It can seem like plastic is a weight-saver on the part of the manufacturer, but it’s really a cost-saver. You shouldn’t accept shoddy build quality in the name of getting a lighter machine. While no portable unit will include heavy cast iron components like a cabinet table saw, you can find metal alternatives that offer rugged, long-lasting build quality. Instead of plastic, look for aluminum.
Richard Romanski of Popular Mechanics names his five favorites among 15-amp portable table saws. A slideshow outlines what he likes best about each saw, as well as any downsides. Although it's clear that Romanski has tested these saws hands-on, he doesn't go into any details about his testing methods or name the other saws that didn't make the cut.
These smaller table saws, which come in a compact benchtop setup rather than with legs like a traditional table saw, are designed as portable job site saws. But they work just as well in a home workshop, and are ideal for shops that are tight on space. The Bosch and the DeWalt have many of their specs in common: Both include a 15 Amp motor, 10-inch blade, 3 1/8-inch depth of cut when the blade is set at 90 degrees and 2.2-inch depth of cut at 45 degrees. And safety features on both saws include a riving knife, anti-kickback pawls, blade guard and an included push stick. Features The GTS1031 is Bosch's newest table saw, designed for portability and intended to be light enough that you could carry it with one hand. Its rip fence is designed for quick and easy movement, and clamps into channels on opposite sides of the table to keep things consistently square without the need for frequent adjustment. Two notable advantages for the GTS1031: Its 5000 RPM max no-load speed compared to the 3850 RPM for the DeWalt, and the fact that you can use a 1/2-inch dado set with it (though it requires separate TS1013 dado throat insert).
However, it provides a bit less room to work, and it’s not as easy for newer woodworkers to use. The power/stop switch is rather small, and this one doesn’t have a digital angle display like the Grizzly. We highly recommend it to working professionals who need maximum cutting capacity in a minimal footprint. It’s also a good choice for ambitious DIYers who are short on space, but really know their way around a table saw.
The fence on this system is easily the winner. With clamping on just the front side, it self-aligns better than any other in the group and offers excellent stability. While SawStop didn’t have the most powerful feel to the cuts, it was very smooth with little vibration. Feature preferences aside, the only (slight) negative we agreed on was that the bevel lock stuck a little bit compared to others.
Now let’s talk power. The 15-amp motor is housed underneath the aluminum table and features replaceable brushes so you can expect long life from the saw. The gearing for adjusting the blade height also looked to be built with durability in mind and was well-greased. Cranking the height on the saw was simple and, unlike many saws I’ve used, even bevel adjustments were a snap and didn’t require a ton of effort to move the blade. We found that we could easily loosen the bevel lock and slide the assembly along its arc until we got to the required angle.
One of the first and most important things to consider is what type of table saw you require. When considering the type make sure you consider things like, where will be using the saw, will it need to be portable and move from job to job or can it be stationary like in a work shop. Also, what will be the largest size bits of timber I will be cutting, what sort of power will I require and budget, below we’ve listed the main types so we hope it helps you find the right type for you.
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.
Another excellent choice for the hobbyist or at-home handyman, the SKIL 3410-02 10-Inch Table Saw is a great value, giving you a durable build and quality performance at a wallet-friendly price. It doesn’t have the same brand recognition as some of the more expensive options on this list, but reviewers love this machine and say that it’s perfect for woodworking and DIY projects.
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.
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