Facebook
When you shop through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. This educational content is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice.

Best Saws for Cutting Panels of 2023

Updated
Got a panel that needs cutting? Weโ€™ve got 5 saws that will cut it.ย 

Some woodworking tasks require specialist tools. When cutting large pieces of sheet material, professionals usually choose panel saws to complete the job quickly and accurately.

However, dedicated panel saws aren’t the only saws that can cut panels effectively. There are some versatile saws that can also be used for this task and others, but it won’t always be clear which ones are suitable.

To help you find your ideal saw, we have reviewed five of the best panel saws that are currently available. We chose these saws based on their size, portability, and cutting power.

Our Top Picks

Sensible Digs earns a commission through the following independently chosen links at no additional cost to you.
Image
Model
Product Comparison Table
Features

Product Image of the Saw Trax 1064 Full Size Varsity Package Panel Saw
Best Vertical Panel Saw
Saw Trax Varsity Panel Saw
  • Dust extraction hose
  • Folding legs and wheels
  • 64-inch cross-cutting capacity
Product Image of the Grizzly G0623X Sliding Table Saw, 10-Inch
Best Sliding Panel Saw
Grizzly Industrial G0623X
  • Compact and powerful
  • Durable extendable table
  • Miter fence adjustment
Product Image of the SUIZAN Japanese Pull Saw Hand Saw 9.5 Inch Ryoba Double Edge Flush Cut Saw Woodworking tools
Best Hand Saw
Suizan Japanese Pull Hand Saw
  • Cuts very smooth edges
  • 24 inches long
  • Interchangeable blades
Product Image of the Makita SP6000J1 6-1/2' Plunge Circular Saw Kit, with Stackable Tool case and 55' Guide Rail, Blue
Best Small Saw
Makita SP6000J1 Plunge Track Saw
  • Track can be very long
  • Splinter-free edges
  • Maintains consistent speed
Product Image of the Panel Saw, 8-1/4 In, 5800 rpm, Cut H 50 In
Best Budget Panel Saw
Milwaukee 6480-20 Vertical Panel Saw
  • Affordable vertical panel saw
  • Weighs 175 pounds
  • Five-year warranty


Product Reviews

You have many different saws to choose from, which is why we have looked closely at various models to narrow your search. After a lot of research, we reviewed five of the best panel saws that you can buy today, including multiple types. We chose these saws for their size, affordability, cutting power, and reliability.

1. Saw Trax Full Size Varsity Panel Saw

Best Vertical Panel Saw

This is a saw for professional users and will cut panels quickly and accurately. It features a patented set-and-forget alignment system that means it will never become inaccurate after being set up. It uses a floating router plate or a razor knife cutter in the same carriage.

With a 10-foot frame, this saw can make cross-cuts up to 64 inches, which will be more than enough for the cutting involved in the majority of carpentry jobs. Despite being large, this saw is still portable. It has a folding stand and frame, as well as wheels for easier relocation.

What We Like

Dust Extraction Hose

This saw has a dust extraction hose that will remove almost all the debris produced when you make cuts. As this is a professional tool that is capable of cutting in bulk, effective dust removal will make a major difference to the air quality of your woodshop.

Portable

Vertical panel saws are generally among the least portable saw types, but this model has folding legs and wheels that make it more maneuverable than most similar models.

Cross-Cutting Capabilities

This saw can make cross-cuts of up to 64 inches. It will be able to comfortably cut through the vast majority of panels.

What We Don't Like

High Cost

You should expect to pay thousands of dollars for this saw, so it isn’t a realistic option unless you are a professional carpenter or a very passionate amateur. If you don’t need to cut numerous panels relatively quickly, your work will be just as easy with a less expensive saw, while saving a great deal of money.

Heavy Weight

This saw unit weighs a hefty 336 pounds. This means that, while it does have features to improve its mobility, such as wheels, you might still struggle to transport it from job to job without assistance.

Large Size

The 10-foot frame allows you to cut large sheets of material but it also restricts where you can store and use this saw. Unless you have a large, dedicated workshop or a construction business, you are unlikely to have enough space to accommodate it.

Product Specs

Weight 336 pounds
Price $$$$
Crosscut capacity 64 inches
Rip cut capacity Unlimited
Depth capacity 1.75 inches
Best for Cutting panels

2. Grizzly Industrial G0623X Sliding Table Saw

Best Sliding Panel Saw

This Grizzly Industrial sliding table saw has a 7.5-horsepower motor that provides 4,000 RPM for serious cutting power. It also has a table size of 42 by 45 inches, giving you plenty of cutting capacity. It includes an extension that will allow you to cut larger panels on the table.

