No matter what kind of woodworking you do, you almost certainly can’t get it done without a table saw! Anytime you’re ripping wood down to width, or handling large pieces of stock, there’s no tool that’s better for the job than a table saw.
There are a few different types of table saws on the market today. For this main page, we’ll focus on the traditional “cabinet”-style models which have been shop mainstays for the last century. They’re heavy-duty, solid “lifetime” tools which are ideal for frequent or professional woodworkers with ample space in their shop.
However, they’re also one of the biggest investments you’ll need to make in your workshop, so shopping for one is no small order. That’s especially true when you consider the fact that these aren’t easy to test-drive, like a hand drill. You need to be absolutely sure you’re buying a quality machine before you pull the trigger!
That’s where we come in! As your saw experts, we’ve taken a comprehensive look at all the models on the market right now, to help you find the best table saw for your projects and your lifestyle. We compared dozens of options, drawing on our own collective experience as well as professional ratings, and reviews from buyers who spent time using these saws in their homes. We compared specs, features, reliability ratings and more, to find the absolute best options out there right now.
In the end, we chose three of our favorite models to recommend in this guide. You’ll find something to suit every budget and skill level, as well as handy guide to figuring out which one is your best bet. You can find our own in-depth reviews of each table saw below.
*For this main page, we’ve focused on cabinet-style table saws. You can find links to our recommendations, reviews, and advice for the best portable, contractor, and hybrid units at bottom of the page. Not sure which type of table saw is right for you? There’s a guide to all the different types at the bottom of the page as well!
[comparison_table product1=”grizzly” product2=”jet-3″ product3=”sawstop-2″]
Table Saw Reviews
[easyazon_link identifier=”B000TUM7AM” locale=”US” nw=”y” nf=”y” tag=”bestsaws-reviews-20″ cloak=”n”]
[easyazon_link identifier=”B000TUM7AM” locale=”US” nw=”y” nf=”y” tag=”bestsaws-reviews-20″ cloak=”n”]Click for Price[/easyazon_link]
Our most budget-friendly recommendation for a cabinet table saw comes from Grizzly. Even though it’s only $2,000, it includes all the basic features of a premium cabinet model over $3,000. The G0651 is one of Grizzly’s Extreme lineup of saws, and it’s built for heavy, regular use over a lifetime.
We especially love the double extension tables, as well as the heavy cast iron construction on the cabinet and worktop. This one’s our top recommendation for anyone trying to get the most table saw bang for their buck!
- Table height: 34-7/8”
- Table size (including extension): 27″ x 75-3/4”
- Total dimensions: 91-1/2″L x 75″W x 40-5/8″H
- Max depth of cut: 3-3/16” at 90 degrees, 2-3/16″ at 45 degrees
- Max rip capacity: 52”
- Blade size: 10”
- Motor: 3 HP, 220V, single-phase
- Max speed: 4000 RPM
It provides tremendous value. Many cabinet units are sold as-is, and extensions and accessories are extra. The Grizzly includes everything you need to get up and running safely and quickly. This one has both back and side table extensions included, The guard and riving knife come standard, as do extra shelves under the extension wings.
You also get a push stick, and a very respectable blade thrown in the package. Plus, there’s a cast-iron miter gauge with a steel bar which follows along in the T-slot on the table.
The dual extension tables (rear and side) offer 50% more table space than most rectangular units. We also appreciate that Grizzly have put all the space under the worktop to use, with steel-frame shelving built in as standard. You can use it for scrap wood, tools, and accessories: you can even fit a full tool chest under there! It’s a good space-saving touch for busy shops.
Even the least expensive of our cabinet recommendations will accommodate a full sheet of plywood. This one has a 52” rip capacity when you use the extensions, which makes it super convenient to handle all your large stock. It can handle lumber up to 3 3/16” on a standard right angle.
The cabinet is large, and keeps all the motor assembly and drive components safely enclosed. We love the hinged motor cover that’s included on this one, which makes it easy to service the inside of the tool without having to take the cover completely off. On the side, you’ll find flywheels for adjusting the blade tilt and height.
Between the size, power, and quality of the machine, professional and amateur reviewers alike said this was by far the best machine on the market at this price point.
It has a great fence design. This one has long rails along the horizontal extension, which allows you to set up to 52” stock up for ripping. The locking mechanisms, knobs, and wheels are all metal.
It’s heavy-duty. Like all great cabinet saws, the Grizzly is built from parts that can last a lifetime or more. It has a cast-iron table, that’s precision-ground to be exactly level, with no warps or imperfections. The trunnion supports holding up the motor are also solid cast iron, which means that they don’t translate much vibration to the work surface at all. The paint on the cabinet and extension frames is powder-coated, and the miter gauge and riving knife are solid steel. Both extension table surfaces are made with a coated, engineered composite, which stands up well against dings or scuffs.
It’s powerful. The blade is hooked up to a 3HP motor which can muster a no-load speed up to 4000 RPM! That’s perfect for all your cutting needs, and it’s much better than other inexpensive units when it comes to slicing hardwoods or thicker stock. While many smaller units advertise similar HP ratings, this one actually lives up to the promise, since it uses 220V power.
It has all the safety features you need. This one has a big, brightly-colored stop button connected to an electric brake, so you can easily bring the blade to a halt. The stop button panel also has a thermal overload switch built in, so it’ll automatically switch the saw off if the motor becomes too hot. We also love that there’s a magnetic switch in the same panel, which prevents the machine from turning itself back on if power cuts out in your shop while you’re working.
