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.
TBB measured the accuracy of the factory-set 90 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 give a result that is relative to the saw table. We moved the blade to an approximate position of 70 degrees off vertical. TBB 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 90 degree vertical 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.
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.
I really do like your site and being on Long Island there is a familiarity to the way y’all work. You are quick to respond to comments and put in a great effort but…. This review I feel you miss the mark. Out of box accuracy is important but. Ore important to a pro user is tool able to be adjusted to be near perfect and how does it hold this position. No comments on how solid the fences are, ie deflection movement, ease of micro adjust, etc. all the fancy self feed stuff etc, what saw feels the most powerful? Smoothest ? All theses kizmos are for the manufacturers to hype. Your strengths are that you actually use these machines, so your strengths are to BE MORE opinionated or biased not less because your opinion has meaning or weight. Let the know knowings use the kizmos and just give us your real opinions based on real use. Just my 2 cents.
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.
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.