A panel saw is an appropriate choice in any shop where you would like to save space and have a low to medium volume operation going on. A panel saw cannot process the volume of panels that a beam saw might be able to, but at the same time, it takes up less space and is also safer all around to operate.
A panel saw is not only more compact and safer, it can also do smaller batches of work faster than a beam saw might be capable of doing. A panel saw is also easier to operate, requiring less involvement from the operator in order to do the job correctly. A full sheet only needs to be worked with once, while the cutting of the boards should only require one person to accomplish.
Unlike a beam or flat bed saw, there is no need to make sure that the machine is cutting accurately. A panel saw will hold its workpiece securely in place all by itself, ensuring a great cut every time. A panel saw is also easier to get started with, requiring less initial setup than a flat bed or beam saw. You will also save money going with a panel saw over a beam saw. Even the most expensive tier of panel saws is more affordable than entry-level beam saws.
A panel saw is an incredibly versatile solution. Because the saw is locked into place, you will get great accurate cuts every time without any extra effort. The table of a panel saw can also be rotated in many different directions, allowing you to make practically any kind of cuts. Using a panel saw, you can make both rip and crosscuts. For a rip cut, lock the saw into place perpendicular to the T-square of the panel saw and simply begin cutting. For a crosscut, you will want to mount the blade parallel to the workpiece.
Panel saws are not really just for the occasional home improvement project. A panel saw will most likely see use in a fairly high production shop. An entry level panel saw costs approximately $1200. One such entry level model, the Milwaukee 3-1/4 Max HP 8″ 6480-20, runs about $1249. The 6480-20’s tough steel construction and ample 15 amp motor are more than enough to handle most jobs out there.