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.
Three professional carpenters test ten portable table saws, including two now discontinued. They outfit them all with Diablo 40-tooth general-purpose blades and test them on both 3/4-inch plywood and pressure-treated 2x pine. Each saw earns points for safety features, fence quality, stability, weight, stand design, ease of adjustment, cutting power, and dust collection. Totaling up these scores determines the saws' overall ranking, as well as their "class ranking" against comparably priced brands. Some additional single product reviews of table saws can be found elsewhere on the site as well.
I knew there were jobsite table saws on the market for less than $250, but I never thought they were good enough to get my recommendation. Sure, the SKIL 3410-02 is not a professional saw and may not be versatile enough for contractors, but the stand, power, accuracy and build quality of this table saw are much better than I thought possible in this class.
The most critical safety feature on a table saw is the blade guard. It’s all that separates your fingers from the rapidly rotating blade. You need this to be transparent or it will make measuring awkward. The last thing you want is to be tempted to remove an unfit guard. Check closely for a clear, flexible blade guard. Safety is paramount when operating a table saw.
Overall, I really like this saw. I have used it for trim work, and for cabinetry work. I worked for a guy who had the older model (the 4000) which is pretty much identical except that it does not have a riving knife (best safety upgrade ever) and it is still going strong after well over a decade of daily use. I wish there was more table in front of the blade, and I wish the dust capture was better, but it is a tremendously good saw and I consider it (with the addition of a track saw for full sheet handling) to be a viable alternative to a big cabinet saw.
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.
Delta has also improved the tabletop geometry on this model which means that you’re going to get more surface area stabilization. The base is also made of durable cast iron and since it offers easy access to the off/on switch, using the Delta UNISAW is a breeze. Other user friendly features include the convenient dust extraction system, large blade opening for easily changing the blade and fine-tuning the riving knife, smart storage for simple organization and fast access.
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.
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!
A 50 rpm deviation at those speeds is approximately 1% variance which is well within the tolerance we should expect from taking the readings at a precise instant of time. The meters were in constant motion and we took the reading off of a single video frame that represented our determination of no-load speeds. We report them as our instruments showed them. 1% is acceptable.
Likes: Cuts extremely well and has excellent stability. Its blade guard and riving-knife assembly are locked and unlocked by a lever located conveniently along the table's left edge. A simple, separate shark-fin riving knife can be used when the guard is too big for narrow rip cuts. We appreciate the antiglare surface on the tape ruler that measures the distance from the blade to the fence.
Porter-Cable comes in as the most expensive of the value group, but also with the best overall performance in it. Of the three saws in this class, it had the best cutting power and also came in the top spot overall for height and bevel adjustment thanks to independent wheels. This may seem like a small consideration, but when you actually need to cut accurately beveled pieces, the adjustment wheel is a huge benefit over sliding the front height adjustment around.
This article is the place to start, and then you can take it from there. My table saw buying guide has all the essential information on table saws you will need, like their classification based on size, portability, motor type, blade size, and the features they come with. You will encounter each of these terms in all the product reviews, which is why you shouldn’t skip reading it.
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.
As accidents and injuries are common when using large power tools like this one, it’s important that you look for safety features such as a dust collection system. Inhaling the sawdust that comes off the wood can make you sick, but this system does a good job of removing the dust from your work area. The collection port itself has a convenient on the cabinet too.
One thing manufactures noticed over the years was that when people used the splitters in normal straight cuts it worked well but it’s biggest downfall came when contractors wanted to do cross cuts. What would happen is that people would remove the splitters to make the cross cuts but then forget to fixed them back in place. One brilliant table saw safety feature is the riving knife. The Riving knife is attached directly to the blade mechanism, this allows it to always be attached not matter where or what angle the blade is.
Standard table saws are also called contractor table saws, even if they're really intended for the home do-it-yourselfer. These table saws have open, fixed legs, and they take up more space than a portable or benchtop table saw. They're also heavier – weighing as much as 200 to 300 pounds. On the plus side, their tables are often larger, making it easier to cut 4 by 8-foot panels of plywood or sheetrock. Prices for contractor saws range from around $600 to nearly $2,000.
Our biggest surprise while running the best table saw review tests was in the cutting power and the quality of cut: There wasn’t much difference among them. All these saws ripped through 3-in.-thick oak without hesitating. We tried this test with the stock blades that came on the saws. Then we repeated the test using a top-quality blade in each saw.
Having only owned saws with cast iron tops this is a new experience for me. First let me note that the right side extension is not aluminum like the rest of the top. It is steel, painted to match. The entire top appears to be powder coated with a textured grey coating. No telling how durable it will be but it does allow wood to slide easily over it. Since the top is aluminum, it lets you know that by transferring all the motor noise and vibration throughout the saw. Not a big deal really but definitely different if you are used to the cast iron absorbing much of this on bigger saws.