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Your Guide to Buying a Table Saw

Your shop’s inventory consists of nearly every tool you could possibly imagine. However, no other tool is as versatile, dependable, or adaptable as a table saw. A quality table saw can improve any workshop regardless of how many other tools you may have. From making delicate and precise cuts to ripping through rough stock to carve out a hidden gem, it can add versatility to any shop.

Table Saw

They are available in a variety of sizes along with many options. It can be very confusing and frustrating for the first time buyer. This guide will help steer you in the right direction and give you some tips on what to look for while you are trying to decide which one is best for you.

Comparison Chart

The comparison chart below has the top table saws all in one, easy to read chart that will make finding the right saw for you a lot easier. It has all of the important information that one needs to quickly find the right saw so that they can begin further research on that specific model. Hopefully the chart below will help the buying process become more straightforward and easier to accomplish.

Table SawsMotor SizeRip CapacityPriceRatingReview
Table SawsMotor SizeRip CapacityPriceRatingReview
DEWALT DW74515 Amps20 Inches$$4.6Read the Full DW745 Review Here
Bosch GTS10314 Horsepower18 Inches$$4.2Read the Full GTS-1031 Review Here
Makita 270315 Amps12 Inches$$$$3.4Read the Full Makita 2703 Review Here
Bosch 4100-0915 Amps25 Inches$$$4.2Read the Full Bosch 4100-09 Review Here
Sawstop CNS175-TGP361.75 Horsepower36 Inches$$$$4.4Read the Full Sawstop Review Here
DEWALT DWE7491RS15 Amps32.5 Inches$$$4.5Read the Full DWE-7491RS Review Here
Grizzly G06903 Horsepower29.5 Inches$$$$4.6Read the Full Grizzly GO690 Review Here
SawStop PCS31230-TGP2523 Horsepower52 Inches$$$$4.5Read the Full Sawstop Review Here
Steel City Tool Works 35955G5 Horsepower50 Inches$$$$4.0Read the Full Steel City Review Here

How Table Saws Work

A table saw is comprised of very few major components. A circular saw blade is mounted an arbor that is powered by a high speed electric motor which in turn is mounted to an adjustable stand and a large metal table.

There is a hole in the table top that allows enough room for the blade to be adjusted up and down to your desired cutting depth. The blade can also be adjusted to certain angles for beveled cuts. The height of the blade is adjusted by turning a knob located on the front of the saw. Other controls include the power on/off switch, angle adjustment, and some models are equipped with an emergency shut-off.

Table saws are classified into four categories:

  • Benchtop – These are small, lightweight models that are ideal for the contractor or anyone else that needs mobility in their tools. They are typically small enough fit on the top of a bench or table and are equipped with direct drive motors. That means there are no pulleys and the blade is attached directly to the motor. This type of saw is usually constructed of steel, aluminum, and plastic. They are designed to be not only lightweight but also compact. Even though a bench top saw has the advantage of being the lower priced class, it has limited capabilities. Using a brushless AC motor, they are typically less durable than the other classes of table saws. The table top is shorter and narrower than the other classes as well. However, they do offer plenty of capacity and precision for the hobbyist.
  • Contractor – This class is heavier, less compact, and are attached to a stand. The motor can either be direct drive like the bench top class or it can use one or two pulleys to power the blade. These models are slightly more costly than the benchtop saws, but it is however more preferred by homeowners and hobbyist due to its larger size and ability to be powered by standard 110V electric.
  • Cabinet – Named after its closed in base, the cabinet saw is very heavy. This weight is needed however to reduce the vibrations caused by its three to five horsepower motor and helping to improve accuracy. Considered to be more durable than a contractor class table saw, this class uses up to three parallel v-belts to drive its blade. A cabinet-mounted trunnion allows for better dust collection with an incorporated dust port and totally enclosed cabinet base.
  • Hybrid – The last class is designed to compete with top-of-the-line contractor table saws. They offer many of the advantages of a cabinet model has but at a reduced price. Hybrid table saws will have either an enclosed cabinet that goes all the way to the floor or they could have a shorter cabinet that will stand on legs.

