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7 Different Types of Table Saws & Their Uses (with Pictures)

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a table saw

Choosing the right style of table saw will make your work faster, safer, and more efficient – whether the projects you have in mind are fine woodworking, DIY, or construction. Operating as the central pivot of any workshop, you’ll find yourself returning to this versatile and practical piece of equipment time and time again.

Each type of table saw has its own unique benefits and drawbacks, making them either more or less suitable to your needs. By the time you’re finished reading this guide, you’ll be able to make an informed decision of which category of saws to research and purchase.

Broadly separated into categories of portable and stationary, there is a wide range of table saw options available to suit every budget, size, and power requirement. In this article, we’ll be introducing you to seven table saws that are especially suited to every job imaginable, from the smallest trim work to cutting whole boards to size.

7 Types of Table Saw


Portable Saws
Portable saws are lightweight, so they’re easy to take wherever you need to go. There are some things you can’t do with a portable saw that you can do with a stationary unit. Portable saws aren’t as powerful and don’t cut with the same precision as stationary saws.

1. Mini Table Saw

Mini Table Saw

The most recent addition to the table saw family, mini table saws are a hobbyist’s dream come true. Their small, lightweight designs make them exceptionally portable, yet they retain the table saw’s ability to quickly make accurate and precise straight cuts. Though their diminutive size makes them unsuitable for anything larger than detail work, their equally small price tags make them an attractive option for beginners. The Rockwell Blade Runner X2 is a great entry-level/hobbyist table saw at an affordable price.

Common uses: Arts and crafts, small home repairs, trim and decorative woodwork, basic DIY projects

Mini Table Saw Pros
  • Lightweight and easily portable
  • Takes up very little space
  • Inexpensive
  • Easy to set up and operate
  • Perfect for beginners
Mini Table Saw Cons
  • Extremely limited rip capacity
  • Only suitable for small projects

2. Benchtop Table Saw

 

DEWALT DW745

One step up in size, power, and durability from the miniature hobbyists’ saw, benchtop saws offer an economical solution to small-scale sawing needs. While they’re still far from powerful enough to rip whole man-made boards to size, you’ll be able to make basic home repairs in a flash. Equip your benchtop table saw with specially designed blades to cut metals and plastics, and it may become your go-to choice for weekend projects. The DeWalt DW745 10-Inch Table Saw has a 20-inch rip capacity and a stellar reputation for dependability.

Common uses: Small furniture building (coffee tables, dog houses, chairs), minor construction projects (sizing and installation of small pipes), arts and crafts, decorative woodworking

Benchtop Table Saw Pros
  • Lightweight and portable
  • More powerful than a mini table saw
  • Easy to set up and use
  • Reasonably priced
Benchtop Table Saw Cons
  • Small rip capacity limits project size
  • Huge variation in quality of available product models

3. Compact Table SawCompact Table Saw

Larger and more powerful than a benchtop table saw, yet still lightweight and portable enough to use anywhere, compact table saws offer greater power and sturdier construction than their smaller counterparts. Often resembling miniaturized versions of cabinet table saws, they are a more expensive but longer-lasting option for small projects and home use. The Bosch GTS1031 has a one-handed carry handle for easy transport.

Common uses: In-house or on-site furniture building, small construction projects, small to medium DIY projects

Compact Table Saw Pros
  • Large rip capacity for a portable saw
  • Sturdy construction
  • Designed to be longer-lasting
Compact Table Saw Cons
  • Not great at handling hardwoods and pressure treated lumber
  • More expensive than previous options

4. Jobsite Table Saw

Evolution RAGE5SDesigned for portable use by professional carpenters and construction workers, jobsite table saws are the most powerful and rugged options available for a go-anywhere table saw. Often made with an integrated stand, they’re a versatile option that’s as useful at a temporary building site as it is when setting up on your back patio. The Evolution Power Tools RAGE5S packs a lot of power into a very portable package.

Common uses: Professional carpentry and construction, medium to large furniture and building projects, heavy-duty home improvement and DIY

Jobsite Table Saw Pros
  • Rugged and long-lasting construction is made for everyday use
  • Combines the versatility of portable and stationary saws
  • Powerful enough to easily cut thick lumber, hardwoods, plastics, and metals
Jobsite Table Saw Cons
  • Most expensive portable option
  • Wide variation in quality among different product models

Stationary Saws
Stationary saws weigh a lot more than portable saws. Some of them even require two people to lift. They are more powerful than portable saws and will give you the most precise cuts.

5. Contractor Table Saw

Delta 36-L552

Originally intended as a more manageably sized alternative to cabinet-style table saws, contractor saws long held sway as the choice of professional woodworkers. In the push for new hardware technology of the past 20 years, however, smaller and more powerful portable saws have overshadowed this once popular style. Still, it finds favor with dedicated hobbyists who appreciate its high power being available at reasonable prices. With a 52-inch rip capacity, the Delta 36-5052 is one of the most reliable and popular contractor saws on the market.

Common uses: Professional carpentry and construction, medium to large furniture and building projects, heavy-duty home improvement and DIY

Contractor Table Saw Pros
  • Professional-grade woodworking
  • High-level decorative work and hobbyist projects
  • Small, medium, or large home improvement projects
Contractor Table Saw Cons
  • Less powerful than any other stationary table saw
  • Somewhat outdated

6. Hybrid Table Saw

Hybrid Table Saw

 

Falling somewhere between the size and power of a contractor table saw and the updated technologies of cabinet table saws, hybrid saws can be confusing to properly categorize. In short, they offer the long-term reliability and low vibration belt-drive motors of higher-priced cabinet saws at a more affordable cost – but sacrifice an amount of maximum rip capacity to do so. They’re the high-end saw of choice for anyone short of a professional woodworker or furniture maker. The Shop Fox W1819 is built to handle the spectrum of woodworking projects.

Common uses: Woodworking jobs of all shapes and sizes, construction jobs calling for detailed, precise cuts, large home repair projects

Hybrid Table Saw Pros
  • Highest accuracy cuts due to low vibration
  • Capable of handling even large furniture making or construction jobs
  • As powerful as a cabinet table saw, but less expensive
Hybrid Table Saw Cons
  • Significant financial investment
  • Smaller rip capacity than a cabinet table saw

7. Cabinet Table Saw

A cabinet table-saw

The cabinet saw is the king of table saws. All other styles can only dream of achieving the cabinet table saw’s combination of accuracy, power, and huge rip capacity. You’ll most often see them as the centerpiece of professional woodworking shops, where they become the central hub of activity during every construction or furniture making project. They’re big, expensive, and definitely not at all portable. Check out the Sawstop PCS175 for the end-all-be-all of cabinet table saws.

Common uses: Professional-quality woodworking, furniture making of all sizes, larger construction projects, milling boards to size, cuts requiring extreme accuracy and precision

Cabinet Table Saw Pros
  • Most powerful table saw
  • Largest rip capacity
  • Greatest accuracy of cuts
  • Suitable for any woodworking project
Cabinet Table Saw Cons
  • Takes up a lot of space
  • Heaviest of all table saws
  • Most expensive saw for your shop

Conclusion: Choosing the Right Table Saw for You

The most important factor to consider in choosing a table saw for yourself is how big your projects will be. For decorative trim work and basic DIY projects, a smaller and more portable table saw will be a convenient and inexpensive solution. But for more serious, larger-scale work on furniture or construction, you’ll need a larger and more powerful saw.