Contractor saws weigh quite a bit more than portable saws, averaging between 150 and 350 pounds, but are still somewhat portable. They have a heavier, cast-iron table top, and a motor that is usually more powerful than a jobsite saw. Even so, they’re within prices affordable for more committed hobbyists. Contractor saws can range between $800 and $2,000. They’re good for basic cutting tasks, as well as making home furniture and cabinetry work.
The blade is a 24 tooth carbide tipped blade that is durable and long lasting. You can even adjust it to a 45 degree angle for those more difficult bevel cuts. If you’re working on uneven ground, you’ll love the rear feet that are fully adjustable so you can level you work space. You’ll get a lot of use out of the onboard storage that will give you easy access to the push stick and guarding components. Weighing only 45 pounds, you can move the table saw from work site to home with ease.
Table saws will use one of two different kinds of drive configurations; Direct-drive motors and Belt-drive motors. In a direct-drive motor, they will link directly to the blade itself and transfer all of the power of the motor to the blade. They tend to last longer than belt drive motors and there is no belt to replace or worry about getting worn out. Belt drive motors transfer power from the motor to the blade through a belt. In this type of configuration, the motor can be offset away from the sawdust which helps the motor last longer. In general, belt drive motors need more preventative maintenance than direct-drive motors do. If you have a belt drive motor, check the tension of your belts as well as checking them for wear periodically to ensure your continued safety.
Plus, the machined aluminum table is our favorite on the market right now. It also has a smarter motor system than either of the Dewalt’s, thanks to a soft start and automatic speed control to ensure smooth cuts. However, it’s the slowest of the pack, and it doesn’t have quite as good a fence as the yellow competition. We think it’s a great choice for pros who are concerned about accuracy, but can’t spend lots of money on their unit.
There’s also a secondary flip-down fence which allows you to make narrower rips. We love this feature, which should really become industry standard in the near future. It helps you make smaller cuts without needing to have your fingers close to the blade. Reviewers loved it, and said they found themselves using the feature much more frequently than they’d anticipated.

I do not which is the best table saw, but I can tell you which is the worst. The rigid portable saw is a piece of garbage. I have purchased two in the last 4 years and the motor has failed in both, only to find that they do not sell a replacement motor. The Rigid customer service will not respond to any questions associated with the saw or replacement parts. I will not buy another Rigid tool and currently planning to try the Bosch table saw.

Stands are one of those features where the ends really do justify the means. Some made us wish the manual writers would take a cue from Lego—just make the *@#$! things easy enough for a 7 year old to understand. That aside, SawStop set itself aside brilliantly, taking just 10 minutes to setup. All we had to do was install the wheels and two handles. Even the packaging is designed to make the process easier and the instructions were super-easy to understand. Makita was nearly as simple only requiring us to install the handle and bolt the saw to the stand.
These saws are the most difficult ones to categorize. The simplest explanation would be that they are somewhere in the middle between contractor and industrial cabinet saws. They are driven by an inboard belt motor. These units usually have open leg stands, but there are some models with closed ones – hence the whole confusion and difficulty in categorizing.
Bengt – We appreciate the feedback as it always helps us get better. Having said that I think some of your concerns were evaluated and included in the results in ways that may not be entirely clear. We adjusted each saw after checking the blade/fence measurements and had no issues getting them adjusted (I may add some text to reinforce that in the article). We don’t do long term testing in this type of article as it’s simply not feasible…so making a statement about whether the saw holds those adjustments isn’t feasible. We evaluated the fences and ranked them in the ergonomics section, we even did lateral load testing on them as part of that ranking.
Every woodworker knows the plague of working in a dusty environment. The SawStop has a fantastic dust collection system so you can enjoy your cutting without your eyes being strained. Almost all of the dust is wicked away both above and below the table. Up above, the blade does all the legwork and there’s a neatly designed shroud which pulls all this dust away from the blade. The 4-inch port means you can slip your shop vac on with no issues.        
Patrick – Thanks for the feedback. Trust me, I wish we could spend more time on every aspect but we spent hundreds of hours as it was. I can tell you that the rack and pinion fences are much better than the standard fences of the past. Our entire group felt strongly that we’d prefer the rack and pinion on all the saws. We felt the Ridgid and Delta fences were the least impressive of the standard type.

The frame is also improved. Instead of the basic roll-cage on the Dewalt, this one neatens things up with an integrated sub-base. It’s a rugged rubber-like pad which serves as a bumper between the main frame and your truck bed or worksite table. Both the table and the sub base are joined to the main frame, and they provide strength at both ends of the design. As with the Dewalt, you can store your tools and accessories inside, an on hooks outside the Bosch.
Finally, hybrid saws combine the lighter weight of the contractor saw with the more powerful motor and sturdier construction of the cabinet saw, at a price that’s easier for the occasional woodworker to stomach. They can run about $1,200 or so, and weigh in at under 300 pounds. Their motors are generally in the 1.5 to 1.75 HP range, and can be used with standard 110V outlets.
We’re not alone in loving the Jet’s guard system. We read lots of reviews from pros who said they’d used lots of table saws in their time, but this was the first time they didn’t absolutely hate the guard. In fact, many wrote that they started working with the guard onboard for the first time, simply because it worked so well. It’s certainly one of the most unobtrusive ones we’ve seen!
These saws are the most difficult ones to categorize. The simplest explanation would be that they are somewhere in the middle between contractor and industrial cabinet saws. They are driven by an inboard belt motor. These units usually have open leg stands, but there are some models with closed ones – hence the whole confusion and difficulty in categorizing.
We don’t always post the point totals when we do a shootout like this because it gets complicated – you have to decide what the important features and performance categories are, determine how much weight each one should hold, and then actually hash out the scores with the team. That said, some of these table saws scored so close to each other that I didn’t feel it was fair to just leave it up to the rankings.
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.

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.
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