You often find that many contractors have a love hate relationship with blade guards. Many contractors and woodworkers simply find they often get in the way and can often get wood stuck in them. But many manufacturers are improving these guard’s year on year and now many of them are very advanced and will help keep your fingers from getting hurt, we always advise you to consider the table saw blade feature on any table saw in detail as it could one day help saw you.
It’s not until you get a bunch of saws side by side in the shop that you start to see the difference between a $300 saw and a $500 saw. While the motors are all 15-amp, the more expensive saws have features like soft start to prolong motor and gear life, electronic feedback to maintain blade speed and gearing to maximize torque. If you look under the saws, you’ll see that the more expensive saws also have much beefier motor carriages and better-quality blade-adjusting mechanisms.
It’s tough to be completely objective when choosing the best portable jobsite table saw since the stock blades vary so widely. Skilsaw comes with a 30-tooth Diablo blade and Makita’s stock 32-tooth blade are both excellent while others could use some help. To make this shootout about the saws and not the blades, we turned to Diablo to outfit each saw with the same accessory.
The Craftsman table saw is one of the most compact of the bunch when it’s folded up. And if you can get it for the sale price of $260, it’s also the cheapest of the best table saw options. The blade guard and anti-kickback pawls are identical to the Porter-Cable and are the hardest of any of the saws to install. And they are the only two blade guards that don’t have a feature to hold them out of the way when you’re adjusting the blade or setting up the cut.
The continuous-read, tape measure–type scale is ingenious and easy to read, and Ridgid’s lifetime warranty covers it against breakage. The Ridgid saw has the most versatile miter gauge with holes and slots for mounting extensions and accessories. The designers have cleverly fashioned the stand to also serve as a left-side outfeed support for ripping plywood.
The machine has a more conventional rip fence/rail arrangement. The right half of the rail assembly folds out so the saw can achieve its full 30″ of rip capacity — wider than any other model here — but the fence would not slide smoothly over the rails without catching on the hinge joint. While the rip fence did maintain its locked settings, it lacks the heft and build quality of the competition.