Clint DeBoer When he's not remodeling part of his house or playing with the latest power tool, Clint enjoys life as a husband, father and avid reader. He has a degree in recording engineering and has been involved in multimedia and/or online publishing in one form or another for the past 21 years. In 2008, Clint was one of the founders of the Pro Tool Reviews online magazine. He hopes his efforts at PTR will provide builders and contractors with reliable and engaging tool reviews to help them make better tool purchasing decisions.
Setup was nearly as simple as SawStop’s with just a narrow margin between them. We only needed to attach the handle and bolt the saw down to the stand. The stand is a gravity rise style, but requires you to bend down to ground level for collapsing and extending it. It’s a reasonably solid platform, though a lot of movement throughout the day will leave your back sore.
As for extensions, I have added the TS1002 and TS1003 outfeeds (rear and left side respectively) – They do a great job supporting the workpieces without making the saw the least bit tippy. For my use, I don’t get much use from the left side support, but the rear outfeed is great. Much nicer than setting up an outfeed stand and trying to dial it in.
To adjust blade height you simply operate the elevation wheel located on the front of the saw, and the angle of the blade can be set through a switch which is behind the wheel in case you want to make bevel cuts. The angle can be set anywhere between 0 and 45 degrees, and once you’ve adjusted the bevel angle it can be locked into place using the handle.
A splitter is a piece of metal that keeps the blade from binding in whatever material you are cutting if the saw kerf starts to close up. The splitter is vertical and sits directly behind the blade. This plays a big part in preventing kickback and should be mounted on the motor assembly so it rises and falls with the saw blades movements. You can also get splitters that can be adjusted to fit the width of the kerf.
The biggest advantage of hybrid saws is the fact that they can be plugged in a regular 110V/220V outlet. Therefore, you don’t need any additional power sources in order to use these units. It quite a relief because you’ll avoid any further investments. These saws are quite easy to use if you know what you are doing. However, if you don’t, remember to read the manual before turning your saw on. It will save you a lot of hassle and also keep you safe.
The maximum depth of cut on a saw tells you how thick of a material you can cut through cleanly. Be careful when you’re looking at depth of cut ratings, since you’ll usually find two separate specs listed. One is for cutting at 90 degrees, the blade’s normal setting, and one is for cutting at a 45 degree bevel, which is generally the furthest a table saw blade will pivot. Most of us will only need to be concerned about the 90-degree rating, but if you cut lots of angles, you should check the 45 degree rating as well.
One of the biggest perks of a cabinet table saw, aside from the rugged construction and wide worktop, is the sheer power of the tool. You should expect a cabinet table saw to cut absolutely any stock within its depth capacity smoothly and easily. Look for motors with at least 3 HP, and sophisticated belt drive systems which translate that grunt into 4000+ RPM blade speeds. Don’t accept lesser power ratings on a cabinet model: these are the gold standard of table saws for a reason!
Table saws are undeniably the kings of rip cuts on the jobsite and in shops. The concept is simple: Place a motor below a solid table to turn a blade somewhere in the 4000-5000 RPM range through the surface and watch the sawdust fly. The idea may be simple, but the reality is much different. How big should the table be? What size blade should you use? How heavy can you get away with making it?
The quality of cut is as good as I can get with a cabinet saw, with one key exception: It takes more time to get it set up just right. There isn’t as much lead up before the blade, so getting the wood to track true is harder with less fence. I kind of wish they had backed the blade up an inch or two assuming they couldn’t make the saw a bit deeper.
For homeowners without the luxury of a huge garage to fit their enormous table saw, DEWALT’s DWE7480 is a compact alternative to bulkier machines with the same wood slicing power. Measuring 25.8" x 26.5" x 13.9", the DWE7480 hosts a 15-amp motor that cuts at an unbelievable 4800 rpm with a ten-inch blade, meaning this small package packs big performance — and with adjustable rear feet that are designed to allow users to level their table saw on uneven surfaces, you’ll be sure to get a clean, precise cut every time, no matter how rugged the terrain. An additional dust port makes collecting your sawdust a breeze — especially if you attach an optional shop vac extension.
