The bench saw vs. table saw debate is a perfect example of how woodworking terminology can be confusing. In some circles, a bench saw and a table saw are two different pieces of equipment. Others consider the terms synonymous, suggesting that there are absolutely no differences between a bench saw and a table saw.
So, who is right?
It must be said that bench saws and table saws do share lots of similarities. It’s even suggested that table saws evolved from bench saws, which, by all standards, appear more dated than their counterparts. In this article, we tackle the bench saw vs. table saw discussion to try and come up with definite answers.
Is a Bench Saw and a Table Saw the Same Tool?
When you look at their basic structure and purpose, you’ll find few differences in the fundamental aspects of table saws and bench saws.
Both pieces of machinery use a large circular blade, which is mounted on a spindle, to cut flat pieces of wood. In both types of equipment, part of the blade sticks out. This is the part that slices wood when the blade rotates. Both tools require pieces of wood to be pushed through. Both of them have supports and fences that help you make guided cuts for more precision.
With these factors in mind, it’s easy to conclude that bench saws and table saws are, indeed, one and the same. But, would that be an accurate assessment?
The nature of this discussion requires a piece-by-piece breakdown of bench saws and table saws to see if they really are the same tool.
What Makes Up a Bench Saw?
The components of a bench saw are as follows:
Motor – The function of the motor is self-explanatory.
Rip fence – The rip fence is a movable guide that lies parallel to the table. Its job is to measure and hold down the board you’re cutting. It is the most vital component when making long straight cuts.
Bevel and miter gauges – These are components that allow you to make angled cuts of various lengths on a bench saw.
Stand – The stand keeps the bench saw steady and keeps all accessories handy.
A bench saw can make the following types of cuts:
Crosscuts – This is a perpendicular cut along the width of the wood.
Rip cuts – This is a cut that is parallel to the grain of the wood.
Miter cuts – This is a type of angled cut that produces a miter joint.
Bevel cuts – This is also an angled cut, although the final product can also be a miter joint.
A bench saw is accurate and tends to feature a powerful motor. It’s also prominently designed like a table saw, which means the configuration is more or less the same.
What Makes Up a Table Saw?
A table saw has the following components:
Rip and miter gauge
Much of its design is similar to that of a bench saw. It also works in the same manner, which means that it is also capable of making the following cuts:
However, a table saw can perform some unique cuts too. This is the first clear difference between a bench saw vs. a table saw. These special cuts are:
Kerf cuts – Kerf cutting is used to straighten bended, stretched, and warped hardwoods by removing material from its width.
Dado cuts – This type of cut creates a joint that is popularly used when making cabinets.
Groove cuts – These cuts can be made better using a wood router.
Fine rabbet cuts – This type of cut is also used in creating joints, which is why it is more commonly made by a router.
What Should You Buy?
DeWalt DWE7485 8 ¼-inch Table Saw
DeWalt offers this compact Jobsite table saw for professionals that don’t want to compromise portability for power. Even though it is small, its 15-amp motor is powerful enough to manage 5,800 RPM. It can make a variety of cuts including 24.5-inch rip cuts, cut OSB sheets, and rip through 4 by 8 plywood.
It features a guide fence with rack-and-pinion telescoping adjustments. This type of adjustment mechanism allows for quick and accurate changes to the type of cut you want to make. Since it is encased in a metal roll cage, it is durable to withstand the rough and tumble nature of a construction site.
The 54-pound table saw comes with a fence, anti-kickback pawls, a miter gauge, a push stick, and a non-thru cut riving knife. You also get a 24-tooth 8 ¼-inch blade, two-blade wrenches, and a modular guard system when you get this corded table saw.
DeWalt DWE7491RS 10-inch Table Saw
This 10-inch table saw comes with a stand and a mighty 32 ½-inch rip capacity. The corded table saw features a 15-amp motor with a no-load speed of 4,800 RPM, a miter gauge, a rip fence, a push stick, and a 24-tooth, 10-inch carbide blade. It comes fitted inside a rolling stand and equips new woodworkers with two blade wrenches and a blade guard instruction manual.
It can make rip cuts, cross cuts, dado cuts, and more, and allows for accurate size adjustments using its easy-to-use rack-and-pinion telescoping fence system. This table saw has more than enough power for pressure-treated wood as well as natural hardwoods, which are the toughest cuts to work with.
Even though it is good enough for professional use, it remains user-friendly in its design, which means it is easy to set up and takedown.
DeWalt DCS7485T1 Table Saw Kit
This is a refurbished option for woodworkers that want a cheaper DeWalt table saw kit that includes two FLEXVOLT batteries and a charger. The cordless table saw has a brushless motor and ships with all its relevant accessories. It weighs 57.9 pounds and uses 4-inch blades to make cuts of up to 8 ¼ inches.
With plenty of power pumped out by the motor, it ensures accurate cutting through all materials using a rack-and-pinion fence, which allows users to make adjustments quickly, smoothly, and with great precision.
Despite being a refurb, this battery-powered table saw kit includes all the bare necessities including a riving knife, push stick, anti-kickback pawls, and a modular guard system.