Table Saw Blades Vs Circular Saw Blades: What’s Different?
Table saw blades and Circular saw blades are both used to cut wood. Both have unique features that make them better to be applied in different circumstances. So, before you purchase either one, make sure you know what the difference between the two types of blades is. So, what is the difference between a table saw blade and a circular saw blade? Table saw blades and circular saw blades are not the same. Table saw blades are bigger blades with a wider kerf that are found on table saws. Circular blades are smaller and thinner blades that can usually be found on circular saws, but they can be used on a table saw for certain applications. There is a difference between a table saw blade and a circular saw blade, but why are they different? Despite their differences, can you swap the blades of a circular saw and use it on a table saw? Which type of saw is better, and why? All of these questions we explore below.
Table Saw Blades Vs. Circular Saw Blades: What’s Different?
There are multiple differences that distinguish a table saw blade from a circular saw blade. Below, we analyze two of these main differences.
Size Of A Table Saw Blade Vs. A Circular Saw Blade
Table saws blades are 10” in diameter and have a teeth range of anything between 24 – 80 teeth per blade. The more teeth on the blade, the smoother the cut. They also have a kerf of 1/8”, which is the width of the wood that is cut away when shaping the wood. Circular saw blades are mostly 7¼” with smaller circular blades being 4 ½”. The number of teeth one can expect to find on these blades can range from anything between 14 and 40 teeth. The kerf of these blades can range from a low 1/16” up to 3/32”.
Application of the blades and their saws
Table saws blades Table saw blades are used in table saws, which are stationary saws that are fixed to a table, and the workpiece is moved through the cutting blade by the operator. Table saws are excellent if you wish to have a lot of accurate and ‘clean’ cuts to your work. This is, usually, in cases where you work with wood that must be assembled and require very precise clearances and accurate fits. Unfortunately, table saws are not very portable and, thus, are only suited for – or most efficient in – larger workshops. It is important to note that with table saws you have to bring the work to the table (saw), and you cannot bring the table (saw) to the workpiece. In summary, a table saw is a stationary circular saw that is fixed to a table with a slit in the table where the table saw protrudes from. Since you have a table to which your blade is fixed, you can adjust the cut depth of your saw by adjusting the height of your saw and how much it should protrude from the table. Circular saw blades Circular saw blades, however, are used on circular saws. Circular saws are portable saws that you can use wherever you wish, which is especially good if you are working with stationary woodwork. These saws are handheld saws that are not powered by a stationary motor but powered by batteries, an electric motor, or an electric cord. Because circular saws do not require to be stationary, they are considered to be one of the most dynamic and versatile power saws that one can possess in a workshop. The problem with these saws, however, is that they are not as accurate as a table saw. Table saws are firmly fixed where they are, whereas portable saws are subject to scenarios where you have to do the precision cutting yourself, as opposed to feeding a piece of woodwork into the blade in a controlled manner.
Can You Use A Circular Saw Blade On A Table Saw?
The results you get will most likely vary from person to person, blade to blade, the different wood pieces you use, and other minor factors. That said, some have tried using a circular blade on a table saw and got the following results:
- When it came to the cutting of oak wood, the rip cut came out very well. There were no loose strings on the surface of the cut, and it looked clean. On the other hand, the cross-cut did not come out very well, and it was not very clean.
- When it came to the double-sided melamine, the ripping did not turn out as well as it did for the oak wood. It was not very clean, and there were stubble surfaces where the cut was made.
- When it came to good quality plywood, the ripping turned out better than what it did compared to the double-sided melamine wood, but poorer than compared to that of the oak wood. The cross-cut, however, turned out very poorly and not very clean.
So, in summary, you can definitely use a circular blade on a table saw when you wish to cut wood. That said, it might not always give you the finish that you were looking for.
Which Is Better, Table Saws Or Circular Saws?
We have now explored the difference(s) between a table saw blades and circular saw blades, and we have looked if you can fit a circular blade on a table saw. Now, let us look at which type of saw, including its blade, is better to use. We will look at five metrics to make this judgment.
- When it comes to accuracy, table saws win by a large margin. Because the table saw blades are larger, they have the potential to give you cleaner cuts, and the possibility of the saw vibrating and causing you to cut skew is minimalized.
- When it comes to the service life of the saws, table saws last longer than circular saws.
- When it comes to price, table saws are significantly more expensive than circular saws.
- When it comes to convenience, table saws are more convenient if you have woodwork that can easily move to the table saw. If, however, you must have your saw taken to the woodwork, circular saws are much more convenient.
- When it comes to safety, a table saw will not accidentally cut you as you are carrying it, but you should be careful on how you feed the saw the woodwork. For circular saws, there is a permanent cover plate that ensures that half of the area of the blade is covered.
In conclusion, the better blade depends on the operator’s needs, the operator’s budget, and the type of woodwork that needs to be cut.
In conclusion, table saw blades and circular saw blades may not be identical, but they are similar. The table saw blade is bigger and used for a bigger machine, whereas the circular saw blade is smaller and used for a machine that can be carried around.
Whether you are going to want to purchase a table saw with a table saw blade or a circular saw with a circular saw blade would depend on your needs, but in the article above, we set out some relevant factors that can help you make your decision.
If you are torn, you can purchase both and use the circular saw blade on the table saw, provided take note of the results you can expect to get.
Table Saw vs Circular Saw (Which Should You Buy?)
Can’t decide between a table saw or a circular saw? This in-depth comparison breaks down the differences, uses, and why you may want one instead of the other. Table saws and circular saws both have their own unique benefits and drawbacks, which is why it can be difficult to decide which saw is right for your project. In this article, we’ll compare and contrast the differences between them and help you decide which saw is best for your needs. This tutorial contains affiliate links to supplies and tools. Purchases made using these links help support the Saws on Skates website and allows me to share more projects and tips with you. There is no cost to you for using these links. Visit my site policies for more information.
Table of Contents
- What is a Table Saw Used For?
- Table Saw Cutting Capacity
- What are the Pros and Cons of a Table Saw?
- What is a Circular Saw Used For?
- Types of Circular Saws
- What are the Pros and Cons of a Circular Saw?
What is a Table Saw?
A table saw is a machine used to cut wood. It has a saw blade mounted underneath a tabletop that protrudes through a slot called the throat plate. The cutting depth can be adjusted by raising or lowering the blade and it may also be tilted to change the cut’s angle.
Table saws are often used with a rip fence, which guides the material while it’s being cut. To make a cut, the operator stands in front and pushes the workpiece towards the blade. A table saw’s sizable work surface allows it to handle large materials such as plywood sheets.
Because many table saws are heavy and bulky, transporting them may be difficult. They’re generally mounted on a stand with wheels, making them easier to move.
Table saws can be very dangerous if they’re not used properly. Every year, there are thousands of table saw-related injuries, and many of them are serious.
The most common type of injury is kickback, which occurs when the spinning blade forces the workpiece back towards the operator. Another danger is getting your fingers caught in the blade.
To avoid these dangers, it’s important to read your owner’s manual and always follow proper safety procedures when using a table saw.
What is a Table Saw Used For?
A table saw is a multipurpose tool that may be used to make various cuts, such as crosscuts; however, it’s not the most accurate tool for making these kinds of cuts. The main advantage between a table saw, and other saws is its ability to make precise rip cuts.
A rip cut is made along the length of a workpiece with the blade set at 90 degrees. It’s frequently used to reduce a board’s width or to cut plywood sheets to their required size for building DIY furniture or cabinets.
A bevel cut is made along the length of a workpiece with the blade set at an angle other than 90 degrees.
A crosscut is made across the grain of a workpiece with the blade set at 90 degrees and used to cut boards to their desired length.
Crosscuts can be made with a table saw using either a miter gauge or a table saw sled.
