The rip fence has a nifty flipping action so you can hold 2 different positions. This is an awesome feature if you’re cutting especially narrow workpieces. One of the dangers of ripping substantial pieces of lumber is breakage or the saw itself toppling over. The rail extension gives wonderful stability and allows you the freedom to undertake ambitious projects in complete safety.
However, some models with cheaper table surfaces still manage to get it consistently right. It’s always important to look for problems with table flatness when reading reviews of table saws you’re considering. If you see flatness as an issue repeatedly, you can save yourself a huge potential headache by just considering a different model. If you don’t see any complaints about table flatness, even on a cheaper model of table saw, then it’s probably going to work out just fine.
The miter gauge is a part of the unit that moves into the slot. With a miter gauge, you can make a square cross-cut. You just have to set it at 90 degrees and push the board toward the blade. Also, by setting it at 45 degrees, you can make angled cuts. However, when using the miter gauge, make sure the wood is not moving. Secure it to the gauge using a clamp. With a miter gauge, you can also make compound cuts. You just have to set the miter gauge and the level of the blade at the same desired angle.
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.
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.
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.
First up is the portable table saw. There are two variations in this category, the first of which is the benchtop. As the name implies, the benchtop table saw is designed to be used on top of a table or bench. They’re small, so that it doesn’t matter which table or bench you put them on, and they’re light enough to be carried from place-to-place. This type of saw was originally meant for construction, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t get good use out of it in your shop or garage.
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.