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.
We’re impressed with how much thought SawStop have put into all the features on this model. It has an extra-large bevel gauge ruler on the side of the cabinet, tool-free, modular guard system, and compatibility with innovative wheelbases which don’t add noticeably to the SawStop’s height or footprint. It also has beveled edges to protect your materials, a very nice touch that our other recommendations don’t have. All in all, it feels like a tool designed by people who use one of these units on a regular basis.
As with our other models, it takes some assembly. If you get one of the extended models, which we’re recommending here, you should plan to cut the rails down to size before finishing installation. It’s simple to do if you’ve got a good miter or bandsaw, but it is an extra step. With that said, many reviewers complimented the SawStop’s well-written and helpful manual, which made installation significantly easier than other units.
Dust collection can seem like an afterthought for jobsite table saws. The fact that you’re outside, often on an unoccupied site, negates the need to collect your dust. But breathing that stuff doesn’t do your lungs any favors. That’s why dust collection is so important. Of course, if you’re working inside or in an occupied structure, collecting all that dust will make the cleanup part of your day easier to deal with. Since we’re not talking about concrete dust regulations, even a standard shop vac will be a good bet to help contain the mess.
The TruePower 01-0819 may look like a miniature version of a table saw — and that’s because it is! Ideal for hobbyist modelers and DIYers looking to tackle minor jobs, the 01-0819, while lacking the same power and performance as its larger, pricier counterparts, is a steal at under $50. A must for any toymaker’s workbench, this bite-sized machine measures in at 8.5" x 7" x 7", and while it lacks important parts like a guide fence, it gets basic 1/2" wood or foam board cutting jobs done, slicing through softer materials with ease.

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.


If you’re looking for a machine with high capacity, the SKIL 3410-02 has a 3.5-inch cut height with the ability to cut through four times the material on each pass. The consensus among reviewers is that, for such a low price, you end up compromising on miter gauge and saw blade quality. Luckily both of those things can be replaced if you so choose.  
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!
Bigger tables offer more potential for additional extensions. For example, if you’re planning to process a massive piece of wood but you cannot cut it in smaller pieces; a table extension will definitely come in handy. There are a lot of commercial add-ons you can choose from, but you can also construct one yourself if you’re experienced enough. Experimenting with these things never gets old or boring, but keep safety in mind at all times. Make sure it’s completely safe to use the said extension and pay special attention to the amount of vibrations and the overall integrity of the table after you’ve installed the add-on.
Power protections are also a key safety feature, since they protect both your personal safety and the integrity of your table saw. Look for a magnetic switch in the power switch assembly of your saw. A magnetic switch protects the system from dangerous power fluctuations, and automatically shuts the machine off in case of a surge or drop in flow. It’ll also perform another valuable function when power goes out or a fuse flips: it’ll prevent the saw turning itself back on when power returns!
On the downside, these units are by far the heaviest type of saw, and they’re the most expensive by a long shot. Their cast iron worktops and steel cabinets makes them more of a permanent fixture than nearly any other tool. To move them around your shop, you’ll need an expensive, heavy-duty wheeled base, which can cost even more money up front. They’re best for people who will keep them in one place, and use them on a regular basis.
Blade guards are an important safety device and should never be removed from the saw. You want to find one that rises up parallel to the table so it is always on top of the material you are working with. The purpose of this blade guard is to protect you from the spinning blade. While some woodworkers find them annoying, the safety they provide is well worth the inconvenience.
About three paces from where I tested these portable table saws sits my late-model cabinet saw. As a serious woodworker and magazine editor, I can’t imagine not having it. Its powerful 3hp motor, spacious cast-iron tabletop and almost hair-splitting precision makes most other saw options pale by comparison. But all this said, a cabinet saw isn’t everything. The thought of moving that behemoth down the steps to a basement shop sends chills up my spine. I sure can’t toss it into a car trunk to help a friend down the road. My saw takes up a huge footprint of shop floor, and it cost a small fortune. I don’t know of any stationary table saw that sells for less than $700 new these days, and that can empty the coffer of a modest tool budget.