A miter gauge is an accessory consisting of a handle, a small fence, and a metal bar that fits in the miter gauge slot in the saw’s table top. The workpiece is positioned against the gauge, which guides the workpiece as it’s being cut.
A table saw sled is a jig that’s used to make crosscuts. It consists of a base with runners that fit in the miter gauge slots and an attached fence. The workpiece is positioned against the fence, which guides it as it’s being cut.
Table saw sleds are more accurate than miter gauges because they provide more support for the workpiece.
A miter cut is made across the grain of a workpiece with the blade set at an angle other than 90 degrees. It’s used to make cuts for molding, trim, and picture frames. Miter cuts can be made with a table saw using either a miter gauge or table saw sled.
Dados, Grooves, and Rabbets
Table saws may be outfitted with a dado blade which usually consists of a set of stacked blades that produce a wider blade. Dado blades are used to cut dados, grooves, and rabbets which create an area to join two pieces of wood.
- A dado is a cut made across the grain (across the width) of a workpiece.
- A groove is a cut made with the grain (along the length) of a workpiece.
- A rabbet is a cut made along the edge of a workpiece.
Table Saw Cutting Capacity
The maximum width that may be cut in one pass with a table saw is called the rip capacity. Many table saws have a ripping capacity of around 24 inches, meaning the maximum width you can cut in one pass is 24 inches.
Depth of Cut
The maximum thickness that can be cut in one pass with a table saw is known as the depth of cut. The cutting depth is the distance from the table top to the top of the blade. Many table saws have a cutting depth of around 3 to 4 inches, which means the maximum thickness that can be cut in a single pass is 3 to 4 inches.
What are the Pros and Cons of a Table Saw?
- Excels at making long, straight, precise rip cuts
- Has the ability to make crosscuts, dados, grooves, and rabbets
- Large surface can handle big pieces of wood such as plywood
What is a Circular Saw?
A circular saw, sometimes called a Skilsaw, is a portable power tool with a blade mounted above a base plate. The blade may be raised or lowered through a slot in the plate, which allows you to control the cutting depth. The blade may also be tilted to change the angle of the cut.
To use a circular saw, you’ll place the plate on top of the workpiece and stand behind the tool. Then you’ll push the saw across the material, guiding the blade along the line you wish to cut.
Circular saws are dangerous for several reasons. First, because the blade is exposed and cuts beneath the workpiece, you can’t always see what is in its path, and it can easily cut through your fingers if you’re not careful. Second, the blade can bind in the material, causing the saw to kick back, which can also cause serious injury.
For these reasons, it’s important to be careful when using a circular saw. Make sure you follow the manufacturer’s safety instructions, you’re using the proper blade for the material you’re cutting, and be very mindful of where your fingers are in relation to the blade.
The portability of a circular saw is its greatest advantage. Circular saws are small and lightweight, making them easy to transport from one job site to another. Additionally, a circular saw’s small size is perfect for making cuts in tight spaces or hard-to-reach places, where another saw would be difficult to maneuver.
What is a Circular Saw Used For?
A circular saw may be used to cut a variety of materials such as lumber, plywood, MDF, and even concrete and metal.
I recently used my circular saw to cut some concrete blocks for a wall I was repairing. I used a masonry blade designed for cutting concrete, and it sliced through those blocks like a hot knife through butter!
Types of Cuts
Circular saws can perform the same tasks as table saws, such as making rip cuts, crosscuts, miters, and bevels.
Additionally, circular saws may be used for making compound cuts which combine two angles, a miter and bevel cut. This can be done by tilting the blade to one side while making a miter cut.
A circular saw can also make long and steep angled cuts, such as roof rafters that would be difficult to cut with any other saw.
A unique feature of a circular saw is its ability to make plunge cuts. A plunge cut is where you start the saw above the workpiece and then pivot the spinning blade into the material. This can be useful for cutting holes in the middle of material such as plywood.
One of the drawbacks of a circular saw is that it does not cut as precisely as a table saw since it lacks a fence to guide it in a straight line. To improve the accuracy, you may use various straightedges, and you may even use a circular saw freehand.
The advantage of using a circular saw freehand is that you can make cuts almost anywhere, but they are not as accurate as those made with a straightedge.
To make a freehand cut, you first draw a cut line on the workpiece. Then, place the plate on top of the material and align the blade with the mark. Next, you must guide the saw along the cut line using hand-eye coordination.
Making freehand cuts can be difficult for beginners because it’s easy to lose control of the saw and have it veer off course. However, with practice, the cuts will get better, but they will never be as accurate as those made with a straightedge.
Using a circular saw with a straightedge is considerably easier and more accurate than making freehand cuts. A straightedge, depending on the situation, can be anything from a speed square to a circular saw guide or even a level or long board.
When working with a straightedge, such as a speed square, the square serves as a fence for the saw’s base plate. The plate is placed against the square, which guides the blade in a straight line.
You may also use accessories to make straight cuts with a circular saw, such as the Kreg Straight Edge Guide, Kreg Accu Cut, Kreg Rip Cut, or the Kreg Crosscut Station.
Types of Circular Saws
The most popular circular saw is the standard or sidewinder, which has a blade mounted on the side of the motor and blades ranging in diameter from 6-½ inches to 7-¼ inches.
The versatility of a standard circular saw makes it an excellent choice for cutting a range of materials, including plywood, construction lumber, and more. They’re also reasonably priced, making them ideal for beginners and those on a tight budget.
A worm drive circular saw’s motor is positioned at a right angle to the blade. This arrangement makes the saw more powerful than a standard saw but also makes it larger and heavier. Plus, worm drive saws are generally more expensive than standard saws.
A worm drive saw might be your best option if you’re a professional carpenter or a DIYer who does lots of heavy-duty cutting.
Compact or Miniature
A compact or miniature circular saw is a smaller and lighter version of a standard saw with blades ranging in diameter from 3-¼ to 4-¼ inches.
It’s ideal for cutting in tight spaces, working with small pieces of lumber, or making cuts that require more finesse than a full-size saw can provide. However, it has a smaller cutting capacity and is not powerful enough for some jobs, such as cutting through thicker lumber.
A track saw has a circular saw mounted on a rail or track, which serves as a guide for making straight cuts. Track saws are excellent for making long, rip cuts and crosscuts in plywood and other sheet goods.
A track saw is a great option for carpenters or woodworkers who frequently build with sheet goods or who are looking for an alternative to a table saw.
Choosing the Right Circular Saw
Now that you know the basics about circular saws, it’s time to choose the right one for your needs.
If you’re a beginner or working on a tight budget, then a standard circular saw is a good choice. If many of your jobs involve heavy-duty cutting, you might want to consider a worm drive saw. If you need a more compact saw for working in tight spaces or making precision cuts, then a compact saw might be the best option. And if you frequently need to cut long, straight lines in sheet goods, you might want to consider a track saw.
Whichever type you choose, there are several things to consider when purchasing a circular saw. For example, you’ll want to think about the blade size and whether you’ll need a corded or cordless model.
The size of your circular saw’s blade will determine the maximum cutting depth for your saw. The cutting depth is the distance between the tip of the blade and the bottom of the plate and determines how deep a cut you can make. The bigger the blade, the more deeply it can cut.
The blade size you’ll need depends on the thickness and type of material you’ll be cutting. A circular saw with a 6-½ to 7-¼-inch blade will be more than enough for most basic cutting tasks. Smaller blades, on the other hand, can cut thinner materials but lacks the capacity to cut through thicker materials.
Related: How to Change a Circular Saw Blade ( Blade Direction)
Corded or Cordless
Circular saws are available in both corded and cordless versions. Corded circular saws offer more power but require an electrical outlet, while cordless saws are more convenient but have less power.
If you’re going to be using your circular saw for heavy-duty tasks or making long cuts, then you’ll want to consider a corded saw. If you’re only going to be using it for occasional jobs or making shorter cuts, then a cordless saw might be sufficient.
