Are you in the market for a new saw and confused by the range of options out there? Trying to ascertain the difference between a circular saw and a track saw? Have no fear – this article will break down all the differences and help you to decide between a circular saw and track saw for your DIY projects. To begin, let’s define what a circular saw and a track saw are and what the key differences between the two are. In talking about the circular saw vs track saw debate, there is much to consider.
Circular Saw vs Track Saw – Which Saw is Better?
Choosing between a circular saw and a track saw can seem intimidating to those starting out with woodworking. But don’t worry! In this section, we compare the components, features, and benefits of both saws to help you make an informed decision. By the end, you’ll know which saw better fits the jobs you’ve got in store. Read on to see which one will be the better choice for you!
What Is a Circular Saw?
A circular saw is a hand-held saw that is used to cut through wood, metal and other materials. It has a round blade that is mounted on an arbour, which is attached to a motor. The blade rotates at high speeds, allowing it to make precise, straight cuts in wood and other materials. The saw is versatile and can make beveled cuts, plunge cuts and miters. It is popular among DIYers and professionals alike, due to its portability, power and ease of use.
The most common type of circular saw is the sidewinder, which has its motor mounted on the side of the blade. This allows for greater control over the saw and makes it easier to adjust the depth and angle of the cut. These saws are lighter and more compact than other types of circular saws, and are popular for making quick, precise cuts in wood and other materials.
Circular saws come in multiple sizes and styles, from a small hand-held model to large models mounted on a stand. They can be powered by electricity or battery, making them one of the most versatile types of saws available. The blades of these saws come in different sizes, with coarse blades for cutting wood, larger blades for cutting metal, and fine blades for cutting tile.
What Is a Track Saw?
A track saw is basically a circular saw that is guided by a track – usually made of aluminum – to achieve precise and straight cutting. It is compatible with any length of track, allowing you to make almost any cut length you need. Track saws are also lighter and quieter than their circular saw counterparts, making them much easier to maneuver, as well as safer to use.
The blade of a track saw is surrounded by two different guide systems, which line the blade up square with the track, and keep it firmly in place as it passes through the cutting material. These guiding systems ensure that the cut is free of mistakes, as long as the track remains clamped down and straight. This makes them much easier to use than a standard circular saw, as the risk of kickback is greatly reduced.
Typically, track saws are best used for breaking down larger pieces of material into smaller, more manageable pieces. They are also particularly useful for joinery, as the precise cuts can make creating intricate joints much easier. They are also great for making miter and beveled cuts, as well as plunge cuts.
Overall, track saws can be a more precise, versatile and easier to use option than circular saws, making them an attractive tool for many woodworkers.
Differences between a Circular Saw and Track Saw
When looking at the differences between a circular saw and track saw, it’s important to consider the different components and features that each saw offers. Circular saws and track saws are both powerful saws with a variety of uses, but they have distinct differences which make one more suitable for certain jobs than the other.
Circular saws feature a round blade which can range from 4 to 8 inches, with more expensive versions offering blades up to 12 inches. The blade on a circular saw is powered by an electric motor and can spin up to 5,500 RPM. Unlike track saws, circular saws are usually handheld, making them easy to maneuver and great for making quick work of large jobs.
Track saws, on the other hand, are designed with a specialised track system that ensures straight and precise cuts. The track saw blade is usually smaller than the blade found on a circular saw, ranging from 2.5 to 5 inches, and it is powered by a smaller motor that usually spins up to 4,000 RPM. Because track saws are mounted on a track, it ensures that the blade stays straight and steady, making it perfect for intricate cutting jobs.
Pros and Cons of Using a Circular Saw:
- Pros: affordable and readily available, powerful output, versatile, great for making quick work of large jobs.
- Cons: blade can be exposed and potentially dangerous, larger and more difficult to maneuver.
Pros and Cons of Using a Track Saw:
- Pros: quieter and more precise, smaller and easier to maneuver, mounted on a track so it can’t wobble or deviate from a straight line.
- Cons: more expensive, usually powered by a weaker motor, and only good for straight cuts.
When deciding which saw is best for your needs, you’ll want to consider the cost, intended use and the desired level of precision. If you’re looking for a powerful saw that can make quick work of large jobs, then a circular saw would be the best choice. If you need a quieter and more precise saw, then a track saw is the better option.
Pros and Cons of Using a Circular Saw
Pros of Using a Circular Saw
Circular saws are one of the most popular tools for a wide range of woodworking tasks. They are relatively inexpensive, powerful, and versatile, making them an ideal choice for many users. There are several advantages of owning and using a circular saw, such as:
- Powerful and efficient cutting: Circular saws make quick, accurate and efficient cuts in a range of materials, and are easier to use than other saws.
- Portability: Most circular saws are lightweight and compact, making them easy to carry around, store and transport.
- Versatility: Circular saws can be used to make bevel, miter and circular cuts, as well as straight cuts and rips.
- Affordability: Circular saws are generally less expensive than other types of saws.
