Do you want to turn out quality woodworking pieces in a fraction of the usual time? If so, it is worth considering investing in a table saw. Tables saws can literally cut the time in half that it usually takes you to build high-end pieces of furniture or other joinery pieces. Think about it, no more having to use “elbow grease” to make precise cuts in wood. Instead, all you must do is power up the table saw and let the table saw blades do all the work.
Having the right type of table saw in a home workshop is an essential piece of equipment for any serious joiner or carpenter. Whether you are a professional cabinet maker, avid hobbyist, or DIY master woodworker. A table saw can make an enormous difference to your work.
When you go to purchase a table saw, you might end up more perplexed about which one exactly to buy. I remember when I went to get my first ever table saw, there were different types of table saws available in the market that after seeing them all, I returned home empty-handed.
Not because I couldn’t afford any but I wasn’t sure which one to buy. But you won’t have to face any of these issues, because we’ve got you covered already. We are here with this detailed guide to educate you about different types of table saws. So worry not and look through the details to compare table saws and choose the best one for yourself.
However, the answer to the question, “what is a table saw?” isn’t straightforward. There are various types of stationary saws that are useful for startup woodworkers. The cheapest kind of table saw is a bench top saw. However, depending on your woodworking goals, a job-site, compact, or contractor table saw may be a better option.
For small home workshops, a portable table saw, like a benchtop table saw, is ideal because it doesn’t take up much room. In addition, portable table saws are lighter, cheaper, and relatively straightforward to operate. However, suppose you run a bigger woodworking enterprise. In that case, you may want to think about a stationary saw like a contractor table saw.
What Is a Table Saw?
A table saw is a versatile circular saw blade mounted under a workbench surface and powered by an electric motor. Part of the blade protrudes above the table surface. This useful woodworking tool improves accuracy, speeds up cutting, and reduces the effort required to make a straight cut.
One of the elements of a table saw is the blade. Getting the correct type of table saw blade is crucial because this is what ultimately creates the cut. Therefore, investing in a high-quality table saw blade also saves you money in the long run. After all, timber is expensive, and an error in accuracy could result in wasted material, costing you more money.
What Are Some Different Types of Table Saws
There are two major categories of table saws, portable and stationary. And there are some sub-categories that fall under these. In this article, we’ll try to provide you with detailed information about all types of table saws. It will assist your buying decision so that you know which is the safest table saw that is worth adding to your workshop.
Portable Table Saws
When considering purchasing a table saw, most beginners or hobbyists think about a portable table saw. The reason? They are not expensive, take up little space in a workshop, and are easy to store. Additionally, for professional contractors who move from job to job, a portable table saw is the ideal solution. The average of a standard portable saw is around 50 pounds. Most of the portable saws run over direct driven 13-amp motors to deliver 2 HP of power.
You’ll see three different table saw types in this category i.e. bench-top, compact and job site table saw. All of these differ in some of the features, performance, and types of tasks they can deal with.
Benchtop Table Saw
A benchtop table saw is a lightweight table saw that you can use to deal with your low-capacity work. This inexpensive table saw doesn’t feature any tires and yet it’s highly portable. You can fasten this compact table saw to the table to get your work started.
It is manufactured with materials like aluminum, plastics and steel, etc. that make it light in weight. The blade in the saw is located on the top connected to a motor to operate. You can achieve smooth and accurate cuts using this type of saw.
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Uses of a Bench Top Table Saw
The fact that this is inexpensive and compact in size, so it offers a limited ripping capacity. You’ll see that the space of rip fence and the bench are smaller in size. So it will be a bit harder to make crosscuts with the mite
- Highly portable
- Best suited for beginners
- Not suited for heavy duty jobs.
Who is a bench top table saw for? Suitable for home DIY projects, Small furniture-making jobs, minor construction projects, and creating decorative woodwork items.
Compact Table Saw
If you’re a beginner in woodworking but don’t want to start off with a benchtop saw, then a compact saw is your tool. Unlike benchtop saw, it’s a bit larger in size and comes with tires and a collapsible stand as well.
Uses of a Compact Table Saw
Some of the models of compact saw have the ability to do crosscuts. They feature a sliding miter table having a miter blade that makes the angled cutting butter smooth. Its solid build makes it a wise choice for most woodworkers and carpenters.
