The great thing about owning a table saw is that it will make almost any job involving wood work that much easier. The problem is that there are almost as many types of table saws as there are jobs that require their use and, while they all do the same basic job, each one is not just as good as another for a specific job. Just by means of an example, try to imagine how much more difficult a contractor’s job would be if he tried to lug around a cabinet table saw. And if you are not sure about what those 2 terms mean, we encourage you to read on to find out before deciding to buy a table saw. As you will see there are so many options out there, that you need to be very clear about the type of job you are going to handle, the amount of money you are willing to invest, as well as the storage space you have at your disposal.
The most popular table saw and our best table saw overall!
As you probably have already gathered, this is not going to be your average article about a couple of table saw choices that you can have today. Instead, we are going to expand into a comprehensive article about each and every type of job requiring the use of a table saw. We are also going to differentiate between the different types of users that might need them, since it should be obvious to anyone who has ever seen or used a table saw that a do it yourselfer will have entirely different needs from a contractor, and a small business will need a different type of table saw than a big business.
We should also point out here that in our search we focused not only on the different types of jobs that require a table saw, but also on each product’s versatility and reliability. We have also taken into consideration the price point and whether it made sense for that job or that specialist to spend that amount of money for that product. So do read on to find out what our top picks are for you today.
Best Table Saws by Type
So far we have been playing with some interesting terms that some of our readers may not be too familiar with, but the point is that there are 5 different types of table saws, ones meant for contractors, ones meant for big businesses, also known as cabinet tables saws, hybrids between these 2 options, extremely light table saws known as portable table saws and benchtop table saws. What follows are our quintessential best choices for each category, and we are also going to give you a more detailed definition of each category so that you will know which class of table saws should interest you the most. You should note here that, if you are not happy with our top choices, you can always click on the link provided on each category, and there you will find 5 more options for that product class.
Best Table Saw for Your Purpose
Just as there are different table saws for different jobs, there are different choices when you consider the purpose or the goal of the person using them. For example, a table saw for beginners does not need to have as many options available as one specifically designed for complex wood working. A hobby table saw will need to be less expensive than one designed for home use since, at least by our definition, a home use table saw needs to be reliable and strong enough to help you get almost any job done in remodeling your entire house, whereas a hobby tool will need to be very affordable as to allow you to invest most of your money into the essentials of your hobby. Therefore, besides the following top choices, you can find links to detailed lists of products for each category as well as more comprehensive explanations of what each category actually refers to.
SKIL 3410-02 10-Inch Table Saw
Best Table Saw on a Budget
Although there is a simple rule of thumb in most industries where the most expensive product is also the best – and you will see that we have chosen several products that actually go against that rule – there is also the fact that we rarely can afford to buy the very best product. So, what follows is a list of budget choices for people who are willing to spend less than $1000, less than $500, and less than $300. We have also provided you with the necessary links for each category and you can click on those if you want to have more options for any given category. The one thing that we need to highlight here is that, although the more expensive products are obviously going to be better, we have imposed a quality requirement on our choices so that even the cheapest table saw you are going to find in this article is both reliable over time and makes for a cracking tool on the job.
Best Table Saw by Brands
So far we have been giving you several various choices that you have on the current table saw market, each one focusing on the qualities of the products themselves. However, even among our testing team, there are those who favor one brand over another, and they will choose to go with one brand over the other simply because they have had better experiences in the past. That is why we have decided to create a special category of the best products each brand has to offer, but, as usual, we have also provided you with links where you can find an extended list of each category. There we also discuss the differences between each brand, and why anyone would choose loyalty to a specific product rather than choose the very best that they can afford or that they need for a specific job. Needless to say, there will always be a lot of myths build around each table saw brand that we discuss, but there are always some truths that need to be considered.
Best Grizzly Table Saw
The fact of the matter remains that general reviews about products are not as helpful as you might wish them to be, because we need to address both advanced users, people with woodworking skills to match our own, but there are also beginners and intermediate users. There are also specialists and enthusiasts that are not very sure about what category they fit in. So we decided to create several lists for you where we focus on the type of users, jobs and pocket sizes that are out there, so that you can more easily make your choice. Several of the links we have provided you so far should have already taken you to the categories that follow, but if you are still not sure where you are best fitted, we encourage you to keep reading, because you are certainly going to find the best fit for you.
Best Table Saws by Type
Best Portable Table Saw
Despite what you intuition might say, a portable table saw is not necessarily ultra light. It cannot be as heavy as a cabinet table saw, but, if you are going to look at some of the table saws we have chosen for you in this category, you may notice that several of them actually have a built in stand with wheels. That is because a lot of people will find that it is actually easier to fold the stand onto the wheels and just carry around the table saw like that, rather than pick it up. Of course, our first two choices are actually ultra light, in fact they are among the lightest ones on the market, and you can pick those up and just carry them to wherever you need them. All of these choices have the standard 15 Amps motor and use 10 inch blades, but the ones that also have stands have in general a wider rip capacity than the ones that do not.
Best Contractor Table Saw
As you may note from the list above, contractor’s tables are a different breed from regular portable table saws. They need to be extremely reliable, which is why we have chosen only high brand names, but they also need to be able to accommodate any job site. That is why we have started with the classical DeWalt small form factor table saw, but we have actually gone up as high as a hybrid table saw with the Rockwell; you may note, though, that the Rockwell has a retractable dust bin, it is actually a high tech bag, so it is almost as easy to carry as the DeWalt. The built in stand it comes along does help a lot in increasing the stability of the table. We have also included several table saws with stands on wheels because mobility is essential for a contractor, but even in those choices you still have the very powerful 15 Amps motor and a very wide rip capacity.
