Are you in a hurry and just want to know which contractor table saw is the best? Delta Power Tools 36-5100 is your best option.
A contractors’ table saw is a tool for those who have a medium budget, but still want a powerful and solid stationary table saw. A contractor table saw is a perfect choice for professionals as well as weekend hobbyists who are serious about their craft.
The question is: with so many different options on the market, which one should you choose? In this roundup, we will review 5 of the best contractor table saws you can find on the market right now. You will also find a buyer’s guide that will help you choose the right contractor table saw for your shop.
Top contractor table saws compared:
How to Choose A Contractor Table Saw
Many variables will impact your decision when selecting the best contractor table saw for your workshop. However, one thing is clear: your contractor table saw needs to be stable, accurate, and it should pack enough power.
Weight and Build material
While a contractors’ table saw is generally the lightest of all stationary saws, you will still need some help if you want to move it around. Contractors’ table saw can weigh up to 400 pounds. Once assembled, it will probably stay in place for quite a while. Some contractor table saws are lighter than others. If you intend to move it around, choose a table saw that has a mobile base attached to it.
With that said, if you intend to keep it in one place at all times, definitely choose a heavier one. Heavier table saws with cast iron parts provide more stability, accuracy, and less vibration.
One variable that will impact the weight is the table top’s material. Some contractors’ table saws come with cast-iron tabletops, which are robust, long-lasting, and resistant to wear. However, there are also other options on the market like aluminum, stamped metal, and stainless steel. Such models are typically lighter than cast iron material but aren’t as durable and as immune to vibration.
It is no big secret that the contractor table saws command a higher price than their portable or jobsite counterparts. Stationary table saws are complex machines, and many things could go wrong on the inside. The better the warranty conditions, the more peace of mind you will have knowing that you are covered in case any parts break.
This cannot be stressed enough, but safety should always be your #1 priority when working with a table saw.
A riving knife is ne of the most important features that will protect you from kickback. Thankfully, the Consumer Product Safety Commission ruled out that all table saws manufactured after 2008 must come equipped with riving knives. Unless you are doing dadoes or any non-through cuts, have the riving knife installed on your table saw at all times.
A blade guard is another standard safety feature included in most table saws. It is installed to keep your fingers safely away from the blade. It tends to obscure your view, though. For that reason, many seasoned woodworkers will often remove the guard to better see their workpiece.
Anti-kickback pawls are another safety feature to keep an eye out for. This is one of those features that does not come included with all table saws. Anti-kickback pawls are used to keep the wood on the other side of the blade from going airborne.
How much rip capacity do you need? First, decide what kind of work you will be doing. Someone who cuts doors will need a smaller table than, let’s say, a contractor who cuts fencing plans or kitchen worktops. Consider the size of the material that you usually work with. If you work with large sheets of plywood, a rip capacity of 24 inches should be the bare minimum. Either way, most contractor table saws usually have a rip capacity of at least 30 inches to the right of the blade.
Usually the more the table saw weights the more horsepower its motor will pack. Again, the amount of power you will need is dependent on what kind of work you will be doing. For softer woods like 2×4 pine, a motor with up to 2HP will be enough.
However, to rip large slabs of hardwood, you will want to choose a motor with at least 3HP. Anything less than 3HP and you will risk leaving burns on your hardwoods. Anywhere from one to three horsepower should be enough for most amateur woodworkers. Three to five HP motors can be overkill for beginners.
Fence and Miter Gauge
The best table saws must come included with these two essential parts. A good, durable fence is essential to safely make accurate cuts. Similarly, the miter gauge allows you to achieve angled cuts.
Stock fences and miter gauges often leave much to be desired. They are often produced from low-quality materials and don’t offer enough support and accuracy. With many contractor table saws, a good solution is to buy the best available aftermarket fence and invest in a good table saw miter gauge.
Maximum cut depth
Crosscut blades and rip blades are the most common types of blades available on the market. Similar to the teeth number, the blade type will be useful in judging how fast the blade can cut and how clean the final cut will look. Rip blades possess more teeth and have bigger gullets. They cut a piece of wood more quickly and wick away any dust and wood chips.
Crosscut blades have many teeth but with smaller spaces between them. As a result, they are slower and have more accurate cuts. You can also buy blades that fall in between the rip blades and crosscut blades, providing both speed and accuracy.
