As a woodworker, you are constantly trying to decide which tools you need for which tasks. In this article, we will match the people and the work they do to find the best saw for their job. We will also help you understand what each saw type has to offer and how it can be used most effectively. The most common of the woodworker’s tools are the table saw vs radial arm saw.
Each type of saw has its own advantages and disadvantages that are greatly dependent on the requirements and purpose of the person using it. When we compare both saws, we will first take a look at their similarities. After this, we will talk about their differences in order to make a judgment on which one is the right one for you. Lastly, we will briefly discuss which type of saw is considered a better choice for your type of work and what each one can do best.
As mentioned before, each type of saw is used for different purposes and has its own features that make them appealing to those who are interested in buying one or the other. So, let’s start by taking a look at the similarities between them.
Table Saw VS Radial Arm Saw Features
For one thing, the best table saws outpowers the radial arm saw when it comes to features. A Table saw has an anti kickback pawl, riving knife, miter gauge, dust collection system, and much more available accessories to be mounted while a radial arm saw does not.
Table Saw VS Radial Arm Saw Work Capacity
The table saw can be used by making out A trims or building shelves. The person using it will have a lot of control over the cuts that he wants to happen and will be able to set different angles.
The radial arm saw, on the other hand, is best for cutting through thick pieces of wood. Its movements are a bit slower than the table saw’s and its cutting is not as precise.
Table Saw VS Radial Arm Saw Power
The table saw requires more energy for its motor than the radial arm saw does.
The table saw generates more power and can cut through thick woods and large pieces of metal. It is also easier to fix and replace parts since it is a fixed tool.
With a table saw, one should also take into account the kind of motor it has, is it a direct drive vs belt drive table saw? is it a direct drive vs worm drive table saw? Depending on the motor, one may be better or fall behind when compared to a radial arm saw.
The radial arm is able to work faster if you need to finish your job in less time. Also, it has a removable head which makes it easier to carry around if you need that specific feature for your work or project.
Table Saw VS Radial Arm Saw Usage
The table saw is best when you need to do more intricate woodworking projects, such as making shelves, molding, or tenons.
The table saw is also good for cutting different materials like plywood, 1/2″ and thicker lumber.
The most important thing to consider about the table saw is how much room the user has in the shop or workspace to set it up and position it accurately so that its saw blade is not moving across anything but wood.
Table Saw VS Radial Arm Saw
Cutting and Usability
If the table saw is going to be used on a regular basis, it should be placed in a new location in the shop or workspace once it is set up. This will allow for easier access, and minimizes the stress that is put on the saw blade.
Both saws do have their own strengths and weaknesses, so it is important to consider these features when deciding which one will work best for you. The table saw has larger capacity, more energy and power to cut through thicker pieces of lumber and metals than the radial arm saw does.
The radial arm saw needs less space than the table saw does since it can move up and down easily with its head you can adjust angle with ease.
Both can rip, crosscut, do simple miter cut and compound miter cut, dado cut, mold or shape, make tenons, make open mortises, taper cut, and rabbet.
The table saw can cut more accurately because it has a better fence system. It can be set up for different angles and can be cleaned up when cutting is done in order to make the cuts look more presentable without having to do additional work.
When it comes to flexibility, comparing the table saw vs circular saw or radial arm saw vs circular saw is a much better comparison to see how flexible these power saws are hand in hand.
Table Saw VS Radial Arm Saw Ease of Use
As said earlier with the features, the table saw has more features to help and guide the user to cut but this often comes at the expense of time. Mostly time to properly set up the miter gauge and fences and other adjustments to consider.
The radial arm saw is easier to use since you just need one hand to operate it and you are able to reach different areas of work that the table saw cannot.
The radial arm saw does not need as much energy or electricity as the table saw does, so if there are problems with the power supply on your site, that will not be a problem for the user using this type of saw.
Table Saw VS Radial Arm Saw Safety
If you are using the table saw, you should make sure that your hands are not anywhere near the blade, and that nothing will be in the way when the blade is moving. You should also wear protective glasses to protect your eyes from any splintering wood or other debris.
The radial arm saw can be dangerous if there are people around it who do not know how to operate it or if they have no experience with woodworking machinery in general.
As mentioned before, both saws do have their own advantages and disadvantages. The table saw has its place in the market because it can be used to do more intricate woodworking projects, but it is not the best choice if you want something that does not need much maintenance or space in order to operate. The radial saw is great for cutting through bigger pieces of wood and can be done faster than the table saw can.
Table Saw VS Radial Arm Saw Price
To be straightforward, a table saw is more expensive than a radial saw. The table saw is expensive because it has a lot of parts to assemble and it also requires assembling certain accessories for the table. On the other hand, the radial saw is affordable for its price, but it is easily rarely in the market.
Other things to consider are how big your workshop is and what types of material are you most likely going to work with. Knowing these helps a lot to determine on the type of Table Saw or Radial Arm Saw you may need.
How Many People Are Going to Be in Your Shop?
If you have a small space that will only need a table saw then getting a table saw would be best since they are smaller and easier to store than bigger tools such as radial saw. If you have a large space that will require all types of woodworking projects then getting all three tools above would be best because you can use them for different types of projects.
What Kind of Material Are You Going to Work With?
If you want to do woodworking projects that require a lot of cutting then getting a table saw would be best. A table saw can do more detailed woodworking than the radial saw, but it will require more parts to assemble such as a fence system and this may be difficult for some people.
If you want more tools then getting all three tools above would be best because they can be used for different types of projects.
Table Saw VS Radial Arm Saw for Ripping
A table saw is a good piece of choice if you want to rip your board. The table saw can be used to cut the wood into other sizes, a radial saw can only do this for straight boards. Although a radial saw can do the same, they’re not easily found in the market.
What Is the Length of the Board That You Are Going to Cut?
If the length of your board is about 1ft or less and you will be cutting it in one go then a table saw would be best. If the length of your board is about 1ft or longer and you want to do additional cuts with it then getting a radial arm saw would work well since they are more flexible and affordable than table saws.
Related to making furniture, the table saw is the best choice since it can cut bigger pieces of wood. The table saw can also be used to make doors, frames and other parts that you need in your home. However, most people don’t realize that while the tools are similar they have different capabilities. The table saw has a wider range of materials it can cut compared to a radial arm saw.
If you want more options for your future projects then getting all three tools above would be best because you get more versatility out of them. To get proper instruction on how to use each of the tools, you should visit your local hardware store and ask for a guide on how to properly use them.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can a Circular Saw Be Used for Ripping?
Yes, a circular saw can make rip cuts.
Can a Miter Saw Be Used for Ripping?
No, a miter saw cannot make rip cuts.
Can a Band Saw Be Used for Ripping?
Yes, a band saw can make rip cuts.
Table Saw vs Radial Arm Saw
This ends our Comparison Guide of Table Saw vs Radial Arm Saw.
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!