Best Cabinet Table Saw
Cabinet table saws are usually a very costly investment both in terms of how much you pay for the machine itself, but also regarding the amount of space you need to set aside for it. Therefore this is something you should only buy if you have a small business that requires a table saw, or if you have a huge workshop or garage. You may have noticed that our top choice is the SawStop table saw, and that is because it is honestly the best cabinet table saw on the market. The problem, however, is that it is quite expensive, so we must highlight that the Grizzly table saw is just as powerful, at 3 HP, and it is almost as big at 62 inches in length. And, just as all other cabinet table saws on this list, it takes both a regular 10” blade and a DADO blade.
Best Hybrid Table Saw
Hybrid table saws could be seen as the best or worst of 2 worlds. They are heavier and a lot more difficult to transport than contractor table saws, but they do not take DADO blades and are not quite as stable as cabinet table saws. On the other hand, they are more stable than contractor table saws, and can be easily fitted to the back of a pickup truck. They are small enough to be easily set up in a do it yourselfer’s workshop, and they are definitely a better tool than a contractor table saw. They are also cheaper than most cabinet table saws so they are definitely worth the time to check them out. It should be noted that the SawStop is the one exception to that rule, but, as long as you can afford it, it is also the best choice you could make in this category.
Best Benchtop/Jobsite Table Saw
A benchtop table saw is by definition the most compact table saw you can find, so we did away with any stands or cabinet table saws. The table saws we have chosen each have a specific quality that we loved, like how light the DeWalt is, at 45 pounds, or how affordable the Skil table saw is. You could just as well go for the super reliable Bosch or Rockwell. Or, if you want a brand that has been in this market for decades, you could go with the Makita. Besides the size though, the DeWalt and the Bosch are probably your best choices because they actually have spent a lot of time on the design of their steel reinforced base, so you set either table saw down right on the ground, or sand, or gravel, and it will be none the worse for wear.
Best Table Saws by Other Features
As you may have noticed even with the above categories there are table saws that could be fitted in at least 2 of them, but, on the other hand, we really think each category focuses on a particular type of user and job style. And there are even more detailed categories of table saws that are not quite as common as you might think, but that do deserve to be mentioned here. So we decided to just give you the best product in each of those categories, and trust you that you will only look into that specific type of table saw if you are confident that it is exactly what you need. Here you will find tables saws that range in size and purpose from the smallest to the big ones that can use both a regular 10 inch blade and a DADO blade as well. So make sure that you do not hit the Buy button unless you know that is the exact category that interests you.
Best Table Saw for Your Purpose
Best Table Saw for Beginners
There are many qualities that we look in when searching for a table saw that is great for beginners, but one of the most important ones is the price. It is almost inevitable that in the beginning you are not going to take as much care as you should in storing your table saw and accidents where you may drop it on the floor will happen, so we were looking for table saws that were not that expensive. We were also looking for table saws that would work well right out of the box, but that could be expanded as your knowledge about the craft grew. In time, none of the table saws we have featured here will satisfy the most demanding needs, but for small, learning type of jobs, these are perfect. It is well worth noting here that we kept our standards of high quality as high as they could go, so all our choices have strong 15 amps motors and 10 inch blades, that you will probably want to upgrade after a couple of months of practice.
SKIL 3410-02 10-Inch Table Saw
Best Hobby Table Saw
When choosing the best hobby table saws on the market we were looking for some of the most reliable products we could find, knowing that most enthusiasts may keep churning out products even longer than some professionals would. We also looked at 2 classes at table saws. That is why our first 3 choices are small form factor table saws that can be easily fitted in a small workshop. Our next 2 choices are actually the bigger table saws that, while they do require a bigger working space, are also much more stable, silent and clean. So, if you have the space for them, we would recommend going with either the Rockwell, or, if you can afford it, the SowStop. The one thing that we need to highlight here is that none of these table saws can be safely fitted with DADO blades because that type of blade is usually required in a professional setting rather than a normal hobby shed, so we decided to skip the very expensive table saws that could use them.
Best Home Table Saw
Looking for the best home table saw, we decided that this would be the type of table saw that you just keep somewhere stored away and just brought out occasionally, just for very small jobs. Therefore these are not the biggest table saws, in fact their blades run from 4 inches on our first couple of choices, to 10 inches on the later choices. But the point is that they are all very easily stored away, and you can easily workout where the driest place in your house might be, and just keep them there. It is equally important to note that we were looking for relatively cheap table saws, because, if you are only going to use your table saw every once in a while, there is really no point to spend too much money on it. So we really hope that these are the type of table saws that you were thinking of when clicking on the home table saw link, because if you are looking for something a little bigger and more reliable for home use, you may want to check out our hobby home table saw section.
Best Table Saw for Woodworking
If your main focus in life is wood work, than the best table saw for you has to be something in the cabinet table saw. That is why we decided to look for some of the more affordable table saws in this category, and that is really not a small task. All of the cabinet tables saws we are featuring here have cast iron tables, sturdy stands, and have motors whose power is measured in HP, ranging from 1 to 3 HP. So there actually went a lot of money into building them and it is only natural that manufacturers would ask for their money’s worth for them. We also need to point out here that we could not help ourselves from also featuring the very best cabinet table saw on the market, the SawStop, and that is way more expensive than everything else, but the point is that, if you can afford it, it is definitely worth the money.
