Ridgid’s fence is outstanding for its design. Its large front plate helps stabilize it and the whole thing just feels solid. There’s very little play compared to some of the others and we were consistently able to lock it down perfectly square. We like the pinion style bevel adjustment. It’s not quite a good as a separate adjustment wheel, but a great improvement over simple sliding. We also like the independent locks for both height and bevel. It’s not often that a height lock would be required, but there’s an element of confidence that comes from knowing it won’t be going anywhere.
There were really two major performance considerations we wanted to look at to help determine the best portable jobsite table saw: cutting power and dust collection. Power is an obvious choice. We want to make clean, straight cuts, but we don’t want to spend all day making them. Any saw can be calibrated to be straight and accurate, but some have to be babied more than others to get professional results.
The table measures up at 29 inches by 21.5 inches. The 4100-09 is not suitable for dealing with large stock or sheets of wood. Made from aluminum, you’ll meet with no resistance as you slide the timber toward the blade. The only negative with the table is the way it’s finished with an anodized coating. This is fine to start with but tends to wear over time, something that doesn’t just look unsightly but can ultimately affect accuracy. This is a surprising oversight from Bosch and one we hope they rectify in future iterations of this fine table saw.
You should test the cutting depth of a saw when it is not cutting a bevel. This aspect helps in determining accurate and maximum cutting at 0 degrees. In considering bevel cutting, you should ensure the base plate is adjustable. Look out for adjustment allowance that your saw offers you such as 45, 50 or 90 degrees. The table saw should also be a feature with the flush housing so as to allow the table saw to cut very close to the edge of the wall. It is necessary to look out for this feature as will allow you to cut flooring to size at ease
Let’s face it: guys get in each other's’ way at a job site. It’s not always easy to find room to work, so portability is a serious advantage when it comes to making the most out of your space. Luckily for the professionals out there — not to mention hobbyists who prefer to move around rather than work in the same spot everyday — RIDGID’s 15-amp table saw comes with a convenient mobile cart for stress-free transportation.
While DeWALT’s DW744X is the only model here without wheels, the saw is otherwise well appointed. It’s got a unique rip fence design: instead of sliding along front and back rails, the fence is fixed to them. To change rip fence settings, you extend the rails out on rack-and-pinion gears. The design keeps the fence parallel to the blade/miter slots and prevents it from deflecting if pushed laterally. A red hairline cursor makes fence settings easy to read, and it passed my ripping tests with flying colors.
Cabinet models are stationary, as a rule. They’re not designed for portable use, and you should plan on keeping them in your shop for their working life. However, some models are compatible with optional wheeled bases, and these are great for folks who want to be able to move their table saw around the workshop, without sacrificing any power, build quality, or stability.
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.
For ideal usage, the on/off switch needs to be mounted on the front of the saw and should be easy to turn off with your knee or a swat without having to look at it to locate it. Most table saw models have a safety feature that is a plastic key that has to be inserted before the table saw can be turned on. Some may even have a way to padlock the switch.
The latest advance in table saw safety is a feature that stops the spinning blade when it senses the presence of tissue, such as a finger or forearm. A company called SawStop was the first to offer this technology, and currently, it holds the exclusive right to sell saws with this feature in the United States. (Bosch introduced a portable table saw with blade-stopping technology in 2016, but was forced to take it off the market after a successful patent-infringement suit by SawStop.) In 2017, the CPSC proposed a new rule to make SawStop's technology mandatory on all table saws, but that rule is still under review. See the Buying Guide for more information.
Table saws are versatile enough to earn a spot in every home shop—even if that shop shares the garage with the family car. The market offers a range of saws, from $200 portable, less accurate saws to heavy and very accurate cabinet saws costing thousands. All the table saws shown here have 10-inch blades that can cut though stock up to 3 inches thick, and they meet the Underwriters Laboratories' safety standards to prevent kickback. Keep reading for an extensive roundup of table saws, from portables to hybrid models.
Skilsaw produced the only worm drive table saw in our group and we had high expectations, especially given the high RPM count. In the end, the power is definitely at the professional level and settled in tied for fourth overall with DeWalt. This was the lightest, most compact saw in the group. Like DeWalt, the lack of an outer housing leads to more efficient cooling but drops storage for an extra blade.
Some buyers weren’t impressed with the blade adjustments. The knobs and trunnions are similar to those on the DW745, but some reviewers said their units felt a bit clunky on the way down. Again, due to the quality control issues on these models, it’s a good idea to do a very thorough inspection and test of your unit before it’s too late to return it.
If you’re a home DIYer, dust collection shouldn’t be a big worry. You can always hook the saw up to your shop vac, but if you’re only working with it occasionally, you’ll be fine to simply get your sawing done, and clear the exhaust port afterward. However, if you’re working on a professional jobsite, you should plan to collect at least most of the dust from your portable table saw via a vacuum system.
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 most critical safety feature on a table saw is the blade guard. It’s all that separates your fingers from the rapidly rotating blade. You need this to be transparent or it will make measuring awkward. The last thing you want is to be tempted to remove an unfit guard. Check closely for a clear, flexible blade guard. Safety is paramount when operating a table saw.
Before we get into some of the top features, we want to take a look at the design of this cabinet. As it uses an enclosed cabinet, you’ll find that the motor lasts longer because it doesn’t wear down due to constant exposure to dust. This cabinet also features convenient hand wheels on the front and sides that help you make quick adjustments before cutting or as you work.
Editor’s Note: If you’re using the Bosch REAXX saw without dust collection, you’re going to want to partially open up the clasp located on the bottom of the saw. This allows the sawdust to exit the blade chamber through a half-inch gap. Failure to do this will clog the output port in a very short amount of time. When you use a dust extractor you can keep this chamber fully closed.
To test the saws' cutting prowess, we made a series of cuts on both the Bosch and the DeWalt with woods that homeowners and DIYers might use on a compact table saw. To be specific, we ripped 24" x 24" sheets of 3/4" and x1/4" plywood into strips, and made 45-degree bevel cuts in 13/16"-thick cherry, cross-cuts in 10"-wide, 3/4"-thick shelving, test cuts in 2x4 stock, rip cuts in 3/4" red oak and 30-degree cross-cuts in poplar.
You have to know the amount of money you are willing to spend for the right saw. The truth is that the price will vary significantly depending on where you are buying the saw, the brand and the features it comes with. However, with a good budget, you can easily narrow down the options you may have. You will have a smaller range to work with and you will know what features to expect within that price range. Always be willing to spend a little more on the table saw you want in your workshop especially if you work on wood every day.