Advantages

Table saws are not only better for making straight and precise cuts, it also reduces cutting time by using a T-slide. The T-slide enables you to make repetitive cuts at exactly the same depth and distance numerous times without having to measure over and over again. Additionally, these saws are ideal for making tongue and groove cuts for cabinet making or any other project that requires you to make a continuous and even panel.

Things to Consider Before Making a Purchase

Just like when you make any other major purchases, there are some considerations that you need to think of before committing to specific model. Each class offers its own features that may suit your needs better than another class.

Price – One obvious thing to consider is the price. Prices can range from a couple hundred dollars for a bench top model to a few thousand for cabinet models. If the majority of your projects are on the smaller side, a more economical model may be perfect for you. However, if you’re a professional cabinet maker, perhaps the biggest, more costly version is better suited for the workload you have in mind.

Design – The design of a saw is a major factor to consider before you buy. If mobility is a priority for you, a large cabinet model is probably one you should stay away from. Instead, compare the smaller models like the bench top or contractor class. On the other hand, if you find yourself consistently cutting large pieces of material, such as plywood panels, then the smaller classes of saws is something maybe you should not consider due to their limited size.

Capabilities – Some saws are capable of doing things that others cannot.  Make sure you think about the types of projects you will be using your table saw for.  If your projects are going to include a good deal of dado work, then you should make sure the type of table saw you are looking at can use dado blades.  And if it can, can you use the size of dado you will be doing.

Top 7 Table Saw Reviews

For this list of the best table saws, we will break it down by three classes available; bench top, contractor, and cabinet.  We will cover the top three in each category so you will have a broader view of the models that are currently available.

Benchtop Table Saws

DEWALT DW745

DeWalt is an industry leader with their high quality power tools and the DW745 is proof of that fact. Its 10-inch blade is powered by a 15 amp motor that provides a no-load speed of 3,850 RPM, providing you plenty of muscle to tackle tough materials such as hardwoods and treated lumber.

DeWalt DW745 Table Saw

>>Click here to find more reviews, full specs and prices<<

Designed for easy set-up, the DW745 is perfect for mobile project needs. The table is coated to help reduce friction as you cut and the blade has a cutting capacity of 3-1/8 inches at 90 degrees. Included with a blade guard, miter gauge, and push stick, the DW745 is a great selection for the first time table saw owner.

BOSCH GTS1031

The GTS1031 has nearly everything the first time buyer could want.  Its 4.0 HP motor is housed in a lightweight and durable frame which makes it ideal for mobile applications.  This saw can handle material up to 18-inches wide and up to 8-inches in diameter.  With a no-load speed of 5,000 RPMs, the GTS1031 can handle nearly any material you can throw at it.

Bosch GTS1031 Table Saw

>>Find more reviews, prices and the full specs<<

Equipped with the smart guard system, you will have complete control over the material while you are cutting.  Anti-kickback pawls and riving knife helps to provide additional control and the rubber feet provide total stability while you are making your cuts.

MAKITA 2703

Makita 2703 Table Saw

>>Click here to get prices, reviews and specs for the Makita 2703<<

Makita’s 2703 10-inch bench top table saw makes our number three spot.  It provides plenty of power with its 15 amp motor and has a depth cutting capacity of 3-9/16 inches.  The 2703’s cam-lock rip fence makes for easier adjustments than other designs and the electric motor brake makes adjustments between cuts faster and safer.  Additionally, the large 27-inch by 22-inch table provides ample space for your material.

Contractor Table Saws

BOSCH 4100-09

Bosch 4100-09 Table Saw

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The 4100-09 makes for one of the best contractor class table saws on the market.  With its innovative gravity-rise wheeled stand, it not only provides mobility and stability, it also provides convenience.

