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.
TBB measured the accuracy of the factory-set 90 degree stop by using a Wixey WR365 digital inclinometer. This device has an accuracy of 0.1 degree. We placed the Wixey gauge on the table and calibrated the inclinometer to the table by zeroing out the gauge. After that calibration, the measurements give a result that is relative to the saw table. We moved the blade to an approximate position of 70 degrees off vertical. TBB attached the gauge to the blade and used the saw mechanism to adjust the blade incline to the point at which the blade or trunnion hit the factory-set 90 degree vertical stop and recorded the measurement. TBB ran the test twice to ensure the repeatability of the measurement. In every case, the result came out to within 0.1 degree of the prior test.
Rockwell diverged from the crowd with this offering. For starters, the riving knife, anti-kickback pawls and blade guard are connected and remove as a unit. If you do remove them to make a non-through cut, you have to install the separate riving knife first. It’s not difficult, just different. This is the only saw with a right-tilting motor. We prefer left-tilting motors because it’s safer to make bevel cuts with the fence on the right side of the blade. There’s no port for attaching a vacuum cleaner, but there’s a large dust bag that does a good job of collecting sawdust. This saw cuts 3-9/16 in. at 90 degrees, 1/16 in. more than the next closest competitors, allowing you to rip a 4×4 in one pass. And like the Ryobi saw, it has a 30-in.-wide rip capacity.
Bosch has a long legacy of manufacturing great tools for generations, and the Bosch 4100-09 upholds that tradition. Slightly heavier than the Dewalt DWE, it comes with an innovative stand that makes it stand out. The gravity-rise stand cuts down the time to set this table saw by quite a lot, reducing set up time. It also comes equipped with pneumatic wheels that can roll on almost any surface without much hassle. Another selling point is the advanced T-slot miter gauge that makes sure that you get the right cut every time without fail.
The scales that indicate the width of cut fall into one of two categories: continuous and separate. Of the seven we’re reviewing, DeWalt, Ridgid and Rockwell are continuous. You simply line up the fence with the desired measurement. The other four best table saw options—Bosch, Craftsman, Ryobi and Porter-Cable—require you to lock the fence in a specific position on fully extended rails, and read the dimension on a separate scale. We prefer the continuous scales and really like the tape measure–type scale on the Ridgid.
Measuring approximately 22” x 38”, the contractor table saw is then next size up from the bench style. It typically sits on an open attached stand or base which may or may not be on wheels. It weighs between 200-300 pounds and is still portable but requires more than one person to lift. This style of table saw is good for woodworking shops, hobbyists, small contractors and DIYers. The 1-2 hp motors have enough power and stability to handle more heavy duty job site work and workshop demands. One of the benefits to these saws is that they still run on standard electrical circuits.
Not everyone needs to use the miter gauge on a table saw since there’s typically going to be a miter saw around. If you do, you’ll like the positive locking detents at common angles. This saw felt like it was the weakest when pushing our 2x PT material through. Despite the ranking, it doesn’t feel under-powered – you just need to take your time. You won’t find a lot of bells and whistles on this model, but for $279, we don’t have many complaints.
Even though is seems pretty irrelevant, the position of the On/Off switch is quite important, especially if you’re a frequent user of these tools. In today’s models, the switch is usually leveled with your knees. The main thing you should look for is the size of the OFF switch. It has to be big enough so that you can turn the unit off immediately either with your knees, elbows, or hands. The so-called panic button is one of the crucial elements of every unit, even if it doesn’t seem like it.
You’ll also want to make sure that you’re getting a model that doesn’t have a problem with internal dust collection. Some don’t do a great job of funneling the dust towards the port, so it ends up sitting inside the unit. This can affect performance, as sawdust is great at gumming up moving parts. So, if you get one of those models, know that you’re going to have to regularly open it up and clean it out to keep it in tip-top shape, which is a pain, but necessary if you want your unit to last a long time.
One thing you’ll love about the riving knife is that it allows for adjusting the table saw without using any special tools, for non-through and through cuts including, pictures frames, grooves for shelves, but also cheek cuts for furniture, rabbets and dadoes. There’s also the possibility to store different tools or anything else you may find under the tablet board and given the fact it’s expandable and convenient, it’s going to make using the Delta 36-L552 an even more amazing experience. For dust collection, the table saw comes with a bi-level dust extraction system which offers superior dust collection capabilities.
