Whether you are a professional carpenter or contractor, or you enjoy doing your own DIY projects at home, a table saw is a handy tool to have in your arsenal of supplies. A table saw makes it much easier and quicker to cut various types of wood and other materials. While a table saw can certainly be beneficial to have and can make your work a lot quicker and easier, finding the best table saw for your needs can be a bit challenging. When you start shopping for a table saw, you are going to find that there are a lot of options to choose from. While having a lot of choices is a good thing, having too many choices can make it difficult to determine what the best table saw will be for your specific needs. In order to help you on your quest for finding the best table saw, we have put together this handy buyer’s guide. This guide highlights everything you need to know to find the best table saw for your needs, including the different types of table saws, the factors to consider when shopping for a table saw, the features these tools can offer, and the best brands of table saws. After reading this guide, you well informed and ready to find – and buy – the best table saw for your specific needs.
Types of Table Saws
In order to find the best table saw for your specific needs, you first need to understand that there are different types of table saws, and you need to understand the difference between each of these types. There are two main types of table saws – the portable table saw and the stationary table saw – and there are three basic types of each of these main types of table saws.
To learn more about each type of table saw, keep on reading for a detailed description.
The Portable Table Saw
As the name suggests, the portable table saw is compact and lightweight enough to transport and take with you to different locations. If you plan on doing work in different areas, than a portable table saw is the best option for you. However, it should be noted that portable table saws usually aren’t as powerful as stationary table saws.
There are three basic types of portable table saws, which include:
- The bench top table saw
- The compact table saw
- The jobsite table saw
The Bench Top Table Saw. This type of portable table saw is as compact as possible, very light weight, and affordable. The design means that you will be able to easily pack it up and take it with you. The bench top table saw is designed to be used by people who want to get some light duty cutting done. This type of table saw is constructed of lightweight material, such as plastic, aluminum or other types of composite materials. Their tables are small and their rip capacity is limited; however, if you plan on cutting some plywood or other types of soft woods, and you will be working with small sized sheets, the bench top table saw will rise to the challenge.
The Compact Table Saw
The compact table saw is a step up from the bench top table saw. It often has some of the same characteristics as the bench top table saw; however, they usually offer additional features, such as stands and table surfaces that are constructed of cast iron. This type of table saw is still compact and lightweight enough to take with you to different job sites, and it can handle more vigorous cutting jobs.
The Jobsite Table Saw
The jobsite table saw is the most robust and powerful of all portable table saws. It is usually the table saw of choice for many contractors who are looking for a portable table saw that offers enough power and versatility to handle tough jobs. The jobsite table saw offers more powerful components, which allows it to produce more accurate results, and enables it to handle heavier materials with greater ease. This type of table saw also comes with better fences and alignment adjustments than the other two types of table saws, and some even come equipped with extension tables. It also comes with a stand.
The Stationary Table Saw
Stationary table saws are larger, heavier and more durable than portable table saws. They are not intended to be moved about, and they can handle more serious cutting because they have more powerful components than the portable types. It should be noted that stationary table saws can be mounted onto a mobile base, which allows it to be moved around a workshop. Stationary table saws have belt drive motors, which offer more power, and they have heavy, cast iron tables; though there are some models that come with granite or aluminum table tops. The table tops usually measure about 27 x 20 inches, and have extension tables that measure about 10 x 12 inches. More advanced stationary table saws can also have outfeed tables, extended fence rails and router tables.
There are three basic types of stationary table saws, which include:
- The contractor table saw
- The hybrid table saw
- The cabinet table saw
The Contractor Table Saw
This type of table saw features a belt drive and large outboard induction motors. It has a powerful motor, which makes it a whopping 200 to 300 pounds. Its outboard motor also requires longer belts, which increases the amount of vibration and dust that it produces.
The Hybrid Table Saw
Stationary table saws have the same characteristics as contractor table saws, but they have an inboard belt drive and an induction motor. It usually has open leg stands, though there are some models that have full enclosures.
