If you are a woodworker, be it professional or hobbyist, you are going to benefit from using a table saw if you process a lot of wood. Table saws make processing wood as easy and straightforward as it can be, and can make it much more efficient to do so. This saves you time in the long run and allows you to process much more wood than you might be able to otherwise.
However, finding the right table saw for you can take some time. This is due in part to the vast range of table saws available on the market, as well as the type of work you are going to do with the table saw. If you are going to invest in a table saw, you should be careful to ensure that you are making an informed decision based on these factors. Fortunately, we have done a lot of the research part for you, and this article covers a number of different table saws, as well as their advantages and disadvantages!
Do I Need a Table Saw?
You might be wondering whether or not you truly need a table saw at all. This is especially relevant if you don’t work with large quantities of wood, or use other methods to process the wood that you work with. In short, you might be able to use a circular saw for the type of woodwork that you do. However, it depends a lot on your level of skill, and how comfortable you want your work to be. While you might be able to get away with using a circular saw for certain projects or work, it is likely going to be far easier and more comfortable with a table saw, especially if you’re going to be ripping lumber or processing a lot of wood.
One of the main advantages of the table saw is that it takes care of a lot of the work for you. You can simply set the rip fence or miter the way you need, and start to work. Doing the same type of work with a circular saw is possible, but it is much more time-consuming and requires far greater precision on your part. If you use a table saw, you can make the work much easier for yourself and let the table do a lot of the work for you. This is why we recommend that you use a table saw if you are going to be processing anything more than tiny amounts of lumber, especially if you aren’t an especially skilled woodworker. It just makes life much easier for you, and generally makes processing wood much faster and more efficient as well.
Now, you are probably asking yourself what kind of table saw you should invest in. This is a key question because there are a considerable number of models and manufacturers of table saws out there, and you might not know where to begin. This article covers the main types of table saws, as well as different manufacturers for some of these types, and their advantages and disadvantages. We hope that this makes it much easier for you to decide what type of table saw to invest in, as it’s not always possible to try before you buy when looking at table saws. By breaking down the features, pros, and cons, of different types of table saws, our hope is that you can make an informed purchase of your first or next table saw.
Types of Table Saw
Since there are lots of different types of table saw available, it’s important that you know what kind of table saw is going to be most appropriate for you and the work that you do. This section covers some of the main categories of table saws, and their advantages and disadvantages. With this information, you should have a better idea of the type of table saw that would suit you best.
In the past, table saw models and builds were generally limited to a high-performance cabinet table saw, which was far from being easy to move, and a portable table saw which could handle much smaller workloads and was not really designed to provide users with the possibility of working with hardwood or performing fine detail woodwork. Now, the options available to wood workers are far more versatile and varied, and you can base your decision more on the features of the particular table saw that you are looking for, instead of being forced to choose based on the general build of the saw.
Job Site table saws
Job site table saws, also known as portable table saws, are a smaller kind of table saw which are easy to transport and carry. You can do much of the same work with a job site table saw that you can with other table saws, but they are smaller and therefore can’t handle quite as much. Job site table saws usually run on an induction motor, which is smaller than the larger motors that more powerful table saws run on. As a result, they are often louder than other types of table saws. It’s important that you use appropriate ear protection when working with table saws in general, but this might be especially relevant when working with a job site table saw.
In order to make them more portable and light, most job site table saws have a top made of aluminum instead of cast iron. This means the saws are somewhat less durable than other types of table saws. A job site table saw is capable of ripping most types of wood, and generally come with a universal 15 amp motor. However, a job site table saw might not be able to rip certain hardwoods. They also aren’t as suited to working with fine details, which you might need if you are performing detailed work or fine woodworking. We would generally recommend a job site table saw to someone who needs to rip simple pieces of wood and doesn’t work with thick hardwood or perform fine woodworking.
Contractor Table Saws
Contractor table saws were once supposed to be portable enough to transport from different job sites. While they aren’t as portable as a dedicated job site table saws, they are smaller and lighter than some other types of table saw. Contractor table saws are usually relatively affordable and light, as well as being straightforward and easy to use. They’re also a great option for a smaller woodworking shop. While you have to sacrifice some features that larger table saws have to offer, contractor table saws should be suitable for the average hobbyist or carpenter.
It’s also possible to enhance a contractor table saw by upgrading certain parts so that it performs much better without needing to invest in a larger table saw. For example, you can replace the blade in a contractor table saw to something of a higher quality. If you need to perform a lot of a particular type of cut, you can choose a blade that is designed for that type of cutting. This can significantly enhance the performance of your contractor table saw, and make it suitable for a variety of different kinds of more advanced woodworking projects.
