For centuries, the job of the sawyer was, quite simply, to saw logs into lumber. Working in two-man teams, a pair of sawyers would use massive saws -- called whipsaws or pitsaws -- to cut felled trees into workable planks with their own muscles as the motive power. The job was exhausting and often dangerous, yet necessary to create the precious lumber used to build everything from homes to railroad bridges.
I am a general contractor in the Midwest. I used the saw and stand a lot for the 1 week I've had it. Overall the saw works well, dado blades are easily interchangeable, and it's surprising quiet. However, the stand base bent on me today. I had it passively mounted in the rear of my enclosed 7x16 trailer. Opened the door this morning after arriving at the job site and it had sunken over. I thought maybe it had come out of the mount I made, but sadly that was not the case.
I can’t tell you how many times we’ve pulled out other jobsite saws only to have accessories fall off, or require off-tool storage. Bosch designed the GTS1031, however, to securely hold all of its accessories, even including the arbor wrenches (both of them) and an allen wrench for adjusting the riving knife and dust ejection points among other things. Our favorite was the rip fence, which simply flipped upside down and stored underneath the table – clever! About the most difficult adjustment was the riving knife, which is a tool-less maneuver, but one which requires you to stick your hand way into the blade cavity to reach the release lever. When making any adjustments to the blade, it goes without saying (but we’ll say it anyway) to disconnect power to the saw as a precaution.
All these saws have attached, collapsible stands with wheels that allow you to roll them around when they’re folded up. A few, like the DeWalt, Rockwell and Ryobi, can’t be wheeled around after they’re set up. But the biggest difference between stands is in how easy it is to set them up. The Ridgid and Bosch have nearly identical stands that work great and require you to only flip or depress one lever to unlock the stand. These are our favorites. The DeWalt stand is the sturdiest of the bunch and very intuitive. It sets up like a card table with legs that fold out and snap into place. The remaining candidates for best table saw have several different stand systems that aren’t quite as easy to set up but that work fine once you get the hang of them.
What if a contractor uses their job site saw for high quality built-ins or high tolerance finished cuts? In that case, saw accuracy is critical for that work. In this use case, if the saw is immediately put into use, success depends upon the out-of-the-box accuracy from the manufacturer. The quality of the cuts and more importantly the potential safety of the operator is going to be a function of the as-shipped accuracy of the saw from the manufacturer.
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.
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.
A little unusual for Bosch’s larger tools, it comes in reasonably light weight at 60 pounds – only Skilsaw and Ryobi posted lighter weights. Like Milwaukee in our 18V impact driver shootout, the Bosch 4100 didn’t really stand out from the crowd in features and performance. It’s solid consistency in every area we tested earned it the top spot in the class.
It’s tough to be completely objective when choosing the best portable jobsite table saw since the stock blades vary so widely. Skilsaw comes with a 30-tooth Diablo blade and Makita’s stock 32-tooth blade are both excellent while others could use some help. To make this shootout about the saws and not the blades, we turned to Diablo to outfit each saw with the same accessory.
Our table saw review quickly showed that today’s portable table saws are light-years ahead of the small-saw offerings from a decade ago. They feature big-capacity cutting, greatly improved safety features and attached stands for easy setup. And saws in the upper price range rival stationary saws in accuracy and quality of cut. We limited our review to saws that included a stand with wheels and ones that could rip at least 24 in. wide, only the best table saw for our readers!
One of the lightest and most compact table saws was also the most stable: Skilsaw. There’s no wheel base to the stand and the outward angled legs provide a wider platform than it may appear against its colleagues. In second place was DeWalt, also offering a wide platform, but without the amount of rigidity that Skilsaw has in their stand. Coming up in third was Bosch with its gravity rise stand followed closely by Ridgid. It’s important to note that none of the professional class table saws had any stability issues inherent to their extension locking—it was all in the stand.
How do you tell what the best table saw is? With so many table saw choices on the market it’s hard to know which table saw is the best fit for you and your woodworking needs. Not for long. We’ve taken the leg work out by doing all the measuring, tracking, and researching for you. We’ve compiled year-over-year performance and pricing information for over 3 years to help you choose the table saw that is ideal for you and your project. Search no more, find your table saw below.
The saw itself is remarkably compact, measuring just 22.5″ square and a little over a foot in height (13″ to be more precise). With a steel “roll cage” that encloses the 4 HP 15-amp motor and a rubber handle that is positioned in the center of the right side of the saw, this is a tool that you’ll find very easy to toss into the back of a pickup or work van and take to any jobsite. When you carry it deck-inward, the weight of the saw presses in slightly against your leg – which actually steadies the saw somewhat, making it more manageable, though at 52-pounds let’s not go so far as to call this saw a breeze to carry. The Bosch GTS1031 included cord wrap, and the simple design of the frame also makes it easy to store up against a wall inside your shop when not in use. This isn’t a tool that really gets in the way much – it’s out of sight until it’s needed.
The blades are the primary factor to consider when shopping for a saw as they hugely determine the performance of your table saw. The blades will only be effective if they are set at a correct depth of cut. The table saw will also perform best if only the correct blade for the cut is fitted, as a proper blade will enable you to achieve a precise and smooth cut. When purchasing a blade, go for the one with a correct setting blade. Consider the cutting depth also as this will determine its suitability for the job. You should also ensure that the table saw is equipped with splinter guard as this will help in minimizing splintering of the board’s top surface. Splinter guard also enhances accuracy because when it is lined up at the start and finish mark the saw will cut with precision. A suitable table saw should also have a 20mm arbor as this guarantees the stability of the blade and hence, safety in the workplace.
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.