8 Differences: Track vs Table Saw

Are you looking for a good quality woodcut and can’t decide between these two popular options on the market? We cover the basics of both and settle the debate of track VS table saw once and for all. Keep reading to find out which cutting device will suit your needs best!

table saw

What is a Track Saw?

A track saw is also known as a plunge or plunge-cut saw and helps make precise cuts along a straight line. It is portable and runs along a predetermined track placed on the wood. When you need to start cutting, you need to mark your cut line on the board. Place the metal track along those lines onto the workpiece. You can affix the components and start cutting along the set line.

What is it good for?

It is considered a highly accurate tool for precisely cutting wooden boards. Since these boards include MDF and OSB, it is considered a highly versatile tool for your shop. They will also work with plywood and particle boards. Do you have hardwood? Give it a go as well.

track saw being used by mantrack saw being used by man

It’s accuracy and the cleanliness of the cut that matter to the woodworking professionals. A simple comparison between a track and table will make you admire the guided track’s precision. Conventional wood cutting includes a rough cut with a circular saw and a finish with a table model. You’ll be surprised to know that you can skip the second act of the finish cuts with a track model.

They are highly easy to use since they do not take up as much space. It becomes easy to cut down larger wood boards into smaller pieces using one of these. If you’re looking for something to fit your small garage workshop, they are also space-saving. You could cut large boards in an 8×10 feet room.

The portability is also a major advantage that its counterpart won’t give you. It makes it a good choice for carpenters and contractors alike. You can easily carry an extension cord with you for added ease. Check out our resource on extension cords by length here.

And if you’re fussy about cleanliness, the shroud comes with a trap for dust collection like no other. You no longer have to worry about all those pesky wooden bits flying off to the corners of your garage workshop.

Now, let’s take a good look at the alternative and see how it works.

What is a Table Saw?

It comprises a table with a protruding circular saw attached for easy cutting. The purpose of the table is to provide adequate support for the workpiece. It can be adjusted for deeper cuts. The longer the protruding blade, the deeper the cut will be. To adjust the angle, you can maneuver the angle of the blade accordingly.

table saw seen from the front
Differences
AccuracySpaceEfficiency
Angled workPortabilityPrice
FeaturesSafety 

A table model is great for deeper cuts and milling operations which can’t be performed on a track otherwise. Rabbets and dados are some of the complex woodworking operations you won’t be able to do. You’ll need to have the stability and strength a tabled option provides as a foundation.

It comes in many types for every kind of woodworker – the hobbyist and the professional. Benchtop and hybrid are only some of the few types available on the market.

Track versus Table

track saw outside

Now that you know what both are good for, let’s look at the individual factors where one excels more.

Accuracy

Both of these devices have their strong points on the scale of accuracy. A table saw’s fence system is great for repeated cuts and can even help you accurately make cuts like rabbits and dados. On the other hand, a track will help make accurate cuts. The cuts will be cleaner than its competitor.

Angled work

Angled cuts are something the track-guided model can handle easily. It makes the alignment a piece of cake. This likely saves a lot of material and makes for quick work of various-shaped boards for a shelf or cupboards.

Table saws are more useful for straight, repeated cuts and might not be the best choice for a project requiring much-angled work.

table saw seen from the side

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Space

Now here’s something where the winner is clear – the track saw. Since there’s no table attached, you can have the setting of your choice and work on huge pieces within a small setting.

On the other hand, table models are only good for large workshops and factory floors with no space restrictions.

Portability

A track saw is the clear portable option, while the alternative is highly stationary and immobile. You could easily carry each component in one hand and put them together where needed. This feature makes it highly popular in the carpenter community. The job can be anywhere from a garage to inside a home. The Kreg model has been rated the best option for portability in the market.

Maybe you’re both short on space and looking for portability because the storage cabinet is a long way from the workshop. So is the nearest electrical outlet. Maybe it’s time to go cordless. The DeWalt Flexvolt Cordless Kit is a popular choice and among the top 5 options for its ease of use and mobility.

If you’re looking for portable installations in your RV as well, we suggest taking a look at the best cassette toilet options. If you’re a business owner transporting food and other temperature-sensitive items, here is a guide to Thermo King.

Time

Whether you’re a hobbyist working on a Sunday or a professional on a tight deadline, time will be a major consideration for wood cutting. Traditional cutting makes for a two-act play. You’re cutting roughly with a circular saw, followed by a finish cut with a table saw. But this time, it gets cut in half with a track where only one run is involved. The plastic edge on it marks where the final cut will be made. All you need to do is align the markers on the board with the plastic edge and start the work! Now you can make it to that Sunday brunch on time! Or you can take that extra time to get cleaning your workshop for pesky gnats and fruit flies.

table saw

Price

Prices might vary depending on the type of model and size you want to order. We can take a look at the general price ranges of both types of equipment.

Track saws with lengths around 55” or above might fall in the bracket of $70-$300. A medium to long one will fall in the wide price range of $575 to $1150.

Table saws are more costly and will keep getting pricier depending on the number of features offered. They will generally start around $500 and go up to $1100.

track saw

Features

Additional features make choosing between a track, and a table saw is tough. For example, the Festool TS 55 REQ Plunge with T-Loc and Rail has a toothed blade that can cut through almost anything. Its thoughtful mechanisms like kickback prevention and slow start motor to avoid any jump start. It makes it a good deal! Let’s not forget the adjustable speed control between 1350 and 3550 RPM.

