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You'd be surprised to know that this is a common issue due to their various similarities.
However, we've worked out after countless hours of research that one machine is better for those working on larger projects while the other suits someone that focuses more on smaller, more detail-orientated products.
Take a look and find out below what'll suit your needs.
TL;DR: Table Saw vs. Band Saw
In the section below, we'll discuss the various pros and cons of operating a table saw and bandsaw.
Best suited to someone working with larger projects and workpieces.
Most useful for someone that requires a tool for detailed and intricate work.
What is a Table Saw?
A table saw is used primarily for woodwork and consists of a circular saw blade. The blade can come in various diameters; the smaller the diameter, the smoother the cut and faster it'll be. Whereas the larger the blade, the more material it can remove.
The blade connects to the arbor, which is then controlled by the motor. The motor and arbor both have different operating speeds.
You can control the angle of the blade, and there are hundreds of attachments or accessories that can be bought to complete different cuts and designs. The depth of the cut can also be changed by adjusting the height level of the blade.
What is a Band Saw?
A power tool that has a long serrated blade that's used to cut material, the metal is held between two wheels, one at the top and one at the bottom, where it's fed through at incredible speeds.
The speed means it can provide a uniformed cut through the material of choice. These saws have been used since the early 19th century and can be used to cut fabrics, meat, and wood, as well as much more.
The machine may have up to four wheels to evenly distribute the cutting pressure. The blade can come in a variety of sizes and tooth pitches, making the entire machine highly versatile.
Relevant Characteristics Between Table Saws and Band Saws
There are a few variables that can be measured between a table saw and band saw. We’ve detailed the various differences and similarities below.
Can Reach 105 Decibels
Can Reach 90 Decibels
Creates More Dust
Is Generally Only Used On Wood
Is Known To Be Used On Many Materials
More Safety Features But Still Dangerous
Isn’t As Hard To Control
Simple To Understand
Is Pretty Straightforward
Similarities and Differences
After highlighting the similarities and differences, it's crucial to understand them further. In the section below, we'll go into more detail about the similarities and differences.
Considering that both machines have a similar purpose - to shape material - it'll be obvious to note that they've got a few similarities to explore.
Both machines aren't that difficult to understand and begin operating. If you're starting as a beginner, you'll quickly figure out that the two blades are completely different.
If you're looking to complete simple cuts, it won't take long to figure out. Most machines come with a user manual on how to complete the initial setup. YouTube is filled with tutorials on how to complete basic cuts.
If you were to be picky in terms of what one is harder to master, it'd have to be the table saw as there are so many cuts, attachments, and parts that need to be maintained.
It's important for manufacturers to make their machines as easy to use and understand as possible; otherwise, people wouldn't use them.
Noise creation is important to understand, especially because it can have an effect on your health. A common fact most people don't know is that if you allow your ears to experience any noise over 80 decibels for 10 minutes or more, it can damage your hearing.
The difference between the average decibel rating of a table saw and a band saw is only 15 decibels - the table saw is 105, and the band saw is 90. Therefore, the band saw is slightly quieter; they're both over that danger mark that'll require you to wear protection.
They may have similarities, but they wouldn't be unique without their differences. The following variables are what makes these machines stand out from one another.
Dust creation is an important variable to look into, as this also affects your health. Many studies have recently indicated that there has been a direct link between dust inhalation and increased respiratory-related deaths within the past five years. Therefore, it's important to wear the necessary safety equipment.
However, it's also important to understand how much dust your machine creates and contains. When using a table saw, the diameter and speed of your blade determine the amount of dust created.
The larger the teeth, the more material is removed. Whereas with a band saw, the elongated sharp metal used to cut material cuts a price slit through the workpiece, therefore limiting any material removal.
Band saws are mainly used on precision and detail work, which means there wouldn't be much dust being created when the tasks are only small.
Ideally, a woodworker would like one machine that does it all. However, that just isn't the case. The table saw can complete many cuts like miter, bevel, and dado cuts.
But, they have a hard time creating small intricate designs, and shapes like a band saw can do. The circular blade of a table saw also limits it to straight lines, in contrast to the band saw that provides more free reign to create flexible shapes.
You also tend to use your table saw for wood and, on the odd occasion, a soft metal, depending on the blade. Whereas a band saw can be adjusted to cut through metal, wood and is a known favorite tool of a butcher to cut through bone.
In terms of safety, band saws don't pose the same threat as table saw. Mainly because the design is less intricate. For example, the blade isn't as open, and the blade isn't as big; the risk of kickback is non-existent as the chain moves between two belts rather than towards you.
