We’ve lost count of the number of people, who asked us this one question, “I have a limited budget and I can choose only one between a track saw and a table saw; which one should I go for?” And we don’t think there is any straight winner to this ‘table saw vs. track saw’ showdown.
So, we’ve decided to come up with a detailed answer to this frequently asked question. But before we get to our verdict, let’s go through a quick overview of both the contenders we have at our disposal.
The Table Saw
We’ll assume that you already know how a table saw looks like, so the definition will be skipped. We think the functionalities of a table saw should be the main point of discussion in this section.
To begin with, it’d be a crime not to mention the powerful motor a table saw contains. Most of the famous woodworkers around the globe have one of these bad boys in their workshop mainly because of such a strong power source.
Due to such a powerful motor under the blade, cutting thick hardwoods becomes a ‘piece of cake (pun intended)’. With this tool, you won’t have to settle for just ‘cutting’ the wood, but maintain a perfect shape as well.
It is quite expensive if you want to draw a comparison with the other types of saw out there, but the price speaks for itself. For a larger amount of heavy woodwork, a table saw will make your life much easier.
- Fast and Efficient: It might become quite a nuisance when you are willing to cut piece after piece in a very short period of time. With a table saw, that is very much possible as you can easily adjust the fence and keep bring the pieces forward one by one without any gap in between.
- Shaping: Though it might differ from person to person, we believe that moving the wood around the saw is the better way to give it the desired shape than moving the saw around the wood. The power blade will spin relentlessly, and you can move the pieces as per your need to get the desired end result.
- Cuts Anything: Probably this is the most significant benefit a table saw has to offer. A good table saw is capable of cutting through even the toughest breeds of wood used for woodwork.
- Durable: Due to the strength of the entire structure, motor and blade possess, a table saw is meant to last for a long period of time. With a table saw, your trouble-free woodworking experience will last for some good, long years.
- Workshop Only: A table saw is not your regular home working tool that you can simply keep in your toolbox. This takes a lot of space, and you need a dedicated woodworking workshop if you are willing to do some heavy cutting with it.
- Lack of Flexibility: Probably you have already guessed it; a table saw is not flexible at all. An average table saw weighs a few hundred pounds and it is highly unlikely that you will ever be able to take this out of your workshop for outdoor work.
The Track Saw
Using a saw with bare hands is very difficult, as the vibration will shake your hands and disrupt the cut you are trying to make. That’s why the aluminum guide rail is a very thoughtful addition to a track saw, and able to give perfect straight cuts when necessary.
The aluminum rail will serve you another purpose. You won’t have to use an additional scale or your guess to cut a sheet to a certain length as the rail will work as your scale.
As the saw itself is not directly attached to any fixed surface, it is possible to take your track saw outdoors and do some heavy work. Woodworkers who get outdoor gigs very often simply love this breed of the cutting tool.
- Portability: Being able to take your blade anywhere you want is the biggest benefit you’ll get from choosing a track saw. A track saw is easily moveable unlike a table saw, which gives it a massive edge when it comes to portability.
- Can Handle Tight Space Cuts: What a table saw can never do is to fit in a tight space and make sneaky cuts. Due to smaller size and portability, a track saw can easily fit in a narrow area and make big cuts quite comfortably.
- Movable Blade: As the blade is movable, you can use it on such huge pieces of wood that are way too heavy for moving around the table saw blade. You can bring that piece to a proper shape with your track saw, and then use the table saw to do the rest.
- Time-Consuming Set Up: While setting up the track saw on wood sheets, you’ll have to be patient as steps like marking the cut area, aligning the track, setting up the rail and hooking up the dust collector are to be followed. This can take some time.
- Bad for Beginners: Beginners will find it really difficult to use this as they’ll have to bring the saw to the wood they are willing to cut. For them, it’d be quite tough to control the spinning blade and cut smoothly.
We can’t give you a clear winner here. Though some of the tasks might overlap, the purposes are quite different for these two saws.
If you are willing to do most of your work in your workshop and need real power for faster cuts, then a table saw is your perfect partner in crime. On the other hand, if you prefer going for outdoor tasks and help your clients on-spot, then go for a good track saw and you’ll be just fine.
No saw tops the other in this table saw vs. track saw battle. First, understand your needs, and go for either one according to your convenience.