Looking for a quick answer? Oshlun SDS-0842 is the best dado blade set you can buy. Keep reading to find out why.
Having a dado-capable saw is a bonus for woodworkers wishing to move beyond basic carpentry. Yet, how do you select the best dado blade set? We will review available dado blade sets and suggest which we consider to offer the best value, quality, and capability.
When I began my woodworking career 40 years ago, I used a regular 10-inch blade on my table saw to cut dados. It worked to a certain extent, but the time taken to set up, the accuracy achieved, and the cleanliness of the finished joint left a lot to be desired. It wasn’t until I bought my first dado blade set that I realized just how much time I saved and how better the quality was of the finished product. In this review, I aim to guide your buying decision to purchase the best dado blade set that suits your budget and woodworking needs.
We looked at six different dado blade sets available on the market, and the Oshlun SDS-0842 takes the crown. Stay with us for a few minutes, and we’ll discuss what to look for and why we chose this particular product.
Top-rated dado blades compared
To be sure you buy the correct product, here are some checks you need to do before reaching for your wallet.
Best dado blade sets to buy
Best Dado Blade Set – Oshlun SDS-0842
- Professional grade C-4 carbide
- Full body chippers
- Precision ground carbide tips
The Oshlun SDS-0842 dado blade stack takes the top spot because you’re getting a lot of kit for your money. The price of this set is budget-friendly, yet the quality of both the set and the cut it makes is excellent. Owners’ reports are overwhelmingly positive on build quality and dado cleanliness.
You’re getting 42 tooth outer saw blades and six tooth chippers. In my book, more teeth mean better quality cuts, and owners report a really clean base and sides to the dado. While all sets reviewed here are carbide tipped, the Oshlun set looks solid, with large precision ground carbide. This set cuts from 1/4-inch to 29/32-inch dados.
Best for Professional Use – Amana Tool Carbide Tipped 8″ Dado Set
- (D) diameter: 8 (200mm)
- Teeth: 24
- (D) Bore: 5/8
The “Prestige” line from Amana is squarely aimed at professional users, and this set appears to meet the standards a professional would expect. The entire set is solidly built with heavy 24-tooth outer blades and six four-legged inner chippers. Four inner chippers are 1/8-inch thick, one is 3/32-inch, and the last is 1/8-inch thick. Amana also provides a shim set to get adjustments as small as .002″.
The blades are packed into a sturdy plastic carrying and storage case that ensures the carbide tips don’t contact each other. With all that metal, you’d expect this set to be a little more expensive than most, and it is. However, you won’t get much better quality for the price. Owners rave about this set, reporting accuracy across the base of the dado within .005″. When cutting across the grain of cheap plywood, the cut was clean and precise.
Freud 8″ x 24T SD508 Super Dado Blade Set
- PREMIUM SAFETY DADO 8
- PREMIUM SAFETY DADO 8
- PREMIUM SAFETY DADO 8
Freud is a manufacturer of industrial saw blades, and they produce a wide range of dado blade sets. They have a proprietary coating on their dado blades and their own carbide tips of a titanium cobalt carbide material. Freud claims these refinements reduce the rate at which the tips wear.
Price-wise, this set sits between the Oshlun and the Dewalt set. The outer blades on the Freud SD508 have 24 teeth, and the chipper blades are four-legged eight tooth blades. Freud claims that their blade arrangement creates cleaner edges, square shoulders, and flatter bottoms to the dado than their competitors’ products. They also claim that their dado blade set incorporates teeth designs that prevent kickback.
Best 6 Inch Dado Blade Set – Freud 6″ x 10T SD206
- 6 STACK DADO
- 6 STACK DADO
- 6 STACK DADO
If price is an issue, but Freud is your preferred manufacturer, here’s a set to make you smile. The SD206 is a 6-inch version of the above set. It incorporates many of the same features, including the same proprietary carbide tip and coating technology. The price of this set is still a little bit higher than the Oshlun 8-inch set we chose as the best, but if you have an allegiance to Freud, this isn’t a bad price.
The outer blades have 10-teeth, compared to the 24-teeth on the 8-inch set above. The chippers are also two-bladed versus the four-bladed ones in the 8-inch set. I’m presuming this is to suit lower-powered saws, while lowering costs. You also get only three chippers in this set, limiting your dado range from 1/4-inch to 7/8-inch in 1/16-inch increments.
Runner Up – DEWALT DW7670 Stacked Dado Blade Set
- Heavy gauge, laser cut plates provide true, accurate cuts
- Micro-grain carbide teeth deliver clean cuts and reduce splintering
- 4-tooth chippers give smooth, flat bottom cuts
Dewalt is a well-known and respected manufacturer, producing good quality, fit-for-purpose equipment. This dado blade set doesn’t disappoint on quality; both the set and the box it comes in are excellent.
