No matter the model or price, a table saw should cut a range of material thicknesses and hold its settings accurately. So, after installing a new Freud hi-ATB thin-kerf blade in each saw, I made repeated rip cuts on MDF, resetting the fence each time to check for consistently thick offcuts. After that, I raised the blade for more rip cuts on heavy, long planks of 2 x 12 Southern yellow pine, before tipping the blade to bevel-rip 2″-thick poplar. Then I switched to a 6″ CMT dado set and made a long dado cut in MDF, so I could check for consistent cutting depth — a sign that the undercarriage is stout enough to handle a heavy blade like this. Overall, my test criteria was stability of the stand, cutting accuracy, reasonable dust collection efficiency and all-around convenience of use. Results ranged from exceptional to mediocre, as you’ll see.
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.
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.
With this saw, it was a very easy thing to plug it on and get started. The included cord is a reasonable length, but you’ll still need an extension cord unless you happen to be right next to an outlet in your workshop. Raising and lowering the blade is a smooth process and we found the mechanism to be nice and stiff, so you can be very precise with your cut depth. Only time will reveal whether or not this stays tight over the long haul, but it seems to be well-made. Mounting the accessories, like the smart guard system is quick. You just raise the riving knife using the release lever. The riving knife locks into a lower and upper position through the use of two sets of pins. In the upper position it is ready to accept the barrier guard, which you can remove from below the saw. It attaches easily with a lever lock and the anti-kickback device can then be placed on the back of the riving knife such that the teeth are set to grab any wood brought forward by the blade. The physical nature of the barrier guard assembly precludes you from placing your fingers anywhere near the cutting surface of the blade. We (and Bosch) recommend keeping this guard on the saw anytime you are doing “through” cuts. All-in-all, the table saw’s included safety features are more than adequate to keep you from encountering any unfortunate accidents. Removing them, or using the tool improperly, however, will considerably raise your level of risk.
Editor and "serious woodworker" Chris Marshall tests five "premium" portable table saws. After equipping each saw with a new Freud thin-kerf blade, he uses them to rip lengths of medium-density fiberboard (MDF) and yellow pine, as well as making long dado cuts in MDF. Marshall considers the saws' stability, cutting accuracy, efficiency, dust collection, and general ease of use to choose his top picks. Unfortunately, two of his three favorites are discontinued.
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 design is quite good. The SawStop safety system ensures smooth and flawless operation while protecting you from a variety of hazards. However, regardless of the safety aspects, you should always wear protective equipment, especially gloves and goggles. One of the most notable things about the design is the fact that it provides 99 percent dust collection both below and above the table. The riving knife maximizes kickback and also offers protection.
Both the riving knife and the blade itself has a quick release design that lets you remove each one in minutes after accessing the arbor lock and without using any special tools either. The blade guard has a similar design that allows you to remove and replace it without any tools. This guard does a good job of keeping your hands and any other body parts safe as you use the saw.
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.
A dedicated writer and communications professional spending his days lost in the intricacies of both proposal and freelance writing. When not sharing the knowledge of both fully and self-insured medical benefits to employer groups of all industries within California, Jeff Newburgh can be found at home spending time with his family and 3 dogs, pondering the next chew toy to be thrown, while kicking back and relaxing with a nice glass of red wine.
Contractor units are the next step up from portable (or jobsite) table saws. A contractor table saw has a worktop and motor assembly that looks a lot like a cabinet model, only it’s missing the cabinet! Contractor units aren’t quite as portable as a job site saw, but they’re about half the weight of a cabinet saw. They pack a lot more power than a portable unit, and their cutaway stands make them fairly manageable for folks who have helpers to assist in getting the saw off the truck and set up at the site.
Some buyers weren’t impressed with the blade adjustments. The knobs and trunnions are similar to those on the DW745, but some reviewers said their units felt a bit clunky on the way down. Again, due to the quality control issues on these models, it’s a good idea to do a very thorough inspection and test of your unit before it’s too late to return it.
To make our recommendations for the best table saws, and the best table saw bargains, we consulted comparison tests and single-product reviews in tool-related publications such as Pro Tool Reviews, Woodworker's Journal, Popular Mechanics, Tools of the Trade, and Fine Homebuilding. Many of these reports are several years old, but most of the models tested are still available. Most professional reviews focus on portable table saws, but we found a few that cover contractor and cabinet saws.
IMPORTANT REVIEW UPDATE (10/4/2016): After doing some additional testing with pressure-treated lumber and heavier stock, we [initially] found some issues with the Bosch REAXX saw that we couldn’t explain—except to say that it didn’t have the power we expected for cutting through denser wood. The blade exhibited a significant drop in speed during many common ripping cuts, and it even stalled out entirely at other times. We contacted Bosch and worked directly with them to determine the nature of the issue (which appeared to have to do with the saw’s electronic speed control). Here is the initial statement from Bosch on the matter:
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.
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.
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.
Looking for a better way to take care of your wood cutting and still attain a professional result from the comfort of your home? Skil table saw with folding stand will provide exactly that. The foldable stand makes it convenient for any room use and storage. When the table saw is not in use, you can fold it right and use the space for other activities. It’s therefore suitable for small space users who are interested in professional cutting. Another interesting factor about Skil table saw, is that it cuts through materials that are 4 times the normal size. Therefore, instead of cutting each piece individually, you can set several materials to reach the height capacity for easy cutting. Additionally, the fence of this saw will guide and balance your material for accurate results. The saw also features huge blade to make the work easier and interesting for every user. If you invest in Skil saw, you will not only control your cutting but also upgrade your work to the level of expertise even if you are just starting off.