What to know before you buy a Table Saw



A table saw is one of the most important woodworking tools in the workshop. Essentially, all other tools in the workshop are centered on the table saw. Therefore, making a wrong purchase of the table saw can be devastating to you. A poor table saw selection is costly in terms of money and productivity. With this in mind, it’s wise to consider the table saw reviews before making a purchase. It’s vital to procure a table saw that matches your woodwork needs. Below is a review of what to look for in a table saw.


Categories of Table Saws

Before you walk into a hardware store or go through the online table saw pages, it’s crucial to have a specific class of table saw in mind. This will help you identify the best table saw that is specifically tailored to meet your carpentry requirements. Generally, there are three categories of table saws:

a) Contractor’s Saw: This category of table saws is popular with the building contractors. It’s aluminum-made, and light in design. The saw has an externally mounted motor that drives the blade belt. The trunnions are also lighter in weight and provide accurate results. The motor power may vary depending on design, but mostly, the ranges are between 1HP and 4HP. Dewalt’s DW745 table saw is without a doubt, one of the best contractors table saw on the market and is something you should consider.

b) Cabinet Saw: This saw is the largest and the heaviest of all the table saws. It is iron-cast, and may be costlier due to its complexity.  The motor is inbuilt and protected by the cabinet. The trunnions and the gears are heavy but offer precise results. The motor is usually3-5HP, and the overall weight of the saw is roughly 600 pounds.

c) Hybrid Saw: This class of saw tends to combine features of both the Contractor’s and Hybrid saws. They are different in design depending on the manufacturer. For example, some Hybrid saws are characterized by cast-iron, heavy gears, and heavy trunnions. In terms of the horsepower, the hybrid saws operate under 2HP.


Buying Criteria

Based on various online table saw reviews, there are specific requirements that make a good table saw. Other than knowing what category to go for, you need to have specific features of the saw that you want to buy.

1. Voltage Requirement: Each category of table saw has a voltage limit that it works better under. For example, most cabinet saws work well with a power supply of 220V. Conversely, a majority of contractor’s and hybrid saws operate on 110V power. However, the hybrid saw is flexible, and allows you to adjust the power to 220V. The benefit of using a 220V power supply is that the motor does not bog down in case of heavy workload. The only shortfall is that the 220V power saws are heavy, thus not portable.

2. Dust Collection: The table saw produces lots of dust that may pose danger to your respiratory system. A good dust collection system protects you from inhaling the dust. Most cabinet saws have a 4-inch port for dust collection on their backside, thus ideal for indoor carpentry works. On the other hand, Contractor’s saw and some Hybrid saws contain undercarriages that allow the dust to fall down when working. They are best suited for outdoor woodwork projects.

3. Fence: Ordinarily, the best table saw should have an accurate fence—that is also adjustable. The fence is prone to sliding when in operation, which may make the blade to bind on the wood, resulting in dangerous kickbacks. A sturdy fence makes it hard for you to make adjustments, thus frustrating to use. To avoid all these issues, you should buy a table saw that has a flexible fence.

4. Safety Features: Since the table saw is a dangerous tool to work with, it’s important that you look for a safer option.  Features to consider include:

• Ring knife to prevent kickbacks

• Paddle switch for switching the saw on (using your leg)

• Anti-kickback pawls  to prevent pinching of the wood by the blade

• Blade guards and blade brakes to  prevent accidents


Final Thoughts

In addition to the above features, you should consider the table material, miter gauge, and angle tilt. The best table materials include aluminum, cast iron, painted steel, and granite. The miter gauge should be sturdy, and the bevel tilt should be 0-45 degrees. Before buying any type of table saw, you should consider reading more table saw reviews – check out Protoolzone as they cover each category of table saws on the market.


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