Cons of Using a Circular Saw
Although there are many advantages to using a circular saw, there are some drawbacks to consider as well. These include:
- Inaccuracy: Circular saws require a lot of skill and practice to make precise and accurate cuts.
- Size: Circular saws vary in size and weight, making them difficult to maneuver around large pieces of wood.
- Noise: Circular saws are typically quite loud and could be disturbing to other people in your area.
- Safety: Circular saws can be dangerous due to the power, speed and size of their blades, so safety precautions should be taken when operating them.
Pros and Cons of Using a Track Saw
Track saws offer a number of advantages compared to circular saws in terms of accuracy, convenience, and safety.
1. Track saws feature a track system that holds the saw in an exact position, meaning straight, precise cuts can be made much more easily.
2. They are quieter than circular saws, meaning they can be used in tighter spaces without disturbing anyone nearby.
3. They are generally easier to use, making them ideal for beginners who are just getting started with woodworking.
4. Most track saws feature blades that are easier to change, requiring fewer tools and less time than a circular saw.
5. They make intricate woodworking joints much easier and faster than a circular saw, allowing for more complicated projects.
6. They are safer than circular saws, as the track system and adjustable guard allows the blade to be easily controlled, reducing the risk of injury.
1. Track saws are generally more expensive than circular saws.
2. While they can make straight, meticulous cuts, they are less suited than circular saws when making coarse cuts or breaking down pallets and sheets into smaller pieces.
3. They are not as portable as circular saws, as they require an additional track guide to accompany the saw itself.
4. They can be more difficult to use for larger projects or longer cutting lengths, as the track guide may limit the flexibility of the saw.
Ultimately, it is up to the woodworker to decide which saw is better for their projects. Circular saws are powerful, versatile and portable, making them great for tackling big jobs in tight spaces. However, track saws offer a greater level of accuracy and convenience, allowing for complex joints and intricate cuts. The right saw for you will depend on cost, use and desired level of precision.
Which Saw is Better for Your Jobs?
When it comes to deciding which saw is better for your specific jobs, it really depends on what kind of precision and accuracy you need and how much time, money and effort you’re willing to put into the project. For example, if you need to make a simple cut quickly, a circular saw can easily do the job. If you need to make intricate joints with precision, a track saw is the way to go.
Circular saws are more affordable and convenient, but it may be worth investing in a track saw if you need a lot of precision or are looking for easier use. Track saws also tend to last longer than circular saws, as they require less maintenance.
Ultimately, your choice of saw depends on how large of a piece of wood you’re working with and how meticulous you need the cuts to be. If you have a big job with a lot of cutting to do on a variety of pieces of wood, then a circular saw might be a better choice for you. But if you just need to make a few precision cuts, then a track saw might be the way to go.
Conclusion – Circular Saw vs Track Saw
When choosing between a circular saw and a track saw, it ultimately depends on what type of job you need to complete and the level of precision required. If you need to quickly break down larger pieces of material and don’t need much accuracy, then a circular saw might be the best option. On the other hand, if your cuts need to be very precise, then a track saw might be the better choice. Track saws are also much quieter and provide greater accuracy and control than circular saws. It’s important to consider both the pros and cons of each saw before making a decision. Ultimately, the choice will depend on your budget, the scope of the work, and the precision of the cuts you need to make.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is a track saw better than a circular saw?
It depends on the type of project you are working on. Generally speaking, a track saw is more accurate and provides better control when making straight cuts, while a circular saw is better for universal cuts that require more power. However, if portability is a concern, then you might want to use a circular saw instead. Ultimately, the type of saw you use is based on your individual preferences and the project you are working on.
Can any circular saw be used as a track saw?
No, not all circular saws can be used as track saws. Track saws are specifically designed to be used with a track in order to provide a precise and straight cut. Most standard circular saws are not compatible with tracks and cannot be used as track saws.
What is the difference between circular and track saw?
The main difference between a circular saw and a track saw is that a circular saw is a handheld saw with a round blade that is used to make straight cuts at different angles, while a track saw is a table-mounted saw with a guide rail system and a circular saw that runs along the guide rail. The track saw is more accurate since it has the guide rail system and can make more precise cuts.
Why would you need a track saw?
A track saw is an incredibly useful power tool for woodworking and home improvement projects. A track saw allows you to make straight, precise, and repeatable cuts with ease. This makes it perfect for trimming door and window frames, cutting flooring, and creating paneling. It can be used to cut large sheet goods down to size, panels, and components. It can save you time and effort by cutting cabinets, shelves, and other boxes out in one pass. All these applications make the track saw an essential tool for any woodworker’s workshop.
In conclusion, when it comes to the debate of circular saw vs track saw, the right saw will depend on the job at hand. If time and budget are factors, then the circular saw is a great choice due to its larger blade and quicker, more powerful cutting. On the other hand, if you need a precise, clean cut then the track saw is ideal. In the end, the right saw will depend on cost, use and the desired level of accuracy. No matter which saw you choose to use, be sure to use all necessary safety precautions to ensure a successful woodworking experience.