DIYers, hobbyists, and pros are continually searching for the best and most reliable table saws that will help to ease woodworking projects that come their way, making them less tedious and more rewarding. We at Woodsmith are here to help guide your search for the highest-rated table saws of 2021. You should know that a table saw is known for delivering precise and clean cuts that no circular saw can offer; with it, you will be able to make both ripped and angled cuts. As you're scrolling through our picks, you'll also be able to read through our buying guide about the features and key considerations to make when you're looking to buy a new table saw. Keep reading to find your new favorite tool!
The importance of a table saw to the success of any woodworking project cannot be emphasized. A table saw which is powered with the help of an electric motor is a powerful tool that protrudes through the top of a specially designed table. This section will be termed the buying guide, and here we would be looking at all essentials worth knowing and considering in your search for your new table saw.
What are the different types of table saws?
Table saws are categorized based on their design, power requirements, and capabilities. Here we will be dividing the different types of table saws into two main categories: Portable Table Saws and Stationary Table Saws.
Portable table saw
Portable table saws, as the name suggests, are portable power tools. These saws are constructed using lightweight materials, and they are mostly powered using 15amp, 120 volts motors.
Now, let's take a look at the different types of portable table saws.
Bench table saw
Bench table saws are compact and many times are used by DIYers, beginners, and hobbyists.
These types of table saws do not take much space as they are designed to be fitted in a home garage or workshop. They are also light as they are made of lightweight weight materials. Among all this, the most distinguishing feature of these table saws is that they are usually mounted and often bolted to the workbench.
In addition to this, bench table saws are perfect for cutting materials like plywood, softwood, and plastic. When shopping online for table saws it is easy to confuse them with full-size table saws, to prevent this from happening, we advise you to always check their rip capacity, which is usually around 18 inches for bench table saws.
Jobsite table saw
This type of table saw is common with contractors, and for this reason, it can also be called a contractor's table saw. Like the bench table saw, these are also portable but are far more durable and power-efficient. These saws can deliver more precise and deeper cuts than their bench counterparts.
Additionally, they feature foldable stands or legs and even wheels that make moving them around the workshop or job site easy.
Stationary table saw
Stationary table saws pack more robust accessories; they are bigger than portable table saws and are generally more suited for detailed professional cuts and jobs.
In addition to this, saws in this category have tables measuring 27 x 20 inches. It also makes sense to notify you that they are driven and powered by Belt drive motors.
Here are the two popular types of stationary table saws.
Hybrid table saw
From the name, you should know that this table saw is a combination of two different types. In this case, we have the combination of the cabinet table saw and the portable table saw.
Knowing this, it's safe to say that the hybrid table saw is a combination of the advantages of job site table saws and that of cabinet table saws into one durable tool. These table saws are designed to look and function like cabinet table saws, but they weigh less.
Cabinet table saw
Cabinet table saws are very popular, and the reason for this is due to the amount of power they pack and their ability to cut through the thickest wood logs.
Table saws in this category are powered by 220-volt motors. These table saws are used in professional jobs. They also have their motor enclosed in the cabinet, which is below the surface of the extendable cast iron table. The length of the table here is more than enough to support large workpieces.
Table Saw Features to Look For
The power rating is crucial when selecting a table saw for any job. This power rating is an indication of horsepower and voltage rating.
For light woodworking jobs like shelving and cutting 5/8-inch-thick sheets, ¾HP - 1.5HP will do the job, but when it comes to cutting 2 inches thick sheets, you will need 1-2 HP table saws. With that said, table saws in this category pack a 120V motor and draw an 18-24amps current.
Lastly, we have the saw tables for heavy-duty jobs; we are talking about saws with the ability to cut wood that is more than 3inches thick like Brazilian wood and ironwood. These saws run on 240V motors.
The drive system
One critical feature that will also affect the amount of power available to the table saw and its torque is the table saw's drive system. There are two main types of drive systems: direct drive and belt drive.
Direct drive systems are popular with a portable table saw; here, the blade is connected to the motor directly. As a result of this, they will not produce as much power as the belt drive system. However, they have the advantage of being very quiet, requiring less maintenance, being portable, and ensuring efficient power utilization.
On the other hand, belt drives are popular with larger and more powerful saws. They produce more torque and are better when it comes to cutting thicker hardwood.
Fence and miter gauge
What do these two features mean?
The fence is an adjustable component featured in every table saw, this component helps guide and hold the workpiece during the cutting operation. On the other hand, the miter gauge is a table saw embedded device whose duty is to guide the miter slot in the aw.
With a miter gauge, making compound cuts will be easy, you only need to set the miter gauge of the saw at the angle and bevel you want.
It is also crucial that you know that there are different types of fences used by various manufacturers, of which the T-square fence, also known as the "Biesenmeyer Commercial fence" is the most popular. This fence is easy to operate and adjust.
Many of the other types of fences are specialty fences that are designed to the customers' needs. Some feature magnifiers for better vision when changing the fence, and some are extendable; this means they can be folded depending on the size of the wood.