Best Table Saw by Other Features
While we are certain that most of our readers will be able to find their needs met by one of our 4 categories that we have already discussed, there will inevitably be cases where our initial selection may not be enough. So we decided to give you our top choices for 6 more different categories. These will be less common, and, in fact there are fewer products directed at them. For example, few businesses or even enthusiasts, will buy a table saw for the single purpose of installing hardwood or laminate flooring. So we have looked at all the table saws on the market and found the best choices for those options. Of course, anyone of our contractor table saws could do the job, but not all could do it as well. The same could be said about furniture making where most cabinet table saws are great, but there are those that are better suited for that type of job and those that are not quite there yet.
Best Table Saw on a Budget
So far we have been looking at the quality aspect of all the table saws on the market and we have been trying to give you the best choices for the different type of tasks you may need to perform. However, often enough, it is not the need that dictates the quality of the product you are going to buy, it is the size of your wallet. So we thought we would go again through all of the options you have out there and come up with several lists that are focused on providing you with the best quality table saws, but each time considering various price points. We are going to look at some of the most affordable options on the market and then, in turn, we are going to give you the best options you have if you are willing to pay $1000, $500 and as little as $300.
Best Table Saw for the Money
In this section we have focused on the table saws that have the most interesting functions and features overall. We have not taken into consideration the type of jobs you may want to do with a particular table saw or it was meant to be used by a business or an enthusiast. So if know that you have the money and the workshop space for it, even if you are the quintessential do it yourselfer, you may want to choose from this list since it is a virtual guarantee that, when you set everything else a side, the table saw that has the best features is the one that is going to help you most down the line, doing jobs that you would have never thought you would end up tackling. Obviously you could take a look at our top 10 list, but there we tried to match price and features, while here we were only looking at the features and did not look too much into how much it would cost to get them.
Best Table Saw under $1000
If you are looking for the best table saw in the 1000 dollars range, you are going to get a lot of hybrid and cabinet table saws. We have thrown a contractor sized table saw in there too, but for the most part it is just hybrids. And we may have mentioned this before but, as long as you have the space for them, hybrid and cabinet table saws are really the best options you have. As a general rule they are much sturdier than cabinet table saws and that allows the manufacturers to set them up on larger tables with bigger rip capacities. They are also more precise because they are so stable, but also because, since weight is not a significant factor when they design cabinet table saws, the rip fence is mounted on stronger, more complex sliding systems that are a lot more accurate a easy to use.
Best Table Saw under $500
In the 500 dollar category you are going to find some of the best contractor or light table saws out there. It may sound bizarre to hear us calling contractor table saws brilliant or great, after we have just told you that cabinet table saws are the best, but you have to remember that here you are paying half or less than half of what you would pay for a hybrid or a cabinet. You should also take into consideration the fact that these cheaper alternatives weigh less than a quarter of what a decent cabinet table saw would, so they are truly essential if you are in the habit of moving from one job site to another. Even the accuracy thing can be something that you can work around by simply measuring and drawing the cutting pattern on your own, so that, when the machine starts cutting, you can monitor its accuracy and make adjustments as you go.
Best Table Saw under $300
It was not easy at all to find half decent table saws on the market today that cost less than $300. We are reasonably happy with the choices we were able to make but still, we need to point out the fact that you are actually better off buying a second hand version of our under $500 choices, or, better yet, one of the under $1000 choices. The problem of course is that second hand table saws may not be as reliable as you may want but, as long as the rip fence slides in and out smoothly, and the motor is chugging along happily, you only other investment will probably be in a high quality blade. However, second hand products are not always a feasible alternative, primarily because it is more difficult to put them under the company’s expenses category and banks will not grant loans for second hand products. So, for better or worse, here are some of your best first hand table saw choices that you can have for less than 300 dollars.
Best Table Saws by other Features
Having split the market into these huge price categories that we just talked about, we thought there were those of you who may only have a very specific amount of money to spend. So we went just that little bit further and looked into the best table saws on the market at various price ranges. There will be very few of you who actually need to match each price point, so we strongly encourage you to take your pick from our first 3 categories because there we were able to cast a much wider net in our search. The advantage with our choices though, is that we have really looked at the best products for each price category and so it should come as no surprise that the most expensive categories contain cabinet table saws, then hybrids and only then contractor and light weight table saws.
Best Table Saw by Brands
Best DeWalt Table Saw
As a general rule it is never a good idea to pick a product just by its manufacturer’s reputation. However, reputation is an excellent guarantee of specific qualities characteristic to one company or another. So, as we look at the best DeWalt table saw choices on the market we know that we are looking at some of the, high end products that you could buy, that still provide a fairly low price. Now, DeWalt is certainly not what we would call an entry level line of products, in fact they rival Bosch in terms of quality, so their prices will not be entry level either. However, they do try to come in just under the Bosch price, and most of the time they offer some extra features as well. In short you can think of DeWalt as the company that will give you the best ratio between the quality of its products and the price that you have to pay for them.
