All passionate DIYers should have a table saw. It’s true that manual saws can get the job done, but a table saw will do it faster, easier, and with better efficiency. Even if you’re a woodworking novice, the best table saw for beginners will make your work feel professional. Here you’ll find how to pick the right saw for your needs, budget, and skill set.
|DEWALT DWE7491RS Table Saw||Check The Price!|
|Rockwell BladeRunner X2 Portable Tabletop Saw||Check The Price!|
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|SKIL 3410-02 Table Saw||Check The Price!|
|Bosch Jobsite Table Saw GTS1031||Check The Price!|
Table Saw Basics
As an essential tool in any carpenter’s shop, the table saw lives up to its name: it has a blade and a table, among other features. The blade is by far the most important component, and its size generally determines the overall price.
- Tabletop. The table is usually made of cast steel or cast aluminum and varies in size. It can be as small as 1.5’ x 1.8’ up to 2.2’ x 5’ (or even larger). The table might be mounted on a stand making it stationary or have folding legs for portability.
- Blade. A 10″ blade is good enough for most woodcutting jobs and what we’d recommend for the majority reading this guide. An 8″ blade might be good enough for weekend DIYers, but there are plenty of inexpensive 10″ models. A 12″ blade is best for more strenuous work with hardy materials.
- Blade Guard. Covers the blade when you’re cutting wood to protect your hand and prevent accidents.
- Push Sticks. Another safety feature that lets you feed the saw without getting your hand or fingers too close to the blade.
- Rip Fence. This bar, located alongside the blade, acts as a guide to keep your cuts even and straight.
- Miter Gauge. Essential in executing clean and professional-looking crosscuts.
Why Would You Need A Table Saw?
Table saws save you time and energy on large projects. More important, they are accurate. Woodworking mistakes can be costly. As the old adage goes: “measure the wood 10 times but cut it only once.” A bench saw makes accurate and precise cuts even if you have little field experience. The safety features also make the table saw a popular choice over circular saws, chainsaws, or anything else you might cut with.
Types of Table Saws
Tables saws come in three varieties: stationary, portable and hybrid. Each has its advantages and drawbacks. If you’re doing a landscaping design project at home, a stationary saw would do, but if you’re helping your in laws build a chicken coop, then a portable one is more convenient.
Portable Table Saw
As the name implies this type is easy to move around. It can have folding legs or no legs at all, which means you need to place it on top of a table. This last variety is called a benchtop saw. Portable bench saws are less bulky and more lightweight than the other types. They take less space in your workshop and are easy to carry (some even one-handed). However, all of these advantages come at the cost of cutting power. They’re more suited to small jobs.
Cabinet Table Saw
A cabinet table saw is a stationary type. It’s much heavier than portable table saws and is made for the professional woodworker. This type is sturdy and durable and can handle any carpentry job. They tend to have more powerful motors, make less vibration, and produce cleaner cuts. They are also very pricey.
Hybrid Table Saw
Also called the contractor table saw, this type strikes a good balance between weight and stability. They are typically mounted on four fixed metal legs and are much heavier with more ripping capacity than a portable saw. They cost significantly less than stationary saws– maybe the perfect happy medium for most DIYers.
Key Features To Look For When Buying A Table Saw
While the price tag is usually a good metric for what features and power you’ll get from your table saw purchase, cost alone shouldn’t guide your decision. Here are the key features to consider.
In carpentry, ripping a piece of wood is when you cut following the direction of the grain. Rip capacity is measured as the distance between the blade and the fence, setting the max width of your cuts (and the size and expense of the saw!).
Beveling is one of those skills that many aspire to have and only a few can master–until you get a top-notch bench saw that makes it easy to change the angle of the blade to get a perfect bevel. Most good models will give you three angles to choose from: 0 degrees, 45 degrees, and 90 degrees. The downside to this feature is you lose depth of cut the more you tilt the blade.
With a 10-inch blade, you can get a 3-inch cut. A 12-inch blade goes as deep as 4 inches, and so on. Just remember that other factors such as the table material (steel vs. aluminum), the rising mechanism, dust buildup, and the wood itself all impact your cut depth.
Here again your job size determines the size of table you need. A portable bench saw would average 19” x 22”, whereas a contractor saw might measure 22” x 24”. A cabinet saw has a table designed for extensions, giving you a 27” x 60” surface or even much more.
Table Saw Safety
A bench saw is a dangerous power tool. Even with standard safety features–a blade guard, riving knife, and saw stop–you need to be careful.
- Always wear safety equipment when operating the saw. Hearing protection, safety glasses, and protective clothes prevent ER visits.
- Before changing the blade, make sure you have disconnected the power.
- Don’t use your hands to make free-cuts. Always use the fence or miter gauge to guide your cuts.
- A push stick is there to protect your fingers. Use it to feed the saw when the remaining board gets shorter than 6 inches.
- Keep your workbench clean and remove stock, cutoffs, and sawdust.
- Make sure the blade is not engaged before you start the saw.
Top 5 Table Saw Reviews
I focused here on the top bench saws for beginners, balancing features and price. These are my top 5:
Dewalt is a well-known name in the world of power tools. When you invest in a Dewalt saw, you expect durability, reliability, and power. The DEW749 has a powerful 15 amp high-torque motor and a massive 32.5″ rip capacity. But what sets this one apart is its mobility; it has both folding legs and wheels and is compact given its power.
The rack and pinion fence on the DEW749 is easy to read and calibrate, especially for beginners. Your cuts will be accurate without a steep learning curve.
Just because you want a workshop in your garage or basement doesn’t mean it needs to cost an arm and a leg. The BladeRunner X2 is only 17 pounds and extremely reasonably priced, typically less than $150. It’s for small jobs and DIY projects with softer woods. It will have trouble with oak or walnut. But as long as you understand its limitations (you’re getting the cheapest “starter saw” available), it’s not a bad deal.
Once you get the hang of handling a bench saw, you’ll want to explore different cuts and beveling techniques. The Makita 2705X is the machine that helps you flatten that learning curve and improve your skills. This one has a 15 amp motor and a 10-inch saw with a modular blade guard, giving you flexibility for adjusting the riving knife and executing precise cuts.
The Skil 3410-02 is the most expensive saw on our list and maybe overkill for at-home DIYers. But it might be worth the money if you want your saw to grow with your woodworking hobby. The cast aluminum table is large enough to handle big boards and includes the ability to extend the 26″ length table to 32″. It has a heavy-duty folding steel stand, which we found to be extremely well-engineered and sturdy. The tabs used to mount the saw to the stand are ingenious.
This one is larger and sturdier than the Rockwell BladeRunner X2 discussed above. It’s a portable job site saw, and probably not powerful enough for furniture or other large projects. It’s loud (use ear protection!). It only has an 18-inch rip capacity. But it has a 10″ carbide blade and will do most DIY jobs easily. At around $350, it’s a reasonably-priced choice that balances portability (you can carry it with one hand) and power.
There’s no right answer here. I picked the Dewalt because it has mid-range price with high-end size and power. But for most DIYers, the two cheaper and more portable models mentioned might be enough. The good news is any of them will add a level of polish and professionalism to all of your projects.
We would like to know what you think about the table saws reviewed here. Whether you agree with our top pick or you have a different one of your own, please let us know about it in the comment section below.