- They provide a working space
- Tires and collapsible table are included
- Can make crosscuts
- Tabletop space isn’t sufficient for larger pieces
Who is a compact table saw for? Small to medium-size DIY projects, small construction projects, cabinet making in a home workshop.
Jobsite Table Saw
Where there is a requirement of stability and durability, Jobsite or contractor saw is the preference. It’s a compact ergonomically built table saw that is more powerful than compact and benchtop table saws. It comes with a riving knife and a dust collection port too.
As per the current trends, jobsite saw is the most demanding among the other table saws. This table saw has a sturdy foldable stand along with wheels. This compact saw is highly portable and can be stored in your garage space easily.
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Uses of a Jobsite Table Saw
The direct-drive engine of the saw makes it powerful enough to deal with heavy-duty tasks easily. Jobsite table saw features strong fences which provide better adjustment options. You can make clear and accurate cuts with a seamless cutting capacity of 24 inches.
Some of the models of jobsite saw contain the extendable table that allows dealing with larger wood pieces. All of these incredible features make the jobsite table saw a top choice for most woodworkers, local tradesmen, and even DIYers.
- Direct drive powerful engine
- Up to 24” cutting capacity
- High build quality
- Riving knife for excellent cuts
- TNot so inexpensive
Who is a jobsite table saw for? Carpentry and woodworking, construction, building projects, medium to large furniture projects, DIY, and heavy-duty home improvements.
Stationary Table Saws
Stationary table saws are one of table saws that aren’t moveable. Unlike portable saws, they are ginormous in size and heavy-duty.
Stationary saws are further categorized into three types, contractor, hybrid, and cabinet table saws. In stationary table types, cabinet table saws are the heaviest and weigh approximately more than 600 pounds.
They all come with an extendable tabletop. You can have two options for the material of the table. One is to go with cast iron and the other is to have granite or aluminum-made tabletop. The dimensions of the table are 27×20 inches. But you can also go with the extension table that is 10×12 inches in dimensions.
To know further about the stationary saws, we’ll walk you through the details of every type.
Contractor Table Saw
The contract saw is your tool if durability and cutting accuracy for heavy-duty projects is your demand. It runs on a powerful induction motor of 1 to 2 HP.
If you look at the contract saw’s history, you’ll find that it was initially invented as an alternative to a portable cabinet saw. But it couldn’t maintain its league because later on it turned into a powerful big beast of 200 to 300 pounds.
The motor of the contractor table saw is less noisy. You can find a noticeable revolution in this type of stationary table saw over the period of time. The dust collection system is improved now which makes it a mess-free tool.
It falls under the category of semi-portable table saws. It means you can unfasten it to transport whenever you need to move from the garage to the jobsite. The durability of this type of saw is high because they are made of high-quality materials.
The miter gauges of contractor saws are better than that of portable saws. The adjustments can be made with little to no slopes that result in high accuracy and precision in cuts.
Uses of a Contractor Table Saw
Considering its sturdy construction it can be easily guessed that these are the safest table saw and more suitable for larger projects. It is a go-to tool for most hobbyists, DIYers, and even professional woodworkers. You can get your hands on this type of saw to bring life to your dream projects.
- Easy cutting adjustments
- Efficient dust collection system
- Less noisy motor
- Not ideal for portability
Who is a contractor table saw for? Professional construction and carpentry, medium-sized home workshops, large furniture projects, and heavy-duty, DIY, and heavy-duty home improvements.
Cabinet Table Saw
The cabinet table saw is kind of pro table saw. This three-phase saw with its solid construction offers great usability. This cast iron and steel building not only effortlessly deals with sturdy materials but offers high durability as well.
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You can get a wider workspace with the extension table that allows you to deal with your bigger pieces of materials. The fact that it weighs over 500 pounds makes it less portable. You can use a moveable base to change its location though.
It runs on a motor of 3 to 5 HP. The weight and motor size vary in different models. You can also upgrade your table saw as per your job requirement. Some of the up gradable components are table extensions, rip fence adjustments, and replaceable inserts.
Uses of a Cabinet Table Saw
Cabinet saw offers great cutting capacity. The powerful motor in combination with the fence offers excellent precision and accuracy in cutting. With a cutting capacity of up to 50”, It will rip off every material you throw in front of it.