This one meets all the latest CSA and UL standards: CSA C22.2 #71.2-08 and UL 987.
It has a quick-release spreader guard to protect against kickback and binding. You get a choice between using it with splitter guard and a riving knife, both of which are included with the saw.
There are a few nice conveniences which we don’t always see on affordable units like this. The Grizzly has a built-in miter guide, made from cast iron, which slides easily in the worktop. The left-tilting blade is coordinated with a digital display, which gives you an accurate, real-time readout on your bevel angle as you cut! The motor has a starting amperage of 13, which is safer for your breakers than 15 amp models. There’s a standard 4” dust collection port, and
It’s made in the USA. Grizzly make all their cabinet units here in the States, and that means you can expect a higher level of quality control from their products than from other brands which import.
You can opt to extend the warranty coverage to 3 years, all through an external provider. We actually prefer these third-party warranties for power tools because they allow you to deal with people who are on your side, as opposed to company representatives, who can be frustrating to say the least. We think add-on coverage is a great safeguard for any cabinet table saw, and it’s a very reasonable proposition on this model.
One of the biggest selling points on the Grizzly is how much workspace you get for the price. The downside is that the dual extensions take up quite a bit of space in your shop. Make sure you have room for this unit before you buy!
$2000 isn’t a casual purchase. We’ve seen cabinet models that cost less than this. If you’re looking for something along these lines but can’t quite make the numbers work, have a look at our guide to the best hybrid table saws! They have the build quality and power of a cabinet unit without as large a footprint or price tag.
The Grizzly, like the other cabinet models you’ll see here, requires a 220V power supply. If you’re a professional woodworker, you probably already have a 220V hookup. If you’re a home woodworker or DIYer, you’ll need to have one installed, if you haven’t already. It can be an expensive installation, so factor in the cost when you consider how much you’ll spend on your new saw.
As with all our cabinet recommendations, this is most definitely not a portable saw. At almost 700 pounds, you should plan on finding a permanent place to install it in your shop.
Grizzly’s quality control is good, but not perfect. However, the company have very good support, so you should receive any relevant replacement parts promptly.
[easyazon_link identifier=”B000WO4HUI” locale=”US” nw=”y” nf=”y” tag=”bestsaws-reviews-20″ cloak=”n”]
[easyazon_link identifier=”B000WO4HUI” locale=”US” nw=”y” nf=”y” tag=”bestsaws-reviews-20″ cloak=”n”]Click for Price[/easyazon_link]
Our top midrange choice comes from Jet, which is a partner brand of the well-known Powermate lineup. This unit is a good choice for folks who need a saw that can cut through absolutely anything, at a reasonable price, and without taking up too much space. It’s more compact than the Grizzly, but it offers even faster saw speeds and more precise adjustments. We recommend it to folks who want lots of power, but don’t have the room for a larger cabinet unit.
- Table height: 34”
- Table size (including extension): 29″ x 42”
- Total dimensions: 29”L x 42″W x 34″H
- Max depth of cut: 3” at 90 degrees, 2-1/8“ at 45 degrees
- Max rip capacity: 50”
- Blade size: 10”
- Motor: 3 HP, 230V, single-phase
- Max speed: 4300 RPM
It has a lot of the same features we love on the Grizzly. The Jet has a cast iron worktop, a full cabinet enclosure, and a fence on rolling tracks along the edge of the table. It has a belt-driven 3HP motor, an electric brake with a magnetic switch, and precision-machined parts for exact cuts. There’s also an included miter gauge with a follow pin that runs in the T-slot on the saw’s worktop. All in all, it’s another complete package that ticks all our key boxes!
It’s a slightly faster saw. The Jet and the Grizzly have the same size motor, 3 HP, but the Jet’s motor is set up with a 3-belt drive system which transfers more energy to the blade than the Grizzly’s. The result is a faster cut, and smoother, quieter operation. This one goes up to 4300 RPM, while the Grizzly maxes out at 4000.
Previous buyers said they were at a loss to find materials that the Jet couldn’t cut! They said it went like butter, with no lag whatsoever, and almost no vibration at all. Reviewers raved about the motor’s power, and especially complimented how steadily it ran. This is an excellent choice for hardwoods, thick softwoods, and composite boards: absolutely anything that’ll fit.
It’s more compact than the Grizzly, and it uses its space efficiently. The Jet only has one extension table, but it makes the most of it. This one gets nearly the same rip capacity as the much larger Grizzly–to within 2 inches! There’s also a closed-off drawer in the bottom of the cabinet, which is ideal for storing all your smaller table saw accessories.
Since it’s separated from the rest of the cabinet, there’s no way for sawdust to get into the storage drawer. On the side of the cabinet, there are hangers for the fence, miter gauges, and other large accessories.
It has a modified, wide-stance cast iron trunnion supporting the motor. That makes it more stable to adjust, and creates even less vibration while running than the Grizzly (already quite quiet). The motor gets its own hinged metal cover, just like the Grizzly, so it’s easy to maintain.
We absolutely love the guard on this model. Like the Grizzly, the Jet is equipped with a riving knife or splitter, a blade guard, and kickback awls. The Jet’s our favorite of the two to use, because the whole system is modular: you can take it apart or put it back together without using any tools! The splitter (or riving knife) attaches to the same arbor component as the blade, so no matter how you bevel, and no matter what size blade you use, the splitter always lines up without needing any adjustments.
