For ideal usage, the on/off switch needs to be mounted on the front of the saw and should be easy to turn off with your knee or a swat without having to look at it to locate it. Most table saw models have a safety feature that is a plastic key that has to be inserted before the table saw can be turned on. Some may even have a way to padlock the switch.
It’s compact. This one is just over two feet in either direction, and just under 14 inches high. It’s easy to fit in the back of a truck, or even on the passenger seat next to you on the way to your jobsite. It’s light, too. Buyers loved how easy this one was to carry around, especially home DIYers who had to set up and take down their units frequently.
The professional level saws saw a separation as well and all were well ahead of the cutting power we saw with the value group. A middle tier of cutting performance started with Makita and Bosch’s 4100 while DeWalt was significantly better. Entering the fray with the only worm drive system, we had high hopes for Skilsaw’s entry. It was solid and smooth—definitely at the Pro level— and close to what the 4100 delivered.
Each one has different power, capabilities, mobility and price points as well. If you’re not sure which type you need, we have outline some specifics on each below that will help you choose. When you begin the search for your table saw, you will need to know the answers to a few questions that will narrow down the choices for you and make choosing much easier.
The large cutting table surface of the Bosch 4100-09 Worksite Table Saw is roomy enough to handle large work pieces, giving you a ripping capacity of 25”. This is a really great feature if you plan to use the saw to rip solid or plywood panels, or other large materials. I use my table saw primarily for ripping sanded plywood panels for use in cabinetry, and many of my projects would be impossible with a smaller capacity saw. The rip fence glides across the saw cutting table, so you can actually use it with one hand, and locks in place for safety and accuracy. The DEWALT DW745 Job-Site Table Saw offers a 16” cut, considerably smaller than the Bosch. It is perfectly adequate for most application, such as ripping dimensional lumber and small trim applications. The type of materials and work pieces you expect to be cutting are a determining factor in your choice of table saws. If you plan on tackling any large scale projects in the future, the rip capacity of your saw is definitely a feature that you should take into consideration.
Consider whether you’ll be working inside or outside, on even flooring or dirt ground. You’ll want to choose the most convenient stand that’s sturdy enough for the kind of cuts you need to make. Pros should pay for a premium stand that doesn’t have any wobble whatsoever. DIYers and framers can probably make do with something lightweight and inexpensive.
Like the Grizzly, the Jet has a standard 4” dust port coming out of the cabinet, and a 220V wiring box for you to attach a power cord. The Jet is also a more shop-friendly tool, since it has much better dust collection. That’s thanks to a fully-shrouded blade and a guard which handily deflects sawdust into the vacuum channel, rather than off to the side of the table.
The Delta 10 in. Contractor Saw features an The Delta 10 in. Contractor Saw features an industry standard tool-free split guard design that allows a true rise-and fall riving knife by using a lever on the inside the throat plate. There is tool-less assembly of the riving knife and anti-kickback pawls. It has a large easy to access ... More + Product Details Close
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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.
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.
One of the first things many Pros do is permanently (and intentionally) lose the blade guard and anti-kickback pawls. While they are a pain to install and store onboard, their ability to reduce the risk of injury is significant. Table saws are responsible for thousands of injuries every year and there are plenty of guys running around with stories of how they got injured. So practice installing them until it feels natural and then actually use them onsite.
The miter gauges on these saws range from downright flimsy to cabinet-saw quality. All the saws except the Craftsman and the DeWalt also have T-tracks—a nice feature that captures the miter gauge bar, making it easier to start wider crosscuts. Because the Ryobi and DeWalt saws don’t have a standard miter gauge slot, you can’t use accessories that require a 3/4-in. slot.
Ridgid notches a third place finish as the only saw to include an independent blade height lock. The adjustment wheel raises and lowers with multiple full turns like most saws, but integrates a lock into the center. For the bevel adjustment, the outside of the height adjustment wheel turns a rack and pinion style system to accurately change the blade angle – a feature Makita shares.
With a 32½" rip capacity and motor capable of up to 4800 rpm, the DWE7491RS is more than prepared to effectively deliver 3⅛" deep cuts to thick slabs of wood. Happy customers sing this machine’s praises, reporting that it’s as sturdy as a table saw can get — plus, it’s easy to use, and assembling it is a cinch. They do however note that workers looking to produce finer cuts should seek out a replacement blade since the one provided is more suited for fast, rough work.
