Table Saw vs Band Saw

by Joost Nusselder | Updated on:  March 17, 2022
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The saw is one such tool that is used for woodworking, metalworking, and various other applications. Two of the most widely used saws are- table saw and band saw. Before getting into a detailed comparison of table saw vs. band saw, we should know about their features in brief.

table-saw-vs-band-saw

Table saws (here are a few great ones!) are commonly referred to as a piece of standard equipment for woodworking. They come with circular blades, and the top portion is slightly elevated from the table surface.

On the other hand, band saws come with long, thin blades that are sharp-toothed and run on two or three wheels. Band saws are generally more complex to operate than table saws.

So, what are the differences between the two saws? In this article, you will get to know all the factors that differentiate them.

Key Differences

Table saws and band saws are mostly used for woodworking, with the former being preferred more in workshops. Before getting into further details, it should be noted that table saws are used for straight cuts, whereas band saws are used for cutting irregular shapes and designs.

Size

Table saws are mostly preferred for commercial usage. It needs to be stable, reliable, and capable of yielding high efficiency for large workloads. This nature of a table saw makes it larger than usual; it takes up so much space that some workshops have to organize and arrange other items around it.

Band saws are much, much smaller in comparison to table saws. The difference is so huge that an industrial band saw may be considered equivalent in size to a small table saw.

Quality and Finishing of Cut

Table saws cut material with incredible precision. Some models come with a sliding table which makes it easier to achieve square or parallel cut. The results of cutting with a table saw are so clean that the surface of the material being cut requires little to no sanding.

However, the same cannot be said for band saws as it is nearly impossible to avoid wobbles and saw marks on the surface of the material. Even though it is possible to cut other materials in the same manner as a table saw, the finishing of the product is not as fine as the latter. The process is also much harder.

Versatility

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As mentioned earlier, table saws are specially made for cutting perfectly straight or square cuts. Even though the same can be done with a band saw, the difference between the finished products of both saws is quite noticeable.

But apart from this, the band saw excels in many other ways.

Band saws can cut irregular shapes and curves, which cannot be done on a table saw. They can also be used for shaping rough material into the desired profile. This feature is especially useful in woodworking for making furniture.

Another advantage that band saws have over the table saws is their ability to re-saw, which is not possible to do on a table saw. Furthermore, the cutting capacity of a band saw is higher than that of a table saw.

Safety

Band saws are generally safer than a table saw because the user is less exposed to the blade than when using the latter. Even though both machines may be dangerous, extra precaution is required when using a table saw. Statistically, table saws cause more accidents than band saws.

Both table saws and band saws come with additional safety features that should not be overlooked when purchasing a saw.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Table Saw

Cutting wood on a table saw

All power tools have their own set of advantages and disadvantages. In this section, you will get to know about the pros and cons of table saws.

Advantages

  • The blade height of a table saw can be easily adjusted. This enables the user to easily cut dados and achieve smoother grooves.
  • Table saws are great for beveling as the wheel running the blade can be tilted to any angle, which allows the user to get flexible bevel cuts.
  • The detail and finishing of the cut are highly precise. This results in highly accurate and well-finished products.
  • Table saws are very powerful machines. They can rip through the hardest wood with ease.

Disadvantages

  • Table saws are quite dangerous; most saw-related accidents happen with table saws.
  • It can only be cut through wood and is not suitable with other materials.
  • These machines can get very noisy. Even though this is considered to be natural for an industrial machine, this factor should be noted.
  • The circular shape of a table saw’s blade allows it to cut material up to 3.5 inches thick, meaning that it cannot deal with materials that are thicker than its limit.
  • Products cannot be finished with the same finesse as a band saw, as table saws come with large blades.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Band Saw

In this section, we share some of the common advantages and disadvantages of band saws.

Advantages

  • The biggest advantage of a band saw is its versatility. They can be used not only for wood but also for plastic, metal, meat, etc.
  • As band saws come with thinner blades, the waste produced when cutting material (e.g., kerf) is significantly lower.
  • Band saws can deal with material thicker than the 3.5 inch limit of table saws.
  • Compared to table saws, the noise levels of band saws are very low.
  • It is much safer to operate than a table saw, mostly because the area of the blade exposed to the user is much smaller.
  • Band saws shine when it comes to cutting irregular shapes and designs. It is possible to attain finesse when cutting scrolls and curves very easily.

Disadvantages

  • Band saws have very low power ratings than table saws. It cannot cut through wood as fast as a table saw can.
  • The product produced with a band saw will need sanding and other finishing processes as the cuts are not smooth and leave rough surface.
  • Band saws cannot be adjusted to carve dados or grooves.
  • Even though beveling with a band saw is possible, the job is very difficult to achieve.

Conclusion

Now that we know the main takeaways of band saw vs. table saw, we can speak about which is more appropriate for the scenario at hand.

Table saws are loved by woodworkers as they are a great choice for straight cuts and are powerful enough to rip through a lot of wood in a short amount of time.

Bear in mind that table saws can only deal with wooden materials. This is where the band saw comes in handy; it can be used to cut through a variety of materials, including wood, plastic, metal, and meat.

I'm Joost Nusselder, the founder of Tools Doctor, content marketer, and dad. I love trying out new equipment, and together with my team I've been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with tools & crafting tips.