Radial Arm Saw vs Table Saw: Which is More Useful for Your Shop?

If you’re looking to outfit your shop with a powerful saw that can handle many of your woodworking needs, you may be wondering if a radial arm saw or a table saw is the best investment for your shop.

Today, we’ll cover everything you need to know about these two saws, and who they’re best for so you can decide which is best for you in our radial arm saw vs table saw showdown.

What are These Tools Used For?

While these two saws feature radically different designs, they both offer similar functionality.

Both saws are used to either rip or crosscut raw materials for woodworking projects.

What Can I Do With One Saw That I Can’t Do With the Other?

While both saws can handle similar types of work, since their designs are so radically different, there are some inherent advantages and disadvantages to each type of saw.

With a radial arm saw, the blade is suspended above the work surface, and the blade moves to cut the material on the table. With a table saw, the blade is fixed to the table. This means you must feed the material into the blade to make cuts.

Since a radial arm saw can cut in either direction, you’ll only need clearance to the left and right of the saw for both crosscuts and ripping. Since a table saw has a fixed blade, you’ll need clearance to the left and right for crosscutting and to the front and back for ripping.

For this reason, radial arm saws may be a better idea for people who have space concerns in their workshop.

Radial arm saws can also be adapted to handle other tasks besides cutting. You can use a radial arm saw as a router, planer, or sander, provided you have the right attachments. Meanwhile, a table saw can only be used to cut would.

So, if you’re looking for a tool that can perform double or triple duty in other areas, a radial arm saw may be the better tool for your needs.

While both saws can be used for crosscutting or ripping, their designs make them better suited for one type of work over the other. Table saws excel when it comes to ripping cuts, while radial arm saws do best with crosscuts.

Again, either saw can handle both crosscuts and ripping, but if you find that you do a lot more of one than the other, you may want to go with the saw that better handles the type of cutting you do the most.

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Safety Concerns

Since the first power tools were invented, manufacturers have worked tirelessly to make them safer to use. But, some tools are more inherently dangerous than others, and that’s a point of emphasis when it comes to the radial arm saw vs table saw.

Radial arm saws have exposed blades that move across the surface as the blade cuts. These saws also tend to lift the material you’re working on for rip cuts. Meanwhile, table saw blades are fixed, and the majority of the blade is concealed in the table.

For these reasons, table saws present far fewer safety concerns than radial arm saws do. This is a contributing factor to the popularity of table saws.

Regardless of which saw you choose, always make sure you’re taking proper precautions and using safety equipment like gloves, goggles, and hearing protection.

Budget Concerns

Table saws are available across a variety of price points. They’re marketed to everyone from first time homeowners to experienced professionals. Meanwhile, radial arm saws have a smaller market and are typically used by professionals. Most people have replaced their radial arm saws with miter saws over the last few decades.

As a result, table saws are often a much more economical option, and there are more models to choose from. Radial arm saws tend to be much more expensive. Many of the best models are out of the price range for the typical home woodworker.

Radial Arm Saw vs Table Saw: A Closer Look at the Top Models

Now that we’ve covered some important info on these two saw types let’s take a closer look at some top options available.

Dayton 49G998 Radial Arm Saw

This professional quality radial arm saw from Dayton is loaded with top-end features that professionals and experienced hobbyists are sure to appreciate.

This impressive saw features a one horsepower motor with a no-load speed of 3,400 RPM. It can tackle everything from crosscuts and rips to miter cuts as well. This saw has a rip capacity of 31 ½” and can handle cross cuts up to 16 ½”, or 11 ¾” at 45-degrees.

This saw has innovative safety features such as a blade guard, automatic blade brake and overhead controls that are located far from the work surface of the saw. Also included with the saw are 10” and 12” saw blades, and a floor stand with an oversized work table.

What We Like

  • High-capacity for rip and cross cuts is perfect for larger jobs
  • Compatible with 10” and 12” blades
  • Large work table

What Could Be Better

  • Extremely Expensive

DeWalt DWE7491RS

This 10” job site table saw from DeWalt can be a perfect addition to your workshop. It’s light and compact enough for taking it with you if you’re working on the road.

This saw features a large 15 amp motor with a no-load speed of 4,800 RPM. This makes quick work of any raw materials. It has an expanded capacity that allows for up to 32 ½” on rip cuts. The adjustable depth of cut allows for up to 3 ⅛” at 90-degrees and 2 1/4 “ at 45-degrees.

A rack-and-pinion fence system allows for lightning fast adjustments which can help you save time as you work. The built-in stand folds up for transportation or storage, and the integrated wheels make it extremely easy to move to your next job site.

This saw is backed by DeWalt’s three-year warranty, so you’ll be covered should anything go wrong with your tools.

What We Like

  • Large rip capacity
  • Powerful motor
  • Lightweight and easy to move

What Could Be Better

  • Poor quality fence

Final Word

If you’re contemplating a radial arm saw vs table saw, deciding which tool is best for your workshop can be difficult to do. Both types of saw offer their unique pros and cons. Each saw can help you make quick work of rip cuts and cross cuts in raw materials.

If you’re looking for the most versatile saw possible, and you’re willing to spend whatever it takes, you may find a radial arm saw is a great choice for you. However, if you’re on a budget, a radial arm saw probably isn’t a good fit for you. Will you choose a radial arm saw or a table saw? Share your thoughts in the comments.

About Dirk Val

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