Whether you are a professional contractor or woodworking is your hobby, a table saw is one of the most important power tools to have in your workshop. It is one versatile tool that allows you to make a wide range of cuts. In fact, this is one of the crucial investments you will make as a DIYer or woodworker. When you are on the market for a new table saw, before you choose the model and brand, you should first determine the type of table saw you need.
In general, table saws are broadly classified as portable and stationary, and each of these types has further classifications as well.
Types of Table Saw
Portable Table Saws
As the name suggests, these saws are designed to be portable, to make it easy for you to carry them from one site to another. They are typically made with sturdier materials and are lightweight as well. The portable nature of these saws makes them an ideal choice for contractors and carpenters who are constantly on the move between different work sites. Portable table saws are further classified as follows:
Benchtop saws, standing by their name, are models that can be attached to a stand or clamped to a surface, and therefore do not come with legs or a stand of their own. These table saws are very light, highly compact, and affordable as well. They are widely used by individuals who wish to perform some light duty woodwork in their workshop or garage. To make them light in weight, benchtop saws are often made from materials like aluminum and plastic. Since these saws are smaller and have limited ripping capacity, keep in mind that these tools will be ideal for cutting softer woods.
Designed to be used in jobsites, these saws are known to be sturdier than the average table saw, and they come as a perfect balance of portability and functionality. Since these saws come equipped with more features than most benchtop models, this would be the right choice for you if you need some additional features in an affordable and portable table saw. The ripping capacity of these saws will be higher, which is why they are not recommended for beginners.
Compact Table Saws
These are known to be better than benchtop saws, because they come with some extra features such as cast-iron table surfaces, or stands, along with their lightweight build and the use of direct drive universal motor like those on benchtop models. While some of these saws tend to look like full-size table saws, they, however, have the smaller ripping capacity.
Stationary Table Saws
Table saws under this category are much heavier and larger than the portable models. In addition, these machines are more powerful and accurate as well. They come with heavy cast iron tables, and though they are not portable machines, you can move them around your workshop by mounting them on any reliable mobile base.
If you are an experienced hobbyist woodworker or have leveled up from being a beginner, you could go with a contractor saw, because this tool is more accurate and powerful than a benchtop model. Though these tools were once widely preferred by professionals, they are now used mainly by enthusiasts and hobbyists. Contractor saws usually come with a larger table and fixed legs and are affordable.
These are the most powerful of all the different types. The features of these saws, every single one of them, are better than those of the other table saw types. Cabinet saws, on the whole, are designed to be highly strong and durable, as a result of which they can endure a lot of abuse in terms of various heavy-duty tasks. These tools are extremely accurate, and though they are really bulky and heavy, the fact that they can be used for decades is a huge plus. As a result, they are a staple in every woodworking professional’s workshop and also in factories.
These tools are relatively new to the market and are models that basically combine the best characteristics of cabinet and contractor saws. They are really similar to contractor saws, both in terms of price and features, but are more powerful than the same. On the other hand, these tools are cheaper than cabinet saws. Hybrid saws usually come with an enclosed cabinet base to collect dust and are ideal for those of you who are confused about making a decision on which type of stationary table saw to buy.
In order to choose the best table saw, you should first be aware of your skill level, your purpose for the tool, and of course, your budget. Some of the other factors to consider include portability, power, precision, job size, and placement. Once you have your needs determined, choosing the best table saw that suits your needs will be easy.