Track Saw vs. Table Saw: Which gives the most accurate cuts?

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You might read this headline and believe you’re going to read about a competition. A head to head between a track saw and a table saw! Who will win in this ultimate battle of a table saw vs. track saw.

While this is true to some extent, the most important message you should take away from this is the importance of using the correct saw for a specific project.

To put the idea in simple terms, there is a saw that’s right for the cut you’re going to make, but you don’t have to invest in every type of cutting device to get good results.

While this is true to some extent, the most important message you should take away from this is the importance of using the correct saw for a specific project.

To put the idea in simple terms, there is a saw that’s right for the cut you’re going to make, but you don’t have to invest in every type of cutting device to get good results.

These two items have ideal uses, and in some cases either can be used. Even veteran woodworkers and builders may find it difficult to choose.

So let me help you choose the right saw for the right job!

Know Your Saw

For the veteran contractor, woodworker, or experienced do-it-yourself enthusiast, there’s no reason to explain why this tool is called a “track” saw.

But, for the benefit of the novice, it might help to explain a bit about how this name has come to be applied.

It’s very simple, really; this saw lets you make long cuts, precise cuts, as efficiently as a table or circular saw, but in almost every situation, you’ll make the cut faster. The key is the stable, accurate track on which the saw moves.

Some people say that this is a saw with its own fancy straightedge.

If you sometimes struggle with the blade guard on your circular saw and would rather not have to provide your own straightedge, the track saw is probably the option for you.

You’ll own a power tool that designed with precision and smooth operation in mind first, and ruggedness as an additional element.

In contrast, the table saw is ideal when you want to make many, repetitive cuts, especially multiple rip cuts.

When you want to produce a large number of identical pieces fast, the table saw will probably be your best friend. It’s quite common to find a table saw in most workshops because it is designed for making a lot of cuts quickly.

It’s also versatile in the hands of an experienced worker.

Because it is designed with a blade that rises above the surface at a height you choose, it’s also a strong tool for cutting thicker pieces of hardwoods. You might think of it as a production-line type of saw.

Portability?

This is one element you should consider if you have to choose between using a track saw and using a table saw.

Popular track saws are portable, yet they are also stable because they have those tacky, rubber strips to prevent slippage.

You may have to clamp the track down in some situations, but with experience, you can become comfortable using the track saw by putting your trust in those sticky strips. This allows you to get more benefits out of the saw’s portability.

You simply align the track with your guide marks and cut. Again, a few cuts will give you the confidence to follow the edge, without resorting to a test cut or time-consuming double-check.

The track saw is an excellent choice when you need to make a longer, bigger cut in a relatively small space.

You won’t need the extra space to feed in or feed out your wood piece. It’s a nice way to save space and work with a bit more flexibility than is allowed with the table saw.

Another benefit of track-saw use is the ability to make long miter cuts, which can be limited in length with a table saw.

Plus if you’ve ever broken down a 4×6′ sheet of plywood, you know taking the saw to the board is easier than trying to lift that sucker up to your table saw, especially if it’s a plywood such as birch.

You will have to take a bit more time to set up your miter cut, though you can also invest in a reasonably price gauge that will lock onto the track. You get a clean cut with a minimum of preparation time.

You may even want to connect extra track pieces to make extremely long cuts with confidence.

Cutting on the Table

As mentioned briefly, a quality table saw is outstanding for repetitive cutting of similar pieces. Stability and setting your cut is quick and easy, and you’re ready to produce multiple pieces.

This is a good tool for long, rip cuts as well as precise crosscuts and joinery pieces. One of the most important steps in preparing to cut on a table saw is setting the position of the guide (or fence). The design of the table saw makes precise cuts quite easy.

If there is a feature in which the track saw has an obvious advantage, it’s the amount of space you’ll need for a table saw. It does occupy a significant portion of the work area, which can be an issue for those with smaller shops (or garage space for the DIY individual).

You must also take extra care when using this type of saw, because the blade can be a problem if you aren’t perfectly focused while directing your piece across.

Conclusion

After reading this, you may think it’s best to have both a table saw and a track saw, so you’re prepared for very specific projects and particular cuts.

Of course, if you can afford to have both, and you have the space, then you should do so. But, if your cutting work is primarily of the “mobile” type, you should choose the track saw first. If you want “production line” cutting, then the table saw is the way to go.

Keep in mind, the track saw is certainly powerful enough for almost all work, and it’s very much the portable option. If you haven’t used this type of saw, you should allow some time for getting comfortable with it.

But then, it’s hard to go wrong with the table saw, for any cut, especially for large pieces and harder woods. You’ll probably do very well with either.

Track Saw vs. Table Saw: Which gives the most accurate cuts?
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