It’s expensive. This one will cost you over $3000. That’s no casual purchase, and the high price tag makes this cost-prohibitive for some buyers. However, you really can’t put a price on the peace of mind that comes with having a unit with this sort of safety system onboard. Our advice? If you can muster the cash, and will get your money’s worth out of the machine, it’s well-worth the price.
For those of you who are looking to up your DIY game but don’t have enough capital to make the Dewalt DW745 happen for your home shop, this Craftsman is a decent budget choice. It’s powerful, lightweight, and extremely affordable. We don’t think you should expect too much from this one, though, since it has a very light table and a fence that won’t line up quite as precisely as you’d need for furniture-making or professional-grade projects. It’s cheaply-made, and doesn’t have as user-friendly a design as our other choices. For the home carpenter, though, this should do the trick for all your basic framing cuts.
It’s also a great table saw in its own right. This one has a wide, cast-aluminum worktable, and an out-feed extension thrown in as well. It has a 4 HP motor which cranks out lots of power, and it’s balanced by a soft start and automatic speed control like on the Bosch in our Top Three. It has wide rip and bevel capacities, plenty of alignment adjustments, and a robust build. Plus, it comes with a gravity-assist wheeled stand thrown in as well.
Now, don’t get me wrong, there are other portable table saws that are lighter than Bosch’s GTS1031 (who’s name sounds like a cross between a fast production car and a tax document). The key with the Bosch is that it’s jobsite tough. Give the other saws some wet lumber or run them all day long and you’ll smoke the motor, bog them down, or send them off a second story porch in frustration. Bosch seems to have designed the GTS1031 with two things in mind: portability and power. Portability, because all of the accessories store right on-board, and they do so securely, so they won’t fall out, even if the saw is bumped and tossed around – as jobsite saws tend to be.
In other words, a malfunction might mean an injury. This distinction could not be more pronounced in any other job site equipment than a table saw. I have personally witnessed devastating injuries on a number of occasions that could have easily been avoided by the use of safety equipment that comes standard on most brand name saws. Liability for a job site injury can be a serious setback for well established companies, but for small, independent contractors it could mean the difference between business and bankruptcy.
We absolutely love the Dewalt DWE7491 that we recommended as our top quality choice above. It’s a powerful, precise workhorse that can handle nearly any cutting job. However, times are changing fast, and workplace safety standards are increasing just as rapidly. If you’re a professional who wants to stay on top of your code, you should consider getting a unit that’s equipped with a flesh-detections safety system.
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.