Band Saw vs Table Saw: Which one is Better for you?

bandsaw vs table saw

When comparing bandsaw vs. table saw, you need to understand the essential qualities and limitations of each.

This way, you will choose the right saw for your woodworking project.

Both saws have distinct features and specialties, making them suitable for specific jobs.

Your choice will also depend on how much space you have and your budget.

Comparing Band Saw and Table Saw

FeaturesBand SawTable Saw
Blade DesignUse closed-loop, thin, and narrow metal bands with teethUse circular blades
How it WorksMaterial is fed against a straight, circulating bladeMaterial is fed against a circular blade that spins at a high speed
Type of CutsWorks well for straight, miter, and curved cutsWorks well for straight, miter, and bevel cuts
Type of MaterialCuts wood, aluminum, plastic, steel, brass, and meatLimited to plywood, wood, melamine sheets, and other similar materials
Best forResawing, making irregular cuts, and cutting curvesCrosscutting, ripping, casing, tongue, and grooves
SafetyAre safer and quieterAre more accident-prone and noisier

Characteristics of a Table Saw

A table saw is a standard woodworking tool, loved for its versatility. This power saw performs every type of cut done by a circular saw, miter saw, and router efficiently. With it, you can cut rips, bevels, miters, squares, and many more cutting tasks with ease.

However, it excels in making straight cuts (ripping boards and crosscutting), angled cuts, and joining. It is also excellent in cutting plywood or MDF sheets.

A table saw has a fool-proof fence system, adjustable blade depth, and is compatible with various blades. Adjusting the blade up and down allows you to control the amount of edge needed for your work. Also, you can tilt it up to 45 degrees.

We have portable and non-portable table saws. A portable table saw has a foldable base and may have wheels or rollers for easy transportation. A non-portable table saw is often bolted to the floor.

The larger the table, the more wood it will be able to handle. The saw allows for continuous loading and fast cutting, thanks to its powerful motor.

The Pros:

  • Blade adjustment: The saw has a small wheel with which you can adjust the blade height. As a result, you can cut smooth grooves and dados with ease.
  • Versatility: You can perform a wide range of cuts with a table saw.
  • Easy beveling: The saw has a tilting wheel that allows for effortless bevel cuts when set at different angles.
  • Accuracy: A table saw comes with a miter gauge slot and fence, which allows for precise cuts or rips.
  • Quick and Efficient: With a table saw, you can perform cuts quickly and effortlessly. Thanks to its powerful motor.

The Cons:

  • Loud: Table saws are incredibly noisy as compared to band saws since motors power them.
  • Limited material: Although a table saw can perform a variety of cuts; you cannot use it on materials such as metal and plastic.
  • Rougher cuts: A table saw is bulky and has a large blade. As such, it is challenging to cut fine details.
  • Not suitable for cutting thick objects: The maximum width you can cut with a table saw is 3.5 inches.
  • Dangerous: Table saws cause a lot of accidents annually.

Characteristics of a Bandsaw

Bandsaws are excellent in cutting curves. They are a go-to choice in cutting thick pieces of material. They can also make long, straight cuts, although a bit slower than a table saw.

The cutting surface of a bandsaw is a serrated metal ribbon-wrapped between two spinning wheels. It has a slightly-exposed cutting edge that allows it to make complex curves and shapes.

Bandsaws come in benchtop and stand-alone models. The stand-alone is bolted to the floor and is ideal for heavier tasks.

You can set up your bandsaw vertically or horizontally. Vertical alignment positions one wheel above the surface and the other one below. You then feed your material into the blade between the wheels. This setup allows you to turn the material in different directions, thus making excellent cuts, files, and contours.

The horizontal setup allows the saw to cut down into the wood. The material remains stationary throughout the process. It is ideal for making right angles, precise miter angles, and exact length cuts.

The Pros:

  • Cuts multiple materials: Besides wood, plywood, and MDF, a bandsaw can cut metal, plastic, and meat
  • Quiet: The saw is less noisy than a table saw.
  • Cuts perfect scrolls and curves: One key advantage of using a bandsaw is that it allows you to perform precise curved and scroll cuts.
  • Material thickness: A bandsaw can cut materials beyond 3.5 inches thick. It is thus ideal for resawing.
  • Less kerf: Bandsaws have smaller and thinner blades that produce less waste even when cutting thick pieces of wood.
  • Relatively safe: They are a safer option for stationary saws to use.

The Cons:

  • Less cutting power: Compared to table saws, bandsaws take longer to cut through wood.
  • Rough edges: A bandsaw produces rough edges which require finishing for best results.
  • Not adjustable: You cannot adjust the height of a bandsaw to make grooves or dados.
  • Hard to make bevels: Bevel cuts are possible with a bandsaw, but it is more tasking than using a table saw.

Differences Between Band Saw and Table Saw

Size of the Saw

A table saw has a larger footprint than a bandsaw.  It is available in permanent and portable options. A bandsaw, on the other hand, takes less space and is available in a benchtop version.

If space is your primary concern, you may want to consider a bandsaw.

Speed and Power

A table saw is undoubtedly a beast in the woodworking industry. It features a powerful motor that rolls through materials fast and with ease. A bandsaw will take longer than a table saw to complete a similar project.

Types and Sizes of Material

A table saw specializes in cutting wooden materials. It can cut materials with a width of up to 3.5 inches.

Besides wood, a bandsaw cuts various materials such as plastic, metal, and meet. It also cuts materials of any thickness.

Type of Cuts

Table saws have superior straight-cutting capabilities. They also have adjustable depth and angle, thus perfect for making bevels, dados, grooves, and rabbets.

Bandsaws are excellent in making fine cuts such as curves, scrolls, and odd shapes.

Conclusion

A table saw is more desirable due to its consistency in making straight cuts, excellent cutting power & speed, and blade adjustment. But if you need to cut other materials apart from wood, make scrolls or cut thick wood, a bandsaw is the ideal choice.

Marcus Weldman

Marcus Weldman is the main author of WiseMakr.com. Marcus is a tool and DIY enthusiast. He spends his time discovering the comparative differences and practical limits for all kinds of tools.