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.
Outfeed capacity is almost always the depth of the table. Pros using a jobsite table saw can opt to put a sawhorse or other support to hold the material after it passes the blade. There are a few models running around that give you some extra outfeed support, though. Most of the time, you’ll just have a buddy help guide the cut through from a safe stance on the behind the saw.
It’s the best of the three at keeping your shop clean. The SawStop has a blade guard and arbor enclosure that’s engineered and sculpted to maximize vacuum suction at the cutting edge. Plus, the guard hugs tightly to the blade, and like the Jet, opens at each side so that whichever way you’re cutting, dust goes down the vacuum chute instead of off to the side of your workspace. It’s lab-tested to be up to 99% effective, and it’s certainly the most impressive dust collection system we’ve seen to date.
The weak point of this rolling stand is the base where all the weight sits. I really like the Bosch rolling miter saw stand, which is what convinced me to buy this setup. When you compare the miter saw to this table saw, it's a night and day difference. The miter saw from Bosch has thicker and larger diameter metal tubing. It clearly weights more, but it's on wheels, and has yet to show any fatigue from constant use.
Some table saws go one better than a splitter. Splitters are fixed. They do not move along with the blade. It also needs to be removed if you’re making cross-cuts or dado cuts. A riving knife, on the other hand, is fixed to the same part as the blade. This means it can move along with the blade. Riving knives don’t get in the way either so this is the best option.
Choosing the best portable jobsite table saw wasn’t an easy task but we’re confident we’ve done a thorough evaluation. In a very close race for the best table saw Hitachi beat out the DEWALT which came in second place followed by Skilsaw in third and Makita in fourth. It’s very interesting that the Hitachi and DEWALT look extremely similar. Hitachi edged out the DEWALT in performance and price resulting in the final scores. Skilsaw beat out Makita for the 3rd place only slightly and that result is really a function of pricing.
No matter the model or price, a table saw should cut a range of material thicknesses and hold its settings accurately. So, after installing a new Freud hi-ATB thin-kerf blade in each saw, I made repeated rip cuts on MDF, resetting the fence each time to check for consistently thick offcuts. After that, I raised the blade for more rip cuts on heavy, long planks of 2 x 12 Southern yellow pine, before tipping the blade to bevel-rip 2″-thick poplar. Then I switched to a 6″ CMT dado set and made a long dado cut in MDF, so I could check for consistent cutting depth — a sign that the undercarriage is stout enough to handle a heavy blade like this. Overall, my test criteria was stability of the stand, cutting accuracy, reasonable dust collection efficiency and all-around convenience of use. Results ranged from exceptional to mediocre, as you’ll see.
When your skin contacts the blade even slightly, the charge transfers, and a switch flips on the motor, activating an instant brake. The aluminum brake swings into contact with the blade, stopping it instantly. The brake also propels the blade down through the arbor, so it retracts completely below your worktop. That means that other than the initial contact, you won’t touch the sharp edge at all.
Todd Fratzel is the Editor of Tool Box Buzz and the President of Front Steps Media, LLC, a web based media company focused on the Home Improvement and Construction Industry.He is also the Principal Engineer for United Construction Corp., located in Newport, NH. In his capacity at United he oversees the Residential and Commercial Building Division along with all Design-Build projects.He is also the editor of Home Construction & Improvement.
These table saws are all probably made in China where there’s apparently no meaningful out-going quality control. While the *average* quality from a given manufacturer might be great, you could also be unlucky get a piece of junk because *everything* made on the production line ships out. It’s a preferred business model these days – the prices are much cheaper but the manufacturers trade that off against dealing with significantly increased returns and the need for much more customer service.
You can’t talk about the best portable jobsite table saw without talking about portability. Portability boils down to a couple of important features. First and foremost, weight has a huge impact on how easily you can transport the saw, especially if it has to go into the bed of a truck rather than a trailer. If you’ve got a trailer, then a wheeled stand becomes your best friend. We looked at both.
Not everyone needs to use the miter gauge on a table saw since there’s typically going to be a miter saw around. If you do, you’ll like the positive locking detents at common angles. This saw felt like it was the weakest when pushing our 2x PT material through. Despite the ranking, it doesn’t feel under-powered – you just need to take your time. You won’t find a lot of bells and whistles on this model, but for $279, we don’t have many complaints.