The guard panels at either side of the blade lift up independently, which keeps debris from flying to the side of the cut, and channels it into the vacuum system instead. They even work at a 45 degree bevel! You can also flip them up to get them out of the way when you’re making more of a close adjustment, and need access to the blade.
We’re not alone in loving the Jet’s guard system. We read lots of reviews from pros who said they’d used lots of table saws in their time, but this was the first time they didn’t absolutely hate the guard. In fact, many wrote that they started working with the guard onboard for the first time, simply because it worked so well. It’s certainly one of the most unobtrusive ones we’ve seen!
The adjustment flywheels are also a nice upgrade on this one. They have locking screw-caps on the front of the flywheels, which let you tension down the wheels so they don’t move out of position. They’re also solid metal–even the caps!
The fence is pretty similar to the Grizzly, with a locking adjustment lever, and a ruler along the edge of the worktop. The edges are an improvement, though, since they’re a lot slicker than the Grizzly’s. The composite material is extremely smooth There’s absolutely nothing for wood to catch on, so this one makes for even smoother cuts.
Instead of a digital readout, the Jet has a large-print bevel scale on the side of the cabinet, so you can easily see your set angle. While we like digital displays, we know some woodworkers like to keep things more simple. This one’s a good choice for folks who don’t like lots of electronic features that can act up.
It’s easier to change the blade on the Jet than the Grizzly. The Jet’s arbor lock is quick-release, so you just have to use the blade wrench on a single bolt to switch the blades out.
Like the Grizzly, the Jet has a standard 4” dust port coming out of the cabinet, and a 220V wiring box for you to attach a power cord. The Jet is also a more shop-friendly tool, since it has much better dust collection. That’s thanks to a fully-shrouded blade and a guard which handily deflects sawdust into the vacuum channel, rather than off to the side of the table.
This one’s compatible with Jet’s rolling bases. You can mount it on any of the company’s all-metal roller frames, and move it around your shop! That’s ideal for busy shops with a lot of large equipment and not a lot of space to spare. It’s also handy for home craftsmen who don’t have as much dedicated space as they’d like to devote to a table saw. The Grizzly, on the other hand, is much harder to convert to a wheeled base, because it has the dual extension tables.
Although they outsource production, Jet have excellent quality control. In fact, they have a better reputation than Grizzly in the quality control and shipping department, so we actually found that Jet buyers were happier with their machines out of the box than buyers who went with the Grizzly. Most didn’t have to make any tweaks whatsoever.
It’s covered by a much longer warranty than the Grizzly. The Jet has a 5-year warranty off the truck, and they have a very good reputation for service. Plus, you won’t have to pay for that extended warranty, as you would with the Grizzly.
It has a very small stop button. Some previous buyers commented that The Jet definitely isn’t as safe for new woodworkers as our other recommendations. We’re recommending it to working professionals or experienced DIYers who know their way around a table saw.
It’s more expensive than the Grizzly, even though it doesn’t provide as much workspace out of the crate. However, given the extended warranty coverage and the higher level of fit and finish on this one, we think it’s worth the upgrade for a working shop. However, if you need lots of space, this isn’t as good as the Grizzly.
This one only has one extension table included.
[easyazon_link identifier=”B009C7NGTE” locale=”US” nw=”y” nf=”y” tag=”bestsaws-reviews-20″ cloak=”n”]
[easyazon_link identifier=”B009C7NGTE” locale=”US” nw=”y” nf=”y” tag=”bestsaws-reviews-20″ cloak=”n”]Click for Price[/easyazon_link]
Our top quality recommendation for a table saw goes wholeheartedly to this SawStop. It’s the safest cabinet unit on the market right now, thanks to SawStop’s patented flesh detection system. This one can save fingers or even limbs, and it’s ideal for fast-paced shops or instructors.
Plus, it’s simply a great table saw in its own right. It’s powerful, efficient, and quiet. It cuts through all kinds of stock smoothly and easily, and the dust collection system helps it clean up after itself. Previous buyers who upgraded to this one said that the transition from their old cabinet units felt like switching from a family sedan to a sports car. We recommend it to anyone looking for the absolute best quality, for small to midsize pro shop work or the passionate home woodworker.
- Table height: 34”
- Table size (including extension): 27″ x 44”
- Total dimensions: 69-1/8″W x 33″ L x 34” H
- Max depth of cut: 3 1/8” at 90 degrees, 2-1/4” at 45 degrees
- Max rip capacity: 48”
- Blade size: 10”
- Motor: 3 HP, 230V, single-phase
- Max speed: (not listed)
It’s the most compact unit here. At less than 500 pounds, the SawStop is by far the easiest of the three to install, and its smaller footprint the easiest to fit into a small workshop that might not have room for something as spacious as the Grizzly or as heavy as the Jet.
It’s just as powerful as our other recommendations. The SawStop has a 3HP belt-driven motor, and like the Jet, it uses a tweaked multi-belt drive system to transfer maximum power from the drive shaft to the blade. That makes for as powerful a cabinet saw as any on the market. This one slices smoothly through anything you can feed into it. It also has a slightly thicker max cutting depth than our other recommendations, so it’s the better choice for sturdy stock.