It can ideally deal with larger sheets, larger stocks, pine, hardwood, and plywood. This table saw type is more usable for professionals and hobbyists. For beginners, this big beast isn’t a wise choice because it can be difficult for a new and unskilled person to handle it.
- Accurate and precise cuts
- Extended durability
- Excellent ripping capacity
Who is a cabinet table saw for? Professional-grade woodworking, furniture building of all sizes, more extensive projects in construction, milling large sheets of plywood, and cutting wood with extreme accuracy and precision.
Hybrid Table Saw
The hybrid table contains the features of both contract and cabinet saw. You can already guess its versatility with the combination of the features of both the saws. It can easily compete with the high-end contractor table saw.
The motor size of the hybrid table saw is similar to that of the contractor model. It is combined with an internal motor mount and a cabinet stand. It can be differentiated on the basis of trunnion design. Its trunnion and arbor bearings are more considerable than contractor saw’s.
A hybrid table saw is much preferred because of its great performance and the affordability of prices. The appearance of some of its models resembles cabinet saw’s but the performance matches contractors’ models.
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Uses of a Hybrid Table Saw
You’ll find its motor more powerful than the ones installed in the cabinet saws. It uses a motor that has power of around 1.5 to 1.75 horsepower. The motor consumes less power of around 110V. Less power consumption doesn’t mean that you have to compromise on power delivery and performance.
Its sliding table offers more accuracy in the crosscuts. These table saw types are more often picked by hobbyists and professional woodworkers.
- Low power consumption
- The efficient dust collection system
- Greater portability than a cabinet saw
- Less noisy motors
Who is a hybrid saw for? Professional construction, carpentry, and woodworking projects of all kinds, from minor repairs to extensive renovations
What to Consider When Choosing Which Table Saw to Buy
Purchasing a table saw can be a significant investment. However, if you choose the right type of table saw, you can reap rich dividends. You will find that any kind of carpentry or joinery work becomes so much easier. But the best thing is that you will start turning out furniture items of a higher quality.
Choosing the type of table saw to suit your needs can be challenging. For example, a portable jobsite table saw may be sufficient if you are a DIY woodworking enthusiast. However, suppose you are a seasoned professional. In that case, you may have to decide between buying a contractor saw or a cabinet saw.
Here are some top tips for choosing the right types of table saws.
How do you plan to use the table saw?
The two most important questions to ask are: what kind of woodworking projects will I need the table saw for? And where will I use the saw?
For example, do you need a small table saw for a home workshop to rip boards to width and cut timber to length? Or are you an avid furniture maker who enjoys creating bespoke pieces of furniture? If so, you need a table saw for cutting curves, making bevels, dadoes, and well-fitting box joints. The golden rule is to buy a tool appropriate for the most complicated task you intend to complete.
The best types of table saws for your needs
The next consideration is to buy a saw that fits your objective. In this regard, you generally have the following three choices:
- Bench tabletop saw: This type of portable or jobsite saw is relatively small, lightweight, and budget-friendly. Moreover, you’ll probably not have any issue finding enough storage for it. As a result, they are ideal for cutting smaller items and small DIY projects.
- Contractor table saw: This type of table saw is popular with DIYers because they are suitable for heavy-duty jobs where durability and accuracy are crucial. In addition, a contractor saw runs off a standard household current, and it supports larger items.
- Cabinet saw: This type of table saw is the “gold standard” for serious hobbyists with plenty of space in a home workshop. Cabinet saws are also the “go-to” choice for professional joiners and cabinet makers. The saw has a sizeable out feed table and extensions for any type of woodworking project. However, you typically need a three-phase electrical installation.
Choose a table saw with the features you require
Choosing a table saw with the features you require is also vital. Here are some features of many table saws that are currently for sale online:
- Table saw blade size: Ensure that the table saw can handle the type of cutting blade and size you require. The best advice is to buy a table saw with the same blade size as your miter.
- Rip capacity: Do you plan on cutting large plywood sheets? If so, pay attention to the rip capacity. This is the distance between the cutting blade and the fence. It can be possible to extend the rip capacity by buying a table saw that allows for extension tables.
- Extension table and wing additions: When buying a contractor table saw or cabinet saw, it’s vital to ensure the out-feed tables can be easily attached.