Best Bosch Table Saw
As we have mentioned above, DeWalt are the direct competitor of Bosch products, and there are a lot of people who actually equate the two in terms of quality and reliability. However, if you are a true Bosch fan, you are always going to argue that Bosch products are the more reliable, and we have to confess that we tend to agree with that position. It is not that DeWalt table saws are not incredibly reliable, and it is equally true that both companies export their manufacturing needs to China, but as it has been our experience that Bosch products in general, and their table saws in particular can take a lot more punishment than any one of its competitors. There is also the fact that Bosch try to always add some new tech to their line of products and, although not ground breaking, things like the Gravity Rise system they have implemented in the stands that go out with their contractor table saws, are indeed of great help when maneuvering the table saw from one place to another.
Best Grizzly Table Saw
Although Grizzly do manufacture some contractor table saws, their best products will always be their cabinet table saws. They are the Bosch and the DeWalt of the cabinet table saw world and we could not be happier with the quality of their products. They use heavy duty cast iron in the design of their table top and stand so the resulting table saw is incredibly strong and stable. The table itself is larger than most cabinet table saws and that allows you to use larger pieces of wood and, because of all that heavy cast iron, the entire thing will not topple over that easily. Finally, you have to appreciate the fact that the Grizzly table saws can usually take even the biggest DADO blades, a fact that speaks loads about the durability and strengths of their shaft and gear systems that can take the strain from such a huge blade.
Best Grizzly Table Saw
Best SawStop Table Saw
We saved SawStop for last because they are the Apple of table saws. There are always going to be those who are going to say that the greatly inflated prices are acceptable because of the superior quality level of the products. We do indeed agree that SawStop products are of the very best quality, but we just not sure that they are that much better than the Bosch or Grizzly table saws. The one difference we would have to agree with is in the actual design factor, and if you have an open workshop where your clients can actually see you at your work, than a SawStop cabinet table saw will certainly be more of a show stopper than anything else. Their contractor table saw is just as impressive and, if you own a small business where you visit with your clients and they are present while you work, than the SawStop SawStop JSS-MCA is certainly an excellent way to put your best foot forward on the first meeting.
Best Table Saws by other Features
Besides the big brands we have already talked about there are some smaller brand that definitely are worth talking about here. Skil for example makes some of the most affordable table saws on the market and their quality level, although inferior to DeWalt, is still good enough to help you get many jobs done. Quite on the opposite end of the spectrum from Skil you have Makita and Hitachi whose table saws are just as good as the ones that Bosh or DeWalt put out. The only thing is that Makita and Hitachi put together do not have as many types of table saws as DeWalt, so we decided to just pick one of our favorite table saws from their lineup and talk about them here. As for the other brands in the following list, they are somewhere on a continuum of quality between Skil and Makita, and their best products are certainly worth you consideration.
We have already given you several excellent table saw choices for each type of job, pocket size or brand you may like, and we are going to give you even more detailed analysis for each one of those categories. However, before we go into that, we thought it would be a good idea to go in our top 10 best table saw choices on the market today. This is a list that crosses all categories looking simply to define what the best products on the table saw market are. Therefore, you will find some of the most affordable as well as some of the most expensive table saws out there. We are going to review some of the best table saws for enthusiasts as well as professionals, so if you read nothing else we encourage you to go over this list to make an informed choice.
DeWalt DW745 10-Inch Compact Job-Site Table Saw
10-Inch Compact Job-Site Table Saw
The DeWalt DW745 10-Inch Compact Job-Site Table Saw has made several appearances on our list already and that should be no surprise since it is one of the most affordable and yet high end table saws on the market today. At 45 pounds it is one of the lightest table saws on the market, and, surprisingly, it still boasts the standard 15 Amps motor and a 10 inch blade. It has a telescoping fence that can be pulled out to allow for a 20 inch rip capacity, and then pushed back in for easy transport. The base is metal so you can set the DeWalt down almost anywhere, as long as it is flat and sturdy and get to work. The other thing to note is that the blade can cut at any angle between 0 and 45, so you really do get the complete functionality of a contractor table saw. The biggest Pros of the DeWalt DW745 are its light weight, ease of use and setup and affordable price. The Cons are a relatively small rip capacity and the fact that it cannot take a DADO blade. It is perfect for on sight work, but take into consideration the fact that you may need to rip larger boards in your home workshop.
In fact we actually had a professional woodworker come in to quickly setup a bar in a corner of our office for party and he saw us testing the DeWalt. His reaction was of total astonishment when he saw us trying to feed in a 10 feet plank into the table saw.
“You are never going to be able to use a board that is over 7 feet in length if you cut it with one of those tiny contractor style table saws. Why do you think us, in the industry, always have a cabinet table saw in our home workshop? I personally prepare any piece of wood that is over 6 feet in length from home, just to be sure, and then use my on site table saw for smaller, fitting jobs. If I would try to built up your bar here with boards cut on site I can guarantee you that I would end up with half an inch gap on one end or the other, or the entire thing would be tilted. Not so much as to notice right away, but the moment you tried to fill a shot glass on the bar, you would definitely see it.”
