The fact is, a table saw is designed to remove a large amount of material in a quick and efficient manner. With the volume of waste that is produced by any but the smallest table saws, a shop vacuum is not going to be up to the task. Short of purchasing a standalone dust collection system, the best that you can hope for from a shop vacuum is that it might keep some of the saw dust out of your eyes.
These are the best choice for long jobs where you’ll get yourself set up at a job site, and need a saw that enables you to make all your big, long cuts without traveling back and forth between the site and your shop. While you won’t want to move these units around frequently, they’re great for seeing a contract through to the end from the worksite.
Though this table saw will arrive in multiple pieces, Jet includes all the instructions and help that you need to assemble the cabinet and all other parts. The cabinet itself has an enclosed design that keeps the motor and all other components safe from the dust in your workshop and any debris flying around. You also get four legs that attach to the base of the cabinet, which lifts the saw higher in the air to reduce back pain caused by bending over the table.
I also added in a bicycle saddle bag, that attaches easily to the tube frame of the saw. In it, I keep my PPE, and my Grr-ripper push blocks (great upgrade over regular push blocks). I also have a push stick made of wood that was modeled after the plastic one mounted on the back of the saw. The wood one is there now. I read too many stories of injuries after the blade touched the plastic stick, which to me is the whole point of using a stick – to avoid injuries. These things turning to shrapnel seems like a bad idea.
Table saws can be tougher to evaluate on paper since they don’t include torque measurements. Each of the table saws we tested have 15 amp motors, but vary widely on no load speed. The ones with lower RPM values are bleeding off speed in exchange for torque. While the right balance is always tough to achieve (and is a moving target with every new motor development), here’s where each saw prioritizes speed.
That’s why we’ve created this handy guide! As usual, our trusty team have taken a comprehensive look at all the options out there. We’ve looked for portable units that don’t sacrifice power or accuracy for their small size. You’ll find our Top Three recommendations below, along with a few additional choices for new woodworkers and demanding professionals.
To test the saws' cutting prowess, we made a series of cuts on both the Bosch and the DeWalt with woods that homeowners and DIYers might use on a compact table saw. To be specific, we ripped 24" x 24" sheets of 3/4" and x1/4" plywood into strips, and made 45-degree bevel cuts in 13/16"-thick cherry, cross-cuts in 10"-wide, 3/4"-thick shelving, test cuts in 2x4 stock, rip cuts in 3/4" red oak and 30-degree cross-cuts in poplar.
The thing you might not like about it is the non-flat table top. Many people find this downside as quite a burden, especially if you’re processing perfectly flat wood. Also, the protective coating on the top side of this model is pretty subpar. In fact, it barely protects anything. Consequently, it will peel off quite quickly. As far as the price goes, it’s okay, but it could have been a bit cheaper.
The maximum depth of cut on a saw tells you how thick of a material you can cut through cleanly. Be careful when you’re looking at depth of cut ratings, since you’ll usually find two separate specs listed. One is for cutting at 90 degrees, the blade’s normal setting, and one is for cutting at a 45 degree bevel, which is generally the furthest a table saw blade will pivot. Most of us will only need to be concerned about the 90-degree rating, but if you cut lots of angles, you should check the 45 degree rating as well.
But if you have the space for the DeWalt to sit upright at a work station or deep storage shelf, then it may be the better choice, thanks to its more comfortable adjustment controls. You won't be able to use a dado blade with the DeWalt (at least not safely), and the rip capacity is slightly smaller, but there's a reason why it's been popular for a while now. It's a great saw that delivers reliable performance.
The saw’s table measures 29 x 21.5 inches which makes this unit suitable for the fabrication of large sheets of material and large wood stock. The table is made out of aluminum and is really smooth which means you will be able to slide even the largest pieces in with very little effort. Still, for extra safety, I would recommend the optional extensions when ripping longer workpieces.
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.
Bigger tables offer more potential for additional extensions. For example, if you’re planning to process a massive piece of wood but you cannot cut it in smaller pieces; a table extension will definitely come in handy. There are a lot of commercial add-ons you can choose from, but you can also construct one yourself if you’re experienced enough. Experimenting with these things never gets old or boring, but keep safety in mind at all times. Make sure it’s completely safe to use the said extension and pay special attention to the amount of vibrations and the overall integrity of the table after you’ve installed the add-on.
