Arbor Saw vs Table Saw

Arbor Saw vs Table Saw: Differences

When woodworking, having the proper saw is essential. Two of the most commonly used saws are the arbor and table saw. Both have their own unique features and are designed to handle different cutting tasks. Still, there are some big differences between them.

Regarding design and functionality, arbor saws are typically more compact and portable, while table saws are larger and more stationary. Also, compared to arbor saws, table saws cut larger, thicker pieces better, while arbor saws cut smaller, intricate pieces better.

Today we will explore the differences between an arbor saw and a table saw to help you make a wise choice. Keep reading to discover which one is most suitable for your particular needs.

Arbor Saw vs Table Saw: Key Differences

Arbor Saw vs Table Saw Key Differences

If you’re considering purchasing a saw for your woodworking needs, you must understand the major differences between a table saw and an arbor saw. Here are the differences:

Design and Functionality:

The arbor saw is a handheld tool with a thin, flexible steel blade taut by two large handles. Its lightweight and compact design can be used for general-purpose, precision, and cutting materials. Arbor saws are great for DIY projects and small-scale woodworking.

In contrast, the table saw is designed to sit on or be attached to a table or workbench for stability. It is larger and heavier than the arbor saw, featuring a circular or vertical blade that protrudes through the table surface.

The table saw offers a larger cutting capacity and is ideal for quickly making precise cuts and ripping material. Its heavy-duty construction makes it a reliable tool for professional woodworkers, carpenters, and contractors who handle larger projects.

Cutting Capacity:

You’ll easily cut larger pieces of wood and sheet materials using a table saw, while an arbor saw is better suited for smaller and more precise cuts.

The cutting capacity of a table saw is impressive, with blade lengths ranging from 8′ to 12′ or even larger. This makes them ideal for cutting large boards, plywood, and other sheet materials. Having a bigger cutting capacity also means you can make long cuts without stopping and readjusting the workpiece.

Conversely, arbor saws have shorter blades, so they’re better for cutting small pieces of wood, trim work, and precision cuts. They excel at cutting dowel rods or other long materials into smaller sections. Due to their smaller size and blade length, arbor saws are also more portable and easier to use in tight spaces.

Power and Performance:

The table saw is powered by electricity, providing consistent and efficient cutting power. Its powerful motor can handle tougher materials and demanding cutting tasks, making it an ideal choice for professionals. The table saw’s performance is unmatched, and it can make impossible cuts with an arbor saw.

Meanwhile, the arbor saw requires manual operation and relies on the user’s arm strength for cutting. It is suitable for light to moderate cutting tasks and does not require a power source. While it offers excellent control and precision for intricate cuts, its cutting performance cannot match a table saw.

Safety Features:

Table saws have various safety features that make them safer than arbor saws. These features include anti-kickback pawls, riving knives, blade guards, and automatic brakes.

The anti-kickback pawls prevent the workpiece from being thrown back at the user, and the riving knives keep the kerf open and prevent the blade from binding. A blade guard protects the user from contact with the spinning blade, and an automatic blade brake stops the blade within milliseconds if it senses flesh.

Alternatively, arbor saws don’t have built-in safety features beyond standard hand tool precautions, but users should still wear eye and hand protection.


When considering cost, the arbor saw is the obvious choice for those looking for a budget-friendly option. It’s a great tool for hobbyists, DIY enthusiasts, and those with lighter cutting needs. Generally, arbor saws are more affordable than table saws, so they’re a good choice for beginners.

Table saws are more expensive due to their larger size, power, and additional features. They’re commonly used by professionals and serious woodworkers who require high-performance tools. If you’re looking for a heavy-duty tool that can handle large projects, investing in a table saw might be the best option.

Can I use a handheld arbor saw instead of a table saw?

Can I use a handheld arbor saw instead of a table saw

You can use a portable arbor saw rather than a table saw, but you must exercise caution. While it may be as fast as a table saw, it doesn’t provide the same safety features.

When using an arbor saw, ensure utmost care to avoid harming yourself or others. To keep safe, follow the safety guidelines and wear proper protective gear such as safety glasses, earplugs, and gloves. Also, sharpen your saw regularly and maintain it properly to minimize kickbacks.

Are portable handheld arbor saws accurate?

Portable handheld saws are lightweight and convenient, but the materials and vibrations can compromise their accuracy. The blades on these saws are generally smaller and less durable, meaning they may not be as precise. 

Also, the motor’s vibrations can cause the blade to wobble, reducing accuracy. A portable handheld saw may suffice if you’re working on shorter or simpler cutting tasks.

However, a more dependable tool, such as a table saw, is recommended for longer or more complex cuts. The instability and imprecision of portable saws can lead to uneven cuts or even damage to the material.

What is the portable arbor saw best used for?

A portable saw is a great tool for precise ripping and cross-cutting tasks, and many professionals use it for occasional use or smaller projects. This saw is best used for making precise cuts such as trim or molding. It’s also great for cutting at awkward angles and easily maneuverable.

Another advantage of the portable arbor saw is its portability. It can easily be taken to job sites or moved around a workshop, making it a convenient tool for those who need to work in different locations.

Is a table saw more useful than an arbor Saw?

Is a table saw more useful than an arbor Saw

A versatile cutting tool is essential for any woodworker, but knowing the strengths and weaknesses of different options can help you pick the right one. Regarding versatility, a table saw is more beneficial than an arbor saw. With a table saw, you can cut styrofoam, plastic, wood, and many other materials.

It has a larger cutting capacity and the ability to make precise cuts and rip material quickly, making it perfect for handling various woodworking tasks.

While arbor saws are lightweight and easy to maneuver, they are primarily used for general-purpose cutting and precision cuts. They can also handle cutting materials with nails or staples. But a table saw is a way to go if you’re looking for a cutting tool to handle larger, more complex projects.

Crafting With Wood with the Perfect Saw

Choosing the right saw for your woodworking projects is crucial. While both arbor and table saws have advantages and disadvantages, it ultimately comes down to your specific needs.

An arbor saw may be the best choice if you require a more portable and affordable option for small cutting jobs. But a table saw may be the way to go if you need a powerful and versatile saw that can handle larger pieces of epoxy resin, wood and more demanding cutting tasks.

Always prioritize safety when working with any power tool, and invest in high-quality equipment that will provide reliable performance. So, don’t be afraid to try out a handheld arbor saw for your next project and see how it compares to a table saw.

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