A table saw can be classified in many ways, and I’ve come across terms like contractor, folding, featherboard, hobby, induction, sliding and zero clearance. However, I will conform to the most basic and clear classification and range the tables accordingly. That means I’ll order them by benchtop table saws, jobsite table saws, cabinet saws and hybrid table saws.
We evaluated the flatness of the table by measuring the flatness by placing the edge of a precision ground flat bar across the table and placed feeler gauges in any gaps to measure any difference between the ground bar and the table. TBB took measurements in four directions. As the operator faces the saw, we measured the flatness at the arbor from front-to-rear; we measured the left-to right flatness at the arbor; we measured the flatness from the upper left-to-lower right table corners; and, finally, we measured the upper right-to-lower left flatness between the corners.
TBB used an iGauging 35-125-4 digital dial indicator to measure the accuracy of the blade position to the table miter slot. This instrument has an accuracy of .0005 inches. As part of the table saw set-up, TBB installed a new Diablo blade in each saw and these never-before-used blades were used in the measurement test. To ensure that any wobble in the blade did not enter into the test results, TBB marked a single tooth as the reference point for the measurement. The blade position was moved to the front of the saw to allow the iGauging dial indicator to hit the tooth immediately behind the carbide tooth, The iGauging dial indicator was calibrated and the indicator had a reading of zero.
These saws are the most difficult ones to categorize. The simplest explanation would be that they are somewhere in the middle between contractor and industrial cabinet saws. They are driven by an inboard belt motor. These units usually have open leg stands, but there are some models with closed ones – hence the whole confusion and difficulty in categorizing.
The DeWalt, Bosch and Ridgid saws have strong stands that are easier to set up, sturdy fences that lock down parallel to the blade every time, and smooth-operating blade controls. If you’re a contractor or an avid DIYer who just likes top-quality tools that feel good and last a long time, we think the extra few hundred dollars is a good investment.
We’re impressed with how much thought SawStop have put into all the features on this model. It has an extra-large bevel gauge ruler on the side of the cabinet, tool-free, modular guard system, and compatibility with innovative wheelbases which don’t add noticeably to the SawStop’s height or footprint. It also has beveled edges to protect your materials, a very nice touch that our other recommendations don’t have. All in all, it feels like a tool designed by people who use one of these units on a regular basis.
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.
Once again our team has put some serious time and effort into our Head-to-Head evaluation to bring you the most comprehensive information available. For this evaluation, we broke things into several categories including: Precision & Accuracy, Performance (power), Price, and Ergonomics. For each of these categories we’ll rank the saws and at the end we’ll name the Best Portable Jobsite Table Saw based on all the results combined.
Below is a graph showing the average measured decibels for the saws (for each of the materials we tested). As you can see the saws range from 93.7 db to 97.9 db. OSHA allows 8 hours of exposure for up to 90 db, from 95 db up the exposure limits start dropping quickly starting at 4 hrs for 95 db so clearly these saws all need hearing protection. We ranked the quietest 3 saws as a 2, and the remaining saws as a 3 and felt none should rank a 1 due to the need for hearing protection.
As for various accessories and attachments such as rip, miter and blade guard, these can be stored in their own specially designed hangars. If you plan on using other blades (and you probably will) there is also a well where you can store all the blades you have. In order to keep the surface of the table dust-free there is a dust collection port featuring a shrouded design which can be attached to the vacuum.
All the articles on this website are short and punchy without much filler, but because there is so much to learn about table saws it will still take you the better part of an afternoon to read through them all. For those who don’t have that kind of time, or those who already know a great deal about table saws, this is the section that will take you to the best table saw for your needs.
You can store and transport the Bosch upright or on either of its sides. In between our tests, we found that the saw neatly stored away on its side on a workbench shelf. On the other hand, the DeWalt can only be stored or transported in its upright position. While it may possible to rest the saw briefly on one of its sides, there is the potential to damage the power cord, plug, or the ends of the telescoping fence rails.
The professional level saws saw a separation as well and all were well ahead of the cutting power we saw with the value group. A middle tier of cutting performance started with Makita and Bosch’s 4100 while DeWalt was significantly better. Entering the fray with the only worm drive system, we had high hopes for Skilsaw’s entry. It was solid and smooth—definitely at the Pro level— and close to what the 4100 delivered.
You have to know the amount of money you are willing to spend for the right saw. The truth is that the price will vary significantly depending on where you are buying the saw, the brand and the features it comes with. However, with a good budget, you can easily narrow down the options you may have. You will have a smaller range to work with and you will know what features to expect within that price range. Always be willing to spend a little more on the table saw you want in your workshop especially if you work on wood every day.