I have another post for Woodsmith magazines. ShopNotes 2.00 each copyIssue 1 Premiere Issue Shop -- Built Router TableTable Saw AccessoriesTips for Accurate CrosscuttingElu Router ReviewIssue 2Wooden Joiners MalletStorage Bin SystemHand-Cut MortisesRadial Arm Saw FenceIssue 3Handy Tool Carry-AllShop-Built Cling StationPlate Joinery TechniquesAdjustable Grinding JigIssue 4Shop-Built Panel SawThi...
The first contractor saws were made to be portable so they could be taken to job sites. These are also lightweight and priced low enough that the handy homeowner can use them. When purchasing the contractor saw there, you will have to make a few concessions. The table is not made of the cast iron top and the extensions are usually made of stamped medal. It is not made as burly as more costly saws. The motor also hangs off the back, which makes it easier to remove when moving the saw to another job site. Bosch table saws are reported to be one of the best budget saws available.
We put our hands on 10 of the most popular table saws and tested them for accuracy, power, and functionality. It took some time, but we have some fairly conclusive results. Table saws are undeniably the kings of rip cuts on the jobsite and in shops. The concept is simple: Place a motor below a solid table to turn a blade somewhere in the 4000-5000 RPM range through the surface and watch the sawdust fly. The idea may be simple, but the reality is much different. How big should the table be? What size blade should you use? How heavy can you get away with making it? For this shootout, we’re looking specifically to find the best portable jobsite table saw.
If you’re going to be working with a table saw, you’re going to want to make sure you take a few safety precautions before beginning your work. Sharp, heavy duty tools like a table saw must be handled properly and treated with respect in order to see the best results and maintain a safe environment. Click here to find out the best way to sharpen your blades. Before you begin your safety preparations on the table saw itself, you need to take the time to make sure you are properly dressed for your task.
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.
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.
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.
Contractor models also tend to be more powerful and more precise than portable saws, which gives them a definite upside if you’re going to be doing lots of work, or work that requires a fine degree of precision. This type can also be a good choice if you’re going to leave your table saw in one place for extended periods of time, while still being light enough that they can be moved if you need to do so.
Electric brakes in the saw is an important feature as helps the saw in reversing electricity in the motor, thus contributing to a precise cut. It is highly recommended that when you are buying a saw choose the one with on and off switch. The switch should be easily accessible to make work better and more efficient. In addition, the switch should have a cover. This will keep you from accidentally turning the saw on and damaging your work area or cutting yourself.
In terms of the safety features that you’re going to want to look for in your table saw, one of the most prominent includes a flesh sensor. This is basically designed so that the table saw will immediately stop operating after 0.01 seconds of coming into contact with flesh. This means that if the worst should happen and you come into danger as a result of using a table saw, the damage will be kept to a minimal. As you can likely imagine, this particular safety feature will push up the price of the table saw by a small amount, but it’s definitely a feature that’s worth happening if you value your safety whilst using power tools.
TBB measured the accuracy of the factory-set 45 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 shown on the gauge give a result that is relative to the saw table. We 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 45 degree 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.
User reviews at Amazon and Home Depot are also very positive, with about 4.6 stars overall from more than 900 owners. Multiple users say the saw cuts through wood "like butter," and they praise its easy setup, accurate rack-and-pinion fence, and easy-to-use stand. The one feature users dislike is the miter gauge, which many reviewers describe as flimsy. We also saw a few more general complaints about poor quality control on this saw. Users report problems such as warped tables and slots that don't align, making it impossible to calibrate the saw properly. Fortunately, if you happen to get a lemon, you can replace it under DeWalt's 3-year warranty, which bests Bosch's by 2 years.
For the woodworking professional, the 3-horsepower SawStop Professional Cabinet Saw PCS31230-TGP236 is the top pick. Its superior safety features include an excellent riving knife and blade guard system and a unique flesh-sensing blade brake to prevent cuts. Reviewers also praise its performance, exceptional dust control, and overall ease of use. Less expensive versions with 1.75-hp motors are also available (Est. $2,300 and up). The warranty is two years for the saw and five for the motor.
