Portable or “jobsite” table saws are the absolute opposite of cabinet models. These are the lightest, most travel-friendly table saws on the market. These are easy to pack up and store in the back of a pickup truck or work van, and they can be set up pretty much anywhere. You can fit them to folding stands, use them on countertops, or sawhorses. We love them for quick contractor jobs, and they’re the ideal tool for general handymen who do a lot of shorter jobs rather than extended carpentry fittings. These are also a great entry-level choice for DIYers who don’t need a massive table saw, but need something that they can pack away at the end of the day. And, of course, they’re the least expensive table saws you can buy!
It’s just as powerful as our other recommendations. The SawStop has a 3HP belt-driven motor, and like the Jet, it uses a tweaked multi-belt drive system to transfer maximum power from the drive shaft to the blade. That makes for as powerful a cabinet saw as any on the market. This one slices smoothly through anything you can feed into it. It also has a slightly thicker max cutting depth than our other recommendations, so it’s the better choice for sturdy stock.
It has a brilliantly powerful 15 AMP motor, which can deliver 4,800 RPM of cutting power. Is is normally more than enough for most woodworkers and hobbyists. It has stowable anti-kickback pawls and and excellent riving knife and spreader for accurate cuts. This is a great entry level saw at a great price, definitely worth looking at for your next purchase or project.
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.
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.
Though this table saw will arrive in multiple pieces, Jet includes all the instructions and help that you need to assemble the cabinet and all other parts. The cabinet itself has an enclosed design that keeps the motor and all other components safe from the dust in your workshop and any debris flying around. You also get four legs that attach to the base of the cabinet, which lifts the saw higher in the air to reduce back pain caused by bending over the table.
After cutting a bunch of wood with this saw, we really liked the balance of power and portability of Bosch GTS1031 – and I think that’s what this saw is all about. For raw Performance, the unflappable motor-blade combo earned a stiff 8/10 in our tests, while its affordable $399 price tag put it at a solid 9/10 in our Value scale. Sure, you can get cheaper portable table saws, but you’ll find it a challenge to track down the combination of power and portability the Bosch GTS1031 offers. Bosch’s gravity rise-equipped 4100-09 remains a compelling alternative or those wanting an integrated stand. It occupies an additional 15″ in width and 8″ in length and is a full 3.5″ taller. But it only tacks on 8 pounds in weight. If you’re cutting larger pieces of wood or need a saw with a stand, the 4100-09 may be your baby, but the new Bosch GTS1031, with its “toss it in the truck” form factor is our new sweetheart tool. While it has an available GTA500 folding table stand accessory, the real advantage of this saw is it’s stand-free portability – so don’t make it into something it’s not. After using this tool, we think you’ll want to take it with you, as-is, just about everywhere!
While we rotated the plate, we recorded the maximum reading on the dial indicator. We validated each maximum reading by running the test for a second time and noting that the readings were consistent. TBB also noted that as we performed these tests on all eight saws, the maximum readings occurred at different parts of the plate along its rotation. Because the max readings were in different and discrete parts of the calibration plate, TBB had a very high level of confidence in the flatness of the calibration plate, itself.
These are the best choice for long jobs where you’ll get yourself set up at a job site, and need a saw that enables you to make all your big, long cuts without traveling back and forth between the site and your shop. While you won’t want to move these units around frequently, they’re great for seeing a contract through to the end from the worksite.
Belt drive table saw motors run on a pulley system, most of the time some power is lost through this system, but belt drive blades can cut through thicker timber and hardwoods. They can produce power of around 3 to 5HP and thanks to the motor being mounted further away from the blade with belt drive, the motor will last longer as less dust will get into the motor. One thing to consider though is that belt drive will be in general more expensive and are normally found on heavy cabinet type saws, so this must be considered when working out your budget.
It’s sturdy. This unit also has a metal roll cage frame all around, which helps it handle the rough and tumble of travelling to worksites on a regular basis. It has a locking mechanism to help it stay securely on stands. We’re also super impressed by how well-made the adjustment knobs feel on this one. Buyers reported using this one for several years with no issues.
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.
A riving knife is a piece of metal that comes included with your new saw. It’s shaped like a surfboard fin. Sadly, not all models come with this crucial part. If you purchase a model without it, make sure you design one for yourself as soon as possible. The construction of this piece is not a big deal at all; you can cut the shape in a matter of minutes and install it. Its purpose is to prevent the wood and debris from getting caught in the back of the blade which consequently kicks back thus jeopardizing your safety.
We compiled this set of data and created a ranked set of results by assigning a 1-2-3 rating to the relative values of the test measurements. Then we ranked the saws for overall as-manufactured table flatness. As a point of interest, a typical sheet of copy paper is approximately .004 inches thick. Flatness measurements varied from 0.0 to .09 inches.
The saw itself is remarkably compact, measuring just 22.5″ square and a little over a foot in height (13″ to be more precise). With a steel “roll cage” that encloses the 4 HP 15-amp motor and a rubber handle that is positioned in the center of the right side of the saw, this is a tool that you’ll find very easy to toss into the back of a pickup or work van and take to any jobsite. When you carry it deck-inward, the weight of the saw presses in slightly against your leg – which actually steadies the saw somewhat, making it more manageable, though at 52-pounds let’s not go so far as to call this saw a breeze to carry. The Bosch GTS1031 included cord wrap, and the simple design of the frame also makes it easy to store up against a wall inside your shop when not in use. This isn’t a tool that really gets in the way much – it’s out of sight until it’s needed.
I can’t tell you how many times we’ve pulled out other jobsite saws only to have accessories fall off, or require off-tool storage. Bosch designed the GTS1031, however, to securely hold all of its accessories, even including the arbor wrenches (both of them) and an allen wrench for adjusting the riving knife and dust ejection points among other things. Our favorite was the rip fence, which simply flipped upside down and stored underneath the table – clever! About the most difficult adjustment was the riving knife, which is a tool-less maneuver, but one which requires you to stick your hand way into the blade cavity to reach the release lever. When making any adjustments to the blade, it goes without saying (but we’ll say it anyway) to disconnect power to the saw as a precaution.