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.
Setting up both saws was quick and easy, since their factory-adjusted blades and fences were square and parallel to the tables' miter gauge slots out of the box (this is one of the reasons to buy a $350 table saw over a $100 one). Both saws had similar setup procedures: Attach the fence, raise the riving knife, attach anti-kickback pawls and attach the blade guard. There is no on-board stowage space for the DW745's rip fence, but this does not really affect the setup time or effort by much.
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.
Both saws provide great cutting performance, and should handle most homeowner and DIY wood-cutting needs with ease. The saws are marketed as job-site saws, meaning they're designed for construction and home-improvement applications where extreme precision and accuracy is not typically required. This does not mean they're poorly suited for fine woodworking, though. You might not achieve the same precision as with a full-size stationary table saw, but out test cuts were by no means sloppy. And upgrading from the simple miter gauges included with both saws to an after-market miter gauge (such as an Incra model) or a cross-cut sled should improve the accuracy of straight and angled cross-cuts.
Portable or “jobsite” table saws are the absolute opposite of cabinet models. These are the lightest, most travel-friendly table saws on the market. These are easy to pack up and store in the back of a pickup truck or work van, and they can be set up pretty much anywhere. You can fit them to folding stands, use them on countertops, or sawhorses. We love them for quick contractor jobs, and they’re the ideal tool for general handymen who do a lot of shorter jobs rather than extended carpentry fittings. These are also a great entry-level choice for DIYers who don’t need a massive table saw, but need something that they can pack away at the end of the day. And, of course, they’re the least expensive table saws you can buy!
This is a truly great saw, except that it is really tough to adjust the blade and rip fence for parallel. Once adjusted though, it is a fine piece of engineering. What I like best is that the saw is built for the job site. It is extremely beefy, but no too heavy. In my opinion, it strikes a nice balance. Its cart stand is the best in the industry, bar none. Once adjusted, the saw returns to its settings extremely well. It is obviously built for the long haul, and should last a contractor many years. I would definitely purchase this saw again. Now with the things that I wish were better. First, adjusting the blade for parallel is just plain hard. Mine was out from the factory by 4 thousandths. It is a trial and error process, and the instructions suck. Here's what to do: 1. Loosen the four screws indicated in the instructions. Starting from behind the saw, center the blade housing in the rear left to right as best you can, then tighten one screw not quite snug (you want the housing to rotate on this screw when you adjust the front). Next move to the front of the saw and loosen the lock lever for blade angle adjustment (the housing won't move unless you do). Now, begin experimenting with holding the housing at 90 degrees with one hand while sliding the housing back and forth with the other until square. When you think that you are close, lightly tighten one of the front housing screws. Check for parallel (look for videos on how to check a table saw blade for parallel), then tighten the blade angle adjustment lever. With these screws and the lever tight and locked, check again for parallel. If it is still good (I got it to 1/1000 inch of parallel), then lock all the screws and check one more time, if it's still good, then you are done with blade housing adjustment.
It has a brilliantly powerful 15 AMP motor, which can deliver 4,800 RPM of cutting power. Is is normally more than enough for most woodworkers and hobbyists. It has stowable anti-kickback pawls and and excellent riving knife and spreader for accurate cuts. This is a great entry level saw at a great price, definitely worth looking at for your next purchase or project.
While your table saw is unplugged, take the time to clear and clean the work surface, removing any debris that could negatively impact the smooth path of the wood you will be cutting. Then, lower or raise the blade to where the blade gullet (the curved section between each blade tooth) is equal with the top of the piece of wood to be cut. Also, make sure that your saw's dust exhaust port is clear and open and that a bag is in place to catch any excess sawdust.
The DeWalt, Bosch and Ridgid saws have strong stands that are easier to set up, sturdy fences that lock down parallel to the blade every time, and smooth-operating blade controls. If you’re a contractor or an avid DIYer who just likes top-quality tools that feel good and last a long time, we think the extra few hundred dollars is a good investment.
