Table saws are by far the most comprehensive type of saw used, especially for making furniture. They make a more significant variety of cuts than other saws, but all table saws are different.
We want to share with you the two different table saws on the market and what they are used for. Our goal is that we can help you understand the differences so you can make the best choice to meet your needs. Before we get started let’s quickly go over the advantages and disadvantages of portable and stationary saws.
Portable saws are lightweight, so they’re easy to take with you wherever you need to go. You may find, however, that there are some things you can’t do with your portable saw that you can do with a stationary one. Portable saws aren’t as powerful and don’t cut with the same precision as a stationary saw.
Stationary saws weigh a lot more than portable saws. Some of them even require two people to lift them. They are more powerful than portable saws and will give you the most precise cuts.
Benchtop saws have no stands attached, so you’ll always need a cutting surface, such as a bench or log, underneath the object you’re cutting. This gives the blade room to cut through and have some of the blade hand below the surface of your wood. Without stands, benchtops are easy to use since they only weigh 40 to 50 pounds.
These saws are not as durable as job site ones. They are made of cheaper materials, like plastic or aluminum, and don’t have as many parts. That’s great for your pocketbook when you are buying one, but it limits what you can do with it. Be aware that some parts, like the fence, will feel cheap and may not hold as well as others.
Benchtop saws have a pretty small table surface, which limits their rip capacity. They aren’t as powerful as better quality ones, so they do less than many. These saws are great for the homeowner who needs one for occasional around-the-house jobs, or for those who work with wood for a hobby.
Jobsite saws are designed for professionals who will use them daily. They are durable and made to withstand hard use on the job. They are still portable, but heavy enough that they usually have stands that fold up and wheels to help move them around.
These saws have a larger table surface than bench saws, so they have a bigger ripping capacity. They are made of better quality materials, so that things like the fence are sturdier and more dependable. They make better quality cuts than the benchtop and are just more functional overall.
Jobsite saws also come with things like riving knives and collection ports packaged in them as standard items. You usually have to purchase those items separately when you buy a cheaper saw.
Some homeowners choose jobsite saws over benchtop ones, so they can get the additional standard options and have the power to handle bigger jobs. They are designed for professionals, though, who will give them a beating every day.
Note that some manufacturers use the terms “jobsite” and “contractor” saws interchangeably. They are different, though. We will tell you about contractor saws in the stationary saw section.
Contractor saws were designed for professional work that requires heavy use on a daily basis. They were made to be smaller and more economical than cabinet saws are.
Contractor saws are a step above jobsite portable saws, even though the terms are used interchangeably. They have bigger motors and larger belts that make them weigh up to 300 pounds, so they’re definitely made to stay in one place.
They have much larger table areas, so they can rip much larger pieces of wood. They are durable, yet easy to use. They are very dependable. You can rely on professional-grade cuts each and every time.
Hybrid saws are a cross between contractor saws and cabinet saws. They take a contractor saw and add a few upgrades that you’ll find standard on a cabinet saw, yet the price will remain pretty close to that of a contractor saw.
These saws have more power and a larger table surface to allow for even more significant cuts than a contractor saw can handle. They are made with better quality parts and have better fences and dust collection systems.
Hybrid saws are made for professional contractors but can also be used by aspiring homeowners. They are the most functional at the best price.
The cabinet saw is the king of table saws. These saws are substantial industrial monsters that are fully enclosed in cabinets. Everything about them says quality, and quality has a price. This one has two. One is obviously your checkbook, and the other is weight. These beasts often weigh over 500 pounds.
They have massive motors that generate between three and five horsepower and run on 240-volt power. The hybrid saws only produce between one and three horsepower, so you can see the significant upgrade in power.
Cabinet saws come standard with the best attachments. They have an absolutely huge table surface and can cut through almost everything you could dream of. They have very sturdy and dependable fences, and miter gauges that you can depend on being extremely accurate every time you use them. Not only are they good quality and reliable, they are also easy to use. Another great perk is that they last forever.
These saws are really too big for homeowners. They are meant for professional contractors, factories, and workshops that demand hard, daily use with the best quality results. They need a tremendous amount of storage space for easily accessible use, since they weigh so much. This is not the saw that you will move to a piece that you are working on. The project will have to go to it. They are best placed in their permanent home the first time and not moved around.
There is a table saw to meet any need you may have. Consider how labor-intensive the jobs you’ll be using them for are, to help narrow down which type of table you’ll need. From there, it’s a matter of the different features each saw has and what your preference is.