It’s built heavy. Like our other recommendations, this one has a machined cast iron worktop, and all-steel cabinet. There are miter slots cut into the worktop, and the bevel and height adjustments are via machined metal flywheels that are calibrated and balanced with the trunnion. We especially love the internal gearwork for raising the motor, which has precise torque bolts and a gas assist to make all your adjustments both smooth and easy. The cabinet is powdered steel for added durability, and the Professional woodworkers and amateur reviewers alike said they were above impressed with the overall build quality. This one feels as premium to use as you’d expect from the pricetag.
We’re impressed with how much thought SawStop have put into all the features on this model. It has an extra-large bevel gauge ruler on the side of the cabinet, tool-free, modular guard system, and compatibility with innovative wheelbases which don’t add noticeably to the SawStop’s height or footprint. It also has beveled edges to protect your materials, a very nice touch that our other recommendations don’t have. All in all, it feels like a tool designed by people who use one of these units on a regular basis.
As with our other picks, the SawStop has metal rails and a sliding fence which locks down with one simple knob. It moves incredibly smoothly, and it has a magnifying lens onboard so that you can easily see your fence setting, even down to small increments (32nds). It has a slippery outer surface like the Jet, to help you make smooth cuts.
It’s the best of the three at keeping your shop clean. The SawStop has a blade guard and arbor enclosure that’s engineered and sculpted to maximize vacuum suction at the cutting edge. Plus, the guard hugs tightly to the blade, and like the Jet, opens at each side so that whichever way you’re cutting, dust goes down the vacuum chute instead of off to the side of your workspace. It’s lab-tested to be up to 99% effective, and it’s certainly the most impressive dust collection system we’ve seen to date.
It’s the safest of the three by a long, long shot. SawStop became a major brand thanks to a feature that they’ve named their brand after: an accident-proof stopping mechanism for the traditional table saw. The innovative brake system on this model is the best on the market at detecting flesh and stopping the blade immediately. It’s a sure bet for saving fingers or worse injuries in the workshop.
The system works on a fairly simple principle, for such a sophisticated feature. The blade on a table saw is metal, just like the arbor and drive system. Human flesh, like metal, is extremely conductive. So, the engineers behind this technology added a slight charge to the blade assembly.
When your skin contacts the blade even slightly, the charge transfers, and a switch flips on the motor, activating an instant brake. The aluminum brake swings into contact with the blade, stopping it instantly. The brake also propels the blade down through the arbor, so it retracts completely below your worktop. That means that other than the initial contact, you won’t touch the sharp edge at all.
All in all, the system is highly effective. It takes less than 5 milliseconds for the blade to come to a complete stop once it detects flesh. That might not be enough to stop the blade giving you a slight cut, but it’ll keep you safe from losing fingers or limbs if something goes wrong in the shop.
The cabinet also has a few other safety features that set it on a level above the Grizzly or Jet. There’s an extra-large, paddle-style power switch which you can easily press with a thigh as well as a hand. The guard works tightly against the blade, so that you have all the workspace you need without sacrificing safety. The riving knife prevents kickbacks, and the left-tilting bevel feature prevents binding.
It’s covered by a 2-year warranty. SawStop also have an impeccable track record for customer support. We heard from one or two buyers who received units with slight imperfections from the shipping process, and they said that the company overnighted any replacement parts, and went the extra distance to make things right.
As with our other models, it takes some assembly. If you get one of the extended models, which we’re recommending here, you should plan to cut the rails down to size before finishing installation. It’s simple to do if you’ve got a good miter or bandsaw, but it is an extra step. With that said, many reviewers complimented the SawStop’s well-written and helpful manual, which made installation significantly easier than other units.
It’s expensive. This one will cost you over $3000. That’s no casual purchase, and the high price tag makes this cost-prohibitive for some buyers. However, you really can’t put a price on the peace of mind that comes with having a unit with this sort of safety system onboard. Our advice? If you can muster the cash, and will get your money’s worth out of the machine, it’s well-worth the price.
It’s the smallest of the three. Even with this configuration, which includes an extension table, the SawStop has the smallest worktop and rip capacity of our recommendations. If you have to cut lots of very wide stock on a daily basis, you may want to go with one of the larger extension table configurations that are available with the PCS unit.
It doesn’t have as long a warranty as the Jet. The SawStop only comes with 2 years of coverage, as opposed to the Jet’s 5.
The safety brake feature is a real step forward in engineering, but it does have a few downsides. The aluminum brake works with single-use cartridges, so you’ll have to replace the cartridge if you trip the sensor. Likewise, the impact of the brake, stopping the blade in milliseconds, will destroy your blade, so you’ll have to replace that as well. It’s a small price to pay for keeping your fingers or limbs, but it’s probably a good idea to stock up on cartridges and blades
We couldn’t find any complaints about the blade speed on this one, but SawStop don’t actually list the top no-load speed, so we found it hard to compare objectively to the Jet or the Grizzly. With that said, reviewers were unanimous in agreeing that the SawStop cut through all their stock like a hot knife through butter.
Which is the Best Table Saw for You?
The Grizzly is our top choice for folks who need lots of room to work, plain and simple. Thanks to its dual extension tables, this one has the widest rip and fence capacity of the three units we’ve reviewed here. We also love that it makes full use of the space under the worktops, so you’ll get plenty of storage room to make up for its larger footprint.
While it’s bargain-priced, it has very impressive cast iron and steel construction, with all the same essential features as our other top table saw recommendations. On the downside, it’s the slowest of the three in terms of blade speed, and it has the shortest warranty coverage. This one also lacks some of the sophisticated safety features and creature comforts of our more expensive recommendations.