Speaking of safety, this particular model offers a satisfactory level of it. First of all, the tool-free adjustments come in handy if you’re in a middle of a project. In case you need to make a quick adjustment, you don’t have to stop whatever you’re doing and commit your attention to fine-tuning. Instead, you can do it on the go, without any additional tools. Furthermore, the convenient guarding system keeps your fingers and hands safe at all times. Don’t forget to wear protective gear; it can make a difference between life and death.
Hitachi C10RJ 10 in. job site table saw features a powerful, industrial grade 15 A motor that operates at 4,500 RPM, giving you the ripping power to cut through even the toughest woods. This Hitachi table saw has a 0-45 degree bevel and height adjustments. One of the best features is its large work table which also has a telescoping extension, allowing rip cuts up to 35 in. wide! When you pair the power of this table saw with the bevel range and table size, you’ll be able to power through any project you throw at it! Other great features include: front mounted controls, over sized controls, integrated safety switch, and a soft start function that helps decrease recoil at startup.
The DEWALT DW745 and the Bosch 4100 are pretty evenly matched in having plenty of power and not-so-hot dust collection. I you’re looking for a light weight saw, the DEWALT comes in ahead since it weighs almost half as much as the Bosch. It is also the less expensive choice by far. The large work table, expanded cutting capability, and its Gravity Rise feature (with solid rubber wheels that make it easy to be rolling across rugged terrain at a jobsite) make the Bosch a Cadillac among Pintos, but, of course, that luxury comes with a price tag.

As power tool nerds, we’re always on the lookout for the latest and greatest developments in the market. One of the most exciting new products to come out in the past decade or so is the hybrid table saw. We think they’re an excellent space and money-saving alternative for home woodworkers who can’t make a cabinet saw work for their circumstances. They’re also a great portable option for folks with bigger job site requirements who have the ability to transport larger tools to off-site applications. One of our current favorites is this Shop Fox:


Move the wood to and then "through" the spinning saw blade slowly and steadily. It's alright to use your hands while you're still at least a foot or so from the blade, but once the end of the board or sheet nears the blade, you should use a pushing stick to keep the wood moving and to keep your fingers away from the blade. Even an experienced carpenter can have a lapse in concentration or a slip that can lead to serious injury.
You often find that many contractors have a love hate relationship with blade guards. Many contractors and woodworkers simply find they often get in the way and can often get wood stuck in them. But many manufacturers are improving these guard’s year on year and now many of them are very advanced and will help keep your fingers from getting hurt, we always advise you to consider the table saw blade feature on any table saw in detail as it could one day help saw you.
As with our other models, it takes some assembly. If you get one of the extended models, which we’re recommending here, you should plan to cut the rails down to size before finishing installation. It’s simple to do if you’ve got a good miter or bandsaw, but it is an extra step. With that said, many reviewers complimented the SawStop’s well-written and helpful manual, which made installation significantly easier than other units.
You will need specialty blades for cutting materials such as plywood, masonry, hardwood and metals. Other specialty blades are used for dado cuts. Most dado sets have multiple rows of teeth and chippers and they are typically much wider than traditional blades. Be sure that the model of table saw you have can accommodate the type of specialty blades you want to get so you don’t waste your money on a blade that won’t fit.
Another indication of how hard a table saw is working is monitoring the amperage (AMP) draw under loading conditions. We measured the amp draw for each saw using all three materials again at the same time we were recording RPMs. The first graph below shows the amp draw for each saw cutting plywood compared to the no-load amp draw. The white bar on the left indicates the no load amps and the colored bar on the right shows the maximum amp draw during the cut.
With both saws offering easy bevel and blade height adjustment, the ease of use comparison focuses mainly on the rip fences. Once the Bosch's rip fence is attached to the table, it moves smoothly across the table when unlocked. But unlocking the fence requires a bit of hand muscle. You can adjust the clamping pressure to alleviate this, but make it too loose and the fence may wobble out of square. Modifying the fence locking lever, or using a cheater bar (such as a push stick) works reasonably well. 

Measuring 30.31" x 17.32" x 41.81", this powerhouse boasts a heavy duty 10" blade that can cut up to 4" x 4" of material in a single pass. For the handyman who likes to keep all of his tools within arm’s length, RIDGID’s table saw comes with convenient onboard storage so swapping out blades or accessing your tools is just a short reach away. Buyers are crazy for this table saw, and they report that it easily fits into the corner of their garages. Plus, quick and easy assembly means you can get to work straight out the gate.
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