Band Saw vs Table Saw: Which One to Choose?

  • August 13, 2018

band saw vs table saw header

If you’re in the market for a new saw but don’t know which kind of saw will best fit your needs, you’ve come to the right place. It’s not always easy to shop for tools online, but we’ve prepared this guide so that you can buy with confidence.

Which saw you need depends primarily on what kinds of cuts you plan to do, and how much precision you’re going to require.

If you’re planning to do a lot of long, straight cuts, then you’d probably be better off with a table saw, which excels at those. Band saws are better for shorter cuts. However, if you’re planning to do any scrolling or curved cuts, then you will need to get a band saw, as the table saw can only do straight cuts.

You also need to consider beveling when choosing between a band saw, and a table saw. Many models of table saw feature a pivoting table that allows you to make a consistent bevel by keeping the piece in contact with the tilted table as you run it past the blade. Or, if you’re going to be making cuts that don’t run all the way through the material, go with a table saw, as the blade is adjustable-height, allowing for precise cuts.

The one area in which the band saw truly excels is in cutting other materials. You can cut things other than wood, like plastic or metal, by changing out the blade, which you can’t do with a table saw.

Now that you have some ideas about which machine you’ll need, be sure to check out our reviews of different band saw and table saw models.

Band Saws We Recommend:

Our favorite – JET JWBS-14DXPRO

Sale
JET JWBS-14DXPRO 14-Inch Deluxe Pro Band Saw Kit
75 Customer Reviews
JET JWBS-14DXPRO 14-Inch Deluxe Pro Band Saw Kit
  • Built-in 12-Inch resaw capacity for cutting larger pieces of wood
  • 2 Speed poly-v belt drive system
  • Newly designed upper and lower cast iron frame for increased strength and rigidity

The JET JWBS-14DXPRO is our favorite band saw. It’s a solid piece of machinery, coming with a cast iron frame and table that will stand up to a lot of abuse without giving out. This model can cut pieces up to 13.5 inches wide, 12 inches tall, and features a retractable blade guard that goes from 0-12 inches so that you can feel safe working with pieces of any height under 12 inches, giving it more capacity than most machines.

The 15 by 15-inch work table can tilt 10 degrees left and 45 degrees right, giving you flexibility when you want to make angled cuts. It also has upper and lower ball bearing guides which are low-friction relative to other systems and should extend the life of your blade. You can switch between two speeds to give yourself greater control and make use of an easy-view blade tracking window to make sure everything is running smoothly. The one downside is that it comes with an underwhelming blade. Some people will find it plenty-usable, while others will find it lacking.

Pros
  • Size
  • Excellent table
  • Low-friction ball bearing guides
  • Good safety features
Cons
  • Underwhelming blade

Best for the money – WEN 3962

WEN 3962 Two-Speed Band Saw with Stand and...
422 Customer Reviews
WEN 3962 Two-Speed Band Saw with Stand and...
  • 3.5 amp motor creates cuts up to six inches deep and 9-3/4 inches wide
  • Uses 72-inch blades anywhere from 1/8 to 1/2 inches in size
  • Spacious 14-1/8 x 12-1/2 inch work table bevels up to 45 degrees

The WEN 3962 is an excellent band saw, giving you good power and flexibility, without a ridiculous price tag. This model’s table tilts up to 45 degrees, giving you the ability to make all kinds of angled cuts. The 10” blade can run at two different speeds, allowing you to customize the settings to the project at hand. Its 3-in-1 dust port enables you to use different dust collection hose sizes. This works out even better if you already own a compatible system.  It also has an excellent work light, allowing you to see what you’re doing, even in suboptimal conditions.

It is a little difficult to set up, especially for beginners, and it can take longer to switch between modes, which will cost you some time in the long run. Once the setup is done, you should expect straight and powerful cuts. If you’re familiar with band saws, this is a great choice. Or, if you’re new and willing to learn, you can get a lot of good use out of this model.

Pros
  • Excellent work light
  • Beveling table
  • Two speeds
Cons
  • Excellent work light
  • Difficult to change blades

Table Saws We Recommend:

Our favorite – Shop Fox W1819

Sale
Shop Fox W1819 3 HP 10-Inch Table Saw with Riving...
39 Customer Reviews
Shop Fox W1819 3 HP 10-Inch Table Saw with Riving...
  • Item may ship in more than one box and may arrive separately
  • Precision ground and polished cast iron table and wings and massive cast iron trunnions
  • Quick release riving knife, blade guard and splitter assembly

The Shop Fox W1819 is our favorite table saw. It comes with a 3-hp motor which will make any project feel like a breeze to complete. On top of that, it’s also one of the safer models on the market. It has a clear polycarbonate guard which allows you to see the blade during the cut while keeping high-speed shavings directed away from you. There is also a riving knife that prevents kickback.

Not all table saws are easy to assemble; especially if you have no help, however, this model is easy to put together, even for one person. This model also features a high-quality dust port that does an excellent job of keeping your workspace sawdust-free.

Most people end up buying their own aftermarket miter gauges because manufacturers tend to put cheap miter gauges on their equipment. Unfortunately, this model is no exception to that rule. That being said, all the other features are among the top you can find on the market, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a better model at the same price point.

Pros
  • Easy to assemble
  • Great dust port
  • Powerful
  • Excellent safety features
Cons
  • Miter gauge quality

Best for the money – DEWALT DWE7491RS

Sale
DEWALT DWE7491RS 10-Inch Jobsite Table Saw with...
671 Customer Reviews
DEWALT DWE7491RS 10-Inch Jobsite Table Saw with...
  • Features a 15.0A high-torque motor with the power to cut pressure-treated lumber and hardwoods
  • This product is manufactured in Mexico
  • This product meets customer requirement

The DEWALT DWE7491RS provides some of the best value on the market, even if you’re using it as a stationary saw. However, this is an incredibly portable table saw that you could take just about anywhere. It comes with a rolling stand, which makes it easy to move around, and also features extendable legs, which means you don’t even have to have a table to use it.

Even though it’s portable, and “portable” usually means “weak,” this model is anything but. It packs a 15-amp motor that can complete any job. It also comes with an excellent dust port, which will come in handy if you’re using the machine inside.

The one downside to the portability is that the table itself is a bit small, but it does feature a rack and pinion miter gauge system that allows for rips up to 32½”. You may end up upgrading this part since the quality leaves something to be desired. Overall, this is an excellent table saw but provides unbelievable value due to its portability.

Pros
  • Portability
  • Power
  • Good dust port
Cons
  • Table size
  • Miter gauge quality

Conclusion

The JET JWBS-14DXPRO is our favorite band saw, due to its excellent features, while the WEN 3962 provided the best value. Our top pick for table saws is the Shop Fox W1819, which was also good for beginners, while the DEWALT DWE7491RS provides great portability and value.

Hopefully, this guide and these reviews have helped you figure out whether you need a band saw, or a table saw. It’s not always easy to shop online, but you should now be able to figure out which tool will work the best for you.

About the Author Adam Harris

Hi there! My name is Adam and I write for HealthyHandyman. I have a great passion for writing about everything related to tools, home improvement, and DIY. In my spare time, I'm either fishing, playing the guitar, or spending quality time with my beloved wife. You'll also often find me in my workshop working on some new project!