A good toolset is everything when you’re working construction, whether you’re at home or on site. A table saw is one of the most underrated tools you can have at your disposal, and you may be shocked by its versatility. If it involves any sort of cutting, a table saw is an excellent string to your bow.
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Why Is a Table Saw Important?
The utility of a table saw is most apparent when dealing with precision cutting. Another bonus for table saw users is the number of materials it can be used with.
A table saw can be used on metal, wood, PVC pipes, sheet aluminum, sheet brass and many other materials in between. So why not a more traditional approach with hand held saws? This approach certainly works, but it isn’t for everyone. For starters, a hand held approach will tire you out, fast. Many people also like to avoid having to change their blades frequently.
For precise and measured cuts and results, a table saw is your most efficient option.
With a good table saw, you can become a master of home DIY. The best table saws can help with a staggering number of tasks. Furniture work, home-decor, tabletops, repairing doorways, fixing roofs, the list goes on.
If you do a lot of DIY at home, you might be surprised by how much a table saw can achieve. Another plus is that there’s a plethora of attachable peripherals that can guarantee you’re getting the best out of your tool.
Types of Table Saws
There are two categories of table saw: stationary and portable. Both categories contain a variety of options designed for a diverse range of tasks.
Stationary Table Saws:
In comparison to portable saws, these score higher in power and accuracy. As the name suggests, they’re less easy to move around. However, they can be attached to a portable base and moved around a construction site.
Stationary power saws use belt-drive motors as sources of power, and employ hefty iron tables. A few tables also reprocess aluminum and granite tabletops.
The dimensions for tables used with stationary table saws are 27*20 inches and an extension table reaches around 10*12 inches.
Cabinet Table Saws:
Cabinet table saws are power houses. When it comes to power, nothing else comes close.
In terms of appearance, hybrid saws and cabinet table saws look alike, but the similarities end there.
When you buy a cabinet table saw, you should expect a high level of durability and tolerance. They are precise tools and can last for a very long time. There’s a reason they’re so common in workshops, school environments and professional settings.
Another aspect of the cabinet table saw that sets it apart is the fence components. These are extremely precise and tough, and can be more reliable than alternatives. Unlike other options, once you have fixed your measures and adjustments, you won’t need to revisit; they’ll stay put.
There are few things that a cabinet saw cannot cut through. There is astronomical power contained in its motors, they run on 240V and the output ranges between 3 and 5 horsepower. Be it hardwood, pine, plywood, or pressure-treated lumber; a cabinet saw can slice it all.
The table used in a cabinet saw is sturdy, with added extensions. The weight exceeds 500 pounds which makes it secure, but impossible to carry around. If you care about portability, you can always attach them to a moveable base.
Contractor Table Saw:
A good contractor table saw has remained the leading choice for professionals for the past few decades. It employs large outboard induction motors and belt drives.
Initially, their design made them a direct substitute for cabinet saws, as they used to be relatively portable. As innovations in design progressed, the power of the units grew, which lead to a significant increase in weight for each unit. This ranged from 200 to 300 pounds.
In addition, longer belts were needed for outboard motors, which increased the amount of vibration when working. As a result, it became harder to stay on top of dust levels.
As newer and more modern designs emerged, contractor saws became the choice for the workshops of construction enthusiasts and have remained stationary ever since. This does not necessary reflect a reduction in popularity, especially amongst those passionate about the hobby. This is largely down to the fact that contractor table saws are often more affordable than other options, while still being more powerful than portable saws.
Portable Table Saws:
For most on-site locations, portable table saws are a practical alternative where other options might be too bulky. These bench table saws are crafted with aluminum, which allows for easy movement.
They are included in a box amongst other motors, blade mechanics and controls, as well as a tabletop which the blade pierces.
Built-in stands do not come attached to a portable saw, but most leg sets can be built or bought with ease. These can also be used with workbenches, sawhorses or a range of bases at a construction site.
The necessary accessories for a portable saw include a miter gauge and a ripping fence, these aid the worker with precision and safety.
When it comes to lightweight tasks that require plenty of mobility, portable saws are undeniably the best option.
Hybrid Table Saws:
Hybrid saws are an option that can cause buyers some confusion. There is no clear definition that distinguishes hybrid table saws from older contractor saw models. They lie in a middle ground between contractor saws and newer, full-sized industrial cabinet saws. Most hybrid saws feature open leg stands, but there are still some models using fully enclosed bases. This only increases confusion, as it can be hard to know which to chose.
Best Table Saw: 9 Picks
A quick google search for a good table saw can overwhelm you with arbitrary lists and information. We’ve taken the time to research what’s out there. In our opinion, these are the best options you’ll find.
1. DEWALT 10-Inch Table Saw
This table has a max rip capacity of 32½ inches, with a rolling stand that contains a 15-amp motor. The features of the rolling stand include a rack and pinion fence system, which allows the adjustments to be smooth, quick, and precise.
The rip capacity of 32½ inches lets the saw carve through a diverse range of material, from massive shelving to slimmer units. In addition, the patented material of the saw support allows for precise and narrow rip cuts.
