If you’ve shopped online, you know you don’t always get the quality that you think you’re going to get. When making a big purchase like a table saw, you don’t want to make that mistake. If you need to get the most bang for your buck, then you’ve come to the right place. It’s not always obvious which features are important and which are not, but we’ve done the hard work for you.
We’ve reviewed a few table saws so that you can make an educated decision and figure out which model is right for you. We’ve also created a buyer’s guide so that you can gain an in-depth understanding of table saws. If you’re feeling anxious about an upcoming purchase, reading this guide should remove any remaining doubts.
|Shop Fox W1819|
|DEWALT DWE7491RS||110 lbs||4.7/5|
|Bosch 4100-09||124 lbs||4.6/5|
(Best for the Money)
|Craftsman 21807||64 lbs||4.3/5|
The Shop Fox W1819 comes with a 3-hp motor that will power through any project and boosts this model to the top of our list. But, it’s not just powerful, it’s also safe, coming with a clear polycarbonate guard which provides both protection and the ability to see the blade while you cut. The riving knife also helps prevent kickback and keep you safe.
Some table saws can be a pain to put together, but this model is simple and easy to assemble, even if you have no help. The dust port also works extremely well and will save you a lot of time that you otherwise would have spent cleaning up.
Unfortunately, this model comes with a cheap miter gauge, but many people end up buying their aftermarket miter gauge anyway. Overall, this is one of the best table saws on the market, and you can get it for a pretty good price, too.
The DEWALT DWE7491RS is an incredible saw, but it provides portability at a great price point. The set of wheels on this model is great for moving it from jobsite-to-jobsite without too much effort. The folding legs are also superior to the support systems on other models, and they make it so that you always have a stable platform on which to work, without adding too much weight to the machine.
If you ever bring this model inside, you’ll be happy to know that it features an excellent dust port and collection system that will minimize the amount of cleanup that you have to do. It also has a 15-amp motor that will make short work of just about any project.
Utilizing an expanding rack-and-pinion system, this model can make rips on pieces up to 32” long, which may be too small for some people. However, you’d be hard pressed to find another table saw that packs this much power and is also this portable.
The best thing about the Bosch 4100-09 is its portability, as it is simple to set up and take down, and easy to move with its large wheels. Even better, it features a slim frame when folded up, which makes it easy to store. It is a portable table saw, but it is able to rip lumber up to 40.5” long, which is about what you’d expect for a stationary model.
Bosch went with an arbor lock system on this model. You’ll either love it or hate it, as it will either come naturally, making for quick and easy changes, or feel odd, and take forever. This model features electronic speed control, which means that you can be confident that the blade will always be moving at the desired speed.
The one downside is that it comes with a cheap miter gauge, which isn’t that big of a deal since most people use an aftermarket miter gauge.
The DEWALT DW745 is a smaller version of the DEWALT DWE7491RS. It’s still a good saw in its own right. It comes with a 15-amp motor, just like the larger unit, though it can only handle rips of up to 20”. You’ll experience the same power and consequently, the same speed as the larger model, though you can’t cut pieces as large. This model is also meant to be moved, and while it doesn’t have wheels, it has a metal roll cage that will help it survive travel without taking any damage.
Changing out the guard can be a pain. However, this model features a tool-free guard replacement that makes it quick and easy. In the long run, that’s something that will save you a ton of time, especially if you change out the guard a lot.
Like many table saws, this one comes with a cheap miter guard, which is too bad. Overall, it would be hard to find a better table saw, that’s also this portable, at the same price point.
Sometimes you pick up a tool and realize that it’s far too light. That’s a problem with the Craftsman 21807. It’s very lightweight and wheeled, which makes it good for moving around. But, like other tools that are too light, there are a host of problems that you’re going to have to deal with.
First, this is not a precise table saw. This is due to a mix of design flaws and poor manufacturing choices. The placement of the blade guard makes it impossible to see the blade during the cut, which is going to make you less precise and frustrated to boot. The fence is cheap, and may or may not be straight, but even if it is, you have to deal with the fact that flaws in the table itself may result in it not clamping down straight.
Overall, it’s hard to get a good cut with this machine without doing a lot of work on it yourself. If you’re looking for an easy, stress-free experience, look elsewhere.
If you’ve read through those reviews and still feel a little overwhelmed, don’t worry. We’ve created a buyer’s guide because we know it can be very hard just by reading reviews. After all, some models are going to work better for some people than for others, and the only way that you’ll know which one is right for you is by understanding your options when it comes to table saws. By reading this general information about table saws, you should gain the knowledge you need to make a well-informed decision about your future table saw.
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of what makes a great table saw, we need to discuss the different types of table saws that you might consider purchasing.
First up is the portable table saw. There are two variations in this category, the first of which is the benchtop. As the name implies, the benchtop table saw is designed to be used on top of a table or bench. They’re small, so that it doesn’t matter which table or bench you put them on, and they’re light enough to be carried from place-to-place. This type of saw was originally meant for construction, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t get good use out of it in your shop or garage.
