The Best Table Saw – Complete Buyers Guide & Reviews

Are you discovering your “Do-It-Yourself” alter-ego, and at the same time, realizing they have tools designed to do exactly what you need? Are you getting into woodworking and growing tired of trying to make all of those cuts painstakingly with a circular saw?

You may want to consider the ease and accuracy of a portable table saw. Our best table saw guide will show you some of the top models you can buy as well as things to consider. Like my dad always says “work smarter, not harder”.

Table saws are extremely convenient when you have a project that requires both quantity and quality. These little machines can miter, rip, crosscut, and bevel. Forget about the frustration of not being able to see what you’re cutting. With a table saw everything will be right in front of your eyes.

Quick Look: Top Picks

Now, let’s assume if you’re in the market for a table saw you’ve at least swung a hammer. I know what you’re thinking “what does a hammer have to do with a table saw?” If you’re thinking of buying a table saw, you probably have a good idea of what it takes to complete a DIY project.

Table saws aren’t necessarily for someone who just needs to cut a piece of wood. The best table saw function is to make a large job (cutting a lot of wood) easier. For smaller jobs, a circular saw may do just fine...

I know from personal experience while on a job-site that when all I have is a circular saw and I have to make a lot of cuts… I’m praying to the saw gods to drop a table saw from the clouds (or deliver by drone these days) so I can get home to my family.

As with anything, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with the variety of types, sizes, features, colors, weights, what, when, why, where, who…(let me catch my breath). For now, let’s focus on what’s right for you with our Best Portable Table Saw Guide. We’ll start by identifying quality brands that align with your needs. Besides, who wants to buy something that won’t work?

Well, that’s why The Saw Guy is here.

Best Overall Table Saw

DeWALT 7491RS 10-inch Jobsite Table Saw with Rolling Stand

Sale
DEWALT DWE7491RS 10-Inch Jobsite Table Saw with 32-1/2-Inch Rip Capacity and Rolling Stand
  • Rack and Pinion Fence System Make fence adjustments fast, smooth and accurate
  • 32-1/2 inch Rip capacity easily cuts a variety of larger shelving and trim materials
  • 15 Amp motor quickly rips through hardwoods with ease. Flip over ripping fence allows for narrow rip cuts

Last update on 2018-07-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

DeWALT is a historically reliable brand and this table saw does not break that pattern. I have little doubt you will be satisfied with the DeWALT 7491RS. In fact, I believe "satisfied" may be underselling it significantly. Only one way to find out. 

Esthetics and Durability

DEWALT DWE7491RS 10-Inch Jobsite Table Saw with 32-1/2-Inch Rip Capacity and Rolling Stand

Let’s face it, DeWALT is one of the most popular brands of power tools in the world. And, if you own a bunch of DeWALT hand tools, you’re pretty likely to purchase the same brand when deciding what tools you need for the bigger projects.

That plan doesn’t always work but with the DeWALT 7491RS table saw it does. So, you’re not only buying a table saw that matches the rest of your tools, you’re buying a table saw that will do the job right.

Now, let’s talk about what this table saw is made of…

At first glance the deck of this saw appears to be made of plastic, and if there is anything I know it’s plastic parts on power tools is never a good sign. However, the deck is actually a sort of aluminum composite and is very durable.

There are some small parts made of plastic, but over the last few years the durability of plastic has increased exponentially. One of the larger plastic components is the miter gauge. The plastic gauge is pretty small and can have issues with accuracy.

​If you are one to use the miter gauge very often you may want to consider purchasing an OEM gauge separate if you can find one that is compatible. However, if you’re just using the saw for DIY projects and not craftsman quality custom woodwork, you should be just fine.

The rolling saw stand is built for portability and easy storage. Yet, it is made out of aluminum which makes it both lightweight and strong. The stand itself only weighs 33 lbs but it holds up to 200 lbs. Just, please don’t try standing on it.

The stand is so easy to work with because of the design. For instance, it has quick-release levers that allow it to fold up when you’re done, big wheels that allow you to roll over whatever may be in the way, and even kickstands for better stability.

