Among the key features and specifications to consider when buying a table saw, perhaps one of the most vital is the portability of the product. Some products like cabinet saws offer unmatched stability and high precision cuts, but they are so heavy as to be virtually immobile. If you own a large woodworking facility with lots of workers, such a machine is perfect.
However, if you’re the carpenter who needs to move from one home to another office fixing doors and placing fences, or the woodworking enthusiast who wishes to try out some woodworking at different locations, you need a product that is more portable. Of course, your portable table saw will not be able to handle the huge pieces of thick wood that a cabinet saw can cut with ease, but then there are a number of benefits which more than cover up for the few shortcomings associated with these saws.
Below we shall first see the benefits of the table saws, and then look at a few products that can offer unmatched value for money in a wide range of circumstances.
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Benefits of Using A Portable Table Saw
For a long time, the speeding circular saw was the product of choice of the majority of traveling carpenters and woodworking enthusiasts. However, the situation changed with the arrival of portable table saws, thanks to the benefits they offered over both circular saws as well as some types of heavier table saws.
- Adequate size – One of the fallacies surrounding portable table saws is that the tables are small compared to full size saws. If you define full size saws as top of the range cabinet saws, this may be true. However, in everyday cutting and ripping, neither are such large tables needed, nor are they provided by even contractor or hybrid table saws. Hence, getting a portable table saw with a decently large table will more than suffice for your everyday cutting needs. In particular, you should look for a 10” table saw, as these have a decent table size. However, if you do find that one of the best table saws available falls slightly short of your size requirement, you can extend the size with expandable tables and fences.
- Better than the circular saw – The reason circular saws were defeated by portable table saws is that the former could not cut pieces of wood as precisely and as quickly as the table saw could. Further, the portable tables saw is capable of handling a large number of parallel wood pieces for cross-cutting, something the circular saw could not boast of.
- Portability – It is a no-brainer that portability is the greatest selling point of these saws. While this may benefit the mobile woodworker, it is also good for a shop run out of a small room or a garage, since these areas have little space and you may need to shift the saw often as you put in new supplies, etc.
- Price – Another reason the portable table saw is a great choice for small time carpenters and amateur woodworkers is the cost. As our table saw reviews indicate, some of the best portable saws can cost as little as $200-500, which makes them highly affordable for someone who is not willing to invest a lot of money at the outset.
Top 5 portable table saws
While all portable table saws have the above benefits, sometimes companies seeking to make a quick buck cut corners, thereby endangering you even if you know well how to use a table saw. To make choosing easier, we have reviewed a large number of products and chosen the five best portable table saws, which offer the greatest benefits at the most appropriate price bracket.
Offering a 15 Amp motor that is capable running the blade through even thick wood in a short span of time, the Dewalt DW745 comes with a 20” rip which allows the product to handle stock sizes which even a high end cabinet saw would be proud of. Complementing this power is the fact that the rails work on a rack and pinion mechanism, which enables the user to adjust the rails without any difficulty. Further aiding the convenience factor is the 0-45 degrees adjustabilityof the blade, which allows this product to handle bevel functions with ease.
Further, this Dewalt product is as durable as it is powerful, featuring a metal roll cage instead of dubious plastic ones. Indeed, so confident is the manufacturer that it has included a 90 day money back guarantee along with the standard one year free servicing contract and an excellent three year warranty.
Our second pick from the house of Dewalt comes with an even larger 32-1/2” rip capacity that allowsthe product to cut through almost any piece of wood or other tough material that one may encounter in day to day woodworking. Further, like the previous product on our list of best portable table saws, it features a powerful 15 amp motor that can slice through the toughest of stocks in record time.
Another similarity between the two Dewalt products is the presence of a rack and pinion rail retraction system that allows for convenient adjustment of the vital rails. Interestingly, the Dewalt DWE7491RS features a 2-1/2” dust collection port that makes working on this product a more comfortable experience, and equally importantly, makes on-site cleaning up a simple task. Finally, peace of mind is guaranteed through a three year warranty on the product.
As one may expect from the specifications, the price on Amazon is slightly higher than for the previous Dewalt product, but for those who want a larger rip size, this product is bang on the buck.
Giving competition to the Dewalt products is Bosch 4100-09, which offers a 10 inch high precision table saw blade that is capable of providing an unbelievable 3650 rpm. This ensures that no matter how resistant the stock may be, the cut is smooth, fast and most vitally, accurate. Further, this product is able to handle stocks which are as much as 25 inches wide, thereby staking claim to being one of the few portable table saws that can achieve this feat.
Along with such muscle, the product offers a high stability gravity-rise stand, which insures the user against any nasty jerks or instability while working the product at full capacity. Lastly, the Bosch product offers a 30 day money back guarantee along with a one year warranty, both of which are decent considering its price bracket.
Like most of the best portable table saws, Makita 2705 offers a 10 inch 32T carbide tipped blade that is capable of cutting through 4x material in one stroke. Helping this blade achieve the high cutting ability is a powerful 15 amps motor which can easily produce 4800 rpm. Furthermore, it offers a stock handling capacity of 25 inch, which is more than sufficient for handling most day to day carpentry tasks.
As one would expect of a Makita product, a range of convenience and safety adjustments have been provided, including two independent anti-kickback pawls, “tool-less” modular blade guard system and an innovative guard design that allows you to see just how and when the blade is making contact with the material.
The Makita 2705 comes with a nice one year warranty that covers all parts and labor.
Our second product from Bosch, the Bosch GTS1031 boasts of a powerful 4HP motor that powers the standard 10 inch blade of the device. We find that the maximum stock width is also slightly lower at 18 inches, but this is not a major compromise considering the price difference between this product and the Bosch 4100-09.
What the Bosch beauty lacks in stock width it makes up through superior durability, courtesy of a steel stand that is designed specifically to handle the abuse of regular jobsite applications. Further, the square lock rip fence locking design ensures that the product is easy to use at all times.
Finally, we find that the product is covered with a 30 day replacement guarantee and a one year warranty, both of which are decent for the price bracket.
As the above analysis of the best portable table saws shows, the products vary a bit in their specifications, but their core features remain top notch. Indeed, whatever woodworking job you may be associated with, these saws should be able to do more than a decent job, even under high pressure. Of course, every job has its own needs, and hence we have listed saws which are slightly on the lower end of the power spectrum, as well as those which offer great value for money but at a slightly higher price range. Decide according to your needs, and you will very likely find your move to portable table saws to be a pleasant and fulfilling one.