What are the Pros and Cons of a Circular Saw?
- Lightweight, compact and portable
- Versatile tool that can make a variety of cuts
- Great for breaking down plywood and other sheet goods
- Relatively affordable
What’s the Difference Between a Table Saw and a Circular Saw?
Now that we have covered the basics of table saws and circular saws, it’s time to compare and contrast them.
One of the most significant differences between table saws and circular saws is portability. Table saws are much larger and heavier than circular saws, making them difficult to transport. On the other hand, circular saws are much more compact and lightweight, making them easy to carry with you wherever you go.
For example, I use a table saw in my workshop to cut plywood to its required size, whereas I use a circular saw in my driveway to break down plywood to a smaller size so I can bring it to my workshop.
Ease of Use
Table saws are ready to go right out of the box and generally are easier to use than circular saws.
This is because table saws have a rip fence, making it easier to make long, straight cuts. You can also make repeatable cuts with a rip fence, meaning you set the fence once and make identical cuts on multiple pieces of wood.
Circular saws, on the other hand, require you to guide them along the line you wish to cut. Using a circular saw freehand can be difficult and usually takes some practice and skill to get the hang of it. You can use an optional straightedge with a circular saw, making them easier to use.
Circular saws have a slight advantage over table saws when it comes to versatility.
Table saws are limited to making rip cuts, crosscuts, bevel, and miter cuts in materials such as wood and plywood.
Circular saws, on the other hand, can make all of those same cuts, plus they can make compound cuts and plunge cuts. In addition to wood and plywood, with the right blade, circular saws can also cut through metal, tile, brick, and concrete.
When it comes to precision, table saws are the clear winner. Thanks to their rip fence, table saws can make long, straight cuts with ease. Circular saws don’t have a rip fence, but you can use an optional straightedge or accessories to improve their accuracy.
Table saws can be very dangerous if they’re not used properly. Circular saws can also be dangerous, but they’re generally considered safer than table saws.
If you’re using either type of saw, it’s important that you read the instructions carefully and take the necessary safety precautions.
Table saws are larger than circular saws, and as a result, they generally cost more. You can usually find basic table saws for less than 200, whereas basic circular saws are usually less than 50.
Which is the Right Saw for You?
Now that you know the difference between table saws and circular saws, which one is the right choice for you?
Table saws are great for making long, straight cuts in wood and plywood. If you need to make a lot of identical cuts, table saws are also an excellent choice.
Circular saws are more versatile because they can make compound cuts, plunge cuts, and cut other materials such as metal and concrete that table saws can’t. Circular saws may be used either freehand or with optional accessories or a straightedge. However, table saws are generally more precise than circular saws.
That said, many times, you’ll want both a table saw, and a circular saw. It can be dangerous to cut full sheets, or large pieces of plywood on a table saw. I frequently use a circular saw to break down plywood into more manageable-sized pieces and then cut those pieces to the required size with my table saw.
When it comes to safety, table saws can be very dangerous if they’re not used properly. Circular saws can also be dangerous, but they’re generally considered safer than table saws.
If you’re just starting out, or if you’re on a budget, a circular saw is a great choice. If you have the money and the space, though, a table saw is worth the investment. Either way, it’s important to consider the projects you want to accomplish and choose the saw that’s best for your needs.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which is better a circular saw or a table saw?
There is no definitive answer to this question because it depends on your needs. Table saws are heavy and typically used in a workshop, while circular saws are more portable.
Table saws and circular saws both make rip cuts, crosscuts, bevel cuts, and miter cuts, but if you need to make a lot of identical cuts, a table saw is an excellent choice.
Circular saws are more versatile because they can make compound cuts, plunge cuts, and cut other materials such as metal and concrete that table saws can’t.
So which is better depends on if you need a tool that is portable or not, the type of cuts you need to make, and the type of material you need to cut.
Can I use a circular saw as a table saw?
A circular saw can be used for the same tasks as a table saw, but it lacks a fence. A table saw’s fence guides the material being cut, providing greater precision than a circular saw. However, you can use a straightedge or accessories with your circular saw to help improve its accuracy.
Do you need a circular saw and a table saw?
You might need both table saw and circular saw. For example, it can be dangerous to cut larger pieces of plywood or full sheets on a table saw so you can use a circular saw to break them down into more manageable sizes. Then you can use the table saw for making more precise cuts.
Another reason you might want both is that a circular saw is more portable than a table saw so it can be used for tasks where you need to take the saw to the material, such working on a project in the backyard.
As you can see, table saws and circular saws both have their own unique set of features that make them each ideal for different tasks. When choosing which saw to buy, it’s important to consider what types of cuts you’ll need to make and what materials you’ll be cutting.
A circular saw is a great option if you’re just getting started or on a budget. If you have the space, a table saw is worth the investment, and for certain tasks, you may find that you’ll want both saws.
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The 10 best table saws for every skill level, no matter your project
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- Best overall
- Best heavy-duty
- Best portable
- Best budget
- Best hybrid
- Best cordless
- Best jobsite
- Best mini
- Best for DIYers
- Best for contractors
- What to look for in table saws
- How we selected table saws
- Table saw FAQs
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Whether you’re an occasional DIY-er or a professional craftsperson, a reliable table saw is an essential piece in your tool collection — just like a good cordless drill or sturdy ladder. The best table saw is one that’s both efficient and accurate. In short, it should allow you to rip and crosscut boards and sheets to your precise measurements in just a few seconds.
Table saws typically use a circular saw blade that rises from the bottom of the table, which remains stationary while you run your wood piece through it. This exposed blade makes these machines extremely dangerous, so you’ll want to look for safety features along with efficiency when choosing a table saw.
I’ve worked as both a residential and commercial carpenter. Our top 10 picks of the best table saws are based on my experience using a range of table saws, along with input from three experts: Nick Yahoodain, the owner of Advanced Builders and Contractors, Simon Dauphinee, a professional contractor and owner of Made By Hand, and Dan Aikins, carpenter and owner of Katy Roofing Co.
Our top picks for the best table saws
Best overall: DeWALT 10-Inch 15-Amp DWE7491RS Table Saw. See at AmazonThe DeWALT 15-Amp DWE7491RS combines portability and power in a rugged, easy-to-use package, and its extendable fence can fit large boards and sheets.
Best heavy-duty: SawStop Industrial Cabinet Saw. See at AmazonThe large size and impressive SawStop Industrial Cabinet Saw safety feature make this saw an ideal option for busy woodworkers, and the rugged construction ensures that it can withstand heavy use.
Best portable: DeWALT DWE7485 Compact Jobsite Table Saw. See at AmazonDespite its small size and benchtop design, the DeWALT DWE7485 still has many bells and whistles found on larger saws and, at 53 pounds, is light enough to transport.
Best budget: Worx WX572L BladeRunner Portable Table Saw. See at AmazonIf you don’t have the budget for higher-end options, the Worx WX572L BladeRunner could be a suitable substitute. It has a wide blade selection and small frame for easy transport.
Best hybrid: Shop Fox W1837 Open-Stand Hybrid Table Saw. See at AmazonIf you’re looking for a freestanding cabinet-style table saw but still want some maneuverability, the Shop Fox W1837, and its rolling castors could be exactly what you’re looking for.
Best cordless: Milwaukee M18 Fuel 18-Volt Table Saw Kit. See at Acme ToolsThe Milwaukee M18 Fuel 18-Volt Table Saw Kit is just as powerful as similar corded models, allowing you to perform a wide range of cuts from anywhere.
Best jobsite: SawStop 15 Amp 120-Volt 60 Hz Jobsite Saw. See at AmazonThanks to its blade-braking safety mechanism and 15-amp motor, the SawStop 15 Amp 120-Volt 60 Hz Jobsite Saw brings maximum safety and productivity to your jobsite.