It’s the little things like the rubber feet to keep it from sliding, the comfortable handle for transporting, and even the height of the table that make this table saw a winner.

Any table saw is useless without a blade. The DeWALT 7491RS comes with a 24-tooth blade that works fine for most rough applications. However, it is always important to find the right saw blade to match the style and power of each saw you use. I find a 50-tooth carbide blade works perfectly with the DeWALT 7491RS.

The 50-tooth carbide blade is great for almost everything from wood flooring to cabinets. In comparison to the 40-tooth it cuts much smoother and still gets through framing lumber fast enough.

Of course, an 80-tooth blade will leave a much smoother finish but it will take a significantly longer time to finish your cuts. Not to mention the wear constantly using a fine-toothed blade will put on the motor of your saw over time.

Functionality

A circular saw is great for initial cuts of plywood sheets or single cuts. The miter saw is what you would use to make precise angled crosscuts. A jigsaw is good for curving cuts or anything intricate. The table saw is a must when you have a significant amount of ripping and lumber style crosscuts.

The great thing about the DeWALT 7491RS is that it folds up small enough to store and not be in the way. It also has a number of add-ons like the table top slide out extensions (side and back) which work very well.

Generally, portable table saws do not have a broad enough surface to cut full sheets of plywood. A full sheet would have to be cut into a partial sheet to use on a portable table saw safely.

What truly sets the DeWALT 7491RS apart from any other in its class is the rack and pinion system. No other portable table saw has this feature.  

The rack and pinion fence is very precise and consistent. It can easily rip dead on within 1/16 of an inch or less. Not to mention this saw has the largest rip capacity out of any like it at 32 ½ inches.

The DeWALT 7491RS is a 15-amp saw and should be operated on a 20-amp circuit. It can be operated on 15 amps but it could trip the breaker on harder material or if any other source is drawing amps.

15-amp saws are great for their portability but will not withstand the specifications and quantity like a $2,000-$10,000 cabinet saw will.

Be sure to refer to the manual to make all the adjustments and measurements for vertical, zero-miter, parallel to fence, rip scale, etc. It takes approximately 30 minutes and will result in much higher accuracy. This just saves you time and frustration in the long run.

Safety Features

The DeWALT 7491RS has a number of safety features one can expect in a table saw. The two safety features I’d like to point out are the on/off switch and the blade-guard/riving knife setup.

On/Off Switch

The on/off switch has a lockout feature. Basically, if you didn’t want the button to be pushed accidentally you can engage the lockout feature. 

​The on/off switch also has a large lever added to make it easier to turn off in case of an emergency. Imagine, you’re ripping a piece of plywood, your hands are full, and something happens but you can’t let go of the plywood. You can actually raise your knee and hit the switch because of the over-sized lever.

Blade Guard

Secondly, the blade guard and riving knife set up is very easy to install. The reason this is such a big deal is that the main reason most people don’t use blade guards is because they are such a pain to work with. Not the case on this machine.

Please remember though, safety features should never be a substitute for good ole fashion paying attention.

Nit Picking

Although the DeWALT 7491RS does have the capability to use a dado blade, it does not come with a dado plate. So, if you know how to dado, you have to purchase a dado plate for this saw separately.

​The saw does not easily detach from the stand. Sometimes it’s beneficial to set the saw up as a bench-top saw, but the DeWALT 7491RS doesn’t come with quick release levers to accomplish this easily. In this case, you would have to use a drill to remove four screws to detach it from the stand. I wouldn’t recommend doing this unless you have to because over time the screw holes will strip.

Next Best Table Saw

Makita 2705X1 10-inch Contractor Table Saw with Stand

Sale
Makita 2705X1 10-Inch Contractor Table Saw with Stand
  • Item may ship in more than one box and may arrive separately
  • Powerful 15.0 AMP motor delivers 4,800 RPM
  • ""Tool-less"" modular blade guard system with an adjustable riving knife/spreader

Last update on 2018-07-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Makita 2705X1 is the most expensive option for the table saws that I have reviewed. In fact, it is a little more expensive than the DeWALT. I will admit that is a bit more than I’d personally be willing to spend.