The 15 amp, 4 HP motor delivers a no-load cutting speed of 3,650 RPM for clean cuts through the toughest materials.  The 4100-09 can make dado cuts up to 13/16 inch and beveled cuts from -2 degrees up to 47 degrees, offering maximum flexibility.  And with its large 29 inch by 21.5 inch table, large material will be much easier to handle.

SAWSTOP CNS175-TGP36

The Sawstop CNS175-TGP36 makes the number 2 spot on our list.  It is included with a 36-inch T-Glide fence system that not only provides smooth operation, but precision measuring and a lockdown that ensures your repetitive cuts remain accurate.  With a 4-inch port, dust collection is a cinch and can connect to nearly any dust collection system.

Sawstop CNS175-SFA30 Table Saw

>>Find more reviews, specs and prices for this Sawstop model here<<

But what makes the CNS175-TGP36 truly unique is its safety system.  The electronic detection system will actually detect when a person makes contact with the blade.  With the ability to tell the difference between human flesh and other materials, the heavy-duty spring will push a block of aluminum into the blade causing it to stop spinning within three to five milliseconds.

DEWALT DWE7491RS

The DWE7491RS is equipped with a rolling stand to provide total mobility and stability.  With a rack and pinion fence system and 32-1/2 inch rip capacity, this saw is tough enough and big enough to handle any material you feed it.

DEWALT DWE7491RS Table Saw

>>Click here to find full specs, prices and reviews for this DeWalt model<<

A depth capacity of 3-1/8 inch at 90 degrees and 2-1/4 inch at 45 degrees provides versatility along with its many other features.  The DWE7491RS’s dust port directs sawdust away from the saw and out onto the ground, ensuring long life for your saw.

Cabinet Table Saws

GRIZZLY G0690

The G0690 will take the top spot for cabinet class.  With a maximum rip capacity of nearly 30-inches, large materials are easier to handle.  The Grizzly G0690 has a cutting depth of 3-1/8 inches at 90 degrees and 2-3/16 inches at 45 degrees.  This monster is powered by a 220V 3 HP single-phase motor that delivers a no-load speed of 4,300 RPM.

Grizzly G0690 Table Saw

>>Get more information including prices, reviews and full specs here<<

Constructed of cast iron and cast iron components, you are ensured of a long life with this saw.  Its quick release features include a quick release riving knife and a quick release blade guard meaning you will spend less time making adjustments and more time building.

SAWSTOP PCS31230-TGP252

Sawstop makes our list of top saws once again with their PCS31230-TGP252 220V 3-HP cabinet saw.  Incorporating the same safety features as mentioned with the CNS175-TGP36, the PCS31230-TGP252 not only offers optimal cutting performance, but also optimal safety.  The included dust collection blade guard pulls dust particles from the surface of the saw while an advanced shrouding design delivers dust to the large 4-inch port.

SawStop PCS31230-TGP252 Table Saw

>>Click here for more reviews, specs and prices<<

Sawstop incorporated mobility into this model by providing a stand that rests on two pivoting and two stationary casters.  The included riving knife helps to prevent kickback while the left tilting blade prevents wood from binding.

STEEL CITY TOOL WORKS 35955G

Steel City Tool Works 35955G Table Saw

>>Find full specs, prices and more reviews here<<

One unique feature of the 35955G is that is table surface is made of granite to allow for a smooth work surface and added stability during operation.  Its 115V, 5 HP motor provides plenty of power to tear through any material.  With its 50-inch industrial sized T-Square fence allows for plenty of working room for large material.

Conclusion

Whether it is a small bench top model or a large cabinet model, a table saw can add so many new possibilities to your shop.  Make sure you think it through before you make a final decision on which class of saw you want or need.

If you are building bird houses, a bench top model will be sufficient.  Unless, however you are building a bird house for an ostrich, then perhaps you should consider a professional sized cabinet saw. To complete your table saw you might want to think about getting a fence system to make your saw the best it can be.

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