Three professional carpenters test ten portable table saws, including two now discontinued. They outfit them all with Diablo 40-tooth general-purpose blades and test them on both 3/4-inch plywood and pressure-treated 2x pine. Each saw earns points for safety features, fence quality, stability, weight, stand design, ease of adjustment, cutting power, and dust collection. Totaling up these scores determines the saws' overall ranking, as well as their "class ranking" against comparably priced brands. Some additional single product reviews of table saws can be found elsewhere on the site as well.
Sadly, you will have to sacrifice in a few key departments for all that portability and convenience. Portable table saws are the worst choice for cutting larger stock, especially if you don’t have an extension table to add on. They’re also the least powerful sort of table saw, so you shouldn’t plan to cut thick stock or hardwoods on them regularly. Thanks to their light build, portable units are the loudest of the bunch, and their dust collection is usually less than impressive. However, if you’re moving around a lot and need to do rips in the smallest possible space, these are your best friends.
Contractor units are the next step up from portable (or jobsite) table saws. A contractor table saw has a worktop and motor assembly that looks a lot like a cabinet model, only it’s missing the cabinet! Contractor units aren’t quite as portable as a job site saw, but they’re about half the weight of a cabinet saw. They pack a lot more power than a portable unit, and their cutaway stands make them fairly manageable for folks who have helpers to assist in getting the saw off the truck and set up at the site.
Overall, the Dewalt's combination blade leaves a slightly smoother finish, but both brands' general purpose construction blades are good enough to start off with. Cross and rip-cut edges were fairly smooth, but users who plan to cut down a lot of plywood will definitely want to invest in a more suitable saw blade. Both saws provided ample cutting power without a noticeable difference in cutting speeds, so we're calling this one a tie.
TBB used an iGauging 35-125-4 digital dial indicator to measure the accuracy of the blade position to the table miter slot. This instrument has an accuracy of .0005 inches. As part of the table saw set-up, TBB installed a new Diablo blade in each saw and these never-before-used blades were used in the measurement test. To ensure that any wobble in the blade did not enter into the test results, TBB marked a single tooth as the reference point for the measurement. The blade position was moved to the front of the saw to allow the iGauging dial indicator to hit the tooth immediately behind the carbide tooth, The iGauging dial indicator was calibrated and the indicator had a reading of zero.
The Dewalt DWE7491is the clear choice for the full-time woodworking professional. It provides the widest rip capacity by far, it’s the fastest worker, and it has the best dust collection. The fence is a thing of beauty, and the secondary inner fence is a smart feature for smaller cuts. We think it’s worthy of any full-time woodworker, or DIYer with plenty of shop space and spending money.
The fence on a table saw is one of its defining features and allows for precise, square, and repeatable cuts. Not all fences are equal though and a poorly built fence is a deal-breaker, in my opinion. Not only will a poorly built and implemented fence affect the quality of your cuts, but a fence that moves or is not square to the blade can cause your material to bind and kickback.
rarely have to work with stock that thick. I mostly prefer to do this on my bandsaw any way. The 2" dust port allows me to hook up the shop vac and it does a decent job of getting most of the dust. The saw doesn't have much room in front of the blade so it was impossible to use my shop made cutoff sled. I solved this problem by making my own removable infeed extension table. Now I can use the 22" cutoff sled. After a year and a half the saw is still in adjustment and runs true. The saw stays in my shop and doesn't get bounce around on the back of a pickup truck. Based on my experience I highly recommend this saw if you have a small shop and don't plan on building large pieces
The fact is, a table saw is designed to remove a large amount of material in a quick and efficient manner. With the volume of waste that is produced by any but the smallest table saws, a shop vacuum is not going to be up to the task. Short of purchasing a standalone dust collection system, the best that you can hope for from a shop vacuum is that it might keep some of the saw dust out of your eyes.
First off, consider how often you’ll put your table saw to use. If you work in the fields of contracting or carpentry, there’s a chance you’ll be using your new machine pretty often — so you may as well invest in a more expensive, heavy-duty table saw that’s sure to last longer than the average model. On the other hand, hobbyists and weekend woodworkers won’t need a pricey piece of machinery — a more compact and inexpensive model should do just fine, especially if you’re only working on smaller projects like birdhouses and DIY wooden models.
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.