A table saw’s blade material will determine how well it can cut. For instance, woods are cut using a metal blade, e.g., steel or carbon steel. Such blades are hard, yet flexible at the same time. When it comes to PVC and other plastic materials, the most suitable one is a blade with tungsten carbide tips. Check out my table saw blade buying guide to choose the best blade.
For most table saws, the standard blade sizes range from 8 to 12 inches, with some table saws having bigger blades for more commercial uses. Knowing the blade size of your table saw will ultimately allow you to buy blades that are made specifically for your table saw.
Number of teeth on the blade
The number of teeth per inch on a blade is an essential metric for determining its speed of cutting and finish quality. Blades which have more teeth per inch tend to cut slower, but the final cut is more accurate and clean. On the contrary, blades with a smaller number of teeth per inch cut more quickly but have a rougher finish.
My list of 5 best contractor table saws:
1. Delta Power Tools 36-5100
- Item may ship in more than one box and may arrive separately
- Heavy duty one piece rail system for precision cuts every time
- Large, easy to access ON/OFF switch
The second on our list is the Delta 36-5100. This contractor table saw incorporates the design of its predecessor Delta 36-5000. This saw was designed to consolidate all the best features that a table saw can have: stability, precision, mobility, and durability.
Delta 36-5100 does not lack in the mobility department as it features a tubular stand with a swivel and two fixed wheels. The tabletop on this table saw is made out of cast iron. This makes it heavy enough to remain stable when ripping large slabs of wood.
The baseline right-hand wing extension offers 30 inches of rip capacity. Users also have the option to upgrade to 52 inches, which is plenty of workspace for any kind of project. It is worth noting that the extension wings are also produced out of cast iron, which adds to the overall stability.
The Blade Brake on Delta’s contractor’s table saw stops the blade within seconds of turning the power off, which is useful in emergency situations. Included with this contractor’s table saw is the Biesemeyer style fence, which some users reported can be a little bit off right out of the box and might need adjustment. The fence is made out of aluminum, and some buyers report that it may bend if you push the stock against it too hard.
Additionally, the lever clamps against Teflon pads on the fence which wear over time. This may cause the entire fence to cock by as much as a quarter of an inch. For more info on the Biesemeyer fence, check out our best aftermarket table saw fence guide.
- Cast iron table and wings.
- Relatively easy to move around thanks to the tubular stand with fixed wheels.
- Easy to assemble.
- Blade break feature stops the blade within seconds.
- Good value for the money.
- Biesemeyer-style fence lacks durability.
- Fence lever clamps against Teflon pads which will get worn out
- The fence may need adjustment out of the box
2. SawStop CNS175-TGP36 1.75Hp Contractor Saw
- SAWSTOP PATENTED SAFETY SYSTEM: Stops a spinning blade on contact with skin. The blade stops in less than 5 milliseconds, and drops below the table, minimizing a potentially life-altering injury to a...
- UNMATCHED QUALITY: The trunnion and arbor are built for precision, strength and stability. Poly v-ribbed belts reduce vibration and help ensure a great cut. Table flatness is measured diagonally at 0....
- RELIABILITY: The Control Box houses the on-off switch, power paddle, and on-board computer, and constantly checks that all systems are working to reliably keep you safe.
The SawStop Contractor Saw is one of the most versatile table saws on the market, and it has a unique patented safety mechanism. Keeping in mind the frequency of power tool injuries, it makes sense not to overlook safety.
Moreover, this table saw’s power and massive rip capacity make it ideal for handling bigger materials and more complex projects like building cabinets and other large pieces of furniture. It has a 10-inch blade that tilts to the left, and a dust port collection feature as well underneath the table. The dust port has a diameter of four inches.
This contractor table saw The SawStop Contractor Saw features a T-glide fence system that is made out of thick gauge steel. You can expect good support and seamless cutting action thanks to this fence.
One thing you should check at the time of purchase is the flatness of the table surface as some buyers have reported that it is low in the middle and high on the sides.
- Flagship SawStop safety system.
- Flexible and stable.
- Mobile Base offers greater mobility.
- Easy to assemble.
- No tools are required to remove the insert plate.
- Reliable T-glide fence system.
- Compatible with 110V power outlet.
- Short 1-year warranty period
- High price.
3. Powermatic 1791229K 64B Table Saw
- EXCLUSIVE ACCU-FENCE SYSTEM: Locks to rail without play for increased safety and precision.
