Track Saw vs. Table Saw: The Complete Guide

VD November 11 2021

Whenever you have a woodcutting task, the dilemma of using a track saw vs. table saw sparks out—nothing much serious, just a friendly competition between two handy saws. 

Not surprisingly, this friendly comparison has also sparked sales growth for both of the saws as well.  In the beginning, table saws were dominating the market as they have been around for a long time. However, track saws have now gained popularity as well.

Generally, both the track saws and the table saws are used by woodcutting professionals.  But when it comes to using a specific type for a particular woodcutting style and results, the comparison begins.

In this article, we'll look at both of these construction tools and see how they stand against each other in terms of performance and reliability. In the end, we'll help you make the best decision possible by giving out our verdict on which one is better to use depending on your needs.

Type: Table Saw or Track Saw?

Basically, there are two types of saws that fall under the umbrella term 'table saw':

  • Bench Top Table Saws

These can be positioned on a bench top or mounted into a base. There are different models available from manufacturers such as Skil, Makita, Bosch, Dewalt.

  • Cabinet Saw

These are larger than bench top saws and they're mostly used by professional carpenters that work on various projects. This type of table saw is usually mounted into a cabinet or stand for stability and ease of use.

Both the types have different harvesting methods:    

Bench Top Table Saws – Ideal for cutting tough sheets like plywood as part of your long-term project    

Cabinet Saw – Great for ripping boards down to size with precision accuracy

In the case of a track saw, there are two types as well:

  • Compact Track Saws

These saws fit on any contractor's truck and they're used for smaller jobs or one-time projects. Compact track saws can be connected to a variety of different blades depending on the task at hand.

  • Cordless Track Saw  

As the name implies, cordless track saws run without power cords and they're often equipped with lithium-ion batteries. This makes them ideal for use in moldings installation because it allows you to work freely from place to place without being restricted by an extension cord.

Thus, in some cases, cordless track saws are used for some projects. However, these cordless models don't have enough power to cut through tougher materials using a rip fence.

For that reason, it's best to use regular-sized track saws instead of compact ones if you're working with moldings or plywood.

What do woodworkers have to say about this?

So far, most woodworkers are also confused about whether using a track saw is better than using a table saw. We are talking about using both the saws for general day-to-day operations and particular woodcutting jobs. 

Remember, both the track saw and the table saw are time-tested wood cutting tools but the application is different.

A table saw is an older instrument that is also more popular. That’s why most of the woodworkers, including the professional ones, feel quite comfortable using a table saw even for the hardest to carry out woodcutting jobs. That’s the proof of the efficiency of a table saw.

On the other hand, you should consider that a track saw is still not as widespread as a table saw. And that’s why even in construction companies, a few workers have enough experience in using a track saw for different woodcutting tasks.

In cases where the job could be either to use a track saw or a table saw, it’s better to ask your friends which one they prefer to use. Or if you know someone who has been using both types of saws, then just ask them which one is more efficient and reliable in different situations. With this approach, you’ll come up with conclusions very quickly without spending too much time on research.

What are the benefits of using either type?

When it comes to the benefits of using a track saw or table saw, you can say that both have their own advantages and disadvantages.

The biggest advantage of a table saw is its stability while the biggest benefit of a track saw is freedom from an extension cord. However, if you’re looking for something that has more power, then it’s better to use the table saw.

In cases where you need accuracy and less effort on cutting wood pieces, then investing in a track saw will be a good idea because these tools provide users with mobility.

However, one problem with using either type is safety. Both have different types of accident risks so it's important to stay safe while working on your project - it is woodworking or another activity.

What are the dangers of using a table saw?

For example, when you use a track saw, any accident risks will be minimized because of its mobility and small size. But when it comes to using a table saw, there are several things to watch out for

First of all, it’s important to note that these table saws don’t have guards like circular or band saws. That’s why in case you accidentally touch the blade spinning at high RPMs it can cause severe injuries.

However, if you choose to work with your hands very close to the blade guard while using a table saw then it’s also not safe. The is that due to the size of a table saw it’s easy for your hands to touch the blade accidentally.

In addition, you should be aware that when working with a table saw, there is always a big chance that you may lose balance. In such cases, you might move quickly and this can cause injuries.

What are the dangers of using a track saw?

On the other hand, working with a track saw isn’t 100% safe either because these tools have their own risks as well. However, these issues aren’t too serious and they aren’t common mistakes while using a track saw. The only problem is that sometimes these saws get loose from tracks which pose some kind of danger. 

For example, if you cut a piece of wood and the track saw is loose from tracks, you may be in trouble because it will fly off when spinning at high RPMs. However, this risk can be easily mitigated by securing the track saw while cutting a large piece of wood.