Rockwell RK7323 Blade Runner X2 Portable Tabletop Saw
Blade Runner X2 Portable Tabletop Saw
Blade Runner X2 Portable Tabletop Saw
The Rockwell RK7323 Blade Runner X2 Portable Tabletop Saw uses a completely different approach to doing the jobs you would normally associate with a table saw, and that is why it is both lighter than anything else on the market today and it is also one of the cheapest choices you have. The only real downside is the fact that it is not as fast as a regular saw, and you will need to change the blade more often than with most table saws. That is because it uses a straight, long blade, that goes up and down and you just need to feed in various types of wood towards the blade. We were very impressed to see that the foot that support the blade arm was made out of very thin, extra strength steel so that you can push the blade through it. That basically extends the cutting ability of the Rockwell to the point where it can match a standard table saw on every point. The biggest Pros the Rockwell has going for it are the fact that it is ultra light, super affordable and it basically has no fence restriction. The Cons have to do precisely with the fact that it does not have a fence so cutting perfectly straight lines can be a challenge. It is perfect for use on a job site, but you may want to buy an aftermarket fence for it.
DeWalt DWE7480XA 10-Inch Compact Job Site Table Saw with Guarding System and Stand
10-Inch Compact Job Site Table Saw with Guarding System and Stand
10-Inch Compact Job Site Table Saw with Guarding System and Stand
If you are willing to spend a little bit extra you can get one of those brilliant crossovers from a contractor table saw to a cabinet table saw. The DWE7480XA table saw has its own stand that can be retracted for extra mobility, but that is just as stable and comfortable to use as is a regular cabinet table saw. Add to that a vacuum powered dust bag and you really have the best of both worlds. However, the core of the entire system is still a contractor table saw, not much more different than the DeWalt DW745 we have already discussed. It has a 10 inch blade powered by a 15 Amps motor and it can reach speeds of up to 4800 RPM. Its rip capacity is somewhat bigger though, at 24 inches. The guarding system is modular and can be set up and taken down on the job site without any tools. The Pros of the DeWalt have to do with its larger rip capacity at 24 inches and that easy to use stand it comes with. The cons are its added mass and volume. Therefore the best place to use the DeWalt would be in a work shed or at a significantly massive job site.
Bosch 4100-09 10-Inch Worksite Table Saw with Gravity-Rise Stand
10-Inch Worksite Table Saw with Gravity-Rise Stand
The most attentive of you will recognize the Bosch 4100-09 10-Inch Worksite Table Saw with Gravity-Rise Stand as our top choice of the best portable table saw. We have chosen it because table saws, by definition, are heavy pieces of machinery and even the lightest one will still come in at about 45 pounds. Therefore if you are looking for a truly mobile solution your best choice is the Bosch 4100-09 10-Inch Worksite Table Saw with Gravity-Rise Stand. As you probably already know Bosch is one of the best table saw manufacturers at the moment, DeWalt is the other, and this is almost the standard Bosch table saw, only that they have set it up on a very smart stand on wheels. The stand folds down for easy storage and you can use it almost as a wheel cart to carry the table saw around. It uses a standard 10 inch cutting knife that freely revs up to 3650 RPM and uses a 15 Amps motor. Provided that you are using the appropriate type of blade and that it is not dull, the 15 Amp motor can go through any type of wood with extreme ease. The table itself is 29 inches wide by 21 – ½ inches in depth, with a rip capacity of 25 inches. It comes with a modular smart guard system that can be taken apart without the need of any tools for easy transportation. All and all, an easy to carry but fully functional table saw that is both reliable and affordable. The Bosch 4100-09 was designed to be used on a job site so its Pros have to do with the ease of which the gravity rise system can handle any task as well as the 25 inches rip capacity. The Cons are focused mostly on the price, but also on the fact that you will need a larger pickup truck to carry the Bosch to and from a job location. Still, this is definitely a machine designed to be used on a job site.
Hitachi C10FCE2 15-Amp 10-inch Single Bevel Compound Miter Saw
15-AMP 10-INCH SINGLE BEVEL COMPOUND MITER SAW
15-AMP 10-INCH SINGLE BEVEL COMPOUND MITER SAW
When we decided to create a top ten list of the best table saws on the market we knew we had to be fair and feature some of the best table saws from each of the top manufacturers. So it should come as no surprise that the Hitachi C10FCE2 15-Amp 10-inch Single Bevel Compound Miter Saw is one of our top choices. Hitachi are known for their extremely reliable products that are also quite affordable, and this one is no exception. It uses that powerful 15 amps motor that is almost a standard of the contractor table saw, and a 10 inch blade. The great thing about the fact that the blade is mounted on the cutting arm and not on the base is that you can lift it to its maximum height of 14 inches and cut crown moldings vertically. In spite of the position of the blade, you still have a bevel range of 45 degrees which allows you to create the perfect angle on corner moldings. The design of the Hitachi means it has a very specific Pro feature and that is its extra high cutting capability, going up as far as 4 inches. The cons have to do with the somewhat less amount of control you can have over how accurate the machine is when cutting into a straight line. The tall cutting blade makes this perfect for job sites where you would deal with moldings of any kind.
Skil 3410-02 10-Inch Table Saw with Folding Stand
10-Inch Table Saw
10-Inch Table Saw
It is very unfortunate that many contractors seem to forget their, usually, very humble beginnings, and so most people tend to focus on the big brands like DeWalt or Bosch. However, many startups will use a Skil table saw, often enough it will actually be the Skil 3410-02 120-Volt 10-Inch Table Saw with Folding Stand, and, although it does not have the same overall reliability and features that the big boys have, it is good enough to help a contractor make his mark and earn enough to buy something more fancy. Therefore we think of this table saw as the perfect tool for a do it yourselfer as the machine with the stand costs less than almost any other table saw without a stand. Further than that, it uses a powerful and reliable 15 Amps motor, with a decent 10 inch blade that will give you many years of use. In fact, if there was anything we would change, we would recommend buying a better blade, because overall the Skil table saw is an excellent tool. It has a 20 inch rip capacity with a self aligning fence that is quite accurate, and we were quite impressed of how much you get for such a low price. The Pros of the Skil table saw are all about the impressively small price and the fact that you are getting a fully functional, full option table saw. The disadvantage is the fact that it is not the most reliable product on the market. Therefore the best place to use the Skil is in a home, do it yourselfer type, workshop.