The Dewalt 10-inch table saw‘s 15-amp motor cuts through hardwoods with ease. It has a cut depth of 3 1/8 inches at 90 degrees, and 2¼ inches at 45 degrees.
A nice bonus is the 2-inch dust collection port that can be attached to a vacuum, allowing for minimal build up and smooth extraction.This is supported by a massive set of wheels that can trample waste and residue at the construction site.
- Safety features are provided.
- Directions are easy to understand.
- Set up is done easily.
- Too bulky.
2. SawStop PCS175-TGP236
This 1.75 horsepower cabinet saw features a 30 inch premium fence system that makes it possible to keep working for hours. With a SawStop PCS175-TGP236, you’ll enjoy a T glide fence, repetitive cutting and vertical cutting that’s hard to match.
The 30 inch premium fence system makes this saw accurate when measuring, and a joy to use. There are two wheels attached to the end of the fence. These, along with two 360-degree casters on the mobile base, make it much easier to move around.
Sawdust has been classified as a carcinogen by the center of disease control (CDC). This is addressed by SawStop in the most effective way possible. The unit is fully enclosed, making dust collection a breeze. The unit uses an open gearing which minimises dust production in the first place. This is a saw model that is known for dust management.
This table saw boasts the thickest arbor width possible in the 10 inch size category. This makes for a resilient saw that will last a long time. The poly v ribbed belts are quiet and transmit power securely, with minimal vibration.
- Prioritizes safety.
- Extremely robust and resilient.
- The most powerful in the industry.
- Alignment issues in the blade.
3. SKILSAW 8-1/4″ Portable Worm Drive Table Saw
Featuring an 8 ¼ inch drive, this saw delivers massive power in a portable footprint. The Skilsaw Portable Worm drive table saw is specifically designed for work at job sites and construction sites. The compact powerhouse features 25 inches of rip capacity, as well as 2 5/8 inches of depth for cutting. This makes it a champion for slicing through thick sheets of material.
This saw is built to meet the tough demands of a professional construction site. The rack and pinion system allows for quick and seamless fence adjustments and accurate cuts.
The motor is a patented system that can stay cool and work longer without heating up.
- More affordable.
- The blades are spot on.
- A portable table saw.
- Although designed for the workplace, it’s not an ideal jobsite table saw.
4. Shop Fox W1837
With this table saw, you get the combined features of a contractor and cabinet saw. It’s painless to move, like a portable table saw, yet features all the power of a cabinet table. Like most hybrids, this one carries a fast-changing blade guard, as well as anti-kickback pawls. The interchangeable riving knife with this model offers additional kickback protection.
The Shop Fox table saw also features a built-in kickstand. With a simple push, your saw can move from its secure fitting and travel with you.
Like most cabinet saws, the trunnions of the w1837 are mounted on the cabinet for optimal performance. The resilient cast iron trunnions soak up vibrations, help with miter slot alignment and allow for the easy adjustment of blade height and angle.
The blade of this table saw can be tilted from the left at any angle between 0 and 45 degrees. This makes it ideal for slicing bevels, chamfers, and compound meters.
The cutting angle of the blade can be easily adjusted by easing up the blade tilt lock and twisting the handwheel to direct the blade where you want it to go. The blade can then be locked to secure the angle.
- Accurate cuts.
- Not fit for industrial use.
5. SKILSAW-SPT99-12 10”. Heavy-Duty Worm Drive Table Saw
Another Skilsaw offering, this time featuring a drive table that gives you the power to slice through all kinds of plywood and other materials. A dual field motor is attached, so the machine can run for longer without heating up.
Quick adjustments are possible with the saw’s rack and pinion systems. As with other desirable models, a vacuum unit helps to keep residue and small debris at bay.
Lastly, the Skilsaw is attached to a 16-inch wheel stand that is large and resistant enough to roll over anything in its way.
- Versatile. Can be used in many spots.
- The motor is excellent.
- A portable Table saw.
- Assembly is difficult for amateurs.
- Not a jobsite table saw.
6. SKILSAW 3410-02
For many enthusiasts and craftsmen around the world, this unit is a perfect fit. This is a comparatively smaller table saw and is best suited to home DIY projects. Don’t be fooled by its size though, it still packs a punch. With a 30 inch rip cut capacity and a 15-amp motor, the Skilsaw 3410-02 can make light work of longboards, smaller pieces and bevels.
This saw’s rip fence can self-align with the EZ View measurement system, bringing precision to your cuts. Another benefit is the durable steel stand that folds away for quick maneuver, increasing potential storage space.
- 3-year warranty.
- Safety features are properly adjusted.
- Portable. Can move around the job site.
- Can be used as a jobsite table saw.
- Sloppy miter.
- Inconsistent blade guard.
7. Bosch GTS1031
This is a portable table saw with a one-handed carry handle. Its unique design allows you to move around the job site with little to no issue.
