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Two of the most basic woodworking tools – the table saw and the circular saw. Both are intended to saw through your lumber to achieve the desired size for your woodworking project. As a result, many people are left scratching their heads when trying to determine the right tool for their woodworking needs. Therefore, in an attempt to solve this issue so many woodworkers face, we’ve complied a list of some of the key features both of these power tools have to offer.

Circular Saws – What are the advantages?
Circular saws are a great starter tool for the beginner woodworker. They’re handheld, easy to transport, and extremely affordable. They usually weigh less than 15 lbs. and come with a carrying case to transport from job to job. Therefore, if your job requires you to cut lumber at various project locations, a circular saw is probably your best bet. Circular saws are typically easy to use and set up is essentially non-existent. If you’ve got a bunch of small pieces of wood that need to be cut in a short amount of time, a circular saw will serve you well. Furthermore, circular saws tend to run around $100. For such a necessary power tool, this is an excellent deal.

Circular – What about the cons?
Circular saws are typically tough to handle. What I mean is, getting an exact cut can be difficult with a circular saw – especially if you’re inexperienced. This doesn’t mean you can’t get perfect cuts. However, it’s probably going to take months of practice – assuming you’re a total beginner in the woodworking industry. Furthermore, circular saws are best used on smaller projects. If you’re cutting large sheets of plywood, you’re going to have trouble cutting it all the way through on a handheld device such a circular saw.

Table saws – How do they fair?
While they serve a similar purpose, table saws are vastly different from circular saws. To someone that wasn’t familiar with woodworking, the two tools would likely look nowhere near related. A table saw is essentially a table with a saw in which you push the wood through the blade. So, instead of pushing the saw itself like you would with a circular saw, you’re only pushing the lumber. Basically, you have maximum control of your cuts before you even make them. You’re able to adjust various things such as your fence, the height of the blade, and the depth of cut. If you’re cutting 10 pieces of lumber with a table saw, you simply maintain the same adjustments for each piece, and you can be sure they will come out the exact same each time. Therefore, if you’re a beginner, a table saw is a lot easier to use in terms of accuracy.

Table Saws – So, what’s the catch?
First of all, table saws are typically much more expensive than circular saws. They generally cost around $450 and can run as high as $1000 depending on the features you desire. This means, for a beginner, it would be a big commitment purchasing a table saw – not knowing if you’re going to stick with the hobby. Table saws also require setting up and learning how to use them. As mentioned previously, there’s plenty of adjustments you must understand before throwing down a piece of hardwood. Furthermore, transporting a table saw from job to job can be difficult due to their weight and size. Luckily, they do make jobsite table saws, which typically come with a foldable table and wheels. However, these can run you even more money.

So, which saw is right for me?
Now that we’ve discussed the primary features of both saws, which one is right for you? Well, that’s completely up to you! The first question I’d ask myself is, what am I willing to spend? If your budget is less than $100, a circular saw is the clear winner. If you’re willing to spend the money, a table will serve you better in the long run. If you’re worried about portability but want a table saw – consider looking into a jobsite table saw. If you’re a hobbyist woodworker and only perform light projects with small amounts of lumber, a circular saw might be the better option. Obviously, there are a lot of factors to consider and you must analyze your personal needs to come up with the best option for you.

A saw is one of the most important tools in your workshop. Therefore, determining the saw that’s right for you can be a daunting task. Both table saws and circular saws are excellent woodworking tools – but have a few key differences that make both an excellent choice. Hopefully, with the help of this guide, you we’re able to narrow down your decision a little further. If you’re looking for more information on table saws and circular saws, be sure to check out Woodwork Made Easy

Thanks for reading and as always, happy woodworking!