Table saw vs Radial arm saw

Table saw vs Radial arm saw: head-to-head comparison

Numerous popular woodworking tools have evolved over the years, the table saw and the radial arm saw are one of these tools, both of these tools have their uniqueness, advantages, and distinctions, all these and more will be explored in this article as we explore “Table saw vs Radial arm saw”.

table saw vs radial arm saw

Table saw: overview

The design of the circular saw that laid the foundation for the modern table saw was patented by a Frenchman named Tabary in the early 19th century.

With features like flesh-sensing technology and riving knives, table saws have become safer and more precise in recent years due to these technological advancements.

The Industrial Revolution marked a significant turning point for the table saw.

Table saws grew increasingly advanced, effective, and widely available with the introduction of steam power and mechanized production.

Electric motors transformed table saws in the 20th century, increasing their accessibility and user-friendliness. The performance and safety of these tools were further enhanced by improvements in blade design, safety features, and the cast iron tabletop.

A healthier work environment is dependent on effective dust collection, to lower the chance of disasters on the job site, look for safety features like riving knives, a blade guard, and anti-kickback pawls.


  • It is an appropriate power tool for tasks like furniture-making and other structural projects.
  • The blade rotates over a broad surface, making it excellent for cutting larger wood pieces.
  • It is dependable for crosscuts, rip cuts, and bevel cuts.
  • Table saw variants with dado blades provide enhanced accuracy.
  • It is readily accessible and much more affordable compared to radial alternatives.


  • Employing safety precautions is essential when using table saws.
  • It occupies a significant amount of space in the woodworking shop.

Radial arm saw: overview

The radial arm saw is credited to Raymond DeWalt, the founder of the well-known DeWalt Ras tool company, it was initially developed as a versatile tool for making cross cuts, dado cuts, and more.

The saw arm that extends horizontally is the main feature of the radial arm saw. The engine, blade, and other essential parts of the saw are held by this arm. The motor powers the spinning blade, and its horsepower rating can vary depending on the model. Denser and larger materials can be handled by motors with greater power.

A radial arm saw’s blade can be adjusted in both height and angle, allowing for versatile cuts. There are numerous uses for blades with varying tooth counts and patterns. Your workpiece is supported during cutting by the worktable, the saw also features a miter gauge and an adjustable fence to ensure accurate positioning.

The column connects the saw arm to the base and allows the arm to move along its length, the base provides stability and support for the entire saw, it typically includes storage for accessories and tools.

Although the sliding miter saw is widely used in place of a radial arm saw by many professionals the radial arm saw is still an excellent choice for any enthusiast as it is better than the sliding miter saw in countless aspects.

Radial arm saws are excellent for cutting a precise and tidy cross-cut on a variety of materials, like plywood and wooden stock. With the right blade and setup, radial arm saws can be used for ripping boards or sheets of material, the adjustable blade depth makes it possible to create dadoes and rabbets for joinery work.

Table saw vs Radial arm saw


  • A radial arm saw finds applications in various DIY projects
  • It proves to be an excellent choice for individuals with limited space.
  • The saw provides convenient options for blade replacement.


  • its market availability is limited, and it comes at a higher cost compared to most table saw options.

Table saw vs radial arm saw

Table saws and radial arm saws are both amazing for woodworking projects, but they have differences when compared in certain aspects, these differences are explained below.

Speed and effectiveness

Table saws are perfect for large-scale carpentry projects and repetitive tasks due to their speed.

Straight rip cuts, cross cuts, and miter cuts can be fast, accurate, and effective with a table saw.

A table saw’s solid and fixed blade arrangement allows it to produce cuts that are precise and perfect every time.

A table saw is very amazing when it comes to cabinetry and furniture making, where accuracy is vital.

Radial arm saws are also efficient for a variety of applications because they can good and fast cross-cutting and mitering tasks, they support a wide range of cuts, including bevel cuts and dadoes.

Radial arm saws are also effective for intricate joinery work because they provide excellent precision for cross-cut and rough cutting, this saw’s versatility enables woodworkers to cut wooden stock with perfect accuracy.

