It’s not until you get a bunch of saws side by side in the shop that you start to see the difference between a $300 saw and a $500 saw. While the motors are all 15-amp, the more expensive saws have features like soft start to prolong motor and gear life, electronic feedback to maintain blade speed and gearing to maximize torque. If you look under the saws, you’ll see that the more expensive saws also have much beefier motor carriages and better-quality blade-adjusting mechanisms.
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.
If you’re looking for a machine with high capacity, the SKIL 3410-02 has a 3.5-inch cut height with the ability to cut through four times the material on each pass. The consensus among reviewers is that, for such a low price, you end up compromising on miter gauge and saw blade quality. Luckily both of those things can be replaced if you so choose.
Patrick – Thanks for the feedback. Trust me, I wish we could spend more time on every aspect but we spent hundreds of hours as it was. I can tell you that the rack and pinion fences are much better than the standard fences of the past. Our entire group felt strongly that we’d prefer the rack and pinion on all the saws. We felt the Ridgid and Delta fences were the least impressive of the standard type.
The SawStop Contractor Saw CNS175-TGP36 stands out chiefly on account of its unique safety brake, which stops the spinning blade dead when it senses the presence of skin. However, it's also an excellent saw in other respects: powerful, well built, and easy to assemble, with great dust collection and loads of features. Cost is a major concern, but so is the cost of the injuries SawStop is designed to eliminate.
You will not always get your job within the workshop, there are moments where you will have to get out and work from a distant place. Therefore, you will require having a table saw that is portable and reliable for such duties. Rockwell table saw with a laser has large legs with wheels. You can easily pull it to any place comfortable as the wheels keep rolling. In other words, you will not have to struggle with the entire unit trying to lift it when you want to switch working positions. Additionally, this table saw has a foldable fence for convenient storage and also ensures there is enough room for all size material. The inclusive laser guide is to ensure you get consistency in accuracy. Once the blade is not in the position, the laser guide adjusts automatically for the benefit of the user.
DeWALT DWE7480 is an excellent table saw, especially if you consider its price. It’s a step up from the highly popular DW745 and slightly more expensive, but I think the larger rip capacity and higher RPM are well worth the extra money. The DWE7480 is still in the lower price region though, and unlike the DW745 you can also get this one with a stand: the DWE7480XA!