May 22, 2021

How To Buy a Table Saw | A Guide To Getting It Right Every Time

If you are a woodworker, you are going to need to understand How to Buy a Table Saw in your lifetime. You can buy one new or second hand, but you can save a lot of money if you are able to pick up used tools. When purchasing used tools, make sure you are getting a good value. Before buying a used table saw, take your time and look at the saw carefully.

A table saw cutting through laminate

Buying your first table saw can be a daunting task: there are so many different brands, models, and types of saws to choose from. And that’s only the beginning. You need to consider which type of blade to use, how to choose the best blade for the job, and what accessories to add to your saw to make it more useful. 

That’s why we’ve created this guide: to explain all the options you have when buying a table saw, and help you decide what’s best for your needs.

Three things to consider when buying a table saw

Tool features

Blade

The blade comes in a fixed position. You have to push the workpieces through the saw blade so that you start cutting. A table saw makes long, straight cuts, rip cuts, and repeated crosscuts. 

Motor

The power of the table saw increases from benchtop to cabinet saws. A standard table saw has a 15Amp motor. It comes with more ripping power. Cordless table saws have been popular in the industry. However, we still do not have a cordless 10inch table saw machine.

Belt drive

Job site table saws use a direct drive motor. Belt drives come in powerful cabinet saws. 

Rip fence

There is a bar on a table saw that you use as a guide. It guides your workpiece as it moves through the blade. The type of fence you have determines the accuracy of your workpiece. You cannot risk having your material unstable.

Anti-kickback pawls

That is a safety feature that protects your material from kicking back during the operation.  These come in metal and have teeth that grab the workpiece if it attempts to kick back towards the user.

Riving knife 

The riving knife keeps the workpiece from pinching the blade. That reduces the risk of having the boards kicking back.

Miter gauge

That is a guide for moving the workpiece past the blade. It is adjustable, and that helps you in making accurate cuts. The saw blade is allowed to make cuts at specific angles. 

Dust collection 

A table saw needs an effective dust collection system that consists of a dust port. A table saw that connects to a vacuum and a dust collector performs better. 

Budget

Before you get a whole collection of table saw to choose from, I advise you to consider your budget. There are entry-table saws and high-end table saws. If your budget is economical, that does not mean only low-quality table saws are within your budget. There is a better saw machine for different price ranges. Choosing a table saw with your budget, saves you time. 

Storage space

Before you buy your table saw, you need to ask yourself where you are using the table saw. Are you a DIY or a professional user, who is willing to take the business as far as to a workshop? In that case, a portable table saw is perfect for a DIY user who will be operating from the garage or backyard. 

Stationary table saws are big and heavy. They need to be in a permanent workshop that you will be operating without moving the saw tool. Buying the table saw when you already have the place to keep it is a noble idea that will not cost you more space than you have. 

Some users ended up renting space because they decided to buy the table saw before deciding on the exact place they were going to operate. Be truthful to yourself for convenience. Do you need a home shop or a  small mobile table saw?

Types of table saws

What determines the type of table saw you are going to buy is purpose. What do you need the table saw for? There is a variety of table saws for DIY projects for beginners and industrial saws for workshops. 

Portable table saws

Portable table saws are for shops with limited space. They are for framing and building decks. They are also known as bench tabletop saws. They are small and lightweight, and perfect for construction-type cuts. They use limited working space. The limitation comes when cutting thick stock. They are not powerful enough to make smooth cuts. 

Cabinet saws

Cabinet saws are for serious DIY users. They are powerful and come with 3-5horsepower motors and they are accurate. They do not select materials in terms of thickness. You have a wide range to choose from. 

They have large table extensions and outfeed tables. Cabinet machines need more space than portable saws. That is why it is also known as a stationary saw. These are ideal for large workshops. 

You need a stationary table saw when you are operating from one location permanently. The stationary saws are heavier than portable table saws. They come with large tables, and that is ideal for large projects that involve large materials. 

Be wary of buying used

Used table saws are economical to buy. You have to be observant and have enough information about the used model. I advise you to go for a saw machine that lasts. You can use online vendors on sites that are reliable such as Amazon and eBay. 

Consider the warranty of the table saw. It should include repairs and have an attractive return policy. It will be shipped right to your doorstep. However, bear in mind that non-local refunds can be difficult. That is why I also recommend walk-in shops for used table saws. You end up paying for shipping to and from the supplier. 

Be thorough in your research since vendors may falsely advertise. In a local shop, they assemble the table saw for you and you may have the experience from a previous owner. Ask the terms of the return policy. 