Their versatility is enhanced by the use of jigs and sleds, to increase operator safety, modern table saws come with anti-kickback systems, riving knives, and blade guards.

When it comes to miter cuts and compound angles, the radial arm saw is often the preferred choice, as it can perform these cuts with ease. Radial arm saws are more compact and suitable for smaller workshops, making them effective when shop space is limited.

While versatile, radial arm saws may not be as effective as table saws for ripping long boards or handling large sheet goods. They require a steeper learning curve and careful setup for safe and accurate operation.


Table saws are loved for their stability, with a stationary blade that is firmly fixed in position, this stability is a key factor in achieving precise cuts.

Table saws are straightforward to set up for repeating cuts, which enables large-scale projects to have consistent proportions. Table saws are more precise and versatile because they can cut dado and groove materials with perfect accuracy.

While table saws are primarily associated with straight cuts, accessories like sleds, hold-downs, and jigs enable accurate miter and bevel cuts. A table saw allows woodworkers to attain tight tolerances, which is necessary for joinery and cabinetry work.

Woodworkers can achieve compound miter angles with ease. The accuracy of the radial arm saw makes it fantastic when it comes to creating intricate joinery, such as dovetails and tenons.

The best one for you depends on the particular woodworking project that is under consideration. A table saw excels in providing accuracy for straight cuts and is the go-to choice for projects that require consistent dimensions, tight tolerances, and precision in dado and groove cuts. Radial arm saws, on the other hand, offer exceptional accuracy in compound angles, bevel cuts, and intricate joinery work.

Table saw vs Radial arm saw

Ease of use

Table saws are easy for woodworkers of all skill levels to use because of their simple design, which includes a flat tabletop, an adjustable blade, and a rip fence for straight cuts.

A table saw’s operation is simple, you just need to set the fence to the required width and cut, this makes it easy for beginners to learn the fundamentals of using the saw. To improve user safety, modern table saws are outfitted with anti-kickback systems, riving knives, and blade guards.

The radial arm saw also has an adjustable blade, this blade can be positioned at different depths and angles, providing versatility but also requiring careful setup. The precision of the radial arm saw may save time and effort when creating delicate joinery like tenons and dovetails, this is another reason why the saw is preferred by many.

The radial arm saw requires careful setup and attention for simple rip cuts, which might be difficult for beginners. When performing such cuts, users need to be mindful of the arm’s movements and any kickback.

A table saw, with its straightforward design and intuitive operation, is perfect for beginners and provides efficiency in straight cuts and repetitive tasks. They offer repeatability, user-friendly accessories, and modern safety features that make them a popular choice.

Price range

A table saw’s or radial arm saw’s price range is determined by several variables, such as the brand, size, features, motor power, quality, and accessories. Table saws are more affordable, making them accessible to woodworkers with varying budgets. 

Despite being often overlooked, radial arm saws provide affordable options in the mid-range categories, especially for jobs involving complex joinery, compound angles, and bevel cuts.

Table saws are amazing for enthusiasts since they offer a compromise between affordability and performance. These saws frequently have larger tables, stronger motors, and better construction.

Very high-quality table models are favored by professionals and serious woodworkers. They come with advanced features, precision, and durability, catering to demanding woodworking tasks. The total cost of a table saw may include accessories like sleds, jigs, and high-quality blades. These can add to the overall investment.

Professionals and seasoned woodworkers prefer radial arm sawsThey offer durability, precision, and advanced functionality and are perfect for demanding tasks. The price of a tool is heavily influenced by its brand and quality. Reputable, well-established brands frequently fetch higher pricing.

The tool’s capabilities are influenced by the motor’s power. The price of a table saw can vary depending on the size of the table, saws with stronger motors are typically more expensive. Though they cost more, larger tables provide more workspace.

Table saw vs Radial arm saw


A radial arm saw is very efficient for compound angles, making them ideal for applications that require intricate joints or angled cuts, the tool’s adjustability simplifies otherwise challenging tasks.

