The Buying Guide
We live in a time when DIY projects are more and more popular. And there is no doubt about it, it feels good to make something with your own hands, to see, touch and feel the result of your own work.
One of the most rewarding experiences one can have in a building project are the woodworking jobs. Considered until not long ago, a task for the professional and the people trained to operate heavy machinery, woodworking has become more and more accessible for everyone. And for anyone who wants to incorporate woodworking in their life either as a hobby or as a way to earn an extra buck, the most important investment is a proper table saw. Luckily, advancements in technology and product development made table saws more user-friendly by having enhanced safety features, cutting performance, versatile stand options and certainly by being more affordable so you don’t break your budget.
Understanding the Basics
Before finding the best table saw that meets your needs, you need to understand the basics of a table saw so that you will make an informed decision. A table saw is a machinery that is used for high precision cutting, crosscutting (cutting perpendicularly to the wood grain), ripping (cutting parallel to the grain) and for making miter joints and other joinery cuts. When you buy a table saw you have to think about the type of want and need, and when it comes to table saws, portability is what differentiates them in the first place.
Types of Table Saws
There are four types of table saws that you can choose from according to where you will do the woodworking (in a single place or in different locations), how much space you have and how big projects are. The portable table saw or bench top is a table saw that does not have an incorporated stand and can be moved from one location to the other, being placed on a table or work bench. It is the cheapest option out there, but very suitable for the job. The contractor table saw is larger, not very portable and has a big table size to allow work on large pieces of wood. The hybrid saw is smaller than the contractor saw, it is to a certain extent portable and incorporates some features of the cabinet table. Finally, the cabinet table saw is the largest and most accurate table saw, that works on a closed base and requires heavy duty electric circuits.
After choosing what type is best for you, you have to look at different features that differentiate the table saws available on the market like the horsepower of the motor. There are table saws that can produce up to 2hp and can operate on 120V circuits and there are saws that produce among 3 to 5hp and operate on 240V circuits. So it is important to know what electric circuit you have available when buying a table saw.
Fence and miter gauge are also important to take into consideration as they are of crucial important for precise cuts and you should look at how easily they can be adjusted, the sturdiness of the miter gauge and how firm the fence sits on the rails. Last, but certainly not least, you should look at the safety features like splitters, riving knives, and anti-kickback pawls and how you can increase the functionality of your table saw by the availability of accessories such as table extensions, dust collection, on/off switches, wheels to adjust the height and tilt.
When you know how the table saw you need should like, you can proceed to buy one from tool retailers, home improvement stores, woodworking specialty stores or you can buy for one online on Amazon or eBay where you will find a large variety of models and can also see reviews from customers. Wherever you choose to buy your table saw, look for renowned brands like DeWalt, Bosch, Skil or Rockwell.
5 Best Table Saws Under $500
1. DeWalt DW745
If you are looking for a highly portable but performant table saw, you should consider buying the DeWalt DW745. It is light, weighing only 45 pounds, making it easy to carry from one location to another or, if you are planning to use it just from time to time, it is easy to find it a place in your garage or to store when not in use. It has a powerful 15amp motor, suited for 120V circuits and, despite its small size, it has a maximum rent of 16 inches that allows you to cut large pieces of wood. It has a fence that is super easy to set up, it allows rapid adjustment and its configuration gives an impressive 20-inch rip capacity.
This table saw offers great precise cutting experience at an affordable cost, making it a solid choice for those looking for a light, easy to set up a table saw which can be used both for hobby and professional cutting of many types of wood, including pressure-treated lumber.
2. DeWalt DWE7480
A slightly more expensive choice than its sister presented above, the DeWalt DWE7480 has many things to offer making it a great value for the money. The most important addition is the Site-Pro Modular Guarding System that allows a smooth adjustment of the guarding elements of the saw, without requiring any tools. The Site-Pro Modular Guarding System can thus reduce greatly the work time.
It is highly portable, also weighing 45 pounds and offers the same 15amp motor that proves its power when putting in action the 10-inch blade equipped with 24 teeth. It has a stable fence with high precision adjustments, a rip capacity of 24-1/2 inch and the blade can make bevel cuts, with a bevel degree stretching from 0 to 45.
This table saw is an affordable portable yet a powerful option that can be used for ripping large sheets of wood, various trimming a large range of other jobs.
This table saw weighs 52 pounds, it has a balanced one-handed carry handle for ultimate portability and has an all-steel that makes it a durable machinery. Its light weight is no reason to think it compromised on its motor power, as it has a 4hp motor that can cut through any type of material like plywood, hardwood, lumber, shelving. The two features it brings to the table is the Smart Guard System modular blade guard that allows the blade guard to be attached and detached in seconds and a SquareLock rip fence for a smooth and dependable cut.
It’s 18- inch rip capacity makes it adequate for medium-large sheets of material. Another plus of this model is that all the safety features are modular. A small but powerful table saw is very easy to use that you can transport anywhere you need to get the job done.
4. Rockwell RK7241S
Heavier than its competitors, this table saw still offers good portability, mainly thanks to the integrated wheels and the ability to use an extended leg as a pull handle that makes transporting the 88.2 pounds saw easier. It has a 15amp motor and can cut through robust wood. It also has a foldout fence for wider rip capacity, making you forget about the extra weight.
Additional features include an integrated laser guide that automatically realigns if the blade angle is beveled. It is a model that requires some time to be set up correctly, but once you do, it is a reliable, strong table saw. Because it is not equipped for increased speed in the workflow, it is more recommended for home use.
5. SKIL 3410-02
The SKIL 3410-02 bench top table saw is made out of heavy-duty steel, making it a very durable and stable piece of equipment, although heavier with a weight of 67lbs. The good news is that it has a Quick-Mount system that makes it easy to set up. It has a powerful 15 amp motor for ripping through all types of wood and the tool is able to cut up to 3-1/2 inches in depth at a right angle that means it can cut through 4x the material in one pass. It is accurate and has an EZ view measurement system and self-aligning rip fence that provide reliable settings.
It is a basic but reliable table saw that makes a good investment for the people looking for good and accurate, yet occasional woodworking jobs.
Related article: Top 10 Best Table Saws