Where it lost points was in the pricing. It’s well over twice the price of the Oshlun dado blade set, and the Oshlun set is arguably giving you more metal for your money. The DW7670 set uses 24-tooth outer blades and 4-tooth chippers. My personal preference is for full-blade cutters. With that said, I like the Dewalt set, and if money were not a concern, It would certainly find a home in my workshop.
Mibro 8″ x 24T 8416381 Carbide Stacking Dado Blade Set
- Cuts smooth and precise grooves with clean edges, square shoulders and flat bottoms
- Set includes two 8" outer blades, five two-wing chippers and seven metal shims for fine adjustments
- Slot widths range from 1/4" to 13/16", in 1/16" increments
This set is a truly budget price for dado blades, offering 2 x 24-tooth outer blades and five two-wing chippers. The dado width ranges from 1/4-inch to 13/16-inch in 1/16-inch increments. It comes in a hard plastic case ideal for storage.
This dado blade set has had mixed reviews from owners; some love them and get excellent dado quality, others claim the quality of the cut is uneven. A lot will depend on the power and size of your saw and your expectations of quality. If you want cabinet-maker quality dados, you might want to spend a little more on a professional set. Yet, this set seems adequate for general hobby work.
Freud SD208S 8″ x 12T Stacked Dado Blade Set
- 8 INCH STACKED DADO SET
- 8 INCH STACKED DADO SET
- 8 INCH STACKED DADO SET
Freud has targeted the budget-conscious hobbyist with this dado blade stack. The outer blades have 12-teeth, and the chippers are two-winged blades with one tooth per wing. As far as the technology used in this set, it has all Freud products’ standard coating and carbide tips. Where Freud is saving money to offer this price is the two-winged chippers and the fewer teeth on the dado blades.
The teeth on this dado blade set are ground to a negative 5-degree angle, which Freud claims prevents chip-out during the cut, giving a cleaner dado. A bonus is that the teeth on this stack are resharpenable. Despite the budget price, owners appear to like this set, with a majority being happy with the dado finish quality.
Freud 10″ x 32T Super Dado Set (SD510)
- Adjusts in .004 or 1/250 inch increments
- Features Premium TiCo HI-Density Carbide Crosscutting Blend for Maximum Performance
- Silver I.C.E. Coating prevents build up on the blade surface and keeps the blade running cooler and cleaner
At first glance, this SD510 set from Freud seems hardly a budget offering compared to the 8″ SD508 set above. However, you are getting considerably more metal and tungsten for your money with ten-inch 32-tooth blades and six 4-legged chippers with eight teeth. All Freud’s offerings come with the complete shim set, packed into a plastic storage case.
Owners rave about this set, and all speak of the high quality of manufacture and the excellent results when cutting dados. Several professional cabinetmakers swear by this set for quality and accuracy. The only gripe owners have is with the thin plastic used in the storage case, with some cases damaged on delivery. While most woodworkers will make their own holding cases, inspect the teeth properly to ensure none have been chipped if you buy this set and the plastic case is damaged.
Diablo 8″ x 12T Stckd Dado Blade Set (DD208H)
- Model # DD208H
- Designed to fit 5/8 in. laser cut arbors for accurate blade rotation
- Cut, rip and dado wood cleanly and accurately
Despite the name, this product is also made by Freud. Given the price point, I’m guessing this is toward their budget end of the range. Retailing around $100 at writing, the DD208H ships with two 12 tooth blades, shims, and two two-wing two-toothed chippers. The set cuts from 1/4-inch to 13/16-inch in 1/16 increments.
The budget label aside, hobbyist woodworkers love this set. The dados are clean and accurate, with no tear-outs or ridges remaining. Many of the owners describe how solid and well-made the kit is. Some owners had difficulty locating the spacers when the kit arrived, but they are packed behind the blades and the shims and can initially be overlooked.
Irwin Dado Blade Set, 8-Inch
- Designed for making tongue and groove cuts, Rabbets and Shelving on a table saw or Radial Arm Saw
- Resharpenable oversized carbide
- Cuts grooves from 1/4" to 7/8"
Irwin has this dado set manufactured in Italy and claims the laser-cut blades allow a thin kerf and large oversized teeth. The set is reasonably priced to appeal to hobby woodworkers and consists of two twelve-teeth outer blades and three two-wing chippers with two teeth. The set will cut grooves from 1/4 to 7/8-inch using the shims and spacers, so 1/16 less than many of the more expensive kits we’ve reviewed.
That said, it seems like a nicely made piece of equipment. The downside is that Irwin has had some quality inspection issues. Some owners report receiving sets that looked used, had the spacers fused together, or were missing shims. Those owners that dodged the poor quality inspection issues were very happy with the quality of the set and the cuts it made.
What are dado blades used for?
We’ve discussed that dados are used to groove wood, but why would you wish to?
The classic use all older people would have seen is for making drawer runners. Back in the day, before all the ball-bearing drawer runners came on the market, a drawer in a cabinet had a piece of square stock screwed down each side of the drawer, and the cabinet had a groove dadoed into it which the square stock slid to allow the drawer to slide.