The radial arm saw is a fantastic tool for cutting bevels. The blade’s changeable angle makes it easy to precisely create beveled edges and joints, which increases its adaptability to tasks requiring varied angles.

The radial arm saw’s ability to produce compound miter and bevel cuts makes it invaluable for intricate joinery work, it is also considered better than the sliding compound miter because, unlike the sliding compound miter where you pull the blade away from you.

This versatility streamlines complex woodworking tasks, a radial arm saw is typically more compact and portable than a table saw, making it ideal for job site work or settings with limited floor space.

The table saw is unparalleled when it comes to making straight cuts, their rip fence ensures consistent and parallel cuts, which makes this saw the go-to tool for rip boards, making a cross-cut, and squaring up large pieces of wooden stock.

With the addition of a miter gauge and proper setup, a table saw can make precise miter cuts for frames, moldings, and other applications. A table saw can create dadoes and grooves with ease, thanks to adjustable blades and the availability of a dado set.


A modern table saw is equipped with blade guards that enclose the saw blade to prevent accidental contact. These blade guards aid in containing sawdust and other debris, they also help in keeping the work environment cleaner and lowering the possibility of accidents.

A riving knife is a safety feature found on many table saws that helps prevent kickback by preventing the workpiece from hitting the blade.

Anti-kickback mechanisms are frequently seen on table saws, their purpose is to stop workpieces from being flung back at the operator while a cut is being made. These systems improve security and aid in keeping things under control while in use.

Woodworkers should use push sticks and push blocks to keep their hands away from the blade during cutting. These accessories help maintain a safe distance from the cutting area.

Safety on a radial arm saw largely depends on the operator’s ability to set up and calibrate the tool correctly. Incorrect angles, depths, or alignments can lead to inaccurate cuts and potential safety hazards.

 The chances of accidents during dadoes, grooves, and straight cuts are reduced by the use of riving knives, blade guards, and anti-kickback devices. Because table saws have so many modern safety measures, they are frequently the safer option for woodworkers, especially beginners.

Professionals with experience who have mastered setup and calibration techniques can safely operate the radial arm saw. They are an appropriate choice for intricate joinery and compound cuts when operated by knowledgeable woodworkers.


The table saw is known for its compact and space-efficient design, this saw is ideal for workplaces with limited floor space or for woodworkers who require mobility. 

A tabletop of a table saw, which holds the material being cut, is made to be very practical while maximizing workspace effectiveness. This design allows woodworkers to make straight cuts and use various accessories in a relatively confined space.

One of the most appealing things about radial arm saws is how small and lightweight they are. Because they often take up less room than many table saws, they are an excellent option for woodworkers who operate in cramped areas or who need a portable instrument for on-site operations.

Another amazing benefit of the radial arm saw is that, unlike a table saw, it doesn’t need a large table because its arm extends over the material, this compact form enables effective crosscuts, bevel cutting, and complex joinery even in smaller work areas.

The radial arm saw is renowned for their compact and portable nature, they tend to have a smaller footprint than many table saws, making them a valuable choice for woodworkers working in tight spaces or those who require a portable tool for on-site projects.

The radial arm saw’s arm, extends over the material and doesn’t require an extensive table like a table saw. This compact design allows for efficient crosscuts, bevel cuts, and intricate joinery, even in smaller work areas.

Table saw vs Radial arm saw


Does anyone use radial arm saws anymore?

Yes, radial arm saws are still used by some woodworking professionals as they are excellent for a large cross-cut.

What is a radial arm saw best for?

A radial arm saw is considered best for bevel cuts, cutting compound angles, and other projects that involve complex joinery.

What’s the difference between a radial saw and a table saw?

A table saw has a blade built into the table while a radial arm saw features a blade that is mounted on a moveable arm.

Is it safe to rip on a radial arm saw?

Ripping on a radial arm saw is generally not considered safe, though they can be done they are considered very risky.


Both the table saw and radial arm saw are exceptional toolsyour ultimate choice generally depends on your taste and your personal preferences. Regardless of the choice you make following safety precautions and regular maintenance are essential to ensure an amazing cutting experience and keep your saw in good shape.

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