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Best Table Saws

Updated July 2018
Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
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How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

  • 93 Models Considered
  • 48 Hours Researched
  • 2 Experts Interviewed
  • 214 Consumers Consulted
  • Zero products received from manufacturers.

    We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

    Why trust BestReviews?
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.

    Shopping guide for best table saws

    Last Updated July 2018

    A table saw is the centerpiece of any home workshop, and it’s often the very first power tool to be cranked up at the start of any woodworking task. They’re essential for the necessary task of sizing wood for each project – whether narrowing the width of boards, cutting plywood sheets, or tackling specialized cuts like grooves, slots, and tenons. Because of their important role in DIY and professional construction, choosing the right table saw is critically important. At BestReviews, we’ve researched table saws in depth. We’re here to help you decide which type of table saw will best meet your needs.

    Read on to learn more about the various types of table saw available, their best and worst features, and how to get the best performance from your table saw.

    When you’re ready to purchase, check out our product matrix, above, to get our take on some of the best table saw brands on the market.

    Ripping long boards on a benchtop table saw’s small table can be a challenge. Support the board by setting up a sawhorse at either end of the table saw, making sure the height of the sawhorse is the same as the height of the table. This will keep the board supported, straight, and under control before, during, and after the cut.

    Types of table saws

    Table saws come in a number of sizes, but most fall within four main types: portable table saws, contractor saws, cabinet saws, and hybrid saws.

    Portable saws

    Often called benchtop, jobsite, or worksite saws, portable table saws are typically made of lightweight materials, such as an aluminum table top, so that they’re easy to move from place to place. Sometimes they’ll have wheels attached to make shifting them around even easier. The motors on portable saws are also much smaller than on other types of table saws, and are typically less powerful.

    Because of their lighter build – ranging from 60 to 100 pounds – and less powerful motor, portable table saws generally suffer from greater vibration, less stability, and much less cutting power than other types of table saws.

    Because of the way the saw is constructed, parts like the fence often can’t be swapped for aftermarket parts.

    However, these saws can be plugged into any 110 volt outlet, and are priced between $250 and $600. It’s a tradeoff many professionals and hobbyists alike don’t mind making, so they have the tool they need to complete basic crosscutting or ripping tasks, no matter where they are.

    Pros:

    • Very portable.
    • Operates on standard 100 volt outlets.
    • Extremely affordable.
       

    Cons:

    • Less stability.
    • More vibration.
    • The blade will probably stall when trying to cut thicker softwoods and any hardwoods.

    Contractor table saws

    Contractor saws weigh quite a bit more than portable saws, averaging between 150 and 350 pounds, but are still somewhat portable. They have a heavier, cast-iron table top, and a motor that is usually more powerful than a jobsite saw. Even so, they’re within prices affordable for more committed hobbyists. Contractor saws can range between $800 and $2,000. They’re good for basic cutting tasks, as well as making home furniture and cabinetry work.

    Pros:

    • Much more stable than benchtop saws, but still portable.

    • Moderately priced.

    • Can cut through thicker woods and some hardwoods.
       

    Cons:

    • Will have trouble cutting through thick hardwoods.

    FOR YOUR SAFETY

    Always stand to the side of the blade when ripping or crosscutting, to avoid being hit by the board if it kicks back for any reason.

    Cabinet saws

    Cabinet saws are the prime choice for professional woodworkers. A more powerful induction motor, usually 3 to 5 HP, is enclosed in a cabinet, as part of a super-sturdy overall construction. This type of table saw is ideal for making smooth, straight cuts through hardwoods without worrying about excessive vibration. All that power and stability comes at a price, though. Low-end cabinet saws start around $2,300 and can go past $5,000 for industrial table saws.

    Pros:

    • Very stable.

    • Has enough horsepower and torque to easily make smooth, straight cuts, even in thicker hardwood boards.
       

    Cons:

    • Very expensive.

    • Generally anchored to the workshop floor (or certainly very hard to move).

    • Draws much more power than smaller table saws, so a dedicated electrical circuit needs to be installed.

    Hybrid saws

    Finally, hybrid saws combine the lighter weight of the contractor saw with the more powerful motor and sturdier construction of the cabinet saw, at a price that’s easier for the occasional woodworker to stomach. They can run about $1,200 or so, and weigh in at under 300 pounds. Their motors are generally in the 1.5 to 1.75 HP range, and can be used with standard 110V outlets.

    Pros:

    • Combines many of the best features of high-end table saws with the desirable lighter weight and lower price of portable saws.

    • Light enough to shift around the shop.
       