Do not forget to check for blade wobble

When experiencing a blade wobble, put a new blade and see if it still wobbles. Stopping means the problem is the old blade. If it continues, you have to unplug the machine and remove the saw blade. Check the arbor for runout using a dial indicator. If it continues after rotating the arbor, replace the arbor.  

The best places to buy a table saw

When buying your table saw, you buy in-store or online. When buying online I recommend you to visit AcmeTools.com for the information you need on a variety of models in this category. You have to search the list of the best table saws within your price range and check them out on Amazon. 

Checking the reviews

When buying a table saw or any other product, I advise you to check the reviews. Reviews do not lie because those are personal experiences. I understand there are genuine technical faults, but you can still follow reputable reviewers. You get to know the strengths and weaknesses of each table saw. Checking reviews saves time and gives you answers to your questions. I advise you to consider table saws with 4-plus stars. 

Whether to buy a table saw online or in-store

Buying a table saw online and in-store has its pros and cons. You have to be aware of extra costs such as shipping and delivering when buying online. You may have to experience delays, and you should be patient. 

There is risk and more time in online buying. That is why you have to look at the shipping options before you pay. The urgency determines how soon you want to have the saw machine. Order your saw tool in time, not when you have projects waiting. Buying in-store takes time, and that should not worry you if you have the time. 

You have a one-on-one interaction with the seller till you are satisfied. However, that is tiresome if you are going to walk from one shop to another, comparing prices and features. You might not have a shop that has different brands to compare. 

The seller can be biased at times, and you experience that both online and in-store. When buying online, I recommend reputable shops such as Woodcraft and AcmeTools

FAQs

What Types of Table Saws Are Available?

There are three main categories: benchtop (or job site), contractor, and cabinet.

How Do You Use a Table Saw?

Before shopping for a table saw, take a moment to ponder two important things: 1) how you will use the saw, and 2) where will you use it. The first consideration is what you plan to do with it.

What is a tabletop saw?

Tabletop saws often called portable saws or job site saws, are the smallest and lightest and are most often used by DIYers who are making construction-type cuts, and who want portability and easy storage.

What are Contractor Table Saws?

Most come with 1 – 2 horsepower motors that provide enough power for nearly all tasks.

What are the arbor and trunnion?

The arbor and trunnion hold the blade and allow it to move up, down, and at angles.

What is the RPM of a table saw blade?

In any event, professional table saw blade speeds generally fall between 4000–5000 RPM.

What’s the difference between a high RPM and low rpm table saw?

High speeds can burn hardwoods or require faster feed rates as the blade cuts.

How much power do table saws have?

As you might imagine, the table saw power increases from benchtop through cabinet models.

What are the best fence systems?

One of our favorite systems is the rack and pinion design of Skilsaw’s heavy-duty model.

How much rip capacity do you need?

When choosing the best table saw for job sites, you’ll need a rip capacity of more than 24″.

What is a Compact Saw?

Compact saws are larger than benchtop models and generally driven by small toothed belts.

What are Portable Table Saws?

Portable table saws are compact and designed to be lightweight and placed on a table.

What are the types of woodworking saws?

Models include contractor, hybrid, and cabinet table saws.

What do I do if I have any questions?

Talk to a friendly customer care representative to help with your purchase.

What is the motor noise?

Most benchtop saws weigh under 65 pounds, use universal motors (with brushes), with direct drive, and are many decibels louder than more powerful saws using induction motors.

What is the difference between a cabinet saw and hybrid?

Hybrid saws are typically set up to use 110-volt power from the factory, but many can be switched to use 220-volt power where available.

What are the differences between a 1 and 3/4 horsepower saw vs. 2 or 3?

With sizes ranging from a small bench-top table saw (occasionally with a 1HP or smaller motor) to a 1 and 3/4 horsepower saw with a larger table, portability is of greater concern than accuracy or power.

What is a Hybrid Saw?

Hybrid Saws: The hybrid table saw attempts to be a combination of both the cabinet and contractor’s saws, although the thoughts of which cabinet saw features to incorporate seem to vary widely by manufacturer.

What is the bevel adjustment on a table saw?

Traditionally, the 0- to 45-degree bevel adjustment on most table saws have tilted the blade to the right, but some cabinet saws use a left-tilt mechanism.

Are Saw Blades Safe?

Since most cutting operations have the fence positioned to the right of the blade, left-tilt saws are generally regarded as safer.

What are the Best Types of Table Fence?

One of the most popular styles of fence is the T-style, such as the Biesemeyer fence found on the Delta Unisaw.

What is a T-style Fence?

A T-style fence has a heavy bar or square tube attached to the front of the saw table, and a wide, dual-sided fence that glides along the top of the table.

David D. Hughes
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