In layman’s terms, a miter gauge is a device that allows users to set up the angle of the material being cut with a table saw. And while most table saws come with built-in miter gauges, others, well, don’t — which is why the Kreg KMS7102 Table Saw Precision Miter Gauge System is invaluable. Whether you’re replacing an old, worn-out gauge or putting it to use in conjunction with a table saw that didn’t come with its own proprietary gauge, the KMS7102 is specially designed with precision in mind. After all, accuracy is vital to successful woodwork.
There are a few nice conveniences which we don’t always see on affordable units like this. The Grizzly has a built-in miter guide, made from cast iron, which slides easily in the worktop. The left-tilting blade is coordinated with a digital display, which gives you an accurate, real-time readout on your bevel angle as you cut! The motor has a starting amperage of 13, which is safer for your breakers than 15 amp models. There’s a standard 4” dust collection port, and
At a compact 45 pounds, the DEWALT DW745 Compact Jobsite Table Saw is the lightest table saw in our review. The saw's portability doesn't mean that ripping size is compromised, though. Thanks to extending fence guides, you've got 20 inches available. Depth of cut is on par with many bigger machines: at 90 degrees, it's 3 1/8 inches. At 45 degrees, it's 2 1/4 inches. Power comes from a 15-amp motor with a no-load speed of 3,850 RPM. This is ample enough for serious DIY projects and light-duty construction site work.
Under the table, you’ll find plenty of space to store away your accessories. This is valuable if you’re working on site and don’t want to keep hunting down bits and pieces. You’ll be able to stash your arbor wrench and Allen wrenches close to hand. The rip fence also flips upside down and can be stored under the table. It’s this kind of attention to detail for a jobsite saw that’s always appreciated.
These tests and evaluations are very difficult, take a lot of time, and ultimately limited in scope as we’re not a professional testing company and we’ve got limited time to evaluate the tools. We cannot do longer term testing that would shed light on durability and we can’t possibly test every application that you might use of one of these saws for. However, we feel comfortable that all the table saws in this Head-to-Head are good saws and our testing helps bring to light pros and cons for each saw.
The RK7241S has two sturdy tubular legsets that fold down and lock, and one becomes a convenient handle for transport. The stand stayed put during heavy ripping operations, and lawnmowerstyle wheels make the tool easy to roll. But, once set up, you have to drag or lift the saw to move it, unlike other portables that keep the wheels on the floor during use.
Safety and precision are usually at a high level. Some models even offer a sliding table as an option to mitigate cross-cutting. Needless to say, hobbyists love the sliding feature because it saves a lot of time and most importantly – nerves. As far as the driving mechanism goes, there are three possible options – single V-belt, serpentine belt, and a multiple V-belts.
More power is also associated with more control. More control also gives you the ability to cut tougher materials. Furthermore, more control allows you to use bigger blades with ease. For instance, a 1500W of the motor will result in swift movement of the blade as it spins. High RPM of the blade gives the user a greater chance of achieving accurate and precise cut. So, when shopping for a table saw, look out for a skill saw with the higher motor rating.
Home Depot sells around 60 models of table saws on its website, and the top models get hundreds of reviews from users. We found four portable saws with ratings of 4.5 stars or better from 250 users or more, and one contractor saw gets ratings just shy of 4.5 stars overall from more than 650 owners. Individual reviews are fairly short and include ratings for quality and value.
The price is acceptable. One cannot say it’s a cheap piece of equipment because it’s not. But, the high quality of production and a great deal of precision justify the somewhat premium price. If you’re a devoted professional, the price shouldn’t be much of an issue for you. The only downside many people reported is the quality control within the company. Many models came with broken or missing parts.
The table measures up at 29 inches by 21.5 inches. The 4100-09 is not suitable for dealing with large stock or sheets of wood. Made from aluminum, you’ll meet with no resistance as you slide the timber toward the blade. The only negative with the table is the way it’s finished with an anodized coating. This is fine to start with but tends to wear over time, something that doesn’t just look unsightly but can ultimately affect accuracy. This is a surprising oversight from Bosch and one we hope they rectify in future iterations of this fine table saw.
