Woodworking Power Saw Complete Guide: 6 Types of Woodworking Saws

In this guide, we will go over the 6 most common types of woodworking power saws and the uses for each. We will discuss the which saw is the msot beginner friendly, versatile, and which one is the best for cutting thick wood


  1. 6 Types of Woodworking Saws
  2. The Circular Saw
  3. The Table Saw
  4. The Jigsaw
  5. The Miter Saw
  6. The Band Saw
  7. The Scroll Saw

6 Types of Woodworking Saws

Circular SawTable SawJigsawMiter SawBand SawScroll Saw
UseVersatile saw to cut most woodQuick and consistent general cutsBudget-friendly saw to cut thinner woodCut miters and bevelsCut curvesCut tight curves
Beginner recommended5/53/55/53/52/52/5
PortabilityVeryCan beVeryCan beNoNo
Cut curvesVary broadNoMedium – BroadNoTight – BroadVery tight – broad
Avg. Maximum cut depth2.5″3.5″1.5″2.5 – 4.5″3.5 – 20″2.25″
Weight range6-12lbs4-8lbs30-60lbs35-600lbs28 – 60lbs

Which saw is best for beginner woodworker?

The jigsaw and the circular saw is the best saws for a beginner woodworker due to its versatility, ease-of-use, portability, and afforableness.

The circular saw is a versatile for cutting accurately cutting straight crosscuts, ripcuts, miters and bevels.

The jig saw can also perform crosscuts and ripcuts, miters and beveled cuts, but with not the same precision or speed as the circular saw. The jigsaw, however, can cut curves in wood.

If you are making furniture like bookshelves, tables, and cabinets, then I would recommend a circular saw.

If you want a multi-purpose tool for many different tasks, then I would recommend a jigsaw.

What is the most versatile saw for woodworking?

The jigsaw is the most versatile saw in woodworking because it can cut crosscuts and ripcuts, miters and beveled vuts, and curves in wood.

Most jigsaw blades do have a maximum cut depth of 1.5 inches, making it difficult to cut wood thicker than 2×4’s. However, there are some 10 inch blades that can cut wood up to 6 inches thick. You will want a jigsaw that is powerful enough so you do not burn the motor since many jigsaws were not designed to cut wood that thick.

The circular saw is another very versatile saw for woodworking that can commonly cut wood up to 2.5 inches thick. Circular saws are generally more powerful than jigsaws and have more precision in straight cuts. Circular saws can only cut very broad curvature in wood.

What is the best tool to cut thick wood?

The best woodworking saw for cutting thick wood is the miter saw and the band saw.

The miter saw is ideal for performing straight rip cuts, miters, and beveled cuts. A 12 inch miter saw blade can cut up to 4.5 inches thick, thus supporting 5×5 inch wood.

A stationary band saw can cut wood up to 20 inches thick, depending on the make and model. Band saws are not ideal for accurate straight cuts and are generally used for rough cuts and cutting curves and irregular shapes in wood.

The Circular Saw

The circular saw is a handheld woodworking saw that can quickly and accurately cut wood that is up to 2.5″ thick.

The circular saw is very common in woodworking due to its portability, versatility, affordable-ness, and ease of use for beginners.

Circular saw

Maximum cut depth

The maximum cut depth for circular saws depend on the saw make and model as well as the blade size.

The maximum cut depth will also degrees for beveled cuts and will be smaller for cuts at 45 degrees in comparison to 90 degrees.

The average maximum cut depth for a 7 1/4-in circular saw is 2.5″ at 90 degrees and 2″ at 45 degrees.

The average maximum cut depth for a 6 1/2-in circular saw is 2 – 2.125″ at 90 degrees.

Versatility and beginner-friendly

Circular saws can cut most 2″ thick dimensional lumer and particle board. Since circular saws are a hand-held tool, they cut very long and wide boards.

Circular saws can also cut miters and bevels in wood along with very broad curves.

