With a maximum cut depth of 3.125 inches and a 32.5-inch rip capacity, the 10-inch blade of this DeWalt table saw handled all the relatively light-duty board ripping I needed from it, but I also tested it against a variety of plywood and other board sizes to assess its capability. The 15-amp motor is fairly standard for this contractor or job site level of table saw, and none of the boards I threw at it caused it to bind—good news, as binding is at best annoying and at worst dangerous.
In portable table saw models, the motors are supported by trunnions mounted to the underside of the table. The resulting vibration reduces accuracy. These trunnions are usually made of lightweight steel or aluminum, which are susceptible to wear. And because these saws are small, cutting full-size sheets of plywood or MDF isn't a good idea unless the sheet is supported by a table extension.
The miter gauges on these saws range from downright flimsy to cabinet-saw quality. All the saws except the Craftsman and the DeWalt also have T-tracks—a nice feature that captures the miter gauge bar, making it easier to start wider crosscuts. Because the Ryobi and DeWalt saws don’t have a standard miter gauge slot, you can’t use accessories that require a 3/4-in. slot.
Table saws in this best table saw review run the gamut in price and quality. You can buy a table saw for as little as $150, and if you use it just to occasionally rip a board, that may be all the saw you need. If you want a saw that’s easy to carry and you don’t need to rip sheets of plywood in half, look for a “compact” saw like the DeWalt DW745 (shown) or the Bosch GTS1031. If you have room for a little larger saw that’s slightly less portable but capable of wide rips, consider one of the best table saws we review here. And finally, if you want to build cabinets or furniture and have a big enough work area, you can step up to a stationary contractor’s saw like the Ridgid R4512 (shown), for about $650.
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The DeWalt doesn’t go above and beyond here but has some standard safety equipment as part of its Site-Pro Guarding System. The Blade Guard Assembly is a standard clear plastic set of guards that allows the wood to be fed to the blade but shields you from putting hands on the exposed blade in a slip. The guards will lock in a raised position when you need to see the blade—for example, when adjusting the blade height—which lessens the temptation to remove this safety feature when it’s in your way.
Kickback is probably more dangerous than cutting yourself with the blade because it can happen so easily and without notice. Kickback happens when the wood becomes jammed and is forced back toward you. This is not a nice experience and often results in pretty serious injuries. Table saws are fitted with a riving knife and often an anti-kickback pawl, make sure these are fitted correctly.
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The continuous-read, tape measure–type scale is ingenious and easy to read, and Ridgid’s lifetime warranty covers it against breakage. The Ridgid saw has the most versatile miter gauge with holes and slots for mounting extensions and accessories. The designers have cleverly fashioned the stand to also serve as a left-side outfeed support for ripping plywood.
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Blade guards are an important safety device and should never be removed from the saw. You want to find one that rises up parallel to the table so it is always on top of the material you are working with. The purpose of this blade guard is to protect you from the spinning blade. While some woodworkers find them annoying, the safety they provide is well worth the inconvenience.
The CM8S 8-1/2 inch single bevel sliding compound miter saw features a Bosch exclusive design delivering a well-balanced saw with a top carry handle at the center of gravity and weighs only 37 pounds. These features easily provide one-handed portability on and off the job. Accessible controls make it easy to change bevel settings without reaching behind the saw. The integrated expanding work piece supports, large easy to read miter and bevel scales, and detent system provides quick and accurate cuts. The CM8S also has the same crosscut capacity (12-1/4 inch) as a 10 inch miter saw, at 30% lighter weight.
Each of the following three styles of table saw is designed with a certain type of user in mind. Whether you’re a first-time woodworker, dedicated hobbyist, or professional construction worker, there’s a table saw out there for you. Before we get into the nitty-gritty of what makes a great table saw, we need to discuss the different types of table saws that you might consider purchasing.