Yet, if I was going to be using my table saw every day I would put some serious thought into the Makita. It is so much more powerful and has proven to be the most durable portable table saw on the market.

Can I say it is the best table saw?

No, but it really all depends on what you’re looking for. Each saw has their flaws and each their advantages. Hopefully, if you read my reviews you come away with a better educated choice.

Esthetics and Durability

Makita 2705X1 10-Inch Contractor Table Saw with Stand

Makita is a Japanese owned company that operates factories all over the world. However, one thing to note is that this particular table saw contains parts from Australia and is assembled in the United States.

The stand, however, is made in China and some people have a (perhaps justifiably) negative opinion of products that come from China. Due to low oversight, some products can be of lower quality and that is a deal breaker for some. But Makita is known for their quality and the stand is really quite nice.

The portability of the Makita 2705X1 comes into question for a few reasons.

For one, the stand’s wheels aren’t quite as big as they should be to clear job-site debris. And two, this saw is heavy! At 194 lbs the Makita 2705X1 is about 84 lbs heavier than the DeWALT. That is a big difference.

Although the stand on the Makita 2705X1 is nice, they could have used bigger wheels (like DeWALT) to make it easier to traverse steps and maneuver around obstacles. But what you don’t get with many other stands is the adjustable height.

The stand for the Makita 2705X1 has 4 different heights it can be adjusted to, and that could definitely come in handy.

How's This for Convenient?

If you have a mid-sized truck you can just roll the Makita 2705X1 right up to the tailgate and push the edge of the stand, lift at the same time, and slide the saw right in. That’s a pretty nice feature when you have a table saw that weighs 194 lbs.

Why Heavy Can Be a Good Thing

The heftiness of the Makita is also one of the best features. A lot of contractors that use table saws every day will buy the Makita because it will hold up to a beating due to its extremely solid construction.

At the same time, if you won’t be using it every day, or if you have back problems, or you’re just not that strong, the Makita 2705X1 might be a little too much to handle.

The table on the Makita 2705X1 is pretty nice and extends very smoothly when needed to cut wide material. The rip fence is just okay and certainly isn’t the best table-saw fence ever made.

If you are only cutting 2x4x8’s it works just fine. However, when you get into cutting sheets, plywood, or anything beyond 8ft it has a tendency to get bumped out of alignment which is a big problem.

So, if you’re not careful you could ruin your material. Especially, if you are looking for precise cuts. There is, however, a fairly inexpensive solution to this issue. Purchase a set of decent clamps that stay with the saw and any time you are cutting large material you can utilize them.

It seems like a big hassle but in the end, it really isn’t.

Function

Makita brand power tools are known for their power. The Makita 2705X1 is certainly no exception. It is easily one of the most powerful portable table saws I have ever used. Seriously, this saw will rip a 4×4 in one pass.

That is pretty incredible.

The reason this saw can generate more power that DeWALT and SKIL is because it runs at approximately 1,000 higher RPM’s. So, if you’re looking for the most powerful portable table saw on the market, the Makita is the best table saw for you.

Like most (if not all) of the best table saws, almost everything besides the lateral blade is adjustable on the Makita 2705X1. But, one of the nicest improvements on the Makita 2705X1 table saw is the adjustable riving knife.

It even has a quick release which all of the best table saws are incorporating these days. The blade guard has anti-kickback paws and along with the riving knife allows for a pinching and binding free project.

Another great safety feature is the electric brake. Think about how important that can be if a piece of wood gets away from you or a million other circumstances. Instead of taking what feels like minutes to shut down, the blade will stop within seconds.

The switch is also big enough so you can use your knee to shut it off as well (if your hands are full). Let’s face it, we sometimes appear to have an uncanny ability to do something stupid to hurt ourselves. We should never pass up an opportunity to reduce that likelihood. I like when a company thinks about safety.

