Table saws are versatile enough to earn a spot in every home shop—even if that shop shares the garage with the family car. The market offers a range of saws, from $200 portable, less accurate saws to heavy and very accurate cabinet saws costing thousands. All the table saws shown here have 10-inch blades that can cut though stock up to 3 inches thick, and they meet the Underwriters Laboratories' safety standards to prevent kickback. Keep reading for an extensive roundup of table saws, from portables to hybrid models.
These tests and evaluations are very difficult, take a lot of time, and ultimately limited in scope as we’re not a professional testing company and we’ve got limited time to evaluate the tools. We cannot do longer term testing that would shed light on durability and we can’t possibly test every application that you might use of one of these saws for. However, we feel comfortable that all the table saws in this Head-to-Head are good saws and our testing helps bring to light pros and cons for each saw.
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.
No matter the model or price, a table saw should cut a range of material thicknesses and hold its settings accurately. So, after installing a new Freud hi-ATB thin-kerf blade in each saw, I made repeated rip cuts on MDF, resetting the fence each time to check for consistently thick offcuts. After that, I raised the blade for more rip cuts on heavy, long planks of 2 x 12 Southern yellow pine, before tipping the blade to bevel-rip 2″-thick poplar. Then I switched to a 6″ CMT dado set and made a long dado cut in MDF, so I could check for consistent cutting depth — a sign that the undercarriage is stout enough to handle a heavy blade like this. Overall, my test criteria was stability of the stand, cutting accuracy, reasonable dust collection efficiency and all-around convenience of use. Results ranged from exceptional to mediocre, as you’ll see.
If you need to move your saw around, it comes with a table saw stand that you can put up and down with ease. Fashioned from aluminum pipes with wheels that can handle uneven terrain, move around site without breaking your back. As well as its user-friendly nature, the stand can be stored away vertically so it’s a real space-saver whether at home or on the jobsite.
Bosch 10” table saw has it all in terms of precision and accuracy. It has a riving knife system for high material controls and visibility in cutting. The blade is designed with anti-kickback pawls to ensure once you start cutting, you will get accurate results to the end. The entire unit is designed with heavy-duty material for durability. The square lock rip fence has adjustable style to guarantee continued accuracy and precision in all your work. Additionally, the table saw has an easy to transport design with additional tabletops handles for portability. You can also regulate the cutting speed of the table saw to the place you are comfortable.
If you’re going to have a quality product, you need a fence system that’s perfectly square to the table so your cut is perfectly parallel to the edge. Obviously, framers have a bit more leeway than jobsite carpenters and there’s plenty of variance in fence quality. Cheaper saws have fences that can easily move out of square as they slide along the surface of the table. Avoid these if you want quality results. The fence system needs to be easy to keep square to the blade.
Likes: Cuts extremely well and has excellent stability. Its blade guard and riving-knife assembly are locked and unlocked by a lever located conveniently along the table's left edge. A simple, separate shark-fin riving knife can be used when the guard is too big for narrow rip cuts. We appreciate the antiglare surface on the tape ruler that measures the distance from the blade to the fence.
The DeWalt DWE7499GD table saw earns a third place finish in the safety category thanks to their GuardDetect technology. This doesn’t prevent you from using the saw without the pawls and blade guard in place, but it does require you to physically indicate you are aware they’re not in place. Ideally, this gives your mind one last opportunity to consciously note the additional care that needs to take place before cutting.
DIY-ers love this type due to its simplistic yet effective operation. However, it’s not unusual for professionals to invest in these in order to avoid investing in cabinet models and save some money. Speaking of money, you should prepare yourself for a hefty investment if you opt for this particular type. However, most models are well-worth the money. These things last for years and don’t require a lot of maintenance apart from occasional blade replacements and minor adjustments. They are not as easy to use as portable models, but you’ll learn how to use them in a matter of hours or days, as long as you follow the rules written in the user manual.
