Saw is engineered well, and the blade guard system is praiseworthy. Excellent dust removal. Factory settings are accurate upon arrival.
Assembly bolts are a combination of metric and standard sizes.
Adjustments very easy to make. Minimal vibration and noise. 10-inch table saw is extremely powerful, cuts through thick hardwood.
Assembly may require additional holes and adjustments. Extension table could be bowed. Blade challenging to elevate.
Precise, heavy-duty cabinet saw with an exceptional safety system. 32-inch fence and 1.75-horsepower motor. Powerful dust collection system.
It's heavy and fairly expensive, and occasional alignment issues have been reported.
Saw is relatively quiet in operation. Angles and table adjustments are nearly perfect. Blades are easy to change.
Adjusting riving knife settings can be time-consuming. Caster wheels in base only extend 1/8 inch above floor. Some dado blades won't fit.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
A cabinet table saw is the largest and most powerful machine of its type. While the actual blade may not be any bigger than that on high-end portable or contractor saws, it gives you the physical stability that they can’t, which means much greater precision.
Cabinet table saws also have powerful motors that are able to handle deep cuts in dense materials without strain, offering greater durability. Then there’s table size. At 36 inches or more, they make it a breeze to accurately cut through large sheets of plywood and other boards. These performance advantages make the cabinet table saw very popular with furniture makers (both keen amateurs and professionals) and in high-production environments.
At BestReviews, we’ve been looking at the latest models so we can help you decide which cabinet table saw will meet the demands of your shop. Our recommendations showcase some of the best-in-class solutions on offer, and in the following buying guide we look at the important technical aspects in more detail.
The key factors you need to think about are table construction and size, cutting capacity, power, and additional features.
The cabinet that houses the motor gives you a good, stable platform for the main table. This is invariably cast iron, which is strong and damps motor vibration so cutting is smoother. You also have the ability to add a table extension (one is often included). The extension can be cast iron, aluminum, or phenolic resin (a hard and stable plastic polymer).
The figures for table size can be confusing. You’ll often find an overall size, but with the saw blade mounted in the center of the main table, that’s not of much practical use. The dimensions you really need are those on either side of the blade. With an extension fitted, it’s common for that to be 50 inches or more, and most of the time you’ll want that extension attached and ready to use.
You also need room to move around the saw, so it’s vital to think about the space you have available in your shop. Bear in mind that these saws can weigh anywhere from 250 to over 700 pounds, so you won’t want to be moving it around very often!
Most cabinet table saws accommodate a 10-inch blade, though a few will take a 12-inch one. The actual depth of cut can vary slightly from one machine to another. On a 10-inch saw, it will be around 3 inches; on a 12-inch saw, it will be 4 inches. The blade tilts up to 45° (usually to the left), so it’s a good idea to know the maximums at that angle, too.
Large cutting capacity is great, but only if you’ve got sufficient power to drive the blade efficiently. Not enough power and the motor is working too hard or the blade stalls. Cabinet table saws can be anywhere from 1.75 horsepower to a monster 7.5 horsepower, though 3 and 5 horsepower motors are most common.
If you’re cutting a lot of sheet material, up to around 1/2 inch thick (a common use for a cabinet table saw), then a smaller motor is fine. If you’re cutting thick composites and hardwoods on a regular basis, you’ll want the most power you can afford.
A rigid fence is vital for accurate woodworking. If it doesn’t clamp properly, it could deflect under the force of the wood being pushed along it. That said, you don’t want to be fussing around setting the machine up, so a strong but rapid clamping system is ideal. The face might also have a smooth surface so the workpiece can pass through easily. A miter gauge is something you’ll also need, so it’s a bonus if one is included.
You want nice, big hand wheels for saw blade height adjustment and angle setting. Scales should be easy to read.
If there’s a problem, you need to be able to shut the saw off quickly, so look for a prominent, easy-to-reach stop button on the front of the machine. Some top-quality cabinet table saws have a unique safety feature that uses a sensor to detect if human skin comes in contact with the blade. It doesn’t just stop the saw; it drops the blade down into the cabinet and out of the way. It’s remarkably clever, but it does rely on a one-use cartridge that needs to be replaced if there’s an incident.
Dust extraction is always important in the workshop, both for the quality of work and personal safety. Check that the size of the dust port is compatible with your shop’s equipment (though adapters aren’t expensive). You may have the option of extracting from the blade guard as well as the cabinet. It’s a good idea, but it might mean you need to build some kind of permanent extraction system rather than using a mobile solution.
Several manufacturers allow you to swap the standard extension for a router table extension or add it on the end of the table. That can give you extra versatility if shop space is at a premium. If that interests you, and you already own a router, you’ll want to make sure it’s compatible (mounting options vary).
Push blocks: Peachtree Woodworking Push Block Set
Push blocks (and push sticks) are woodworking essentials, not just for cabinet saws but for band saws and router tables, too. They let you grip the workpiece securely while keeping your hands out of the way of dangerous blades. This versatile five-piece set gives you everything you need for very little money.
Featherboard: Milescraft 1406 Featherboard
A featherboard is another accessory every table saw owner needs. It’s a simple but effective tool for keeping gentle pressure on the edge of your workpiece so it stays firmly against the fence and the cut can’t wander. When you want precision, a featherboard is invaluable.
Mobile base: Shop Fox D2057A Adjustable Mobile Base
Although you won’t want to move your cabinet table saw regularly, sometimes it has to be done. The ShopFox base is a flexible and affordable solution. There are three sizes available, with the largest capable of handling 1,300 pounds.
Inexpensive: Even the cheapest cabinet table saws require an investment of around $1,700. For many, it’s a one-off purchase — it isn’t the kind of tool that ever wears out — and in the event you need to upgrade in the future, resale values remain high.
Mid-range: The majority of the models we looked at are in the $2,000 to $3,500 range, representing powerful, accurate equipment that’s good enough to satisfy the most demanding professional.
Expensive: For most people, the only reasons to spend more than $3,500 are for a really high-precision model or for a more powerful (perhaps three-phase) motor. You’ll pay up to about $5,000. In our view, that kind of outlay is only going to be necessary in high-productivity commercial shops.
Q. Can I run a cabinet table saw from an ordinary household outlet?
A. You can run one or two, but most of the ones we looked at need 220/230 volts AC, whereas your standard outlet is 110 volts. In most cases, it should be fairly straightforward to provide a dedicated circuit, though we suggest you contact a qualified electrician. However, be careful to check whether it’s a single- or three-phase motor. The latter is usually only found in commercial premises.
Q. What is a riving knife?
A. It’s a thin metal plate that sits behind the blade, usually curving up, following the outline. Sometimes it’s part of the guard. It’s designed to keep the cut open as the wood passes through. If it wasn’t there, the workpiece could pinch the blade, resulting in either the saw stalling or the workpiece being kicked back toward the operator, which can be extremely dangerous. Never remove the riving knife when using any kind of table saw.
Q. Are dado blades legal?
A. They still are in the United States, but they’ve been banned in Europe. A dado blade is used to cut grooves in a board or a rebate on the edge. In most cases, the guard and riving knife need to be removed, which many feel makes the operation too hazardous. We agree and would not recommend them. If you need grooves or rebates, cutting them with a router is probably quicker and much safer.