As standard, it has a maximum ripping length of 33 inches. One of this sliding table saw’s standout features is its scoring blade that makes smooth, clean cuts every time with minimal dust released. This saw is a workhorse that will make a valuable addition to any woodshop.

What We Like

Great for Production Shops

As it is compact and powerful, this saw is an excellent option for production workshops and factories. The 7.5 HP three-phase saw makes very smooth cuts with minimal effort. The four-inch main port and 2.5-inch blade guard port minimize the amount of dust that is released to reduce the impact on air quality.

Durable Extendable Table

Made of extruded aluminum, this table is very durable, as you would expect from an expensive model. The ability to extend the table is very helpful, as it will enable you to cut larger panels than you would otherwise be able to.

Miter Fence Features

You can position the miter fence at a 45-degree angle to the left or right for 90 degrees of adjustment overall. The fence also has two flip stops, which make it much easier to repeatedly make the same cuts.

What We Don't Like

Table Saw Dangers

Table saws are one of the most dangerous types of power tools if used improperly. Most accidents in woodshops occur when using a table saw. Injuries are most commonly caused by kickbacks while cutting.

Expensive

This machine will cost you thousands of dollars, so it is probably too expensive for the majority of amateur carpenters. However, if you are a professional, it will likely save you a lot of time and effort, making it a more sensible long-term investment.

Product Specs

Weight 572 pounds
Price $$$$
Crosscut capacity Not specified
Rip cut capacity 33 inches
Depth capacity 3.12 inches
Best for Large panels, factory-fresh cuts, commercial use

3. Suizan Japanese Pull Hand Saw

Best Hand Saw for Cutting Panels

Cutting panels by hand won’t be for everyone, but this hand saw is very effective for a skilled user. It is a pull saw, which means its teeth slice through the wood on the pull motion rather than the push, distinguishing it from traditional western saws.

This saw is lightweight and requires less energy to make cuts. It is very effective at cutting panels thanks to its high number of teeth. There are eight teeth per inch on the rip-cut edge, and 16 teeth per inch on the crosscut blade.

Panels are typically thin and prone to splintering when cut by saws with fewer teeth per inch. This saw is so thin and sharp that it will cut smooth edges without shearing the wood.

What We Like

Versatile

This saw provides very fine edges when cutting panels. It is also a general-purpose cutting tool for other woodwork projects thanks to having different cutting edges.

Long Reach

The entire saw measures 24 inches thanks to its long wooden handle, providing plenty of reach for awkward cutting tasks.

Interchangeable Blades

The blades clamp onto the handle, so they are easily replaced with new ones when their edges start to dull.

Budget-Friendly

Compared to power saws, this hand saw will cost far less. If you don’t need to cut many panels and don’t mind some extra manual labor, this is a very cost-effective way of completing the work.

What We Don't Like

Slow Work Rate

If you use a hand tool, your work will inevitably be far slower than if you use a power tool. This saw is a great option for smaller projects but you won’t want to use it to cut the floor panels for an entire home.

Energy-Sapping

You will need to have the arm strength and endurance required to cut large panels with this saw. It might need less energy than traditional western push saws, but your cutting speed will still be determined by your physical strength.

Product Specs

Weight 5.6 ounces
Price $
Crosscut capacity 24 inches
Rip cut capacity Unlimited
Depth capacity 9.5 inches
Best for Cutting panels, all types of general woodwork

4. Makita SP6000J1 Plunge Circular Track Saw

Best Small Saw for Cutting Panels

This Makita track saw is ideal for making long cross-cuts and rip-cuts into boards and panels. The track connects to create a straight rail for the saw to glide along. As there is no limit to the length of the track, there is also no limit to the length of the cuts that this saw can make.

It can also make cuts close to the wall, as it is compact enough for working in confined spaces. As a lightweight saw, it can also be easily moved if you need to cut material on-site.

What We Like

Lightweight

As a lightweight saw, this compact model is easily transported and straightforward to set up. It weighs just 28 pounds, so it is a great tool for taking to work on location.

Unlimited Cutting Capacity

As long as there is a track, this saw will be able to keep cutting. This means it doesnโ€™t matter what size panels you need to cut; this saw will be able to complete the task.