Nit Picking

The throat plate can be a little annoying to work with. It requires a #1 Phillips-head screwdriver to remove and the gap between the blade and the work-piece is rather large. I know some people have made their own but that’s additional work that isn’t really necessary.

This sucker is heavy and I am not a body builder. Yet, heavy in this case, means really good quality. With the throat plate is a hassle and the Makita 2705X1 is pretty expensive. You really need to justify the extra dough you will have to shell out on this powerful machine.

Makita has been a favorite among contractors for years. After reviewing the Makita table saw, I have no doubt the trend will continue.

Best Budget Table Saw

SKIL 3410-02 120-Volt 10-inch Table Saw with Folding Stand

Sale
SKIL 3410-02 10-Inch Table Saw with Folding Stand
  • 20-Inch x 26-Inch cast aluminum table extends to 20-Inch x 32-Inch for longer work pieces
  • 3-1/2-Inch cut height capacity for cutting through 4x materials
  • Heavy-duty steel stand for fast setup and easy transport

Last update on 2018-07-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This particular SKIL Table Saw is really worth the label of the best table saw for a tight budget.

That is a VERY affordable table saw for the weekend warrior...​

The difference between the SKIL table saw and its higher priced competitors can be significant. I can think of a lot of things to do with that extra money. So, as long as you know you aren’t getting the same quality and durability as a DeWALT or Makita, you should find plenty of satisfaction in the SKIL 3410-02 table saw.

Esthetics & Durability

SKIL 3410-02 10-Inch Table Saw with Folding Stand

Let’s be honest here, not all tool brands are created equal. Each brand has a specific target market and let’s face it, SKIL is not in the same weight class as DeWALT and Makita.

But, their price point reflects that. If you want the absolute best table saw money can buy then you can go pay $10,000 and it’s yours. We always accept a certain number of tradeoffs depending on what our budget allows So, if I am only doing a few DIY projects a year, I am not a carpenter by trade, and my budget is limited, the SKIL table saw may be right up my alley.

The fence and deck on the SKIL table saw are well made. All of the measurements are clearly marked and make for precise cutting, even for beginners. The materials used to build this machine don’t match up with the best table saw’s out there, but it will hold up great for small DIY projects.

The fact is you’re going to find a few things here and there that make it difficult to work with. For instance, the handle that locks the rip fence has a curvature that protrudes beyond the fence itself and therefore can get in the way when making larger cuts. Essentially, it can add approximately ¼-inch to whatever it is your cutting.

For rough cuts it won’t matter, but if you needed precise cuts it would have to be taken into consideration. The blade guard is a little cumbersome but it is a safety feature after all.

The stand isn’t designed to be the best table saw stand ever made. However, the stand is sturdy and perfectly capable for the SKIL table saw.

The motor of this saw appears to be of high quality. I know it’s getting quite repetitive, but for the money, this motor can handle almost anything you put in front of it. Now, when I say that, I am referring to DIY projects and not using this saw on a jobsite for building houses of course.

However, I am so impressed with the motor I believe that, even on a jobsite, the rest of the saw would break down before the motor ever would.

Budget Saw Tips

One thing I recommend is going over the entire saw and tightening up screws and other hardware when possible. Use grease and oil where necessary. Doing little things like this can go a long way toward eliminating future issues, extending the life of your saw, and marginally increasing performance.

Function

The assembly of this saw is relatively easy. If the reason you don’t shop at IKEA is because the furniture is so hard to assemble, you won’t have to worry about that same experience with the SKIL 3410-02. In fact, it’s a reasonable assumption you would only have to set aside about 30 minutes to get the SKIL table saw together.

One major issue many people have with the SKIL table saw is its inability to accept modifications or after-market parts. Let’s say you wanted to build a cross-cut sled for your saw…

With most of the best table saws the grooves on the face of the saw are 3/8 of an inch. With the SKIL table saw, however, this is not the case. For some reason, SKIL decided to build their saw with two teeth on each end of the grooves on the face of the saw, thus making it impossible to use a cross-cut sled. Here is my opinion though…

If you are doing the type of woodwork that requires after-market products and cross-cut sleds you are probably not even considering buying a SKIL table saw in the first place.

