We absolutely love the guard on this model. Like the Grizzly, the Jet is equipped with a riving knife or splitter, a blade guard, and kickback awls. The Jet’s our favorite of the two to use, because the whole system is modular: you can take it apart or put it back together without using any tools! The splitter (or riving knife) attaches to the same arbor component as the blade, so no matter how you bevel, and no matter what size blade you use, the splitter always lines up without needing any adjustments.
If you’re going to be transporting your unit regularly, you should aim to keep weight to a minimum. Look for something lightweight, with convenient carrying handles, or a stand that can be wheeled around dolly-style at the worksite. Conversely, if you’re only going to be using your portable saw occasionally, you can probably stand a bit more weight.
In order to measure the blade speed we used a digital laser non-contact tachometer. A piece of reflective tape was adhered to each saw blade just behind the carbide tooth, so that the tape would be just above the top of the wood cutting surface, allowing us to capture the blade speed during the cuts. We used a power-feeder to ensure that all the material was pushed through each saw at the same feed rate. In the photo above you can see our test set-up with the power feeder, a decibel meter to the left, the digital tachometer in the center, and the amp meter on the right. If you look really closely at the saw blade, the piece of reflective tape is to the left side of the blade near the power feeder.
If you decide to get a table saw with a one point five to two HP motor, then it’s going to operate at the standard household 120V circuit. When using a 2HP motor, you should expect it to draw between eighteen to twenty four amps. Also, keep in mind that in this case, the saw needs to be the only device that operates on a twenty amp circuit. The realistic limit of a one point five to 2 HP table saw is hardwood of up to two inches thick. If you need to cut thicker hardwood, then you’ll need a more powerful motor.
The miter gauge gets an “its fine” grade. Ok to support a narrow piece for a crosscut, but not long enough to do much more than that. I upgraded to an Incra miter 1000SE and never looked back. Although a crosscut sled is pretty easy to make (and I highly recommend getting one) I picked up an Incra Miter Express sled for real cheap at a garage sale, so I am happy to use that.
The scales that indicate the width of cut fall into one of two categories: continuous and separate. Of the seven we’re reviewing, DeWalt, Ridgid and Rockwell are continuous. You simply line up the fence with the desired measurement. The other four best table saw options—Bosch, Craftsman, Ryobi and Porter-Cable—require you to lock the fence in a specific position on fully extended rails, and read the dimension on a separate scale. We prefer the continuous scales and really like the tape measure–type scale on the Ridgid.
If you’re going to use your table saw every day, make sure you spend a bit more money for something of the heaviest build quality, with extended warranty coverage from a company with a great reputation for service. If you’re going to be using your cabinet unit only periodically, you probably don’t need to buy something premium. You’ll be able to get by with something around the $2,000, since you won’t be spending enough time cutting to really appreciate the design touches and tweaks that make the more expensive units more of a pleasure to use.
From dust collection and onboard storage through to on/off switches and table extensions, most reputable table saws come equipped with everything you’ll need to rip up the wood of your choice. Whether it’s making your life easier with wheels enabling height and tilt adjustment or a safety feature like the magnetic switch, the functionality of table saws is impressive. You can upgrade the blades, get various jigs or dado blades and generally enhance the way your saw performs.
Different types of table saw rely on different motors. With the smaller and more portable saws, 120V direct drive motors can deliver up to 2HP. This is more than enough power if you’re working with less substantial sheets of material. The larger saws have belt drive motors running on 240V. These produce 3-5HP. Think carefully about the materials you’ll be working with. Get the right sized motor for your cutting needs.
Setting up or taking down Craftsman’s spring-assisted stand is a six-step process, involving various release latches. It’s not intuitive like that of Bosch or RIDGID. And, once the stand is folded down, don’t lift the handles up too far when rolling the saw around, or the stand drags against the floor. A shorter woodworker might find this less of a problem than this 6′ 3″ tester did. I also found that the stand’s narrow stance and light weight couldn’t prevent it from skittering on the floor as I pushed heavy lumber across the top. A word to the wise: weigh the base down for heavy-duty work or for cutting large sheet goods.
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.
There’s also a secondary flip-down fence which allows you to make narrower rips. We love this feature, which should really become industry standard in the near future. It helps you make smaller cuts without needing to have your fingers close to the blade. Reviewers loved it, and said they found themselves using the feature much more frequently than they’d anticipated.
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.
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.
After spending hours doing a lot of research and talking to professionals who use these tools on a regular basis we have put together a review for you that not only tells you three of the top table saws on the market today, but we tell you why they are popular and explain a bit about each so you have a good idea of what they are like. This table saw review will put much-needed information right at your fingertips so you can make a good decision on the right table saw for your needs.