When we say rip capacity, we refer to the distance between the saw blade and the fence. It is vital you first determine the correct width of the material or materials you will be working with when choosing a table saw. The broader the rip capacity, the better the saw will be at accepting and ripping wide wooden boards.
Safety is just as important as every of the other factor and features discussed in this section. We always advise prospective table saw buyers to make sure the saw passes a safety test.
Remember, these blades are rotating at 3-4 thousand RPM, and any mistake can cost you a body part or your life.
In all, look out for table saws with blade guards and anti-kickback pawls, these will be particularly helping in safeguarding those using belt-driven table saws. Push sticks, riving knives, sensors, and magnetic switches are also essential safety devices that will not only protect you but protect your tool life in the long run.
Other important features to consider when choosing a table saw include the cutting depth, size of the blade, and the addition of a dust collection system.
The only suitable portable table saw that packs all the power you need for any and every job site is the Dewalt Table Saw. With this table saw, making adjustments when working and storing tools when not in use is made easy!
It has a compact size, rack, and pinion telescoping fence rails, and provides the ability to make a variety of cuts! Moreover, the metal roll cage ensures that your tool will be safe at the job site. We love this model and we’ve only identified one thing that lacks – it does not have a dust collector.
This table saw comes with an excellent folding stand! It’s a must-have tool that packs the right amount of power, built-in features, and tools that guarantee smooth and clean cuts.
It comes with rack and pinion fence rails, an integrated folding stand, parallel blade alignment, and provides up to 4 x 4 material-cutting ability at 90 degrees! Our favorite part? It has a dust port elbow so this table saw redirects the dust to a container for easy cleanup.
It features sturdy, foldable legs
The design makes it easy to replace the blades safely and easily
It has convenient storage space for keeping accessories when they are not in use
It comes with a dust container
It’s made up of both plastic and metal – the plastic parts can be flimsy
The WORX WX051 is a hybrid worktable; this lightweight foldable worktable can function both as a table saw and sawhorse – with clamp holdings and pegs. If you get three or more of this table saw, you may also create a work counter that works well for big projects.
It can hold up to 300lbs., is light and sturdy (only 25 lbs.), has a storage shelf at the bottom, and is built out of a dependable, molded, durable ABS with steel supports and fitting.
This lightweight foldable table can support heavy load
The included clamps make holding the workpiece stress free
It’s durable, lightweight, and made to be with you for the long haul
It is not recommended for people taller than 5’10 feet, as it might be too short for them
The Rockwell Table Saw is compact and mobile. With this model, it is safe to say your workshop can be transported any and everywhere! It comes with a nice carry handle that makes the said job a whole lot breezy.
You can set it up in seconds and cut with it as good as a full-sized piece! It comes with a safety switch that prevents accidental starting. Moreover, it also has a storage space that can be used to house extra blades, miter gauge, etc. We love it!
It works well for light projects as it is lightweight and compact
There are different blades for cutting various materials included in the box
Straight, long and wide cuts are all that WORX WX572L is about. It’s the last on our list but it is also portable and makes working with a table saw a safe and easy experience for everyone.
Moreover, performance-wise what you get are great cross and rip cuts and even more precise miter cuts from both right and left sides! It comes with an added safety switch that makes this table saw wins our preference and 5 blades – for woods, scrolling, aluminum, ceramic tile, and steel.
It features a handle that makes transporting it easy
No tool is required to install the blades, and it is easy to assemble
It isn’t suited for making deep cuts
The installation manual is a write-off
People Also Asked
Q: Can a 10-inch table saw cut a 4x4?
A: The answer to this question is, yes, a 10-inch table saw will cut a 4x4; however, a standard 10 inches saw will find it challenging to achieve this in a single pass. Therefore, if you need something that can cut a 4x4 wooden panel in one pass, we suggest you opt for 12 inches blade.
Q: Can a table saw cut aluminum?
A: Table saws can safely cut aluminum as long as the blade is designed for that task.
Q: Where should you stand when using a table saw?
A: When using a table saw, we advise that you stand to the left of the sawblade. This way, you will be positioned away from the blade, and the fence will be between you and the direct line of the blade.
Q: What are the safety precautions I should follow while using a table saw?
A: Here are a few precautions you must take:
Wear protective goggles or a face shield to protect your eyes
Wear noise-canceling headphones or earmuffs to protect your ears
Wear respiratory protection whenever needed
Thoroughly go through the manufacturers' instructions to ensure you are using the table saw correctly and safely
Use the most suitable blade for the task at hand
Keep the blade clean to allow for smooth cutting without having to exert undue force to cut through the wood
Q: What are my options if I don't have enough space for a table saw in my workshop or want a portable one?
A: In case you don't have sufficient space to accommodate a table saw, you may opt for a portable option. There are three types of portable table saws available, including benchtop saws, compact saws, and job site saws. If you are a DIYer, then a benchtop saw is suitable for your needs. If you are looking for something bigger, opt for a compact saw that also comes with a stand for enhanced stability. For professional carpenters looking for a long-lasting option, a job site saw (aka contractor saw) is a great choice.
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