We absolutely love the guard on this model. Like the Grizzly, the Jet is equipped with a riving knife or splitter, a blade guard, and kickback awls. The Jet’s our favorite of the two to use, because the whole system is modular: you can take it apart or put it back together without using any tools! The splitter (or riving knife) attaches to the same arbor component as the blade, so no matter how you bevel, and no matter what size blade you use, the splitter always lines up without needing any adjustments.
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.
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.
Framing work is full of rougher cuts that rarely makes use of more than one blade at a time. But occasionally you might need dados for an onsite custom build in. If that sounds like you, be sure to find out the saw’s dado stack capacity. It requires a longer arbor and you won’t be able to use your normal throat plate for it. Some manufacturers offer a dado throat plate if they have the capacity for it.
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.
Plus, the machined aluminum table is our favorite on the market right now. It also has a smarter motor system than either of the Dewalt’s, thanks to a soft start and automatic speed control to ensure smooth cuts. However, it’s the slowest of the pack, and it doesn’t have quite as good a fence as the yellow competition. We think it’s a great choice for pros who are concerned about accuracy, but can’t spend lots of money on their unit.
Setting up or taking down Craftsman’s spring-assisted stand is a six-step process, involving various release latches. It’s not intuitive like that of Bosch or RIDGID. And, once the stand is folded down, don’t lift the handles up too far when rolling the saw around, or the stand drags against the floor. A shorter woodworker might find this less of a problem than this 6′ 3″ tester did. I also found that the stand’s narrow stance and light weight couldn’t prevent it from skittering on the floor as I pushed heavy lumber across the top. A word to the wise: weigh the base down for heavy-duty work or for cutting large sheet goods.
The stand strays from the idea that jobsite stands need to be wheeled. We can attribute this to its light weight. While it loses points for portability, Skilsaw’s design created the most stable stand of the entire group. Another benefit to going with this simple stand design is that it is certainly responsible for dropping the price point. Skilsaw is definitely the table saw you want to go with if you’re having to move your saw in and out of a truck bed rather than being able to wheel it up in a trailer.
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.
Built on the 4100’s foundation, The Bosch REAXX exhibits similar performance with a few improvements. Despite what we’ve seen online, the REAXX did seem to have better cutting power than the 4100. (see Editor’s Note above) The narrow throat plate opening also gave it much better dust collection, allowing only the finest material to make its way out. It shares the top ranking gravity rise stand with the 4100.
To learn about how table saws perform in real people's homes, we consulted owner-written reviews at retail sites like Amazon, Home Depot, Lowe's, and Sears. User reviewers don't have the breadth of experience that many experts enjoy, but they can provide keen insights on the model they bought, including things that might not crop up in the relatively short time professional reviewers have to spend with a given saw.
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This is a truly great saw, except that it is really tough to adjust the blade and rip fence for parallel. Once adjusted though, it is a fine piece of engineering. What I like best is that the saw is built for the job site. It is extremely beefy, but no too heavy. In my opinion, it strikes a nice balance. Its cart stand is the best in the industry, bar none. Once adjusted, the saw returns to its settings extremely well. It is obviously built for the long haul, and should last a contractor many years. I would definitely purchase this saw again. Now with the things that I wish were better. First, adjusting the blade for parallel is just plain hard. Mine was out from the factory by 4 thousandths. It is a trial and error process, and the instructions suck. Here's what to do: 1. Loosen the four screws indicated in the instructions. Starting from behind the saw, center the blade housing in the rear left to right as best you can, then tighten one screw not quite snug (you want the housing to rotate on this screw when you adjust the front). Next move to the front of the saw and loosen the lock lever for blade angle adjustment (the housing won't move unless you do). Now, begin experimenting with holding the housing at 90 degrees with one hand while sliding the housing back and forth with the other until square. When you think that you are close, lightly tighten one of the front housing screws. Check for parallel (look for videos on how to check a table saw blade for parallel), then tighten the blade angle adjustment lever. With these screws and the lever tight and locked, check again for parallel. If it is still good (I got it to 1/1000 inch of parallel), then lock all the screws and check one more time, if it's still good, then you are done with blade housing adjustment.
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.