Circular Saw Vs Table Saw – What Are the Differences

Updated July 5th, 2022
Circular Saw Vs Table Saw

The main differences between a circular saw and a table saw include their uses, cost, efficiency in sawdust disposals, the precision of their cuts, portability, versatility, convenience, and durability. Knowing the differences will help you decide whether you need both or just one, and if so, which one? Before we go deep into the comparison, let’s see a brief overview of the table and circular saw.

Circular Saw

Circular saw cutting wood

The circular saw is a hand-held or portable power saw with a circular or round blade. It has various subtypes, including sidewinder circular saws, worm drive circular saws, hypoid circular saws, and mini circular saws.

To use a circular saw, you’ll need to position it directly on the piece of wood you intend to cut. Individuals who are more skilled in carpentry can easily execute accurate cuts by using their eyes to measure up. On the other hand, novices in woodworking will require a sort of jig that can help them achieve precise cuts.

Similar to the table saw the circular saw blade can’t cut slightly rounded or curved lines. Also, you can’t alter the height or angle of your cut with a circular saw.

Table Saw

Table saw cutting wood

The table saw is a power saw equipped with a circular blade. However, its entire design or make is fixed on a table or any flat surface. Its rounded blade displays through a hole on that table or work surface.

Table saws have subcategories, including cabinet table saws, bench table saws, hybrid table saws, contractor table saws, and benchtop table saws.

It is renowned for its high level of precision when used to cut straight lines. This means it cannot cut curved lines. To use the table saw, you’ll have to position the piece of wood you want to cut on the table or work surface.

A mechanism on the table’s surface acts as a guide when you push the wood piece against the blade to get perfect cuts. The table saw is one of those power saws that gives the user more flexibility.

Modern models of table saws enable users to modify the angle and height of their cut. This means there’s an improved number of possibilities regarding the types of cuts you can achieve with the table saw. If you know what you’re doing, you won’t be restricted to straight cuts.

Differences

Uses

The table saw is your go-to power tool if you need very straight cuts. Plus, getting better cuts with a table saw is easier because you have to properly position the table saw for the kind of cut you want. Then run the machine and let it do its work.

Most table saws are recommended for amateurs or novices in DIY carpentry work because they are easier to use than circular saws. Aside from straight cuts, table saws are also designed to make other kinds of cuts, such as cross cuts and rip cuts.

In summary, table saws give you some range because you can make more accurate cuts, reshape crooked boards, and make crown molding.

Circular saws are portable power saws. If you can’t bring a piece of wood to a table saw, circular saws are your go-to power saws. There are corded circular saws and cordless circular saws. The cordless versions of circular saws are lightweight, easier to move around, and more flexible than the corded models.

Because of its enhanced mobility, a circular saw is ideal for executing overhead cuts. It’s also suitable for straight cuts and, similar to a table saw, can execute rip cuts and cross cuts. With a circular saw, you can also execute bevel cuts, something a table saw can’t do.

The table saw is better than the circular saw in making straight cuts, but in the hands of a skilled woodworker, a circular saw can make a perfectly straight cut. In summary, the circular saw gives you a wider range of cuts. It can also cut plywood, plastic, and soft materials.

Cost

Table saws cost more than circular saws. So if your decision on which saw to buy between table saws and circular saws is purely a budget decision, we recommend going for a circular saw because they are more pocket-friendly.

Efficiency in Sawdust Disposals

Using a table saw is more convenient in terms of efficient sawdust disposal. With a table saw, you won’t have to clean up tons of sawdust when you’re done with woodworking projects on construction sites.

Table saws are designed to push most of the sawdust below the table. It helps if you keep a dust collection box below the table because it will collect most of the sawdust from your work. This keeps your work surface relatively clean.

If you intend to use a multi-purpose space such as a garage to saw wood, then you should use a table saw. This way, you won’t see sawdust all over your vehicles and garage.

On the flip side, sawdust disposal isn’t the forte of circular saws. Being a hand-held power tool, circular saws lack efficiency in sawdust disposal. This means that if you use a circular saw in your home or on job sites, you’ll have to deal with a lot of sawdust.

Table saws come out on top in table saw vs circular saw when it comes to sawdust management.

Portability

This is one of the most apparent differences between the table saw and the circular saw. Moving a table saw from one place to another or between construction sites is difficult. This is because of the way the table saw was designed.

Even portable table saws are still bulky and require some effort to move around. So moving a table saw is basically impractical. No one wants to go through that stress.

On the other hand, a circular saw is more portable than table saws such as cabinet saws and the like. This is because they are designed to be hand-held power tools. They are very compact and easy to move around a job site.

So the circular saw comes out on top in a table saw vs. circular saw battle in terms of portability.

Versatility

A table saw cuts softer materials such as plastic, but it’s primarily used for carpentry works. Materials such as MDF and hardwood required carbide-tipped blades for cutting. A table saw can execute different types of cuts, but it has a size-themed limitation.

If you want to execute a crosscut on a huge piece of wood, you’ll require a larger table saw and extra support.

A good circular saw, on the other hand, is more versatile than a table saw. In the hands of a skilled woodworker or carpenter, a circular saw can be used as a miter saw. You can execute more cuts, such as bevel cuts and overhead cuts that a table saw cannot perform.

In addition to that, you can also execute cuts that a table saw can perform as well. That’s a win-win. We recommend getting circular saw blades for different uses if you are working on numerous projects involving a circular saw.

If you intend to cut metal pieces, go for a circular saw compatible with abrasive discs. If you want to cut bricks and tiles, we recommend using a circular saw with a diamond blade.

Accuracy

Table saws gain the upper hand in the accuracy contest of table saw vs circular saw because it makes more accurate cuts than the circular saw. The accuracy of the table saw has little to do with your skill in cutting wood and more to do with its design.

Unlike the table saw, the accuracy of the circular saw has more to do with the skill of the user wielding it and less with its design. It’s no less accurate than a good table saw, but to get more precise cuts or get an accurate straight line, you have to be skilled in using the portable saw,

This is precisely why we recommend table saws for novices or amateurs because it’s easier to achieve precision in cutting wood with them. You need more practice and expertise with a circular saw to achieve precision, and that’s why the table saws trump it in this category.

Convenience

Between both power tools, table saws are obviously easier to use because your primary work is cutting the piece of wood placed on the table. You don’t need considerable technical expertise to handle a table saw. You’re good to go with a table saw with a rudimentary knowledge of the safety measures and the basic operations.

A circular saw wasn’t designed to be placed or fixed on a flat surface but to be held. This means to use the circular saw properly, you need to be skilled in safely and accurately handling the circular saw. This saw looks more convenient because it’s portable and smaller but it requires practice and considerable expertise to get it right.

Durability & Maintenance

There’s no outright winner here because the table saw typically lasts longer but requires more maintenance to function optimally because of the several internal components.

The circular saw has an average life span but requires less maintenance. While a table saw is more durable, a circular saw doesn’t need much maintenance to function at an optimal level.

Comparison Summary

The two saws have their benefits and drawbacks. We’ll give you a quick rundown of these to help you decide which saw to buy for your needs. If you’re venturing into DIY woodwork and want to start a power tool collection, then a table saw is for you.

So what are table saws good for? A table saw is easier to use, more efficient in disposing of sawdust, more durable, and versatile but it is more expensive, heavier, hard to move around, and requires more maintenance.

A circular saw is lightweight, easier to move around, more affordable, more versatile than a table saw, and requires less maintenance. On the flip side, a circular saw is harder to use, less durable, less efficient in sawdust management, and less accurate if handled by a novice.

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