Cabinet saws are named after their design, being fully enclosed and resembling a cabinet somewhat in their appearance. Compared to more portable options like contractor table saws and job site table saws, cabinet saws are much sturdier and heavier, but also much more suitable for finer detail work and ripping thick hardwood.
Generally speaking, cabinet saws are built using cast iron and steel, and their gearing and trunnions are much heavier than in job site saws or contractor table saws. The rugged and sturdy build of these saws means that there is generally very little vibration when ripping wood, regardless of the thickness. This makes these saws a pleasure to use, and suitable for those who need to work with all kinds of wood, especially for extended periods of time.
Compared to the lighter models of table saw, cabinet saws have their motors enclosed within the body, which means cabinet saws are generally much quieter than smaller, more portable table saws. The fact that the base is completely enclosed within the saw also means that dust collection is much easier and quicker than working with smaller table saws, which can be a bit messier overall.
Cost is, however, something to keep in mind when considering purchasing a cabinet saw. Compared to lighter types of table saws, cabinet saws are certainly something of an investment. This makes purchasing a cabinet saw prohibitive, at least compared to the smaller models of saws. If you’re a hobbyist, it’s unlikely to be appropriate or necessary for you to purchase a cabinet saw. They use a considerable amount of electricity to operate because they usually have quite powerful motors. A standard cabinet saw has a motor at 3-5HP, therefore usually requires a 220-volt circuit to operate.
Cabinet saws are also far from being portable. Conversely, they often weigh around 600lb, meaning that they are very difficult to transport once they’re in place. This is why we would generally only recommend a cabinet saw for a professional who works with a lot of wood in one location and needs to be able to process it as easily and quickly as possible. If you have any flexibility in this, it would likely be easier and more practical for you to choose a job site or contractor table saw. Having said that, if you’re a professional or a very passionate amateur, you simply can’t beat the performance of a cabinet saw.
For a long time, there was a considerable difference between cabinet saws and the more portable table saws, and manufacturers have recently been trying more and more to close that gap with something that is more affordable, but still more powerful than the most portable table saws. The result is the hybrid table saw, which attempts to have as many features of a cabinet table saw as possible but at a much more accessible price point. Hybrid saws usually have a more sophisticated drive belt system than smaller saws like contractor and job site saws, as well as being sturdier thanks to their build.
What is the Best Table Saw?
The best table saw for you is going to depend on the kind of work that you do, and how often you work with wood. It’s hard to say what the best overall table saw is going to be for you- only you can decide that. What you should consider is how much you work with wood, how much cutting you do, the kinds of wood that you work with, how much time you spend working on wood in your shop, and so on. For example, if you spend a few hours a week ripping wood and the rest of your work is in other areas, you probably don’t need a cabinet saw. Conversely, if you work in a woodshop and spend hours at a time cutting, then you are likely going to benefit from a more reliable, high-performance model that can handle larger workloads and thicker pieces of hardwood.
What is the Best Cheap Table Saw?
Generally speaking, job site table saws and contractor table saws are the cheaper models or makes from the table saw family. If you are looking for one of these models, you probably have a smaller shop or work a lot out of your shop, and don’t need or can’t justify investing in a large cabinet table saw. In this case, you can likely perform all the work that you need to with a smaller portable model, which is also going to be much more affordable than a cabinet saw or potentially a hybrid table saw as well.
If you are simply looking for the best table saw that is relatively affordable, we can certainly recommend the DeWalt DW745 10-inch table saw. This saw gives you a great bang for your buck and performs very well given its size and weight. Weighing only 22 kilograms, this saw is one of the lightest in its class, and it has fantastic reviews on Amazon as well. With a 10-inch blade, this table saw can handle rip cuts of up to 20 inches, which is enough for many different kinds of woodworking projects and wood processing in general. It’s also possible to widen the blade further, thanks to the DW745’s fence rails. While this is not the most heavy-duty table saw out there, it’s generally going to be enough of a workhorse for all but the most dedicated and professional woodworkers, and would be a fantastic purchase for the hobbyist or some professionals who would benefit from its portability.
Who Makes the Best Jobsite Table Saw?
Maybe you’ve decided that you are going to be processing limited amounts of wood and that a job site table saw would be the best option for you. Because they tend to be more affordable and less sturdy than their larger counterparts, it can be somewhat challenging to find a job site table saw that is durable and performs well enough to recommend for purchase. When considering a job site table saw, we recommend that you consider the individual features of each model before you buy one. Think about the kind of woodwork that you do and what features would be most beneficial to you.