Splinter-Free Edges

Thanks to its carbide-tipped 48-tooth blade, this compact saw will provide a splinter-free finish that requires minimal smoothing after the initial cut.

Speed Control

The electronic speed control will maintain a constant cutting speed, even when cutting through tough material. This keeps the blade moving at the proper pace and reduces the risk of tearing the material.

What We Don't Like

Not Very Fast

A track saw can provide excellent accuracy but your work will take longer than it would with a vertical panel saw. This won’t be an issue if you are only cutting a few boards at home, but it could slow you down if you need to cut a lot of wood for professional purposes.

Requires Concentration

Unlike dedicated panel saws, which have a set-and-forget feature, track saws will need to be aligned before every cut you make. This increases the concentration required and means there is a higher risk of errors creeping into your work.

Product Specs

Weight 28 pounds
Price $$
Crosscut capacity 55 inches (unlimited with additional track)
Rip cut capacity 55 inches (unlimited if you buy extra track)
Depth capacity 2.18 inches at 90 degrees
Best for Cutting panels, all types of general woodwork and working in small spaces

5. Milwaukee 6480-20 Vertical Panel Saw

Best Budget Vertical Panel Saw

Milwaukee is one of the most respected names in American power tools. This vertical panel saw lives up to that reputation with a powerful 15 amp, 3.25-horsepower motor that generates 5,800 RPM.

The workpiece is loaded from either the left or the right, and the saw can turn 90 degrees to make horizontal cuts. The all-steel frame is electrically welded to prevent warping and distortion.

Compared to many other vertical panel saws, this model is relatively affordable. However, you will still need to spend well over $1,500, so it is better suited to professional carpenters than hobbyists

What We Like

Reasonable Price

A vertical panel saw will always cost a significant amount, but this model is also considerably cheaper than many of its competitors. You could save more than $1,000 by choosing this unit over similar models.

Relatively Light

This saw weighs 175 pounds, which is about half as much as some other vertical panel saws we have looked at. This means it won’t be as difficult to move if you want to use it for cutting on-site.

Five-Year Warranty

This saw has a five-year warranty, a reflection of Milwaukee’s confidence in its products. If any issues do occur, the company will help you resolve them.

What We Don't Like

Not Portable

Despite being lighter than some other vertical panel saws, it is not particularly portable. This is due to its lack of wheels. It is a vertical panel saw that is designed to be set up and left in one place.

Still Expensive

The price is both positive and negative with this saw. As vertical panel saws go, this is one of the more affordable ones you are likely to see. However, unless you are cutting numerous boards for major projects, you will be able to save a lot of money by getting a less specialist saw.

Product Specs

Weight 175 pounds
Price $$$
Crosscut capacity 50 inches
Rip cut capacity 96 inches
Depth capacity 1.75 inches
Best for Cutting panels

Product Comparison Chart

Product Best Weight Crosscut capacity Rip cut capacity Depth capacity
Saw Trax Varsity Panel Saw Vertical 336 lbs 64″ Unlimited 1.75″
Grizzly Industrial G0623X Sliding 572 lbs N/A 33″ 3.12″
Suizan Japanese Pull Hand Saw Hand Saw 5.6 oz 24″ Unlimited 9.5″
Makita SP6000J1 Plunge Track Saw Small 28 lbs 55″ 55″ 2.18″
Milwaukee 6480-20 Vertical Panel Saw Budget 175 lbs 50″ 96″ 1.75″

What Is a Panel Saw Used For?

Panel saws are specialist tools designed for cutting substantial sheets of material. When working on building sites and other large-scale projects, panels often need to be cut quickly and accurately. Once set up, a panel saw can be used to cut numerous pieces of the same size, or easily adjusted for specific cuts.

Using the right panel saw means tasks that would have taken hours with other tools can be completed in minutes instead.

Types of Saws for Cutting Panels

In addition to dedicated panel saws, there are various saws that can be used to cut panels. Some of these other saws are more versatile than standard panel saws, making them better options if you want a saw that can be used for different tasks.

Vertical Panel Saws

Vertical panel saws can cut through the largest pieces of sheet material. They are expensive, typically costing thousands of dollars, which means they are generally exclusive to the construction industry, especially housebuilders.

Vertical panel saws are designed around a frame system that holds the panel vertically, making them resemble an artist’s easel. They have guide rods to position the stock and roller bearings that make them easy to adjust.

