May 1, 2021

Track Saw vs Table Saw | Everything You Need To Know

If you are looking for a saw, you may find yourself struggling to pick one between track saw vs table saw. I have been using these models for some time, and I found myself in the same predicament. Through experience and research, I gathered information that adds value to the debate.

As you consider your needs, compare the type of cut each model brings. Cost, durability, portability, ease of use, material, design, and the dust collection system. Both models are accurate, fast, and give you a wide range of models you choose from. Yet, it is the differences in the above features that separate them. As a first-time user, you might find this article informative as it helps you pick your best model.

Overview of the Track Saw

A track saw is there to save 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. 

It cuts down wood into smaller, rectangular pieces. The track saw is mobile and easy to use. It cuts through plywood and hardboard. When using the track saw, you need to mark the position you are cutting on the wood piece. You guide the wood piece into the blade to take the saw blade to the marked position. 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 in cutting large wood panels, and it 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. 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 to your material.

Riving knife

The riving knife keeps you safe from kickbacks. It is adjustable, and that produces quality work. You have to 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

When activating your track saw, press the lunge release and the power trigger. 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 on a table saw is the ability to withstand longer and wider materials. It is bigger 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 that come with large surfaces and workbench table saws that are ideal for DIY enthusiasts. 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 on a table saw is fixed. The height is adjustable as you raise it lower or higher, depending on the thickness of the wood you are working on. 

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

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 type of cut depends on the width of the blade. Shallow cuts attract wider blades. A 10inch blade can make a deep cut of up to 3.5inches. A 12inch table saw makes a deep cut of up to 4inches.

Fence options

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

Rip capacity

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

Similarities

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

Differences

  • Track saws are faster than table saws.
  • Track saws are more light and 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. Track saws are within the 400 to 700 range.

Verdict

Choosing one type of saw over the other is a matter of budget, space, material, and type 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. That 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.

David D. Hughes

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