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!
A magnetic switch is also good from a safety standpoint but may not be necessary on these smaller versions. A magnetic switch prevents the saw from starting back up if it loses power during a power outage. Basically, the power outage will turn off the saw. This is good because if for some reason the power were to come back on when you were not near the machine, the material could be shot out of it or damage the saw.
Make sure all the panels on the cabinet (including the motor shroud) are made from steel, and look for powder-coating on the panels to help the paintwork last. The adjustment flywheels, the fence rails, and the frame of the table assembly should be steel as well. The most important part to look at under the hood is the trunnion. The trunnion supports the motor, and you’ll want it to be made from solid cast iron. The sturdier the trunnion, the smoother your unit will cut.
When you’re setting up your table saw fence, slide it into position by pressing the front of the fence forward against the table with both hands. This will allow the entire fence to slide square to the table. Hold your final position with one hand while locking it down with the other. This should help you avoid many of the accuracy issues that come from an off-square fence.
Due to the position of the motor, dust collection is often an issue with these units, especially in comparison to the cabinet type. However, an industrial vacuum is usually a small and worthy investment which should solve the issue effectively. The main advantage of this type is the fact that it’s much cheaper than its nearest equivalent – the cabinet type.
Hybrid table saws are the latest thing on the market these days. They’re in between contractor and cabinet table saws in terms of price, power, and precision. These have either half-cabinets or cutaway stands like a contractor saw, but with the super-powerful motor and improved stability of a cabinet unit. They’re heavy, so you should be prepared to use them on a wheeled lift, but they can be transported fairly easily if you have helpers.
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The CNS175-TGP36 SawStop is a 10 in. contractor table saw with a 45 degree bevel and a rip capacity of 36.5 in. Other than that, we think this is a pretty cool table saw for a few different reasons. First, the price is about half of all other SawStop table saws, and we know money talks (actually, it yells)! Second, like all other SawStop table saws, it has the integrated flesh sensing technology, so you can be sure you’re going to keep all your digits. Also, it has some pretty impressive power; it’s powered by 15 A motor so you’ll be able to tackle whatever you need. The last of our favorite features is its portability. For being a contractor saw, it’s pretty easy to pack up and move around.
We had a number of these saws – and I bought one for my own use (travelling to my kids houses and for garage use) since my old Unisaw with sliding table isn’t exactly portable. My take on the blade – is that the old 40T one (Bosch CBT1040A) was not worth anything much – so the change to a 24T blade can’t hurt (zero time anything is still zero). They generally bundle saws with cheap blades to keep the overall price down – but when I was buying in many multiples – I would have been happy for $10 off each if I had a “no-blade” option.
Optional portable table saw stands are available for both saws. (Bosch's stand is called the GTA500; DeWalt's is the DW7450.) The Bosch features tool-less connection (after initial assembly), while the DeWalt requires the attachment and tightening of four bolts through the DW745's bottom roll cage— though it's nothing a few after-market knobs couldn't fix.
In addition, a top-quality fence should move smoothly and have a scale that’s accurate and easy to read. Our favorite is the DeWalt fence. The rack-and-pinion system keeps the fence parallel to the blade, and the micro-adjusting knob allows easy and precise fence positioning. Runners-up in this category for best table saw are the Ridgid and Bosch saws. They both have superb fences, with the added advantage of T-slots for attaching accessories like featherboards.
The Jet is a good midrange choice for people who like to keep things simple, and buy for the long term. The Jet has the longest warranty coverage of our three picks, and it comes with an excellent track record for reliability and durability. Many of its features are tweaked to be slightly more user-friendly that the Grizzly’s, and this unit is much easier to fit in a shop than the hulking Grizzly.
Buying a table saw is one of the biggest and most important purchases you will ever make when it comes to power tools. It is an integral part of most job site equipment, as well as an essential item for most do it yourself projects. Choosing a table saw that fits your particular needs and budget can mean the difference in both profitability and frustration level.
It’s highly portable. The Dewalt is available with a folding stand, which makes it extremely easy to pack up. The guard assembly lies flat, and the fence can be retracted all the way to the table to keep everything neat and tidy. It’s pretty light, too-at just 45 pounds. We also love that the adjustment tools, accessories like the miter gauge, and even the guard components can be stored inside the saw for transport, or when they’re not being used.