Best mini: MicroLux Mini Tilt Arbor Table Saw. See at AmazonThe MicroLux Mini Tilt Arbor Table Saw packs the convenience and accuracy of a table saw into a tiny tabletop model, making this option great for hobbyists and crafters.
Best for DIYers: Grizzly Industrial 2 HP. See at AmazonThe Grizzly Industrial 2 HP combines the power and functionality of a contractor-grade table saw into a smaller, more manageable package.
Best for contractors: Skilsaw 10 Inch Heavy Duty Worm Drive Table Saw. See at AmazonThe extra large wheels and powerful motor of the Skilsaw 10 Inch Heavy Duty Worm Drive Table Saw strike the perfect balance between portability and performance.
Best overall: DeWALT 10-Inch 15-Amp DWE7491RS Table Saw
Pros: Includes push stick, integrated dust collection system
I’m a huge fan of this saw, which I used frequently during my time as a residential and commercial carpenter. Yahoodian and Aikins also love this DeWALT model, as it’s light enough to transport relatively easily but still heavy enough to provide the sturdy work surface you need when ripping even oversized boards.
Dauphinee says it’s been his go-to saw for years. “I have used equivalent models by Bosch, Hitachi, and Makita, and I think this table saw is by far the best,” Dauphinee says. The onboard storage features make the DeWALT 15-Amp DWE7491RS even more convenient, as it has specific compartments for storing the power cord, push stick, blade guard, wrenches, and miter gauge. I’ve found that when you have safety items like push sticks close at hand, instead of in a drawer somewhere, you’re much more likely to use them.
Even though the DeWALT DWE7491RS is relatively compact, you can adjust its fence to accommodate 32.5 inches to the right of the blade. A rack and pinion system makes it simple to manipulate the fence and lock it securely in place at your preferred measurement. You can even flip the fence to the opposite side. A collapsible frame makes it easy to store the DWE7491RS when not in use, and the wheeled base lets you roll it dolly-style around your shop. Dauphinee says the stand holds up well over time. “My current unit is still sturdy after hundreds of setups and breakdowns over the last 5 years I’ve owned it,” Dauphinee says.
Best heavy-duty: SawStop Industrial Cabinet Saw
Pros: Blade stops in contact with skin, comprehensive dust collection
Cons: Very expensive, may be too bulky for a smaller garage or shop
I’m a big fan of how the design of the SawStop Industrial Cabinet Saw prioritizes dust collection, which is especially important for larger saws that will likely handle large quantities of lumber. It advertises 99% dust collection, utilizing shrouding both above and below the table systems to ensure you’ll have as little cleanup as possible. However, the most important part of this saw is its SawStop safety feature. Yahoodian stresses the value of this feature, which stops the blade immediately — within five milliseconds — if it comes in contact with skin and then drops the blade below the table. This won’t totally prevent any injuries, but it will reduce the risk of a catastrophic injury.
The cast-iron table makes this saw rugged enough to stand up to frequent use in a busy workshop. Designed with maximum precision in mind, it ensures a flat surface within 0.01-inches. This construction adds to its hefty weight, so you’ll probably need an extra set of hands to help you out. Thanks to a foot pump that raises the saw onto four wheels, you can wheel it around your shop. This makes it a convenient option if you might need to move it out of the way quickly to get more space.
All these features add up, and the hefty price tag makes the SawStop best suited to those who will get a lot of use out of it. Dauphinee hasn’t used this saw specifically, but he did say it has a great price for a stationary shop table saw.
All these features add up, and the price makes the SawStop best suited to those who will get a lot of use out of it.
Best portable: DeWALT DWE7485 Compact Jobsite Table Saw
Pros: Sturdy construction, good value for the price
Cons: Does not have a wheeled base
If you plan on transporting your saw frequently or want the option to store it away when not using it, the DeWALT DWE7485 comes recommended by Dauphinee. He says it’s a great tool even though it’s smaller than our pick for best overall table saw. The DeWALT DWE7485 is powerful enough to rip through plywood, thanks to its 5800 RPM speed and 15-amp motor. Plus, it comes with a push stick, wrenches for blade changes, and a miter gauge.
Though it’s light enough for one person to carry, it’s still heavy enough to remain stable on your work surface. Its rubber feet help make it even more sturdy and can also prevent any dangerous sliding or slipping on your work surface. Its size also makes it convenient to store or put in your trunk. Thanks to its rack and pinion fence, you can expand its smaller surface area to fit 24.5 inches to the right of the fence. Its metal roll cage also acts as a handle, making it possible to carry the saw with one hand.
I always try to prioritize safety when making my tool choices, which is why I love the power-loss reset switch on this saw. This invaluable safety feature prevents the machine from automatically restarting if you temporarily lose power. Automatic restarts can be extremely dangerous, and I’ve had several close calls when working with older power tools that don’t have this mechanism. The transparent guard that fits over the blade also increases the safety of this tool and reduces the chances of potential injury.
Best budget: Worx WX572L BladeRunner Portable Table Saw
Pros: Blade replacement is much cheaper than circular saw models
Cons: Relatively short blade not ideal for thicker boards, not durable enough for everyday use
Even though this saw uses a jigsaw blade instead of a circular one, it can still perform the same cutting functions. It’s an affordable option if you need to make rip or cross-cuts. It can even make miter cuts from 0 to 60°. My favorite feature is its two mounting holes, one on either side, which allow you to bolt the saw down to your workbench. If you decide to keep it mobile, the rubber non-slip feet should provide a nice, sturdy foundation while you cut.
The jigsaw blade is appropriate for projects like intricate woodworking cuts and scroll sawing. It comes with five different saw blades that you can switch out without a tool, unlike circular saw blades that usually require a wrench to remove or install. You can use the saw with aluminum, tile, and steel in addition to wood.
While the smaller blade and limited work surface mean this saw probably won’t work efficiently or quickly enough if you need to rip long boards, it will probably do the trick for smaller tasks. The blade also gives the Worx a small frame and weight, making it great if you struggle with heavier tools. Plus, despite its budget price, this saw still has a 1.25-inch dust collection port. You can connect a shop vac hose directly to the saw, minimizing the amount of sawdust you need to clean up afterward. Less dust increases visibility, which should lead to more accurate cuts.
Best hybrid: Shop Fox W1837 Open-Stand Hybrid Table Saw
Pros: Heavy-duty riving knife, four-inch dust port
Cons: Expensive, takes time to assemble
Hybrid table saws provide the stability and durability found on cabinet saws, but they tend to be more compact and easier to move around your workshop. The mobile base of the Shop Fox W1837 makes it fairly simple to move, making it a good option if you don’t have a lot of room in your shop. Just push down on the foot levers, and two castors lower to the ground. It’s also small enough to move around without too much effort.
The design of the transparent blade guard allows you to maintain a full view of the blade and the material you’re cutting. This guard increases overall cutting safety without sacrificing much in terms of visibility, and it also cuts down on flying wood chips and other debris.
The oversized on/off paddle switch of the Shop Fox W1837 will also come in handy for emergency shut-offs. Plus, anti-kickback pawls help make sure whatever you’re running through the blade only travels in one direction — in the event of kickback, they’ll slow down or stop the workpiece. This saw is also relatively compact for a cabinet model.
Best cordless: Milwaukee M18 Fuel 18-Volt Table Saw Kit
Pros: Comparable power output to corded saws, can lock it out with mobile app, includes Rapid charger, five-year warranty
Cons: Limited running time, very expensive
If you don’t want to rely on having outlet access at your jobsite or just don’t feel like hassling with an extension cord, the Milwaukee M18 Fuel 18-Volt cordless table saw could be just what you need. With the included 12 Ah battery, this saw — which has as much power as a 15 amp corded saw — can cut 600 feet per charge. The all-metal frame is rugged enough to handle tough jobsite environments, and the included stand allows you to set up practically anywhere.
