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.
Located right next to the hand wheel on the front is a panel that features both a power button and a stop switch. The power button helps the motor come to life quickly without requiring that it heat up first, and you can press down on this button to turn the saw off at the end of the day. The emergency stop switch helps you stop the blade in the middle of a project to prevent accidents caused by clothing or skin coming into contact with the blade.
With that said, the Dewalt DWE7491RS (another jobsite saw) has an amazing fence. It also has a greater ripping capacity – so if this additional functionality is more important to you than portability, it might be something to consider. Although keep in mind that it’s also 30lbs heavier, and the stand is much worse than that of the Bosch (which we’ll discuss later in this article).
If you’re looking for a machine with high capacity, the SKIL 3410-02 has a 3.5-inch cut height with the ability to cut through four times the material on each pass. The consensus among reviewers is that, for such a low price, you end up compromising on miter gauge and saw blade quality. Luckily both of those things can be replaced if you so choose.
In recent years, there has been a cloud of controversy surrounding the inherent safety issues surrounding the table saw. SawStop developed a flesh detection technology that pulls the blade below the table surface 3 milliseconds after coming into contact with skin. It really created a new class of table saw that, as of June 1st, finally has some competition in the form of Bosch’s REAXX.
If you work with wood in any capacity, chances are you rely on a table saw to make clean, accurate cuts. But when your good old saw goes to the big toolshed in the sky, it’s time to opt for a replacement. Before you dish out your hard-earned money on the first model you come across, remember that a table saw is a big investment, so it’s in your best interest to look into the many technical specifications of each option before you settle on a final purchase.
The Bosch is, in fact, almost twice as heavy its competitor. Despite its aluminum try! But…..there may be other things to consider when you think about the portability of a worksite table saw. One consideration is the ease of setting up and moving the saw table. The Bosch, with its unique Gravity-Rise Stand and solid rubber wheels, may be heavier but easier to move and set up for use. The DEWALT wouldn’t require as much muscle to move, but the table is relatively small and it has no wheels. It bears mentioning that its table is sold separately, and is assembled separately, whereas the Bosch unit’s Gravity-Rise Stand is a part of the overall unit. The stand allows the saw to be raised into working position in a single, fluid movement, and easily cuts set up time in half.
I like the clever design of the stand on this saw which allows it to collapse or open by operating a single lever. The unit has two transport wheels which allows for easier relocation and the stand doubles as a pulling handle. It measures 39 x 30 x 20 inches which makes it pretty compact. The distance between the floor and the work surface is 37.5 inches. To make the stand as durable and corrosion-resistant as possible Bosch has given it a powder-coat finish.
You’ll also want to consider which features are most important for you. If you need extra space to work, and cut lots of larger stock, you should invest more in a saw that gives you more room. If you’re working with people who haven’t spent their lives working with professional-grade tools, or if you’re trying to meet tough workplace safety standards, you should probably spend a bit more for a unit with a skin-detection system to protect fingers or limbs.
As accidents and injuries are common when using large power tools like this one, it’s important that you look for safety features such as a dust collection system. Inhaling the sawdust that comes off the wood can make you sick, but this system does a good job of removing the dust from your work area. The collection port itself has a convenient on the cabinet too.
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.
To get the feel of the cut, we used a two man team to feed from one end of the saw and catch on the other. This helped us reduce the friction that comes from one person trying to hold a board flush against the fence while also keeping downward pressure to keep it level on the table. There was definitely some hesitation at the beginning of each cut that was alleviated once the board was received by the second man on the other side. It was during this middle section that the table/fence friction was at its lowest point and we made our determinations about each saw’s power and cutting speed.
Stands are one of those features where the ends really do justify the means. Some made us wish the manual writers would take a cue from Lego—just make the *@#$! things easy enough for a 7 year old to understand. That aside, SawStop set itself aside brilliantly, taking just 10 minutes to setup. All we had to do was install the wheels and two handles. Even the packaging is designed to make the process easier and the instructions were super-easy to understand. Makita was nearly as simple only requiring us to install the handle and bolt the saw to the stand.
As with anything, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with the variety of types, sizes, features, colors, weights, what, when, why, where, who…(let me catch my breath). For now, let’s focus on what’s right for you with our Best Portable Table Saw Guide. We’ll start by identifying quality brands that align with your needs. Besides, who wants to buy something that won’t work?
When it comes to power tools, table saws provide convenience when tackling DIY jobs or larger commercial tasks. With their table surface, you are able to get more accurate cuts with the materials you are working with. Utilizing the miter gauge, you will find these power tools to provide the same accuracy as your favorite circular saws without the hassles.
Reviewers recommend these models for easy transport to jobsites and for easy storage in a small workshop. Portable table saws come in two types. Benchtop saws sit on top of a workbench and are light enough to pick up and carry; jobsite saws are mounted on folding stands, usually with wheels for easier transport. The main drawbacks of a portable saw are its lower power and smaller table, which makes it tricky to cut larger lumber and sheet material such as plywood. Prices for portable saws start at less than $200, but the best-rated models typically cost $300 or more.
One of the biggest issues and potential hazards when working with table saws is kickback. Table saw kickback occurs when wood is ejected from the saw at extremely high speed. You can imagine the sort of injuries this can cause. Table splitters are effectively small vertical bits of metal or sometimes plastic that are designed to stop the wood flying back if there is a kickback. Attached to the splitter are anti kickback pawls either side, they look like table saw blades themselves but they are in fact there to grip the wood at stick into it in case of kickback.
For ideal usage, the on/off switch needs to be mounted on the front of the saw and should be easy to turn off with your knee or a swat without having to look at it to locate it. Most table saw models have a safety feature that is a plastic key that has to be inserted before the table saw can be turned on. Some may even have a way to padlock the switch.
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.
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.