Even among job site table saws, some saws can handle a much higher workload than others, for example. However, the job site table saws that don’t perform as highly are generally much more portable, so this might be enough of an advantage for you to consider investing in the lower-performance model anyway. Generally, some of the best job site table saws are manufactured by DeWalt and Bosch. Both brands have great reputations for producing job site tabletop saws that perform well but are very portable and light. Between these two brands, it’s impossible to say whether one is better than the other- this decision should largely be based on the model that you are looking at, and which features are most suitable for you.
Do I Need a Contractor Table Saw?
Depending on the type of woodwork you are going to do, a job site tables saws might not be good enough for your needs. This is especially true if you are going to be working with harder woods, or working for longer periods of time. As they generally don’t have parts made from cast iron, a job site table saw can struggle with significant workloads or ripping larger, thicker pieces of wood. If your work requires you to make a lot of rip cuts or rip cuts of harder woods, then you might want to consider investing in a contractor table saw as opposed to a job site table saw. While you might sacrifice some portability, contractor table saws are generally relatively portable and light and can perform much more accurate cuts. In addition, they can generally make larger rip cuts and are generally more reliable for working with for longer periods of time, too.
One advantage of a contractor table saw is that they generally have cast iron tabletops. This makes them far more durable than the average job site table saw. They also have a much greater rip capacity, generally speaking. However, contractor table saws are still much more portable than a cabinet table saw, for example. They usually have a smaller blade and motor, so that they are relatively easy to transport. Various table saw reviews suggest that contractor table saws are often high-performance enough for the average woodworker, be they a professional or amateur.
Many newer models of contractor table saws also have a very sophisticated fence system, which helps you make much more precise or specialized cuts than what job site table saws usually have. The combination of a specialized fence system and the larger blade is often enough to make contractor table saws much more precise than a job site table saw, while still being much more convenient and affordable than a cabinet table saw. While contractor table saws generally have a less powerful motor than a cabinet table saw, they can generally perform well enough that this is not an issue, unless you are going to use your table saw for hours at a time.
What Characterizes a Contractor Table Saw?
This is a big question! There are a huge number of fantastic table saws out there on the market, and their features can vary quite considerably from model to model. Exactly which is the best contractor table saw is difficult to say, as this is ultimately going to depend on which features you are looking for in a table saw. However, we have broken down the standard features of a contractor table saw, as well as compiling a list of what we consider to be some of the best contractor saws out there on the market today. If you are looking for a contractor saw, read on!
The kind of motor that a contractor saw has depends on its model, and the kind of motor that you yourself need depends on the work that you do. If you largely work with softer woods, for example, a 2 hp motor should be sufficient. A 2 hp motor can give you the power to rip and cut softer woods without being overkill. However, if you work with harder woods, a 2 hp motor might not be enough. You might need something more heavy-duty, like a 4 hp motor. However, a 4 hp motor can easily be overkill if you are a beginner or working with softer woods. A 4 hp motor also users more power, of course.
The average contractor saw has a rip capacity of at least 30 inches to the right side of the blade. Anything less than a capacity of 25 inches or so can make it difficult to work with larger sheets of wood, so this generally won’t be an issue with contractor saws in general. If you feel that you need a larger rip capacity than 30 inches, you can look for a larger contractor saw that can accommodate this type of work for you.
Miter Gauge and Fence System
Any good contractor saw is going to have a miter gauge and fence. A good fence system makes it easy for you to make cuts safely and accurately. A miter gauge lets you make angled cuts with ease. Unfortunately, a lot of contractor table models come with a fence or miter gauge that is poor quality or made from substandard materials. If this is the case, you might want to invest in a replacement which is better quality for these parts, as this can make a big difference to the type of work that you do.
What is the Best Contractor Table Saw?
Now that you know which features your contractor table should have, you might be wondering which contractor table to invest in! Fortunately, you don’t need to spend hours sifting through contractor table saw reviews, because we’ve done the work for you. We have read through a host of a contractor table saw reviews to compile a list of some of the most highly-regarded contractor table models, based on features like their blade, collection system, fence, blade guard and rip capacity. Read on to discover some of the best contractor tables out there today.