You can also create a rabbet; a recess cut into the edge of a piece of wood. Such a recess might be to set a piece of glass into if you’re glazing a picture, or to create a right-angle joint. The corners of a box are an example of where you may use a rabbet joint.
Further Reading: All You Need To Know About Table Saw Blades
Dado blades FAQs
Are dado blades dangerous?
Yes. As with all rotating blades, they require caution and knowledge for correct use. You should always ensure sufficient guarding when cutting with a dado set.
You must only use a dado cutter on machinery designed for dado use, including having an arbor long enough and a throat plate slot wide enough to take the thickness of the set. A full dado stack has a lot of inertia and tries to continue turning when you stop the table saw. If you use a dado set on a short arbor, the inertia of the blades on shutdown can undo the left-hand thread of the blade retaining nut, releasing the dado blades and causing damage to the machine and the user.
What is a stacked dado blade?
A stacked dado blade is a series of cutters or chippers that are “stacked” or sandwiched between two outer sawblades. A dado set uses different thickness chippers, shims, and spacers, to cut a groove or rebate of a precise thickness into timber.
What is a wobble dado blade?
Wobble dado blades are a cheap alternative to stacked dado blades. They use one blade which spins on a special hub that offsets the angle of rotation of the saw blade to the arbor.
This hub is adjustable to give wider or narrower cuts. Woodworkers either love or hate these. They love the fact they’re cheaper to buy, but they can create vibration due to the imbalance in the plane of rotation. Maybe that’s where the ‘wobble’ name comes from. My concern is that any vibration of a mass turning at a high speed will impact the bearings used in the motor. If you use a wobble dado blade constantly on a table saw, you could potentially shorten the motor-bearing life.
The disadvantage to wobble dado blades, apart from the vibration, is that they can take some adjusting to get the right width dado, trying test cuts until you nail the exact width. Whereas with a stacked dado set, you can measure with calipers.
A criticism of wobble dado blades is that they make a slightly concave bottom to the groove due to the cut method. While true for wider cuts, the concavity is barely noticeable on thinner cuts.
How does a dado blade work?
The outer blades of a dado set cut the walls and corners of a groove in timber. The sandwiched inner chippers remove all the wood remaining between the cuts made by the outer blades. The chippers are responsible for cutting a smooth and level base to the groove. The outer blades and chippers combination allows a clean and accurate groove to be cut in one pass.
How to use a dado blade?
You must assemble the dado stack with chipper blades and shims sandwiched between the two outer blades. Together, the blades will make up the width of the groove required. Use a set of calipers to check the width. Remember that the carbide tips must not contact each other, so ensure the chippers are offset in the plane of rotation. This video is a great tutorial on how to assemble a dado stack correctly.
What size dado blade to choose for a 10-inch table saw?
You can usually choose between a 6-inch, 8-inch, and 10-inch dado set, although you may not get the depth of cut you need at 6-inches. Be aware that most saws will give a minimum saw blade diameter that you can use safely. The general guidance is never to go below 60% diameter of the largest blade the saw is designed to accept. Below 60%, the peripheral speed of the blade is low, giving inefficient cuts and an increased risk of kickback. See the UK government’s HSE advice here.
What size dado blade to choose for a 12-inch table saw?
Choose between 8-inch, 10-inch, and 12-inch dado sets. If selecting the 8-inch, check to ensure you’ll get the depth of cut needed. Check the manufacturer’s guidelines on the smallest blade that you can safely use on your saw. Stay above 60% of the maximum diameter the saw will accept; otherwise, cutting efficiency drops, and the chance of kickback increases. See the UK government’s HSE advice here.
How to tell if my table saw can use a dado blade?
The manufacturer will approve the use of dado blades on their machine. The main issue is the length of the arbor. As the dado stack is thicker than a normal saw blade, many table saws do not have arbor lengths that allow dados to be fitted and safely fastened with the retaining nut.
Are dado blades illegal?
No. There is an urban myth that the UK and the EU have made the use of dado blades illegal. That is incorrect. The UK and the EU have made the use of dado blades illegal on table saws that are not designed for their use.
This law came about due to people fitting dado sets on table saws with short arbors, resulting in the dado set becoming loose and causing damage to people and equipment. Assuming your table saw is designed and manufactured for dado blades, you are fine with using them in the UK and Europe. I live in the UK and can buy table saws designed for dado use and many different dado sets to use on them.
Of all products reviewed, the Oshlun SDS-0842 8-Inch Dado Blade Set appears to be the best dado blade set for beginners and intermediate woodworkers. It has an unbeatable price, and while with all low-cost products you wonder where the catch is, we can’t find one with the SDS-0842, and there don’t appear to be any corners cut in the manufacturing.
The engineering, design, and build quality are excellent. Offering 42-tooth outer blades and full-bodied chippers, owners seem happy with the cleanliness of the dado. The Oshlun SDS-0842 8-inch Stack Dado is the set I’d buy, and you can grab yours here while they’re still at such a good price.