It also offers bluetooth connectivity, a feature not typically found on power tools. When combined with a mobile app, this connectivity allows you to monitor the saw’s use, send an alert if it leaves the area, and even lock out the saw remotely. This safety feature could be extremely useful on jobsites that may have young children running around.
Of course, the limited runtime of a cordless tool may not be the most practical option for longer, all-day projects. But if you already have a Milwaukee M18 Fuel tool collection on hand, you could use those extra batteries to extend the runtime.
Best jobsite: SawStop 15 Amp 120-Volt 60 Hz Jobsite Saw Pro with Mobile Cart Assembly
Pros: Wheeled cart collapses for easy storage, multiple safety features
Cons: Expensive, relatively heavy
Safety is especially important on a busy jobsite, where other workers, extension cords, and other equipment can all increase the chances of injury. This jobsite saw combines the convenience of a portable saw with the invaluable safety benefit of SawStop’s blade-braking technology: The blade will immediately stop if it comes in contact with skin.
Additionally, the saw is designed for easy use, and you can raise and lower the blade with a single turn of the handwheel. Plus, thanks to the dust collection blade guard, you’ll always have a clean, unobstructed view of your workpiece. The wheeled stand allows you to quickly transport the saw around your jobsite and use it without access to a work surface. You can collapse the stand when not in use, and it tips forward so you can store the saw vertically.
Though the saw doesn’t come cheap, its safety features could help prevent an expensive emergency room visit and lost income — which may make it worth the investment.
Best mini: MicroLux Mini Tilt Arbor Table Saw
Pros: Variable speed blade, compact size, can use with plastic and metal
Cons: Not useful for large wood pieces, limited cut depth
The small work surface of the MicroLux Mini Tilt Arbor Table Saw isn’t practical for large projects, like those that might require a cabinet table saw. But it’s the perfect size for working with smaller pieces that require a more precise, focused touch. This saw weighs just 11 pounds and has a 1.5 x 14 inch footprint, which makes it extremely convenient to transport and store.
Despite the small size, the MicroLux comes with many of the bells and whistles found on full-size models. It features a tilting arbor for cuts up to 45 degrees, a table extension, and a variable-speed blade you can use to cut metal and plastic as well as wood. This functionality makes it a perfect tool if you work with craft projects that involve multiple material types. The included 80–tooth blade is also versatile enough that you can use it with lighter woods like balsa as well as traditional hardwoods up to an inch thick.
Best for DIYers: Grizzly Industrial 2 HP
Pros: Large dust port, removable start key for safety, quick-release blade guard
Cons: Somewhat expensive
The straightforward operation and high-quality construction of this Grizzly table saw make it a great choice for DIYers who want to dive into larger-scale woodworking projects. Plus, unlike the heavier duty, contractor-style table saws, it’s still light enough that you can move it around your workspace without much hassle.
A 2 HP motor makes this saw powerful enough to easily rip through sheets and create smooth, accurate dadoes. It also features a micro-adjustable fence system that allows for extremely precise cuts, and the fence’s T-shaped design can accept a variety of jigs and other useful accessories.
How to Choose the Right Circular Saw Blade
The 4-inch dust port also helps cut down on post-project cleanup — a real time-saver if your workshop contains other equipment you don’t want covered in sawdust. The Grizzly is also designed with durability in mind, and the cast iron table and trunnions ensure it can easily withstand the regular wear and tear of a typical workshop.
Best for contractors: Skilsaw 10 Inch Heavy Duty Worm Drive Table Saw
Pros: Powerful motor, can support 150 pounds, 16-inch wheels for easy transport
Cons: Heavy, bulky size may not be convenient for smaller areas
With a heavy-duty stand that doubles as a rolling cart, this Skil table saw provides the stability and mobility that contractors need to perform accurate cuts from anywhere. Thanks to 16-inch wheels, you’ll have no problem maneuvering the saw up and down stairs and over curbs, and the rubber feet help keep it from slipping or sliding around while you operate it. These huge wheels also allow you to push the entire unit into a truck bed without having to dismount the saw.
The powerful worm-drive power train provides an impressive amount of torque to help you perform even heavy-duty cutting tasks with ease. Plus, the rack and pinion design helps you easily make quick fence adjustments. Plus, the saw’s 3 ⅝-inch maximum cut depth prepares you for a wide range of cutting tasks. As a contractor, you’ll likely also appreciate the 2 ¼-inch dust port elbow, especially if you frequently work in finished or client-occupied spaces.
What to look for in table saws
Type: The best table saw for your needs will likely depend on your project as well as the space you have.
- Benchtop: The smallest type of table saw, these are designed to rest on top of a workbench.
- Contractor: These saws have a wheeled stand you can easily move around a jobsite. They’re larger than benchtop models but still compact enough to transport in a vehicle.
- Cabinet: These heavy, stationary table saws have powerful motors and a lot of table space. Thus, they require a significant amount of floor space.
- Hybrid: These saws look similar to cabinet models, but they’re typically smaller, lighter, and less powerful. Some have rolling casters that allow you to roll them around your workspace.
Motor: Table saws can have two different types of motors, direct drive or belt drive. Direct drive motors connect directly to the saw blade and are more efficient than belt-drive motors. They’re generally found on smaller, lighter saws like benchtop and contractor saws. Belt-drive motors use a V-belt to transfer energy from the motor to the blade, and their increased power makes them common in larger saws like cabinet and hybrid models.
Basic components: Although all table saws use roughly the same design, understanding their basic components can help you choose the best table saw for your project. The table and the blade of your table saw indicate the size of the workpiece you can cut effectively and the depth of the cuts you can make. Essentially, the larger the table, the more surface area you’ll have to support your workpiece, and the larger the blade, the thicker material you can cut. Most table saws use a 10-inch blade, while smaller models can use 8.25 inch blades. The number of teeth on the blade will also indicate the type of cut it’s best suited for, with more teeth meaning smoother cuts. Most table saws should feature a blade cover for safety and dust collection.
The rip fence, miter gauge, and bevel gauge allow you to accurately create a variety of cut types. The fence is a long moveable guide you can lock into place at precise distances from the blade, providing a stationary wall to set your workpiece against as you cut. A miter gauge allows you to create clean, accurate miter cuts — cuts angled across the width of a board — and a bevel gauge allows you to tilt the blade itself to a specific angle for bevel cuts.
Safety: As someone who’s seen the effects of table saw injuries firsthand, I’m always looking for additional safety features or design elements that reduce chances of injury during operation. The best table saws will include features like blade covers, automatic shut-off switches, a dedicated sawstop mechanism, and riving knives that reduce kickback injuries.
Power: The more power a table saw has, the easier job the motor will have cutting through your material. Thus, table saws with greater horsepower (HP) require less effort from you and result in a smoother, cleaner cut. While lower HP models (¾ to 1 ½ HP) are fine for lighter-duty tasks, you’ll want more power if you plan on using your saw for everyday use or need to work with dense wood. It’s worth noting that some saws will provide their power specs in amps instead of horsepower, which can make it challenging to compare different models.
Weight: Although all table saws are fairly heavy, some are lighter than others. When choosing the best table saw for your needs, you’ll want to check the weight to make sure you can move and transport it safely. If you’re purchasing a stationary cabinet saw, weight is less of an issue.
Rip capacity: Table saws are perfect for making rip cuts, and rip capacity indicates how far the fence can extend from the blade. This number will tell you the width of wood the saw can cut effectively. If you plan on cutting especially large items, like full plywood sheets, make sure to choose a saw with a rip capacity of at least 24 inches.
Size: It’s important to make sure your table saw will fit in your garage or workshop, so you’ll want to double-check its precise measurements before making your purchase. Even if you’re getting a smaller benchtop model, it’s still best to measure your work area first so you know it will fit. Taking a few extra minutes ahead of time can save you a big headache down the road.