Is it better to use a table saw or a track saw for different projects?

As said before, both these power tools have their own advantages and disadvantages. If you have to choose one of them which one would you pick? In case this question comes up during your next job interview then there are several factors to consider:

First of all, what kind of woodcutting project do you need to work on? Depending on that particular job, you should make your choice. For example, if you need to make rip cuts in wood pieces, then it’s better to use a table saw because these tools are best suited for cross-cutting and ripping different types of materials.

However, if you need something that has more mobility and less effort on cutting wood pieces, track saws can be an excellent choice. In case you have tight spaces in your workshop or the area where you have to work with a tool might change frequently, a track saw will do a great job in handling such conditions.

In addition, when using a table saw there is always a chance of losing balance which poses some kind of danger  But when working with a track saw this type of accident risk is not that frequent because the track saw has its own tracks system.

What are the similarities between table saws and track saws?

First of all, both these power tools have the ability to cut wood pieces with accuracy. So if you’re looking for something that can cut wood pieces according to your needs, then either of these tools would do a great job. 

In addition, both these machines can perform ripping and cross-cutting functions so if you need such features in your project, then using either one of them will be fine. Also, they don’t require extension cords which makes it easy to work on your project even without having access to an external power source.

Why is it better to use a table saw or a track saw?

Both these tools have their own advantages, and it would be unfair to say that one is better than the other. It totally depends on your particular needs and the job at hand. For example, if you don’t need something with mobility and high accuracy then it’s better to use a table saw because they are very powerful and can work well for rip cuts in different types of materials. But if you need something that has more mobility and less effort on cutting wood pieces, then track saws can be an excellent choice. In case you have tight spaces in your workshop or the area where you have to work with a tool might change frequently, a track saw will do a great job in handling such conditions.

Is track saw better for sheet goods?

Working with sheet goods is something where track saws specifically outshine any other popular saw types, including the table saw. Most contractors, workers, or DIY experts prefer using a track saw to split and merge sheet-based goods. This shows how adaptable a track saw is.

The self-balanced cutting place allows you to divide the sheet into exact measured pieces you have adjusted the track saw for. When it comes to a table saw, this function is not available. 

Plus, there’s a high chance of getting oneself injured when using a table saw for sheet goods that don’t have a lot of mass to them. 

The art of making angles cuts

Whether you are a beginner-level woodworker or a professional one, you know how difficult it is to make angled cuts with precision and a super-fast pace. Here’s when table saw is most useful.

Once the table is fixed for a specific cutting spree, you can make accurate angled cuts all day long without the need to reset the machine from time to time. 

Unlike track saws, table saws can deal with almost any kind of dense solid wood block. Make sure to turn the speed up when working with super thick wooden blocks.

The more portable option?

In the case of portability, the track saw is the winner. Being designed through the latest engineering models and technology, a track saw is much lighter in weight and smaller in size than a table saw.

On the other hand, we all know precisely how a table saw works. You need to set up a whole heavyweight table for it before powering the blade up. 

Considering the table size that is usually used in a table saw, there’s hardly a chance to transport the table saw from one place to another frequently. Thus, the minimal size of a track saw makes it appropriate for all sorts of woodworking projects.

But if you need something with greater portability, then this category will go to the more advanced miter saws. A miter is basically designed for cutting different items at various angles. You can easily make accurate crosscuts and diagonal cuts using the right miter saw.  

There are plenty of other options available to choose from depending on your requirements and budget since most tools are associated with hefty price tags these days. However, it’s always recommended to invest in high-quality power tools that are durable enough to perform their task accurately without injuring anyone working around them. So it’s better to buy one rather than regret it later.

Final note

The woodworker and contractor community are still in a dilemma comparing tracking saw vs. table saw. Both the machines differ significantly in terms of design and working dimensions, but they both have one thing in common. They are making the job of a woodcutter much easier.

It’s hard to declare one as the winner. Both track saws and table saws have their respective benefits. 

But when it comes to widespread use within the woodworker community, the table saw is undoubtedly a winner. Plus, a table saw can deal with almost any solid wood block. On the other hand, a track saw is much lighter in weight and smaller in size than a table saw, making it more portable. But if you need something with greater portability, then this category will go to the more advanced miter saws. A miter is basically designed for cutting different items at various angles.

The woodworker and contractor community are still in a dilemma comparing tracking saw vs. table saw. Both the machines differ significantly in terms of design and working dimensions, but they both have one thing in common - They are making the job of a woodcutter much easier. It’s hard to declare one as the winner. Both track saws and table saws have their respective benefits. But when it comes to widespread use within the community, the table saw is undoubtedly a winner.