The fact is that these 2 tools are more alike than different. You'd typically use both tools to make long and deep cuts in materials. Also, they both use an electromotor and rotate a specific blade at high speeds.
There are a few differences between the circular saw vs table saw, though. We make a tool comparison, discuss which is better between a table saw, and circular saw, and list our pick of the best circular saw on the market.
What Is The Difference Between The Circular Saw And The Table Saw?
The main difference between circular saw vs. table saw is that table saws are on a flat surface. On the other hand, circular saws are hand-held machinery. While table saws make accurate cuts, circular saws make fewer cuts. Table saws have dust disposals, while circular saws don't.
There are a few features that make these two different from each other.
A table saw is used to make fine, accurate angled cuts. It's a table that has a circular saw in the center. The table allows you to cut larger materials.
The biggest advantage that it has over the circular saw is its accuracy of cuts. It's adjustable, which allows the user to make quick, effortless cuts with perfect precision.
You can adjust the angle and depth on a table saw. Unlike the older models, today's table saw allows you to cut as shallow or as deep in the wood as you need by turning a particular crank.
You can also add additional accessories to a table saw, such as an extension table. If appropriately maintained, a table saw will last for many years.
On the flip side, a circular saw is a little bit different. You can use a circular saw for stationery material or stock that doesn't fit on a table saw.
It is a mobile device that is powered either with an electric cord or electric battery. Although it's ideal for specific situations, the circular saw lacks the accuracy that a table saw provides.
Also, you can use a table saw for a long time, but it does lack consistency.
Still, this is understandable. Keep in mind that it's a hand-held device and weighs far lighter than a table saw.
Circular saws are not as accurate since you have to try to hit the angle yourself.
Uses of a Circular Saw
There isn't much that a circular can't do regarding woodworking, but it isn't for beginners. For standard 90-degree cuts, you'd need a speed square. Without this, you might have a good cut, but it also won't be perfect.
What happens when you need to cut long straight lines? You'd need a shooting board to help with accuracy. Shooting boards are homemade devices because you'd need an exact match for the dimensions of a circular saw. Think of shooting boards as guiders.
Most circular saws have an adjustable plane which allows you to make angled 45-degree cuts. You could get the same cuts with a more expensive compound miter, but there's no need for that.
A circular saw is ideal for hard-to-reach areas that a table saw can't get to. Still, to get the best results, you'd need extra tools like a shooting board or a speed square.
In comparison, a table saw is a little bit different. It allows you to make perfect cuts and do the cross-cutting easily. But, you'd still need a special jig and a bit of experience to get the best results.
Some might say it's almost perfect, a table saw has its disadvantages. First, you may have noticed that it's big and not portable. You'll need a decent size workshop to store that piece of machinery. Plus, you'd need space for you to comfortably work on it, especially for longer sheets of wood.
What about the price? As you can imagine, a table saw costs way more than a circular saw. Considering the same quality level at a fraction of a cost makes a circular saw a popular choice.
How To Use A Table Saw Vs. A Circular Saw
First things first, safety. Always ensure yours and those around you are safe.
These tools produce high-velocity projectiles, and even though the shrapnel is small, eye-protection is a must.
Both pieces of equipment produce a lot of noise that clocks past the recommended decibel level. You may not experience any ear aches immediately, but over time, you'll start feeling the punch.
Table Saw: How To Use It Safely
Using a table saw means you'd need to push the material through the saw while cutting. But if the material is thin, there's a high chance that you're getting quite close to the rotating blade.
Most carpenters use a piece of hardwood that's between 1-3ft long. It allows you to push the material as far as possible through the blade without you getting too close.
A table saw can't cut through warped wood because the wood can cause splinters. A circular saw works better for misshapen wood.
Table saws have an emergency button that allows an automatic stop if an accident happens. Some table saws have self-stopping blades too. You'll also find a laser to detect fingers which triggers an emergency stop.
Circular Saw: How To Use It The Right Way
Using a circular saw is much different from a table saw. A circular saw is mobile so that you can operate this piece of machinery on any site. This is quite the opposite of the bulky table saw that needs to stay put in your workshop.
But this also means that you compromise on the surface support that a table saw provides. You'd have to manually find the right surface and ensure that everything is secure before you cut material.
A circular saw typically comes with an adjustable depth-rail blade.