- Dust collection: A crucial decision when buying a table saw is ensuring it has dust collection capabilities. Portable table saws are fine for working outside or in a well-ventilated space. However, suppose you are working in an enclosed workshop. In that case, it will be necessary to have a table power saw that collects sawdust as you are working.
- Fence type: Fencing options are also crucial to the table saw buying process. The best fences are T-slot fences with steel components to ensure stability and robustness. Cheaper table saws have fences attaching to the saw’s front and back. However, they are cumbersome to adjust and set.
- Miter gauge: An accurate miter gauge with stops at 45° and 90° angles and perfectly parallel to the blade is a must. Additionally, the table must be perfectly flat to cut straight lines.
- Bevel capabilities: A crucial feature of any type of table saw is that you can tilt the blade to the left or right to make angled cuts for bevels.
- Safety: When buying a table saw, it’s crucial to check out its safety features. There are two basic ones you should look for — the anti-kickback device and the blade guard. These two safety features help prevent you from being injured by the blade while cutting lumber. However, for the ultimate in safety, choose a table saw with a “stop saw.” This stops the blade as soon as it comes into contact with human skin. Of course, it’s also vital to follow proper safety procedures when using a stationary table saw.
- Anti-kickback is an essential safety feature for working with any table saw. Kickback happens when unsecured wood catches while being fed through the cutting blade. This can result in the workpiece flying off the table and risks causing serious injury to you or damaging equipment. The anti-kickback safety feature on a table saw is a series of spiked claws at the rear of the cutting blade. These angled claws rest on the workpiece during the cutting process to hold it down. Then, if any kickback occurs, the finger-like claws prevent the lumber from flying off.
- Blade cover: A blade cover protects the user and the blade itself while making cuts. Blade covers come in various materials, including plastic, rubber, leather, vinyl, and metal. They fit over the entire length of the blade and curve around it. A blade cover keeps the blade safe from getting kicked out of the saw and helps prevent injury to the user.
Type of Table Saw Blades
When choosing the best table saw for your woodworking needs, it’s crucial to consider the type of table saw blade to buy. There is no point in purchasing a high-end table saw only to save money on buying cheap, low-quality circular blades. In this case, you’ll find it challenging to make precise cuts in expensive timber.
Because the table saw is designed for longer cuts, the blade must withstand long hours of cutting. This means the saw blade must bear a lot of friction and heat. In addition, the teeth should be robust enough not to wear down too quickly.
As metals heat up, it naturally expands. This process can cause warping and buckling in cheaper blades. The result on wood is that the cut is wider than desired and can become uneven. Unfortunately, cheap blades tend to wear out faster, require frequent sharpening, and create unsightly cuts.
What Is a Table Saw Used For?
The main purpose of a table saw is to make it easier and faster to cut lumber. The sharp circular toothed blade easily rips or crosscuts lumber with precision. Also, the rip fence and miter gauge ensure you can make the exact type of cuts you require.
Tables saws are used for ripping wood
Table saws are used in workshops or on the job site to cut lumber into smaller pieces along the grain — a process called ripping. Typically, ripping wood with a table saw is easy because the fence can be set in place. Then you just need to feed the workpiece through the primary blade to make quick, efficient, and precise cuts. This is also useful for making repeat cuts.
Use a table saw for cross cuts
Crosscutting is another reason to use a table saw if you are starting a DIY woodworking hobby. Using a table saw for crosscutting involves cutting the workpiece against the grain. This is usually at a 90-degree angle to the wood grain. Table saws make this type of cutting straightforward and effortless.
Table saws make miter cuts
A miter cut refers to crosscutting a workpiece at any angle between 0 and 90 degrees. Table saws with an adjustable cutting blade for miter cuts can make it easy to build furniture, make picture frames, or other wooden items. The miter cut is created using the miter gauge to feed the lumber through the blade at an angle.
You can use a table saw for cutting a beveled edge by adjusting the vertical angle of the cutting blade. This allows you to make cuts in the workpiece from top to bottom. For example, the tilted saw blade is useful for cutting baseboards to make a perfect joint at corners.
Other cuts a table saw is useful for
Depending on the type of table saw and its features, you can also use it to make other intricate cuts.