To be honest the Skil was the only table saw we did not have to go to any trouble to review because one of our colleagues is actually an enthusiast do it yourselfer and he has been using a Skil table saw for the past 5 years. In his own words
“Skil is the only table saw that makes sense buying. It does everything I have ever needed, it is reliable, and incredibly safe. Why pay more for anything else?” You may have noticed that our general opinion is somewhat skewed from that, but still, it is good to have the opinion of an enthusiast with so much experience with this particular tool.
Craftsman Evolv 15 Amp 10 In. Table Saw
15 AMP 10 IN. TABLE SAW
15 AMP 10 IN. TABLE SAW
Provided you have a big enough van, or that you have a small workshop with plenty of space, the next step up you can take from the small form contractor table saws are the hybrid table saws. These are not quite as big as the cabinet table saws are, but they are still big and cumbersome enough that you cannot reasonably entertain the idea of carrying them from one job site to another. It has a bigger working surface of 25” by 17”, but the same 15 Amps motor. The major difference between this and the regular contractor table saws is the fact that it is a lot more stable than most of the other regular table saws because of the build in, heavy stand. On the other hand, the difference between this and a cabinet table saw is that it will not work with a DADO blade so, although you could squeeze one in there, make sure not to use it because the arbor shaft was not designed for it. The obvious Pros going for the Craftsman are its increased stability and large rip capacity. The cons have to do with its much larger volume and weight. That makes it the perfect choice for a small workshop or a very active do it yourselfer’s garage.
Sawstop CNS175-SFA30 1-3/4 HP Contractor Saw
1-3/4 HP Contractor Saw
As long as you are willing to pay for it, there is an interesting alternative to the Craftsman hybrid table saw, and it is the Sawstop CNS175-SFA30 1-3/4 HP Contractor Saw. Calling it a contractor table saw is being modest, but that is the name they chose and we have to respect that. However, the SawStop will take anything from a regular 10 inch blade to an 8 inch DADO blade, and, just as importantly, its power output is measured in horse power and not Amps. Therefore it is well worth noting that the Sawstop CNS175-SFA30 has a 1.75 HP motor that will leave any other contractor table saw in the dust. The table top is made from cast iron and trunnion, so the entire thing is heavy but also incredibly stable. And that has allowed them to setup a railing fence that will give you a 30” rip capacity. Interestingly enough, you can order separately a cart that greatly increases the mobility of this table saw, but we still would not recommend using it if you need to move several times per day. The pros with a Sawstop table saw will always be about the incredibly high quality of its build as well as its unprecedented safety level. The cons are actually just one and it has to do with its prohibitive price. This is obviously the perfect tool for a contractor so its place is on a job site, but it may as well fit very nicely in home workshop provided you can afford it.
Grizzly G0690 Cabinet Table Saw
CABINET TABLE SAW
CABINET TABLE SAW
The one thing that we did not mention about the SawStop table saw was the fact that it is an extra high end product, and for about the same amount of money you can get a full blown cabinet table saw, the Grizzly G0690. The Grizzly is a much bigger, sturdier, more powerful table saw, so it would be the better choice unless, of course, you do not have any space for it or you fancy taking it from one job to another. This is definitely a workshop table saw, but it does have a 3 horse power motor, and it can take a 13 inch DADO blade as well as a 10 inch regular blade. Being a cabinet table saw it has an almost perfect dust handing capacity and a huge 41” by 21” table top size with extensions. The Grizzly cabinet saw has its price and quality of built as its Pro features, while the cons have to do with its humongous size. Its perfect for a large workshop that can take advantage of its size and rip capacity.
SawStop PCS31230-TGP252 3-HP Professional Cabinet Saw Assembly
3-HP Professional Cabinet Saw Assembly
3-HP Professional Cabinet Saw Assembly
We are going to close our top ten best table saw reviews with a high end, high costs cabinet table saw, the SawStop PCS31230-TGP252. It is a very pricy cabinet table saw, but, to the right person, it is definitely worth the money. In the first place we need to highlight just how reliable SawStop table saws are, and mention that they are decades ahead of the competition. There is also the fact that this cabinet table saw uses a 3 horse power engine and can take both regular and DADO blades. The manufacturer advertises the fact that their table saw collects 99% of all the dust produced, but in our experience its actually closer to 100%. There is also the fact that the glide fence swings out to 52 inches, so you have the biggest rip capacity of any table saw on the market. It also has some very smart features like a blade that is tilted to the left so the wood does not get caught in the fence. As we said in the beginning of this review, this is an extremely cool cabinet table saw, but you need to really work around the clock to get your money’s worth out of it. As mention before the Pros of a Sawstop table saw have to do with its safety and quality of built feature, and, being a cabinet table saw, the high level of precision, stability and the fact that it can work with a DADO blade. Its main disadvantage is the incredibly high price tag. As long as you can afford it, this would be the perfect center piece for a workshop that has constant contact with the clients.
