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As a professional contractor, the tools that you use are crucial to your success. Without the best tools for the job, it doesn’t matter whether you’re the most skilled tradesman in the world, your work will always be subpar and not as good as it could be. Good contractor table saws are hard to come by. There are hundreds on the market, but most are made for small, home DIY projects. You need something that can handle every task you throw at it. Your livelihood depends on it.
To ensure you make the best decision, our team has scoured the market to find five of the very best contractor table saws available. Our contractor table saw reviews are designed to inform you about their pros and cons. We have also included a buyer’s guide to reinforce the factors that should be involved in your decision. Let’s jump straight in.
|Powermatic PM1000 1791001K||465 lbs||4.6/5|
(Best for the Money)
|Delta 36-5000||230 lbs||4.2/5|
|Shop Fox W1837||260 lbs||3.9/5|
The SawStop is undoubtedly the best contractor table saw on the market. It’s not only the advanced SawStop safety system that gives it the number one spot, but it’s also the culmination of everything you need from a quality table saw. The 36″ fencing system provides a smooth and precise cutting experience, and the table extender is ideal for working with long sheets of wood. The portable legs that support the extender are strong and sturdy. It’s not the lightest of tables, coming in at 360 lbs, but it’s not built for portability. It’s designed to stay put.
The motor peaks at a whopping 4.0 HP and comes with a 10″ blade. The table top is made of a durable cast iron that is built to last a lifetime of wear and tear. Overall, the SawStop is worth the asking price for these features alone. The massive amount of additional value comes from the safety mechanisms that make the SawStop the safest table saw in the world. The intuitive sensors can sense the difference between wood, metal and human skin. The built-in brake system will fire within 0.2 seconds whenever skin comes close to contact with the blade, instantly stopping the blade from spinning and amputating your limb. It’s a life-saving invention, and every professional contractor should consider choosing the SawStop purely for this feature alone.
Despite not being on the same level as the SawStop in the safety department, the Powermatic certainly gives it a run for its money in everything else. The 1-3/4HP motor provides consistent power to seamlessly cut through any wood you put through it. What we enjoyed the most was the lack of vibration that it produced. Powermatic state that it’s the poly-v belt that is responsible for lowering the vibration and improving the efficiency of the motor. It’s a pleasure to use this machine for prolonged periods of time without too much stress placed on your body.
A unique feature is its ability to work with just 115V of power. While this is definitely a benefit, we were skeptical about the performance of the saw at such a low voltage, but the Powermatic performed just as well as the SawStop throughout all of our tests. The hose surrounding the blade also does a fantastic job of collecting dust, drastically improving your view of the cut.
Overall the Powermatic is a close second to the SawStop. It’s just as powerful and has all of the same features, but the lack of a SawStop safety mechanism is the reason why we awarded it our runner-up spot.
The high-quality cast iron top of the Jet 708492K was the first feature to catch our attention. For the price point, we weren’t expecting much, but we were pleasantly surprised with its build quality and finish. The riving knife is a welcome safety feature and one that should have been included with the Powermatic. If kickback is usually a problem for you, the Jet is probably a better option. Another handy feature is the easily accessible arbor lock. It’s situated on the top of the table, allowing you to quickly and easily release the blades to be changed. The blade guard, although not perfect, is easy to remove.
The 30″ fence and all of the other accessories were quick to set up and required little to no adjusting to make perfect. The build quality is on par with table saws that cost twice as much. Don’t let the price fool you; it’s more than sufficient for contractors at any level. If you are looking for value for money, the Jet is the best choice by far.
The Delta 36-5000 is an excellent choice for those who frequently work with longer pieces of wood. The table extender is easy to line up with the main table, and the railing system makes sure every piece of wood that you put through it goes through straight and smoothly. The powerful 15 amp motor powers the 10″ blade enough to cut through every type of wood. The left-leaning miter gauge makes cutting at an angle simple and easy.
What we liked the most was the tubular stand system. It’s incredibly sturdy. There is nothing worse than a wobbly table saw, especially when working with longer pieces of wood. The Delta is as solid as a rock and will allow you to make precise and true cuts. The on/off button is placed conveniently at the front of the machine and can be reached easily. The brake system will shut the blade off instantly when the button is pressed.
Another cool feature is the split blade guard. Changing blades can be a pain, especially when the guard is clunky and in the way. On the Delta, the split guard system makes it possible to change blades within seconds. Overall, it’s a great contractor table saw that is worth every penny.
While we do appreciate the intentions behind the Shop Fox W1837, the increased portability is its most significant disadvantage. We understand that contractor tables are bulky and heavy pieces of kit, but they need to be. Shop Fox has tried to introduce casters to a contractor table saw in hopes of making it easier to move, which it does but at the cost of lowered stability.
The craftsmanship and build quality are not up to the standards of a professional contractor. While it’s hard to resist the Shop Fox at such an affordable price, you are much better off sticking with the SawStop or the Powermatic. The 10″ blades that come with the Shop Fox are borderline useless. We struggled to cut through a few pieces of plywood before they needed changing. Everything about it feels “off.” As a professional contractor, you will know what we mean by that. It just doesn’t live up to our standards. Avoid this one at all costs and double down your investment to purchase something considerably better.
