The latest advance in table saw safety is a feature that stops the spinning blade when it senses the presence of tissue, such as a finger or forearm. A company called SawStop was the first to offer this technology, and currently, it holds the exclusive right to sell saws with this feature in the United States. (Bosch introduced a portable table saw with blade-stopping technology in 2016, but was forced to take it off the market after a successful patent-infringement suit by SawStop.) In 2017, the CPSC proposed a new rule to make SawStop's technology mandatory on all table saws, but that rule is still under review. See the Buying Guide for more information.
With that said, the Dewalt DWE7491RS (another jobsite saw) has an amazing fence. It also has a greater ripping capacity – so if this additional functionality is more important to you than portability, it might be something to consider. Although keep in mind that it’s also 30lbs heavier, and the stand is much worse than that of the Bosch (which we’ll discuss later in this article).
Compared to some of the other miter saws we’ve used – predating the new riving knife requirement, the Bosch GTS1031 guard system is much easier to install and remove when necessary (and to put the saw back into portable mode). We timed ourselves and assembled and tore down the saw in just over 2 minutes – and we were confident that our time would get better with more practice. The table is made of machined cast aluminum and is texture-coated to make it fairly slick – something that really helped when cutting larger pieces of 3/4″ plywood for a workbench surface. As for extending the table – that was super-easy. You just lift the table extension handle upwards and slide the table to the right. This gives you a full 18″ of rip width to the rip fence with your material to the right of the blade. Collapsed, you get up to 10″. Motion of the rip fence and the table extension were smooth. While the fence had some wobble in it at the far end – this completely disappeared when you locked it down – and the shape of the rear of the fence locked it straight every time. It’s a good system and more than adequate for a low-cost portable saw like this. We’ve seen more robust fence systems. But typically the trade-off has been in weight as well as cost.
It also has the highest blade speed. This model has a similar 15-amp motor to our other recommendations, but it’s geared for maximum efficiency. The result is a blade speed that’s nearly 1000 RPM better than the Bosch or the smaller Dewalt. Reviewers marveled at how powerful this one was compared to the size of the motor, which seems underwhelming from the outside. It rips right through oak, cherry, and other planks with no lag or burnout. In fact, we’re hard-pressed to find something this would struggle to cut, provided you equip it with the proper blade.
Other features include a battery-powered laser for lining up cuts. I found it to be pretty dim under bright shop lights and not lined up correctly with the blade. It is non-adjustable. A pullout rear extension provides some added support for long rip cuts. Rockwell also offers a couple of unique accessories: a sliding miter table ($179.99) and a power planer-style “Finisher” ($129.99). It mounts on the saw for flattening board edges.
The Shop Fox W1819 also comes with a miter fence with flip stop which provides excellent workpiece support and is great for longer workpieces. As for the flip stop, it’s going to be very useful especially when wanting to make several cuts of the same width. If you want to cut longer workpieces, you can also flip it out of the way and then pivot it back down in order to make more cuts at the cutting width of your choice.
As with the smaller Dewalt we’ve recommended, this one has very inconsistent quality control on the table. Some reviewers cited units with bowed, funky surfaces, while others got units that were perfectly flat. that’s a flaw of the molding process. We also have a bone to pick with Dewalt as far as the coating on these. While we understand that the coating is supposed to help wood slide better, it just doesn’t seem to last very long or hold up well. It also has the same flawed warranty coverage. We’d recommend purchasing add-on coverage.
However, there were some limitations. The rip fence build, with a thin-metal body, is light-duty. At just 23⁄4″ wide, the saw’s narrow throatplate makes it harder to reach down inside for swapping blades or retrieving a fumbled arbor nut. While the white-on-black bevel scale display is easy to read, the thin red hairline pointer that marks tilt angles disappears over the top of it; the saw needs a larger, brighter indicator. There’s a geared mechanism for tilting the blade that engages when you push the blade height wheel in — a good thing — but the bevel lock lever is too short, and I would use care when bearing down on the plastic handle to tighten it.
The old designs of table saws did not have the angled capability that newer models have now with their ability to have the blades angled at 45 and 90 degrees. Before these upgraded styles, the table itself had to be tilted which made cutting extremely unsafe. The new styles that accommodate angling the blade for the beveled cuts make things much easier and safer for the user.
TBB measured the accuracy of the factory-set 45 degree stop by using a Wixey WR365 digital inclinometer. This device has an accuracy of 0.1 degree. We placed the Wixey gauge on the table and calibrated the inclinometer to the table by zeroing out the gauge. After that calibration, the measurements shown on the gauge give a result that is relative to the saw table. We attached the gauge to the blade and used the saw mechanism to adjust the blade incline to the point at which the blade or trunnion hit the factory-set 45 degree stop and recorded the measurement. TBB ran the test twice to ensure the repeatability of the measurement. In every case, the result came out to within 0.1 degree of the prior test.