What Is a Table Saw?
The simplest way of thinking about a table saw is as the safest, most precise and yet most powerful tool you could have to cut large pieces of wood. It is built on top of a very powerful motor, usually a 15 Amps motor or stronger, that spins an ultra sharp blade. The top of that blade stands a couple of inches over the middle surface of a table top. Thus, all you have to do in order to cut a piece of wood, is to slide it across the table and onto the path of the spinning blade. Because so little of the blade is exposed, and because the blade itself is stationary, the entire mechanism is very safe. Usually a table saw will also have a complex guar system that will force the wood onto the table so it will not be thrown off the table by the motion of the blade.
Different Types of Table Saws
As you may have noticed if you have read this article entirely so far, there are dozens of table saws, and they can be classified from the point of view of what their main function is, to their price class, to the type of consumer they are meant for. However, the most basic way of classifying them is by their basic size and shape. Following that rule, you have contractor table saws, cabinet table saws and hybrids, and we are going to take a look at each one of these classes so as to give you a better understanding of what they refer to.
Contractor Table Saw
Contractor table saws are the smallest class of table saws currently in existence. They are still quite big, the lightest one coming it at just about 45 pounds, but they are definitely smaller than most. As a consequence, they are usually used by small business owners who travel to their client’s homes to do various carpenter type of jobs like installing custom kitchen cabinets or putting up dry wall. In fact that is the only reason why they are known as contractor table saws. The can actually be used by hobbyists, and enthusiast do it yourselfers, precisely because they are the cheaper members of the family. It should also be noted that some contractor table saws come with their own stands, or you can buy the stands separately, and then they are sometimes called bench table saws, but these are basically the same tools.
Cabinet Table Saws
The largest types of table saws are the cabinets. They get their name from the huge box that they are built on top of. That box is used to collect the huge amounts of dust that table saws create, but, because it is made from cast iron, it also helps to make the entire thing a lot more stable than any contractor or even bench table saw. The added stability also allows the manufacturer to use larger table surfaces that are themselves usually made from cast iron, thus further increasing the stability of the thing. They use much more powerful, 3 to 5 HP motors and that allows them to use several different type of blades and blade sizes. It should be noted though that because of their size, but also because of their dust collection capabilities, cabinet table saws are usually thought of as business oriented devices.
Hybrid Table Saws
In terms of size and price hybrid table saws are somewhere between contractor and cabinet table saws. However, they get their names because they are a mixture between the 2, and we left them for last because that way you can get a better idea of what they are. Hybrids usually use the smaller 15 Amps motors that you would find on contractor table saws, but they are set up on cast iron stands, to which they are usually bound to. Thus the have some of the stability of cabinet table saws, but because of the type of motor they have, they usually cannot use DADO blades.
What You Should Look for in a Table Saw
Your search for a table saw should start with a deep understanding of what your needs and capabilities are. Most people do not have unlimited workshop space and that is why they prefer to use smaller contractor table saws. They also do not have that much money to invest freely into a table saw. However, if you have the space and money for it, a cabinet table saw is definitely the more versatile and useful tool. In any case you need to make sure that whatever type of table saw you decide to go with, it will have at least a 15 Amps motor. In the article above we have featured some smaller table saws with smaller motors, but you should really leave those for the specialists who usually have at least 2 other bigger table saws, and are purchasing the smaller versions for their own interest.
The other thing that you need to pay great attention is the rip capacity. Each table saw has what is called a fence to the right of the blade that you can use to make long, straight cuts through large pieces of wood. The larger the rip capacity is, the further out the fence goes, and therefore the wider your planks or whatever other types of wood you are cutting will be. The fence itself can be used to accurately measure how wide each cut is, but the thing that you have to keep in mind is that the fence swings out on various types of sliding systems and the better, more stable, smarter designed the system is, the more accurately it will allow you to make the cuts.
Finally, one important thing even some specialists tend to forget to check is the type of blade that the table saw can handle. Most table saws will only be able to use 10 inch blades and there the general rule of thumb is that the more expensive the better the blade is. On a side note here we should point out that it is always a good idea to look for high quality blades because they will make your life easier but also because they will protect the motor and the gear system. Some cabinet table saws though can also use DADO blades, and if you need to make different types of grooves or dadoes, or channels in the wood, you will definitely need them.
One question that we are always asked is what you should look for in second hand table saws and if it is worth buying them. As long as the motor is still going strong and the fence is sliding in and out as smoothly as it would have out of the factory you can choose to buy a second hand. However, if there is any type of rust on the sliding system you should avoid buying that table saw because it is obvious that it does not have many more seasons ahead of it. Also make sure to buy a brand new blade and do not trust the older blades that second hand systems come with.
Table Saw Safety Tips
Table saws are incredibly powerful tools and you need to take certain precautions when using them. One of the first and most important things would be to always deploy the guarding system. The various types of guarding systems are usually designed for keyless installation, which means they are just as easily to install as they are to take off, and option that some people avail themselves off. However, the blade of a table saw spins at speeds of 3400 RPM and up, which means that, if the blade were to hit a harder part of the wood, like a knot, or a forgotten nail, it will through the wood clean off the table unless the guard system is there to hold it in place.