But other features might give the convenience of a guide track a run for its money. The Blade Guard system in the DeWalt DWE7485 and the optional Dado set up to 13/ 16 inches in the DeWalt DWE7491RS are great. They are some standouts!

If you’re confused between inches and centimeters, it might be time to check out this resource to clear your doubts on all units.

Safety

Using a table saw requires the right technique and posture. Without this, its use can prove dangerous. Experts can help you out on the correct way to push the blade into the wood rather than the other way around. If you want the safest driving experience, you might want to check out this article on idle air control valves. It’s one of the keys yet most neglected parts of a vehicle.

Let’s get back to the topic. Thanks to its designated tracks with covered blades, this feature better avoids injuries. The lightweight design and portability it offers mean you can carry it, and it won’t break your back moving the heavy machine. There is also a sticking feature to make sure tracks are affixed to the workstation for added safety. If you’re looking to do some welding at your workshop, take a look at this resource.

Which is better?

Now that you’ve gone through the pros and cons of each, let’s look at the verdict. Maybe you’re a DIY enthusiast that spends a couple of hours in the garage for a simple woodworking project. A track saw might be the best. It’s the safest and most space-saving option for you.

Maybe you’re a carpenter or professional moving from house to house on call. Having increased portability is a feature you will love. If you have a designated workshop with plenty of space and a lot of repetitive work, the table model is your best bet.

Of course, the price range is still a factor. You can usually find a model that suits your needs in your price range thanks to the wide variety of brands like:

  • DeWalt
  • Makita
  • Wen
  • Bosch
  • Kreg
  • and Grizzly

There are many more. There’s something for everyone!

Can I use my circular saw with a track?

Maybe you’re on a budget. The ease of using a track saw instead of your regular circular one tempts you. It’s good to know you can start making your own. To do this, you need a relative amount of DIY experience. All you need is:

  • measuring tape
  • a drill machine
  • a combination square
  • and aluminum flat bars

We recommend seeking the help of a professional in case you’re still in the learning process.

Do I really need to upgrade?

Owners of circular and traditional table saws often ask if they need to convert and make the upgrade. Experts and novices are turning increasingly to the trend of keeping a track saw handy because of its impressive functionality. It might be because you never know when you’ll need a portable option outside your shop. It’s also because of the accuracy of the work. You can even invest in one when you want to save on space or make a change to a safer option. The preparation stage is much longer with a circular and table model. With the track saw, you can align the markers with the plastic edge and get going. If you’re still thinking, you might as well make the shift sooner rather than later.

Here are the top choices for both categories, whether you’re trying out large or small projects. Take a look at our best picks for each!

Top track models

  • Festool 575387 Plunge rates highly among the products available on the market. Festool is considered a premium brand in the market, and it’s no surprise it has raving reviews. The RPM ranges from 1.350 to 3,550 RPM and is powered by a 10 amp motor. Its micro-adjustable depth control also makes it a favorite of the professionals. Festool is sure of its product’s durability and thus offers a nice three-year warranty period for its buyers.
  • Makita SP6000J1 6-1/2 in. plunge kit

This is on the pricier side, but the 12amp motor makes it worth the price. Thanks to the high-powered motor, the RPM ranges between 2000 and 5200 but still keeps the sound level minimum. The warranty period is only one year, but Makita boasts of durability.

Top table models

  • DeWalt DWE7491RS 10- inch is the stuff of dreams, especially for those working largely with hardwoods. The 24 teeth 10 –inch blade will not let anything get in its way of cutting. The motor is a whopping 15 amp, and it comes with a dust-collection port that genuinely works. Now isn’t that a great deal?
  • The Bosch 4100-10 is a great option if you’re looking for a gravity-rise table option. You can adjust the height, and the motor isn’t compromised due to the small size either! The 15 amp motor can spin at 3650 RPM, and the frame can be folded easily and save a ton of space!

That’s all, folks! The verdict is out, and you can choose between the two types of tools depending on what fits your requirements best. Consult a professional if you’re a beginner starting on your first DIY project. If you need information on other types of tools, we also have information on this website.

circular saw

FAQ

Is a track saw as accurate as a table saw?

Track saws are much lighter in weight, making them easier to handle than traditional table saws. The stability allows precise and longer cuts without much difficulty. With a track saw, you’re guaranteed higher accuracy. Additionally, you achieve a professional finish with your project. 

Are track saws safer than table saws?

The design of a track saw is built keeping in mind the user’s safety. It has an adjustable riving knife and allows you to keep your blade intact even when not in use. The track saw is much lighter in weight and easier to hold, further enhancing the device’s safety. In comparison, the table saw is much more prone to accidents. Since the table saw is heavier and much more powerful, they’re challenging to handle and require a certain level of expertise to operate.

Can I use my circular saw as a track saw?

A circular saw could perform any task carried on by a track saw. However, the level of performance would be much lower as you can’t replicate the preciseness and accuracy of a track saw. But if you’re looking to get a job done, a circular saw will do.

What is a track saw good for?

A track saw is typically used to give a professional finish to a project as the cuts produced are splinter-free and clean. You can also use it for trimming objects and ripping boards. A track saw is ideal where precision is critical for the project.