advanced one.

Not only you can make bevel cuts in both directions but also you can slide or glide the blade forward and backward.

But keep in mind, these saws have a pretty high price tag.

When Should You Use a Miter Saw?

Yes, the miter saws are not as versatile as the table saws, but it comes with its own set of advantages.

For example, if you need to perform trimming or framing operation, miter saws will be the perfect option to go for.

Moreover, miter saws have better precision and accuracy compared to the table saws.

Oh, don’t forget about the beveling capability. You should definitely choose a miter saw for better precision angles.

Again, these saws are better suited for than craftsmen than the carpenters or the woodworkers.

Pros

  • More accurate
  • Ability to make bevel and miter cuts
  • Precise angled cuts
  • Safer compared to a table saw

Cons

  • Not the best option for working on a larger workpiece
  • Cannot make rip cuts

Table Saw vs Miter Saw: Which One Should You Pick?

If you are a serious woodworking professional, you should buy both of them.

Why?

The table saw, and the miter saw are different types of saws. Yes, you can use the table saw to do everything you can do on a miter saw.

But some things are better left to the specialists, in this case, to the miter saws.

Miter saws ability to deliver accuracy is far better than the table saws. But you cannot make rip cuts or cannot expect the miters to work faster than the table saws.

Moreover, the top surface of the table saw helps you support the workpiece better. You will not have to clamp the workpiece down in case it falls off after cutting.

If you are planning to choose only one of them, choose the table saw. It has versatility. You probably will not have to buy any other saws ever.

On the other hand, if you are a DIYer or a craftsman, miter saw could be your favorite tool ever.

Well, that was our view about table saw vs miter saw. Tell us your valuable opinion in the comment section below.

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