The Jet is a good midrange choice for people who like to keep things simple, and buy for the long term. The Jet has the longest warranty coverage of our three picks, and it comes with an excellent track record for reliability and durability. Many of its features are tweaked to be slightly more user-friendly that the Grizzly’s, and this unit is much easier to fit in a shop than the hulking Grizzly.
However, it provides a bit less room to work, and it’s not as easy for newer woodworkers to use. The power/stop switch is rather small, and this one doesn’t have a digital angle display like the Grizzly. We highly recommend it to working professionals who need maximum cutting capacity in a minimal footprint. It’s also a good choice for ambitious DIYers who are short on space, but really know their way around a table saw.
If you’re concerned about safety, and want to be sure that your cabinet unit is completely safeguarded against accidents, the SawStop is the clear choice. It’s the only one of the three that will automatically stop and retract the blade the moment it detects skin. You can’t do better than this unit as far as safety is concerned!
Plus, the heavy build quality and superb dust extraction system makes this one of the cleanest, most enjoyable shop machines we’ve ever seen. We strongly recommend it to newer woodworkers, shops which are used for instruction, as well as professional outfits which want to do the absolute best by their workers.
However, it’s the smallest saw here, so it’s not the best choice for full sheets of plywood, unless you add an extension table (for a few hundred extra dollars). It’s also the most expensive of the three by a long shot. Still, we love this saw, and we recommend it to anyone who can get their money’s worth out of it.
These two cabinet models are woodworking classics. They haven’t made our cut this year, since both companies have recently moved operations overseas, and seen a decline in both quality control and customer service. However, if you’re a capable mechanic who can keep up your own tools, these are still solid workhorses that can last a lifetime.
[easyazon_link identifier=”B002JOZ2BM” locale=”US” nw=”y” nf=”y” tag=”bestsaws-reviews-20″ cloak=”n”]
[easyazon_link identifier=”B002JOZ2BM” locale=”US” nw=”y” nf=”y” tag=”bestsaws-reviews-20″ cloak=”n”]Click for Price[/easyazon_link]
The Delta Unisaw is a heavyweight in woodworking circles. It’s been on the market for years, and it’s a stalwart through and through. It has a super-powerful 5 HP motor which can blast through the toughest hardwoods and composite materials quickly. It also features one of the most precise bevel adjustments on the market, down to 1/4 degrees! It has a solid, single-cast trunnion which provides excellent vibration dampening, and an extra-heavy case iron base. In short, this is a hulking beast of a machine, and it’s easy to see why it’s been a shop favorite for years.
On the downside, Delta have changed things up over the past few years, and the news isn’t all good. The motor is still made in the USA, but the frame and structure of the saw is all imported. Recent buyers have reported shoddy quality control and very poor customer service since the company was taken over. Even though the Unisaw still gets great professional reviews, buyers’ experiences are so mixed that we’re not comfortable recommending this one as one of our top picks.
[easyazon_link identifier=”B000BWY78I” locale=”US” nw=”y” nf=”y” tag=”bestsaws-reviews-20″ cloak=”n”]
[easyazon_link identifier=”B000BWY78I” locale=”US” nw=”y” nf=”y” tag=”bestsaws-reviews-20″ cloak=”n”]Click for Price[/easyazon_link]
The Powermatic used to be another all-American classic, much like the Delta. This latest version has the same recognizable yellow finish, on a steel cabinet and cast iron worktop. Unlike most other cabinet units, this one has cast-iron extension wings, which makes them just as sturdy and level as the central worktop. It’s loaded with a 3 HP motor, a 50-inch fence, and all the other basic features that our top three picks have.
The big advantage on this model is that there are already wheels built into the saw cabinet, so you don’t have to buy an additional base to move it around! Overall, it’s a great upgrade to the Jet we recommended as our midrange pick.
However, not every recent buyer has had a good experience with the Powermatic. Like Delta, Powermatic have now been bought out, and they outsource all their production abroad. We’ve seen quite a few reports of poor quality control on the most recent editions of this unit, and some buyers didn’t get any help from the company.
So, while we still love these saws, we can’t recommend them to the average buyer. If you’re a capable mechanic, you might be able to solve all the little issues with this one and get it back to its rightful status as a workhorse.
How to Choose a Good Table Saw
Decide which type you need:
As we mentioned in our introduction, table saws come in several different configurations and formats. Before you start shopping seriously, make sure you know which sort of table saw best suits your needs:
Best for: working pros who work mostly from a central workshop, or ardent DIYers with lots of dedicated workspace in their home shop, woodworkers with a 220V hookup and a generous budget
Not for: working on the go, folks who are tight on space, people with lower budgets
Cabinet table saws are the best choice for full-time professional woodworkers with a dedicated workshop. If you have a spacious shop, these are some of the most efficient, versatile cutting tools you can buy, especially for larger stock. With 3+ HP motors, they’re by far the most powerful machines you can get your hands on. Plus, their heavy, machined build quality gives you a precision and smoothness in your work that really compliments the professional. They have the most effective dust collection systems of any table saw, and durability that can last more than a lifetime.
On the downside, these units are by far the heaviest type of saw, and they’re the most expensive by a long shot. Their cast iron worktops and steel cabinets makes them more of a permanent fixture than nearly any other tool. To move them around your shop, you’ll need an expensive, heavy-duty wheeled base, which can cost even more money up front. They’re best for people who will keep them in one place, and use them on a regular basis.