That's not to say that a band saw can't hurt you because it certainly can. You still need to pay attention to your finger placement and not wear any loose clothing.
However, the downside to this narrative of band saws being safer is that there are very few safety accessories out there to purchase for your band saw.
Although the band saw might not have the same amount of risks attached, the table saw offers more in terms of protection/prevention accessories.
Advantages of Table Saws
There are more than a dozen benefits that come with buying yourself a table saw. However, we've included a few of the most important advantages down below.
Versatile Cut Creation
Table saws are more used to create various straight cuts and grooves such as bevels, rip cuts, miter cuts, and dad cuts. These cuts can't be made using a thin strip of metal used by the band saw. The table saw would be the easiest and most effective way to make these types of cuts.
Accurate And Precise Work
A combination of speed and a sharp blade is what'll make an accurate and precise cut. The benefit of a table saw is that it can also be used for material removal as well as smooth, precision cuts. If you're looking to remove material, a larger diameter blade will suit you best. In contrast, a smaller diameter blade is better for precise cuts.
They Come In Many Different Sizes
There are many different types of the table saws, all at different sizes and capabilities. If you're working with large workpieces, it'd be best to use a cabinet table saw. Whereas, if you're on the move constantly or don't have much space in the workshop, a portable table saw might suit you.
Advantages of Band Saws
Bands saws are great machines that have plenty of advantages for anyone that owns one. Below are just a few examples.
They Can Make Intricate Detailed Cuts
Due to the narrow blade, a band saw can create intricate designs and shapes that a table saw physically can't do due to the fixed, circular blade. It also gives you the creative freedom to cut as you please.
Create Less Mess
Mentioning the narrow blade again creates another advantage of reduced wastage as well as creating less mess, which is always a benefit for those that hate tidying up. The less dust created also means that you'll have less of a risk inhaling the dust.
They Can Cut Through Various Materials
Not many people know that the blades of a band saw can be replaced to suit the material being cut. Some common materials used include wood, metal, and even bone. The versatility of this machine is what provides the user with such great value for money.
What About A Track Saw
A track saw is more portable than a table saw but a lot more precise than an electronic circular saw. The unique feature of the track saw is that it has a metal guide rail that attaches to the material in order to provide you with greater accuracy straight cuts.
The rail can be detached, which it then practically turns into a circular saw. The track saw is more related to the table saw, but just a more portable version.
When and Why Would I Use a Table Saw?
There are certain times and reasons as to why you'd specifically use a table saw. In the section below, you'll see just a few of those reasons.
To Create Lengthy Cuts & Grooves
In contrast to a band saw, your table saw has much more to offer in terms of creating lengthy cuts and grooves on a workpiece. A table saw is better equipped due to the fact there are so many more accessories out there to help facilitate the groove and cutting process. Tools like rip fences, blade angle adjustments, miter gauges are all important in creating these cuts.
Best For Furniture Making
The cuts that are only possible to make by using a table saw are mainly used to make furniture and boxes. An example would be a bevel cut; they're perfect for making boxes, window frames, picture frames, and much more.
To Support Large Workpieces
If you're working on a large project such as a door frame or the door itself, you'd want a machine that'll support the entire workpiece; this is only possible by using the large work area of the table saw. If it's still too small, you can buy an extension or even build one.
When and Why Would I Use a Band Saw?
Below are just a few times when you'd require the use of a band saw over any other tool in the workshop.
Creating A Shaped Workpiece
Due to the narrow belt-like design of the blade, it allows you to intricately create shapes and designs with the greatest accuracy. You wouldn't be able to do this with the user of a table saw due to the fixed circular blade. Whereas with this blade, you have complete creative control.
Suitable For A Smaller Project
The small size of the blade allows the user to make smaller cuts compared to larger blades like a table saw blade. The workspace limitations also mean that smaller projects like photo frames and other small products can be created using a band saw.
You Can Create Simple Cuts
Although a band saw is mainly used for shaping and intricate designs, you'll still have the ability for cross-cuts and rip cuts. This allows anyone that specializes in the area of smaller projects to have the ability to complete cuts usually completed by table saws.
In an ideal world, you'd have both machines. However, it's important to highlight that both machines have their own specialized abilities.
It's clear to say that if you create smaller, more detailed projects/products, a band saw is suitable for you. In contrast to larger products like doors, beds, window frames, they're best being made using a table saw.