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.
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One of the most widely used power tools for carpenters is the table saw. For carpenters that don’t work exclusively in the shop a portable jobsite table saw is essential. For this Head-to-Head we’re focusing on corded portable 10″ jobsite table saws. We are not including cordless table saws in this test as we plan on doing another head-to-head exclusively for cordless table saws later this year as several are available now.
No matter the model or price, a table saw should cut a range of material thicknesses and hold its settings accurately. So, after installing a new Freud hi-ATB thin-kerf blade in each saw, I made repeated rip cuts on MDF, resetting the fence each time to check for consistently thick offcuts. After that, I raised the blade for more rip cuts on heavy, long planks of 2 x 12 Southern yellow pine, before tipping the blade to bevel-rip 2″-thick poplar. Then I switched to a 6″ CMT dado set and made a long dado cut in MDF, so I could check for consistent cutting depth — a sign that the undercarriage is stout enough to handle a heavy blade like this. Overall, my test criteria was stability of the stand, cutting accuracy, reasonable dust collection efficiency and all-around convenience of use. Results ranged from exceptional to mediocre, as you’ll see.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Welcome to the heart of this website – my selection of the best table saws for several specific needs. You see, it’s impossible to select only ONE as the best for all purposes because a table saw should be carefully tailored to your needs. There’s no point in buying a complex cabinet saw if you’re a beginner, you’re probably better off with a solid benchtop saw. The same goes if you’re a professional, only the other way around.
With this saw, it was a very easy thing to plug it on and get started. The included cord is a reasonable length, but you’ll still need an extension cord unless you happen to be right next to an outlet in your workshop. Raising and lowering the blade is a smooth process and we found the mechanism to be nice and stiff, so you can be very precise with your cut depth. Only time will reveal whether or not this stays tight over the long haul, but it seems to be well-made. Mounting the accessories, like the smart guard system is quick. You just raise the riving knife using the release lever. The riving knife locks into a lower and upper position through the use of two sets of pins. In the upper position it is ready to accept the barrier guard, which you can remove from below the saw. It attaches easily with a lever lock and the anti-kickback device can then be placed on the back of the riving knife such that the teeth are set to grab any wood brought forward by the blade. The physical nature of the barrier guard assembly precludes you from placing your fingers anywhere near the cutting surface of the blade. We (and Bosch) recommend keeping this guard on the saw anytime you are doing “through” cuts. All-in-all, the table saw’s included safety features are more than adequate to keep you from encountering any unfortunate accidents. Removing them, or using the tool improperly, however, will considerably raise your level of risk.
The frame is also improved. Instead of the basic roll-cage on the Dewalt, this one neatens things up with an integrated sub-base. It’s a rugged rubber-like pad which serves as a bumper between the main frame and your truck bed or worksite table. Both the table and the sub base are joined to the main frame, and they provide strength at both ends of the design. As with the Dewalt, you can store your tools and accessories inside, an on hooks outside the Bosch.
Bosch’s Gravity Rise Stand was the best portable design of the group. While several stands share the basic principles, Bosch stood out with large diameter tubing that improves durability, the ease of set up/take down, and the larger pneumatic wheels that helps over less than ideal terrain. SawStop was right behind with slightly narrower wheels while Ridgid wrapped up the top 3 most impressive.
DeWALT DWE7480 is an excellent table saw, especially if you consider its price. It’s a step up from the highly popular DW745 and slightly more expensive, but I think the larger rip capacity and higher RPM are well worth the extra money. The DWE7480 is still in the lower price region though, and unlike the DW745 you can also get this one with a stand: the DWE7480XA!
I do not which is the best table saw, but I can tell you which is the worst. The rigid portable saw is a piece of garbage. I have purchased two in the last 4 years and the motor has failed in both, only to find that they do not sell a replacement motor. The Rigid customer service will not respond to any questions associated with the saw or replacement parts. I will not buy another Rigid tool and currently planning to try the Bosch table saw.
In my opinion, the Bosch is the clear winner here. While both of the saws are technically portable, the Bosch’s wheeled, easy to set up stand will get you to work quickly, without the need to keep track of multiple parts and accessories. While the DEWALT is much lighter, that difference is negated by the fact that you will be forced to carry it from the vehicle to where you will be using it, rather than pulling it behind you like wheeled luggage.
A dedicated writer and communications professional spending his days lost in the intricacies of both proposal and freelance writing. When not sharing the knowledge of both fully and self-insured medical benefits to employer groups of all industries within California, Jeff Newburgh can be found at home spending time with his family and 3 dogs, pondering the next chew toy to be thrown, while kicking back and relaxing with a nice glass of red wine.
The DEWALT DW745, due to its smaller size, does not have the capacity to use a stack of dado blades (blades designed to be stacked together to make wider cuts, grooves, and notches). It has also been noted that the plastic miter handle is a weak point, and it limits accuracy. There are no available table extensions. It does, however, come with a three year manufacturer’s warranty.
In other words, a malfunction might mean an injury. This distinction could not be more pronounced in any other job site equipment than a table saw. I have personally witnessed devastating injuries on a number of occasions that could have easily been avoided by the use of safety equipment that comes standard on most brand name saws. Liability for a job site injury can be a serious setback for well established companies, but for small, independent contractors it could mean the difference between business and bankruptcy.
Ridgid notches a third place finish as the only saw to include an independent blade height lock. The adjustment wheel raises and lowers with multiple full turns like most saws, but integrates a lock into the center. For the bevel adjustment, the outside of the height adjustment wheel turns a rack and pinion style system to accurately change the blade angle – a feature Makita shares.
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 absolutely love the guard on this model. Like the Grizzly, the Jet is equipped with a riving knife or splitter, a blade guard, and kickback awls. The Jet’s our favorite of the two to use, because the whole system is modular: you can take it apart or put it back together without using any tools! The splitter (or riving knife) attaches to the same arbor component as the blade, so no matter how you bevel, and no matter what size blade you use, the splitter always lines up without needing any adjustments.
We rotated the blade to the rear of the saw to enable the dial indicator to contact the same location of the same tooth behind the carbide portion. We positioned the dial indicator to the rear of the saw placed onto the blade and the reading recorded. If the blade and the miter slot were closer together at the rear of the saw, the dial indicator has a negative reading. If the blade and the miter slot were father apart at the rear of the saw, the dial indicator showed a positive reading.
Let’s face it: guys get in each other's’ way at a job site. It’s not always easy to find room to work, so portability is a serious advantage when it comes to making the most out of your space. Luckily for the professionals out there — not to mention hobbyists who prefer to move around rather than work in the same spot everyday — RIDGID’s 15-amp table saw comes with a convenient mobile cart for stress-free transportation.
The machine has a more conventional rip fence/rail arrangement. The right half of the rail assembly folds out so the saw can achieve its full 30″ of rip capacity — wider than any other model here — but the fence would not slide smoothly over the rails without catching on the hinge joint. While the rip fence did maintain its locked settings, it lacks the heft and build quality of the competition.