While you may be tempted to skip straight to the reviews, they are a bit on the technical side and contain plenty of terms you might not be familiar with just yet. My suggestion would be to start by reading the informational articles which will provide you with a decent amount of knowledge on table saws. After that, I sincerely doubt you would be caught off-guard while reading anything in the review section.
Sometimes picking a “Best Bet” is a real tossup, but not this time. While Bosch’s 4100-09 doesn’t disappoint, and DeWALT has what seems to be a bulletproof portable, I think RIDGID’s R4510 table saw really shines. Its sturdy workaday features, powerful motor and well-designed stand show that portability doesn’t have to mean compromise. This is an excellent woodworking choice for 10″ portable table saws.
Whether your household’s resident handyman dabbles in amateur woodwork or takes pride in his DIY repair jobs, chances are he doesn’t need a high-end table saw to take care of his most basic needs. The Ryobi 15 Amp Table Saw is the ideal example of a machine that packs a load of must-have features you’d find in a higher-end table saw at a fraction of the price of competing models.
Which leads to a problem. A standard blade should not have that kind of space around it. Fortunately, Bosch sell very inexpensive throat plate blanks that can become zero clearance inserts. I have one for each of my three main blades and a fourth unused one that I put aside just in case. While I can make my own, it just isn’t worth the hassle as these are pretty affordable.
It’s not until you get a bunch of saws side by side in the shop that you start to see the difference between a $300 saw and a $500 saw. While the motors are all 15-amp, the more expensive saws have features like soft start to prolong motor and gear life, electronic feedback to maintain blade speed and gearing to maximize torque. If you look under the saws, you’ll see that the more expensive saws also have much beefier motor carriages and better-quality blade-adjusting mechanisms.
A magnetic switch is also good from a safety standpoint but may not be necessary on these smaller versions. A magnetic switch prevents the saw from starting back up if it loses power during a power outage. Basically, the power outage will turn off the saw. This is good because if for some reason the power were to come back on when you were not near the machine, the material could be shot out of it or damage the saw.
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.