Finding useful reviews on this site is a challenge. A search for "table saw review" turned up a few relevant articles, but they're mixed in with news, tips, and coverage for other types of cutting tools. Most of the actual reviews for table saws are old, and many of the products are discontinued. However, we turned up a few in-depth reviews posted within the past year, as well as a few older reviews for products that are still on the market.
Likes: Cuts extremely well and has excellent stability. Its blade guard and riving-knife assembly are locked and unlocked by a lever located conveniently along the table's left edge. A simple, separate shark-fin riving knife can be used when the guard is too big for narrow rip cuts. We appreciate the antiglare surface on the tape ruler that measures the distance from the blade to the fence.
Measuring 30.31" x 17.32" x 41.81", this powerhouse boasts a heavy duty 10" blade that can cut up to 4" x 4" of material in a single pass. For the handyman who likes to keep all of his tools within arm’s length, RIDGID’s table saw comes with convenient onboard storage so swapping out blades or accessing your tools is just a short reach away. Buyers are crazy for this table saw, and they report that it easily fits into the corner of their garages. Plus, quick and easy assembly means you can get to work straight out the gate.
Look for guards with two independent panels on each side of the blade, so that while you work on one side, the other side keeps dust in the vacuum system, rather than flying off to the side. High-end cabinet units also have splitter and guard systems which are molded like the internal shrouding to amplify suction, so you should look carefully at those features.
Below is a graph showing the average measured decibels for the saws (for each of the materials we tested). As you can see the saws range from 93.7 db to 97.9 db. OSHA allows 8 hours of exposure for up to 90 db, from 95 db up the exposure limits start dropping quickly starting at 4 hrs for 95 db so clearly these saws all need hearing protection. We ranked the quietest 3 saws as a 2, and the remaining saws as a 3 and felt none should rank a 1 due to the need for hearing protection.
Their 15-amp, 120-volt motors cut with greater ease than a circ saw, although they can bog down if fed thick hardwood too quickly. The cabinets are typically plastic, with cast-aluminum tops and extruded-aluminum fences. In these models, the motors are supported by trunnions mounted to the underside of the table. The resulting vibration reduces accuracy. These trunnions are usually made of lightweight steel or aluminum, which are susceptible to wear. And because these saws are small, cutting full-size sheets of plywood or MDF isn't a good idea unless the sheet is supported by a table extension.
It’s heavy-duty. Like all great cabinet saws, the Grizzly is built from parts that can last a lifetime or more. It has a cast-iron table, that’s precision-ground to be exactly level, with no warps or imperfections. The trunnion supports holding up the motor are also solid cast iron, which means that they don’t translate much vibration to the work surface at all. The paint on the cabinet and extension frames is powder-coated, and the miter gauge and riving knife are solid steel. Both extension table surfaces are made with a coated, engineered composite, which stands up well against dings or scuffs.
The cabinet also has a few other safety features that set it on a level above the Grizzly or Jet. There’s an extra-large, paddle-style power switch which you can easily press with a thigh as well as a hand. The guard works tightly against the blade, so that you have all the workspace you need without sacrificing safety. The riving knife prevents kickbacks, and the left-tilting bevel feature prevents binding.
While it’s bargain-priced, it has very impressive cast iron and steel construction, with all the same essential features as our other top table saw recommendations. On the downside, it’s the slowest of the three in terms of blade speed, and it has the shortest warranty coverage. This one also lacks some of the sophisticated safety features and creature comforts of our more expensive recommendations.
With both saws offering easy bevel and blade height adjustment, the ease of use comparison focuses mainly on the rip fences. Once the Bosch's rip fence is attached to the table, it moves smoothly across the table when unlocked. But unlocking the fence requires a bit of hand muscle. You can adjust the clamping pressure to alleviate this, but make it too loose and the fence may wobble out of square. Modifying the fence locking lever, or using a cheater bar (such as a push stick) works reasonably well.
While other cabinet table saws may not offer you a clear cut every single time, that’s not the case with the SawStop ICS51230-52. This model features industrial fence system which ensures that every time you cut something, the cut is going to be very accurate and perfectly straight. One last thing to keep in mind is that the unit includes a standard base, while the mobile base and jobsite cart are sold separately.