IMPORTANT REVIEW UPDATE (10/4/2016): After doing some additional testing with pressure-treated lumber and heavier stock, we [initially] found some issues with the Bosch REAXX saw that we couldn’t explain—except to say that it didn’t have the power we expected for cutting through denser wood. The blade exhibited a significant drop in speed during many common ripping cuts, and it even stalled out entirely at other times. We contacted Bosch and worked directly with them to determine the nature of the issue (which appeared to have to do with the saw’s electronic speed control). Here is the initial statement from Bosch on the matter:
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.
Methods for tilting the blade to cut bevels vary among the saws. The Porter-Cable saw is the only one with a conventional handwheel bevel control mounted on the side of the saw. The crank gives you great control for setting an exact angle. To set the bevel on the Bosch, DeWalt and Rockwell saws, you simply release the bevel-lock lever and tilt the saw to the preferred angle. It’s easy to go quickly from a 90-degree to a 45-degree bevel with this method. The Ridgid, Craftsman and Ryobi saws have a rack-and-pinion setup. These saws utilize the front crank for setting the bevel.
On the other end of the handyman spectrum, you’ve got the seasoned professional with years of experience under his belt. We all know the type: he’s the guy that expects only the best, and DEWALT more than delivers with their patented DWE7491RS. This wood-slicing machine is the cream of the crop when it comes to cutting through even the toughest materials. The DWE7491RS measures 26¼" x 22", so it’s a relatively large apparatus — you’re going to want to make sure that you have plenty of space in your garage for this table saw.
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.
Using the guards the saw came with is crucial for the safety of your hands. If you are working with smaller pieces, make or buy a sled with a work clamp so that you can maintain a safe distance from the blade. The clamped sled can be as simple as a piece of plywood with a track on the bottom that’s responsible for riding in the groove. It’s quite simple to construct, saves time, and most importantly – fingers.
As you would expect, the most expensive saws made slightly smoother cuts. But the difference was negligible. The only saw that struggled to make smooth cuts in the super-thick oak was the Ryobi. In more common situations, like cutting 3/4-in.-thick material, Ryobi’s cut quality was fine. We found the blades included with all the saws to be adequate for most ripping tasks. But if you want cuts smooth enough for glue joints, you’ll have to invest in a better blade.
The dual extension tables (rear and side) offer 50% more table space than most rectangular units. We also appreciate that Grizzly have put all the space under the worktop to use, with steel-frame shelving built in as standard. You can use it for scrap wood, tools, and accessories: you can even fit a full tool chest under there! It’s a good space-saving touch for busy shops.
While your table saw is unplugged, take the time to clear and clean the work surface, removing any debris that could negatively impact the smooth path of the wood you will be cutting. Then, lower or raise the blade to where the blade gullet (the curved section between each blade tooth) is equal with the top of the piece of wood to be cut. Also, make sure that your saw's dust exhaust port is clear and open and that a bag is in place to catch any excess sawdust.
On the downside, these units are by far the heaviest type of saw, and they’re the most expensive by a long shot. Their cast iron worktops and steel cabinets makes them more of a permanent fixture than nearly any other tool. To move them around your shop, you’ll need an expensive, heavy-duty wheeled base, which can cost even more money up front. They’re best for people who will keep them in one place, and use them on a regular basis.
TBB used the same iGauging 35-125-4 digital dial indicator to measure the accuracy of the as-delivered factory fence to the table miter slot. We started by placing the fence in a locked position about 1” away from the blade on the opposite side from the miter slot. We adjusted the throw of the dial indicator so that we took the readings on the indicator, as before, in the middle of the indicator’s range of movement.
Home Depot sells around 60 models of table saws on its website, and the top models get hundreds of reviews from users. We found four portable saws with ratings of 4.5 stars or better from 250 users or more, and one contractor saw gets ratings just shy of 4.5 stars overall from more than 650 owners. Individual reviews are fairly short and include ratings for quality and value.