A lot of people asked me to write a tutorial where I tell and explain the differences between these two kinds of saws. Plus, I’ve seen people on woodworking forums arguing tirelessly about which one’s the best and why. I’ve discussed table saws many times before, so at least some of you are probably aware what their advantages and risks are, so I’ll start by explaining what Track saws are. These saws serve pretty much the same purpose as table saws, so you could consider them the replacement, but it’s more complicated. Their build is different, but carpenters use them for the same tasks as table saw.
But their capabilities are limited. For example, track saws can’t do milling as wellas table saws can. So if you need heavy duty machine for this kind of tasks, table saw is definitely the only way to go.
But if you don’t need any of these features, it might be a good idea to get track saw, first of all, because it’s a lot cheaper, and second of all – it’s designed to be more portable and flexible than the massive table saws. The small size is more profitable for carpenters with limited space, because track saws can be just put somewhere without any problems, while table saws usually take the whole room.
But on the other hand, track saws are not as tough and exquisite as regular table saws are. It’s also hard for track saws to handle flexible materials, basically anything other than plywood. So to sum up, If you have a little work that you need table saw for, you might consider getting track saw instead. For smaller workloads, it’s perfect replacement for table saw. But if you need table saw for full time use, track saw won’t do.
If you don’t have enough money for thousand dollar table saws, don’t worry. There are plenty affordable products that might satisfy your needs. Here’s my friend’s tutorial that will help you choose best table saw under reasonable budget of 600$.
Track saw might also be useful for some woodworking tasks, but not nearly as crucial part of the job as table saws are. If you have a space problem, i think there must be some portable table saws on the market.
I personally think that it is not competition between track and table saws, because both are very useful, and which one will be most useful to you depends on your requirements. If you are tight on money, and don’t need to use table saw functionalities that much, go for track saw. But if you take woodworking seriously and want your shop to succeed, definitely get table saw, at least cheap, used one. You can upgrade anytime, but without table saw, you are unable to make anything even a little advanced. eBay has some cheap table saw options, and you can choose to buy used product, which will really save you a lot of money at first. After you get your carpentry business going, you can upgrade to better.