Best for: working on the go, especially for lighter finish jobs and working with smaller stock, DIYers with limited space/budget, contractors who work in homes, and handymen who do some general carpentry
Not for: working with larger stock, dedicated woodworkers who are shopping for a primary table saw, professional workshops
Portable or “jobsite” table saws are the absolute opposite of cabinet models. These are the lightest, most travel-friendly table saws on the market. These are easy to pack up and store in the back of a pickup truck or work van, and they can be set up pretty much anywhere. You can fit them to folding stands, use them on countertops, or sawhorses. We love them for quick contractor jobs, and they’re the ideal tool for general handymen who do a lot of shorter jobs rather than extended carpentry fittings. These are also a great entry-level choice for DIYers who don’t need a massive table saw, but need something that they can pack away at the end of the day. And, of course, they’re the least expensive table saws you can buy!
Sadly, you will have to sacrifice in a few key departments for all that portability and convenience. Portable table saws are the worst choice for cutting larger stock, especially if you don’t have an extension table to add on. They’re also the least powerful sort of table saw, so you shouldn’t plan to cut thick stock or hardwoods on them regularly. Thanks to their light build, portable units are the loudest of the bunch, and their dust collection is usually less than impressive. However, if you’re moving around a lot and need to do rips in the smallest possible space, these are your best friends.
Read more from our Portable Table Saws page.
Best for: working professionals who load into sites and need something to bring to each project for the length of the contract, folks who need more power and precision on the go
Not for: new woodworkers, pros who move their equipment daily
Contractor units are the next step up from portable (or jobsite) table saws. A contractor table saw has a worktop and motor assembly that looks a lot like a cabinet model, only it’s missing the cabinet! Contractor units aren’t quite as portable as a job site saw, but they’re about half the weight of a cabinet saw. They pack a lot more power than a portable unit, and their cutaway stands make them fairly manageable for folks who have helpers to assist in getting the saw off the truck and set up at the site.
These are the best choice for long jobs where you’ll get yourself set up at a job site, and need a saw that enables you to make all your big, long cuts without traveling back and forth between the site and your shop. While you won’t want to move these units around frequently, they’re great for seeing a contract through to the end from the worksite.
Contractor saws do carry a higher pricetag than portable (jobsite) units, though, and they’re pretty hard for one person to move around solo. We don’t recommend them to people who travel alone to do larger cuts.
Read more from our Contractor Table Saws page.
Best for: woodworkers who need the power and precision of a cabinet model without as high a price tag or as bulky a format, ambitious DIYers, working pros on long jobs who demand precision and use a table saw as a primary tool
Not for: people who need to lift their saw solo, casual DIYers, handymen
Hybrid table saws are the latest thing on the market these days. They’re in between contractor and cabinet table saws in terms of price, power, and precision. These have either half-cabinets or cutaway stands like a contractor saw, but with the super-powerful motor and improved stability of a cabinet unit. They’re heavy, so you should be prepared to use them on a wheeled lift, but they can be transported fairly easily if you have helpers.
Hybrid models vary widely, so there aren’t any strict pros and cons that apply to all models. They’re generally quite powerful, and you can find them in both 110V and 220V configurations. They’re easy to install on wheeled bases, and work well in both stationary or mobile setups. However, these tend to be quite heavy, and they take up more space than other portable options. They’re a good compromise for ardent DIYers who dream of a cabinet model, but don’t quite have the money or the permanent shop space.
Read more from our Hybrid Table Saws page.
***For this main page, we’ve focused exclusively on cabinet-style table saws. That’s why our “how to” section is cabinet-specific. For more on how to shop savvy for all the other types of table saw, check out our individual guides!
Consider your budget:
Cabinet table saws can cost anywhere from $1,750 to $5,000+. We’ve found that most buyers (DIYers and pros alike) can do very well in the $2,000 to $3,500 range.
We’ve used $2,000 as our minimum spending threshold on these models, because that’s what we’ve found you have to pay for a cabinet model with all the features we consider essential: a precision-machined cast-iron worktop, a versatile fence on sliding tracks, a 3 HP motor with belt drive, an all-steel cabinet, a cast-iron trunnion support, and machined flywheels to adjust the blade settings.
The more you pay, the more you’ll get in pretty much every department. More expensive cabinet units tend to have more precise cutting capabilities, for a start. Their worktops are even more evenly machined, their blades adjust more smoothly, and their extensions tend to line up more perfectly.
More expensive models also have more efficient drivetrains, which means they achieve a higher cutting speed for smoother, faster, and trouble-free cuts. Plus, their innovative belt designs and calibrated trunnion supports make the whole cutting experience smoother, quieter, and simpler. You’ll also pay extra for innovative safety features like skin detection, paddle power switches, magnetic switches, and thermal overload protection.
When you’re deciding how much to spend, think about how often you use your saw, whether you’re using it as part of a professional workshop or as an avid hobbyist, and whether or not you can expect any return on your investments through your work. We recommend that DIYer spend closer to the $2000 mark, while professionals are more likely to get their money’s worth from something more premium.
You’ll also want to consider which features are most important for you. If you need extra space to work, and cut lots of larger stock, you should invest more in a saw that gives you more room. If you’re working with people who haven’t spent their lives working with professional-grade tools, or if you’re trying to meet tough workplace safety standards, you should probably spend a bit more for a unit with a skin-detection system to protect fingers or limbs.
