Choosing the Right Table Saw

A portable DeWalt DW745 table saw on stand

A portable DeWalt 745 table saw on stand

Table saws are one of the most basic, yet vital, woodworking tools in your arsenal. Choosing the right table saw requires understanding your woodworking needs and the benefits each saw offers.

Read on to get a solid introduction into the world of table saws.

  • Portable table saws – Portable table saws are inexpensive and easy to transport. They can be carried to a wide variety of jobs and are adaptable to multiple work environments. However, they have less power than other table saw types. More powerful models called “jobsite” saws are available.
  • Contractor table saws – These rear-mounted table saws are generally built into a wheeled-stand. More powerful than portable saws, they are a little less maneuverable. However, they are basically de rigeur for true professional woodworkers as they offer the greatest balance of power and adaptability.
  • Cabinet saws – The most powerful table saw is also the leave maneuverable: once it is mounted, it ain’t going nowhere. They also require a stronger power source and are generally the most expensive type of table saw. However, they are easily the most powerful types of table saws on the market. They are perfect for amateur woodworkers who just want to work out of their garage.

Other table saw considerations include motor types and blades. Direct drive motors are typical on portable saws. This drive connects the motor directly to the saw, which wears it out a little more quickly.

Belt drive motors are common in cabinet and contractor saws. Instead of connecting directly to the saw, they connect with a belt. This avoids excessive engine wear.

Blade types include steel, high-speed blades, and carbide tipped blades. Steel blades are the cheapest and least durable, while carbide are the most expensive and longest lasting.

Use this information when buying table saws and you’re guaranteed to get the right saw, every time!