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Track Saw vs. Table Saw

The world of power tools can be overwhelming, especially when it comes to saws. Two of the most popular types are track saws and table saws. While they have some similarities, they're designed for different purposes and use cases. Understanding these differences can help you make an informed decision about which tool is best suited for your needs.

Defining Track Saws and Table Saws

Before jumping into a comparison, let's define what these tools are.

Track Saw

Track Saw

A track saw, also known as a plunge saw, is a handheld circular saw that runs along a guide rail, or 'track'. It's designed for precision cutting of sheet materials like plywood or MDF. The track stabilizes the saw and ensures a straight, accurate cut. Unlike traditional circular saws, track saws allow you to plunge the blade into the material at any point, hence the alternate name.

Table Saw

Table Saw

A table saw is a stationary tool where the saw blade protrudes up through a slot in a table. User positions the workpiece against an adjustable fence to achieve straight cuts. Table saws are versatile, capable of making a variety of cuts like rip cuts, cross cuts, miter cuts, and bevel cuts. They're typically used for larger, more complex woodworking projects.

Track Saw vs. Table Saw: The Comparison

Versatility and Range of Cuts

Table saws excel in terms of versatility. They can perform a wide range of cuts, including rip cuts, crosscuts, miter cuts, bevel cuts, and dado cuts. Changing the angle of the blade or the position of the fence can yield different types of cuts.

Track saws, on the other hand, are primarily designed for making straight, long cuts in sheet goods. While they can make bevel and plunge cuts, their ability is limited when compared to table saws.


Track saws are highly portable, making them an excellent choice for jobsites or projects where you need to bring the saw to the workpiece. They're relatively lightweight and easy to transport.

Table saws, especially cabinet models, are heavy and designed to stay in one place. Portable table saws do exist, but they are generally less stable and less powerful than their stationary counterparts.


Both saws have inherent risks, but track saws are generally considered safer. The blade is enclosed, reducing the risk of accidental contact, and the saw moves along a track, reducing the chance of kickback. Additionally, most track saws have a riving knife, which helps prevent the material from pinching the blade and causing kickback.

In contrast, table saws, while equipped with safety features like blade guards and riving knives, can still pose a higher risk of injury due to kickback, especially when used improperly.


Both saws offer high precision, but the edge here goes to the track saw. The guide rail system ensures that the saw moves in a perfectly straight line, delivering exceptionally accurate cuts. This precision is particularly valuable for cutting large sheets, where even a small deviation can lead to significant errors.

Table saws can also deliver precise cuts, but the accuracy is more dependent on the user's skill and the quality of the fence.


Table saws can range from relatively inexpensive portable models to high-end cabinet saws costing thousands of dollars. Track saws are generally less expensive, but the cost can add up if you need to buy multiple lengths of track.


Choosing between a track saw and a table saw depends largely on your specific needs and the type of work you plan to undertake.

If you frequently work with large sheet goods, need a highly portable saw, or place a premium on safety, a track saw might be your best bet. It's also a great choice if you have limited workshop space, as it's easy to store when not in use.

On the other hand, if you need a versatile tool capable of a wide range of cuts, or if you're setting up a permanent workshop and don't need to move your tools often, a table saw would be a good choice. It's also worth considering if you plan to do more complex woodworking projects that involve more than just straight cuts.

Remember, these tools aren't mutually exclusive. Many woodworkers find that having both in their workshop offers the greatest versatility and capability. The key is to understand the strengths and limitations of each and choose the tool that best suits your needs.

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