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.
Perhaps you realized, that you need a cabinet table saw instead? For this i would highly recommend the SawStop PCS31230-TGP236 3-HP (Read Reviews) which is the top choice if you are a safety conscious woodworker. Some of you have also asked me about makita. Well, They do offer good products, but sell stands seperately, that is the reason they were not included in this guide….but i’ll try to make up for it in 2018.
We’re impressed with how much thought SawStop have put into all the features on this model. It has an extra-large bevel gauge ruler on the side of the cabinet, tool-free, modular guard system, and compatibility with innovative wheelbases which don’t add noticeably to the SawStop’s height or footprint. It also has beveled edges to protect your materials, a very nice touch that our other recommendations don’t have. All in all, it feels like a tool designed by people who use one of these units on a regular basis.
You’ll want to look for metal framing, and a design which allows for all the most delicate components to be stored inside the tool’s body. If you’re a DIYer who won’t be travelling with your saw often, you probably don’t need to worry about finding such a heavy-duty frame. Many portable units will fit easily on the passenger’s seat, so you won’t have to deal with wear and tear so much.
One very popular alternative to the Dewalt is this Bosch unit. It’s a bit more rugged than the yellow saw, and it’s very well-regarded by working woodworkers. We particularly like the machined aluminum table, which is a big step up from the Dewalt’s molded surface. It also has the best rolling stand we’ve seen on the market to date, so it’s a superb choice for folks who work on a lot of jobs sites with mixed terrain.
I’m not crazy about one feature, and it’s common to three of these five saws: to tip the blade, you unlock a lever behind the blade height hand wheel, then swing the undercarriage up to the angle you need before re-locking the lever. A geared bevel control would make this process a little easier. But, once tipped, Bosch held its angle setting well through my test cuts.
You will need specialty blades for cutting materials such as plywood, masonry, hardwood and metals. Other specialty blades are used for dado cuts. Most dado sets have multiple rows of teeth and chippers and they are typically much wider than traditional blades. Be sure that the model of table saw you have can accommodate the type of specialty blades you want to get so you don’t waste your money on a blade that won’t fit.
While the sheer price of this Bosch unit might be cost-prohibitive for most buyers, we think it’s the full-time professional’s ideal mobile unit. With the REAXX flesh-detection system onboard, it’s one of the safest table saws on the market, portable or stationary. The system detects flesh and stops itself instantly, without leaving a mark on the hot dog test.
If you want to have a quick and accurate cut of wood, look no further than a table saw. When buying a table saw the main thing you put into consideration is its power. A good table saw should have enough power to cut through wet timber as well as hardwood. However, there are certain features which help in foreseeing the overall performance of a table saw.
Below is a graph showing the average measured decibels for the saws (for each of the materials we tested). As you can see the saws range from 93.7 db to 97.9 db. OSHA allows 8 hours of exposure for up to 90 db, from 95 db up the exposure limits start dropping quickly starting at 4 hrs for 95 db so clearly these saws all need hearing protection. We ranked the quietest 3 saws as a 2, and the remaining saws as a 3 and felt none should rank a 1 due to the need for hearing protection.
The bench table saw is the least expensive of the four types of saws. Some models come with a folding stand that is on wheels which makes it very easy to move or reposition without having to lift it all the time. Even though it is relatively light, constant lifting can become tiresome. You can mount these on your workbench which will give it more stability and could possibly reduce the amount of vibration as well. These smaller table saws generally have a 1 hp motor or even smaller and can run on a normal household circuit with no issues.
The blade is a 24 tooth carbide tipped blade that is durable and long lasting. You can even adjust it to a 45 degree angle for those more difficult bevel cuts. If you’re working on uneven ground, you’ll love the rear feet that are fully adjustable so you can level you work space. You’ll get a lot of use out of the onboard storage that will give you easy access to the push stick and guarding components. Weighing only 45 pounds, you can move the table saw from work site to home with ease.
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.