Circular saws are not able to cut very small pieces of wood since it is a handheld tool and the wood will need to be clamped to a sturdy object.

Portability and weight

Circular saws are a very portable handheld tool commonly used in woodworking. You can easily store the tool in a car or bag

The average weight for a circular saw ranges from 6 – 10lbs. 6 1/2-in circular saws range from 5.6 – 8lbs. 7 1/4-in circular saws range from 8 to 10lbs.

The Table Saw

The three main types of table saws are benchtop, worksite, and stationary table saws.

The table saw is a woodworking tool that allows for quick and consistent crosscuts and rip cuts. One of the major benefits with the table saw is that you can set up the fence at a certain position and cut all of your pieces at the exact dimensions.

The table saw is the best saw for cutting accurate and quick straight lines.

Table saw

Maximum cut depth

The maximum cut depth for most table saws are 3.5″. Table saws can cut 4×4 wood since 4×4 dimensional lumber is really 3.5×3.5.

However, some table saws can only cut up to 3.125″.

Versatility and beginner-friendly

Table saws are a versatile woodworking tool since it can accurately and efficiently perform crosscuts and rip cuts.

You are also able to perform bevel and miter cuts with a table saw but not as efficently and quickly as a miter saw.

Table saws are also very versatile with the use of jigs and accessories. With a crosscut jig you can cut smaller wood pieces and with an outfeed table you can cut longer and wider wood.

Portability and Weight

Stationary table saws vary in weight and can be 200 to 400 lbs.

The weight for worksite table saws range from 70 to 120lbs and the weight for benchtop table saws range from 30 to 60lbs.

The dimensions of benchtop table saws vary with the average being at 25.5x20x15″ (LxWxH).

The average length of benchtop table saws are 25.5″ with some being around 27 and 28″ and other being as small as 22″. The average width for benchtop table saws range between 14 to 25″. Some benchtop table saws are taller and around 26″ and others are around 11″.

Stationary table saws are not portable. However, benchtop table saws are portable because they range between 30 and 60lbs and average 25.5x20x15″ (LxWxH). Worksite/jobsite table saws are portable because they range between 70 and 120lbs, have wheels, and can be folded for ease of relocating.

The Jigsaw

The jigsaw is a budget-friendly, easy-to-use saw that can perform various types of cuts such as rip cuts, crosscuts, and mitered cuts.

The jigsaw is a handheld tool that performs “free cuts” by hand. Unlike the circular saw, the jigsaw is not commonly paired with jigs such as guide rails.

The jigsaw can also cut tighter curves than a circular saw.

The jigsaw is not as precise as the other woodworking power saws and commonly cause fatigue due to the saw vibration.


Maximum cut depth

The most common maximum cut depth for a jigsaw blade is 1.5″. The jigsaw can cut 2×4 wood since the actual dimensions of 2×4 are 1.5×3.5.

The maximum cut depth for a 4-in jigsaw blade is 1.5″ . The maximum cut depth 10-in jigsaw 6″.

I would only recommend using a powerful jigsaw to cut more than 4″ thick wood. Using a cheaper saw can quickly overwork the motor.

Versatility and beginner-friendly

Jig saws are very versatile because you can use jigsaw blades to cut wood, plastic, and metal. Jigsaws are also great at cutting curves and performing cutouts in material.

Even though jigsaws can quickly cause fatigue, they are easy and simple to use, then making them beginner friendly.

Portability and Weight

The jigsaw is a hightly portable woodworking tool that is lightweight and is less than a foot in length.

The average dimensions for the jigsaw are 11″L x 3.25″W x 9″H.

The length of the jigsaw ranges from around 9″ to 12″, with most jigsaws being in the 11″ range. The width of the jigsaw ranges from 2.5 to 4 inches and the height of a jigsaw ranges from 8 to 10 inches.

The average weight of a jigsaw is 6.5lbs and ranges from 4 to 8lbs.

