Fine woodworking’s best portable table saw

Best portable table saw for fine woodworking

Purchasing the best table saw for fine woodworking used to entail forking out a large sum of money for a large, heavy equipment and then digging out an area in your garage or basement that would be more or less permanent for it.

There’s a new kind of table saw on the market that’s precise, light, and portable, and it’s less than half the price of its larger counterparts. Depending on the manufacturer, they may also be referred to as jobsite table saws or contractor table saws, among other names. However, despite the fact that they are compact and light enough to be stored on a shelf and strong enough to accomplish most routine cutting tasks, they are subject to a number of restrictions.

Portable Table Saws: A Buyer’s Guide to Choosing the Right One

If you decide that a benchtop table saw is appropriate for your needs, I’ll aid you in selecting which characteristics to consider and comparing saws in order to select the one that is most appropriate for your requirements.

Rips (which is the process of cutting a board lengthwise to make it thinner) can be accomplished with a table saw, but cutting down giant sheets of plywood or cutting lengthy boards to length is an entirely different animal. The following tasks are difficult to execute on any tablesaw; however, because of the limited capacity of a benchtop saw, they are practically impossible to complete on one.

The contractor table saw market is fragmented, with at least 15 different models available, and none of them is ideal for every situation or user. As a rule of thumb, the more money you spend, the greater the features you get.

The best contractor table saw for the money can be found here.

Decide how much money you want to spend to narrow the field. I’ve listed the majority of the saws that are currently accessible below.

It is common for low-priced saws to be quite light in weight, especially those at the lower end of the price spectrum. However, they have lower-quality motors, less accurate fences, and less exact controls than more expensive saws, but they are adequate for light-duty work and cutting thin wood (less than 1 inch thick) for birdhouses and other craft projects.

Benchtop saws, which are often used by professional carpenters, are priced in the middle of the price range, according to the manufacturer. This is due to the fact that these saws are sharp enough to cut through 2x4s on a daily basis while yet being small and lightweight enough to be easily transported in the back of a pickup.

There are only a few of saws available in the upper price bracket. They have superior fences and features that are not available on less priced saws, but you will pay a price for these in terms of increased size and weight.

Best table saw with induction motor, blade stop

Despite the fact that most motors have enough of power, some are smoother to use and endure for a longer period of time than other.

Saws that are more expensive typically have higher-quality motors that last longer and operate more smoothly. Some even include built-in brakes that allow you to quickly stop the blade when you’re finished cutting.

If you want your saw to cut quicker and last longer, there are a few things you can do to help it. If you purchased a saw with a 10-in. blade that bogs down when ripping 2x4s, try replacing it with a thinner 8-1/4-in. blade instead of the original.

Also, consult the owner’s manual that came with the saw to see whether an extension cord is required for the job. In general, the shorter the cable and the heavier the gauge of the chord, the better the performance of your saw and the longer the life of the motor will be in most cases.

Mounting the motor

A table saw is nothing more than a hand-held circular saw that has been positioned upside down underneath a table. Better versions include cast aluminum motor mounts, which are more solid than the stamped steel motor mounts seen on less priced machines . This results in less blade deflection, which results in smoother, straighter saw cuts than those made with stamped steel motor mounts.

It is possible to see the differences between the motor mount methods by tilting the saw back and taking a close, hands-on look at the underside. It is not necessary to be a mechanical engineer in order to notice the difference in quality.

You should keep in mind that practically every cut you make will necessitate a change in the motor or blade position. These parts are subjected to a great deal of wear and tear, and the quality of the cut is directly influenced by their condition.

Miter Gauge

The ability to crosscut isn’t the most beneficial feature of a table saw, regardless of its price, but if you plan on using a table saw for accurate angle cuts, the miter gauge should have moveable stops at 90 and 45 degrees and be able to fit snugly into the table top groove.

Slide the gauge along the slot until it stops. With no side-to-side movement, it should be easy to maneuver. When the gauge is dragged out beyond the table’s outer edge, the T-slot on the Delta saw prevents the gauge from dropping out of the table.If you’d want to employ cabinetmaking tools like a tenoning jig,, you’ll need a table saw with a full-size 3/4-in. wide x 3/8-in. deep slot, which is the typical size for contractor and table saws for cabinet.

