A table saw is a powerful tool that makes short work of even large pieces of lumber, allowing you to make rip cuts down the grain of boards, beams, and even entire sheets of plywood. No carpentry shop or professional construction site is complete without a table saw. Deciding which saw is best suited to a given home workshop, furniture production factory, or building site is an important decision and merits careful consideration.
Buying a table saw can cover a lot of bases. You have everything from DIY models to professional production level cabinet table saws. In this article, we’re looking what is arguably the most popular – jobsite table saws. They’re on the less expensive side and are highly portable compared to their shop counterparts. That makes them go-to tools for framers, jobsite carpenters, and Prosumers.
If you’re a DIY enthusiast, you’ll definitely find something of interest. On the other hand, professionals can also find good pieces of information on this page. The models we’ve covered all work as advertised, and you can rest assured that they are of high quality. The only thing you need to do is determine how much money you want to spend and which type is the best suiting one for your requirements.
If you’re going to have a quality product, you need a fence system that’s perfectly square to the table so your cut is perfectly parallel to the edge. Obviously, framers have a bit more leeway than jobsite carpenters and there’s plenty of variance in fence quality. Cheaper saws have fences that can easily move out of square as they slide along the surface of the table. Avoid these if you want quality results. The fence system needs to be easy to keep square to the blade.
The SawStop PCS31230-TGP252 Professional Table Cabinet Saw is our premium choice pick for a reason - it’s one of the best cabinet saws on the market. You’ll be able to tackle nearly anything you can think of with this impressive tool and work like you’d never be able to imagine. The saw is powered by a 13 amp motor that has a 220-volt requirement and saws through material quickly and efficiently. It’s a carpenter’s dream and was built with all of the needs of the craftsman in mind.
One of my favorite features is the folding fence which essentially increases the surface area of the table to be able to handle larger projects. For instance, I ripped full size 4ft x 8ft sheets of plywood for a home remodel project and the Rockwell Table Saw performed flawlessly. I couldn’t have completed that particular project without the foldable fence extensions.
Higher-End Models: The higher-end table saws ranged in price but were somewher between $ 500 - $800. These had a built-in "stand system", the largest table dimensions and the largest ripping capacities (both to the left and right side of the blade). The features were similar to the lower priced models though, so you are not paying for features, from what I've noticed.
Choosing the best portable jobsite table saw wasn’t an easy task but we’re confident we’ve done a thorough evaluation. In a very close race for the best table saw Hitachi beat out the DEWALT which came in second place followed by Skilsaw in third and Makita in fourth. It’s very interesting that the Hitachi and DEWALT look extremely similar. Hitachi edged out the DEWALT in performance and price resulting in the final scores. Skilsaw beat out Makita for the 3rd place only slightly and that result is really a function of pricing.
Brad – Won’t be anytime soon. I’d offer a few thoughts though on this topic. First off, for this type of testing it’s just not feasible for us to do any long term testing that would be required to evaluate your concern. You’re right, most jobsite table saws have less than perfect fence systems. The rack-and-pinion style that DEWALT, Hitachi and some others use are far more accurate over the long haul than the “clamp” style. Lastly, for lots of guys they are transitioning to track saws for work that requires a really precise cuts or they cut critical pieces in the shop. In a perfect world we’d get shop precision out of jobsite saws, but the reality is due to weight limits its unlikely. Thanks for the feedback.
If the fence and the miter slot were closer together at the rear of the saw, the dial indicator has a negative reading. If the blade and the miter slot were father apart at the rear of the saw, the dial indicator showed a positive reading. A negative reading meant that the materials being cut might be subject to being pinched and a kick back more likely to occur.
Before we get into some of the top features, we want to take a look at the design of this cabinet. As it uses an enclosed cabinet, you’ll find that the motor lasts longer because it doesn’t wear down due to constant exposure to dust. This cabinet also features convenient hand wheels on the front and sides that help you make quick adjustments before cutting or as you work.
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.
Durable Steel Design – With this being such a portable product from Bosch, you’d be forgiven for thinking that it’s pretty flimsy when it comes to design. However, that couldn’t be further from the case with the Bosch GTS1031’s durable and unique all-steel base. This is a design that’s clearly built to take on abuse. That’s definitely peace of mind that you’ll want to have when it comes to using this table saw in a working environment. Not that you shouldn’t be careful where possible when it comes to using your new table saw.
From the triple belt drive system, to the three-HP motor and the large cast iron table and wings, the Shop Fox W18193 s built like a tank. You’re also going to love the T-slot miter gauge that features a fence extension and flip stop, but also a four inch port for dust collection and camlock T-fence. There’s also a twenty nine and a half inch rip capacity.
Even a newbie can go around the table saw section at the local home improvement store and feel that some saws have easier adjustments than others. Some are simply easier while others are downright innovative in various ways. Porter-Cable came out of the value group for the overall win with adjustments that are both smooth and intuitive. Dual adjustment wheels mean that you’ll be able to accurately adjust your blade height and your bevel angle—a feature no other saw in this group has.
A riving knife is a piece of metal that comes included with your new saw. It’s shaped like a surfboard fin. Sadly, not all models come with this crucial part. If you purchase a model without it, make sure you design one for yourself as soon as possible. The construction of this piece is not a big deal at all; you can cut the shape in a matter of minutes and install it. Its purpose is to prevent the wood and debris from getting caught in the back of the blade which consequently kicks back thus jeopardizing your safety.