A lot of the modern table saws nowadays will have a dust collection port where you can hook up a vacuum or extraction system to it. We would always recommend that you purchase a table saw with a dust port, always check the size of the port to make sure it fits with either your vacuum or your extraction system, or you can always modify something to make them fit.
Accessories 10″ 24-Tooth Carbide Blade, 2x Blade Wrenches, rolling stand, blade guard assembly, push stick, miter gauge, rip fence 10 in. 40-tooth carbide-tipped blade, throat plate insert, smart guard system, rip fence, miter gauge, push stick 32T carbide-tipped blade, rip fence, miter gauge, push stick, and wrenches Rip Fence, Miter Gauge, Smart Guard System, Push Stick, Blade Change Wrenches 24-tooth SKILSAW Carbide-tipped blade for ripping, miter gauge, self-aligning fence, guard system including anti-kick back device, insert plate, push stick and wrench
Additionally, the bevel dial is accurate to within ¼ of a degree, making ultra-precise angle cuts easily repeatable. The base of the 36-L552 is also constructed of solid cast-iron, adding balance and stability even when cutting through the toughest hardwood. An aggressive blade guard and splitter design also helps prevent both accidental contact with the blade and pinching or kickback from the kerf even on extended cuts.
Cabinet saws are the prime choice for professional woodworkers. A more powerful induction motor, usually 3 to 5 HP, is enclosed in a cabinet, as part of a super-sturdy overall construction. This type of table saw is ideal for making smooth, straight cuts through hardwoods without worrying about excessive vibration. All that power and stability comes at a price, though. Low-end cabinet saws start around $2,300 and can go past $5,000 for industrial table saws.
Kenny Koehler An avid endurance athlete, Kenny has competed in triathlons (he's an Ironman) and various other fitness activities. Still, his passions lie with his faith, family, friends, and his love for well-designed power tools. With a background in science, you'll often find Kenny chatting up engineers at media events to get caught up on the latest tool technology.
The bench table saw is the least expensive of the four types of saws. Some models come with a folding stand that is on wheels which makes it very easy to move or reposition without having to lift it all the time. Even though it is relatively light, constant lifting can become tiresome. You can mount these on your workbench which will give it more stability and could possibly reduce the amount of vibration as well. These smaller table saws generally have a 1 hp motor or even smaller and can run on a normal household circuit with no issues.
For ideal usage, the on/off switch needs to be mounted on the front of the saw and should be easy to turn off with your knee or a swat without having to look at it to locate it. Most table saw models have a safety feature that is a plastic key that has to be inserted before the table saw can be turned on. Some may even have a way to padlock the switch.
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.
Dust Collection Port – Using any table saw is guaranteed to generate an awful lot of dust and anyone who suffers from asthma will know this to be a big problem. With that in mind, it’s nice to see that DEWALT have taken precautions to allow you to properly extract dust when using your table saw. This is through the product’s 2-1/2-inch dust extraction port that allows you to quickly and easily connect a vacuum for efficient dust extraction. If you’re going to be regularly using your table saw, you’ll definitely notice the advantage of having dust automatically extracted out of the environment for you.
Regarding reliability, Dewalt is a fairly dependable brand in the world of portable table saws. This latest offering from Dewalt comes with a big rolling stand that adds to the convenience element. It quickly cuts through over 3 inches depth at 90 degrees and nearly 2.25 inches at 45 degrees. This power is being driven by the powerful 15 amp motor. It cuts small and narrow strips of wood as well as large chunks.
Once you’ve made sure that the table saw is unplugged and there aren’t any extra materials in your workspace, you should turn your attention to the miter slot. See also related: Top 10 Miter Saws here. You’ll want to make sure that the miter (click here for sliding miter saws) slot is parallel to the blade. It is important that all measurements are precise and exact – nothing short of parallel will do. Once you’ve measured the blade and the miter slot, you’ll need to check the fencing as well.
Great match-up and informative… however I too noticed that “No Load” RPMs varied quite a bit from chart to chart – for the same saw. We would expect some variation of 50 RPM as you had mentioned, but not 500 to 800. See that the Hitachi changed from 4400 down to 3700, Delta jumped from 3700 to 4400, Rigid from 3650 to 4350. Upon closer scrutiny… the order of “No Load” RPMs used in first chart may have been used in all subsequent charts. When the “Load” results were ordered by hi-to-low ranking, is it possible that the “No Load” data was not kept with its saw? If so, that changes the %drop results slightly for most RPM No-Load/Load,Speed charts. No too terrible. Lots of data… Good overall presentation though for use to make informed decisions. Thank you!
