All table saws sold in the U.S. come with a riving knife, anti-kickback pawls, and a split blade guard. Because some cuts can’t be made with these safety features installed, they are removable. If you’re looking for a fun party game, see who of your uninitiated friends can install both correctly without a manual. While each one is different, their nature means you can use the saw without them installed. I’d be remiss if I didn’t tell you those cuts are more dangerous, so avoid it if you can.
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.
Editor and "serious woodworker" Chris Marshall tests five "premium" portable table saws. After equipping each saw with a new Freud thin-kerf blade, he uses them to rip lengths of medium-density fiberboard (MDF) and yellow pine, as well as making long dado cuts in MDF. Marshall considers the saws' stability, cutting accuracy, efficiency, dust collection, and general ease of use to choose his top picks. Unfortunately, two of his three favorites are discontinued.
As with the smaller Dewalt we’ve recommended, this one has very inconsistent quality control on the table. Some reviewers cited units with bowed, funky surfaces, while others got units that were perfectly flat. that’s a flaw of the molding process. We also have a bone to pick with Dewalt as far as the coating on these. While we understand that the coating is supposed to help wood slide better, it just doesn’t seem to last very long or hold up well. It also has the same flawed warranty coverage. We’d recommend purchasing add-on coverage.

I bought this saw to add to my home shop and a radial arm saw I have had for years. I have owned it since 2009. I bought it after reading reviews in woodworking magazines on line. I did buy the left extension, which I use frequently. This saw has been used for multiple projects, including building furniture, cabinets, cabinet doors and a host of other projects for home, family and friends. It has never let me down, working flawlessly. It has never been out of square. And, yes, I do check squareness every time I use it. Cuts are accurate and the table large enough to manage most jobs without adding an extension. The metal construction is particularly appreciated. The blade is easy to replace, the controls and storage on the unit convenient. What I particularly have enjoyed is the portability and the ease of use of the gravity-rise stand. Being able to move tools around and re-arrange my limited workspace to match the job is important to me. I have read the caveats posted by a number of reviewers, but, in truth, those have simply not been my experience. At 71 with a lifetime of using and buying tools and enjoy woodworking, I count this tool as among one of my better purchases.


It has a smart fence design that allows for a wide rip capacity in a small package. The Dewalt’s rails telescope, which allows them to extend further than the competition without adding to the machine’s packable footprint. That means you can make rips at up to 20 inches without needing any extensions or other accessories. The rack and pinion system allows you to set a precise fence setting without wobble, even on a flexible rail. It locks at both the front and back, to make absolutely sure you’re getting an accurate rip every time.
Ridgid’s fence is outstanding for its design. Its large front plate helps stabilize it and the whole thing just feels solid. There’s very little play compared to some of the others and we were consistently able to lock it down perfectly square. We like the pinion style bevel adjustment. It’s not quite a good as a separate adjustment wheel, but a great improvement over simple sliding. We also like the independent locks for both height and bevel. It’s not often that a height lock would be required, but there’s an element of confidence that comes from knowing it won’t be going anywhere.
The Skilsaw SPT70WT-01 is a super high quality table saw with the power to match. The Diablo blade that comes with it will cut through 4×4 without any problems at all, like a knife through butter! One of the best features we noted was the fact that there is barely any vibration, this allows to you to cut as straight as an arrow, you can really feel the build quality with this saw.It has an extremely easy to use miter gauge, just a flick of the wrist to change the angle of cuts to exactly what you want.
Compared to some of the other miter saws we’ve used – predating the new riving knife requirement, the Bosch GTS1031 guard system is much easier to install and remove when necessary (and to put the saw back into portable mode). We timed ourselves and assembled and tore down the saw in just over 2 minutes – and we were confident that our time would get better with more practice. The table is made of machined cast aluminum and is texture-coated to make it fairly slick – something that really helped when cutting larger pieces of 3/4″ plywood for a workbench surface. As for extending the table – that was super-easy. You just lift the table extension handle upwards and slide the table to the right. This gives you a full 18″ of rip width to the rip fence with your material to the right of the blade. Collapsed, you get up to 10″. Motion of the rip fence and the table extension were smooth. While the fence had some wobble in it at the far end – this completely disappeared when you locked it down – and the shape of the rear of the fence locked it straight every time. It’s a good system and more than adequate for a low-cost portable saw like this. We’ve seen more robust fence systems. But typically the trade-off has been in weight as well as cost.
The fence on a table saw is one of its defining features and allows for precise, square, and repeatable cuts. Not all fences are equal though and a poorly built fence is a deal-breaker, in my opinion. Not only will a poorly built and implemented fence affect the quality of your cuts, but a fence that moves or is not square to the blade can cause your material to bind and kickback.

While ordering generic no-name products might be fine for something like breakfast cereal, power tools are different. When you use power tools, your safety is at stake. If you pick up some cheapo piece of mass produced junk just because the price is less than a name brand, you might end up paying a lot higher price for it than you counted on. Why? Because generic power tools are not usually held to the quality control and accuracy as big box brands such as DEWALT and Bosch.
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.
When using the side extension, a tape moves along so you won’t have to remember what measurement to lock the fence on or read a double marked measurement guide. It’s an innovation we like, but there are questions as to the long term durability of the tape itself. Like Ryobi, Ridgid uses a magnetic throat plate to secure it while leaving access simple.
When the blade touches flesh, a brake will stop the blade and the blade drops down below the surface of the table. The operator will presumably leave with only a small nick or no injury at all. These systems definitely bump up the price of the saw, but it’s a major safety feature and just might be able to save you some very expensive medical bills, along with your fingers.
It’s compact. This one is just over two feet in either direction, and just under 14 inches high. It’s easy to fit in the back of a truck, or even on the passenger seat next to you on the way to your jobsite. It’s light, too. Buyers loved how easy this one was to carry around, especially home DIYers who had to set up and take down their units frequently.
Compared to some of the other miter saws we’ve used – predating the new riving knife requirement, the Bosch GTS1031 guard system is much easier to install and remove when necessary (and to put the saw back into portable mode). We timed ourselves and assembled and tore down the saw in just over 2 minutes – and we were confident that our time would get better with more practice. The table is made of machined cast aluminum and is texture-coated to make it fairly slick – something that really helped when cutting larger pieces of 3/4″ plywood for a workbench surface. As for extending the table – that was super-easy. You just lift the table extension handle upwards and slide the table to the right. This gives you a full 18″ of rip width to the rip fence with your material to the right of the blade. Collapsed, you get up to 10″. Motion of the rip fence and the table extension were smooth. While the fence had some wobble in it at the far end – this completely disappeared when you locked it down – and the shape of the rear of the fence locked it straight every time. It’s a good system and more than adequate for a low-cost portable saw like this. We’ve seen more robust fence systems. But typically the trade-off has been in weight as well as cost.
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. 
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