In this post, we’ll be discussing the difference between a table saw vs panel saw. What they are, what they can do, the pros and cons of each, and which one is best when performing specific tasks.
Table Saw VS Panel Saw Features
Table Saws are stationary machines with a fence attached to guide your work piece parallel to the blade. They’re usually equipped with a motor that runs on 120 volts but can run on 220 volts as well for heavier duty jobs.
The Best Table Saws excel at making precise cuts due to their accurate alignment with a fence guiding it straight for you. It’s also great for cutting large sheets of plywood down to size quickly without much effort or error in measurement because it’s typically geared towards such tasks. Most standard table saws have a bevel feature, meaning you can tilt the blade at an angle to make angled cuts. They typically have an attachment that raises and lowers the blade from 0 degrees (flat) to 45 degrees in either direction, for making angled cuts.
The major downside to a table saw is that its very large, bulky, and heavy. It takes up a lot of room in your shop/garage/basement and it’s not always easy if you’re working alone. It also can be very dangerous if not used correctly because the distance between the blade and fence is very small, it can be easy to get your fingers caught in between them while adjusting or making cuts with your work piece.
Panel Saws are a compromise between a table saw and track saw. They’re considered portable saws because they’re relatively easy to assemble even if they take some space, are light, and come with a handle to allow for easy transportation.
Panel Saws are best suited for cutting sheet goods (ex. Plywood, MDF, particle board, etc.) because the fence has an opening that you can slip your work piece through from the front while you cut it with the reciprocating blade from the back side of the fence. This feature allows for very fast cuts with little or no measuring involved since you can just set the fence to fit your desired size of your finished product before cutting it down to size.
Table Saw VS Panel Saw Capabilities
Table Saws can typically cut any rectangular shape you want. If you want to make a frame for a shed or house, a table saw is what you’ll need to use because it’s the only machine that can cut that accurately and safely. It’s also great for making things like boards for decks, fences, etc. It’s also great for cutting things with curves because the fence will guide your work piece along the blade and keep it perfectly straight throughout the cut.
Panel Saws may be great at cutting sheet goods but they’re not good at everything. They cannot make angled cuts or cuts with curves unless you attach a jig or circle cutting attachment. Also, they cannot rip boards because they don’t have a rip fence to keep your work piece straight throughout the cut.
Table Saw VS Panel Saw Accuracy
There aren’t too many differences between table saws and panel saws when it comes to accuracy. Both can be very accurate if used properly and maintained over time. If you have a table saw, you can get an aftermarket rip fence to allow for ripping boards. There are also some table saws that come with a blade the will cut on both sides (double bevel) which gives you the option of cutting at an angle without having to get an aftermarket attachment.
Table Saw VS Panel Saw Kinds of Blades
Table Saws can typically have either a 10″ or 12″ blade depending on the model you buy. Table Saw blades usually have a tooth count of anywhere between 12 and 32 teeth per inch (tpi) for making clean cuts through wood like plywood and Masonite board.
Panel Saws typically have anywhere from a 7″ to 10″ blade. The blade that comes with your table saw is usually just an all-around blade used for making straight cuts, not angled cuts. Panel Saw blades tend to have fewer teeth per inch in order to cut faster through sheet goods, which means they don’t create as smooth of a cut.
Table Saw VS Panel Saw Maintenance & Cost
Table Saws are typically made from cast iron and other heavy duty materials that can survive years of use with just standard lubrication and cleaning. They’re also quite simple machines with very little that can actually go wrong with them unless its been severely abused or hasn’t been cleaned/lubricated in a long time.
Panel Saws are typically made from lighter weight materials (plastic, wood, etc.) that can wear out easily if neglected over time or abused. They’re also more complex machines with many moving parts, some of which can get damaged over time and require replacing.
Table Saw VS Panel Saw Price
It’s actually pretty hard to find a table saw that can cut through wood or sheet goods that’s cheaper than the average panel saw. Most of them are pretty comparable in price and both have their pros and cons. If you really want performance and precision over durability than a table saw is what you’re looking for because they tend to be more expensive but also last much longer and have better precision.
There are some things to consider when deciding between a table saw or panel saw. The main one is how much money you’re willing to shell out for the older technology of a table saw, versus the less expensive, more modernized design of a panel saw.
Table Saw VS Panel Saw Safety
Both table saws and panel saws can be dangerous if used improperly or not used properly for the intended purpose. If you’re in the market to purchase a new table saw, look for one that has a riving knife that will allow you to rip your work piece in half without having to cut it first with a separate blade so you can make clean straight cuts with your work piece after it’s been cut down to size. These are commonly called “ripping” or “cut-to-length” features on table saws.
If you’re in the market to purchase a new panel saw, be careful using it on your own. Make sure there aren’t any fingers/hands of people nearby to get caught in between the reciprocating blade and fence when using it. If you’re making something that is dangerously close to where someone can get caught, consider trying to make your cut with a handsaw instead of a Panel Saw because they’re typically more safe than other machines when performing their intended tasks. In conclusion, we have now covered the difference between table saws and panel saws now that you know what they are and how each one works.
Table Saw vs Panel Saw
This ends our Comparison Guide of Table Saw vs Panel Saw.
For a comparison in terms of raw power on what a table saw can accomplish, it’s best to compare the sliding table saw vs cabinet saw.
When it comes to flexibility of use and efficiency, a comparison between the table saw vs circular saw seems to be a better read.
We hope the knowledge you gained here will help you in the future with your DIY or Professional Woodworking projects. We want you to be sure of that what you get from us are 100% facts, so please don’t hesitate to ask for advice or to advise us in return with accurate facts.
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Henry is a long time Trade Instructor at Dunwoody College of Technology. Henry has been teaching the trade of carpentry for over 15 years and is excited to share his knowledge with the next generation of builders. With his posts you will explore some general terms, tools, and techniques that are helpful for the beginning DIY Enthusiast!. He’ll also provide a list of all the best tips needed to start your building journey right away!