Are the cranks easy to turn? Is the switch in good working order?

Cranks that are difficult to turn, levers that knock your knuckles, and switches that you have to grope for are all frustrating on these small saws.

Adjust the blade’s height by raising and lowering it. A saw that is easy to turn and moves smoothly is ideal. Now try tilting the blade. This is accomplished on most saws by loosening the motor by flipping the lever behind the crank, then pushing the lever to tilt the blade. Getting a proper bevel setting with this method is challenging. Makita addressed this issue by including a wheel that can be used to change the angle.

The saws with higher-quality motor mount systems adjust more readily and smoothly.

Play about with the switch. To keep curious toddlers away, the perfect switches are a little tough to turn on. For increased security against illegal use, most switches can be locked. For example, removing a plastic pin from the Makita disables the switch, which is great (provided you don’t lose the pin!). A small padlock or other form of locking device may be required for some saws.

For increased safety, the biggest switches can be turned off with a fast swat. In an emergency, you’ll want to be able to stop the saw without having to look for the switch or grope for it.

Dust Collection

Look for a dust collection port on a table saw.

Many table saws have a connection for connecting a shop vacuum hose. This is a great feature if you’re working indoors and want to catch at least some of the dust before it spreads.

Which portable table saw has the best fence in terms of performance?

In terms of performance, without a good fence, a contractor table saws are comparable to a drill without bits in terms of accuracy.

Because you’ll be modifying and fastening down the fence for practically every cut, a poor fence will test your patience and even put your safety at risk.

It is possible to determine a great deal about the quality of the fence by moving it along the table and locking it in place. More durable fencing is both easy to slide and secure when it is fastened in place.

It is possible to determine a great deal about the quality of the fence by moving it along the table and locking it in place. More durable fencing is both easy to slide and secure when it is fastened in place.

  • DeWalt has done an excellent job in constructing a fence that is simple to adjust, keeps the blade parallel to the fence, and shuts down securely.
  • Fences on mid-priced saws are normally fairly secure, but they require you to re-align the fence with the saw blade every time you adjust the ripping width.
  • Some of the less costly saws have flimsy barriers that are difficult to keep in place.

Along with inflicting a poor cut on your skin, a slipping fence or moves while you’re ripping might force the board to stick or bind and kick back, creating a very dangerous situation.

If you plan to use your table saw to cut plywood for cabinets or shelves, be sure you are aware of the maximum ripping width that your table saw can handle. The distance between the fence and the blade is determined by the fence’s ability to be set. For example, on the DeWalt dwe7491rs, the range is from roughly 10 inches to a monstrous 24-1/2 inches. Most saws can rip about 12 inches wide, which is about average.

Best portable table saws for cabinetmaking

Table saw dado blades allow you to create grooves, which are referred to as dadoes, by cutting them with your table saw.

By stacking the appropriate number of blades on the arbor, you may cut dadoes ranging in width from 1/4 inch to 13/16 inch in a single operation. If you have a dado blade, check the saw handbook to determine if it is compatible with it and what other accessories, like as a different throat plate, you will need to utilize it.

Choosing a saw that accepts dado blades is important if you plan to conduct cabinetry work. The majority of them can accommodate a 1/2-inch broad set of dado blades. Some, such as the DeWalt table saw, can accommodate blades up to 13/16-in. in width. For added safety, DeWalt includes an additional wrench to prevent the arbor from rotating while the blade nut is being tightened. This is a feature that should be sought after.


They range in weight from a lightweight 36 pounds to almost 75 pounds, and it is not surprising that the more expensive the saw is, the heavier it becomes.

For the second year in a row, the mid-priced saws provide a good compromise, being heavy enough to hold their position when you’re pushing a board through, yet compact and light enough to drop into your trunk or place onto a shelf.

Table saw alignment hints and tricks (fence, blade, miter gauge)

Here’s how to obtain the best results possible from the king of shop tools.

Whether you’re a beginner on the table saw, a prospective first-time purchase, or a seasoned pro — with all 10 fingers — this article will provide you with important knowledge on this equipment that can accomplish practically anything and is extremely versatile.