Contractor saws are a perfect balance between functionality, manoeuvrability and price. These sorts of saws are perfect if you have bigger projects that you’re working on and will stay on site for a few months. This is due to the fact that they are a lot less portable, but that being said they are a great in-between saw as they still have great rip capacity and overall cutting power.
Probably one of the things that users will love most about this table saw is the solid granite surface which offers a seamless work area and excellent support. Another advantage of the Steel City 35955 is the fact that it comes with powerful magnets which allow swift changes without having to worry about using any type of tools. Since there’s a built-in mobile stand, you can easily position the saw around your shop without requiring the help of a second person.
The Bosch 4100-09 offers many advanced features, making it a very capable table saw for woodworking. The air-filled wheels and gravity rising stand makes this table saw functional and lightweight. Set up and tear down of the table saw is a breeze. This technology allows the table saw to be moved from place to place, even over the most rough and challenging areas of the work site. The 4100-09 weighs 39 pounds, making it the perfect portable table saw. Although it is lightweight, it is very durable and stable.
That being said, because of their portability, you’ll find that this type of table saw tends to be less powerful than other more permanent saws. This is because they have less power and less noise muffling too, so you’ll find them to be louder. What’s more, because of that aforementioned lack of power, you might find that you’re unable to use the law to cut through certain materials. This shouldn’t put you entirely off a portable table saw though. For many users, they offer the best of both worlds and provide the complete sawing experience that they need from their table saw. Portable Table Saws
It features an 1850W motor which delivers more than enough power for any heavy-duty task and DIY project. Dewalt is well-known for designing quality tools, and they didn’t disappoint with this particular model either. The fence system offers 610mm of rip capacity. As you may assume, even though it’s a portable unit, you can easily cut large pieces of wood to a particular size.
TBB used an iGauging 35-125-4 digital dial indicator to measure the accuracy of the blade position to the table miter slot. This instrument has an accuracy of .0005 inches. As part of the table saw set-up, TBB installed a new Diablo blade in each saw and these never-before-used blades were used in the measurement test. To ensure that any wobble in the blade did not enter into the test results, TBB marked a single tooth as the reference point for the measurement. The blade position was moved to the front of the saw to allow the iGauging dial indicator to hit the tooth immediately behind the carbide tooth, The iGauging dial indicator was calibrated and the indicator had a reading of zero.
Makita joins DeWalt with an external riving knife release so you don’t have to reach into the throat to loosen it. We actually ran into an issue with the design because of a slightly bent plate holding the knife in place. That aside, the intent of the design is sound and should make for an an easier experience. Because of the external release, Makita screws down the throat plate in place. You should only need to get in there for blade changes if everything functions properly.
You’ll also want to be sure to check that the teeth of the blade are facing towards you since this is the direction that the wood is cut. Once you’ve made sure that the new blade is on properly you can put on the stabilizing parts and nut again. You’ll tighten the nut by putting the spanners on the same way you did before, however, this time you’ll push the spanner in your left hand away from you to tighten the nut instead of towards you.
One shouldn’t expect a massive amount of storage, but being a table, it does offer some level of free space. In fact, some models even offer space for fences, gauges, blades, and other necessary equipment. Apart from that, you can always keep the necessary tools in the reach of your hands. It will make the process much easier and also a lot quicker.
My son Owen and I thank you for the truly wonderful, informative and entertaining experience provided by the TOH staff, crew and trades-people at the Pro2Pro Brookline event. From Elizabeth - who welcomed us to the event, to Chris, Kevin and others who were wonderful during the orientation session (answering questions that I'm sure you have heard dozens of times before), to Charlie, Kevin, Richard, Heath (the electrician) and Thomas (the program director), you helped us Insiders to understand and appreciate the pride that you take in your work. It was refreshing. I loved the pictures and accompanying text of the event that you posted. I have to say in closing to Chris, Kevin and Thomas (in particular) you gave my son, a budding landscaper, the impetus to continue his pursuit of the trades. Kudos to you all and keep up your great work!