Even if you don’t plan on moving your table saw around, the benefits of a benchtop table saw are numerous. It has a small footprint and won’t take up a lot of space in your shop. You can easily move it if you need to free up some space, and generally speaking, you get can get models with pretty good power for an excellent price.
The one downside to benchtop models is that they don’t have a large ripping capacity. If you’re only working with smaller pieces, then this won’t matter to you, but if you’re looking to cut a lot of large lumber, then you’re going to need to look elsewhere.
The other kind of portable table saw is the wheeled/folding leg variety. The wheeled models come with wheels that can be used to roll them for place to place. The folding leg variety may or may not have wheels. Both models feature a mechanism by which they can be raised up and used without a table. This is what sets them apart from benchtop models.
Consequently, they’re going to be a bit heavier than benchtop models. However, their expanding frames mean that you’ll be able to use them even in places where you don’t have access to a table or bench. This is great for construction work, or situations where you’re going to be working outside. This type tends to be a little bit bigger than the benchtop variety, and often has more rip capacity as well.
It’s not the best choice if you’re just going to leave your table saw indoors, in one place, because a lot of the value in these models is tied to their portability. That being said, if you’re planning to use your table saw on the go, these models are the easiest to move, and don’t require a table in order to operate.
The second major variety of table saws is the contractor. The contractor table saw is a predecessor to today’s portable table saws. It was designed for portability but typically doesn’t feature folding parts or wheels. The usual design involves a table saw mounted on a four-legged metal stand, which straddles the line between stability and weight.
These models tend to be much heavier than portable models, clocking in at 200+ pounds in many circumstances, which mean you may need another person in order to move them safely. The big upside to this model is that that additional weight goes to good use. They tend to have much larger rip capacities, and the table top tends to be more durable and stable than the expanding systems used in portable models.
Contractor models also tend to be more powerful and more precise than portable saws, which gives them a definite upside if you’re going to be doing lots of work, or work that requires a fine degree of precision. This type can also be a good choice if you’re going to leave your table saw in one place for extended periods of time, while still being light enough that they can be moved if you need to do so.
Cabinet table saws are not portable. They’re instead designed for use by professional woodworkers. That means that they’re designed to have a lot of power and to stand up to constant daily use. They have more steel and cast iron in their bodies to increase their durability, which also means that they tend to be lower-vibration than other units, which leads to cleaner cuts.
They also tend to have the largest cut capacities, but also have the largest footprint. You’re going to need a big spot in which your cabinet table saw can live forever since you’re likely looking at a weight of 600 pounds, or more. In most cases, once these are assembled, they’re going to live in the same spot for the duration of their lives.
Cabinet table saws tend to have far more powerful motors than portable or contractor saws. Since they tend to be in the 3 to 5 hp range, they require a 220-volt circuit instead of your standard wall outlet. Keep in mind that you may have to do some rewiring in order to get these models working or call an electrician if you don’t know how.
That being said, they provide the best cuts out of any of these machines. They’re low vibration, have the greatest power, and since they’re not being moved around, they tend to be better calibrated. They also tend to come with higher-quality fences and miter gauges, which means that you can achieve the highest degree of accuracy when making cuts on cabinet table saws.
If you don’t get a model with a flat table, you’re not going to be satisfied with your cut quality. It’s an overgeneralization to say that all good cuts start with a perfectly-flat table on a table saw, but there’s some truth to it. Even minor warping can result in huge changes to the final piece after you’ve made the cut. Unfortunately, it’s not always a problem that can be seen by the naked eye.
How can you stave off this problem?
Well, like many products, the more you’re willing to pay, the better-quality parts you get.
Cast-iron tables tend to be the best kind you can get. They tend to be the most durable, which is a nice plus, but they also have a reputation for being the flattest tables you can get. Cheaper models sub in cheaper materials, which means that it can sometimes be a crapshoot.
However, some models with cheaper table surfaces still manage to get it consistently right. It’s always important to look for problems with table flatness when reading reviews of table saws you’re considering. If you see flatness as an issue repeatedly, you can save yourself a huge potential headache by just considering a different model. If you don’t see any complaints about table flatness, even on a cheaper model of table saw, then it’s probably going to work out just fine.
Fences are one of those things that, more often than not, you’re going to end up buying on the aftermarket if you want to have a good one. Even when set correctly, a crummy fence will screw up a cut.
One of the weird things about table saws is that manufacturers rarely include a good fence unless you’re already paying top-dollar. It’s one of those things that makes you suspect that they would stop including them altogether if they could, but table saws are pretty much useless without a fence, so they continue to include them.
Some models do include a good fence, and that’s something that frequently gets noted in the reviews. Don’t get taken in by the fact that just about every model claims to have a fence that is fancy in some way or another. That’s just marketing slang.
The fact of the matter is that you’re probably going to end up purchasing your aftermarket fence. This isn’t something that you’re going to be able to do on all models, as their compatibility varies, but its certainly something you should look into before making your purchase.
