Buying a table saw is one of the biggest and most important purchases you will ever make when it comes to power tools. It is an integral part of most job site equipment, as well as an essential item for most do it yourself projects. Choosing a table saw that fits your particular needs and budget can mean the difference in both profitability and frustration level.
I am a general contractor in the Midwest. I used the saw and stand a lot for the 1 week I've had it. Overall the saw works well, dado blades are easily interchangeable, and it's surprising quiet. However, the stand base bent on me today. I had it passively mounted in the rear of my enclosed 7x16 trailer. Opened the door this morning after arriving at the job site and it had sunken over. I thought maybe it had come out of the mount I made, but sadly that was not the case.
All table saws sold in the U.S. come with a riving knife, anti-kickback pawls, and a split blade guard. Because some cuts can’t be made with these safety features installed, they are removable. If you’re looking for a fun party game, see who of your uninitiated friends can install both correctly without a manual. While each one is different, their nature means you can use the saw without them installed. I’d be remiss if I didn’t tell you those cuts are more dangerous, so avoid it if you can.
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.
In my opinion, the Bosch is the clear winner here. While both of the saws are technically portable, the Bosch’s wheeled, easy to set up stand will get you to work quickly, without the need to keep track of multiple parts and accessories. While the DEWALT is much lighter, that difference is negated by the fact that you will be forced to carry it from the vehicle to where you will be using it, rather than pulling it behind you like wheeled luggage.
Along with thinking about how the table saw will be used now, it is important to also consider how you will be using it in the future. Will your usage increase or decrease? Many woodworkers may turn a hobby into a fulltime profession if they are talented at what they do. Why are these considerations important? Because they will give you better insight into the kind of money you should spend on your table. If you are going to go into business for yourself in a year or two, spending the money for a high-quality table now is a good idea. It will save you from having to buy another table in the future to accommodate your new needs as a business rather than just a hobbyist.
You will need specialty blades for cutting materials such as plywood, masonry, hardwood and metals. Other specialty blades are used for dado cuts. Most dado sets have multiple rows of teeth and chippers and they are typically much wider than traditional blades. Be sure that the model of table saw you have can accommodate the type of specialty blades you want to get so you don’t waste your money on a blade that won’t fit.
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.
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!
The only dislike that I have found about the Bosch 4100-09’s operation is that unlocking the table causes a tab to pop up above the cutting surface. This tab interferes with the operation of the fence, and could lead to damage of the product. It also comes with only a one year warranty. It does have available rear out-feed extensions available, to help facilitate larger work pieces.
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.
Like the Bosch, this Dewalt comes with a rolling stand. It’s convenient to set up and take down, since you can do it without helpers or tools. It rolls like a dolly, and opens into a nice, sturdy table. We especially like the splayed legs, since they lend the whole thing a bit more stability than the Bosch version. Unlike the Bosch’s stand, the Dewalt’s has semi-pneumatic tires which won’t ever go flat.
The advent of ever better motive power that came with 19th century developments led to ever more efficient and ever more compact power saws. The first recognizably modern table saws date to the latter decades of that century. With compact and powerful electric motors developed and refined throughout the 20th century, tables saws were widely available and were both compact enough for home use, yet powerful enough for nearly any lumber ripping task.