The other thing to watch out for is the sharpness level of the blade. Because of the very powerful motor and the high speeds of the blade, most table saws could use even old pickup disks to cut trough wood. However, just as is the case with the disks, the huge amounts of pressure that the table saw generates will tear to pieces even steel blades if they are too old or too dull. The point is that it is incredibly important to change the blades as soon as they become dull, or to at least sharpen them back up. It will not only protect you, but it will also protect the table saw itself.
Lastly you should remember that any table saw puts out incredible amounts of dust and makes a lot of noise. So you need to wear protective glasses and noise canceling headphones. We would also recommend using a breath mask because the finer dust particles will escape even the best vacuuming system and will easily get trapped in your nose. You should also wear some type of work gloves, not that they would be much protection from the blade if you somehow managed to get a finger in front of the blade, but most pieces of wood have splinters hanging all around and it is very easy to get stuck by them.
Frequently Asked Question
How Can You Avoid Kickback?
The short answer is that you simply cannot avoid kickback, it is just something that is going to happen from time to time because sometimes it is the wood itself that splits while it is being cut, that split part travels up the blade and pulls the rest of the lumber with it thus throwing it back. There are however several safety precautions that you can take, not the list of which being not to stand in the line of danger, which is to say straight down from the line between the blade and the fence. Being that the lumber is certainly going to be thrown in that direction, it makes sense to stay a bit to the side.
The other thing that you can do to avoid kickback is to use feeder wheels instead of your own hands of another piece of wood. Obviously the guard should be done at all times when working with a piece of woods, and, as we have mentioned before, you should always change the blade if you feel that it has gotten even a little bit dull.
How Can You Avoid Injuries?
With a blade moving that fast and with that much power you can be sure that even if are not paying attention for a second, you will lose a finger. Unfortunately there is not safety system to protect you from that unless you buy one of the SawStop table saws we have talked about. The great thing about SawStop, and the place actually where it has gotten its name, is that they are the only ones implementing a technology that will stop the table saw if it detects human contact. The way they do this is by running a low intensity current through the blade and if it is touched by a hand, foot or anything like that, the machine detects the change in current and blocks and lowers the blade automatically. It is so fast that you will end up with a mere scrape where as any other table saw will just chop off that body part in less time than it takes your brain to give the order to move out of danger.
How Tall Should the Blade Be?
While there are those who argue that the blade needs to come up sever inches above the material it is cutting through, we see that as a potential health hazard. Therefore our philosophy has always been to set the blade less than an inch above the surface of the timber. Granted, the blade might grow dull faster because this is not the optimum cutting angle, but it is better to replace the blade every 12 month and keep your fingers safe, rather than change it every 18 months – and here we are really being generous – and risk losing a finger.
Do You Also Need a Circular If You Already Have a Table Saw?
Many people think of the table saw as the best upgrade you could have from a circular saw, but, in reality, they were actually designed for different jobs. If you are using a circular saw to make long cuts along the grain of the wood you are really doing yourself a disservice. Circular saws are perfect for relatively short cuts, about 20 inches in length, across the grain of the wood, while table saws can be used for cuts of anywhere up to 20 feet along the grain of the wood. So you would actually use a circular saw on the same job right after you have used the table saw, and not instead of it.
Why Can You Not Fit a DADO Blade on a Contractor Table Saw?
This question has been asked in many forms and formats, but the point behind it is that many people can judge that a DADO blade might be able to be fit in the same place where you would fit a regular 10 inch blade. On some machines even the center axel may seem to support it. The point to keep in mind, however, is that DADO blades exert a lot more pressure on the gear and motor of the table saw, and that is why they should only be used on the bigger, stronger motor.
How Much More Accurate Is a Cabinet Table Saw’s Fence to a Contractor One?
If you have read through all of our reviews you may have noticed that we consistently praise the accuracy of the fence systems on cabinet table saws. That is because contractor table saws usually have a two to five thousands of an inch skew to the right and away from the blade. If you are going to handle projects where you use timber of 3 to 6 feet in length, which sounds reasonable for your average do it yourselfer, that skew will not show up in any noticeable way. Even most contractor jobs will not need a higher level of accuracy on their jobs.
Rip fence – the main guiding system of the table saw, trapping the wood against the blade when cutting along the grain. It can be adjusted to allow you to cut boards that are anywhere between 20 and 50 inches in width.
Rail system – the support system that allows the rip fence to slide close to and away from the blade, allowing you to cut the right width board.
Miter gauge – a secondary system that is sometimes a part of the table saw, but that most often has to be bought separately. Its main function is to allow you to perfectly position the piece of wood you are cutting for a crosscut at any given specific angle.
Blade guard – a transparent plastic or reinforced glass guard that covers the top of the blade. It usually slides automatically out of the way of the board as it is being cut, but still provides some cover on top so as to prevent accidents.
Anti-kickback pawls – a plastic or steel devices that is lower on top of the board as it is being cut so that it will not be thrown off the table by the action of the blade.
About the Author
George is an enthusiast do-it-yourselfer who is lucky enough to own a workshop large enough to accommodate a SawStop cabinet table saw. Over the years he has used everything from contractor table saws to the current cabinet table saw to build tree houses for his 3 lovely kids, beds and suspended beds for the kids and the wife, install both hardwood and plywood floor throughout the house, and dozens of other projects. In writing this article he has called upon not only his experience but the knowhow of an entire team of specialist carpenters, frame makers and other enthusiasts like himself.