The first need for making clean, accurate cuts with your saw is to ensure that all of its operating parts are in proper working order. The blade, fence, and miter gauge must all be precisely adjusted and in precise alignment in order for this to be accomplished.

Saws become out of alignment as a result of use and wear, therefore check them on a regular basis.

We can only teach you how to evaluate the accuracy of your saw because each brand’s fine-tuning settings are different. We are unable to inform you which screw or nut to turn on your saw in order to properly align its components. The locations of the adjustment points will be specified in your owner’s handbook.

  • Make necessary adjustments to the blade’s parallel alignment.
  • Make necessary adjustments to the fence.
  • Verify that the blade’s vertical adjustment is correct.
  • Check to see that the miter gauge is square to the blade.
  • Your miter gauge will allow you to make precise 45-degree cuts.

Table saw blades quality

The second essential for super-satisfying cutting is a solid saw blade that is both durable and sharp.

Make use of a high-quality carbide-tipped blade with at least 40 teeth to achieve the best results.

A blade labeled as a “combination blade” will produce satisfactory results when ripping, crosscutting, and mitering are performed. In addition, it will work nicely with plywood.

There are two fundamental types of saw blades: circular and radial. The normal carbide blade makes a cut that is 1/8 inch wide, known as the kerf.

Thin-kerf carbide blades provide a thinner cut and, as a result, generate less drag on the motor, making them perfect for bench-type saws that are smaller and less powerful.

In contrast to conventional blades, thin-kerf blades have a shorter lifespan and are a little more delicate; while cutting through heavy wood, they can distort if you use them frequently.

Cutting in a safe manner

Cutting using a table saw in a safe manner is a state of mind. The majority of mishaps take place inside your head before they take place in your body.

Build up a healthy fear of the blade; the day you lose your last shred of fear is the day you could find yourself in serious trouble. –

Here are a few more quick tips:

  • Before you make a move, consider every hand and arm movement you will make. This will cause you to go more slowly, but slower is safer than faster.
  • What’s the state of your mind? If you’re feeling grouchy, fatigued, or irritated, instead of sawing wood, you should go watch a baseball game.
  • While cutting, create a mental image of where the entire blade is located, even if the majority of it is hidden within the workpiece, and keep this image fixed in your mind throughout the process.
  • Make use of the blade guard whenever possible, even if it is a major inconvenience. Whenever it is impossible to employ the blade guard (as in Photo 10), proceed with extreme caution.
  • Always keep the piece you’re cutting up against the fence or miter gauge as tightly as possible to avoid the blade grabbing it and tossing it back at you throughout the cutting process. Never attempt to cut anything without first utilizing a fence or miter gauge to guide your cuts.
  • Wear hearing and full-surround eye protection when working with loud machinery.
    Maintain the sharpness of your blade. A dull blade necessitates an excessive amount of pushing effort, which is hazardous.
  • When moving your workpiece, use a push stick or push strip (Photos 6, 10 and 11) to avoid bringing your fingers too close to the cutting blade.
  • Before you contact the blade with your hands or make any adjustments to the saw’s alignment, be sure the saw is unplugged.

Best Portable Table Saw for Fine Woodworking

DEWALT Table Saw DWE7491RS

DEWALT 10-Inch Table Saw, 32-1/2-Inch Rip Capacity (DWE7491RS)

The DEWALT DWE7491RS 10-inch Jobsite Table Saw with 32-1/2 inch (82.5cm) Rip Capacity and a Rolling Stand features a rack & pinion fence system which makes fence adjustments fast, smooth and accurate. The 32-1/2 inch rip capacity easily cuts a variety of larger shelving and trim materials – the patented material support allows this to be used for narrow rip cuts.


SAWSTOP 10-Inch Jobsite Saw Pro with Mobile Cart Assembly, 1.5-HP, 12A, 120V, 60Hz (JSS-120A60)

The Jobsite Saw Pro delivers durability, innovation and precision with a design that’s built for the worksite. The Pro model has been upgraded with new features to keep up with the most demanding construction professional.