Think about your cutting habits:
Before you make any decisions about which cabinet model is going to be your new shop workhorse, think hard about what kinds of cutting tasks you’ll be relying on it to perform.
First, consider the types of cuts you’ll need to make, and which types of stock you work with on a regular basis. Think about the largest rip cuts you need to make, and get a cabinet saw with a suitable max capacity for rips. Find the thickest stock you need to cut, and make sure your new machine has a high enough depth capacity to make the cut cleanly. The larger your average stock, the larger a workspace you’ll need on your new cabinet unit. It’s also a good idea to think about bevel and miter cuts which you’ll be making on your table saw. All of our recommendations have the capacity for both, but some come with miter gauges and others don’t.
You shouldn’t have to make any decisions based on the actual varieties of woods you cut, since all good cabinet models can cut hardwoods and softwoods equally well. With that said, higher blade RPM is always better for hardwoods, so if you work with a lot of nicer lumber, it can’t hurt to spend more for something with a higher max RPM.
Next, think about how often you’ll be using your machine. Cabinet models are, as a rule, very reliable. As with any tool, though, there are models built for regular use, and then there are models built to be used all day, every day, for years.
If you’re going to use your table saw every day, make sure you spend a bit more money for something of the heaviest build quality, with extended warranty coverage from a company with a great reputation for service. If you’re going to be using your cabinet unit only periodically, you probably don’t need to buy something premium. You’ll be able to get by with something around the $2,000, since you won’t be spending enough time cutting to really appreciate the design touches and tweaks that make the more expensive units more of a pleasure to use.
Look for lifetime build quality:
No matter how much you spend, any cabinet table saw should be a lifetime tool. These are machines you should be able to work with regularly for years, and be able to pass on to someone else when you’re done with your woodworking career.
With that in mind, you shouldn’t accept any plastic parts on a cabinet table saw. Aside from the odd button or electric panel, all the parts on your saw should be made from either steel or solid cast iron. Make sure the worktop is solid cast iron, with a precision-ground surface that’s tested to be exactly level.
Make sure all the panels on the cabinet (including the motor shroud) are made from steel, and look for powder-coating on the panels to help the paintwork last. The adjustment flywheels, the fence rails, and the frame of the table assembly should be steel as well. The most important part to look at under the hood is the trunnion. The trunnion supports the motor, and you’ll want it to be made from solid cast iron. The sturdier the trunnion, the smoother your unit will cut.
No matter which features you’re looking at, make sure they can stand up to a lifetime of use and more!
Check for safety features:
As with any saw, you should look carefully at the safety features on your new cabinet unit.
Look for large, easy-to-reach power switches, especially a big red “stop” button for the blade. We prefer paddle-style buttons because you can press them with a leg if your hands are occupied. You want to be able to stop as quickly as possible, whether you’re in between cuts or in the midst of an accident.
Make sure the saw has a reliable electric brake. The brake is responsible for slowing the blade down after you make each cut, and when you need to stop the machine in an emergency. That’s why you should look for the fastest brake time possible, and a magnetic brake if possible for maximum speed.
Look for a blade guard and splitter assembly. The guard will keep your fingers and sleeves away from the blade, while the splitter will keep your wood from re-binding together and jamming the blade, or causing kickback. Kickback is one of the biggest hazards of using a table saw, aside from coming in contact with the blade. Make sure you have either a splitter assembly or a riving knife on any cabinet saw you use.
The latest innovation in table saw safety is skin-detection technology. This allows a unit to detect when your finger or arm comes in contact with the blade, and forces the blade to stop instantly. These features vary in terms of their brake system and speed, but all the systems we’ve seen work quite well.
We recommend something with this technology for new woodworkers, instructors, or folks who work in a busy shop with lots of movement around them. They’re also a safe bet for buyers who simply like to take as many precautions as possible. The only downside to these systems is the price. You’ll find them on machines closer to the $3,000 mark, as a rule.
Power protections are also a key safety feature, since they protect both your personal safety and the integrity of your table saw. Look for a magnetic switch in the power switch assembly of your saw. A magnetic switch protects the system from dangerous power fluctuations, and automatically shuts the machine off in case of a surge or drop in flow. It’ll also perform another valuable function when power goes out or a fuse flips: it’ll prevent the saw turning itself back on when power returns!
That’s one major safety hazard which you can completely eliminate with one simple feature. In addition to the magnetic switch, be sure to look for thermal overload protection on the motor. You shouldn’t have any problems with burnout on motors this powerful, but it’s an important safety feature to have just in case, especially for folks who work with thicker hardwood stock. Thermal overload protection shuts the motor off automatically if it’s getting dangerously bogged down.
One of the biggest perks of a cabinet table saw, aside from the rugged construction and wide worktop, is the sheer power of the tool. You should expect a cabinet table saw to cut absolutely any stock within its depth capacity smoothly and easily. Look for motors with at least 3 HP, and sophisticated belt drive systems which translate that grunt into 4000+ RPM blade speeds. Don’t accept lesser power ratings on a cabinet model: these are the gold standard of table saws for a reason!
Expect effective dust collection:
Cabinet units are the cleanest sort of table saw to use. Since they’re an enclosed tool, all the sawdust above the work surface level can be easily channeled through a 4” dust port into a vacuum system. You should expect a dust collection system that’s nearly perfect on these machines–especially above the $2,500 mark.