The Miter Saw

The miter saw is a specialty tool that can cut multiple pieces of wood at one time and perform crosscuts, miters, and beveled cuts.

The miter saw is a very precise saw and is the best woodworking tool to quickly and accurately cut miters and bevels in wood.

Miter saw

Maximum cut depth

A 10″ miter saw has a maxium cut depth of 3.5″ making it suitable to cut 4×4 wood.

A 12″ miter has a maximum cut depth of 4.5″ making it possible to cut up to 3 2×4’s at one time.

Versatility and beginner-friendly

The miter saw is not as verastile as the circular saw, table saw, and jigsaw. A miter saw can not perform ripcut and cannot cut curves. The miter saw is ideal for cutting miters, bevels, and crosscuts in dimensional lumber.

The miter saw is easy to operate, but it comes with many safety protocols that must be followed. I would not recommend the miter saw for beginners, unless they have another saw to perform ripcuts.

Portability and Weight

The miter saw can be portable, but is not as small or lightweight as the circular saw and jigsaw, and cannot be broken down and doesn’t have wheels like the worksite table saw.

The miter saw averages 30 to 60lbs, depending on the saw size.

Miter saws commonly range between 25 to 45 inches in length, 15 to 35 inches in width, and 16 to 32 inches in height.

The dimensions for each miter saw size vary depening on the capabilities such as sliding and compact miter saws.

The Band Saw

In this section, I am talking about stationary band saws. These band saws are ideal for cutting curvature and irregular shapes in wood. Band saws are a specialty tool and cannot perform many of the other common cuts in woodworking.

Maximum cut depth

Benchtop band saws are powerful and can cut wood up to 3.5 inches thick. This makes band saws capable of cutting 4×4 wood.

Stationary band saws are even more powerful and can cut wood up to 20 inches thick.


Band saws are a specialty tool that can cut curves and irregular shapes in wood. Since band saws are not designed for straight cross cuts, rip cuts, and miter and beveled cut, band saws do not have as much versatility as the table saw, circular saw, and jigsaw.

Portability and Weight

The benchtop band saw ranges between 35 and 50lbs. The benchtop band saw length ranges from 11 to 24 inches, the width ranges from 7 to 16 inches, and the height ranges from 12 to 35 inches. and is around 11″L x 7″W x 4″H.

The stationary band saw ranges between 200 and 600 lbs and range from 20 to 30 inches long, 16 to 20 inches wide, and 60 to 72 inches tall.

Benchtop band saws can be portable tools due the the weight and size ranges of the tool. Stationary band saws, however, are not portable tools because they range from 200 to 600 lbs and are 60 to 72 inches tall.

The Scroll Saw

The scroll saw is similar to the band saw, but has more precision, is not as powerful, and has a smaller cut depth.

The scroll saw can cut very tight curves and is ideal for cutting thinner, more delicate wood.

Maximum cut depth

Most scroll saws can cut a maximum cut depth of up to 2 1/4″.


Scroll saws are a very specialized woodworking tool that cut curves in wood up to 2 1/4 inches thick. Just like band saws, scrolls saws are not designed for straight crosscuts, rip cuts, miter and beveled cuts.

Portability and Weight

The weight and dimensions vary greatly in scroll saws depending on the material and saw size.

Scroll saws range between 28 and 60 pounds. Scroll saws generally range between 26 and 40 inches in length, 13 and 24 inches in width, and 13 to 24 inches in height.

Scroll saws are light enough and small enough to be moved from one location to another, but they do take up a bit up space with the larger saws being 40 inches in length.


In this article, we went over the difference between the 6 most common types of woodworking saws. We learned about the capabilities and limitations of each.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this article and I wish you luck on your woodworking journeys!


My name is Rachel Blanding and I am a woodworker. I started woodworking at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. I mainly create and refurbish furniture and create art. In this site I will share with you the knowledge I have gained over the years, and what worked for me and what didn't.

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