For cutting large pieces of wood with plenty of support, the best table saws in 2021 will become your go-to instead of a miter saw. They often include a built-in deck, which works like a tabletop when used in various situations. Many table saws also include variable blades that can be swapped out to match the project or task at hand. But when it comes to picking the best table saw for your budget and preference, there are a few key things to consider. This is why we're here to help you pick from portable, cabinet, and hybrid models to find the right option that provides the best value.
Woodworking is a craft that involves a wide range of tools but a table saw stands out as the most reliable and efficient piece of equipment for making quick and efficient cuts.
What Is a Table Saw?
The table saw is a dedicated cutting tool and boasts more power than most other saws to work with a wide array of tough materials. Its innate practicality has made it an invaluable tool in workshops and DIY setups around the globe.
Unlike a standard saw, this tool allows the material to be fed against the blade to yield a more precise cut. To operate a table saw successfully, you'll need to understand the various parts of the tool and how to adjust them accordingly to fit your specific task.
What Should a Person Consider Before Buying a Table Saw?
If you are looking to purchase a great table saw, there are some considerations you want to make. Getting familiar with these design, structural, and safety details would simplify the task of purchasing the saw and make your choice an easy one.
This table saw buying guide will shed light on the key features of table saws and enlighten you on the choices available to you when you are on the market for one. Let’s examine them.
Portability: Stationary vs. Portable Saws
The first factor to consider when evaluating a table saw is its portability. Table saws generally come as portable and stationary units.
Portable table saws usually come mounted on a stand that has wheels. They may also come as foldable units to enhance easy storage. Good examples of these table saws are the Contact and Jobsite table saws.
Benchtop saws are also considered portable but they do not come with stands and require a table or bench to function (like their name). These saws are considered portable nonetheless as they are relatively smaller and easily moved from workshop to workshop.
Stationary table saws can be further split into three types; Contractor, Hybrid, and Cabinet table saws. They are generally larger than their portable counterparts with the largest and heaviest of these three being the cabinet saw. It is a heavy piece of machinery that is robust and powerful. Notedly, Hybrid saws blend features of both contractor saws and cabinet table saws.
This is one of the elements you will have to check for as it plays a major role in what the saw can be used for. Different sawblades are suited to different applications. These blades are classified based on their diameter, material, arbor size, number of teeth, speed, application, as well as their size. The scale and location of the teeth are the most important aspects of the blade.
Commercial saws typically use between 10” and 12” blades but there are models that function with blades as small as 5”. These blades come in varying numbers of teeth usually between 24 and 80. All the blades available on the market are designed to be durable and feature materials in their composition to strengthen them (e.g. carbon, carbide, diamond, etc.).
Fence and Miter Gauge
The fence is an integral feature of the table saw. It's the crucial component that holds the materials upright when they are being sliced. This tool when used correctly enables accurate cuts by keeping the wood or other materials held firmly. The most common type of fence found on table saws is the T-square fence. Without this fence rip cuts of any kind would be impossible to make.
The miter gauge is integral to making cross cuts or more detailed angled cuts. It serves as a clamp to preserve the supply. Some table saws come with a miter gauge already built-in while you’ll have to buy a separate one with some models.
Motor and engine power
There are various kinds of motors available on table saws. Smaller saws feature direct drive motors that function on 120v circuits and can produce up to 2 hp which is sufficient enough to cut thinner materials. Larger and powerful table saws have motors that produce from 3 to 5hp. These saws rely on a belt drive to transfer the power from the rotor to the blade. They typically operate on 240v.
The power of the motor power really determines the output of the table saw. Belt drives are heavier than most direct driven table-saw models. Some table saws may also be powered by fuel-powered motors. These are typically louder but produce more power than electric units.
As with any power device, safety is very important when using a table saw. Devices, depending on the brand, class, or size, host different sorts of safety features. These features don't just make them less dangerous to handle but must also come with designs that take into account the kinds of tasks these tools could be used for.
It’s important that the table saw you choose comes with these safety features. Some of them include splitters, riving knives, and anti-kickback pawls that help reduce the chances of kickback when the blade is in motion.
You can expand the functionality of your table saw by adding various accessories to it. Parts like table extensions, on/off switches, wheels that adjust the height and tilt of the blade, dust collection systems can be found in almost all table saws made by reputable companies. Some of these parts improve the functionality of the saw, while others make it safer to use.
You can upgrade your saw into a more efficient and ultimate engine by fitting it appropriately with the right upgrades and accessories and it should allow for these.
How Did We Choose Our Selection of Best Table Saws?
Every saw has its pros and cons; but in the end, the best table saw for you will depend on your needs. This is why we've offered a variety of options for you to choose from, listing the advantages and disadvantages of each one.
We understand that the experience of buyers who have already used this product is an important factor in determining the right pick for you, which is why we've also considered their reviews before listing our top picks.
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Table Saw FAQ
Q: What is a table saw?
A: A table saw is a powerful cutting tool found in many workshops. It consists of a saw blade driven by a motor with the whole unit mounted on a work table. You can operate the table saw by typically feeding material against the blade for precise cutting.
Q: What are table saws used for?
A: Table saws are very versatile and have a lot of applications but they are best used for making long straight cuts. They can perform three different types of cuts: cross cut, rip cut, and dado cut. If you need a machine to make long, repetitive cuts with precision, a table saw will be perfect for the task.
Q: Do I need a stand for my table saw?
A: Since table saws are a highly technical and expensive home power tool, your safety and productivity are paramount when operating this machine. Investing in a heavy-duty stand will help with stability and support, especially when working with large pieces of wood. Check if the brand offers a stand when you purchase your table saw; ideally, you want one that has wheels for portability or a collapsable design for storage efficiency.
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