The Bosch GTS1031 also features a steel base that gives it the durability required in even the toughest work environments. The base is designed to tolerate severe impact and operate for a long time.
Your work will be precise and safe thanks to a number of features. These include the self-aligning rip fence design, the anti-kickback pawls and the riving knife system. These all help grant you effective control over your machine.
The storage space underneath the table gives you a clear workshop. The void space has room for your rip fence, smart guard, miter gauge and even a few wrenches. At the back of the table saw, there is a dust chute to manage dust build-up.
The smart modular blade guard system can be attached and detached quickly. This 20 inch *22 ½ inch portable tabletop sports an 18 inch rip capacity, which allows it to tackle larger sheets.
- Tough and strong unit.
- Ample storage space.
- On-site mobility.
- Inconsistency with the blade guard.
8. Powermatic PM1000 Table Saw
The Powermatic PM1000 is one of the few saws that only requires 115V of power, substantially lowering its consumption cost. It features a strong miter gauge that moves 60 degrees on either side which enables easy adjustments and flexible cuts. The saw features a tool-less assembly and side leaves that move independently; this makes the powermatic safer and easier to use.
- Excellent build
- Massive motor power.
- Heavy duty.
- The dust collection port is poor.
9. Bosch 4100-10
The Bosch 4100-10 packs a punch with a 15 amp saw, a max horsepower of 4.0, 3650 rpm and a 30 inch rip capacity. Increased workspace and material support is made possible by its large cast aluminum top.
This table saw comes with plenty of safety features including a smart guard system with a riving knife and anti-kickback pawls. The 4100-10 uses soft start circuitry that regulates the motor to avoid tripping the circuit breaker. These are all features that make this table saw an appealing purchase.
Portability is the name of the game with the 4100-10. The Gravity-Rise wheelstand is light and easy to maneuver around the job site.
- Portable table saw
- Safety features are great.
- Quick and easy dust collection port.
- Difficult to adjust.
- Low durability.
Table Saw Buying Guide
As you can see from this article, there are many table saws out there, each with their own set of appealing features. How can someone just starting out find the right tool for the job? Below are some great steps you can take to help you on your search.
Step 1: Consider What You Want to Achieve With The Table Saw.
Before you waste your money on the wrong table saw, consider two key factors:
1.) what you’re going to use the saw for
2.) Where you’re going to use it
What are your plans with the table saw? Do you require it for home projects or work commitments?
Do you intend on developing basic crafts like ripping boards or cross-cutting, or is your goal to use the saw to make more complex items like raised panels, furniture or box joints?
These questions will help you narrow down your options and find the right category of table saw.
Next, consider the location and storage space for your table saw. Can you accommodate a large machine in your workspace, or do you need something small and mobile?
Step 2: Which Type of Table Saw?
Now that you know why you want a saw and where you’re going to keep it, you can think about which type of table saw might suit your needs. There are three primary types to choose from: the contractor saw, cabinet saw or the portable saw.
Naturally, your use case and available space will affect your decision. For lightweight, easy to store units, a portable saw is best. Contractor saws are best suited to home DIY jobs; their strengths lie in their motors and precision. They are bulky but sturdy and are usually placed in a single location with little to no mobility. Cabinet saws are too heavy to be considered portable units at all. They make up for this with their horsepower and strong motors. Cabinet saws are the top choice for many serious craftsmen.
Step 3: Which Features Do You Prefer?
All table saws are different. To choose the best table saw, it is crucial you take note of which details are most suited to your needs. There are numerous accessories and attachments for a table saw.
- Dust Collection: If you need minimal space to store your table saw, then a unit with a dust collection port would be well suited, as it can be attached to a vacuum for ease of use.
- Miter Gauge: A miter gauge is a device used for holding workpieces at a set angle while being cut on table saws. Their accuracy can vary, with higher end models often offering the best precision. Look for ones that halt at 45 and 90 degrees. The slot for your miter gauge on your table should lie completely parallel with the blade.
- Motor Power: Choose a motor power that fits your needs. Check if your table saw is powerful enough to carry out the tasks you have planned for it.
- Type of Fence: A rip fence is an essential element of any safe table saw. It’s basically a guide that helps woodworkers cut wood evenly, precisely and safely. The rip fence should be secured and lie perfectly parallel to the blade.
- Rip Capacity: Rip capacity measures the space between the intermediate point of the cutting blade and the edge of the rip fence. The rip capacity of a table saw is important to decide the maximum length that any wood or sheet of metal can be cut.
- Riving Knife: This is another important safety element that helps you avoid dangerous kick-back when cutting.
- Safety Features: Most table saws are safe to use when all guards are secured. If you are a beginner, a saw with an automatic blade break feature might be useful. This ensures the blade immediately stops spinning when it makes contact with skin, keeping your fingers safe.
While research can be tiresome, it pays off. This is especially true when buying an expensive and durable tool such as a table saw. At the end of the day, there is no one-size-fits-all perfect table saw out there. Nevertheless, if you’re clear on what you want and what you’re capable of, the right tool is out there for you. Happy cutting!