Table saws can pose a serious risk of injury, since part of the spinning blade comes up above the surface of the table where it can come into contact with the user's hand as it guides the wood. Thanks to voluntary safety standards introduced by Underwriters Laboratories (UL) in 2007, pretty much all table saws now come with blade guards that minimize the risk. Modern guard systems are easier to remove and replace as needed – an important feature because inconvenient blade guards are apt to be left off the saw.
Contractor saws weigh quite a bit more than portable saws, averaging between 150 and 350 pounds, but are still somewhat portable. They have a heavier, cast-iron table top, and a motor that is usually more powerful than a jobsite saw. Even so, they’re within prices affordable for more committed hobbyists. Contractor saws can range between $800 and $2,000. They’re good for basic cutting tasks, as well as making home furniture and cabinetry work.
One thing you must be aware of with a contractor saw is the fact that they can be a lot more difficult to move from job to job, this is something that must be considered before purchasing. For thicker and harder type woods a cabinet table saw maybe the best way to go, especially for the long-term benefits, but for the average mid-sized contractor it’s still a great option. Read More
Measuring in at 19.9" x 23.4" x 13.4", the SPT70WT-01 is compact enough to fit into any aspiring handyman’s garage, but powerful enough to tackle anything you throw at it on the job site, meaning it’s an ideal entry-level table saw for the amateur hoping to turn his hobby into a career. Sturdiness, durability, and anti-kickback technology make the world’s first worm drive table saw a revolutionary machine. Satisfied buyers can’t get enough of this balanced wood-devouring behemoth.
We absolutely love the Dewalt DWE7491 that we recommended as our top quality choice above. It’s a powerful, precise workhorse that can handle nearly any cutting job. However, times are changing fast, and workplace safety standards are increasing just as rapidly. If you’re a professional who wants to stay on top of your code, you should consider getting a unit that’s equipped with a flesh-detections safety system.
As mentioned, the look is similar to a hybrid with a full enclosure. Looks can be deceptive, though… The core design purpose is for this saw to stand up to constant heavy use in a commercial setting. This is not a tool you buy for casual woodworking at home.These bulky, heavy units are built to last the distance. They can weigh up to 500 pounds. You’ll get an accuracy and rigidity not available in lesser types of table saw.Other table saws call for regular adjustments. With a cabinet saw, you won’t need to do this as often once it’s set up properly. 240V motors developing 3-5HP mean there’s very little the best cabinet table saw won’t rip through with ease. Large sheets of hardwood are no problem at all.
Like the last SawStop table saw that we looked at, this one is quite heavy and provides the stability that you need when working with plywood or any other type of wood. You can use the foot pedal on the bottom to operate the saw, but you’ll also find four wheels on the bottom of the cabinet. All four of those wheels swivel in a 360-degree direction to help you move the cabinet to any location.
One of the biggest perks of a cabinet table saw, aside from the rugged construction and wide worktop, is the sheer power of the tool. You should expect a cabinet table saw to cut absolutely any stock within its depth capacity smoothly and easily. Look for motors with at least 3 HP, and sophisticated belt drive systems which translate that grunt into 4000+ RPM blade speeds. Don’t accept lesser power ratings on a cabinet model: these are the gold standard of table saws for a reason!
With a single cast iron trunnion system, the Delta UNISAW offers dependable accuracy, smooth and continuous operation, but also vibration free control. Thanks to the fact that it features a fifty-two inch fence system, it’s the perfect choice for woodworking pros, but also people who are just starting out in the woodworking industry, such as hobbyists. Since it also comes with an upfront bevel dial to easily fine tune the blade level, you get a striking accuracy within a quarter of a degree, ensuring precision setups cut after cut.
Ridgid notches a third place finish as the only saw to include an independent blade height lock. The adjustment wheel raises and lowers with multiple full turns like most saws, but integrates a lock into the center. For the bevel adjustment, the outside of the height adjustment wheel turns a rack and pinion style system to accurately change the blade angle – a feature Makita shares.
As for extensions, I have added the TS1002 and TS1003 outfeeds (rear and left side respectively) – They do a great job supporting the workpieces without making the saw the least bit tippy. For my use, I don’t get much use from the left side support, but the rear outfeed is great. Much nicer than setting up an outfeed stand and trying to dial it in.
