Buying a good quality table saw is essential for professional woodworkers, carpenters, framers, and DIY enthusiasts as it serves a number of purposes, from crafting furniture pieces for your house to repairing your home. With incredible features, this tool can help you a lot in your woodworking journey. However, the problem arises when you buy this tool for the first time, as many options are available in the market. This article will help you to understand what to look for when buying a table saw as a beginner.
What is Table Saw, and What is It Used for?
A table saw is a versatile woodworking tool that you can use for many purposes and on a wide variety of materials. Whether a professional or a DIY hobbyist, this tool should be in the collection to perform different tasks with maximum precision. A table saw consists of a circular blade mounted on an arbor.
The total design of the table saw provides incredible strength and support for the wood being cut into pieces. This tool is suitable for longer cuts of materials. You will find it available simply like a miter or hand saw. The height and angle of the blade are easily adjustable, making this tool a good choice for getting a variety of cuts. No tool is better than a table saw when you need the most accurate straight cuts.
The table saw’s accuracy, time effectiveness, speed, and versatility significantly reduce the user’s effort. But there is one thing to remember to get the best cuts- the quality of the blade. Only a quality blade can make a significant difference while cutting a material. So, investing in a good quality blade is always the best decision to save your valuable time and effort in the long run.
Things to Consider When Buying a Table Saw
There are many different table saws available that are suitable for different projects. So, choosing the right one might be a daunting task for beginners. This section of this article is going to talk about the list of the most important things to consider to simplify the buying process of the table saw.
The Type of the Table Saw
Depending on your project type, you should choose the right type of table saw. There are five types of table saws that offer different purposes.
Benchtop Table Saw
These table saws are lightweight and don’t have stands. As it is small, you cannot perform all kinds of cutting tasks with this tool. However, you can set this saw everywhere. Though they lack power and accuracy for larger projects, they are perfectly suitable for DIY enthusiasts looking for less expensive and effective saws for small tasks.
Jobsite Table Saw
The Jobsite table saw is also portable, like a benchtop table saw, but a little bit heavier and has a handy rolling stand. This saw also offers more efficient cutting power than the benchtop table saw. It is convenient to transport this tool. So, you can choose it for various job site conditions.
Contractor Table Saw
This saw is designed for contractors looking for power and satisfactory mobility in a saw at a lower price. Initially, it was designed for contractors who need portable saws, but gradually it became a stationary saw for their heavy motors. Due to excellent performance and better portability, the contractor table saw has become popular among many woodworkers and contractors.
Cabinet Table Saw
The heaviest and most powerful table saw is the cabinet table saw. It is built for durability and precision. It is ideal for professional woodworkers as they provide better dust collection features and stability.
Hybrid Table Saw
A hybrid table saw demonstrates similar features to a cabinet table saw but a less expensive one. In addition, it requires less space than a cabinet table saw.
Power and Performance of the Table Saw
How good a table saw depends on the quality of the motor. A powerful motor of the saw ensures smooth and accurate cuts. Horsepower, motor type, and amps are essential for determining the best cutting results. The DIY hobbyists may need a table saw with a 2-HP motor pushing 15 amp, but for professional woodworkers, table saws with 3-5 HP motors will do great that require a 220 V supply.
You should also give importance to torque, which determines the overall ability of the table saw to maintain speed while cutting. High torque is necessary for wet wood to prevent the saw’s blade from stalling. Rotations-per-minute (RPM) of the saw is another feature that you need to consider. Also, make yourself knowledgeable about the no-load speed of the saw blade when the tool is not cutting. Although a faster blade speed provides smoother cuts, you must match the speed with the material you want to cut.
Overall Build Quality
The quality of the table saw depends significantly on the overall build quality, which determines the durability and performance of the saw. The table saws are usually made of aluminum, stainless steel, cast iron, and plastic. While cast iron has a fantastic vibration reduction feature, plastic is less durable and vibrates more frequently than other materials.
