And finally, there are a couple of jobsite table saws running around with flesh detection to drop the blade out of the way if it detects a strike. There’s a significant premium in cost for these saws and there has also been plenty of litigation regarding whether it should be required on every table saw and whether more than one company has the right to manufacturer the mechanism. But they’ll save you a much worse injury in the event of an accident.
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.
Contractor units are the next step up from portable (or jobsite) table saws. A contractor table saw has a worktop and motor assembly that looks a lot like a cabinet model, only it’s missing the cabinet! Contractor units aren’t quite as portable as a job site saw, but they’re about half the weight of a cabinet saw. They pack a lot more power than a portable unit, and their cutaway stands make them fairly manageable for folks who have helpers to assist in getting the saw off the truck and set up at the site.
Replacing the hugely popular outgoing W1824, the W1851 is a brand-new Shop Fox hybrid with the same enclosed cabinet as you’ll find on the W1819 alongside features more in line with a contractor’s saw. We chose to review the W1851 as it’s a more flexible option than the W1819 and appeals to a broader range of woodworkers. We rarely review brand new products but in this case we made an exception… With a brand like Shop Fox, it’s not a case of taking a chance but of betting on a winning team.
From there, the rest of the saws created a top tier of cutting power that wasn’t mind-blowingly better, but definitely noticeable. It took many cuts back and forth between saws to determine which came out ahead of other because they are so close to each other. Bosch’s REAXX took third place overall with SawStop ever so slightly ahead. Part of that simply came down to the fact that SawStop was a little bit smoother cutting. Coming out on top was Ridgid. There was noticeable vibration compared to Bosch and SawStop here, but it was able to muscle through each cut a little bit better than the other two.
Kobalt’s KT1015 Table Saw features value pricing with a decent rolling stand. We initially had questions about its dual-locking fence, but found that it actually worked quite well. There’s plenty of wobble in it, but if you follow our Pro Tip on adjustments in the fences section, you can lock the front end in square then stabilize it with the back lock.
Ridgid seems to get mixed reviews from users, maybe due to its lower price point, but continues to impress us in head to head competitions. With this edition, Ridgid’s 15 amp motor powered through cuts better than any other saw we tested. Sure it was close, but it consistently beat out each competitor. That power does come with more vibration than some of the others though.
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.
Which leads to a problem. A standard blade should not have that kind of space around it. Fortunately, Bosch sell very inexpensive throat plate blanks that can become zero clearance inserts. I have one for each of my three main blades and a fourth unused one that I put aside just in case. While I can make my own, it just isn’t worth the hassle as these are pretty affordable.
And finally, they all include a blade guard that can be removed and reinstalled without tools. Because a few sawing operations, such as non-through cuts, require you to remove the blade guard, we like saws that make this task easy. The Bosch, DeWalt and Ridgid saws have well-designed blade guards that are easy to remove and reinstall. The blade guards on all but the Porter-Cable and Craftsman also have a feature that holds the blade guard in the raised position to allow better blade visibility for setting up cuts.
The saw’s table measures 29 x 21.5 inches which makes this unit suitable for the fabrication of large sheets of material and large wood stock. The table is made out of aluminum and is really smooth which means you will be able to slide even the largest pieces in with very little effort. Still, for extra safety, I would recommend the optional extensions when ripping longer workpieces.
We absolutely love the Dewalt DWE7491 that we recommended as our top quality choice above. It’s a powerful, precise workhorse that can handle nearly any cutting job. However, times are changing fast, and workplace safety standards are increasing just as rapidly. If you’re a professional who wants to stay on top of your code, you should consider getting a unit that’s equipped with a flesh-detections safety system.
The stand is collapsible and wheeled like others, but it’s not the gravity-rise style. You’ll have to use a foot to stabilize it while you pivot it up or lower it down. The lower locks are released with your feet and there’s some question about the long term durability of the releases. An open housing design has two major results – motor cooling should be more efficient but it trades off storage for an extra blade. There’s really way too much to talk about here, so check out our full review of this model.
