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If you work with wood in any capacity, chances are you rely on a table saw to make clean, accurate cuts. These power tools consist of a circular blade that's mounted underneath a flat, table-like work surface, so unlike most other power saws, the table saw cuts from underneath rather than from above. The table-saw blade is partly exposed; most table saws let you adjust the blade up and down a bit to tailor the amount of exposed blade, as well as its angle, to your needs.
Table saws are useful for quite a few different types of cuts. They provide fast, highly accurate rip cuts, which is a cut that goes with the wood's grain to reduce a board's width. You can also use your table saw for crosscuts; this is a cut that goes across the grain to reduce a board by length. You can also do a miter cut with a table saw: that's a diagonal cut across the width of a board, and is very useful when constructing trim. Beveled cuts, which cut into the end of the board at an angle, are another possibility.
With the right type of blade, you can also use your table saw for specialty cuts. One is a dado cut, which produces a flat-bottomed groove across the board. The other is a rabbet cut, which is a partially grooved cut commonly used when building cabinets or furniture.
One of the biggest considerations when choosing a table saw is the format that's right for you. There are table saws that sit atop your work bench or on a folding stand, and these are both very popular with DIYers. There are also contractor table saws that stand on their own built-in table. These are more powerful and are suited to the more serious hobbyist or professional. Finally, there are cabinet table saws that enclose the motor within a cabinet that serves as the support for the work table and blade up above. These expensive tools are mostly used by professionals in woodworking shops.
With these considerations in mind, let’s take a look at the best table saw picks on the market to find the right fit for you.
Best Overall: DEWALT DWE7491RS Jobsite Table Saw
On the far end of the handyman spectrum, you’ve got the seasoned professional with years of experience under his or her belt. We all know the type: this is the person that expects only the best, and DEWALT more than delivers with their patented DWE7491RS jobsite table saw. This wood-slicing beast is the cream of the crop when it comes to cutting through even the toughest materials. The DWE7491RS's table measures 26.25 x 22 inches, although its sturdy wheeled stand makes it fairly easy to push out of the way when not in use.
With a 32½-inch rip capacity—the rack-and-pinion fence rails extend smoothly and sturdily for oversize boards—and 15-amp motor capable of up to 4800 rpm, the DWE7491RS is more than prepared to effectively deliver 3⅛-inch deep cuts to thick slabs of wood. It can handle dado cuts up to 13/16-inch wide with the appropriate blade.
"The built-in rack-and-pinion fence system, which acts as a guide for boards that runs parallel to the blade, adjusts by hand and is both easy to use and very accurate. I learned to trust the fence and its measurements, and it made my workflow faster knowing I didn’t have to measure everything four times to double-check the DEWALT. "—Justin Park, Product Tester
Best Jobsite: RIDGID R4514 Pro Jobsite Table Saw
If you need a reliable and powerful table saw that’s easy to wheel right where you need it, take a look at the RIDGID R5414 10-Inch Jobsite Table Saw. This 15-amp saw makes light of 4x4 boards, ripping through them with one pass. When closed, the table measures 22 inches by 30 inches. Pull out the fence rails, and you gain an extra 12 inches to the right for ripping large boards.
The 10-inch blade spins at a maximum of 5,000 rpm, with a maximum cutting depth of 3.5 inches at a 90-degree angle and 2.25 inches at a 45-degree angle. The saw comes with a very sturdy wheeled stand that folds up for storage once the job is done.
Best Miter Gauge: KREG KMS7102 Table Saw Precision Miter Gauge System
A miter gauge is a device that allows users to set up the angle of the material being cut with a table saw. And while most table saws come with built-in miter gauges, they aren't always the greatest quality, which is why the Kreg KMS7102 Table Saw Precision Miter Gauge System is invaluable.
Pre-calibrated right out of the box, Kreg’s miter gauge has positive stops at 0, 10, 22-1/2, 30, and 45 degrees, so you can begin using your brand new miter gauge straight away.
With a 25-inch fence made of durable aluminum to ensure long-lasting use, a micro-adjustment system that allows users to adjust their desired angle up to 1/10th of a degree, and a ton of extra features you’ll be hard-pressed to find on even most built-in miter gauges, the KMS7102 is a must-have for both professional and amateur woodworkers.
Best Budget: Ryobi RTS12 Jobsite Table Saw
Not everyone needs a top-of-the-line table saw, but that doesn’t mean you have to settle for a so-so tool. If your needs are simple, and you just use the saw for occasional basic tasks, you’ll find that the Ryobi RTS12 handles everything you ask of it, and for a very reasonable price. It includes a folding stand so you can easily store the saw when not in use.