    Cons:

    • Cutting hardwoods may be iffy for less powerful hybrid models, so you need to get to know your hybrid table saw’s particular quirks, and test how well it performs under load.

    At first glance, the Bosch 10-Inch Worksite Table Saw may seem to be nothing exceptional. However, it's powered by the best motor in its class, and it does everything well. True, the motor is a 15 amp unit like the others on our list, but it produces 4 HP where the others produce only 1.5 to 2 HP. This is a noticeable step up in a vital area! The wheeled frame is extremely helpful for moving around your shop or garage, but keep in mind that those tires aren’t heavy-duty; you have to be careful with them on a worksite littered with nails and screws.

    Getting to know your table saw

    Safety

    As with any large, bladed power tool, safety is paramount.

    All table saws come with gate guards that help protect your hands from touching the blade. They also have safety stop features to minimize injury if your fingers do come in contact with the blade.

    Some include pusher tools that enable you to continue guiding a board smoothly for a complete cut, while keeping your hand away from the blade. Don’t remove or alter safety features of your table saw.

    Always wear safety glasses, and make sure you’re completely alert when working with a table saw.

    If you have no experience with table saws, consider getting professional instruction, such as taking an extension course.

    This way you can gain some practical hands-on experience, learn how to safely operate the saw, and get an even better idea of which type of table saw you’d ultimately like to purchase.

    Types of cuts

    • Ripping

    This is the term used for making long cuts down the length of a board, along the grain. This is done to adjust the width of a board.

    • Crosscutting

    This is a cut made across the grain of a board – such as when sawing a board in half, or just trimming a couple of inches off the end – to adjust its length.

    • Dado cutting

    This is a specialty cut that creates a trench, groove or notch (also called a rabbet) in a board. This type of cut is used most often in making furniture. Dado sets, which include special blades and inserts, make it easy to accomplish these specialty cuts, but it is possible to accomplish some dado cuts using a basic table saw setup.

    Table saw blades can also make angled cuts with just a few simple changes to the blade setting or the miter gauge.

    EXPERT TIP

    Put a light coating of paste wax – not car wax, which contains silicone – on your cast iron table top and fence. Wipe away any excess wax. This will protect your table saw’s top from corrosion and provide a slightly smoother surface to slide boards along.


    EXPERT TIP

    A miter gauge allows table saws to tackle crosscuts that normally would require a separate saw. It allows the saw blade to cut boards at an angle. Because the saw blade itself can be tilted to 45 degrees, the miter gauge makes it possible to complete a variety of angled cuts.


    EXPERT TIP

    Before each cut, set the blade height to about 1/8 inch above the top of the board you’re cutting. This added safety step ensures that if you do accidentally touch the spinning blade, any cut will be no deeper than that 1/8 inch setting.


    Performance

    At a compact 45 pounds, the DEWALT DW745 Compact Jobsite Table Saw is the lightest table saw in our review. The saw's portability doesn't mean that ripping size is compromised, though. Thanks to extending fence guides, you've got 20 inches available. Depth of cut is on par with many bigger machines: at 90 degrees, it's 3 1/8 inches. At 45 degrees, it's 2 1/4 inches. Power comes from a 15-amp motor with a no-load speed of 3,850 RPM. This is ample enough for serious DIY projects and light-duty construction site work.

    Taking care of your table saw

    To get the longest life out of your table saw – whether it’s a small benchtop or a full-size monster of a cabinet saw – follow a few important steps.

    • Check the drive belt

    Check the drive belt on your saw’s motor for wear. Replace it when heavy wear becomes evident.

    • Check the blades frequently

    Check the blades frequently and change them if they begin missing too many teeth.

    • Make sure the wood you’re cutting doesn’t have any metal in it

    Used boards may have old nails embedded in them. Those pieces of metal will damage a spinning saw blade and could injure you.

    • Use the table saw only for jobs that it’s intended to handle

    A benchtop saw isn’t designed for nor really capable of cutting through hardwoods, particularly thick boards. Even if you accomplish that task without the blade stalling or losing teeth, you’ll shorten the life of the motor.

    • Clean up sawdust and scraps

    Not only does it keep your workshop looking good, but keeping the blade and table free of debris will make your next cutting job that much easier.

    You should perform periodic, in-depth maintenance by cleaning sawdust and resin buildup from around the blade and interior areas of the table saw. Steel wool works well to remove resin, and any moving parts should be lubricated appropriately.

    Fortunately, table saws need very little maintenance relative to the amount of use they get. They really are the workhorses of the woodworking world.

    Removing the drive belt and motor from the back of contractor saws can make periodic deep-cleaning and lubrication of your table saw a lot easier.
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