Tongue and Groove – Table Saw VS Router

Tongue and Groove Table Saw Versus Router: The Final Showdown

When it comes down to cutting dadoes, rabbets, and tongue and grooves there is one main battle: tongue and groove table saw VS router. If you have a large enough workspace then the clear answer is to buy the best table saw for the money and a wood router, but if you are working in small quarters then it’s time to make a decision. In this article, we go over the basics of the two and the pros and cons.

Table Saw Basics

The table saw is one of the most common and versatile tools in any woodworking shop. Imagine if you took a circular saw and put it upside down on a table – you now have a table saw.

Table saws come in different sizes to accommodate shops of all sizes. Benchtop table saws are ideal for smaller woodworking projects, and a step above that is the contractor table saw and cabinet table saw, which basically have a larger table. You can learn more about the best contractor table saw here on

Tongue and Groove – Table Saw VS Router




Router Basics

A router is a power tool that is used to rout wood or plastic, which basically means to hollow out an area. Wood routers also vary in size, ranging from handheld tools up to router tables.

There is a wide range of accessories that can be used with a router to cut various shapes. This makes it ideal for:




Tongue and Groove Basics

Tongue and groove is a common technique used for joining two pieces of wood together. Each piece of wood has a side with a part sticking out called the tongue, and the other side has a groove running along the edge. Panels of wood laid flat will use these tongues and grooves to slide into place, interlocking the panels together. While it is very common to purchase wood that is already cut for the tongue and groove system, many woodworkers and DIYers will use this technique for their own projects.

Table Saw or Router for Tongue and Groove

Usually when people think of table saws they imagine that the piece of wood being used is going to be completely cut. However, in the case of cutting tongues and grooves, you have to do what they call non-through cuts – meaning the blade never fully goes through the wood. Instead, you lower the blade very low so that you can run the wood across it and shave off small chunks of wood. This is considered one of the basics for table saws but can be difficult for beginners that haven’t got a handle on taking accurate measurements.

Wood routers, on the other hand, have attachments that are made specifically for tongue and groove cuts. This takes a lot of the guesswork out of the equation and streamlines the whole process.

Final Thoughts

At the end of the day, your tool of choice will depend on how much tongue and groove you need to cut. If you’re repetitively cutting large amounts of wood for flooring then you might want to opt for a router, but if you just need to make a couple of cuts you can get by with your plain table saw.

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