The SKIL table saw has the riving knife safety feature that helps prevent kick back. I also really like the fact that the blade guard has a quick disconnect because it helps promote safety by making it easy to remove and install. And, if you do remove any of the accessories, there is a place to store everything right on the saw.

Earlier I mentioned how if you are purchasing a SKIL table saw you probably aren’t doing any fancy woodwork. However, one thing that impressed me about this saw is its ability to do DADO cuts.

Because the mechanism that raises and lowers the blade is a rail system and not a single pivot point, it provides greater strength and stability when making DADO cuts. Pretty cool feature for an affordable saw.

What is a DADO cut?

A dado is a slot or trench cut into the surface of a piece of machinable material, usually wood. When viewed in cross-section, a dado has three sides. A dado is cut across, or perpendicular to, the grain and is thus differentiated from a groove which is cut with, or parallel to, the grain (Wikipedia).

Nit Picking

The irregularly sized miter gauge slots make it impede the use of jigs, sleds, or better quality miter gauges. On most saws there is a port that allows for sawdust collection. The SKIL table saw lacks in the dust collection department.

The greatest feature of the SKIL table saw is the price. Although you are sacrificing some features, it is a good saw, and best of all, affordable. With some care and good sense, you can make this saw last for years. I think it's worth a shot.

Most Important Table Saw Features

With any purchase there are going to be a number of different features you’ll need to take into consideration as a buyer. And, as usual, some features are just more important or have a bigger impact on your personal overall satisfaction with your purchase. Meanwhile, others may be less important but nice to have.

Fence

The fence on a table saw is one of its defining features and allows for precise, square, and repeatable cuts. Not all fences are equal though and a poorly built fence is a deal-breaker, in my opinion. Not only will a poorly built and implemented fence affect the quality of your cuts, but a fence that moves or is not square to the blade can cause your material to bind and kickback.

A good fence should sit square and lock firmly into place, but it’s always a good practice to double check by measuring to the front and back of the saw blade. At least, until you know your tool. A good fence should also be easy to adjust and move smoothly so you can get it in exactly the position you want it.

Switch

The switch isn’t typically something you’d consider a feature and for the most part you’re right. Switches do the same basic thing, they turn the saw on and then they turn it back off.  It’s the implementation of the switch that’s a feature and there are a couple things to consider.

The first is how easy the switch is to operate. Oftentimes, you will approach your table saw with your hands full especially when we are talking about sheet goods. And sometimes you’ll be making cuts that require both hands to be occupied. Now if something goes wrong or you need to turn the saw off for any reason, you need to be able to do so and the quicker the better.

For these reasons, the switch needs to be in an easily accessible area, needs to be large, and needs to be easy to operate. You may even want it to be easy enough to operate with a knee or your hip so you don’t have to take your attention away from the blade.

A magnetic switch is also good from a safety standpoint but may not be necessary on these smaller versions. A magnetic switch prevents the saw from starting back up if it loses power during a power outage. Basically, the power outage will turn off the saw. This is good because if for some reason the power were to come back on when you were not near the machine, the material could be shot out of it or damage the saw.

Table saws are powerful and if you have kids or will be around kids (or even some adults) there are saw switches that may have an option to add a padlock to them to prevent little hands from turning on the saw. Like the magnetic switch, this probably isn’t a make or break kind of feature, but it’s nice to have options.

Extensions

These are pretty straightforward but will make your life so much easier when you need them. Extensions make the table portion of the table saw larger and provide better support when cutting large materials.

These extensions can be either folded away or can be telescoping. On other models they may be a separate item altogether and require fastening before use.

Flesh Detection

This is a sort of new thing and there are only a few saws that include this feature but it really is an amazing one. Flesh detection is a system put in place that will stop the saw blade nearly instantly the moment it comes into contact with a good conductor. Wood is a poor conductor, skin is a good conductor. See where this is going?