One term you may hear when reading about table saw accuracy is blade runout. Runout is a term that describes whether or how much the outside edge of a saw blade wobbles while being held by the motor shaft. Sometimes, operators measure runout by using a saw blade. In that case, the very use of a saw blade presumes that the specific blade is perfect or nearly perfect in its flatness. Using a saw blade that has any warping will not give a clear indication of blade runout.
It’s the safest of the three by a long, long shot. SawStop became a major brand thanks to a feature that they’ve named their brand after: an accident-proof stopping mechanism for the traditional table saw. The innovative brake system on this model is the best on the market at detecting flesh and stopping the blade immediately. It’s a sure bet for saving fingers or worse injuries in the workshop.
More expensive models also have more efficient drivetrains, which means they achieve a higher cutting speed for smoother, faster, and trouble-free cuts. Plus, their innovative belt designs and calibrated trunnion supports make the whole cutting experience smoother, quieter, and simpler. You’ll also pay extra for innovative safety features like skin detection, paddle power switches, magnetic switches, and thermal overload protection.
Portable saws are usually light and smaller than the other types. The three basic types of portable saws are compact, bench top, and jobsite saws. Because they are designed for portability, the materials of which they are made sometimes lack sturdiness and stability. However, that’s not a reason to be alarmed; a vast majority of these units are absolutely safe for work.
But, their price point reflects that. If you want the absolute best table saw money can buy then you can go pay $10,000 and it’s yours. We always accept a certain number of tradeoffs depending on what our budget allows So, if I am only doing a few DIY projects a year, I am not a carpenter by trade, and my budget is limited, the SKIL table saw may be right up my alley.
In addition, a top-quality fence should move smoothly and have a scale that’s accurate and easy to read. Our favorite is the DeWalt fence. The rack-and-pinion system keeps the fence parallel to the blade, and the micro-adjusting knob allows easy and precise fence positioning. Runners-up in this category for best table saw are the Ridgid and Bosch saws. They both have superb fences, with the added advantage of T-slots for attaching accessories like featherboards.
The Grizzly is our top choice for folks who need lots of room to work, plain and simple. Thanks to its dual extension tables, this one has the widest rip and fence capacity of the three units we’ve reviewed here. We also love that it makes full use of the space under the worktops, so you’ll get plenty of storage room to make up for its larger footprint.
If you are a woodworking professional, you'll want a cabinet saw in your workshop. These are the heaviest, sturdiest and most precise table saws, with powerful motors that require a 220-volt electrical outlet. Cabinet saws require a large, dedicated space because of their guide rails and large tables (often with big extension wings). Then also tend to have the best safety and dust-control features. Woodworkers with enough space (and money) usually make a cabinet saw the permanent centerpiece of their workshop, though a few cabinet saws have mobile bases. Cabinet saws cost $1,600 and up.
Table saw flesh sensors are a brilliant and clever piece of engineering. Sawstop revolutionised the industry when they came up with this technology. Human skin is a good conductor of electricity where is wood isn’t. So, the system works by passing an electric current through the table saw blade its self and when it’s cutting wood it’s fine as there is no conductivity between the wood and the blade but as soon as it hits human skin and becomes conductive it triggers an electric brake that stops in the blade in only 0.02 seconds. You may end up with a small cut but at least you won’t lose your finger or worse. There are quite a few different versions now on the market so we would advise you to read plenty of table saw reviews and do you research into the different systems to find the best one for you.
One drawback is because of the way the blade is stopped, you will want to have an extra blade brake on hand because once it’s used, it cannot be reused. So, if you don’t have another handy, you will have some downtime. Also, the stopping of a blade moving at thousands of RPM can understandably be very hard on the blade itself. Often, the blade may need to be replaced after it has been stopped in this way. Still better than losing a thumb.
