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.
Quick Content Navigation
- Benefits of Using A Portable Table Saw
- Top 5 Best Rated Table Saws Comparison
- DEWALT DW745 Table Saw
- DEWALT 7491RS Table Saw
- Bosch 4100-09 Table Saw
- Makita 2705 Table Saw
- Bosch GTS1031 Table Saw
- Buyer’s Guide
- Motor Speed
- Rip Capacity
- Stand Included
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 cabinet 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 Best Rated Table Saws Comparison
*Results Are Based On Amazon.com Portable Table Saws Consumer Reports & Reviews*
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.
DEWALT DW745 Table Saw
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.
DEWALT 7491RS Table Saw
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.
Bosch 4100-09 Table Saw
Giving competition to the Dewalt products is Bosch 4100-09, which offers a 10 inch high precision hybrid 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.
Makita 2705 Table Saw
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.
Bosch GTS1031 Table Saw
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.
There are a lot of things to consider prior to buying a portable table saw. With a little knowledge you will be able to buy the exact portable table saw to meet your exact needs.
One of the most important things to consider in your new portable table saw is it’s power. Every job site or worksite table saw we have found uses the most common 120VAC. But that is only part of the story. There are some pretty significant differences between the actual power output of the portable saws motors. Don’t be mislead by only looking at the amperage, ie: 15 amps. Did you know that a manufacturer could manufacturer a motor that is extremely inefficient and it would draw more current than a more efficient motor”
While we are discussing motor amperage here it should be mentioned that if you need an extension cord to run your portable table saw, be sure to use an extension cord that is rated for the amperage you need. Using a extension cord that is too small (gauge wise) can result in the portable table saw motor overheating. Heat is the most common cause of motor failures so a little extra money spent on the right gauge extension cord might just save you a lot of money down the road. So bottom line is that the total current draw does not necessarily translate into the most powerful portable table saw for the money. You should look a little deeper into things like motor speed (RPM).
All manufacturers state their motor speed for all the portable table saws. It is sometimes referred to as the arbor speed. Keep in mind that the rating shown are under ‘no load’ conditions so you cannot expect the same speed while actually making cuts. But is does give you a pretty good comparison as the the table saws actual power. Some portable table saws have electronic circuits to help maintain the blade at a constant speed while making the cut. Unless you are ripping some pretty tough stuff, you really shouldn’t worry too much about buying a saw with that circuitry.
If it has it, great, if it doesn’t then I wouldn’t let that be my deciding factor.It makes sense that the faster the table saw blade is spinning, the faster you will be able to feed the cut. Also, the faster the blade spins means that under the same conditions, it will probably spin faster under load too. There is a correlation to the no load speed that manufacturers put in their specifications and do not show any ‘under load’ speed. It would be impossible to come up the exactly what ‘under load’ means anyway.
Obviously weight is a consideration when buying a portable table saw. It has to be light enough to be easily set up and transported. From experience I don’t think that the weight is the most important factor. After all you only set the saw up one time per day on most days and if you buy a portable table saw with a stand then moving it around your jobsite is not that big of a deal. On the other hand if you constantly are having to move the saw from jobsite to jobsite, then the weight might be more important to you.Keep in mind that if the saw comes with the stand, the weight shown is for BOTH the saw and the stand.
Otherwise the weight shown is just for the saw.The lightest portable table saw is the Bosch GTS1031 at 52 pounds but that does not include a stand. The heaviest is the Bosch 4100-09 with stand. It comes in at 99 pounds but the stand accounts for 39 pounds of the weight leaving the saw itself to weigh 60 pounds which is in line with other saws (without stands).
No matter what type of work you do, carpentry, cabinetry or trim work, you will, at some point be forced to use the maximum rip capacity of your saw. Rough construction is less likely to need a really wide rip capacity and cabinetry and trim work will have that need more frequently. The widest rip capacity (right of the blade) is in the Bosch 4100-09 at 25″ and the portable table saw with the smallest rip capacity is the Dewalt DW744 at only 16″.The maximum rip capacity for most portable table saws is a result of the amount of table top to the right of the saw blade.
The larger the table saw table top, the wider the maximum rip capacity. It’s kind of misleading to read that a table saw can rip full sheets of plywood or sheet stock only to read a little further and see that the maximum rip width is 24″. Keep that in mind when comparing portable table saws. Overall the maximum rip capacity can vary widely from model and brad to another. If you frequently need to rip really wide stock then you should take a look at the Bosch 4100-09 with it’s 25″ capacity.
That is the widest we have found for portable table saws.
It’s odd that not all portable table saws include a stand. Some, like the Bosch GTS1031 are sold without the stand. In our experience, if you buy the saw and the stand at the same time, it will save you some money vs. buying the saw and the stand separately. If you need to be able to move the saw around the worksite then a stand with large, over sized pneumatic tires will work best. Hard rubber tires can get caught on small pieces of debris so if you are buying a portable table saw complete with the stand then we recommend a stand with large pneumatic tires.
One nice feature is a stand that uses a spring or shock to assist in raising the portable table saw into position. Some stands are designed to set the stand up and then set the table saw on top of it. Others are designed for the table saw to remain attached to the stand and then have a ‘gravity rise’ feature to make setting the saw up to height easier.
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.