Among the features that set this table saw apart from other competitors is the SquareLock Rip Fence. It is fabricated out of machined aluminum, slides up and down the rail without a hitch, and fixing positions couldn’t be easier. It’s probably the best fence I’ve seen in portable table saws, it feels very solid and is incredibly accurate and precise.
About three paces from where I tested these portable table saws sits my late-model cabinet saw. As a serious woodworker and magazine editor, I can’t imagine not having it. Its powerful 3hp motor, spacious cast-iron tabletop and almost hair-splitting precision makes most other saw options pale by comparison. But all this said, a cabinet saw isn’t everything. The thought of moving that behemoth down the steps to a basement shop sends chills up my spine. I sure can’t toss it into a car trunk to help a friend down the road. My saw takes up a huge footprint of shop floor, and it cost a small fortune. I don’t know of any stationary table saw that sells for less than $700 new these days, and that can empty the coffer of a modest tool budget.
Strangely, DeWALT provides no power cord wrap. It’s a basic detail the other saws have and this one really needs. The steel “TV tray” type stand sets up fast, and rubber feet hold it firmly in place. When you are done sawing, you’ll have to lift this wheel-less saw to transport it, and there are contoured grips molded into the table edges to make that easier. At more than 50 lbs., though, the saw feels heavy. But the tradeoff for the convenience of wheels is that DeWALT can keep this setup even more compact — probably much appreciated by contractors. The whole works fits in a car trunk.
The Grizzly G0690 is a very unique and powerful table saw and each part of it says performance and quality. With a 3 HP, 220V, 3-phase Leeson motor, heavy cast iron trunnions, wings and table to its triple belt drive system, this model should definitely last you for a lifetime. It’s not only its impressive build quality that’s going to strike you about it, but also its other features that include a four inch dust collection port, a T-slot miter gauge, a magnetic switch, but also heavy cat hand-wheels, riving knife and camlock T-fence. If you’re a professional who’s been using cabinet tablet saws for a quite a while, you’ll immediately appreciate the quality of the Grizzly G0690.
Standard table saws are also called contractor table saws, even if they're really intended for the home do-it-yourselfer. These table saws have open, fixed legs, and they take up more space than a portable or benchtop table saw. They're also heavier – weighing as much as 200 to 300 pounds. On the plus side, their tables are often larger, making it easier to cut 4 by 8-foot panels of plywood or sheetrock. Prices for contractor saws range from around $600 to nearly $2,000.
The miter gauge gets an “its fine” grade. Ok to support a narrow piece for a crosscut, but not long enough to do much more than that. I upgraded to an Incra miter 1000SE and never looked back. Although a crosscut sled is pretty easy to make (and I highly recommend getting one) I picked up an Incra Miter Express sled for real cheap at a garage sale, so I am happy to use that.
All the articles on this website are short and punchy without much filler, but because there is so much to learn about table saws it will still take you the better part of an afternoon to read through them all. For those who don’t have that kind of time, or those who already know a great deal about table saws, this is the section that will take you to the best table saw for your needs.
The DeWalt will do you proud for a broad spread of applications. If you’re a home woodworker, you’ll be able to rip sheet material, size material as thick as 3 inches, frame lumber and make cross cuts to your heart’s content. For professionals, the DeWalt is perfect for trim carpentry, installation of hardwood floors, decking or remodeling. There’s very little you can’t do with this beast.
We absolutely love the Dewalt DWE7491 that we recommended as our top quality choice above. It’s a powerful, precise workhorse that can handle nearly any cutting job. However, times are changing fast, and workplace safety standards are increasing just as rapidly. If you’re a professional who wants to stay on top of your code, you should consider getting a unit that’s equipped with a flesh-detections safety system.
Power protections are also a key safety feature, since they protect both your personal safety and the integrity of your table saw. Look for a magnetic switch in the power switch assembly of your saw. A magnetic switch protects the system from dangerous power fluctuations, and automatically shuts the machine off in case of a surge or drop in flow. It’ll also perform another valuable function when power goes out or a fuse flips: it’ll prevent the saw turning itself back on when power returns!