Many factors will influence your decision when buying a contractor table saw. One thing is for sure, however, and that’s the fact that your new saw has to be versatile, powerful and extremely stable. When you are working on a project for your clients, precision is everything, so choosing a table saw that gets the job done correctly is crucial.
To make your decision easier, we have put together a list of different features that make up a contractor’s table. We have also included specific attributes that you should look for and consider when making your final decision.
Where you will be using the table saw will determine what sort of weight you should look for. Contractor table saws are massive pieces of kit. They require multiple people to move one. With that being said, some are lighter than others. If you ever need to move your table saw, a lighter table will be the best option. Anywhere from 200 – 300 lbs will be ideal. If your table saw will be set up in a workshop and won’t be moved at all, consider choosing a heavier one since heavier table saws offer more stability compared to the lighter ones. Heavy tables can weigh anywhere up to 600 lbs and beyond.
One factor that will influence the weight is the material of the table top. Most table saws will have a cast iron top which is strong, durable and wear-resistant. However, there are several other choices available on the market including stainless steel and stamped metal. These are usually lighter than cast iron but are just as durable.
The type of work you do will determine what table size you will require. Contractor tables are generally a lot bigger than conventional table saws, but still, different contractors will have different needs. Someone cutting doors for a living will require a smaller table than someone cutting fencing panels and kitchen worktops. Consider the size of the materials that you work with most often, then choose your table size accordingly.
Contractor table saws are expensive. They are also powerful and complex pieces of machinery that are prone to faults and the occasional breakdown. Choosing a table saw with a good manufacturer’s warranty will give you the peace of mind of knowing that it’s covered if anything goes wrong.
The power output of the motor will depend on the size and weight of the machine. Lighter, more portable table saws may have a maximum horsepower of two. Larger, more stationary table saws can boast a horsepower of up to 5. The latter may be overkill for most professionals, but if you need something extremely powerful, just know that the option is there. Anywhere from 1 – 3 horsepower is sufficient for most professions.
The fencing and miter gauge are two essential pieces of kit that should be included in any table saw purchase you make. The fencing will provide stability and control to allow you to make straight cuts. The miter gauge will allow you to make angled cuts. Without these two accessories, you will not be able to do any considerable work. Always keep these two things in mind when making your decision.
Contractor table saws are different from traditional, home-workshop table saws simply for the fact that they get used more. Additional storage space underneath the table will allow you to store extra blades and other accessories safely for when you need them. The more storage space, the better.
Your safety should be your main priority when using a large piece of machinery. Most contractor table saws will have several safety features straight out of the box, but it’s a good idea to know exactly what to look for so you know if anything is missing.
The blade guard is one safety feature that is typically included with every saw. The guard is provided to protect your fingers from coming in contact with the blade. The problem with blade guards is that they can sometimes obstruct your view. Choosing a saw with a plexiglass or clear guard will help to eradicate that problem.
Besides cuts and amputations, another common injury when using table saws is being hit with flying pieces of wood. The kickback can propel fragments of timber straight back towards the table user if there are no safety precautions in place. Splitters and anti-kickback pawls are two safety features that should be included when you buy a new table saw.
Other safety features to look out for include riving knives, vibration protection, and magnetic “off” switches. Some new contractor tables may ever utilize the SawStop technology that automatically turns the machine off if your fingers come within touching distance of the blade.
The blade of a table saw is the star of the show, so we decided to go a little more in-depth with our breakdown of what to look for in one. Blades come in a variety of different sizes and materials, and they all vary in different revolution speeds and the number of teeth they have. To make the most informed decision, it’s a good idea to know about each of these factors.
The material of a table saw blade would determine what material it is designed to cut. For example, woods are usually cut with a metal blade such as steel and carbon steel. These blades are hard but flexible. For harder materials like metal, diamond-tipped tungsten blades are typically more suitable. Finally, for PVC and other forms of plastic, the best blade for the job is usually made from tungsten carbide.
The number of teeth that a blade is a useful metric for judging it’s cutting speed and quality of finish. Blades with more teeth per inch will cut slower but the final cut will be more precise and clean. On the other hand, blades with fewer teeth per inch will cut faster but with a much rougher finish.
The two most common types of blades on the market are rip blades and crosscut blades. Similar to the number of teeth, the type of blade will determine how fast the blade cuts and how clean the finished cut will be. Rip blades have more teeth and have larger gullets. They will work through a piece of wood faster and will wick away any chips of wood and dust.
Crosscut blades have a large number of teeth but with smaller gaps between them. The result is a slower, more precise cut. You can also purchase blades that fall somewhere in the middle, offering both speed and precision.
The most standard blade sizes on most table saws will range from 8″ to 12″, with some saws using larger blades for more commercial applications. Knowing your table saws blade size will allow you to purchase blades that are made especially for your table saw.
Buying a contractor’s table saw is a significant investment, so it’s crucial that you get it right the first time. Hopefully, our reviews of contractor table saws have made your choice considerably easier.
If you are still struggling to decide, we would highly recommend choosing the SawStop. It’s not only the best table saw on the market, but it’s also the safest. The SafeStop mechanism is a genius invention, and the team at SawStop deserve our support. If you want to save a few bucks while still getting the job done, consider the Jet 708492K. It’s the second-best on our list in the safety department, but it’s also a great all-rounder that is ideal for any profession.