One of these saws can cut hundreds of sheets per day. They are designed for heavy-duty work, so you won’t need one for a home DIY task. Due to their high cost and large size, these saws are generally permanent features of professional wood shops where panels are cut to size before being transported to the required location.

Horizontal or Sliding Saws

Horizontal or sliding panel saws resemble table saws with a specialist attachment. Instead of working vertically, the sheet of material is clamped into a brace and slid toward the blade for rip cuts, crosscuts, and angled cuts.

The advantage of this saw system is that it can be used for almost every type of woodworking task, so it isn’t limited to cutting panels. The table saw is the workhorse of any woodshop, so having a sliding attachment that allows it to be used as a vertical panel saw will significantly increase its versatility.

Hand Panel Saws

If you prefer to cut wood the traditional way, you should look to Asia for inspiration. Japan is renowned for the quality of its steel blades, which extends to the country’s hand panel saws.

These tools are often referred to as pull saws as the teeth cut on the pull action, in contrast to western designs that usually cut on the push. This means less energy is required to make the cut and it will generally leave a much neater edge.

Track Saws

Track saws are generally electric circular saws that run along a track. This track enables you to make straight, accurate cuts in large panels and sheet material without much effort. They are cheaper than sliding table saws and vertical saws, but hand saws, including track saws, are usually much slower than larger, stationary saws.

Due to their smaller size and cheaper prices, track saws are popular with DIYers, who are unlikely to need the cutting power of larger professional saws.

What to Look For (Buying Guide)

Frame Size

Frame size is an important consideration if you are shopping for a vertical panel saw, as it will determine the panel capacity. If the frame isnโ€™t large enough to accommodate large boards, warping could occur in the panel.

As a result, this can cause inaccurate cuts. Ideally, you should look for a frame that is at least 100 inches wide. This means you will have sufficient support for the most common types of plywood. However, if you lack the budget or the space for 100 inches, 80 inches will be enough for most pieces.

Portability

You might need the ability to take your saw to a specific location. Being able to use your panel saw on location means it will be easier to adapt to any situations that arise. You will be able to make adjustments and cut to order, reducing the delays involved with transporting cut panels from the woodshop.

Vertical panel saws are the least portable type of dedicated saw, but some can be folded and transported. Sliding table saws are effectively impossible to take to jobs, as their sliding attachment fits cabinet or hybrid table saws, which are usually stationary units.

The most portable type is a track saw. They are lightweight and the saw and track can be carried under your arm. The only drawback is that they can’t cut as quickly, which can cause delays on large projects.

Cutting Power

Vertical saws will always win in terms of cutting power, as they are designed for the sole purpose of slicing panels.

Most vertical panel saws have 15 amp motors, which generate 5,000 to 8,000 RPM. Panels tend to be relatively thin and easier to cut, so these powerful motors will cut through them very quickly.

Sliding table saws are also powerful, so they should be able to keep pace with a vertical panel saw. The difference is in how you load the stock into the saw and how it feeds into the saw blade. This is where vertical saws have the edge in terms of speed and cutting in bulk.

Track saws are less powerful but will still cut through most panels with ease. If you use a hand saw, your cutting speed will largely be determined by your arm strength, and you probably won’t want to cut a large number of pieces.

Dust Collection

Most vertical panel saws have a four-inch dust port that attaches to a hose to safely extract the dust created during cutting. This also applies to many sliding table saws, although some have a dust bag instead.

Track saws and hand saws won’t have built-in saw dust collection. However, it is possible to purchase dust-shroud attachments for some track saws.

Price

Finding the right price is an unavoidable part of buying any power tool. You should consider which jobs you will need the saw for and how much work it needs to do for a return on your investment. If you are only replacing a few floor panels, there is no reason to spend thousands of dollars on a vertical or sliding panel saw.

In this scenario, it will be far more cost effective to buy a track saw. On the other hand, if you are working on a larger project or you are a professional carpenter, it is probably worth spending the extra money for a larger, more powerful saw.


Feedback: Was This Article Helpful?
Thank You For Your Feedback!
Thank You For Your Feedback!
What Did You Like?
What Went Wrong?
Headshot of Mark Weir

About the Author

Mark Weir

Mark spent 24 years working in real estate, so he knows his way around a home. He also worked with contractors and experts, advising them on issues of planning, investments, and renovations. Mark is no stranger to hands-on experience, having renovated his own home and many properties for resale. He likes nothing better than seeing a project through to completion.