- QUICK-RELEASE RIVING KNIFE: Maintains close blade proximity to reduce chance of kickback.
- CAST IRON TRUNNION: Ensures smooth blade positioning.
The third contractor table saw on our list is Powermatic 1791229K 64 GB. With 1.75 HP, its motor can generate up to 3,800 RPM. The great thing about this table saw is that it is set for a 110-volt outlet.
The riving knife has a quick-release functionality, which allows you to remove it without much hassle (can’t see a single reason why you would want to make cuts without a riving knife, though). Also, you won’t need dual blade wrenches as you can reach the arbor locks from above.
The tabletop, the trunnion and the extension wings of this table saw are made out of cast iron. This additional weight makes the table highly stable. Overall, the Powermatic 1791229K contractor table saw is well put-together and it will accommodate the needs of advanced-level hobbyists and demanding professionals.
- 1.75 HP motor is compatible with a 110-volt power outlet.
- Built-in extraction port offers efficient dust collection.
- Quick-release blade guard and riving knife for tool-less removal/mounting
- 13/16 in. maximum dado width
- 5-year warranty period
- Almost as expensive as SawStop CNS175-TGP36.
4. RIDGID R4512 10 inch 13-Amp Cast IronTable Saw
- 13 Amp motor delivers up to 3450 RPM
- Cast iron table minimizes vibration
- Front and back-clamping aluminum rip fence has extra-large glides to provide precise and smooth adjustments along the rail
Next on our list is a contractor’s saw from RIDGID. We have added this table saw to our list because this is by far the most affordable contractor saw out there. Definitely consider this machine if you are on a tight budget, but still want to work on serious projects that otherwise would be impossible to build with a portable table saw. The 13 AMP motor on this table saw delivers up to 3450 RPM, which will give you sufficient cutting speed to rip most types of woods without leaving burns.
The fence on this saw has clamps on both, the front and the backside. Together with extra large glides, you should be able to smoothly adjust the fence along the rail. It must be noted that the fence itself, similarly to the Bisemeyer-type fence on the Delta, is made out of aluminum. While the fence slides effortlessly along the rails, most buyers mentioned the need to align it before operating the saw.
If you find that you need to move your table saw around the workshop, you will be pleasantly surprised that this table saw’s mobile base is equipped with three wheels. Despite the fact that it is quite portable, it still weighs 267 pounds which should give you enough stability when cutting and vibration resistance. Does it pass the nickel test? Let’s find out:
As for the drawbacks, it seems like many buyers have had issues with the warranty. Some of them have had their warranty claims rejected by RIDGID despite the advertised 3-year warranty period.
- The most affordable option on this list.
- Convenient, 3-wheel mobile base.
- Cast iron tabletop provides stability and reduces vibration.
- Straightforward instructions.
- Some buyers have had issues with warranty claims.
5. Jet 708492K JPS -10TS
- Riving knife maintains close blade proximity to reduce chance of kickback
- Integrated arbor lock is accessed from table top for rapid blade change
- Blade guard and riving knife have quick release for tool-less mounting and removal
Last on our list is Jet 708492K JPS -10TS with a 52-inch fence, 1.75 HP motor, and cast iron tabletop & extension wings. The arbor lock on this contractor’s saw is accessed from the top which allows for a quick and effortless exchange of blades. Another nice thing about this machine is that the manufacturer covers it with a 5-year warranty.
The main drawback of this saw that I want to note is that it does not come with an integrated mobile base. Mobility was one of the main reasons why contractor table saws were conceived in the first place and seeing that it lacks this feature may upset some of you who place a high value on mobility.
Overall, there aren’t many things to criticize in this particular machine, but there’s also isn’t much that is outstanding enough to give lavish praise. Overall, this is a well put together machine that will perform well. Just know that once
- The integrated arbor lock is accessed from the top of the table.
- 5-year warranty period.
- No integrated mobile base
The Final Cut
If you still have doubts, about what is the best contractor table saw, the Delta Power Tools 36-5100 table saw is probably your best pick. With the reliable fence system, ease of assembly, mobile base, and the abundance of safety systems, this saw stands out from all others on the list.
We hope this guide helps you make an informed decision! If you think that we should include some other contractor table saw to this list, please feel free to let us know in the comment section below.