However, as with any tool, there are some models which do better at this dust extraction than others. Look for units with specifically engineered shrouding around the blade arbor which helps amplify vacuum suction. You should also take a close look at the guard assembly, to make sure it’s helping dust collection instead of hindering the process.
Look for guards with two independent panels on each side of the blade, so that while you work on one side, the other side keeps dust in the vacuum system, rather than flying off to the side. High-end cabinet units also have splitter and guard systems which are molded like the internal shrouding to amplify suction, so you should look carefully at those features.
Think about mobility:
Cabinet models are stationary, as a rule. They’re not designed for portable use, and you should plan on keeping them in your shop for their working life. However, some models are compatible with optional wheeled bases, and these are great for folks who want to be able to move their table saw around the workshop, without sacrificing any power, build quality, or stability.
If you’re looking to use a wheeled base, you’ll want a standard rectangular unit, not a cabinet with multi-directional extension tables. Double check to make sure the model is compatible with wheeled bases, and make sure you buy your base from the same manufacturer, so you have a guarantee that they’ll work together. No matter what, don’t skimp on your base! Remember that the frame and wheels have to hold up a machine that weighs 1/4 ton or more, so it needs to be incredibly sturdy.
Be ready for installation:
Buying a cabinet-style table saw isn’t like buying most power tools. You won’t be able to just grab a box off the porch and get to work. Since most of these models weigh close to a quarter ton or more, you’ll have to schedule special delivery service, and be ready to get your saw from the truck to your house.
Most shippers will expect you to have a forklift to get the crate off the truck, so if that’s not something you can arrange, you’ll want to opt for “lift-gate” delivery or an installation plan that involves the shippers bringing the saw to your actual workshop. Be prepared to spend a fair bit of money for delivery ($100-$250), especially if you can’t get the saw off the truck and to the workshop on your own.
Know your warranty coverage, and repair options:
These units are lifetime tools, and you’ll want to be sure you have a sense of what your service options and long term coverage will be. Check the length of the warranty, and see if there are add-on plans available.
Service can be expensive on these models, so you should see if the company will be covering repairs, of if you’ll be expected to foot the bill. Add-on plans are a great way to minimize your liability if something goes wrong. By purchasing a third-party warranty, you can have a much better customer service experience. The warranty provider will deal with the company for you, so you don’t have to negotiate or deal with frustrating runarounds.
You can also use a third-party plan to double or even triple the length of your factory coverage, depending on which plans are available. Before you commit to buying a unit, make sure you’re covered for the long term, and look for authorized service people in your area, so you know your options for periodic maintenance.
Other Types of Table Saws You May Like
In this guide, we’ve focused specifically on cabinet-style table saws. However, we know that you might be looking for one of the other main types of table saw, so we don’t want you to think we’ve forgotten you!
In our introduction and how-to sections, we’ve talked about some of the key reasons to buy a cabinet-style model. These are the most stable table saws you can find. They produce the smoothest, cleanest cuts. They’re also tools that are built to last a lifetime. We recommend them to any professional with the shop space to install one. They’re also the ultimate choice to ardent hobbyists with plenty of room to spare and an ample budget.
However, we we discussed in our how-to section, there are lots of other options out there!
Here are a few of our other specific table saw buying guides, to help you find exactly what you’re looking for in a hurry:
In our portable/jobsite guide, we take an in-depth look at all the lightweight, compact options out there for portable applications. Whether you’re a new DIYer or professional woodworker looking for your new travel buddy, we’ve got recommendations and advice for you! This Dewalt is currently at the top of our rankings:
[easyazon_link identifier=”B00F2CGXGG” locale=”US” nw=”y” nf=”y” tag=”bestsaws-reviews-20″ cloak=”n”]
[easyazon_link identifier=”B00F2CGXGG” locale=”US” nw=”y” nf=”y” tag=”bestsaws-reviews-20″ cloak=”n”]Click for Price[/easyazon_link]
Find out why when you check the guide out here!
We now that contractors demand a lot from their tools. We know you need a table saw that achieves a perfect balance of portability, precision and power, to get all those big jobs done on time and on budget. We’ve taken a look at all the professional models on the market right now, and narrowed the field down to a few real winners like this one!
[easyazon_link identifier=”B006G36VHG” locale=”US” nw=”y” nf=”y” tag=”bestsaws-reviews-20″ cloak=”n”]
[easyazon_link identifier=”B006G36VHG” locale=”US” nw=”y” nf=”y” tag=”bestsaws-reviews-20″ cloak=”n”]Click for Price[/easyazon_link]
Check them all out here!
As power tool nerds, we’re always on the lookout for the latest and greatest developments in the market. One of the most exciting new products to come out in the past decade or so is the hybrid table saw. We think they’re an excellent space and money-saving alternative for home woodworkers who can’t make a cabinet saw work for their circumstances. They’re also a great portable option for folks with bigger job site requirements who have the ability to transport larger tools to off-site applications. One of our current favorites is this Shop Fox:
[easyazon_link identifier=”B01987G1K8″ locale=”US” nw=”y” nf=”y” tag=”bestsaws-reviews-20″ cloak=”n”]
[easyazon_link identifier=”B01987G1K8″ locale=”US” nw=”y” nf=”y” tag=”bestsaws-reviews-20″ cloak=”n”]Click for Price[/easyazon_link]
We’ll talk through all the features that make hybrid saws such an exciting new compromise options and take a look at a few of our favorites in our special guide!
See it all here!
Want to compare the rest of the best table saws? Check out the top sellers on Amazon by clicking here!