Both of the products that we’ve featured so far in our top table saw reviews have clearly been targeted at the higher end of the market and that’s signified by their high price point. With that in mind, we think it’s worth including a cheaper table saw that’s clearly targeted at not so much professional contractors and more just hobbyists. That’s where this product from Ryobi comes in. Whilst it doesn’t offer much of the same power and flexibility as the options from Bosch and Dewalt, it might just do the job.
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.
The blades of a circular saw are usually divided based on several factors, including diameter, arbor size, speed, application, and well as number f teeth and materials used in their construction. Most tools are equipped with 10 or 12 inches blades. This is the medium size, but there are also models that come with blades as small as 5 inches or as large as one hand. Since they are able to cut various different materials, including the most solid ones, most models have carbide or carbon blades. You may also find diamond-tipped teeth blades, but they are a bit more expensive. The number of teeth is usually between 24 and 80 and you need to decide whether you want a saw with left or right tilt. The direction in which the blade tilt is very important and it can provide plenty of advantages.
If you’ve shopped online, you know you don’t always get the quality that you think you’re going to get. When making a big purchase like a table saw, you don’t want to make that mistake. If you need to get the most bang for your buck, then you’ve come to the right place. It’s not always obvious which features are important and which are not, but we’ve done the hard work for you.
For benchtop and jobsite saws with direct drive motors, the motor RPM is the blade RPM. If you’re considering a contractor or cabinet saw, it’s a different story. In any event, Pro table saw RPMs generally range from 4000 – 5000. Don’t let numbers on the lower side dissuade you. There’s a limit to how much power you can draw and each manufacturer has to decide how they’ll channel it between blade speed and torque. So higher isn’t necessarily better.
It’s interesting to note that if pricing was taken out of this evaluation the ranking would have been: DEWALT in first, Makita in second, Hitachi, Skilsaw and SawStop tied for third, Bosch in fourth, Delta in fifth and Ridgid in sixth place. But at the end of the day price is certainly a factor. What we didn’t do in our evaluation is any long term testing to look at durability which ultimately could affect your purchase decision as well.
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.
According to the many reviews posted online, the JET 708675PK is an excellent table saw that features a finely ground and large cast iron table that measures twenty nine by forty two inches and provides plenty of work surface for even the most demanding projects. Also, taking a closer look at the front of the blade, you’ll notice it includes ten inches of clear table which is certainly going to be appreciated by a lot of users. Looking under the table, you’ll notice a wide stance, heavy duty cast iron trunnion mechanism which provides the remarkable performance, almost vibration free operation and incredible stability the JET 708675PK is known for.
While other cabinet table saws may not offer you a clear cut every single time, that’s not the case with the SawStop ICS51230-52. This model features industrial fence system which ensures that every time you cut something, the cut is going to be very accurate and perfectly straight. One last thing to keep in mind is that the unit includes a standard base, while the mobile base and jobsite cart are sold separately.
The Shop Fox W1819 also comes with a miter fence with flip stop which provides excellent workpiece support and is great for longer workpieces. As for the flip stop, it’s going to be very useful especially when wanting to make several cuts of the same width. If you want to cut longer workpieces, you can also flip it out of the way and then pivot it back down in order to make more cuts at the cutting width of your choice.
Below we’ve included the current pricing (at the time of publishing this article). Pricing includes the cost of the stand and ranges from a low of $349 for the Hitachi to a high of $1,299 for the SawStop. The lowest price isn’t always the best in our opinion, we’re looking for the best value. The Hitachi is an incredible deal at $349 and our top pick for price and value for a saw that has lots of power, a rack & pinion fence, and a solid stand.
I appreciate the helpful comparison of the best table saws. I’m fairly new to woodworking, and until recently I was using an old table saw that used to belong to my dad. Long story short, it’s no longer usable, and so I’m looking for a good table saw to buy that’s beginner-friendly. I have my eye on the DEWALT DW745 – evidently it’s really popular and does a great job. I’ve taken a look at some other sites for more ideas. Your guide here is great. What is your opinion on the DW745?
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.