Table Saws

There are 4 general types of table saws on the market. Each type has a particular use. What you need depends on your skills, space and budget.

Visit my blog
The Nature of Things

for thoughts on a variety of nature related topics.

Visit my photography website

Vermont Photos

Before Buying

Things to consider:  better fences make accuracy much easier, cast iron table top and extension wings add weight and make table saws more stable, aluminum top and wings are lighter for easier portability. The power needs to be suitable for your use.

You should also check that the quality of the parts are consistent with the price. If you spend $2000 on a cabinet saw you want to be sure the table is flat and well ground, by the same token, don't expect a $200 portable saw to have a 3HP motor.

By the way, the ten in 10" saw refers to the size of the blade.

Portable Bench Saws

These are lightweight saws built to be carried to a job site. They don't have the accuracy or power of other table saws and they can have trouble going through heavy stock because of their lack of power.

If you need something portable, or if you have a small space and / or budget they can work well. Generally their price range is in the $100-$700 range. When pricing, keep in mind that you might need/want a stand to go with it.

Open Based Contractors Saws

If you want a heavier saw with a bit more horsepower, then an open base contractors saw might be the one for you. They are heavier weight than the portable, but less HP than a cabinetmakers saw. I used one for years and had no problem (other than having to change the belt more often than I wanted).

Now that I have a cabinet saw I notice the difference in power, but it was a decent saw. It cut consistently and lasted forever (actually, 20 years later it’s still in use, my brother-in-law has it now).

This may be the choice for you if you want a saw that will take consistent use without the cost of a cabinet saw. It's a good choice for a small shop, however, the open base means you have to build your own dust collection system. It won't be as sturdy as a cabinet saw, so, again not for the production shop.

Cabinet / Stationary Saws

These are the heavyweights of table saws, literally and figuratively. The base is solid and heavy to reduce vibration. They tend to have the most horse power and often require 220 volt circuit. They usually come with a better grade fence and large solid extension wings. Because of their weight (often 500-600 pounds) they have little vibration and the power makes it easy to cut thick stock quickly and accurately. These are professional saws and will take daily use. They are also (of course) the most expensive saws.

Hybrid Table Saws

Hybrids are a newer type of saw. They are basically a scaled down cabinet saw; not quite as heavy, not quite as much horse power, but more than a contractors saw. They will have some features of each. For example it might have a dust collection system, or higher HP, but not the weight or power. They are another good option for a hobbyist.

There you have it. As with any tool you will most likely get what you pay for. In my case it usually comes down to a balance between need and want, with cash as the deciding factor.

For those who are interested in this site check out the links and let me know if there is a topic you would like to see me cover.

Please note: woodworking is potentially dangerous. Please read my woodworking disclaimer before using any information on this site or any site you may be directed to from here.

Thanks for visiting.