Table saws are undeniably the kings of rip cuts on the jobsite and in shops. The concept is simple: Place a motor below a solid table to turn a blade somewhere in the 4000-5000 RPM range through the surface and watch the sawdust fly. The idea may be simple, but the reality is much different. How big should the table be? What size blade should you use? How heavy can you get away with making it?
Previous buyers said they were at a loss to find materials that the Jet couldn’t cut! They said it went like butter, with no lag whatsoever, and almost no vibration at all. Reviewers raved about the motor’s power, and especially complimented how steadily it ran. This is an excellent choice for hardwoods, thick softwoods, and composite boards: absolutely anything that’ll fit.
The cabinet itself is 19-3/8-inches deep by 19-3/8-inches wide, which makes it the same size as the last SawStop model we looked at on our list of the best products. Included with this cabinet is a 20-inch by 27-inch cast iron table that extends out from the cabinet. This table is durable enough for regular use and will give you more space for working.
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For benchtop and jobsite saws with direct drive motors, the motor RPM is the blade RPM. If you’re considering a contractor or cabinet saw, it’s a different story. In any event, Pro table saw RPMs generally range from 4000 – 5000. Don’t let numbers on the lower side dissuade you. There’s a limit to how much power you can draw and each manufacturer has to decide how they’ll channel it between blade speed and torque. So higher isn’t necessarily better.
As we already said, people tend to remove the safety elements to speed up their projects. Needless to say, it’s a huge mistake. Those things are there for a reason, and they should remain installed at all times. As soon as you mingle with the parts, you’ll jeopardize the integrity and your own safety. Even the best table saw cannot protect you enough if you mess with the parts on your own.
As we said in the beginning of this section, many of these saws will be used, right out of the box, for rough cutting materials and the fine accuracy may not matter so much in that application. If this is the case for a saw, the quality of the cuts and more importantly, the potential safety of the operator is going to be a function of the as-shipped accuracy of the saw from the manufacturer. So, TBB wanted to see how the various saws compared right out of the box. The results are in and, as a group, these eight saws measured up quite well for out-of-the-box accuracy.
Reviewers recommend these models for easy transport to jobsites and for easy storage in a small workshop. Portable table saws come in two types. Benchtop saws sit on top of a workbench and are light enough to pick up and carry; jobsite saws are mounted on folding stands, usually with wheels for easier transport. The main drawbacks of a portable saw are its lower power and smaller table, which makes it tricky to cut larger lumber and sheet material such as plywood. Prices for portable saws start at less than $200, but the best-rated models typically cost $300 or more.
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.