Even a newbie can go around the table saw section at the local home improvement store and feel that some saws have easier adjustments than others. Some are simply easier while others are downright innovative in various ways. Porter-Cable came out of the value group for the overall win with adjustments that are both smooth and intuitive. Dual adjustment wheels mean that you’ll be able to accurately adjust your blade height and your bevel angle—a feature no other saw in this group has.
With both saws offering easy bevel and blade height adjustment, the ease of use comparison focuses mainly on the rip fences. Once the Bosch's rip fence is attached to the table, it moves smoothly across the table when unlocked. But unlocking the fence requires a bit of hand muscle. You can adjust the clamping pressure to alleviate this, but make it too loose and the fence may wobble out of square. Modifying the fence locking lever, or using a cheater bar (such as a push stick) works reasonably well.
This saw/stand combination is the most expensive of the group. But you get some top-end features. The first thing you’ll notice is the stand with its splayed legs that have no wheels in the setup position. You can’t wheel it around, but man is it sturdy, which is great if you’re ripping sheets of plywood or long, heavy boards. Another unique advantage of this stand is that you can easily remove the saw. That makes the saw easy to transport and to use without the stand. But our favorite feature is the patented rack-and-pinion fence that stays perfectly parallel to the blade and is super easy to adjust. If you can afford to spend a little more, we think the DeWalt is hard to beat.
It also has the highest blade speed. This model has a similar 15-amp motor to our other recommendations, but it’s geared for maximum efficiency. The result is a blade speed that’s nearly 1000 RPM better than the Bosch or the smaller Dewalt. Reviewers marveled at how powerful this one was compared to the size of the motor, which seems underwhelming from the outside. It rips right through oak, cherry, and other planks with no lag or burnout. In fact, we’re hard-pressed to find something this would struggle to cut, provided you equip it with the proper blade.
Another indication of how hard a table saw is working is monitoring the amperage (AMP) draw under loading conditions. We measured the amp draw for each saw using all three materials again at the same time we were recording RPMs. The first graph below shows the amp draw for each saw cutting plywood compared to the no-load amp draw. The white bar on the left indicates the no load amps and the colored bar on the right shows the maximum amp draw during the cut.
Finally, make sure you know your long-term options when it comes to maintenance, repairs, or replacements. Check the warranty coverage on your portable unit. Read the fine print, checking whether you’ll be paying for repairs under warranty, or whether the company will be footing the bill. Some manufacturers cover repairs, but not return shipping. Others force you to bring your unit to an authorized dealer, which can be difficult in some parts of the country.
Table saws in this best table saw review run the gamut in price and quality. You can buy a table saw for as little as $150, and if you use it just to occasionally rip a board, that may be all the saw you need. If you want a saw that’s easy to carry and you don’t need to rip sheets of plywood in half, look for a “compact” saw like the DeWalt DW745 (shown) or the Bosch GTS1031. If you have room for a little larger saw that’s slightly less portable but capable of wide rips, consider one of the best table saws we review here. And finally, if you want to build cabinets or furniture and have a big enough work area, you can step up to a stationary contractor’s saw like the Ridgid R4512 (shown), for about $650.
Table saws will use one of two different kinds of drive configurations; Direct-drive motors and Belt-drive motors. In a direct-drive motor, they will link directly to the blade itself and transfer all of the power of the motor to the blade. They tend to last longer than belt drive motors and there is no belt to replace or worry about getting worn out. Belt drive motors transfer power from the motor to the blade through a belt. In this type of configuration, the motor can be offset away from the sawdust which helps the motor last longer. In general, belt drive motors need more preventative maintenance than direct-drive motors do. If you have a belt drive motor, check the tension of your belts as well as checking them for wear periodically to ensure your continued safety.
Rockwell is the “freshman” brand among the other longer-standing benchtop power tool companies represented here, and its table saw revealed some “first rodeo” shortcomings. While the motor was amply powerful for my cutting tests, the blade arbor assembly was 1/16″ out of parallel with the miter slots. It’s a condition called “heeling” without easy adjustment in the manual. So, for my testing purposes I had to set the rip fence askew in order to align it parallel to the blade. The problem would need to be addressed on this sample saw for long-term use.
Lowes had a Father’s day sale, on their Kobalt table saw with a folding/rolling stand and was $180.00, with more money off because I signed up for their credit card-so I bought it. It cuts fine, the fence locks on both ends,measurements seem ok, and it unfolds and rolls away very easily-I like it so far. I’m a home owner and I use it sporadically and treat it well, it does not appear to be very robust, so as a day to day, on the job site saw, probably not a good choice. I used to have a Makita table saw, with a terrible fence, unreliable ruler markings, and difficult to use blade guide that interfered with measurements, which you needed to do every time-a terrible saw, very frustrating to use. I have a Makita miter saw and it’s great, but the idea of buying a same brand because I liked one of their other products did not work out.
For those of you who are looking to up your DIY game but don’t have enough capital to make the Dewalt DW745 happen for your home shop, this Craftsman is a decent budget choice. It’s powerful, lightweight, and extremely affordable. We don’t think you should expect too much from this one, though, since it has a very light table and a fence that won’t line up quite as precisely as you’d need for furniture-making or professional-grade projects. It’s cheaply-made, and doesn’t have as user-friendly a design as our other choices. For the home carpenter, though, this should do the trick for all your basic framing cuts.
Service can be expensive on these models, so you should see if the company will be covering repairs, of if you’ll be expected to foot the bill. Add-on plans are a great way to minimize your liability if something goes wrong. By purchasing a third-party warranty, you can have a much better customer service experience. The warranty provider will deal with the company for you, so you don’t have to negotiate or deal with frustrating runarounds.
Contractor saws weigh quite a bit more than portable saws, averaging between 150 and 350 pounds, but are still somewhat portable. They have a heavier, cast-iron table top, and a motor that is usually more powerful than a jobsite saw. Even so, they’re within prices affordable for more committed hobbyists. Contractor saws can range between $800 and $2,000. They’re good for basic cutting tasks, as well as making home furniture and cabinetry work.
rarely have to work with stock that thick. I mostly prefer to do this on my bandsaw any way. The 2" dust port allows me to hook up the shop vac and it does a decent job of getting most of the dust. The saw doesn't have much room in front of the blade so it was impossible to use my shop made cutoff sled. I solved this problem by making my own removable infeed extension table. Now I can use the 22" cutoff sled. After a year and a half the saw is still in adjustment and runs true. The saw stays in my shop and doesn't get bounce around on the back of a pickup truck. Based on my experience I highly recommend this saw if you have a small shop and don't plan on building large pieces
The design is not bad. The height of this particular table saw is around 35 inches. While some people don’t mind it, we think it could have been designed better. However, the best thing about the design is the fact that you can get both contractor and cabinet style table saws in one unit. Dust control is well-designed. The large 4-inch dust port offers a no-hassle setup, especially with vacuums of lower quality. In simpler words, you don’t need to purchase a super-expensive vacuum for this particular unit; any affordable one should do the job well.