Even though is seems pretty irrelevant, the position of the On/Off switch is quite important, especially if you’re a frequent user of these tools. In today’s models, the switch is usually leveled with your knees. The main thing you should look for is the size of the OFF switch. It has to be big enough so that you can turn the unit off immediately either with your knees, elbows, or hands. The so-called panic button is one of the crucial elements of every unit, even if it doesn’t seem like it.
The Porter-Cable looks like a beefed-up version of the Craftsman, with the same blade guard and anti-kickback pawls. This is the only saw in our test with a blade-tilting handwheel, which makes it easier to dial in a precise bevel angle. The motor mount and blade controls on this saw are very sturdy, without much play, which translates to a good-quality cut. Extending the fence for a wide rip requires a bit of effort on this saw, since the rails are stiff. All in all, this is a great saw for the price.
I build guitars in a small shop; I need my saw to be accurate, repairable and easy to store or move. I love this saw! I use it for everything from cutting down stock to slotting my fretboards. It gets out of the way, it came dead on square, and the dust collection works pretty well with a shop vac and great with a high volume dust collector, with an Incra miter fence it makes perfect, repeatable, and accurate cuts. After I had owned it for over a year the plastic lever on the riving knife broke - I called Bosch and they "goodwilled" me a new riving knife assembly (with an upgraded metal lever) via express mail. No charge and fast, friendly service - they didn't even ask for a serial number or proof of purchase. I'd buy this saw again in a minute - all tools wear out or break at some point and I really like that the company stood behind this one and got me up and running again in a hurry. I also love all the safety features - riving knife, anti-kickback pawls, large easy-to-reach power button, nice push stick, and a dust collection port that is positioned out of the user's way.
The continuous-read, tape measure–type scale is ingenious and easy to read, and Ridgid’s lifetime warranty covers it against breakage. The Ridgid saw has the most versatile miter gauge with holes and slots for mounting extensions and accessories. The designers have cleverly fashioned the stand to also serve as a left-side outfeed support for ripping plywood.
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
The Grizzly G0690 is a very unique and powerful table saw and each part of it says performance and quality. With a 3 HP, 220V, 3-phase Leeson motor, heavy cast iron trunnions, wings and table to its triple belt drive system, this model should definitely last you for a lifetime. It’s not only its impressive build quality that’s going to strike you about it, but also its other features that include a four inch dust collection port, a T-slot miter gauge, a magnetic switch, but also heavy cat hand-wheels, riving knife and camlock T-fence. If you’re a professional who’s been using cabinet tablet saws for a quite a while, you’ll immediately appreciate the quality of the Grizzly G0690.
In our introduction and how-to sections, we’ve talked about some of the key reasons to buy a cabinet-style model. These are the most stable table saws you can find. They produce the smoothest, cleanest cuts. They’re also tools that are built to last a lifetime. We recommend them to any professional with the shop space to install one. They’re also the ultimate choice to ardent hobbyists with plenty of room to spare and an ample budget.
Cabinet models are stationary, as a rule. They’re not designed for portable use, and you should plan on keeping them in your shop for their working life. However, some models are compatible with optional wheeled bases, and these are great for folks who want to be able to move their table saw around the workshop, without sacrificing any power, build quality, or stability.
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.
We’ve used $2,000 as our minimum spending threshold on these models, because that’s what we’ve found you have to pay for a cabinet model with all the features we consider essential: a precision-machined cast-iron worktop, a versatile fence on sliding tracks, a 3 HP motor with belt drive, an all-steel cabinet, a cast-iron trunnion support, and machined flywheels to adjust the blade settings.
Both of these table saws have a port that connects to a shop vacuum for dust collection. The DEWALT features a 2.5” port, while the Bosch has a 2” port. However, neither seems to do all that great a job. The Bosch might fare a little worse as far as the dust port clogging, but the DEWALT has some problems in this area, too. The Bosch is said to spew sawdust on the floor as though there was no dust collection port at all. The DEWALT racks up some complaints about the same problem.
Makita joins DeWalt with an external riving knife release so you don’t have to reach into the throat to loosen it. We actually ran into an issue with the design because of a slightly bent plate holding the knife in place. That aside, the intent of the design is sound and should make for an an easier experience. Because of the external release, Makita screws down the throat plate in place. You should only need to get in there for blade changes if everything functions properly.
