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.
If you’re not sure how to proceed, it’s important to take a breath and think about what you need out of a table saw. You could get a model with every possible bell and whistle, but there’s there no reason to do that if you’re not going to use it frequently. Likewise, you could just buy the cheapest model, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be a fun machine to use.
We spent a lot of time setting up and taking down the saws to see how well the stands worked and how easy it was to install and remove the blade guard and anti-kickback pawls. Then we ran a torturous ripping test with 3-in.-thick slabs of oak to find the best table saw. And finally, we used the saws for more conventional tasks like cutting plywood and ripping framing lumber as another test to determine the best table saw.
Thanks for the work you put in on this. I am retired now and have been researching these types of saws as I wish to begin doing some building of storage shelves and deck furniture. As a beginner, I did not wish to spend huge amounts of money until I was sure it was something I would be staying with for a while :-). Very informative and happy to see the way you did your testing (on the video). I spent 20+ years testing or working with security software testers and totally understand the issues of testing (almost anything) in a fair and honest way. Your work is greatly appreciated!.
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.
Jeffery – As Rob explained things we had the RPM measurements running on that meter, and had to watch our video playback to evaluate the numbers (no recording of the numbers digitally). So we tried to take the average no load speed watching the video play back. Is it perfect? No….is a 10% difference a big deal? In this application I doubt it. If we were a full blown testing lab we’d have the data recorded digitally and take full blow averages, but alas we are not.
How big a table saw is, is determined by the largest blade the saw will hold. 8” blades are the smallest that should be used for any home workshop. You can get blades in 9”, 10”, and 12” sizes as well. Most workshops will not really need the 12” blade as this has a very deep cut capability, but for construction firms and larger, commercial shops, the 12” comes in handy.
Another important element of every model is the fence. Without the fence, you cannot make a precise cut. The most common type of fence that you can find on these units is the T-square fence. However, before getting into that let’s go over the most important characteristics a quality fence must have. First of all, it is important to know the role of the fence. It allows for hassle-free adjustment both vertically and horizontally. Also, it must be placed on the rails firmly, so you don’t encounter resistance while moving it. However, if this happens you can apply wax. Now, let’s have a look at the T-square fence. It is so popular because it is easy to adjust and maneuver. More than that, it is extremely accurate.
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.
When you need a full size cabinet saw that can handle just about any woodworking job you can throw at it, the Powermatic PM2000 is the one for you. As with all high end cabinet saws, the PM2000 features box-style cast iron trunnions for that refined, precise feel when adjusting the blade angle and height. Front control wheels are user-friendly cast iron hand wheels that feature precision-machined center locking pins for making every cut consistent and repeatable.
It’s tough to be completely objective when choosing the best portable jobsite table saw since the stock blades vary so widely. Skilsaw comes with a 30-tooth Diablo blade and Makita’s stock 32-tooth blade are both excellent while others could use some help. To make this shootout about the saws and not the blades, we turned to Diablo to outfit each saw with the same accessory.
If you’ve read through those reviews and still feel a little overwhelmed, don’t worry. We’ve created a buyer’s guide because we know it can be very hard just by reading reviews. After all, some models are going to work better for some people than for others, and the only way that you’ll know which one is right for you is by understanding your options when it comes to table saws. By reading this general information about table saws, you should gain the knowledge you need to make a well-informed decision about your future table saw.
Bengt – We appreciate the feedback as it always helps us get better. Having said that I think some of your concerns were evaluated and included in the results in ways that may not be entirely clear. We adjusted each saw after checking the blade/fence measurements and had no issues getting them adjusted (I may add some text to reinforce that in the article). We don’t do long term testing in this type of article as it’s simply not feasible…so making a statement about whether the saw holds those adjustments isn’t feasible. We evaluated the fences and ranked them in the ergonomics section, we even did lateral load testing on them as part of that ranking.
Under the table, you’ll find plenty of space to store away your accessories. This is valuable if you’re working on site and don’t want to keep hunting down bits and pieces. You’ll be able to stash your arbor wrench and Allen wrenches close to hand. The rip fence also flips upside down and can be stored under the table. It’s this kind of attention to detail for a jobsite saw that’s always appreciated.
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.