Whereas cast iron is heavier and more expensive, plastic is less expensive. Stainless steel and aluminum demonstrate solid vibration reduction features, but aluminum is lighter and easier to carry.
There is nothing more important than considering safety features when dealing with powerful tools like table saws. Since a table saw is a dangerous tool with potential dangers, you should know what the guards are to be used to protect your hands and fingers. Fortunately, table saws nowadays come with numerous safety features.
Splitters of the saw prevent the cut wood from closing in on the blade and reduce kickbacks. Anti-kickback pawls are jagged teeth that can hook into your workpiece, allow the wood to move in a single direction, and reduce the risk of kickbacks. Like splitters, a riving knife prevents wood from pinching the blade and offers constant protection.
Table Size and Portability
The size and portability of the table saw are also essential considerations. The contractors or woodworkers are concerned about the portability because they may need to transport the table saw from one place to another to perform a task. Therefore, the saw’s weight is also a crucial factor to consider.
Unlike professional woodworkers, DIY enthusiasts are less concerned about the saw’s size than the size of the workshop. Depending on the work area, they can choose anyone from numerous varieties. Table saws are primarily of two sizes- 10 inches and 8 ¼ inches. Whereas a 10-inch table saw can cut a material with a maximum depth of around 2 ¼ inches at 45° and 3 ½ inches at 90°, the 8 ¼ inch table saw will allow you to cut around 1 ¾ inches of maximum depth at 45° and 2 ⅕ inches at 90°.
You can achieve the maximum cutting depth limitations with proper measurements and cutting in the opposite direction of the workpiece. Table saws with 10-inch blades are more expensive than 8 ¼ inch blades. So, choose the right one based on your budget limitations.
The table saw’s rip fence should be parallel to the tool’s blade and easily adjustable. A sturdy and well-aligned blade provides straight and smooth cuts. Though the rip capacity is not a defining quality of the saw, it can provide a ceiling on the project’s size.
If you need a table, saw for commercial purposes, get a cabinet table saw that allows for rip cuts of at least 32 inches. You should remember that a minimum rip capacity of the table saw is an essential consideration for professional woodworkers.
Dust Management Capacity
A dust-free workspace is essential not only for enhancing the outlook of the space but also for ensuring the safety of your health. Therefore, while buying a table saw, consider how good the dust collection system of your saw is. Wood dust causes serious health hazards when inhaled. So, the professionals who have to work very frequently with this tool or the people with allergies must take this point as a prior concern.
The poor dust management capacity of the saw is responsible for the extreme buildup of sawdust in your workspace. Gradually, the dust reduces the effectiveness of the blade. So, look for built-in dust collection ports to connect the table saw to a vac or dust collection system. The size of the dust vac port determines the effectiveness of the quality of the vacuum. If you want the most effective table saw to remove dust from your workspace, a vac port on the blade guard is the most suitable option. The effective dust management system of the saw protects the workspace from being slippery and extends the saw’s lifespan.
Don’t forget to establish a budget for buying a table saw. Determine how much you are prepared to spend on this tool. If you are an occasional user, spending on the most expensive one will not be a wise idea. It is true that quality comes at a higher price in most cases, but some inexpensive choices of table saws also provide excellent durability and fewer replacements.
The Operating Quality
Finally, you should check how good the table saw is in operation before buying. It is a safe step to choose the right one for your project. Checking the tool in operation will help you to understand how well the saw is to provide smoother cuts. You can cut a piece of wood with the machine to save you from unforeseen issues in the long run.
Before You Go
Depending on your specific needs and the project type, choose the right table saw among a wide range of available options. What to look for when buying a table saw will not be a problem anymore as a beginner after reading this article. You should also remember the tips given while purchasing this tool to ensure your work’s best quality and precision. Whatever project you have in your hand, always prioritize safety, functionality, and quality over brand appeal.