While a 50-inch rip capacity might be essential for processing full sheets of wood – common in building tabletops – most projects will do just fine with the 24-28 inches of rip capacity provided by portable and contractor’s table saws. Unless you’re planning on building large furniture or building houses, sticking with any table in the 25- to 35-inch rip capacity range is a safe bet.
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.
For those looking for something small, these benchtop table saws are just right. Used by contractors who need portable table saws, they’re suitable for quick placement in vehicles and setting up at project sites. Typically, the unit weighs less than 65 pounds and comes equipped with a universal motor. Depending on the model, some come with handy fences. A fence is the part of a saw mounted parallel to the blade, ensuring safe and fast multiple rip cuts.
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We spent a lot of time setting up and taking down the saws to see how well the stands worked and how easy it was to install and remove the blade guard and anti-kickback pawls. Then we ran a torturous ripping test with 3-in.-thick slabs of oak to find the best table saw. And finally, we used the saws for more conventional tasks like cutting plywood and ripping framing lumber as another test to determine the best table saw.
All these saws have attached, collapsible stands with wheels that allow you to roll them around when they’re folded up. A few, like the DeWalt, Rockwell and Ryobi, can’t be wheeled around after they’re set up. But the biggest difference between stands is in how easy it is to set them up. The Ridgid and Bosch have nearly identical stands that work great and require you to only flip or depress one lever to unlock the stand. These are our favorites. The DeWalt stand is the sturdiest of the bunch and very intuitive. It sets up like a card table with legs that fold out and snap into place. The remaining candidates for best table saw have several different stand systems that aren’t quite as easy to set up but that work fine once you get the hang of them.
Our table saw review quickly showed that today’s portable table saws are light-years ahead of the small-saw offerings from a decade ago. They feature big-capacity cutting, greatly improved safety features and attached stands for easy setup. And saws in the upper price range rival stationary saws in accuracy and quality of cut. We limited our review to saws that included a stand with wheels and ones that could rip at least 24 in. wide, only the best table saw for our readers!
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It’s not until you get a bunch of saws side by side in the shop that you start to see the difference between a $300 saw and a $500 saw. While the motors are all 15-amp, the more expensive saws have features like soft start to prolong motor and gear life, electronic feedback to maintain blade speed and gearing to maximize torque. If you look under the saws, you’ll see that the more expensive saws also have much beefier motor carriages and better-quality blade-adjusting mechanisms.
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Pre-calibrated right out of the box, Kreg’s miter gauge is a blessing for the impatient among us. The folks at Kreg know their customers don’t want to waste time preparing their tools — they want to use them! That’s why the KMS7102 boasts positive stops at a variety of the most common angles: so you can begin using your brand new miter gauge straight away.
This table saw was completely redesigned and heavily improved in both safety measures and cutting capacity. For safety, DeWalt redesigned the red power switch to be electronic. It automatically resets the saw to turn off if the power is interrupted whatever the cause. I’ve heard some job-site horror stories regarding table saws who weren’t turned off properly so this redesign was very much needed.