As a woodworker, it’s a common question why people like to know the difference between a table saw and a track saw? If you’re in the same boat, you’ve come to the right place!
In this comparison guide, we will be talking about the similarities and differences between a table saw and a track saw.
Table Saw vS Track Saw: Features
Table Saw – A table saw is a powerful tool that can straight cut and clean cut through wood or metal. You clamp your material to the surface of an arched, flat surface (called the bed), which might tilt in two directions called miter slots.
The blade is mounted on an overhead arm that swings around and cuts material on top of the table. It can be more difficult for beginners because it’s harder to keep your workpieces in place while cutting them. Most often it may come with a adaptive cutting system.
Track Saw – The track saw is a portable tool that runs on a set of guide rail. The guide rail is placed on a work surface, such as a tabletop or the floor, and you can cut your material while it stays in place. This is very convenient for beginners and pros who take jobsite work very seriously.
This tool isn’t as powerful as the table saw, but it provides exceptional accuracy when cutting various types of materials (wood, metal) with its rail system.
Table Saw vS Track Saw: Capabilities
Table Saw – A table saw can give an accurate cut through a wider variety of materials than a track saw. The blade can spin at different speeds, and the overall table surface is larger and more sturdy than what you would find on a track saw.
This allows for more creativity when working with smaller pieces of material. A table saw is known for giving the best clean cut, straight cut, accurate cut, miter cut, and plunge cut works.
Track Saw – A track saw has a very small blade that can cut on its tracks or rail system. It can only cut wood and metal but not plastics or composites made from multiple materials. It’s also limited to straight cuts only, as the rails are limited in their movement capabilities compared to the large bed found on a table saw.
Table Saw vS Track Saw: Accuracy
Table Saw – The miter gauge that comes with a table saw is easy to use and the entire surface area of the tabletop can be used as an angled cutting guide. It’s also safer when working with small pieces because you can clamp your materials in place.
Track Saw – A table saw is more accurate than a track saw, but on a rail system, the track saw is very precise. The tracks or rails of a track saw help you get precision cuts without sacrificing speed. You can get straight cuts or angled cuts, depending on which tracks/rails you’re using for your project. Some tracks allow you to make compound miter cuts by angling the rails at two different angles.
Most often when it comes to accuracy the it’s more better to compare the table saw vs band saw due to their flexibilities. It’s not that a Track Saw isn’t accurate, it’s just that you are limited with ripping and cross cutting.
Table Saw vS Track Saw: Power Requirement
Table Saw – The motor is mounted in the table saw with a belt that connects to the overhead arm. The motor must be connected to an electrical outlet, which means you can only use it in certain areas. This isn’t ideal for jobsite work or tasks that require portability.
Track Saw – The track saw runs off of a battery and has its own rail system. It can travel along the rails on multiple surfaces (workstation, tabletop, floor) and it’s very portable as long as you have a few batteries on hand.
Table Saw vS Track Saw: Size
Table Saw – Table saws can vary in size, especially when you’re comparing portable table saws. The motor and blade are usually smaller, but the table surface might be the same size as its larger counterparts.
More when it comes to sizes, a Table Saw has many kinds for lighter to heavier projects such as knowing the difference of the size with a sliding table saw vs cabinet saw in itself is a huge leap compared to a standard size of the track saw.
Track Saw – A track saw is very lightweight, and because it runs on a rail system, it has a very shallow profile shape. This tool is perfect for jobsite use or for use in tight places that regular portable power tools can’t reach.
Table Saw vS Track Saw: Kinds of Blades
Table Saw – Table saw blades are very precise, but it can take some practice to get the right angle. If you want your workpiece to be perfect, it’s best to invest in a more precise circular saw blade. Before you start cutting, make sure you check the blade tension.
Track Saw – Track saw blades come in high and low angles, and they also come with different types of teeth (ceramic or carbide). A saw blade from a track saw is great for making compound miter cuts on wood or metal pieces. The type of tooth that is used with carbide blades is a very strong one, which means that they’ll last longer than other types of teeth.
Table Saw vS Track Saw: Price
Table Saw – Table saws vary in price. You can find entry-level table saws, and you can also find professional table saws that are powered by electricity, both of which can have their own best table saw depending on use.. If you’re looking for a tabletop saw, then you can spend anywhere from $150 to $300, depending on the features that come with it. If you’re looking for a high-end cabinet table saw, then you can spend from $2,500+. If you’re looking for a jobsite table saw or a compact portable table being used for portable work, then expect to pay about $700 to $1,200.
Track Saw – Track saw prices vary as well. Entry-level track saws can be as little as $100. If you’re looking for a higher quality track saw, then you can expect to pay over $500. A jobsite track saw can cost anywhere from $500 to $1,000.