Tips For Effective Circular Saw Handling
- If you want to slice right through the material, make sure nothing is underneath that you don't mind damaging.
- Metal surfaces below the saw can also break the blade.
Now look, steady hands promotes perfect cuts. Make sure that you're healthy enough to handle this machine.
Also remember, that you'd probably never get the same precision from a circular saw as you would from a table saw.
On the flip side, a circular saw can reach places that a table saw cannot.
What To Look For: Comparing The 2 Saws
- For many, especially beginners, choosing between the 2 can be tricky. If you need a piece of machinery with higher control, a circular saw does well.
- Also, depending on the materials you're working with, you may need a saw with a higher MAX RPM. More power equals a more manageable job.
- An aluminum or magnesium base plate helps prevent bending, which may cost more, but works well in the long-run.
- Some table saws are "portable" but nowhere near as portable as a circular saw. And, they're still much heavier compared to circular saws.
Which is better circular saw or table saw?
You can perform numerous types of cuts with a circular saw. While with a table saw, you’re looking at higher precision. If you need to work on different projects in different locations, then a circular saw wins. On the other hand, a table saw is used in one place.
At the end of the day, we can’t say that the circular saw is better than a table saw or vice versa. Although they look very similar and still do very similar tasks, they still differ in some ways.
Table Saw vs Circular Saw: Pros and Cons
CIRCULAR SAW PROS
CIRCULAR SAW CONS
TABLE SAW PROS
TABLE SAW CONS
Versatile power tool: You can perform numerous cuts through various materials. Remember to use the right blade.
Not as precise as a table saw: Because you need to use a lot of hand movement, cuts could be impacted somewhat.
Precise and accurate cuts:
The combo of the stability of the table and the saw’s design makes this tool sturdy.
Not portable: You’ll need to fix this in a permanent place in your workshop. You do find some models that are more compact and portable.
It’s easily moved from place to place. This means completing projects in different locations is possible. Circular saws are lightweight, some are cordless that means you can complete tasks even if there are power cuts.
No sawdust disposal:
That means messy cleanups once you’re done with your project.
Ripping boards and cross-cut performance is easy.
Expensive: These machines cost more than table saws so don’t fit everybody’s pocket.
Costs less than a table saw: Circular saws are more affordable than a table saw and ideal for people with a tight budget.
Sawdust disposal feature:
No need to do heavy cleaning of sawdust afterward as most of it is caught in the disposal.
Can be dangerous, especially for beginners: The blade is always exposed and poses a risk to those who are not careful.
Table saws are easy to maintain, even though they take up more space.
Can I use a circular saw as a table saw?
Pieces of plywood are easier to cut with a circular saw and a straightedge. Circular saws don’t cut as smoothly as a table saw, but you can cut as accurately as possible if you know the techniques.
Which one is safer between a circular saw and a table saw?
Although circular saws are more affordable than table saws, they’re much safer. You can still cause major injuries with a circular saw but they are overall safer than a table saw.
Our top picks of the best circular saw
Our short list covers only 3 of the best circular saws on the market. Don't find anything you like, check out the Kobalt 15Amp Circular Saw Review.
Made from 100% gluten-free steel with carbide tip teeth, and 0.1% yellow paint.
“Lightweight and compact 8.8-Pound. Electric Brake. Patented 15-Amp motor. 57-Degree beveling capacity with positive stops at 45-Degree and 22.5-Degree. Integrated Dust blower”
Comes with a 1/2 inch arbor size, perfect for cutting wood.
“Adjustable cutting depth and angle: 0-45°bevel capacity allows for bevel cuts for a multitude of applications. the adjustable depth knob allows cutting depth up to 1.6 inch at 90°, and cutting depth up to 1.4 inch at 45°.spindle lock, so easy to change the blade with hex wrench.”
15 Amp/7-1/4″, comes with an adjustable laser.
“51 degree bevel capacity for a wide variety of cuts. Arbor size: 5/8 inches, cord length: 6 feet. Lightweight 6.95-pounds design reduces fatigue. Dust blower keeps line-of-cut free of sawdust for improved visibility. Anti-snag lower guard reduces snags when making narrow cut-offs.”
When comparing a circular saw vs table saw, you may have noticed that they appear to have similar functionalities. Both have electromotors, rotating blades and are often used for carpentry. Still, choosing one over the other depends on your project's needs and weighing up the pros and cons.
Our buyers' guide will help you make the right decision.