The stand is collapsible and wheeled like others, but it’s not the gravity-rise style. You’ll have to use a foot to stabilize it while you pivot it up or lower it down. The lower locks are released with your feet and there’s some question about the long term durability of the releases. An open housing design has two major results – motor cooling should be more efficient but it trades off storage for an extra blade. There’s really way too much to talk about here, so check out our full review of this model.
For this portion of the testing and evaluation we used three different materials (3/4″ AC Plywood, 5/4 Mahogany Decking, and 5/4 Pressure Treated Southern Yellow Pine Decking) while measuring the saw blade RPM, and the saw motor AMP draw. To compare the saws we’re looking for how much blade speed each saw has under load, and also how much the amp draw increases under load. Think about it like driving a car, a more powerful car will not drop as much speed going up a hill and the engine won’t work as hard.
You can’t talk about the best portable jobsite table saw without talking about portability. Portability boils down to a couple of important features. First and foremost, weight has a huge impact on how easily you can transport the saw, especially if it has to go into the bed of a truck rather than a trailer. If you’ve got a trailer, then a wheeled stand becomes your best friend. We looked at both.
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.
When your skin contacts the blade even slightly, the charge transfers, and a switch flips on the motor, activating an instant brake. The aluminum brake swings into contact with the blade, stopping it instantly. The brake also propels the blade down through the arbor, so it retracts completely below your worktop. That means that other than the initial contact, you won’t touch the sharp edge at all.
Having only owned saws with cast iron tops this is a new experience for me. First let me note that the right side extension is not aluminum like the rest of the top. It is steel, painted to match. The entire top appears to be powder coated with a textured grey coating. No telling how durable it will be but it does allow wood to slide easily over it. Since the top is aluminum, it lets you know that by transferring all the motor noise and vibration throughout the saw. Not a big deal really but definitely different if you are used to the cast iron absorbing much of this on bigger saws.
We evaluated the flatness of the table by measuring the flatness by placing the edge of a precision ground flat bar across the table and placed feeler gauges in any gaps to measure any difference between the ground bar and the table. TBB took measurements in four directions. As the operator faces the saw, we measured the flatness at the arbor from front-to-rear; we measured the left-to right flatness at the arbor; we measured the flatness from the upper left-to-lower right table corners; and, finally, we measured the upper right-to-lower left flatness between the corners.
One notable feature on the Bosch is an arbor lock button, enabling easy blade changes. Changing the blade on most table saws is an onerous task, requiring the user to reach under the saw with one wrench to hold the arbor still while using another wrench to loosen the bolt holding the blade in place. Because of the difficulty involved, many users choose to continue using a dull blade, rather than expend the effort to change it. Dull table saw blades can result in poor cutting ability, split-out, burn marks, and possibly dangerous kickbacks. The arbor lock button helps to eliminate some of the difficulty involved in blade changes, taking some of the dread out of the process. Popular Mechanics referred to this feature as, “so handy it ought to be an industry standard”. It is the only manufacturer in the industry to offer this feature.
At a compact 45 pounds, the DEWALT DW745 Compact Jobsite Table Saw is the lightest table saw in our review. The saw's portability doesn't mean that ripping size is compromised, though. Thanks to extending fence guides, you've got 20 inches available. Depth of cut is on par with many bigger machines: at 90 degrees, it's 3 1/8 inches. At 45 degrees, it's 2 1/4 inches. Power comes from a 15-amp motor with a no-load speed of 3,850 RPM. This is ample enough for serious DIY projects and light-duty construction site work.
The type of woods you cut will determine how powerful a motor and how fast a blade speed you need from your portable table saw. If you’re going to be dealing primarily with thinner boards and softwoods, you don’t need anything hugely powerful. If you’re working with hardwoods or thicker softwood stock you should look for a more powerful motor. Likewise, if you’re only an occasional woodworker, you needn’t worry about finding a motor that won’t burn out.
You’ll make most of your miter cuts on a miter saw. But when the material you’re cutting exceeds a miter saw’s cross-cutting capacity, you turn to your table saw miter gauge. These usually aren’t quite as precise, but some manufacturers put more thought and robustness into it than others. If you make a lot of long miter cuts, be sure to pay attention to this accessory.