For centuries, the job of the sawyer was, quite simply, to saw logs into lumber. Working in two-man teams, a pair of sawyers would use massive saws -- called whipsaws or pitsaws -- to cut felled trees into workable planks with their own muscles as the motive power. The job was exhausting and often dangerous, yet necessary to create the precious lumber used to build everything from homes to railroad bridges.
Richard Romanski of Popular Mechanics names his five favorites among 15-amp portable table saws. A slideshow outlines what he likes best about each saw, as well as any downsides. Although it's clear that Romanski has tested these saws hands-on, he doesn't go into any details about his testing methods or name the other saws that didn't make the cut.
Located right next to the hand wheel on the front is a panel that features both a power button and a stop switch. The power button helps the motor come to life quickly without requiring that it heat up first, and you can press down on this button to turn the saw off at the end of the day. The emergency stop switch helps you stop the blade in the middle of a project to prevent accidents caused by clothing or skin coming into contact with the blade.
It has a smart fence design that allows for a wide rip capacity in a small package. The Dewalt’s rails telescope, which allows them to extend further than the competition without adding to the machine’s packable footprint. That means you can make rips at up to 20 inches without needing any extensions or other accessories. The rack and pinion system allows you to set a precise fence setting without wobble, even on a flexible rail. It locks at both the front and back, to make absolutely sure you’re getting an accurate rip every time.
When you are woodworking, dust and debris can be a serious bugbear. There’s good news with the DeWalt, though. Connect the DWE7491RS to your favorite vacuum and keep your workspace blissfully free of fine particles. The 2 ½-inch dust port at the rear and 1 ½-inch port off the top of your blade makes for a powerful combination getting rid of dust from above and below.
There’s a lot to like about this saw. The stand is easy to set up and very sturdy. We like the smooth-operating table extension and the blade guard’s hold-up feature and ease of installation. The only downside we found is that the motor mount is less rigid than those on the other saws we tested. We suspect that’s why the cut quality on our torture test was not as good with this saw.
The GTS1031 is Bosch's newest table saw, designed for portability and intended to be light enough that you could carry it with one hand. Its rip fence is designed for quick and easy movement, and clamps into channels on opposite sides of the table to keep things consistently square without the need for frequent adjustment. Two notable advantages for the GTS1031: Its 5000 RPM max no-load speed compared to the 3850 RPM for the DeWalt, and the fact that you can use a 1/2-inch dado set with it (though it requires separate TS1013 dado throat insert).
It is not a cabinet saw, so judging it by those standards would be unfair. As a portable job site saw this is amazing. Loud and dusty, sure, but that is expected. Easy to use and store, yes. The fence is square to the blade, and is rock solid, as long as you make sure the nut at the back of the fence is set right. The fence is not quite square to the table top, and I can't tweak it, but for construction I wouldn't care. I do other fussier things on the saw, so I will shim out an auxiliary fence. I made a cross-cut sled, which I recommend, and get thin kerf blades. I got a rip, general, and fine finish blades, and I get great results.
Below is a graph showing the average measured decibels for the saws (for each of the materials we tested). As you can see the saws range from 93.7 db to 97.9 db. OSHA allows 8 hours of exposure for up to 90 db, from 95 db up the exposure limits start dropping quickly starting at 4 hrs for 95 db so clearly these saws all need hearing protection. We ranked the quietest 3 saws as a 2, and the remaining saws as a 3 and felt none should rank a 1 due to the need for hearing protection.
Another important safety feature to consider is a magnetic switch. Magnetic switches are there in case of power cuts or outages and will also protect the table saw motor from over load. Effectively it will switch off the power supply the instant the power goes off ensuring you don’t have a saw blade spinning away in the dark! As you can imagine this is a very useful and must have safety feature when looking to purchase a new table saw.