This 10-inch jobsite table saw has a 15-amp motor that spins the blade at up to 5,000 rpm. You can rip boards up to 12 inches to the right and 8 inches to the left of the blade. Unlike many higher-priced table saws, there are no extending rails, although you could use a separate stand to support larger materials. Still, for the price, it’s hard to beat the performance of this sturdy tool.
The saw has a maximum cutting depth of 3 inches at a 90-degree angle.
Best Compact: DEWALT DWE7485 Compact Table Saw
The DEWALT DWE7485 might be a little more compact than many other table saws, but it certainly doesn’t lack for power or performance. The 15-amp motor spins the 8-¼-inch blade at up to 5,800 rpm, and the table boasts 24.5 inches of rip capacity to the right of the blade with the rack-and-pinion fence rails extended, and 12 inches of rip capacity to the left of the blade, which is more than some overall larger saws. While sold as a benchtop model, the tool has handles for easy transport, and can be perched on an optional stand if desired. It’s ruggedly designed for use at jobsites, but equally at home in your garage or workshop.
The maximum depth of cut at a 90-degree angle is 2-9/16 inch. Note that while the saw handily performs all of the basic table saw cuts, it does not accept a dado blade.
The best overall table saw is the SKILSAW SPT70WT 10-Inch Portable Worm Drive Table Saw. It’s lightweight but still has a powerful motor that can tackle most jobs. However, if you’re looking for a professional-grade saw, opt for the DeWalt DWE7491RS 10-Inch Jobsite Table Saw. It has a convenient built-in stand that reviewers say is a huge benefit.
What to Look For In a Table Saw
There are two basic forms of table saw: portable and stationary. But within those two categories are more than one type.
Benchtop table saws, as the name suggests, are designed to sit on your workbench. They do not have a support stand of their own. These are a good choice for DIYers, as they are fairly lightweight, less expensive than larger machines, and reasonably portable. On the downside, they are somewhat limited in the size of board they can handle.
Jobsite table saws come with a stand, which is often lightweight and wheeled so that it’s fairly easy to move the tool from jobsite to jobsite. These are often more rugged and larger than benchtop table saws. Jobsite table saws are very popular for both DIYers and professional tradespeople.
Contractor table saws are stationary tools that sit atop a sturdy frame. They are similar to jobsite saws, but are typically larger and more powerful. Still, the term “contractor table saw” is now often used for models that more properly are jobsite table saws.
Cabinet table saws are most often found in professional woodworking or carpentry shops. These very heavy and powerful tools are generally built of cast iron and have a cabinet enclosing the frame to reduce vibration, improve dust collection, and add support.
Finally, hybrid table saws are somewhere in between contractor and cabinet tools in size, power, and price.
There are two types of motors used in table saws: universal motors and induction motors.
Portable table saws generally have a universal motor, which links directly to the blade, providing a whole lot of power. The downside is that these models are generally quite loud.
Induction motors, on the other hand, are connected to a belt that then transfers power to the blade. As a result, you get quieter operation and the ability to cut denser materials. The downside is that these models require more preventive maintenance, as you have to adjust the belt’s tension periodically. Induction motors are common on stationary table saws.
There are several basic components that are important when choosing a table saw. Most are standard with the majority of table saws, but some are extras.
Table: The table of a table saw is crucial in terms of stability. Larger tables can handle larger boards, but also take up more space in your workshop. The best tables are made of cast iron, but steel is a good second choice. Less expensive portable table saws sometimes have aluminum tables, which tend to transmit a lot of vibration.
Blade: The standard blade size for most table saws is 10 inches. Larger saws often use 12-inch blades, however, and some compact saws use 8-¾-inch blades. As a general rule, a 10-inch blade lets you cut to a depth of 3-½ inches when the blade is at a 90-degree angle to the board.
Blade Cover: Typically made from transparent plastic, the blade cover curves above the blade to protect the user from flying sawdust and debris, as well as offer some protection to their hands.
Rip Fence: This adjustable guide serves to keep the board moving in a perfectly straight line while making rip cuts.
Miter Gauge: This adjustable guide helps position and secure the board when making miter cuts. Typically, it adjusts between 0 and 90 degrees.
Bevel Gauge: This is a tilt adjustment to the saw blade for making bevel cuts.
Riving Knife and Anti-Kickback Pawls: Both of these safety features are designed to reduce the chance of “kickback,” which is the board catching and jerking back towards the user.