Table saw or Compound Miter saw???

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Forum topic by ant17r posted 03-11-2014 05:01 AM 1275 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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5 posts in 1758 days

03-11-2014 05:01 AM

Hello fellow LumberJocks,

I’m pretty new to woodworking and am ready to upgrade from my little old circular saw. With a budget of approximately $200-$250 what would you guys recommend for me and why…table saw or compound miter saw? I see pros and cons to having one or the other but would like to hear what you guys think. I’m also working with limited space (one car garage).

Thanks for your help!


16 replies so far

View Paul's profile


721 posts in 1739 days

#1 posted 03-11-2014 05:06 AM

It’s impossible to get the right answer without knowing what kind of work you do or want to do. Leave more information and you will get better feedback.


View BurtC's profile


103 posts in 3304 days

#2 posted 03-11-2014 07:09 AM

I would suggest a table saw such as Bosch 4000 series. Gonna be tough finding one in your budget. Perhaps you can get lucky on Craigslist.

View Tenfingers58's profile


96 posts in 2852 days

#3 posted 03-11-2014 07:53 AM

A table saw with a crosscut sled is as accurate as a Compound miter saw. Plus you can cut much wider boards.

You also can rip with a table saw.

I usually use my miter saw on carpendry projects (decks, stairs) The table saw for everything else (furniture, boxes, other doodads)

You can make a jig for making just about any kind of cut with a table saw.

In the end it depends on what your planning to make.

View knotscott's profile


8140 posts in 3549 days

#4 posted 03-11-2014 09:15 AM

A table saw can crosscut very precisely, and can rip. A miter saw can only crosscut, and are less prone to good accuracy. I’d go with a TS over a CMS any day. My CMS collects dust on a shelf unless I’m cutting very long boards like molding. $250 buys a decent used full size contractor saw with a belt drive induction motor. The ABCs of Table Saws

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View Purrmaster's profile


915 posts in 2267 days

#5 posted 03-11-2014 09:52 AM

Table saw. Accurate table saws can crosscut as well as a miter saw. I think my table saw crosscuts more accurately than my miter saw.

And a tablesaw makes ripping faster, easier, and more accurate. The amount of time and effort you’ll save alone makes the table saw the better choice. I don’t know how I got along before my table saw.

If you can, tack on a couple hundred more dollars to your budget a get a table saw.

View Tenfingers58's profile


96 posts in 2852 days

#6 posted 03-11-2014 10:40 AM

ant17r, decent used saws can be found used in your budget. It may take some looking but they are out there.

View NiteWalker's profile


2738 posts in 2751 days

#7 posted 03-11-2014 11:08 AM

Table saw, by far.
Unless you plan on building everything out of store bought lumber, using only the widths they have (1×3, 1×4, etc.).

At your price range you’ll have to either settle for a crappy benchtop screamer model, or dabble in the used market. Used is your best bet. Search craigslist and ask the guys around here if the saws you find might be a good deal.

Pay close attention to knottscott’s words and read through his tablesaw article.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View DIYaholic's profile


19660 posts in 2849 days

#8 posted 03-11-2014 11:27 AM

+1 on the TS!

CraigsList will be your friend….
Read the link that knotscott posted….
He da man, when it comes to ANYTHING table saw or blade related!!!

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

View vetwoodworker's profile


104 posts in 1880 days

#9 posted 03-11-2014 11:48 AM

Table saw first, miter saw only when you feel like having another toy. A Table saw can rip, crosscut, and bevel. Miter saw can crosscut and bevel. Set up properly, you won’t have many accuracy problems with even a small carpenters special from Big box stores, which you can get within your price range. I do all my work right now with a Ryobi jobsite table saw, and though it’s a PITA, it works, until I can afford a cabinet saw.

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2684 posts in 3096 days

#10 posted 03-11-2014 01:35 PM

Table saw first. In my case, because I make small, under one foot long, items my table saw was my last purchase. I can rip small pieces on my sliding miter saw but use the table saw for that now. To cross cut and to rip on a table saw you will need to continually change blades from rip blade to a cross cut or combination blade so i do all my cross cutting and bevel cuts on my miter saw and all my ripping on my table saw.

-- No PHD just a DD214 Website>

View bigblockyeti's profile


5255 posts in 1894 days

#11 posted 03-11-2014 02:47 PM

First a good used table saw. Your budget should get you something in decent shape. Three factors to consider and possibly upgrade down the road if not included initially. You mentioned working in the garage, a mobile base can make this much easier. A good fence can help you make better cuts with reduced deflection. A good miter gauge, really just an accessory, but one with a good (and long) fence offers greater accuracy and can help to keep your fingers farther from the blade.

-- "Lack of effort will result in failure with amazing predictability" - Me

View bondogaposis's profile


5053 posts in 2525 days

#12 posted 03-11-2014 02:54 PM

You can’t rip on a miter saw so w/o question a table saw will be far more useful. Look in the used market to get the best bang for your buck.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View lepelerin's profile


495 posts in 2499 days

#13 posted 03-11-2014 04:06 PM

without knowing what you do or try to accomplish it is impossible to answer your question. You do not give us any information. Provide details and people will accordingly answer you.

View pintodeluxe's profile


5783 posts in 2987 days

#14 posted 03-11-2014 04:07 PM

Tablesaw or Miter saw? Yes.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 3822 days

#15 posted 03-11-2014 04:59 PM

It depends on the type of work you want to do.

If you lack the ability to rip longer parts, your woodworking
will be somewhat restricted. Ripping of solid wood can
be done on a band saw and is arguably safer. Most people
learning about cabinetmaking work with plywood a lot
in the beginning and for that either a table saw or guided
circular saw (track saw) are most useful.

In terms of joinery for furniture making, the table saw is versatile.
My main complaint about table saws are that to set one up
for making accurate cuts in larger parts there’s a lot of space

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