- 1 What is the Best Table Saw?
- 2 What Will You Really Use It For?
- 3 How Much Space Do You Have?
- 4 Types of Table Saws
- 5 Features To Look For In A Table Saw
- 6 Our Top 5 Best Table Saw Reviews
- 7 Summary
Now when it comes to serious carpentry or woodworking projects a normal saw just isn’t going to cut it (see what we did there?), so you’ll need to look at upgrading your toolkit to include the Holy Grail of woodworking – the table saw.
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A table saw is one of the largest, and most important, investments a contractor/woodworker can make on a lot of levels, including the space it will take up in your home or workshop and the fact that a high-quality table saw can cost several hundred dollars – depending on the type of table saw you choose.
Buying a table saw isn’t just a matter of rushing out to the nearest hardware store and buying the most expensive one you can find – in fact that’s probably the single biggest mistake you could make, in our opinion. So to stop you from potentially wasting lots of your hard-earned cash we’ve put together a quick table saw buyer’s guide for you, including some of our super-short, but very helpful, table saw reviews.
What Will You Really Use It For?
Here’s a quick way for you to not spend more money than you need to – be realistic about what you’re actually going to need this table saw for. If you’re just doing some cabinet making at home then a portable table saw will be fine, but if you need a model capable of ripping through thick hardwood then you’re going to need a cabinet table saw instead. Basically a piece of equipment like this is large, heavy and expensive – so don’t go buying more capabilities and/or features than you need.
How Much Space Do You Have?
The vast majority of woodworkers tend to work in either a corner of their garage or a basement if they’re lucky. Either way you’ll have to be careful about how you use your space, and this includes realizing that table saws can take up a large physical part of any room. You’ll also need to factor in how much space you’ll need free around the saw to make sure you can work comfortably.
Types of Table Saws
Choosing the right table saw for the work you intend doing is about more than just picking the most powerful saw you can find, with the biggest blades and highest blade RPM. The type of work you do can and should dictate the type of table saw you choose, from the 4 basic types which are: cabinet, contractor, portable and hybrid. We’re going to take a quick look at each of these here now.
If you’re running a busy workshop where you’ll need to be able to cut the thickest and toughest types of wood then you’ll need a cabinet table saw. As the name suggests the motor driving this type of saw is encased in a cabinet, which actually makes a cabinet model much quieter than most other types of table saw. A cabinet, or stationary, table saw will have been fabricated from steel and cast iron for durability, but this also means that an average cabinet saw can weigh between 500 and 1,000 lbs. Obviously something weighing this much is not designed to be portable, so if you’re buying a cabinet table saw it’s going to be staying put once you set it up.
This type of table saw is slightly smaller and lighter than its big brother the cabinet saw, but still tends to feature a cast-iron cutting surface. In terms of weight a contractor table saw will usually come in at around 300 lbs, making it heavy but still portable once 2 people are involved. The nature of this type of table saw is that it would be used on-site for moderate to heavy cutting work by contractors, so it’s more than up to the task of dealing with tough materials and being your primary workshop table saw too if you like.
Featuring an aluminum surface this type of table saw is lighter, but the aluminum construction also makes it less durable than a table saw with a steel or cast-iron cutting surface. Portable table saws are ideal for use in a home workshop, except if you’re trying to cut hardwood – the motors usually aren’t capable of dealing with this type of wood. A portable model is light enough to be moved by one person but still powerful enough to deal with most cutting tasks.
For years woodworkers/contractors have been asking manufacturers for a table saw which combines the power of a cabinet saw with the light weight of a portable table saw, which is exactly what you get with a hybrid. Without getting into a lot of detail here a hybrid is basically a scaled down version of a cabinet saw, with a level of horsepower to match. While a hybrid lacks the power of an actual cabinet table saw, it’s still more than powerful enough for serious home use.
Table saws feature one of two types of drive set up: direct-drive or belt-drive. A direct-drive configuration is more powerful because all the power from the motor gets transferred directly to the cutting blade, but can be prone to getting clogged up with sawdust. A belt-drive motor doesn’t suffer from the issue of sawdust blockages as badly, so the motors tend to last longer; the downside to a belt-drive system being that some of the motor’s energy is lost along the way.
Features To Look For In A Table Saw
You’ll usually have a choice between an 8 and 10-inch blade, with 10-inch blades providing more accurate cutting and are generally regarded as being the “ideal” blade size for a table saw.
How much physical cutting space do you have between the rip fence and the saw blade? Is the surface extendable? A powerful table saw with a limited working area is a bad investment.