If you’ve used a table saw before, you know that it creates a lot of sawdust. If you’re working outside or on a jobsite, then spilling sawdust everywhere may not be that big of a deal. Cleaning up won’t be that important, and sawdust is biodegradable, so you’re not doing any damage to the environment.
However, if you’re using your table saw inside, all that sawdust is going to have nowhere to go, which makes using a dust collection system a wise choice.
Most table saws come with some sort of internal dust collection system that gathers the dust and tries to keep it off of the moving parts, where it can build up over time and do damage. Typically that dust is expelled from the machine through a singular port. This is where things start to vary from model-to-model.
Some models come with a dust bag that you just clip onto the machine when you use it. The dust falls into the bag, and you later empty it where it needs to go. This is not a great system if you’re going to be doing a ton of consecutive cuts, but it’s good for when you’re going to be outside, and don’t want to spill shavings everywhere.
In most situations, you can take the dust bag off of the port and hook up a shop vac or an industrial dust-collection system. Many table saws make use of a standard-size dust port between 2-1/2 and 4 inches in diameter, which means it may be compatible with equipment that you already own. Some models forgo the dust bag altogether, in the expectation that you’ll be using some sort of dust collection system.
The good news is that if you already own a dust collection system or a shop vac, then you may be compatible with many models. Even if it doesn’t match the port size of your shop vac, you can often purchase converters that will make the table saw work with the system you already own. Consequently, you shouldn’t avoid a unit because it has a port size that is different from the gauge of your shop vac. This is something to look into before making a purchase, just to make sure that converters that will work with your model are being sold.
When you start getting into the more expensive table saws, especially the cabinet units, then you may see larger diameters than 4” on the dust ports. This likely means that you’ll need a specialized dust collection unit, as most common versions are only compatible up to 4”.
You’ll also want to make sure that you’re getting a model that doesn’t have a problem with internal dust collection. Some don’t do a great job of funneling the dust towards the port, so it ends up sitting inside the unit. This can affect performance, as sawdust is great at gumming up moving parts. So, if you get one of those models, know that you’re going to have to regularly open it up and clean it out to keep it in tip-top shape, which is a pain, but necessary if you want your unit to last a long time.
Miter gauges are one of those accessories that you may forget about in daily use, but then desperately need if you don’t have one. They’re used with table saws in order to cut angles that aren’t 90 degrees. The best miter gauges include hard stops at 90 degrees and 45 degrees, which are the angles that you’re most often going to be cutting at. The hard stops make it easy to set the miter gauge to those angles and cut away with confidence.
Not all table saws come with a miter gauge. If you’re planning on using one, you need to make sure that the table saw you’re looking at comes with a table groove that can take a miter gauge. You also need to check the size of the table grooves if you’re planning to purchase an aftermarket miter gauge.
Some table saws come with a miter gauge, though the quality tends to be uneven. Some are great, and will serve you well for a long time, while others are flimsy or struggle to hold the correct angle or both. This is something that can most easily be determined by reading online reviews, though it’s always great to get your hands on a demonstration model, if possible.
If you need to, you can get a miter gauge for less than $35, though precision models may run well over $100.
If you’re familiar with band saws, you’ll know that those machines can cut a bevel by changing the angle of the table.
Table saws, on the other hand, can cut a bevel by changing the angle of the blade. Many models, including many portable models, include the option to change the blade angle in order to cut a bevel. In most cases, you’ll have the option to change the blade angle between 0 degrees, or perpendicular to the table, and 45 degrees.
This is usually accomplished using a handle on the front of the unit that is rotated along a track in order to change the angle. This is one of those features that you may not end up using at all, which is too bad because it tends to be one of things that just about every model does well.
Keep in mind that your maximum depth of cut goes down when you start tilting the blade, reaching its minimum at 45 degrees.
There’s a lot of stuff you need to consider when you buy a table saw. If you’ve read this far, you’ve had a lot of information dumped on you, and it might feel a little bit overwhelming.
If you’re not sure how to proceed, it’s important to take a breath and think about what you need out of a table saw. You could get a model with every possible bell and whistle, but there’s there no reason to do that if you’re not going to use it frequently. Likewise, you could just buy the cheapest model, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be a fun machine to use.
Instead, consider the kinds of projects that you want to do, and figure out what kinds of things you’re going to have to do to get them done. Then, match that list of requirements to the table saws. It can be that easy if you allow it to be.
The Shop Fox W1819 is our top table saw, due to its phenomenal power and great safety features. The DEWALT DWE7491RS was the best pick under $1000, due to its excellent power and portability. The Bosch 4100-09 was third on our list, featuring electronic speed control and easy blade changes. The DEWALT DW745 was the best for the money, as a smaller version of the DWE7491RS that packs the same amount of power. The Craftsman 21807 was last on our list since it has severe precision issues.
Hopefully, our reviews and our buyer’s guide have helped you come to a greater understanding of table saws. Now that you know, you should be able to get the model that is just right for you.