The quiet, 220-volt motors in these saws cut through the hardest stock, hour after hour, without bogging down. Cabinets are metal and extend to the floor for the best dust collection. The tops are cast iron, wide, and stable, which makes it easy to cut sheet goods. The trunnions are cabinet-mounted, so you get minimal vibration and maximum accuracy. They're also heavy; some weigh over 600 pounds. Once a cabinet saw's in place, that's where it stays.
Both saws were almost equally quick to setup for use, with the DeWalt coming out slightly ahead. The throat plate, which is thicker and sturdier than Bosch's, is slightly easier to remove and reinsert. The DeWalt's blade cavity offers greater clearance, which makes locking down and loosening the riving knife easier without scraping a knuckle. Dewalt's riving knife adjustment required less wiggling and hunting to get it set properly.
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.
If you’re going to be transporting your unit regularly, you should aim to keep weight to a minimum. Look for something lightweight, with convenient carrying handles, or a stand that can be wheeled around dolly-style at the worksite. Conversely, if you’re only going to be using your portable saw occasionally, you can probably stand a bit more weight.
The rip fence has a nifty flipping action so you can hold 2 different positions. This is an awesome feature if you’re cutting especially narrow workpieces. One of the dangers of ripping substantial pieces of lumber is breakage or the saw itself toppling over. The rail extension gives wonderful stability and allows you the freedom to undertake ambitious projects in complete safety.
The Delta Unisaw is a heavyweight in woodworking circles. It’s been on the market for years, and it’s a stalwart through and through. It has a super-powerful 5 HP motor which can blast through the toughest hardwoods and composite materials quickly. It also features one of the most precise bevel adjustments on the market, down to 1/4 degrees! It has a solid, single-cast trunnion which provides excellent vibration dampening, and an extra-heavy case iron base. In short, this is a hulking beast of a machine, and it’s easy to see why it’s been a shop favorite for years.
Every woodworker knows the plague of working in a dusty environment. The SawStop has a fantastic dust collection system so you can enjoy your cutting without your eyes being strained. Almost all of the dust is wicked away both above and below the table. Up above, the blade does all the legwork and there’s a neatly designed shroud which pulls all this dust away from the blade. The 4-inch port means you can slip your shop vac on with no issues.
As for my blades, I replaced the blade that came with the saw right away. It is terrible and would have been better to be not included at all. I replaced it with a Freud industrial 24 tooth glue-line rip blade and a Freud Diablo 80 tooth plywood and crosscut blade (I find it easier to just buy new plywood blades since the glue does a number on them, not to mention the wear and tear caused by MDF). As an all-around blade, I keep a 50 tooth Tenryu Gold blade. It is quieter somehow, and does a cut almost as good as either the rip or crosscut blade. Great for making quick cuts without always changing blades. I will use it for most ripping, but will switch to the ripping blade when I have a lot of ripping to do, or will be going thicker than about 1.5” in hardwood.
We evaluated the flatness of the table by measuring the flatness by placing the edge of a precision ground flat bar across the table and placed feeler gauges in any gaps to measure any difference between the ground bar and the table. TBB took measurements in four directions. As the operator faces the saw, we measured the flatness at the arbor from front-to-rear; we measured the left-to right flatness at the arbor; we measured the flatness from the upper left-to-lower right table corners; and, finally, we measured the upper right-to-lower left flatness between the corners.
Having only owned saws with cast iron tops this is a new experience for me. First let me note that the right side extension is not aluminum like the rest of the top. It is steel, painted to match. The entire top appears to be powder coated with a textured grey coating. No telling how durable it will be but it does allow wood to slide easily over it. Since the top is aluminum, it lets you know that by transferring all the motor noise and vibration throughout the saw. Not a big deal really but definitely different if you are used to the cast iron absorbing much of this on bigger saws.