Dust collection: Table saws can generate a lot of dust, and a good dust-collection system can help ensure your workspace stays clean and minimize cleanup time at the end of the day. Many of the best table saws feature a dust port you can connect to your shop vac or other dust-collection system. Just make sure the diameter of the dust port is compatible with your equipment.
How we selected the best table saws
As a residential and commercial carpenter, I’ve used a wide variety of table saws. That includes massive, standalone 10-foot models in a woodshop and portable versions that can travel to and from job sites. I kept this experience in mind when choosing the best table saws. I also also reached out to three experts to add even more professional insight.
Nick Yahoodain is the owner of Advanced Builders and Contractors, a professional home remodeling company in Los Angeles and has been in business for nearly 16 years. His expertise helped us better understand the different types of projects table saws are used for.
Simon Dauphinee, professional contractor and owner of Made By Hand, shared his experience with a wide range of table saw types and sizes and helped explain their specific features.
Dan Aikins is a carpenter and owner of Katy Roofing Co, a site connecting local customers to a local roofing pro. His professional background provided valuable insight into the types of table saw cuts and their effect on different materials.
Table saw FAQs
What is a table saw best for?
Table saws work best for performing “rip cuts” or long cuts along the grain of a wood piece. Their large platform keeps the wood supported as you work, which, when combined with the adjustable fence, allows you to make accurate cuts. They also do a great job making crosscuts (cuts across the grain), which covers a wide range of carpentry and woodworking projects.
What is a good table saw for beginners?
If you’ve never used a table saw before, you probably want to use a contractor saw. They provide the stability needed to maintain proper control while you work but don’t require the space or financial commitments of larger options. The best table saw for first-timers will also come with safety accessories like push sticks. Regardless of which saw you choose, it’s essential to keep in mind that all table saws are extremely dangerous machines. It’s always a good idea to consult someone with experience to walk you through the basics instead of diving right in on your own.
How many teeth are best for a table saw blade?
According to Dauphinee, the ideal TPI (teeth per inch) of a saw blade really depends on the application. “If you’re working with finished sheet goods, then the more teeth per blade the better. However, if you’re on site and need to rip framing lumber, fewer teeth are best.” he says. If you try to rip rough lumber with a high TPI blade, you’ll either stress the saw’s motor, burn the wood, or dull the blade, Dauphinee says. Aikins says that for a 10-inch blade, 40T or fewer works best for general purpose rough cuts, while 50T-60T “combination” blades make good middle-of-the-road blades for a broad range of cutting, and 80T or higher work best for cross-cutting hardwoods and sheet goods like plywood and melamine.
What saw blade makes the smoothest cut?
Generally speaking, a higher TPI blade will produce smoother cuts, although Dauphinee says that the material you’re cutting is also a factor. “A high TPI blade for plywood, when used on melamine, won’t produce the same results as a high TPI blade designed for that material,” he says.
How long should a table saw blade last?
The lifespan of a table saw blade depends on several factors, including how much you use it, the type of material you cut with it, and how well you maintain it, according to Aikins. He says that in a home garage or workshop, a blade should last at least one to two years before you need to sharpen or replace it.
What should you never cut on a table saw?
Table saws are primarily used for wood products, and while you can use them to cut metal with an appropriate blade, Aikins says that they’re not meant for brittle materials like stone, tile, or glass. Dauphinee says you should never cut cement boards, since they produce dust that’s both highly detrimental to the saw’s interior components and a pain to clean up.
How do you safely use a table saw?
A table saw’s design makes it one of the more dangerous woodworking machines you can use, and you’ll always want to treat the exposed blade with the utmost respect. Take care to pay attention to your surroundings, since slips and falls while cutting are a common cause of table saw injuries. Make sure to research push blocks and push sticks, as these safety tools can help keep your fingers away from the blade as you push wood through the saw. For added safety, also consider saws with auto-shutoff features that turn the tool off in the event of a power outage. If you’ve never used a table saw before, you may want to start by having an experienced friend walk you through best practices or watching tutorial videos on YouTube.
Find the perfect table saw for your projects, skill level, and budget with our Smart shopping guide.
By Glenda Taylor and Bob Beacham and Mark Clement | Updated Apr 11, 2023 11:06 AM
We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs.
Table saws top the wish lists of both DIYers and seasoned woodworkers. These powerful saws cut with more accuracy than circular saws, and they can cut larger pieces of material, including wood, plastic, and aluminum sheeting, better than miter saws. Some cut certain types of material better than others, so we put some of the best table saws through side-by-side, hands-on testing.
Essentially, a table saw’s main function is to perform rips, or cuts along the length of a board. While users can make rip cuts (lengthwise cuts), crosscuts, and angled cuts, and can even create a bevel cut along with dadoes, ripping remains this power tool’s primary purpose.
Whether it’s building bookcases, framing a garage, or even making the trim for a feature wall, having a table saw in the workshop can speed the project along. In this guide, we list some of the best table saws on the market based on our hands-on tests and explain what makes this type of saw useful in any workshop.
- BEST OVERALL:Skil 15 Amp 10-Inch Jobsite Table Saw
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK:Ryobi 18-Volt One HP Brushless 8.25-Inch Table Saw
- UPGRADE PICK:Bosch 10-Inch Worksite Table Saw
- BEST WOODWORKING:Sawstop JSS Pro Jobsite Table Saw
- BEST JOBSITE:DeWALT DWE7491RS 10-Inch Jobsite Table Saw
- BEST HOME WORKSHOP:Ridgid Pro 10-Inch Jobsite Table Saw With Stand
- BEST COMPACT:Skil 8.25-inch Portable Worm Drive Table Saw
How We Tested the Best Table Saws
The writing team that prepared this guide includes a former woodshop owner and a general contractor—both of us have extensive experience using table saws of different sizes. We understand what users are looking for and how various models meet their needs.
Aside from tapping into our professional experience, we also researched the saws on the market and were aware of the latest developments ahead of testing. We took into consideration everything from safety to production to mobility (around the shop or jobsite or in and out of the truck). Among our chief considerations:
- Capacities. While depth of cut is important, most table saws are 10-inch models and specifications are very similar. While their primary function in home workshops and on jobsites is ripping dimensional lumber—which doesn’t require a huge rip capacity—ripping capacity varies tremendously and is a key feature for those who cut large sheet material. We were careful to source solutions for all types of users.
- Size and portability. For many users, a compact, portable table saw is the ideal solution. For others, physical size is less important than capacity and stability. Our comprehensive selection includes saws that are great for those who work with these tools on-site or in small spaces at home as well as those who have a large workshop available.
- Brand and value. We avoid cheap table saws, which are often poor in terms of durability and reliability. While buying from the leading table saw brands can mean you pay a little more, this almost always results in better long-term value.
Regarding testing, we evaluated each saw on our list for power and vibration and even the included blades, plowing through pressure-treated southern yellow pine that had been left to dry out and harden for a month. We ran 1×8 material and looked for both smoothness and dust management (without a dust collection system) using cellular PVC deck boards. We also evaluated the included stands, switches, and adjustments and considered the overall feel using the tool for everything from weekend work around the house to building a deck or shed to a months-long setup for remodeling a house.
We followed up with updates to our initial tests, running 2-by pressure-treated lumber, 1×8 finger-jointed primed pine, plywood, and composite decking through each saw looking for everything from power and vibration to dust ejection and vibration. We evaluated adjustments, switches, and fence smoothness along the rails. We also considered mobility and storage.
Our Top Picks
There is an enormous breadth of table-saw users, needs, and requirements. Taking as much into account across this spectrum was not easy while evaluating the field of table saws during our hands-on testing. However, we have to land somewhere. It should be noted up front that each tool in this review delivered on its design promise.
