Worm drive gearing
Large work surface
Compact and lightweight
Great for most jobs
No stand included
SKILSAW is a 90-year-old power tool company that, somewhat uniquely in today’s marketplace, focuses its offerings on saws. I tested one of its core products, the 10-inch Portable Worm Drive Table Saw (SPT70WT), while rebuilding the deck on my Colorado home. Read on to see if the saw’s touted motor and portability got the job done on-site.
Performance: Powerful enough for most tasks
This portable table saw handled all the relatively light-duty board ripping I needed for my deck project, but I also tested it against a variety of sheet goods and other board sizes to assess its capability.
The brass worm drive gearing is the focus of SKILSAW’s marketing for this product and promises to employ patented mechanical advantage to outperform direct drive saws and rip without binding—all while maintaining a small form factor and light weight. I tried it on boards up to 4 x 4 posts and failed to push it beyond its limits. (Notably, the 3.5-inch blade height made ripping the 4 x 4s possible in the first place.)
Additionally, ripping relatively thin but dense 5/4-inch cedar deck boards was a breeze with the worm drive and the included 10-inch Diablo blade, though I did need a separate stand for the longer-length boards. The main work surface expands out perpendicular to the blade to 25 inches total as well, making it capable for most larger size sheet boards such as the common 4 x 8-foot plywood.
Ripping relatively thin but dense 5/4-inch cedar deck boards was a breeze with the worm drive and the included 10-inch Diablo blade.
The self-aligning fence system (this runs parallel to the blade to help you make consistent width cuts) is easy to use but not quite as secure-feeling as the rack-and-pinion systems on other saws. Still, I felt I could trust the fence and its measurements once I used it a few times.
Features: A less-than-ideal miter gauge and no stand included
This table saw includes a miter gauge, but I felt it wasn’t very useful. The slot allows the cut to veer off-track in either direction, so I made angled cuts—but despite numerous attempts, I couldn’t get it to saw a true 45 degrees. (This was also noted by plenty of other online reviewers as well.)
Overall, if you’re hoping to use this saw instead of a miter saw, you’ll likely want to invest in a higher-quality third-party miter gauge—and even then, I can’t promise the saw will be precise enough for some woodworking tasks. But do keep in mind this is a job site table saw, so if you’re looking for a detail-oriented machine, this might not be the one for you.
The SKILSAW SPT70WT includes a miter gauge, but I felt it wasn’t very useful.
One feature that’s not included is a stand, so I tested this saw simply sitting on my deck, as well as anchored to a platform built across two sawhorses. I didn’t mind kneeling to work with the saw when on the deck, but my 70-year-old father found that a bit awkward and needed it on the stand. SKILSAW does sell a stand separately, so for around $70, you can have a dedicated stand that folds up (but lacks wheels) and is built to support this particular saw.
Portability: Lightweight yet slightly awkward to move
At just shy of 50 pounds, this saw is very light for what it is, so you can carry it one-handed if you want. The form factor is small as well, so it can fit easily in the trunk of a sedan if it needs to, not just the bed of a work truck. The loose parts such as miter gauge and guide all have snap-in locations on the unit so it travels altogether.
This saw is very light for what it is, so you can carry it one-handed if you want.
One oversight in the design, however, is that if you do carry it one-handed via the built-in handle (with the blade deck facing away from your body), your leg will definitely knock the miter gauge out of its snap-in position under the saw’s aluminum table. I ended up carrying it with two hands in front of me, which is a little awkward. If you don’t use the miter gauge (since it’s not very accurate anyway), you could just leave it out of the unit and avoid the issue.
Safety Features: Lots of protection
It’s no secret that table saws are one of the most dangerous tools in the shop—the exposed high-speed blade causes thousands of injuries every year. Most saws come with basic safety features to mitigate risk, and I found the ones on the SKILSAW to be more than satisfactory.
The SKILSAW’s blade guard is a standard clear plastic set of guards that can be left up and out of the way when needed. When down, they allow the wood to be fed to the blade but shield you from damaging your hands with it. The ability to push the guard up and out of the way is important for when you need to rip thinner pieces or adjust blade height.
Additionally, the riving knife (or the metal piece mounted near the blade) keeps cut pieces from binding and causing kickback by separating cut pieces as they travel past the saw. The anti-kickback pawl prevents boards from flying back at you by grabbing them with metal teeth that only permit one-way traffic in the event the saw binds or hits a knot or nail.
Price: You get what you pay for
The saw is competitively priced at around $400 or a bit less at big box stores and online retailers. Can you buy a cheap table saw for less than $100? Yes. Will it deliver the power and features of this saw? No. However, if you value a saw that has the power to rip whatever you throw at it (and aren’t overly concerned with minute accuracy), this SKILSAW is worth the money—especially with the 180-day money-back guarantee and the year-long limited warranty.
SKILSAW SPT70WT Table Saw vs. DeWalt DWE7491RS Table Saw
For about $100 more than the SKILSAW, you can get the 10-inch DeWalt Jobsite Table Saw, gaining the convenience of a built-in wheeled fold-out stand. That’s still slightly more than just adding the $70 optional stand to the SKILSAW. That said, the stand included with the Dewalt is more robust than most sold-separately stands available so the comparison isn’t apples to apples.
I tested both saws and found their performance similar, though I was more likely to roll out the DeWalt thanks to the built-in stand. If you don’t need the stand, however, the SKILSAW is the preferred job site saw of several local framing contractors I know and seems better suited for hopping job site to job site. Personally, I value the stable, stow-away stand enough to spend the $100 extra for the DeWalt, but note that it’s also double the weight of the SKILSAW, and so not the easiest for contractors on the go.
Yes, if you value power over precision.
The SKILSAW SPT70WT 10-Inch Portable Worm Drive Table Saw delivers ripping performance in a portable package that’s aimed squarely at framers and contractors who need a reliable, versatile option. However, if you just need a table saw for a home workshop, there might be comparable options that prize performance over power and include a stand.
- Product Name SPT70WT 10 In. Portable Worm Drive Table Saw
- Product Brand SKILSAW
- MPN SPT70WT-22
- Price $379.00
- Weight 49 lbs.
- Product Dimensions 19.9 x 23.4 x 13.4 in.
- Max. 90-Deg Cut Depth 3.5 in.
- Power 110v, 15 amps
- Warranty 1 year, limited