While it’s bargain-priced, it has very impressive cast iron and steel construction, with all the same essential features as our other top table saw recommendations. On the downside, it’s the slowest of the three in terms of blade speed, and it has the shortest warranty coverage. This one also lacks some of the sophisticated safety features and creature comforts of our more expensive recommendations.
We made a few test cuts with ¾-inch plywood just to get a feel of the motors we were working with. It became clear pretty quickly that not all 15 amp motors are equal. Once we knew what to expect, we moved to pressure treated 2x pine material in 7-1/2 foot lengths. Why 7-1/2? Our test material started at 15 feet and it seemed silly to have some at 8 feet and others at 6.
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.
It has the widest rip capacity of the three. This one can handle materials up to 32 1/2”, which makes it ideal for folks who work with sheet stock on the go–especially when you consider the extra 22” you’ll have to the left of the blade. That’s thanks to the same rack and pinion fence as the smaller Dewalt. It’s even better on a larger scale, where the differences between this design and the sliding rail style you find on Bosch become very apparent. Reviewers agreed that this one felt much sturdier, smoother, and locked more securely than other portable units.
If the fence and the miter slot were closer together at the rear of the saw, the dial indicator has a negative reading. If the blade and the miter slot were father apart at the rear of the saw, the dial indicator showed a positive reading. A negative reading meant that the materials being cut might be subject to being pinched and a kick back more likely to occur.
I build guitars in a small shop; I need my saw to be accurate, repairable and easy to store or move. I love this saw! I use it for everything from cutting down stock to slotting my fretboards. It gets out of the way, it came dead on square, and the dust collection works pretty well with a shop vac and great with a high volume dust collector, with an Incra miter fence it makes perfect, repeatable, and accurate cuts. After I had owned it for over a year the plastic lever on the riving knife broke - I called Bosch and they "goodwilled" me a new riving knife assembly (with an upgraded metal lever) via express mail. No charge and fast, friendly service - they didn't even ask for a serial number or proof of purchase. I'd buy this saw again in a minute - all tools wear out or break at some point and I really like that the company stood behind this one and got me up and running again in a hurry. I also love all the safety features - riving knife, anti-kickback pawls, large easy-to-reach power button, nice push stick, and a dust collection port that is positioned out of the user's way.
While I appreciate this review, that Kobalt job site saw is the absolute worst. Uncontrollable blade wobble, terrible fence, trundle bolts that are nearly impossible to get to without tacking the back panel off (of course that doesn’t matter when the blade won’t stay in alignment for more than a day), miter slots that aren’t parallel to each other and also taper toward the backside of the table, and a riving knife without adequate adjustments to align it with the blade. Do not buy that piece of garbage.
The rip fence has a nifty flipping action so you can hold 2 different positions. This is an awesome feature if you’re cutting especially narrow workpieces. One of the dangers of ripping substantial pieces of lumber is breakage or the saw itself toppling over. The rail extension gives wonderful stability and allows you the freedom to undertake ambitious projects in complete safety.
The Porter-Cable looks like a beefed-up version of the Craftsman, with the same blade guard and anti-kickback pawls. This is the only saw in our test with a blade-tilting handwheel, which makes it easier to dial in a precise bevel angle. The motor mount and blade controls on this saw are very sturdy, without much play, which translates to a good-quality cut. Extending the fence for a wide rip requires a bit of effort on this saw, since the rails are stiff. All in all, this is a great saw for the price.
As with our other models, it takes some assembly. If you get one of the extended models, which we’re recommending here, you should plan to cut the rails down to size before finishing installation. It’s simple to do if you’ve got a good miter or bandsaw, but it is an extra step. With that said, many reviewers complimented the SawStop’s well-written and helpful manual, which made installation significantly easier than other units.
I can’t tell you how many times we’ve pulled out other jobsite saws only to have accessories fall off, or require off-tool storage. Bosch designed the GTS1031, however, to securely hold all of its accessories, even including the arbor wrenches (both of them) and an allen wrench for adjusting the riving knife and dust ejection points among other things. Our favorite was the rip fence, which simply flipped upside down and stored underneath the table – clever! About the most difficult adjustment was the riving knife, which is a tool-less maneuver, but one which requires you to stick your hand way into the blade cavity to reach the release lever. When making any adjustments to the blade, it goes without saying (but we’ll say it anyway) to disconnect power to the saw as a precaution.