First off, consider how often you’ll put your table saw to use. If you work in the fields of contracting or carpentry, there’s a chance you’ll be using your new machine pretty often — so you may as well invest in a more expensive, heavy-duty table saw that’s sure to last longer than the average model. On the other hand, hobbyists and weekend woodworkers won’t need a pricey piece of machinery — a more compact and inexpensive model should do just fine, especially if you’re only working on smaller projects like birdhouses and DIY wooden models.
For the woodworking professional, the 3-horsepower SawStop Professional Cabinet Saw PCS31230-TGP236 is the top pick. Its superior safety features include an excellent riving knife and blade guard system and a unique flesh-sensing blade brake to prevent cuts. Reviewers also praise its performance, exceptional dust control, and overall ease of use. Less expensive versions with 1.75-hp motors are also available (Est. $2,300 and up). The warranty is two years for the saw and five for the motor.
Having only owned saws with cast iron tops this is a new experience for me. First let me note that the right side extension is not aluminum like the rest of the top. It is steel, painted to match. The entire top appears to be powder coated with a textured grey coating. No telling how durable it will be but it does allow wood to slide easily over it. Since the top is aluminum, it lets you know that by transferring all the motor noise and vibration throughout the saw. Not a big deal really but definitely different if you are used to the cast iron absorbing much of this on bigger saws.
To adjust blade height you simply operate the elevation wheel located on the front of the saw, and the angle of the blade can be set through a switch which is behind the wheel in case you want to make bevel cuts. The angle can be set anywhere between 0 and 45 degrees, and once you’ve adjusted the bevel angle it can be locked into place using the handle.
Overall, the Dewalt's combination blade leaves a slightly smoother finish, but both brands' general purpose construction blades are good enough to start off with. Cross and rip-cut edges were fairly smooth, but users who plan to cut down a lot of plywood will definitely want to invest in a more suitable saw blade. Both saws provided ample cutting power without a noticeable difference in cutting speeds, so we're calling this one a tie.
The machine has a more conventional rip fence/rail arrangement. The right half of the rail assembly folds out so the saw can achieve its full 30″ of rip capacity — wider than any other model here — but the fence would not slide smoothly over the rails without catching on the hinge joint. While the rip fence did maintain its locked settings, it lacks the heft and build quality of the competition.
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