How To Choose a Table Saw for Your Workshop

For woodworkers, what could be more important than knowing how to choose a table saw? A table saw is a powerful tool that you use to cut wood at specific angles. If you’re looking for a new one, it’s better to know what to look for, rather than make an uninformed decision.

There are many kinds of table saws on the market these days, each with their specifications and features. Therefore, to know which is the right one for you is a challenge, particularly if you’re a beginner. 

To help you choose the best table saw, we’ve come up with the following guide. 

How to Choose a Table Saw?

There are three things to consider when you’re buying a table saw. We recommend that you go slow and break down your decision-making into the following steps. In that way, making a purchase will become much easier for you. 

Consider What You Need It For

Firstly, you must ask yourself for what purpose do you need a table saw. This makes a big difference in the type of saw you’ll end up with. Are you a DIYer or a professional woodworker? Do you need to make simple cuts such as ripping boards or advanced ones like bevels, dadoes, or box joints?

You can easily find table saws suitable for your needs and level of experience on the market. They usually come in different grades and sizes. For home-based DIYers looking for something simple, basic table saws are ideal as they’re easy to use.

However, if you need a table saw for something advanced like furniture-making, get something that can perform complex cuts. 

Also, another thing to consider is the size of your workspace. Will a large table saw fit into your workspace? How will you store it after use? Make sure to work out the nitty-gritty before investing your hard-earned money on a table saw. 

Pick the Best Type of Table Saw

After you know what you need it for, you need to see which type of table saw best fits your needs. There are four main types of table saws:

  • Contractor Saws

These are ideal for beginners and semi-experienced DIYers. Contractor saws have between 1 to 2 horsepower motors and run on a standard voltage of 120V. They usually weigh about 200-300 pounds and feature many heavy-duty tools that increase their durability. 

These saws can perform almost all easy and intermediate wood-working tasks. Therefore, you can easily use these for multiple projects as long as they’re not too advanced. 

  • Cabinet Saws

Cabinet saws are a very powerful type of saw and are recommended for advanced tasks. You can do anything with cabinet saws, from making a simple pallet shelf to a stylish wall-rack. Consequently, to support their versatility, cabinet saws come with 3 to 5 horsepower motors.

Moreover, these are ideal for large workspaces as they usually come with table extensions and outfeed tables. You also need to assign it a designated spot because they’re not portable (generally weighing 450 pounds and above.)

  • Benchtop Saws

Also known as portable saws, these are the smallest kinds of saws. They’re perfect for both DIYers and professionals as they’re portable, lightweight, and easy to store. You can easily take benchtop saws with you to perform on-site jobs. 

However, they can only be used for simple tasks because they don’t have that much power. On the plus side, this means they won’t strain your home electrical system. 

  • Hybrid Saws

Lastly, hybrid saws, as you can infer, combine different features from different types of saws. They’re easy to move around yet they’re still big enough to give you a comfortable workspace.

Hybrid saws are smaller than cabinet saws, but they provide a decent amount of horsepower.

Prioritize Certain Features

The third step is to be more specific about your priorities. After step one and two, you know what type of saw you’re looking for. However, the features the table saw has are also important. 

Here are some common features that you may find are priorities for you:

  • Power: The amount of power should be enough to perform your task as well as future tasks. 
  • Blade type: There are many types of blades for specific tasks. For example, hollow ground blades are used to make clean cuts on tough materials such as acrylic.*
  • Miter gauge type: A miter gauge helps you make more accurate cuts by helping you adjust the blade. You can get saws with miter gauges between 45 and 90 degrees.
  • Safety: Lots of table saws come with safety features such as blade guards and automatic blade brakes (to prevent contact with skin.) This is especially important if you have limited experience with table saws. 
  • Dust protection: Most table saws come with a dust port to prevent dust build-up. This certainly makes cleaning up easier for you. 

Other features include flatness deviation, fence type, bevel capabilities, etc.

*If you’re buying the blades separately, make sure they’re compatible with your saw. 

What are the Best Table Saws?

Good quality table saws have many key features, so make sure to take those into account. Here are some things the best table saws will have:

  • Powerful Horsepower Motor 

The types of cuts you make strongly depend on the level of horsepower the saw has. Make sure the table saw displays its horsepower on the monitor. 

  • Good Quality Material

Table saws are usually expensive, which means they’re a long-term investment. Therefore, the table saw should be sturdy and made of long-lasting materials. Get a table saw that is mostly made of metal as opposed to plastic. 

  • Accurate Blades and Miter Gauges

The blade should be able to make accurate cuts at precise angles. Otherwise, your investment is rendered useless. Whether for advanced tasks or simple ones, the miter gauge and blade should both work together to give you accurate, smooth cuts.

  • Ergonomic and Safe Design

Lastly, good quality table saws should be easy to use and safe, especially those that are specifically for beginners. As woodworkers, you need to be efficient in your work. Having a table saw that is easy to handle and adjust will save you loads of time and energy.

Conclusion 

In conclusion, there are many things to consider when choosing the right table saw. You should only buy one after holistically considering every aspect. Whether you’re a DIYer or a professional, table saws are a necessity for any woodworking task. 

As they’re so expensive, it’s important to research and see which one is the best for your needs and preferences. We hope this article was informative and helped you understand how to choose a table saw for your woodshop. 

 

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