Lack of mobility is the cabinet saws major drawback. Some cabinet saws need proper electrical wiring set up and often weigh a huge amount because of cast iron table tops and full cabinet like stands. But if your setting up a new wood shop or have a work space or wood shop of your own then there is no better investment you can make other than purchasing a cabinet table saw.
If height adjustments were standardized, we could expect each saw to make them nearly identically. Taking a look under the hood, we discovered several different methods—each with their own effect. Most of the saws employ a bevel gear system that provides smooth and reliable performance. We noticed that many used solid metal gearing, but Bosch used plastic for both the 4100 and the REAXX.
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.
Dust collection can seem like an afterthought for jobsite table saws. The fact that you’re outside, often on an unoccupied site, negates the need to collect your dust. But breathing that stuff doesn’t do your lungs any favors. That’s why dust collection is so important. Of course, if you’re working inside or in an occupied structure, collecting all that dust will make the cleanup part of your day easier to deal with. Since we’re not talking about concrete dust regulations, even a standard shop vac will be a good bet to help contain the mess.
Other features include a battery-powered laser for lining up cuts. I found it to be pretty dim under bright shop lights and not lined up correctly with the blade. It is non-adjustable. A pullout rear extension provides some added support for long rip cuts. Rockwell also offers a couple of unique accessories: a sliding miter table ($179.99) and a power planer-style “Finisher” ($129.99). It mounts on the saw for flattening board edges.
Three professional carpenters test ten portable table saws, including two now discontinued. They outfit them all with Diablo 40-tooth general-purpose blades and test them on both 3/4-inch plywood and pressure-treated 2x pine. Each saw earns points for safety features, fence quality, stability, weight, stand design, ease of adjustment, cutting power, and dust collection. Totaling up these scores determines the saws' overall ranking, as well as their "class ranking" against comparably priced brands. Some additional single product reviews of table saws can be found elsewhere on the site as well.
Ryobi’s RTS21G comes in as the only table saw in the group under $200. It’s lightweight, reasonably compact, and we got acceptable jobsite cuts with the upgraded Diablo blade. The throat plate uses magnets to hold it in place while leaving it easy to remove for blade access. Using a threaded rod to push the height adjustment up, you’ll notice it’s easier and smoother on the way down. The stand folds up and can be Velcro-strapped to the back, though it’s a bit wobbly compared to the others when ready for action.
It has all the safety features you need. This one has a big, brightly-colored stop button connected to an electric brake, so you can easily bring the blade to a halt. The stop button panel also has a thermal overload switch built in, so it’ll automatically switch the saw off if the motor becomes too hot. We also love that there’s a magnetic switch in the same panel, which prevents the machine from turning itself back on if power cuts out in your shop while you’re working.
Different types of table saw rely on different motors. With the smaller and more portable saws, 120V direct drive motors can deliver up to 2HP. This is more than enough power if you’re working with less substantial sheets of material. The larger saws have belt drive motors running on 240V. These produce 3-5HP. Think carefully about the materials you’ll be working with. Get the right sized motor for your cutting needs.
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.
If you need a table saw that can travel, the Bosch 4100-09 consistently earns high marks. Reviewers praise its power, accuracy, easy setup, and easy blade changes. They also love the gravity-rise wheeled stand, which rolls smoothly and snaps open or folds flat in a single lever-activated motion. Finally, they appreciate the convenience of the blade guard system, complete with riving knife and anti-kickback pawls.
The throat plate is the removable piece surrounding the blade that sits flush with the table. Removing it gives you the ability to access the blade for removal or riving knife adjustments. The narrower the blade clearance the better for two reasons. First, it helps keep material from falling into the blade area or lodging between the blade and throat plate. Second, it gives you material support very close to the cut to help reduce tearout as the blade exits the cut.
One important aspect to consider when buying a new table saw or looking for a new blade is axis adjustment. Being able to adjust the vertical height of the blade allows you to control the depth of the cut, it’s also useful when you don’t need to cut all the way through the wood, especially useful with thick pieces of wood. To help making bevel cuts and joints you can adjust the blade to certain angles that you require.