The DeWalt DWE7480 is a 10 in. compact job site table saw powered by a powerful 15 A motor that has top speeds of up to 4,800 RPM. When this power is paired with its 24 in. rip capacity and 47-degree bevel, this table saw is able to power through even the hardest woods with great accuracy, so you can use it for projects ranging from shelving to trim to hardwood flooring. And despite all its power, this table saw is a lightweight at only 48 lbs. No matter what woodworking project you have in front of you, this DeWalt table saw is able to power through it!
When you need to change the blade, you’ll find that this saw comes with an arbor lock that you can unlock with one hand, which lets you change the blade without any special equipment. It uses a poly-v drive belt system that gives the motor extra power, but this belt system also reduces the noise of the motor, which makes it great those working around others.
Obviously, given its size, the TruePower 01-0819 isn’t the kind of table saw you’d spring for to take on larger projects that require greater motor power — after all, it’s by no means revolutionary in the torque department. But for those who work with smaller materials or softer wood, the Gino Development TruePower 01-0819 Mini Electric Table Saw is a worthwhile, no-frills buy that’s easy on the wallet and can fit in virtually any space with plenty of room to spare.
Bosch’s 4100-10 work site table saw is a sure win. Bosch never fails to impress us, and this table saw is no exception. It’s a 10 in. saw with a 25 in (right) rip capacity and a 47 degree left bevel. This Bosch table saw is powered by a 15A motor that reaches top speeds up to 3,650 RPM. Another feature we appreciate: its constant response circuits which continuously adapt the speed under load, giving you a continuous blade speed.
One thing manufactures noticed over the years was that when people used the splitters in normal straight cuts it worked well but it’s biggest downfall came when contractors wanted to do cross cuts. What would happen is that people would remove the splitters to make the cross cuts but then forget to fixed them back in place. One brilliant table saw safety feature is the riving knife. The Riving knife is attached directly to the blade mechanism, this allows it to always be attached not matter where or what angle the blade is.
The saw does not easily detach from the stand. Sometimes it’s beneficial to set the saw up as a bench-top saw, but the DeWALT 7491RS doesn’t come with quick release levers to accomplish this easily. In this case, you would have to use a drill to remove four screws to detach it from the stand. I wouldn’t recommend doing this unless you have to because over time the screw holes will strip.
We really should point out a big deal here and that’s the SawStop. It’s hard to put a price on safety and while the SawStop costs more than 3 times what the Hitachi costs it does offer safety that no other saw in test can offer. For those that can afford the additional cost that feature alone may tip the scales for you. Regardless of price SawStop came in 5th place for the categories we evaluated.
For this portion of the testing and evaluation we used three different materials (3/4″ AC Plywood, 5/4 Mahogany Decking, and 5/4 Pressure Treated Southern Yellow Pine Decking) while measuring the saw blade RPM, and the saw motor AMP draw. To compare the saws we’re looking for how much blade speed each saw has under load, and also how much the amp draw increases under load. Think about it like driving a car, a more powerful car will not drop as much speed going up a hill and the engine won’t work as hard.
Easy Fence Adjustment – One of the most common uses of the average table saw is to make quick adjustments to wooden items like fences. If you’re planning on using this particular table saw to make such adjustments to your fencing, you’ll be pleased to hear that the rack and pinion fence rails of the DEWALT DW745 allow for quick and easy adjustment of just about any wooden fence. In all, it goes without saying that you’re going to want your table saw to be as quick and effective as possible in what it does and we can comfortably say that this product meets that spec here.
The Craftsman table saw is one of the most compact of the bunch when it’s folded up. And if you can get it for the sale price of $260, it’s also the cheapest of the best table saw options. The blade guard and anti-kickback pawls are identical to the Porter-Cable and are the hardest of any of the saws to install. And they are the only two blade guards that don’t have a feature to hold them out of the way when you’re adjusting the blade or setting up the cut.
The DEWALT DWE7491RS is an incredible saw, but it provides portability at a great price point. The set of wheels on this model is great for moving it from jobsite-to-jobsite without too much effort. The folding legs are also superior to the support systems on other models, and they make it so that you always have a stable platform on which to work, without adding too much weight to the machine.
The miter gauges on these saws range from downright flimsy to cabinet-saw quality. All the saws except the Craftsman and the DeWalt also have T-tracks—a nice feature that captures the miter gauge bar, making it easier to start wider crosscuts. Because the Ryobi and DeWalt saws don’t have a standard miter gauge slot, you can’t use accessories that require a 3/4-in. slot.