There are a lot of powerful tools that can make your woodworking project more comfortable to do. Buying a new tool for a project is undoubtedly an exciting thing, whether you’re a novice woodworker or a professional. One of the most efficient tools in this kind of work is a table saw. Table saws are one of the most efficient and versatile woodworking tools out there, so, logically, most woodworkers want one for their projects.
However, there are different types of table saws that you can choose; while every model does essentially the same thing, they can vary in features, weight, motor power, etc. If you want to buy the best table saw for your project, you need to see what each model has to offer so that you can make a better decision.
In this article, we are going to go through all the different types of table saws, how they work, and how you can benefit from them.
Types of Table Saws
As the name says, portable saws were designed to be lightweight and small. The benefit of this is that you can easily move them around the jobsite without losing much time. Manufacturers usually use significantly lighter build materials to reduce the overall weight, which in some times may or may not be good.
While these portable table saw types are common for general woodworking projects, they may not be suitable for more demanding jobs, so consider your project needs before going for a portable table saw. There are four main types of portable table saws: compact, jobsite, mini, and benchtop table saws.
Benchtop Table Saw
This type of table saw can be considered the most compact model of the list. The primary focus for a benchtop table saw is having the lowest weight possible while maintaining most features of a table saw intact.
As for the motor, benchtop models come with direct-drive engines, which are decent for small projects. They may not be as durable as induction motors, which you can find on a cabinet table saw.
Benchtop table saws come with a smaller table and relatively lower rip capacity than bigger models, but it’s more than enough to get a small project done in most cases. This type of table saw doesn’t come with a stand or wheels to move it around, but since they have such a light weight, you shouldn’t have any issues carrying it with your own hands.
These are the most common types of projects that you can do with a benchtop table saw:
- Minor construction.
- DIY projects.
- Small furniture construction.
You can choose from many available models, but if you don’t want to spend too much time looking for one, consider taking a look at the DeWALT DW745 benchtop table saw. It’s lightweight, durable, and it’s suitable for general woodworking projects.
- They’re very easy to move around.
- They’re affordable.
- They’re easy to set up.
- They don’t provide great rip capacity.
- They’re not suitable for demanding woodworking projects.
- Some products may have poor build quality.
Compact Table Saw
These are a slight upgrade to benchtop table saws. Compact table saws come with additional features such as tabletops made of cast iron and stands that allow for improved stability on your rip cuts. Aside from these additional features, these saws are made from more durable materials. This makes them a bit heavier than the previous models, but they’re still portable.
Regarding the motor, the difference in power is not too high; most models come with a 15-amp motor that runs at 2-4 HP. Compact table saws provide a higher rip capacity than benchtop saws, so if you’re looking for something that performs better while maintaining the portability and affordability, a compact table saw is the way to go.
These are some of the most common uses that you can give to a compact table saw:
- Minor to medium construction.
- House furniture construction.
- Minor to medium DIY projects.
If a compact table saw is what you’re looking for, consider getting the Bosch GT1031. It’s easy to set up and provides great rip capacity for your projects. Overall, it’s a durable and practical compact saw that you can transport easily.
- They have great build materials.
- They come with higher rip capacity.
- They usually last longer than benchtop models.
- They come with tabletops made of cast iron.
- It’s more expensive than smaller saws.
- It’s not suited for demanding woodworking projects.
Jobsite or “Contractor” Table Saw
When it comes to portable table saws, a jobsite table saw is considered the most powerful option. A jobsite table saw is also known as a contractor table saw among some professionals. However, they’re not as powerful as contractor saws since the latter is more powerful than the former.
Jobsite table saws improve upon every single aspect of the rest of the portable saws. They come with higher rip capacities, high-quality fences, more powerful direct-drive motors, and other additional features. The best thing about these saws is that they usually come with a stand, which allows for improved stability. In some cases, they also come with transport wheels, which makes moving the saw easier.
These saws also feature some extra things that you may not get with all smaller models, such as onboard storage, dust collection bags, and ports, or riving knives. Jobsite saws are considerably more affordable than stationary table saws, and they still pack a punch!
With a jobsite table saw, you can do the following projects:
- Professional construction projects.
- Medium-large construction.
- Medium-large furniture construction.
- Big DIY projects.
To ensure that you get a great experience, you need to get a great saw. In this case, the DeWALT DWE7485 is an amazing way to start. This saw provides a nice degree of accuracy, power, and rip capacity. As a bonus, it comes with onboard storage to place your accessories.
- They have sturdier and higher-quality build materials.
- They are more stable and accurate.
- They are more powerful than the previous models.
- They’re the most expensive portable saw on the list.
Mini Table Saw
The ‘mini’ models are the least powerful model on the list. If your goal is to work with small projects, you can manage these models since they can provide excellent performance. The most remarkable feature about mini table saws is that they’re very affordable, so if you’re on a budget, you can get started with your project without spending so much money.