Most shippers will expect you to have a forklift to get the crate off the truck, so if that’s not something you can arrange, you’ll want to opt for “lift-gate” delivery or an installation plan that involves the shippers bringing the saw to your actual workshop. Be prepared to spend a fair bit of money for delivery ($100-$250), especially if you can’t get the saw off the truck and to the workshop on your own.
There were really two major performance considerations we wanted to look at to help determine the best portable jobsite table saw: cutting power and dust collection. Power is an obvious choice. We want to make clean, straight cuts, but we don’t want to spend all day making them. Any saw can be calibrated to be straight and accurate, but some have to be babied more than others to get professional results.
Just used this saw for the first time today and I love it. Instructions for putting the stand together were not very clear. There's a lot of very detailed reviews here, so there isn't much I can add that hasn't already been said; but one thing I didn't know until using it is that the rear legs are angled further back than the front ones to provide more stability when pushing stock through the saw. Only used it a few times today, but it was a pleasure to use.
Editor’s Note: If you’re using the Bosch REAXX saw without dust collection, you’re going to want to partially open up the clasp located on the bottom of the saw. This allows the sawdust to exit the blade chamber through a half-inch gap. Failure to do this will clog the output port in a very short amount of time. When you use a dust extractor you can keep this chamber fully closed.
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.
RIDGID’s 94-lb. R4510 might not be a saw you want to lift into a truck bed every day, but it’s bound to deliver solid cutting results once you reach your destination. For starters, this saw includes a downright great stand. Step on one lever, and the tubular frame lifts and glides smoothly up into place. The same lever collapses it. It’s sturdy, well-balanced and provides a wide stance to keep the saw from shifting or tipping. Large wheels and rubber tires roll the machine around easily during transport or just to reposition it when set up. The left-most tube is both a working-height handle and side support for balancing extra-long crosscuts. Smart.
From there, it’s all about flesh detection. The REAXX wins out over SawStop in this category thanks to quicker recovery, a two-shot activation mechanism ($99 per cartridge, $49.50 per shot), and keeping the blade from damage. The initial saws to go out also come with a code to get an extra cartridge for free when you register the REAXX. Like I mentioned earlier, the unknown is still the actual reaction time compared to SawStop.
Jet also gives you different choices when it comes to the extension wings. Some customers prefer the cast iron wings because they add more weight and keep the table from shifting, but others prefer the stainless steel wings that are durable and easier to use. No matter which wings you choose, you’ll find that you can quickly and easily attach them to the table’s surface to extend the total amount of workspace you have.
We made a few test cuts with ¾-inch plywood just to get a feel of the motors we were working with. It became clear pretty quickly that not all 15 amp motors are equal. Once we knew what to expect, we moved to pressure treated 2x pine material in 7-1/2 foot lengths. Why 7-1/2? Our test material started at 15 feet and it seemed silly to have some at 8 feet and others at 6.
Table saws will continue to be popular and much sought after tools in any workshop or construction site. There are many terrific styles on the market which is why it is important to do some research and look at the reviews provided here as well as the tips contained in this guide to help you choose the right table saw for your needs, whether you are a professional or a DIYer who loves to work in the workshop making things for enjoyment.
We cannot emphasize enough how important it is to think about safety at all times while using these tools. Even the slightest mistake can make a difference between life and death. The worst part is the fact that it usually happens in an instant, leaving you no time to react at all. Therefore, whatever you do, don’t forget that there’s a thin line between you having ten fingers at one moment and 8 in the next second.
The DEWALT DW745 and the Bosch 4100 are pretty evenly matched in having plenty of power and not-so-hot dust collection. I you’re looking for a light weight saw, the DEWALT comes in ahead since it weighs almost half as much as the Bosch. It is also the less expensive choice by far. The large work table, expanded cutting capability, and its Gravity Rise feature (with solid rubber wheels that make it easy to be rolling across rugged terrain at a jobsite) make the Bosch a Cadillac among Pintos, but, of course, that luxury comes with a price tag.