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When you’re thinking about build quality, you should consider how often, and how intensively you’ll be using your portable table saw. The more you’ll use it, the more you should invest in a sturdy unit that’s built to handle all that use. If you’re only an occasional DIYer, on the other hand, you can probably stand to have a few more plastic parts on your unit, since you aren’t going to be putting it to the rest as often.
As with our other models, it takes some assembly. If you get one of the extended models, which we’re recommending here, you should plan to cut the rails down to size before finishing installation. It’s simple to do if you’ve got a good miter or bandsaw, but it is an extra step. With that said, many reviewers complimented the SawStop’s well-written and helpful manual, which made installation significantly easier than other units.
A table saw is the centerpiece of any home workshop, and it’s often the very first power tool to be cranked up at the start of any woodworking task. They’re essential for the necessary task of sizing wood for each project – whether narrowing the width of boards, cutting plywood sheets, or tackling specialized cuts like grooves, slots, and tenons. Because of their important role in DIY and professional construction, choosing the right table saw is critically important. At BestReviews, we’ve researched table saws in depth. We’re here to help you decide which type of table saw will best meet your needs.
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 Powermatic used to be another all-American classic, much like the Delta. This latest version has the same recognizable yellow finish, on a steel cabinet and cast iron worktop. Unlike most other cabinet units, this one has cast-iron extension wings, which makes them just as sturdy and level as the central worktop. It’s loaded with a 3 HP motor, a 50-inch fence, and all the other basic features that our top three picks have.
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 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.
Our biggest surprise while running the best table saw review tests was in the cutting power and the quality of cut: There wasn’t much difference among them. All these saws ripped through 3-in.-thick oak without hesitating. We tried this test with the stock blades that came on the saws. Then we repeated the test using a top-quality blade in each saw.
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.
All these saws have fences that extend to at least 24 in. to allow you to rip a 4 x 8-ft. sheet of plywood in half. And they all have a slightly different way of accomplishing this. DeWalt has the most straightforward method. You just push the fence out on its rails and flip over the board support. On the Rockwell saw, you flip out a hinged fence rail. The only drawback to this fence is that it must remain in the extended position for any cut, so it takes up quite a bit of room. The remaining saws require you to release one or two levers and pull out the fence extension.
The most critical safety feature on a table saw is the blade guard. It’s all that separates your fingers from the rapidly rotating blade. You need this to be transparent or it will make measuring awkward. The last thing you want is to be tempted to remove an unfit guard. Check closely for a clear, flexible blade guard. Safety is paramount when operating a table saw.
It also has the highest blade speed. This model has a similar 15-amp motor to our other recommendations, but it’s geared for maximum efficiency. The result is a blade speed that’s nearly 1000 RPM better than the Bosch or the smaller Dewalt. Reviewers marveled at how powerful this one was compared to the size of the motor, which seems underwhelming from the outside. It rips right through oak, cherry, and other planks with no lag or burnout. In fact, we’re hard-pressed to find something this would struggle to cut, provided you equip it with the proper blade.
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.
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.
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.
A table saw has two main ways it can seriously hurt you. One is obvious and that is having any part of your body come into contact with the blade. Any table saw you are seriously considering should have a blade guard installed. The clearer the better. And make sure you leave it on. The blade guard can’t do its intended job from a workbench or shelf.
But with top quality saws come features that some people may find well worth the extra investment, substantial though it may be, and thus our discussion starts with pricier models. At the top price range for table saws, you can often get a saw with safety technology that will automatically halt its blade the instant it encounters human flesh. (The process literally takes but a few milliseconds.) The knowledge that your fingers and hands are safe from major injury caused by a rapidly rotating, razor sharp blade is more than convincing enough for many people to invest in these technologically marvelous table saws.
As far as the design goes, cabinet saws don’t look much different from the hybrid ones. However, when it comes to sheer power, this type is the most powerful one in every regard. Therefore, devoted professionals who work on massive heavy-duty projects usually prefer cabinet saws over anything else. Each element of a cabinet saw is constructed to withstand a lot of stress and pressure.
The Bosch 4100-09 offers many advanced features, making it a very capable table saw for woodworking. The air-filled wheels and gravity rising stand makes this table saw functional and lightweight. Set up and tear down of the table saw is a breeze. This technology allows the table saw to be moved from place to place, even over the most rough and challenging areas of the work site. The 4100-09 weighs 39 pounds, making it the perfect portable table saw. Although it is lightweight, it is very durable and stable.
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.