One of the principal causes of table saw accidents is kickback. This process happens when a piece of wood is ejected at great speed in the direction of the user. Binding between the blade and fence, the wood then gets trapped in the teeth and spat out. A splitter is a vertical blade that holds the kerf open to minimize the chance of kickback. 2 pawls are attached for this purpose.
Compared to some of the other miter saws we’ve used – predating the new riving knife requirement, the Bosch GTS1031 guard system is much easier to install and remove when necessary (and to put the saw back into portable mode). We timed ourselves and assembled and tore down the saw in just over 2 minutes – and we were confident that our time would get better with more practice. The table is made of machined cast aluminum and is texture-coated to make it fairly slick – something that really helped when cutting larger pieces of 3/4″ plywood for a workbench surface. As for extending the table – that was super-easy. You just lift the table extension handle upwards and slide the table to the right. This gives you a full 18″ of rip width to the rip fence with your material to the right of the blade. Collapsed, you get up to 10″. Motion of the rip fence and the table extension were smooth. While the fence had some wobble in it at the far end – this completely disappeared when you locked it down – and the shape of the rear of the fence locked it straight every time. It’s a good system and more than adequate for a low-cost portable saw like this. We’ve seen more robust fence systems. But typically the trade-off has been in weight as well as cost.
You can store and transport the Bosch upright or on either of its sides. In between our tests, we found that the saw neatly stored away on its side on a workbench shelf. On the other hand, the DeWalt can only be stored or transported in its upright position. While it may possible to rest the saw briefly on one of its sides, there is the potential to damage the power cord, plug, or the ends of the telescoping fence rails.
When you’re setting up your table saw fence, slide it into position by pressing the front of the fence forward against the table with both hands. This will allow the entire fence to slide square to the table. Hold your final position with one hand while locking it down with the other. This should help you avoid many of the accuracy issues that come from an off-square fence.
This one’s compatible with Jet’s rolling bases. You can mount it on any of the company’s all-metal roller frames, and move it around your shop! That’s ideal for busy shops with a lot of large equipment and not a lot of space to spare. It’s also handy for home craftsmen who don’t have as much dedicated space as they’d like to devote to a table saw. The Grizzly, on the other hand, is much harder to convert to a wheeled base, because it has the dual extension tables.
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.
Hybrid table saws were produced by many manufacturers as they found there was a gap in the market for a table saw between the contractor saw and the cabinet saw. Contractors wanted something with the power and functionality of a cabinet saw but not necessarily the heavy weight of a cabinet saw. One good other point for the hybrid saws is price, cabinet saws are often very expensive because of the cast iron table tops etc. so a hybrid is a great saw if you’re looking for something slightly cheaper.
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.
To avoid such scenario, you can take a moment and check our full reviews out. We offer more than enough insight into the capabilities of particular models we consider are worth checking out. Therefore, if you’re in a dilemma about which table saw to buy; don’t hesitate to refer to this article. The more you know about a certain unit, the fewer problems you’ll have when the moment of purchase comes.
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.
We really should point out a big deal here and that’s the SawStop. It’s hard to put a price on safety and while the SawStop costs more than 3 times what the Hitachi costs it does offer safety that no other saw in test can offer. For those that can afford the additional cost that feature alone may tip the scales for you. Regardless of price SawStop came in 5th place for the categories we evaluated.
The first step to take when using a table saw is to don all the appropriate safety gear that a responsible operator should use. This includes, at the bare minimum, eye protection and thick work gloves. It's also a good idea to protect your ears with ear muffs or earplugs and to consider a mask that will cover your mouth and nose to prevent the inhalation of fine saw dust particles.
You have to know the amount of money you are willing to spend for the right saw. The truth is that the price will vary significantly depending on where you are buying the saw, the brand and the features it comes with. However, with a good budget, you can easily narrow down the options you may have. You will have a smaller range to work with and you will know what features to expect within that price range. Always be willing to spend a little more on the table saw you want in your workshop especially if you work on wood every day.