TBB measured the accuracy of the factory-set 90 degree stop by using a Wixey WR365 digital inclinometer. This device has an accuracy of 0.1 degree. We placed the Wixey gauge on the table and calibrated the inclinometer to the table by zeroing out the gauge. After that calibration, the measurements give a result that is relative to the saw table. We moved the blade to an approximate position of 70 degrees off vertical. TBB attached the gauge to the blade and used the saw mechanism to adjust the blade incline to the point at which the blade or trunnion hit the factory-set 90 degree vertical stop and recorded the measurement. TBB ran the test twice to ensure the repeatability of the measurement. In every case, the result came out to within 0.1 degree of the prior test.
We used the Freud calibration plate on each of the test saws to measure runout. We removed the new Diablo blade, installed the calibration plate, and raised the trunnion to its maximum vertical adjustment. Before measuring the runout, we placed a black mark on the calibration plate to give a consistent starting position for the runout test. The same iGauging dial indicator provided the test measurements, only this time, the units were set to read out in mm. TBB noticed that in the initial saws, the movements were sufficiently small to need the smaller metric units.
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.
The purchase of a table saw is no doubt a big investment. But there is a lot of flexibility in this class of tools to find one that fits in with your budget and your wants. Make sure to take into account how you will need to use the tool and where you will need to use it. Heavier models will be sturdier but they will also require more effort to load up when you need to.
The advent of ever better motive power that came with 19th century developments led to ever more efficient and ever more compact power saws. The first recognizably modern table saws date to the latter decades of that century. With compact and powerful electric motors developed and refined throughout the 20th century, tables saws were widely available and were both compact enough for home use, yet powerful enough for nearly any lumber ripping task.
Strangely, DeWALT provides no power cord wrap. It’s a basic detail the other saws have and this one really needs. The steel “TV tray” type stand sets up fast, and rubber feet hold it firmly in place. When you are done sawing, you’ll have to lift this wheel-less saw to transport it, and there are contoured grips molded into the table edges to make that easier. At more than 50 lbs., though, the saw feels heavy. But the tradeoff for the convenience of wheels is that DeWALT can keep this setup even more compact — probably much appreciated by contractors. The whole works fits in a car trunk.
The first thing people notice about this unit is its design. The rolling stand is specially designed to mitigate the transport of this saw. In simpler words, whenever you need to move it, you can do it by simply rolling the unit on its wheels. One more notable thing is the 2-inch dust collector port. You can easily connect it to a vacuum and extract the dust efficiently and without much hassle.
The DEWALT DW745, due to its smaller size, does not have the capacity to use a stack of dado blades (blades designed to be stacked together to make wider cuts, grooves, and notches). It has also been noted that the plastic miter handle is a weak point, and it limits accuracy. There are no available table extensions. It does, however, come with a three year manufacturer’s warranty.
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.
While we rotated the plate, we recorded the maximum reading on the dial indicator. We validated each maximum reading by running the test for a second time and noting that the readings were consistent. TBB also noted that as we performed these tests on all eight saws, the maximum readings occurred at different parts of the plate along its rotation. Because the max readings were in different and discrete parts of the calibration plate, TBB had a very high level of confidence in the flatness of the calibration plate, itself.
As we said in the beginning of this section, many of these saws will be used, right out of the box, for rough cutting materials and the fine accuracy may not matter so much in that application. If this is the case for a saw, the quality of the cuts and more importantly, the potential safety of the operator is going to be a function of the as-shipped accuracy of the saw from the manufacturer. So, TBB wanted to see how the various saws compared right out of the box. The results are in and, as a group, these eight saws measured up quite well for out-of-the-box accuracy.
One of the things we looked at was the ease of assembly out of the box. We had the same person assemble each of the saws and timed the assembly to see if there are any significant differences between the models. The assembly time for the saws ranged from 21 minutes to 48 minutes. While some stands required more than twice the time, we felt the assembly time was not a significant enough factor to change someone’s mind on which saw to purchase.