Skil 15 Amp 10-Inch Jobsite Table Saw
The built-in foldout legs of the stand are light, stable, and easy to deploy. The saw is light yet powerful enough to blow through framing lumber like a boss. Its included blade leaves a lot to be desired, but that’s an easy swap. The fence was parallel to the blade out of the box, and carrying it to jobsites or moving it around the shop is a cinch. We loved that it stores in a cube when not in use.
The push-button switch takes some getting used to, and we wish the throat plate was steel, not plastic, but for making a few rips at home to plowing through treated lumber building a deck, the saw is on point with everything from power to mobility to accuracy.
This model’s dust port elbow should be on every table saw: With a 22.5-degree bend, it enables the user to chute dust into a box or bucket. It’s a simple, Smart, and an eminently useful feature.
- Table saw folds into a compact cube and is very easy to transport
- Still powerful for what looks like a small and light unit
- Easily handles the vast majority of professional and DIY projects
- Plastic throat plate is less durable than it could be if it were metal
- Included blade is rough, although this is easy to replace (but is an added cost)
Get the Skil table saw at Lowe’s, Acme Tools, or Grainger.
Ryobi 18-Volt One HP Brushless 8.25-Inch Table Saw
The battery on this affordable table saw is fine for light work. The fence was square and parallel out of the box. It’s hardly plush, but it works. The saw is light and portable and has a decent amount of power. It’s not a beast, and that’s an attribute.
Some pros might even find its bare-bones setup and low cost just what they need. It handled 1x8s and composite decking just fine in terms of power. But it did have trouble ejecting the shavings. Having a blower on hand would be an added help. There’s no huge stand, but it does need to be set up at table height for best and safest use.
- Cordless unit; doesn’t need to be near a power socket
- Light and small; great for beginners and for occasional use
- This table saw is powerful enough to handle most DIY projects
- Light-duty saw, primarily DIY; not intended for heavy-duty professional use
- Stand not included; users will need to set this up at table height somewhere
Get the Ryobi table saw at The Home Depot.
Bosch 10-Inch Worksite Table Saw
A little-known fact is that the Bosch 10-inch worksite table saw is a pioneering table saw. Bosch has been making a version of this saw with very few visible changes (it’s that good) for 20 years. It was this saw that took table saws from being small, mainly featureless tools to being a solid, stable, on-site tool with wheels.
The fence is outstanding with the smoothest glide along the rails, which we found to be a real pleasure to use. The paddle switch is excellent and the included blade is nice. It has a soft—but not too soft—start that makes the saw comfortable for close-quarters use in a garage or jobsite shop where a million cuts per day need to be made.
The stand is solid, and the crank cadence to lower and raise the blade is nice. It rampages through 2-by treated lumber with a dust ejection that’s awesome. It has the best miter gauge in the bunch, the best push-stick storage ever, and an excellent thin stock auxiliary fence.
Like all of the tools in the category, this saw is heavy. Yes, it has a wheel kit, but it’s a two-person job to lift it into a truck.
- This table saw has high-quality construction; manufacturer is a reputable brand
- Best-in-class stand; sturdy and highly portable with large and durable wheels
- Competitive capacities; easily handles treated lumber with impressive dust ejection
- Additional features bring this particular model up to a more premium price
- While this table saw includes a stand, the stand itself requires initial assembly
Sawstop JSS Pro Jobsite Table Saw
Designed by woodworkers and based on the cabinet saw that brought flesh-sensing technology to the market, the Sawstop JSS Pro jobsite table saw is for dedicated users who want premium finishes and work primarily with dry lumber. The fence is best in class. Its deployable “thin material” fence is a genius feature that serious woodworkers will love.
Its folding cart works nicely, and the in-table storage is terrific. The blade depth adjustment moves the blade from zero to full height in one turn, which is another best-in-class feature. And the flesh-sensing tech is both comforting and causes one to be rife with anxiety; it picks up on electrical impulses and will save your finger if it’s ever near enough to the blade to be cut.
While there is a bypass mode to check if the sensors will react to wet lumber, it’s tricky to press the right series of buttons. Still, it’s a great saw to have on a trim site or for garage woodworking projects. It does what stationary table saws do, but it is mobile-ish and safe.
- The Sawstop JSS Pro has high-quality construction and delivers astounding quality
- Flesh-sensing technology helps add peace of mind and prevents accidents
- This table saw’s blade-depth adjustment features a smooth and impressive operation
- Premium price; this is likely more suited to those who will use it frequently
- Heavy, despite being on wheels, so lifting on and off trucks is more difficult
Beginner Woodworker Tips on Buying the Right Saw Blades
DeWALT DWE7491RS 10-Inch Jobsite Table Saw
With front legs splayed when open toward the front of the saw, the DeWALT DWE7491RS is ideal for making long rips in heavy material. It is by far the most stable tool in the bunch.
The legs lock and unlock smoothly, though they are not identical to each other, which takes some getting used to. The table was flat out of the box and the blade was parallel to the fence from the start. The DeWALT-pioneered rack-and-pinion fence works really well.
It has an excellent included “rough carpentry” 24-tooth saw blade. The unit has a nice switch and a little bit of a slower blade height crank than other tools, and it was tight to the bevel release. Overall, it’s a high-quality saw at a very good price.
- Sturdy, angled legs help keep this table saw super stable
- The blade that comes included with this table is great quality
- All in, this table saw is an excellent value compared to similar options
Ridgid Pro 10-Inch Jobsite Table Saw With Stand
This table saw from Ridgid does all the basics well. It’s got a large cut capacity, collapsible wheel kit, and good power and dust ejection. A 3.5-inch cut capacity means 4x4s can be cut in half. It’s a lot of saw for a great price.
However, the fit and finish were not top of the class. The fence is gummy and the table needed to be adjusted out of the box (it was easy to adjust and worked fine). It didn’t glide smoothly along the rails, and a fence that’s hard to move or needs adjustment is difficult for professional users.
It also has a soft start, which new table saw users may appreciate. The problem for us was—and this may well be subjective—it was too soft. It felt like we had to wait a couple of seconds for the blade to come up to speed. It’s certainly comfortable, but for experienced users putting a lot of lumber through a table saw, those extra seconds add up fast.
For weekend work and projects, this is plenty of saw.
- A capable saw for very little investment; ideal for home DIY projects
- Detachable stand included offers added versatility depending on home setups
- This table saw’s soft start can be a welcome feature for beginners
Get the Ridgid table saw at The Home Depot or DK Hardware.
Skil 8.25-Inch Portable Worm Drive Table Saw
This table saw from Skil, scaled down from its 10-inch cousin, is a pleasure to use. The 8.25-inch platform cuts the vast majority of things table saws cut. The worm drive motor, which is plush to be sure but also a bit heavy, isn’t bad in this smaller platform tool. The saw is compact, easy to move, and is so pleasantly quiet at start-up that it’s a joy to use.
Combined with an outstanding fence and fantastic up-front locking mechanism, this saw can move from site to site, around the garage, or to a stationary place for long projects and deliver dependable performance.
While the saw did not ship with a stand, the roll cage is bored for a stand (which will make it heavier) and is available. The compact design is also great for storing the saw on a work truck.
- Smooth power makes this table saw a true pleasure to use
- Portable, compact, and easy to move; stores well on a work truck
- Has a fantastic cord and fence, with excellent up-front locking mechanism
What to Consider When Choosing a Table Saw
Table saws run the gamut in quality and price, so consider the guidance below when shopping for the best table saws.
Types of Table Saws
While all table saws function in a similar manner—a flat tabletop surface supports the material being cut as you manually feed it into the saw blade—they differ in design, power, best use, mobility, and storage.
Designed to be bolted to a workbench or attached to a stand, a benchtop table saw is compact and relatively lightweight, averaging 45 to 60 pounds (not including some stands). While some benchtop table saws have the cut capacity for cutting sheet goods, they are not really designed for this without modifications like infeed/outfeed support tables, usually shop built.