However, keep in mind that the fact that they’re so small and lightweight makes them unsuitable for most heavy-duty projects. Other than that, they’re an amazing option to keep in mind. These are the things that you can do with a mini table saw.
- Basic DIY projects.
- Minor repairs.
- Detail work.
If you want to start with a mini table saw, the SKIL 3540-02 table saw is one of the best options on the market since it provides decent power and rip capacity for small projects.
- It’s small and lightweight.
- It’s the most affordable option.
- It’s suitable for beginners.
- It’s not a powerful table saw.
- It’s not suited for demanding woodworking projects.
Stationary Table Saws
In essence, a stationary table saw provides a lot more power than portable saws, but they’re considerably heavier. They are not considered a portable product, so it may need more than one person to move them, hence the name ‘Stationary.’
You can find three main types of stationary table saws: cabinet saws, hybrid saws, and contractor table saws.
Cabinet Table Saw
Cabinet saws are often considered the most powerful kind of table saws. A ‘cabinet’ model surpasses all the other models of table saw on every spec. You can find more powerful motors, extension cables, adjustable rip fences, dust collection systems, replaceable inserts, and many more features in cabinet saws.
While cabinet saws are the most powerful model of them all, they are way more expensive. A cabinet table saw provides premium-quality build materials that make it able to go through any wood piece without any issues, so, logically, cabinet saws are more expensive than other models.
As for performance, the motor of a cabinet saw usually runs on 240V, and it can work at 3-5 HP, making it the best-performing engine on the list. On the other hand, the presence of table extensions, adjustable fences, and other features allow for easier and more accurate cuts. Keep in mind that cabinet saws can be extremely heavy, making it stable enough for every project. However, a cabinet saw may be hard to move by yourself, so consider getting someone to help you if you need to move it.
A cabinet saw is suited for professionals who need the most powerful tool for their projects. If you’re a novice to intermediate user, you probably don’t need all the features of a cabinet saw. These are some of the things that you can achieve with a cabinet table saw.
- Industrial woodworking.
- Big furniture construction.
- Projects that need a high degree of accuracy.
Overall, the ‘cabinet’ model is – by far – the most powerful tool that you can get. If this is your product goal, consider going for the Jet 708675PK cabinet table saw.
- They’re the most powerful model of table saws.
- They provide an excellent degree of accuracy.
- They’re suitable for every kind of project.
- They provide amazing dust collection systems.
- They’re extremely heavy.
- They’re the most expensive option of the list.
- They can take up a lot of space in your workshop.
Contractor Table Saws
These are considered the ‘real’ contractor saws since they’ve been around for many years. Contractor saws are the most common kind of saw used by professionals since they provide enough power, stability, and accuracy without having to spend as much money as they would with a cabinet table saw.
A contractor saw was once supposed to be a size-friendly alternative to a cabinet saw, but as the time passed, the motor became more powerful, making the contractor saw a heavier model. Contractor table saws can weigh up to 300 pounds, so it’s not a choice for everyone.
Regardless of the presence of more portable options, contractor saws still have a place in some woodworkers’ workshops. The most remarkable feature about a contractor saw is that it includes an induction motor, which provides enough power to cut through most materials while maintaining a lower sound while working. You can do the following things with a contractor saw:
- Professional construction.
- Medium-large furniture construction.
- Big home improvement projects.
- Big DIY projects.
While the ‘contractor’ model is not as popular these days, you can still get your hands on one if you want to. The Delta 36-5052 table saw provides all the necessary features to achieve great performance, at a lower cost than a cabinet saw.
- They’re suited for most woodworking projects.
- They’re more affordable than cabinet saws.
- They’re an outdated model.
- They’re not as powerful as the other stationary saw types.
Hybrid Table Saw
A hybrid table saw offers most of the benefits of both contractor and cabinet saws and puts them together in a single product. These come with inboard, belt drive induction motors, making them a strong option for most projects. Hybrid table saws have always been hard to categorize correctly because of its similarities with the other models.
In essence, they offer the top-quality features of a cabinet saw at a more affordable cost. However, they don’t perform as well as ‘cabinet’ models. Regardless, they’re a great choice for any woodworker who wants a machine that can support every woodworking project without spending so much money. With a hybrid table saw, you can:
- Make accurate cuts.
- Do significant home repairs.
- Work with most woodworking projects efficiently.
If a hybrid model is what you’re looking for, consider going for the Jet 725000K ProShop II.
- They offer a high degree of accuracy on their cuts.
- They’re more affordable than a cabinet saw.
- They provide excellent performance.
- They don’t have great rip capacity.
- While they’re more affordable than cabinet saws, they’re still expensive.
Regardless of the kind of table saw that you end up getting, they’re likely to produce outstanding results on your projects. However, remember that there are different types of table saws, so if you want to get a suitable model for your project, you have to look thoroughly at the product’s specs and features so that you make a smarter purchase.