Saw Blade Speed
The average table saw rotates its cutting blade at between 3,000 and 4,000 RPM, so it’s essential that your blade is rated to this speed. Running a blade at a higher speed than it’s rated can cause it to shatter while in operation and potentially cause serious injuries, or simply burn/melt any material it comes in contact with.
This feature allows you to make accurate miter cuts, and any table saw you’re considering buying should include one – although you can always buy and fit one later on. The miter gauge on your saw should be exactly parallel to the blade, rugged in design and easily adjustable.
This is an essential feature on any table saw. Basically it’s a piece of metal just behind the saw blade which stops any materials being cut from kicking back from the blade and towards the user – you! Ideally the riving knife can be raised and lowered with the saw blade itself, and also removed when you don’t need it.
This feature on a table saw makes sure that you can make clean and even cuts as safely as possible. It’s basically a metal bar that runs parallel to the blade itself, and is also adjustable. Every single table saw should have one!
A portable table saw will have a motor in the 1- 2HP range, whereas a cabinet model will have a motor in the 3 – 5HP range. The more HP you have the more cutting power you have, but again be realistic about just how powerful you really need your table saw to be.
Even the most modestly powered table saw is capable of creating a huge amount of sawdust, so having a dust port that can be hooked up to a workshop vacuum cleaner or other dust collection device is a must. This stops you being covered in a thick layer of sawdust every time you use your table saw; your wife will also be grateful that you’re not walking fresh sawdust all over your home.
Our Top 5 Best Table Saw Reviews
So now it’s time to take a look at our table saw reviews, to see who made the grade and who didn’t.
1) DeWalt DWE7491RS 10-inch JobSite Table Saw Review
This DeWalt table saw offers a great combination of power and portability, with a 15 AMP motor which drives the cutting blade at up to 4,800 RPM. The DWE7491RS features a wheeled base with telescopic legs which means you can create a stable cutting surface almost anywhere on-site. The 10-inch, 24-tooth cutting blade makes short work of sheets as big as 24.5-inches, thanks to the massive rip capacity on this table saw. Around $600 gets you DeWalt reliability, a 3-year limited warranty and as much cutting power as the average Joe or Josephine will need.
2) Bosch 4100-09 10-Inch Worksite Table Saw Review
The brand name “Bosch” won’t need any introduction – you already know you’re getting a high-quality table saw before we even say anything. The 4100-09 has a 4HP motor which rotates the cutting blade at up to 3,650 RPM and has a ripping capacity of up 25-inches. The “Gravity-Rise” stand the saw is mounted on makes it very quick to set up, plus the pneumatic wheels make transporting this table saw to any point on your site pretty straightforward. The Bosch 4100-09 table saw retails for just under $570 online.
3) SawStop CNS175-TGP36 Contractor Saw Review
This company has been making quite a name for itself by introducing a number of new safety innovations in their range of table saws, including the ability for the device to stop itself if/when it detects the blade has made contact with a human hand or finger. Being a contractor saw makes this a very serious piece of equipment, with lots of versatility included too – you can even fit it with a mobile base to make it easier to move around. The CNS175-TGP36 features a 10-inch, 40-tooth blade making for very precise and even cuts on even the toughest of lumber. Retailing at almost $2,000 makes the SawStop CNS175-TGP36 more expensive than most but it’s also one of the safest table saws on the market today.
4) Grizzly G0690 Cabinet Table Saw Review
This table saw is grizzly by name and grizzly by nature with a 3HP motor and a maximum rip capacity of 29.5 inches, more than enough to handle most full sheets of timber. Being a cabinet saw means that it’s going to stay fixed in one location, plus weighing 530 lbs means you really don’t have much choice in the matter either. The Grizzly G0690 Cabinet Table Saw is an extremely popular table saw and retails online for just under $1,300.
5) Shop Fox W1820 3 HP 10-Inch Table Saw Review
This is another heavy-duty cabinet table saw in our roundup and features an extendable table, providing you with tons of working space. The 3HP motor drives the belt-drive system at up to 4,300 RPM and the fully adjustable riving knife gives you additional peace of mind when cutting any material. A maximum rip capacity of 50-inches puts this table saw head and shoulders above the rest of the models we’ve reviewed here in terms of capacity, plus this Shop Fox table saw is built to last a lifetime.
You now have more than enough information to buy the perfect table saw for your cutting needs, and once you stick to recognized brand names, demand standard safety features and are honest about what you need your table saw to be able to do you shouldn’t have any problems.
If we can offer no other advice outside of the table saws we’ve just reviewed it’s this: Buy with your future needs in mind and not just your current ones.