A lot of the modern table saws nowadays will have a dust collection port where you can hook up a vacuum or extraction system to it. We would always recommend that you purchase a table saw with a dust port, always check the size of the port to make sure it fits with either your vacuum or your extraction system, or you can always modify something to make them fit.
A riving knife is a piece of metal that comes included with your new saw. It’s shaped like a surfboard fin. Sadly, not all models come with this crucial part. If you purchase a model without it, make sure you design one for yourself as soon as possible. The construction of this piece is not a big deal at all; you can cut the shape in a matter of minutes and install it. Its purpose is to prevent the wood and debris from getting caught in the back of the blade which consequently kicks back thus jeopardizing your safety.
One of the lightest and most compact table saws was also the most stable: Skilsaw. There’s no wheel base to the stand and the outward angled legs provide a wider platform than it may appear against its colleagues. In second place was DeWalt, also offering a wide platform, but without the amount of rigidity that Skilsaw has in their stand. Coming up in third was Bosch with its gravity rise stand followed closely by Ridgid. It’s important to note that none of the professional class table saws had any stability issues inherent to their extension locking—it was all in the stand.
The maximum depth of cut on a saw tells you how thick of a material you can cut through cleanly. Be careful when you’re looking at depth of cut ratings, since you’ll usually find two separate specs listed. One is for cutting at 90 degrees, the blade’s normal setting, and one is for cutting at a 45 degree bevel, which is generally the furthest a table saw blade will pivot. Most of us will only need to be concerned about the 90-degree rating, but if you cut lots of angles, you should check the 45 degree rating as well.
You’ll also want to consider which features are most important for you. If you need extra space to work, and cut lots of larger stock, you should invest more in a saw that gives you more room. If you’re working with people who haven’t spent their lives working with professional-grade tools, or if you’re trying to meet tough workplace safety standards, you should probably spend a bit more for a unit with a skin-detection system to protect fingers or limbs.
Makita joins DeWalt with an external riving knife release so you don’t have to reach into the throat to loosen it. We actually ran into an issue with the design because of a slightly bent plate holding the knife in place. That aside, the intent of the design is sound and should make for an an easier experience. Because of the external release, Makita screws down the throat plate in place. You should only need to get in there for blade changes if everything functions properly.
If you work with wood in any capacity, chances are you rely on a table saw to make clean, accurate cuts. But when your good old saw goes to the big toolshed in the sky, it’s time to opt for a replacement. Before you dish out your hard-earned money on the first model you come across, remember that a table saw is a big investment, so it’s in your best interest to look into the many technical specifications of each option before you settle on a final purchase.
In order to measure the blade speed we used a digital laser non-contact tachometer. A piece of reflective tape was adhered to each saw blade just behind the carbide tooth, so that the tape would be just above the top of the wood cutting surface, allowing us to capture the blade speed during the cuts. We used a power-feeder to ensure that all the material was pushed through each saw at the same feed rate. In the photo above you can see our test set-up with the power feeder, a decibel meter to the left, the digital tachometer in the center, and the amp meter on the right. If you look really closely at the saw blade, the piece of reflective tape is to the left side of the blade near the power feeder.
Sadly, you will have to sacrifice in a few key departments for all that portability and convenience. Portable table saws are the worst choice for cutting larger stock, especially if you don’t have an extension table to add on. They’re also the least powerful sort of table saw, so you shouldn’t plan to cut thick stock or hardwoods on them regularly. Thanks to their light build, portable units are the loudest of the bunch, and their dust collection is usually less than impressive. However, if you’re moving around a lot and need to do rips in the smallest possible space, these are your best friends.
It’s expensive. This one will cost you over $3000. That’s no casual purchase, and the high price tag makes this cost-prohibitive for some buyers. However, you really can’t put a price on the peace of mind that comes with having a unit with this sort of safety system onboard. Our advice? If you can muster the cash, and will get your money’s worth out of the machine, it’s well-worth the price.
The only (somewhat) recent review of table saws at Wood Magazine pits nine 3-HP cabinet saws against various sizes of wood and plywood, fed both by hand and with a power feeder. The short version of the review available on the website names the top picks and notes areas in which all nine saws performed adequately. For full details, however, you need to check out the printed magazine.
The power transfer system is neatly done. The model features a serpentine belt which is quiet and smooth during operation. Therefore, the level of noise is satisfactory. Precision is something that makes this model worth checking out. Whether you’re a professional or a beginner, you’ll definitely appreciate the accuracy of this model. On the other hand, with great things come great responsibilities. Don’t forget to wear safety equipment!
Home Depot sells around 60 models of table saws on its website, and the top models get hundreds of reviews from users. We found four portable saws with ratings of 4.5 stars or better from 250 users or more, and one contractor saw gets ratings just shy of 4.5 stars overall from more than 650 owners. Individual reviews are fairly short and include ratings for quality and value.