The Cabinet Table Saw
This is the most powerful of all types of table saws. It boasts the most durable and the most robust components, which allows it to withstand heavy duty use. Cabinet table saws are very precise. They are able to handle heavy, bulky work with ease, and they are built to last. The fences on cabinet table saws are very accurate and once you make the necessary adjustments, there won’t be a need to constantly make readjustments. Their motors are more powerful than other types of table saws, as they run on 240 volts of power and produce between 3 and 5 horsepower. This type of table saw can cut through virtually any type of material, from hardwood to metal.
Factors to Consider When Shopping for a Table Saw
In order to find the best table saw for your specific needs, there are a number of factors that you are going to want to take into consideration before you start shopping. By taking these factors into consideration, you will be able to choose the best table saw for your particular needs. Some of the most important factors to consider include the power of the motor, the accuracy of the table saw and the durability of the blade, among other things. To learn more about these and other factors that we think are the most important to consider when shopping for a table saw, please keep on reading.
The power of the motor
The most important factor to consider when choosing a table saw is the horsepower of the motor. If it doesn’t have enough power, the table saw will not be able to cut through the materials that you want to use it to cut through. Horsepower usually ranges from 1.5 to 2 horsepower and 3 to 5 horsepower. Table saws that operate on 1.5 to 2 horsepower operate on a 120 volt circuit and can draw between 18 to 24 amps. With this power, you will be able to cut through hardwoods that are up to 2 inches thick. Table saws that offer 3 to 5 horsepower motors have increased voltage requirements of 240 volts. With this much power, you will be able to cut through hardwoods that are 3 or more inches thick. Beware, however, as these powerful motors are prone to greater kickback.
The accuracy of the table saw
Accuracy is also another important factor that you are going to want to take into consideration when choosing a table saw. If the saw is not accurate, it will make poor cuts that can seriously impact the quality of the workmanship you do.
The durability of the blade
You are also going to want to consider the durability of the blade. The more durable the blade is, the heavier the materials it will be able to cut through, and the longer it will last. The best table saws come equipped with blades that can handle a variety of tasks without losing their sharpness.
The adjustability of the table saw
You want to make sure that you are able to adjust the table saw so that it will meet your cutting needs; from a thin piece of plywood to a thick piece of lumber. You also want to make sure that the table saw stays adjusted; if it doesn’t, you could run into seriously dangerous problems.
The size of the work surface
You also want to consider the size of the work surface. The work surface will directly determine the size of the materials that the table saw can handle. You want to make sure that you select a table saw that offers a work surface that will provide you with enough space to cut the materials that you plan on working with.
The size of the table saw
Another important factor to take into consideration when choosing a table saw is the actual size of the tool. You want to make sure that you have enough room in your workshop – or wherever else you plan on using the tool – to accommodate it.
The cost of the table saw
You are also going to want to consider the cost of the table saw. These tools can vary widely in price, so it is important to set a budget before you start shopping so that you don’t spend more than you are comfortable with. The larger and more powerful the table saw is, and the more features it offers, the more expensive it will be.
Features Table Saws Can Offer
There are a number of features that table saws can offer. These features are intended to make the table saw easier to use and more versatile. As mentioned above, the more features a table saw offers, the more expensive it will be. In order to determine whether you need or want these features, or if they are worth the additional cost, it is important to understand the intended purpose of these features.
Here is a look at some of the top features that table saws can offer.
A dust collector
This is a very handy feature to have, as table saws can produce a lot of dust as they cut through materials. A dust collector will make your cutting tasks neater, easier and safer, as you won’t be inhaling an excessive amount of dust.
Blade guards protect you from dust and debris, as well as from the kickback when cutting, and accidental contact with the blade.
A mobile stand adds stability to a table saw. The majority of mobile bases have casters that lock in order to prevent the saw from moving while it is in use.
The Best Table Saw Brands
There are a number of manufacturers that produce table saws. In order to help you find the best table saw for your needs, we have determined that the following table saw brands are the best of the best.
This German tool manufacturer has been producing all types of tools for well over a generation. Their table saws are expertly crafted, made of the most durable materials, and boast a range of features that make them some of the best on the market.
This American based company is highly regarded for producing high quality power tools. Their table saws are highly durable, offer exceptional power and provide a range of features that make them extremely versatile.
For more than 100 years, Hitachi has been producing some of the highest quality tools, including table saws. This company uses the highest quality materials and the most state of the art technologies to produce outstanding table saws.