It’s possible to cut sheet material from time to time alone (better if there is a helper), but these saws are generally considered too compact and not quite stable enough for ripping something like ¾-inch medium-density fiberboard (MDF); sheet materials, such as plywood and oriented strand board (OSB); or plastic and aluminum paneling. For planks, deck boards, 2-by material, and the like, these tools are often indispensable.
Benchtop saws, which can cost 600 or more, are more affordable than larger contractor or cabinet table saws. But since they’re the smallest type of table saw, these tools are limited by the width of the material they can cut—usually about 18 to 20 inches (see “Rip Capacity” below).
A contractor table saw is designed to be somewhat mobile in a shop setting by utilizing a wheel kit. While some contractors use these types of saws on jobsites, the tools are often set up in a workshop for months on end. These jobsite table saws are also good for serious DIYers who have a semipermanent place for them and are doing a variety of tasks that require cast-iron stability and more horsepower than a benchtop saw.
They’re heavier than bench saws (90 to 150 pounds) and are generally capable of cutting sheet material up to 24 inches wide or wider. These tools can run as much as 1,500 or more, depending on quality and power.
Packing more power than other table saws and sometimes requiring a 220-volt (V) circuit, cabinet saws are large stationary table saws. These are the priciest option, ranging from 1,200 to 5,000 or more, depending on power and quality. The motor is fully enclosed in a cabinet below the table.
Cabinet saw users also often build support tables for these tools—called infeed and outfeed support—to make it easier to manage sheet goods like MDF, plywood, and heavier material. Often found in professional or industrial workshops and in trade schools, these heavy saws can weigh more than 600 pounds.
The hybrid table saw is a combination of the cabinet and contractor types. It offers at least as much power as a contractor saw, but without requiring a dedicated 220V circuit. Expect to pay from 750 to 1,500 for hybrid table saws, which are sometimes described as souped-up contractor saws.
Hybrid saws come with enclosed cabinets, mimicking the look of cabinet saws, but they weigh less, averaging 275 to 325 pounds. They’re usually moved with a hand truck, but wheel kits are often available for them as well.
In short, the more horsepower (HP) in a table saw motor, the more cutting power the saw has. Smaller benchtop saws that typically feature horsepower in the range of ¾ HP to 1½ HP are sufficient for most things a larger table saw can cut; however, they may not leave quite as smooth a cut as a contractor or cabinet saw. Be aware that these ratings are typically shown in “amps” (e.g., 15 amps) and refer to how many amperes the tool draws. Benchtop tools are regular jobsite and workshop occupants, sizing everything from shelving to hardwoods for a woodworking project and to pressure-treated lumber for backyard projects.
Larger bench saws and contractor saws come with 2-HP to 4-HP motors, and cabinet table saws often feature 5-HP or larger motors. The more powerful motors run longer under heavy use without overheating (think cabinet shop where they’re used every day, all day, for years on end) and easily cut through denser materials, such as ironwood or Brazilian walnut.
Cutting Depth and Blade Size
Table saws are labeled by the size of the circular blade they accommodate; the vast majority take 10-inch blades, while a handful take 12-inch blades. The blade height and angles are adjustable, so it can make a shallow cut just a fraction of an inch deep as well as deeper cuts. The newest generation of table saws—many cordless or corded/cordless—spin a 7½-inch blade, similar to that on a circular saw.
The most common blade sizes for these saws are 10 inches and 12 inches. With a 10-inch table saw, users can often make a maximum cut up to 3½ inches deep (that enables the user to rip a 4×4 in half).
The fence on a table saw is the adjustable guide that holds the material in place while cutting. There are two fence styles that come with most table saws: one is a T-square fence, which is in all categories of table saw and built with varying degrees of quality based on the saw’s intended use. The other type of fence is a rack-and-pinion-style fence, which is found primarily in the benchtop category.
Some saws also come with extendable fences that either fold or slide out to accommodate larger sections of wood. Other table saws feature fences with embedded magnifiers that allow the user to better see the measurements on the saw when adjusting the fence. However, many users simply rely on a tape measure. By measuring from the fence to the tip of a blade tooth, the accuracy (or not) of the fence’s pointer doesn’t need to be depended upon or interpreted.
Table saws are key to ripping wide sheets of material, but the maximum width of material that will fit between the saw blade and the fence—the rip capacity—varies. Rip capacity starts at around 18 inches for entry-level benchtop saws and runs up to 60 inches or more for professional cabinet saws.
Depending on the planned projects, choose a table saw with a rip capacity large enough to accommodate the dimension of material. For example, if the goal is to build 2-foot-high toy boxes, a saw with a rip capacity of at least 24 inches can cut sections of plywood wide enough for the sides and back.
On the other hand, many pros use track saws for this purpose. Whether it’s cutting down a door to accommodate new flooring or sizing sheet stock for building a bench, track saws are light and accurate.
If you’re working in a closed workshop, dust collection ports will help keep the air dust-free and collect sawdust chips that would otherwise have to be swept up later. Table saws have dust collection ports designed to connect to a standard shop vacuum. Users need to run the workshop vacuum while operating the saw to catch dust and sawdust.
For cutting synthetic material outdoors, such as composite decking or PVC trim, it’s a good idea to put a box or bucket under the saw to catch the shavings if the saw is set up on the grass. Standing on a large sheet of cardboard or a drop cloth also helps. Once those shavings get in the grass, they’re nearly impossible to get out.
Tips for Using a Table Saw
Owners will doubtless spend many hours learning how to get the best from their table saw. The following quick tips provide a useful place to start:
- Read the manual carefully even if you have owned a table saw before; there will often be differences. It’s important to understand the safety features and know how to maximize performance.
- By law, all table saws must have a blade guard. Never operate the saw without it in place. The riving knife should only be removed if using a dado blade.
- Always wear eye protection. Ear defenders are also a good idea.
- Check the blade for damage before each work session. If there is a crack, missing teeth, or unexpected vibration, replace the blade immediately.
- There’s an old woodworking adage that you should measure twice and cut once. This can also apply to setting up a table saw. Adjust and then check before making each cut.
- Clean the table saw after use. Disconnect the power first, then use an ordinary nylon-bristle hand brush or cordless blower.
- Learning how to make featherboards, push sticks, and table saw jigs can improve safety, speed, and accuracy, particularly with repetitive tasks. It’s also very rewarding to make things yourself rather than buying them.
- Blade choice can have a dramatic impact on performance, even if the diameter remains the same. You can read more about the best table saw blades in a separate article.
The information above covers many of the key aspects of the best table saws as well as details on a range of high-quality options that will suit a variety of users. Although it will have answered the majority of questions that occur to potential buyers, some users might have more general-use questions. Some of the most popular questions have been answered below.
Q. What do I need to use a table saw?
Apart from protective goggles or safety glasses and a stand of some sort, everything you need should come with the saw. In addition to providing some basic tips for using the table saw above, there is a more in-depth beginner’s guide here.
Q. Can a 10-inch table saw cut a 4×4?
A few 10-inch table saws will cut a 4×4 in a single pass, but not many. Bear in mind that 4×4 refers to dimensioned lumber that is actually closer to 3½ inches square. A common maximum for 10-inch table saws is 3⅛ inches, though the cut can usually be completed by turning the material over and running it through the saw again.
Q. Can I put a table saw on a miter saw stand?
It might be possible, but it is not recommended. Miter saw bases are fixed differently, so the result would probably be unsafe.
Q. What can I use for a table saw stand?
A sturdy bench can work, and it isn’t difficult to find plans for DIY table saw stands. You could also consider investing in a purpose-built stand.
Q. Where should you stand when using a table saw?
You should usually stand behind the saw table and to the left of the blade. Make sure you are comfortable and not stretching. If working with large sheet material, it’s a good idea to have someone support it on the out-feed side.
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