The Delta 36-5100
One of our first recommendations is the Delta 36-5100, which has been designed to be an upgraded version of its predecessor, the Delta 36-5000. This model is quite mobile and features a strong 10-inch blade. The model has a built-in blade break, which means the blade automatically stops within seconds of you turning it off. This is a great safety feature that greatly minimizes the risk of blade accidents or injury. The blade also has a tilt of 45 degrees, and the blade guard is very sturdy.
The model has a heavy-duty Biesemeyer fence, and reviews mention that the dust collection system on the Delta 36 works very well. This is one contractor table that stands up well to different kinds of woodwork. The iron table wings give it an enhanced sense of stability, which is helpful for longer periods of working with the table. Finding a saw with a table like this can be tricky, especially one that makes it so easy to make accurate cuts. In addition, the model has a 15 amp motor, so it is powerful enough to make fairly substantial cuts for long periods of time.
Regarding the cons of this model, some reviews have mentioned that the fence is not very durable, or that it might need to be adjusted right upon purchase. In addition, the rack and pinion can apparently break fairly easily. Having a functioning rack and pinion is vital for the table working in general, so this could be a major issue. However, many reviews mention that this may be one of the best contractor table models out there, thanks to the features of the model and how sturdy most parts of it are. It can be difficult to find an iron table at this price point, but working with an iron table provides much greater stability than, for example, a hybrid table or job site table made from aluminum.
Another of the best contractor saws out there is the SawStop CNS175-TGP36. This is a contractor table saw that has clearly been designed to maximize safety and the user experience, compared to other saws. Table saws can be dangerous, so the CNS175-TGP36 has a number of fantastic safety features included to minimize the risk of injury or accident. This includes a highly sophisticated dust collection feature, which SawStop describes as being industry-leading. In addition to the dust collection mechanism, this is a contractor table saw which comes with SawStop’s patented safety mechanism, which it claims automatically stops the blade from the instance the blade comes into contact with skin.
The glide fence on this contractor table saw is also fantastic. Made from steel, the heavy-duty glide fence makes it effortless to cut larger pieces of wood with great precision. In addition to the glide fence, this contractor table saw also has a 10-inch blade and the table offers a great rip capacity. Compared to a hybrid table, this contractor table saw is much more heavy-duty, and is easy to pair with SawStop’s cast iron accessory parts. Combining the CNS175-TGP36 with saw stop’s cast iron parts is a great way to increase its performance, but it’s also a relatively portable table saw, coming with a 15 amp motor. The 15 amp motor is powerful and efficient, but not too noisy. With its safety features like the blade guard and fence system, we think this is another of the best contractor table saws out there.
However, many reviews mention that moist wood can activate the brake feature on the table. This is one con that may potentially be quite inconvenient, especially if you are based somewhere with a damper climate. Still, this contractor table saw cuts like a dream and has a number of iron table parts that make it stable and easy to use.
Powermatic 1791229K 64
The final saw we are going to recommend is Powermatic’s 1791229K 64 model. While this contractor table saw might not be as portable as the other models we have discussed, it is arguably more customizable and has something of a higher level of performance, and is one of the best contractor table saw models we have worked with.
With a cast iron table, this contractor table saw can be adjusted to have a rip capacity of either 30 or 50 inches. Like the other models, the blade on this one is 10 inches. It also comes with a 15 amp motor. The fence on this contractor table saw is also somewhat unique. It comes with a locked fence model, which provides the user with greater stability and precision. The blade guard is also a quick release, making it easy to change parts on and off the table. It cuts well, and the blade itself is sturdy and accurate.
The work surface on this table is also one of the best we have seen. Made from cast iron, and combined with the great blade and fence, working on this table for extended periods of time is very comfortable. It’s almost effortless to make accurate cuts with the blade. However, if you mostly need to use the blade to make big rips, you can easily do so efficiently on this table, too. The 10-inch blade is very durable and accurate.
It has actually been difficult to find negative reviews of this model. However, one potential con is that it’s not an especially portable table saw. Also, it’s quite expensive compared to other models. However, we think that the features like the great fence, blade, and cast iron surfaces make this worth the money if you want a contractor table saw that is going to last.
We hope you find this to be useful in helping you find the best table saw for you and your shop. As mentioned above, we encourage you to choose a table saw based on the features that you need. Generally, while some people can get away with using a hybrid table or job site table, most people can get the most out of using the best contractor table saw that they can buy. Getting the best contractor table saw with the best blade that you can make life easier for you in the long run, and these tables usually last longer than job site or hybrid models.
Finding a great contractor table saw with a good quality blade can make processing and ripping huge quantities of wood effortless. However, you should also be able to use the table to carry out lots of fine, detailed woodwork if need be.