Most table saw blades come in 8, 10 or 12inchs in diameter, but you can also get a lot smaller and larger sizes if you require special cut sizes and cut depth sizes. When looking for a new blade when it comes to sizes, blades are measured in two sizes mainly, the mounting hole and the total blade diameter, make sure you take the mounting hole size in to consideration when buying a new blade as this could be something very easily over looked but could cause an issue.
The Shop Fox W1819 comes with a 3-hp motor that will power through any project and boosts this model to the top of our list. But, it’s not just powerful, it’s also safe, coming with a clear polycarbonate guard which provides both protection and the ability to see the blade while you cut. The riving knife also helps prevent kickback and keep you safe.
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.
The design is not bad. The height of this particular table saw is around 35 inches. While some people don’t mind it, we think it could have been designed better. However, the best thing about the design is the fact that you can get both contractor and cabinet style table saws in one unit. Dust control is well-designed. The large 4-inch dust port offers a no-hassle setup, especially with vacuums of lower quality. In simpler words, you don’t need to purchase a super-expensive vacuum for this particular unit; any affordable one should do the job well.
If you want to take the saw with you and use it in a different location, you can purchase the optional MB-PCS-000 integrated mobile base which features 2 stationary casters and 2 pivoting casters. Furthermore, it’s also possible to upgrade the mobile base assembly to a one thousand pound lift capacity, add a hydraulic piston lift and 4 independent pivoting casters.
Delta 36-L352 10 in. contractor table saw is a heavy duty table saw. This big guy is no joke! Its 15 A, 3 HP motor is not only powerful but smooth. This Delta table saw also has a HUGE rip capacity of 50-52 in. and an 82 in. table, so there won’t be much this table saw can’t handle. Its integrated BIESEMEYER fence system, precision bevel gauge, and bevel dial work together to help you get highly accurate cuts down to the nearest 1/4 degree and 1/64 in. Now that’s accurate! Other notable features are its bi-level dust extraction system which helps you keep your workspace clean, large blade opening, and SURE-LOCK dual front cranks for easy access. This table saw is ideal for the pros.
The professional level saws saw a separation as well and all were well ahead of the cutting power we saw with the value group. A middle tier of cutting performance started with Makita and Bosch’s 4100 while DeWalt was significantly better. Entering the fray with the only worm drive system, we had high hopes for Skilsaw’s entry. It was solid and smooth—definitely at the Pro level— and close to what the 4100 delivered.
The integrated blade carries an electrical signal. Once it comes in contact with human skin, the signal changes because of the skin’s conductivity and the blade immediately stop. Although some people don’t like the process of resetting the blade, it’s quite easy, and it takes only a couple of minutes. If you think about it, it’s better to hassle by resetting the blade for five or six minutes instead of losing a few fingers.
No matter what you need a table saw for, the three listed above are great choices to consider when you’re doing your shopping around. Whether you’re a professional contractor or a serious DIYer, any one of them will have all the features, power, and portability that you could want in a table saw. All of the ones listed here, and most others have warranties and 30-60 day money back guarantees to give you a chance to see if you like them so your purchase won’t be a waste if you don’t, you will be able to get your money back, but we’re pretty sure that if you choose one of the three that we have detailed for you, you’re going to be able to join the many, many customers who are very happy with their purchases.
Consequently, they’re going to be a bit heavier than benchtop models. However, their expanding frames mean that you’ll be able to use them even in places where you don’t have access to a table or bench. This is great for construction work, or situations where you’re going to be working outside. This type tends to be a little bit bigger than the benchtop variety, and often has more rip capacity as well.
Located right next to the hand wheel on the front is a panel that features both a power button and a stop switch. The power button helps the motor come to life quickly without requiring that it heat up first, and you can press down on this button to turn the saw off at the end of the day. The emergency stop switch helps you stop the blade in the middle of a project to prevent accidents caused by clothing or skin coming into contact with the blade.
Dewalt designed an excellent table saw when they created the DW745 and we consider it to be the best buy on the market from our review. The design is fairly lightweight and easy to transport as it only weighs about 45 pounds. Additionally, the device is full of great features that enable it to work with speed and efficiency that you typically don’t see in a portable saw.
We cannot emphasize enough how important it is to think about safety at all times while using these tools. Even the slightest mistake can make a difference between life and death. The worst part is the fact that it usually happens in an instant, leaving you no time to react at all. Therefore, whatever you do, don’t forget that there’s a thin line between you having ten fingers at one moment and 8 in the next second.
Another excellent choice for the hobbyist or at-home handyman, the SKIL 3410-02 10-Inch Table Saw is a great value, giving you a durable build and quality performance at a wallet-friendly price. It doesn’t have the same brand recognition as some of the more expensive options on this list, but reviewers love this machine and say that it’s perfect for woodworking and DIY projects.
If you spend a lot of time working with wood in your garage or workshop, you know the importance of having the best table saw on the market. Many craftsmen find that they feel connected to their work, and because of this they need tools that will work efficiently and reliably. If you’re invested in the art of carpentry, woodcarving, or any other wood related trade, you know that you need a machine that can work efficiently without overwhelming your budget.
While you may be tempted to skip straight to the reviews, they are a bit on the technical side and contain plenty of terms you might not be familiar with just yet. My suggestion would be to start by reading the informational articles which will provide you with a decent amount of knowledge on table saws. After that, I sincerely doubt you would be caught off-guard while reading anything in the review section.