When the blade touches flesh, a brake will stop the blade and the blade drops down below the surface of the table. The operator will presumably leave with only a small nick or no injury at all. These systems definitely bump up the price of the saw, but it’s a major safety feature and just might be able to save you some very expensive medical bills, along with your fingers.

One drawback is because of the way the blade is stopped, you will want to have an extra blade brake on hand because once it’s used, it cannot be reused. So, if you don’t have another handy, you will have some downtime. Also, the stopping of a blade moving at thousands of RPM can understandably be very hard on the blade itself. Often, the blade may need to be replaced after it has been stopped in this way. Still better than losing a thumb.

Safety

Table saws can be one of the more dangerous tools included in a shop. They are powerful and operate a large blade spinning at high speed. Fortunately, there are a number of safety features on every table saw to help prevent accidents from happening.

A table saw has two main ways it can seriously hurt you. One is obvious and that is having any part of your body come into contact with the blade. Any table saw you are seriously considering should have a blade guard installed. The clearer the better. And make sure you leave it on. The blade guard can’t do its intended job from a workbench or shelf.

If you are making a cut that will require your hands to get close to the blade, (within 6 inches) use a push stick or two to eliminate the chances of your hand touching the blade. If this is a big concern for you, maybe consider a saw that uses flesh detection to stop the blade. The additional cost of the saw will be instantly appreciated the first time you need it.

The other way a table saw can hurt you is with kickback. Kickback is when the material is thrown back at the operator and can occur a number of different ways. So your best bet is to minimize your chances of this happening. Make sure your fence is square on rips and I would also make sure you are using either a splitter or a riving knife.

The most important safety feature in the shop is you though. So, make sure you understand how to safely operate your table saw, how to use its safety features, and be mindful when using any tools.

Best Table Saw Brands

DeWALT

DeWALT was founded in 1924 with the creation of a universal woodworking machine. Since then, DeWALT has become a household name known for professional grade and durable products. And their product line is vast, ranging from radios and work lights to axes and nail sets.

Makita

Makita got its start more than 100 years ago in 1915 as an electric motor sales and repair business. In that time, Makita has grown into a well-known global giant in power tools. Whether it runs on gas, electricity, or battery, there isn’t much Makita doesn’t make of professional quality.

SKIL

SKIL made its name with their Model E, the first handheld, portable circular saw, and has been renown for innovation since. There product line has expanded to an array of power tools including table saws, drills, routers, and many others, in addition to accessories for these tools.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can I use my table saw to cut metal, stone, or laminate?
A: You wouldn’t want to use a table saw intended for wood to cut metal or stone. This is very hard on the saw. You could cut laminate with a table saw using a blade with 100 or more teeth.

Q: Will I need a specific saw blade for certain cuts?

A: Yes and no. It’s a matter of could versus should. You could use a crosscut blade for ripping but you probably shouldn’t and vice versa. It also depends on the finish you want. A general-purpose blade will do a decent job across a wide range but if you want a smooth and professional finish you’ll want to consider a specialty blade.

Q: Can I sharpen my table saw blade?

A: If it’s steel you can probably sharpen it yourself using a file or a sharpening tool. If the blade is carbide, then you’ll most likely want to find a professional to sharpen it for you as carbide requires special equipment to sharpen.

Q: What size extension cord should I use?

A: Not all extension cords are equal, they vary significantly on the amperage they are rated for. So, you’ll need to ensure you also have an extension cord that can meet the power needs of your saw.

Failing to get enough power to the saw not only prevents the saw from performing at its maximum, but will also shorten the life of your saw. However, you can go bigger on the extension cord as the saw will only draw the maximum amps its built for. You just don’t want the saw power starved.

Final Thoughts

The purchase of a table saw is no doubt a big investment. But there is a lot of flexibility in this class of tools to find one that fits in with your budget and your wants. Make sure to take into account how you will need to use the tool and where you will need to use it. Heavier models will be sturdier but they will also require more effort to load up when you need to.

Overall, you’ll want to find a saw that matches your needs but doesn’t break your budget wide open. However, since this is not a purchase you will likely make often, be sure that you are satisfied with the saw you decide to go with.