Table Saw vS Track Saw: Warranty
Table Saw – The warranty on a basic table saw is going to vary from one manufacturer to another, but the manufacturers all offer above average warranties (usually at least 20 years). If you’re looking for a table saw that’s more powerful and accurate, then an extended warranty may be worth it.
Track Saw – Most track saw warranties will vary from one manufacturer to another, but they’re very similar to the warranty that comes with a table saw. Usually, these warranties are going to extend up to 20 years.
Table Saw vS Track Saw: Safety Features
Table Saw – Table saws are safer than they’ve ever been before, especially when you compare it to the first table saws that came on the market. If you’re using an older table saw, then you should look into getting an updated table saw model with all of the latest safety features. There’s a switchblade brake that comes with some models, and there’s also a riving knife that keeps fingers away from the blade. There’s also a blade guard, which protects both the user and the saw itself from damage that may come from a person’s hands or fingers.
Table saws also have different types of safety locks that you can choose from. For example, some table saws have a self-latching rip fence, which keeps the fence locked in place when you want it to be, and then it releases the fence when you’re done with your cuts. The lock on these fences is usually controlled by a plunger that’s found on the front of the fence itself.
Track Saw – Some jobsite track saws are going to come with a riving knife, which helps to prevent kickback. However, this isn’t the case for all track saws. Track saws that do have a riving knife will have it on the top of the table where it’s out of your way. Some jobsite track saws have an anti-kickback device that locks the blade down when it meets something like a kickback situation.
Table Saw vS Track Saw: Maintenance
Both of these saws will need to be properly cleaned and kept in good working order to ensure that you’re safe when you’re using it. Just like you would for a table saw, make sure that the track saw is set up and tightened down before you start using it.
When cleaning either of these, ensure that you start with the dust collection system. You can use a dry rag to wipe off any debris on the dust collection hood because this will help keep your track saw or table saw working well. After that, check the fence for any damage and clean it if needed. For the blade, make sure that it’s always sharpened and there are no burrs on it.
For a table saw, because you’re cutting through wood, you’ll need to clean off the debris from the blade to keep it functioning properly. Be sure to do this before and after each use. You can do that by turning on the saw and after the blade passes through the wood, turn off the power and wipe away any debris that may have collected along its path.
The track saw while it does work with wood like a table saw will not leave behind anything in its path. Since there is no sawdust or anything else that is airborne when using it, you don’t have to worry about cleaning up afterward.
Table Saw vS Track Saw for Ripping Trim
When it comes to ripping trim, the table saw is going to be ideal. This tool can handle long boards and it’s easy to get the desired angle with a table saw. The track saw, on the other hand, is going to cut from side-to-side and not pull trim off of boards like a table saw does.
Table saws are going to be needed for large projects that involve framing and even when the track saw can be used for a job, it’s not going to be ideal. The table saw has more power than a track saw and it’s also going to have a larger blade surface area. It’s also going to run smoother with less vibration, which is something you need when you’re working on a large surface area or project.
Table Saw vS Track Saw for Cabinet Making
If someone is looking to make cabinets, then a table saw will be best. The table saw can handle plywood and other pieces of hardwood with ease, but the track saw will be too large for this type of project. A track saw is usually used for general carpentry projects and it’s also going to work better when ripping boards. When you’re using a table saw to cut most materials, you can clamp most materials onto the fence. This is not possible when using a track saw because the blade protrudes from one side or the other and there’s no fence on either side.
A person who wants to do fine woodworking may want to use a table saw because it has an accurate, sharp blade that’s able to get close to the workpiece and also cut it quickly. The track saw is going to be ideal for trim, molding and other types of wood, but when it comes to cabinets that hold things up or are made with plywood, the table saw is going to be easier to use.
Table Saw vS Track Saw for Home Projects
The table saw may not be as convenient as a track saw for a home project or even a small one. It’s not going to fit under a kitchen cabinet and it’s not going to have the ability to easily cut material while on the floor. The table saw is also much heavier, so it’s not as easy to carry from one place to another. However, the table saw may be the best for a large home project because it’s going to have more power and a larger blade surface area. The track saw is better for small projects and jobsite use.
A Track Saw on the other hand will do well for a home project that required straight cuts for some moderately long boards or plywood. This is a great tool for flexibility, something the table saw lacks.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can a panel saw be used for ripping?
Yes, a panel saw can be used for ripping.
Can a miter saw be used for ripping?
No, miter saw cannot be used for ripping.
Can a plunge saw be used for ripping?
Yes, a plunge saw is just another term for a track saw.
Table Saw vs Track Saw
This ends our Comparison Guide of Table Saw vs Track 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!