Some of the best table saws allow you to make dado cuts. This involves cutting multiple grooves to join two pieces of wood together precisely. The result is a fused joint that requires minimal glue to hold the pieces together. These are the best type of cuts when making cabinets and shelves.
Making rabbet cuts
A table saw is helpful for making rabbet cuts with ease and precision. Rabbet cuts involve cutting away the corner of a workpiece by making two cuts. This is to join two pieces of wood at an angle. These types of cuts are the preferred choice when making furniture and drawers.
What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of a Table Saw
A table saw is one of the best tools for cutting wood. It has many advantages, but also some disadvantages. In most cases, you’ll need to buy a table saw that suits your requirements — the amount of space you have and portability. Therefore, if you are looking for a good quality table saw, here are some things to consider before buying.
Table Saw: Advantages
Here are a few advantages of buying a table saw for your workshop:
- Speed: The obvious benefit of a table saw is speed. With a circular blade speed rotating at thousands of revolutions per minute, you will find that ripping lumber is much faster.
- Cut wood with precision: A table saw eliminates the problem of messy, inaccurate cuts. This makes any kind of table saw superior to a jigsaw or handsaw. The rip fence and miter gauge ensure you cut wood to the precise angle, whether these are miter cuts, bevel cuts, or crosscuts.
- Eliminates work and effort: When it comes to reducing effort, power tools like a table saw have the advantage over hand tools. The power and speed of the saw let you cut any type of wood — hard or soft — with minimal resistance.
- Table saws are versatile: Tables saws can be used for making most cuts required for furniture or cabinet making. You can make accurate, smooth cuts with precision. In addition, using a table saw ensures all your joints match up perfectly.
Table Saw: Disadvantages
Here are a few advantages of buying a table saw for your workshop:
- Cannot cut curves: One of the things to remember with a table saw is that you cannot make curved cuts. While this is true of many hand saws, it’s something to consider as you may need to buy a jigsaw.
- Table saws are bulky: Even portable table saws take up quite a bit of floor space. Therefore, you should determine if you have room for it.
- Blade cutting depth is limited: A table saw only has a cutting depth of a few inches. Therefore, it’s unsuitable for cutting thick and bulky types of timber.
- Table saws are potentially more dangerous: A sharp spinning blade is a serious injury risk. Therefore, ensure safety features are in place before ripping or crosscutting wood.
Conclusion — Types of Table Saws
Are you now convinced that buying a table saw is the way forward to advance your hobby or career? If so, choosing the right type of saw is essential. One of the most important factors when deciding which table saw to buy is how large your projects will be.
A small, portable, less expensive benchtop saw, or jobsite table saw is an ideal choice for many DIY enthusiasts. They take up little space and are very affordable.
However, for more serious projects, you’ll want a bigger and more robust power tool like a contractor table saw or cabinet saw.
Regardless of which type of table saw to choose, ensure that it’s within your budget, will tackle the most complex jobs you plan on doing, and you have the space to store it.
FAQ’s Types of Table Saws
Who makes Kobalt table saws?
Kobalt is the company that makes table saws. Its saws are not only great in use but are light on the pocket as well. Using these saws, you can deal with a variety of woodworking jobs. This 3.5 inches height table saw offers the cutting depth at 90-degree angles. The table saw offers great portability. You won’t face any issues while transporting it from place to place.
What are table saws used for?
Table saws are widely used to rip the materials apart. It’s a versatile power tool that every woodworker or a person who is into woodworking at any level of his profession needs. There are different types of table saws available in the market. They can differ in size, price, and capacity of cuts they offer.
Do I Need to Buy a Table Saw if Getting Started?
A table saw is a good first tool for beginner woodworkers. Even though you can use hand tools, an affordable table saw is versatile and performs well cutting all types of wood. It will also help you to produce quality items in less time.
To get started, you can buy quality table saws for as little as $250. Of course, you can invest more if you want to. However, you can start your woodworking hobby even if you have a limited budget of a few hundred dollars.
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I’m Thomas Steven with more than 12 years of experience in woodworking. It has always been my passion to become a successful woodworker. I have completed hundreds of successful projects. This blog is a way of sharing my woodworking experiences and what tools get the best results. I write about woodworking while being an associate with Amazon and I earn a little commission from every qualifying purchase.