Portable table saws, or “jobsite” models, as they’re often called, are your best bet for working with larger stock or longer cuts on the go. These units provide the cutting width and depth of a big table saw in a compact, portable package that’s easy to throw in the back of the pickup after a day’s work. They’re ideal for pros working on smaller jobs, handymen who need a basic table saw that won’t break the bank, or home DIYers looking for a tool that’s easy to pack away during the workweek.
The blade guard is the most noticeable and the most important safety element of every saw. Its purpose is very simple – it keeps your fingers away from the blade. Many people decide to unscrew this part and take it off to speed up the cutting process, but that’s a huge mistake. In fact, a massive percent of injuries happen because people alter the safety mechanisms in order to work faster. Risking your life for a few hours of effective work isn’t worth it, to say the least.
If height adjustments were standardized, we could expect each saw to make them nearly identically. Taking a look under the hood, we discovered several different methods—each with their own effect. Most of the saws employ a bevel gear system that provides smooth and reliable performance. We noticed that many used solid metal gearing, but Bosch used plastic for both the 4100 and the REAXX.
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.
When I switched blades, I did find the locking lever for the riving knife very stiff … not sure why. It raises to release the riving knife and pushes down to lock it. I resorted to gripping the lever with a pliers to manipulate it, after nicking some skin on the blade teeth. But, on the softer side, RIDGID provides a nice complement of overmolds on the miter gauge handle and blade height handwheel knob.
Now let’s talk power. The 15-amp motor is housed underneath the aluminum table and features replaceable brushes so you can expect long life from the saw. The gearing for adjusting the blade height also looked to be built with durability in mind and was well-greased. Cranking the height on the saw was simple and, unlike many saws I’ve used, even bevel adjustments were a snap and didn’t require a ton of effort to move the blade. We found that we could easily loosen the bevel lock and slide the assembly along its arc until we got to the required angle.
While a lot of other Dewalt saws let us down in the dust compartment, the company have made big strides with this model. It has an internal canvas housing around the blade chamber, which keeps dust from spraying around inside the machine, without having the limitations of a rigid shield. It’s not perfect, but it does much better than the Bosch or the cheaper Dewalt.
Being concentrated is extremely important. A big percentage of injuries happen due to the lack of focus at any given moment. Remember, if anything happens, it will happen in under a second. Naturally, you won’t have any time to react properly. Music is something that can be dangerous and relaxing at the same time. Some people love working while listening to their favorite tracks, but it significantly lowers your concentration level. Therefore, you should avoid listening to music while operating a heavy-duty piece of equipment.
You’ll make most of your miter cuts on a miter saw. But when the material you’re cutting exceeds a miter saw’s cross-cutting capacity, you turn to your table saw miter gauge. These usually aren’t quite as precise, but some manufacturers put more thought and robustness into it than others. If you make a lot of long miter cuts, be sure to pay attention to this accessory.
A table saw is a powerful tool that makes short work of even large pieces of lumber, allowing you to make rip cuts down the grain of boards, beams, and even entire sheets of plywood. No carpentry shop or professional construction site is complete without a table saw. Deciding which saw is best suited to a given home workshop, furniture production factory, or building site is an important decision and merits careful consideration.
Most shippers will expect you to have a forklift to get the crate off the truck, so if that’s not something you can arrange, you’ll want to opt for “lift-gate” delivery or an installation plan that involves the shippers bringing the saw to your actual workshop. Be prepared to spend a fair bit of money for delivery ($100-$250), especially if you can’t get the saw off the truck and to the workshop on your own.
Ridgid’s fence is outstanding for its design. Its large front plate helps stabilize it and the whole thing just feels solid. There’s very little play compared to some of the others and we were consistently able to lock it down perfectly square. We like the pinion style bevel adjustment. It’s not quite a good as a separate adjustment wheel, but a great improvement over simple sliding. We also like the independent locks for both height and bevel. It’s not often that a height lock would be required, but there’s an element of confidence that comes from knowing it won’t be going anywhere.
Table saws will use one of two different kinds of drive configurations; Direct-drive motors and Belt-drive motors. In a direct-drive motor, they will link directly to the blade itself and transfer all of the power of the motor to the blade. They tend to last longer than belt drive motors and there is no belt to replace or worry about getting worn out. Belt drive motors transfer power from the motor to the blade through a belt. In this type of configuration, the motor can be offset away from the sawdust which helps the motor last longer. In general, belt drive motors need more preventative maintenance than direct-drive motors do. If you have a belt drive motor, check the tension of your belts as well as checking them for wear periodically to ensure your continued safety.
The DEWALT DW745, due to its smaller size, does not have the capacity to use a stack of dado blades (blades designed to be stacked together to make wider cuts, grooves, and notches). It has also been noted that the plastic miter handle is a weak point, and it limits accuracy. There are no available table extensions. It does, however, come with a three year manufacturer’s warranty.
Service can be expensive on these models, so you should see if the company will be covering repairs, of if you’ll be expected to foot the bill. Add-on plans are a great way to minimize your liability if something goes wrong. By purchasing a third-party warranty, you can have a much better customer service experience. The warranty provider will deal with the company for you, so you don’t have to negotiate or deal with frustrating runarounds.
This article is the place to start, and then you can take it from there. My table saw buying guide has all the essential information on table saws you will need, like their classification based on size, portability, motor type, blade size, and the features they come with. You will encounter each of these terms in all the product reviews, which is why you shouldn’t skip reading it.
One of the biggest issues and potential hazards when working with table saws is kickback. Table saw kickback occurs when wood is ejected from the saw at extremely high speed. You can imagine the sort of injuries this can cause. Table splitters are effectively small vertical bits of metal or sometimes plastic that are designed to stop the wood flying back if there is a kickback. Attached to the splitter are anti kickback pawls either side, they look like table saw blades themselves but they are in fact there to grip the wood at stick into it in case of kickback.
Safety is a prime concern for Bosch. From the SquareLock Rip Fence through to the patented SmartGuard System to lessen any chance of kickback, your security and comfort is taken care of. The blade guard and riving knife are quick-release. This takes away any excuse for not putting the guard back in place because it would be too much trouble, something that’s an accident waiting to happen.
We evaluated the flatness of the table by measuring the flatness by placing the edge of a precision ground flat bar across the table and placed feeler gauges in any gaps to measure any difference between the ground bar and the table. TBB took measurements in four directions. As the operator faces the saw, we measured the flatness at the arbor from front-to-rear; we measured the left-to right flatness at the arbor; we measured the flatness from the upper left-to-lower right table corners; and, finally, we measured the upper right-to-lower left flatness between the corners.