As with anything, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with the variety of types, sizes, features, colors, weights, what, when, why, where, who…(let me catch my breath). For now, let’s focus on what’s right for you with our Best Portable Table Saw Guide. We’ll start by identifying quality brands that align with your needs. Besides, who wants to buy something that won’t work?
As we already said, people tend to remove the safety elements to speed up their projects. Needless to say, it’s a huge mistake. Those things are there for a reason, and they should remain installed at all times. As soon as you mingle with the parts, you’ll jeopardize the integrity and your own safety. Even the best table saw cannot protect you enough if you mess with the parts on your own.
Rockwell is the “freshman” brand among the other longer-standing benchtop power tool companies represented here, and its table saw revealed some “first rodeo” shortcomings. While the motor was amply powerful for my cutting tests, the blade arbor assembly was 1/16″ out of parallel with the miter slots. It’s a condition called “heeling” without easy adjustment in the manual. So, for my testing purposes I had to set the rip fence askew in order to align it parallel to the blade. The problem would need to be addressed on this sample saw for long-term use.
The Jet is a good midrange choice for people who like to keep things simple, and buy for the long term. The Jet has the longest warranty coverage of our three picks, and it comes with an excellent track record for reliability and durability. Many of its features are tweaked to be slightly more user-friendly that the Grizzly’s, and this unit is much easier to fit in a shop than the hulking Grizzly.
Portable saws are usually light and smaller than the other types. The three basic types of portable saws are compact, bench top, and jobsite saws. Because they are designed for portability, the materials of which they are made sometimes lack sturdiness and stability. However, that’s not a reason to be alarmed; a vast majority of these units are absolutely safe for work.
Built on the 4100’s foundation, The Bosch REAXX exhibits similar performance with a few improvements. Despite what we’ve seen online, the REAXX did seem to have better cutting power than the 4100. (see Editor’s Note above) The narrow throat plate opening also gave it much better dust collection, allowing only the finest material to make its way out. It shares the top ranking gravity rise stand with the 4100.
It is safe to say that we live in a DIY era. Think about it. When was the last time you went on YouTube or anywhere else online and looked for something that tickled your fancy, a guide on how something is made or done, or maybe a tutorial. Indeed, we do it very often, so why should woodworking and home improvement be any different? With the prices of table saws constantly dipping and the insane number of choices on the market, you can get one for yourself and save thousands of dollars by doing things yourself instead of hiring contractors.
Bosch GTS1031 10 in. portable jobsite table saw is powered by a 15 Amp motor that allows this table saw to rip through any lumber or hardwood quickly and easily. Bosch’s Smart Guard System provides added control while cutting, SquareLock Rip fence ensure consistent and accurate cuts, and an all steel base provides added durability. Oh yeah, and we forgot to mention the price. This is the most affordable table saw on our list!
The more table size you have, the more support you have which is always a plus, not only for convenience but safety too. There are right side extensions that can be purchased for table saws that increase the table saw’s capacity to get to the center of a 4 x 8 sheet of wood. Although most saws have a rear band that supports the wood as it exits the saw, an additional safety measure is to rig up an outfeed support of some kind in addition to this rear bar. Be sure that the outfeed support you set up is ¼” lower than the table saw is.
The blade guard is the most noticeable and the most important safety element of every saw. Its purpose is very simple – it keeps your fingers away from the blade. Many people decide to unscrew this part and take it off to speed up the cutting process, but that’s a huge mistake. In fact, a massive percent of injuries happen because people alter the safety mechanisms in order to work faster. Risking your life for a few hours of effective work isn’t worth it, to say the least.
The DEWALT DW745 and the Bosch 4100 are pretty evenly matched in having plenty of power and not-so-hot dust collection. I you’re looking for a light weight saw, the DEWALT comes in ahead since it weighs almost half as much as the Bosch. It is also the less expensive choice by far. The large work table, expanded cutting capability, and its Gravity Rise feature (with solid rubber wheels that make it easy to be rolling across rugged terrain at a jobsite) make the Bosch a Cadillac among Pintos, but, of course, that luxury comes with a price tag.
From there, the rest of the saws created a top tier of cutting power that wasn’t mind-blowingly better, but definitely noticeable. It took many cuts back and forth between saws to determine which came out ahead of other because they are so close to each other. Bosch’s REAXX took third place overall with SawStop ever so slightly ahead. Part of that simply came down to the fact that SawStop was a little bit smoother cutting. Coming out on top was Ridgid. There was noticeable vibration compared to Bosch and SawStop here, but it was able to muscle through each cut a little bit better than the other two.
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.
Table saws can be tougher to evaluate on paper since they don’t include torque measurements. Each of the table saws we tested have 15 amp motors, but vary widely on no load speed. The ones with lower RPM values are bleeding off speed in exchange for torque. While the right balance is always tough to achieve (and is a moving target with every new motor development), here’s where each saw prioritizes speed.
Porter-Cable comes in as the most expensive of the value group, but also with the best overall performance in it. Of the three saws in this class, it had the best cutting power and also came in the top spot overall for height and bevel adjustment thanks to independent wheels. This may seem like a small consideration, but when you actually need to cut accurately beveled pieces, the adjustment wheel is a huge benefit over sliding the front height adjustment around.