As you can tell, this particular type is in the middle between portable and contractor. Some people can finish their projects with bench top saws, but the ones who can’t usually opt for hybrid saws because they are cheaper than contractor ones. One cannot say they are cheap per se, but it’s a significantly smaller investment in comparison to contractor models.
While you may be tempted to skip straight to the reviews, they are a bit on the technical side and contain plenty of terms you might not be familiar with just yet. My suggestion would be to start by reading the informational articles which will provide you with a decent amount of knowledge on table saws. After that, I sincerely doubt you would be caught off-guard while reading anything in the review section.
SawStop was second, also with features no other saw had. The blade height adjustment wheel covers the entire range with one full turn of the wheel. There was some discussion about micro adjustments being more precise for dado and rabbet cuts, but in practice, we found we could easily get to a specific height without trouble. SawStop also moves away from the bevel lock lever and instead integrates it into the height wheel. By pulling the lock toward you, it is released and easily moved to your desired angle. Let go of the wheel and it’s locked back in place without having to hold it and use a second hand to work the lever.
While other cabinet table saws may not offer you a clear cut every single time, that’s not the case with the SawStop ICS51230-52. This model features industrial fence system which ensures that every time you cut something, the cut is going to be very accurate and perfectly straight. One last thing to keep in mind is that the unit includes a standard base, while the mobile base and jobsite cart are sold separately.
The machine has a more conventional rip fence/rail arrangement. The right half of the rail assembly folds out so the saw can achieve its full 30″ of rip capacity — wider than any other model here — but the fence would not slide smoothly over the rails without catching on the hinge joint. While the rip fence did maintain its locked settings, it lacks the heft and build quality of the competition.
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.
And finally, there are a couple of jobsite table saws running around with flesh detection to drop the blade out of the way if it detects a strike. There’s a significant premium in cost for these saws and there has also been plenty of litigation regarding whether it should be required on every table saw and whether more than one company has the right to manufacturer the mechanism. But they’ll save you a much worse injury in the event of an accident.
We spent over 30 hours researching and testing 10 different brands of table saws and found that maximum speed, cord length, and cut depth were most important. The DEWALT DW7480 table saw scored high marks in every category and is our top pick. This 48 pound table saw is perfect for using at home or taking with you to the job site. It has a powerful 15 amp motor and 24” rip capacity that makes it a favorite with everyone. The 2 ½” dust collection port allowed us to connect the saw to a shop vac and reduce the amount of dust that was in the garage.
We were impressed with the Bosch Glide Miter Saw which was revealed in 2010 and revolutionized the depth required by a saw in close quarters. Building on their solution-based approach to products, the company has finally addressed the need for a truly portable full-power jobsite table saw. The Bosch GTS1031 table saw can be carried by its single handle, which is balanced in the middle, and all accessories are safely and securely stored on-board. This was demonstrated wonderfully by none other than Jason Feldner at the 2011 Bosch Media Event, who came running into the room with the Bosch GTS1031 table saw in one hand and a GTA500 stand in the other. Weighing in at a manageable 52 pounds, and this is one 15-amp jobsite table saw that does a great job of balancing portability and raw cutting power.
This is the smallest of all the table saws, typically weighing about 50 pounds or so and designed to sit on top of a table or workbench. Bench style table saws are usually made of steel, plastic and aluminum. They are good for light to medium duty cutting and would not be a good choice if you do a lot of cutting or if you have a professional business. Because it can be lifted by one person and moved around with relative ease, this type of saw is often called a portable table saw. Due to the size of these saws which measure approximately 19” x 27”, they are not designed to rip large pieces of wood. It is also not easy to make mitered cuts. You will notice that there might be more vibration when using this saw as compared to other, larger models. This is due to the lighter weight of the saw. Unfortunately, the vibration can affect the accuracy of the cuts you’re making.
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.
Overall, I really like this saw. I have used it for trim work, and for cabinetry work. I worked for a guy who had the older model (the 4000) which is pretty much identical except that it does not have a riving knife (best safety upgrade ever) and it is still going strong after well over a decade of daily use. I wish there was more table in front of the blade, and I wish the dust capture was better, but it is a tremendously good saw and I consider it (with the addition of a track saw for full sheet handling) to be a viable alternative to a big cabinet saw.
The Bosch 4100-09 offers many advanced features, making it a very capable table saw for woodworking. The air-filled wheels and gravity rising stand makes this table saw functional and lightweight. Set up and tear down of the table saw is a breeze. This technology allows the table saw to be moved from place to place, even over the most rough and challenging areas of the work site. The 4100-09 weighs 39 pounds, making it the perfect portable table saw. Although it is lightweight, it is very durable and stable.
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.
Porter-Cable comes in as the most expensive of the value group, but also with the best overall performance in it. Of the three saws in this class, it had the best cutting power and also came in the top spot overall for height and bevel adjustment thanks to independent wheels. This may seem like a small consideration, but when you actually need to cut accurately beveled pieces, the adjustment wheel is a huge benefit over sliding the front height adjustment around.