Now, don’t get me wrong, there are other portable table saws that are lighter than Bosch’s GTS1031 (who’s name sounds like a cross between a fast production car and a tax document). The key with the Bosch is that it’s jobsite tough. Give the other saws some wet lumber or run them all day long and you’ll smoke the motor, bog them down, or send them off a second story porch in frustration. Bosch seems to have designed the GTS1031 with two things in mind: portability and power. Portability, because all of the accessories store right on-board, and they do so securely, so they won’t fall out, even if the saw is bumped and tossed around – as jobsite saws tend to be.
Often called benchtop, jobsite, or worksite saws, portable table saws are typically made of lightweight materials, such as an aluminum table top, so that they’re easy to move from place to place. Sometimes they’ll have wheels attached to make shifting them around even easier. The motors on portable saws are also much smaller than on other types of table saws, and are typically less powerful.
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 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.
One term you may hear when reading about table saw accuracy is blade runout. Runout is a term that describes whether or how much the outside edge of a saw blade wobbles while being held by the motor shaft. Sometimes, operators measure runout by using a saw blade. In that case, the very use of a saw blade presumes that the specific blade is perfect or nearly perfect in its flatness. Using a saw blade that has any warping will not give a clear indication of blade runout.
Methods for tilting the blade to cut bevels vary among the saws. The Porter-Cable saw is the only one with a conventional handwheel bevel control mounted on the side of the saw. The crank gives you great control for setting an exact angle. To set the bevel on the Bosch, DeWalt and Rockwell saws, you simply release the bevel-lock lever and tilt the saw to the preferred angle. It’s easy to go quickly from a 90-degree to a 45-degree bevel with this method. The Ridgid, Craftsman and Ryobi saws have a rack-and-pinion setup. These saws utilize the front crank for setting the bevel.
Their 15-amp, 120-volt motors cut with greater ease than a circ saw, although they can bog down if fed thick hardwood too quickly. The cabinets are typically plastic, with cast-aluminum tops and extruded-aluminum fences. In these models, the motors are supported by trunnions mounted to the underside of the table. The resulting vibration reduces accuracy. These trunnions are usually made of lightweight steel or aluminum, which are susceptible to wear. And because these saws are small, cutting full-size sheets of plywood or MDF isn't a good idea unless the sheet is supported by a table extension.
While DeWALT’s DW744X is the only model here without wheels, the saw is otherwise well appointed. It’s got a unique rip fence design: instead of sliding along front and back rails, the fence is fixed to them. To change rip fence settings, you extend the rails out on rack-and-pinion gears. The design keeps the fence parallel to the blade/miter slots and prevents it from deflecting if pushed laterally. A red hairline cursor makes fence settings easy to read, and it passed my ripping tests with flying colors.
The frame is also improved. Instead of the basic roll-cage on the Dewalt, this one neatens things up with an integrated sub-base. It’s a rugged rubber-like pad which serves as a bumper between the main frame and your truck bed or worksite table. Both the table and the sub base are joined to the main frame, and they provide strength at both ends of the design. As with the Dewalt, you can store your tools and accessories inside, an on hooks outside the Bosch.
Contractor saws are a perfect balance between functionality, manoeuvrability and price. These sorts of saws are perfect if you have bigger projects that you’re working on and will stay on site for a few months. This is due to the fact that they are a lot less portable, but that being said they are a great in-between saw as they still have great rip capacity and overall cutting power.
I can’t tell you how many times we’ve pulled out other jobsite saws only to have accessories fall off, or require off-tool storage. Bosch designed the GTS1031, however, to securely hold all of its accessories, even including the arbor wrenches (both of them) and an allen wrench for adjusting the riving knife and dust ejection points among other things. Our favorite was the rip fence, which simply flipped upside down and stored underneath the table – clever! About the most difficult adjustment was the riving knife, which is a tool-less maneuver, but one which requires you to stick your hand way into the blade cavity to reach the release lever. When making any adjustments to the blade, it goes without saying (but we’ll say it anyway) to disconnect power to the saw as a precaution.