You can use these saw to cut plywood and other sheet goods, but their compact size makes this a challenge—and a potential safety hazard, if you don't have an extension table, rollers or a human partner to help support the wood on the infeed and outfeed sides. Stick with a circular saw for larger plywood rip cuts, but both of these saws can be workable backups (provided you don't need to rip widths of more than 16 or 18 inches.)
rarely have to work with stock that thick. I mostly prefer to do this on my bandsaw any way. The 2" dust port allows me to hook up the shop vac and it does a decent job of getting most of the dust. The saw doesn't have much room in front of the blade so it was impossible to use my shop made cutoff sled. I solved this problem by making my own removable infeed extension table. Now I can use the 22" cutoff sled. After a year and a half the saw is still in adjustment and runs true. The saw stays in my shop and doesn't get bounce around on the back of a pickup truck. Based on my experience I highly recommend this saw if you have a small shop and don't plan on building large pieces
Different types of table saw rely on different motors. With the smaller and more portable saws, 120V direct drive motors can deliver up to 2HP. This is more than enough power if you’re working with less substantial sheets of material. The larger saws have belt drive motors running on 240V. These produce 3-5HP. Think carefully about the materials you’ll be working with. Get the right sized motor for your cutting needs.
Next, the rip fence is pretty hard to adjust also, and mine had a few thousandths of a bow, but that bow is way within industry standard for a portable saw. Here's what you do: First, check it for parallel, you might get lucky. (On a side note, there is a fine line between how tight to set the locking arm adjustment screw with this rip fence. Too tight, and when you lock it, you'll loose the self-adjustment feature, too loose isn't good either. Adjust the screw (on the rear of the fence), to where the fence self aligns while still getting tight) If you are like me, mine was 15 thousandths out, then unlock the locking handle and loosen the two screws on top closest to you in THIS ORDER! Loosen the screw closest to the lock handle first, and for a few turns. Next, loosen the screw that is about 6 inches away toward the middle just enough to where the fence will rotate on this screw, but not so much as to be sloppy. Begin experimenting. Pivot the fence back and forth, running your measuring device up and down the fence until you get pretty close. Lock handle and checking for parallel. Again and again. When you finally get pretty close to parallel, then lock the lever and experiment with locking both screws. If it doesn't move and you are within a few thousandths, then voila, you are done with adjusting the blade and rip fence for parallel. The other adjustments are straight forward, and once set up, THIS IS A GREAT SAW!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Good luck, hope this review helps
I knew there were jobsite table saws on the market for less than $250, but I never thought they were good enough to get my recommendation. Sure, the SKIL 3410-02 is not a professional saw and may not be versatile enough for contractors, but the stand, power, accuracy and build quality of this table saw are much better than I thought possible in this class.
If you’re a home DIYer, dust collection shouldn’t be a big worry. You can always hook the saw up to your shop vac, but if you’re only working with it occasionally, you’ll be fine to simply get your sawing done, and clear the exhaust port afterward. However, if you’re working on a professional jobsite, you should plan to collect at least most of the dust from your portable table saw via a vacuum system.
The obvious starting point for an analysis of which saw is best suited to the needs of a given person (or company, school workshop, and so forth) is the budget at hand. Even the most affordable table saws of a quality meriting serious consideration cost more than 200 dollars; such units are small but still capable of many tasks. The top of the line table saws come with price tags topping out at well over 3,000 dollars and can handle almost any lumber you would ever need cut and then some; more often than not these mighty saws are more tool than needed, so to speak.
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 easy to use, quite safe, and most importantly – it’s a high-quality piece of equipment for a more than reasonable price. If you don’t like what you see, don’t hesitate to read some of our other reviews, there might be something of interest for you. As far as this particular model goes, it should turn out to be a worthy and cost-efficient investment. In the end, it all comes down to your personal preferences.
More expensive models also have more efficient drivetrains, which means they achieve a higher cutting speed for smoother, faster, and trouble-free cuts. Plus, their innovative belt designs and calibrated trunnion supports make the whole cutting experience smoother, quieter, and simpler. You’ll also pay extra for innovative safety features like skin detection, paddle power switches, magnetic switches, and thermal overload protection.