A good table saw is essential to any complete woodshop. While you may not use it on some smaller projects, more complex, larger projects generally require the use of a table saw. The least it can do is make things much more manageable. The problem is that table saws can be quite large and heavy, which may not be suitable for those who work in small woodshops.
Fortunately, this is where portable table saws come in. The question is, how do you differentiate good saws from the not so good? Choosing the wrong portable table saw could lead you to overspend and waste time. You might become overwhelmed with the many available options on the market. In this article, we will do a rundown of the best portable table saws on the market.
Table of Contents
Why Are Portable Table Saws Awesome?
As the name implies, portable table saws are meant to be easy to take along with you. This can be between job sites, to help a friend with their own project, or whatever other need you may have.
Generally, a portable table saw does not get bolted to a cabinet or bench. Although you may consider doing that if you work with large sheets to keep your table saw from moving around. Portable saws are also usually lighter than a stationary saw, with some weighing as little as 50 pounds. Some models even come with a cart and wheels included making moving them around more comfortable.
These saws usually have compact designs that are meant to be easily stored away. This means that handles and switches that may often be exposed are more hidden away. This can easily prevent accidental damage from handling. It also makes loading the saw into your trunk or finding a place in the garage to store it is much easier.
Advantages Of Compact Job Site Table Saws
Best Portable Table Saws - What to look for
As with any large purchase, there are a few features that you want to keep an eye out for. First, you want to consider a saw with a good miter gauge built-in. Most modern saws allow you to make adjustments using the miter gauge to make your cuts easier.
Another feature to look for is dust collection. Dust collection can save you hours of cleanup at the end of the day. Anyone who has worked in a shop knows how easily sawdust gets all over everything. This is just a small measure that can prevent a lot of cleanups.
If you plan to do any amount of serious woodwork, you want to make sure your table saw offers a beveling feature. This is what allows you to change the angle of the blade. Changing the angle of the blade allows you to make cuts at angles other than 90 degrees. This enables you to make nicer corners and other design features that would otherwise not be possible without additional tools.
Tabletop Build Quality
A common problem with budget table saws is that the table is not always perfectly flat. Several factors can cause this, including warping over time, poor manufacturing, or damage during shipping. The best table tops are usually made out of cast iron. Cast iron table tops tend to be higher quality, more stable and highly durable. These rarely have issues with tabletop flatness. Portable models usually come equipped with aluminum tabletops.
Do not expect perfection when shopping for a compact table saw, but the table should be reasonably flat. Avoid models that rely too much on plastic parts. A crooked table made out of poor quality materials can prevent you from getting good results on your woodworking projects.
Portable Jobsite Table Saw Reviews
- 22 kilograms unit weight and optimized footprint make this the most portable saw in its class. Shoe bevels 0 to 45 for beveled cuts
- Steel roll cage protects saw against jobsite drops and impacts, Rack and pinion fence system, front and rear fence lock and large, clear scales combine to give an extremely accurate and easy to use...
- Powerful 1850 Watt motor for high performance in all applications (1300 Watts 110 version for UK Only). Max Rip To Left Of Blade 12 inch. Max Rip To Right Of Blade 20 inch
DEWALT has been around for decades, and they have built a solid reputation during that time. They are known for making excellent tools, generally for around the same or lower cost as the competition. This saw is no exception and is right in the middle of the price range for these top five table saws.
The main benefit of this saw is that it is very light and portable. If you need to carry your table saw around your workshop or move from worksite to worksite, you will appreciate it’s low weight. At about 45 pounds, it is easy to move on and off job sites. Its table coating helps decreases friction and facilitates smooth wood cutting. The construction is surrounded by a steel roll cage that should be able to absorb a lot of beating and protect the machine.
The other thing is that it is really powerful. You may be surprised to learn that the motor in this bad boy actually packs 3 HP. With such an engine, you should be able to rip even hardwoods without trouble. You will also like the fact that DEWALT DW745 comes with a dust port on the back.
As for its drawbacks, I think the biggest one is that it comes with rip capacity that is limited to just 20 inches. You will have a difficult time ripping large sheets of plywood with it. The quality of the fence also leaves much to be desired. The fence just isn’t that good. You will have to opt for an aftermarket fence if you want more accuracy.
Its small weight is a double-edged sword. The fact that it is so light means that you will have less stability and accuracy when ripping wood. Make sure you place it on a stable, fixed base and probably screw it to the surface of it. Another drawback of DW745 is that it does not support dado blades.
- 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...
- CLASS-LEADING FEATURES: 24 5/8” table depth means better accuracy and easier, safer cutting of larger work pieces. Included Active Dust Collection Guard for class-leading dust management. One-turn...
- 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.
Most of the saws we have covered so far have been benchtop table saws. These are great for most purposes but can be more difficult to move around the shop than cart models. That is where the Jobsite comes in. It comes with a cart included, so you can just wheel it around the shop.
The saw itself offers a 25.5” rip capacity and has a 1.5HP motor. The unit includes all of the features that you would expect from a high-end saw, including a miter gauge and beveling.
The cart folds down to resemble a piece of luggage that you would take on a plane. This makes transporting it very easy because you can simply collapse it to fit it into your car or truck, then pull it along with the included handle.
- 20-Inch x 26-Inch cast aluminum table extends to 20-Inch x 32-Inch for longer work pieces
- 3-1/2-Inch cut height capacity for cutting through 4x materials
- Heavy-duty steel stand for fast setup and easy transport. Bevel Angle Range:0° to 47°
The body and the tabletop of this table saw is made out of aluminum. Therefore the first thing you will notice is how light it is. The footprint of this table saw offers plenty of work surface, but it still takes up much less space than a stationary table saw.
Skil 3410-02 includes a stand that is produced from steel tubing which keeps its weight at a minimum, but still provides a rigid tool to work with.
The stand can be broken down to a smaller size since the legs come in two pieces that are connected with a screw system. The tool requires less storage space because of that.
This model includes a blade bevel scale along the front with permanent markings that should not wear with use. They are also easy to read, making adjustments easier to do. The arrow pointer is accurate and will give you proper readings as you set the blade.
- Portable: Ultimate portability and mobility thanks to balanced one handed carry handle and compact design allowing you to bring this table saw along no matter the jobsite
- Tough: Durable and unique all steel base allows this portable table saw to take on the hardest job site abuse; The all steel base is built to withstand heavy impact and provide long lasting...
- Precision: Square lock rip fence self aligning design for accurate performance and cutting consistency as you glide along the saw rails with ease; Also features smart guard with anti kickback pawls...
Bosch is another brand that has been around for several decades. Unlike DEWALT, however, it built its reputation by manufacturing car parts for both the aftermarket and OEM. This saw is built to last. It has an all-steel base that should take several years of abuse in your shop. It allows for a full 18” of rip capacity Like the DEWALT, the BOSCH falls right in the middle of the price range of saw covered. This machine’s smart guard system lets you easily adjust the knife of the device according to your requirements.
As for its drawbacks, many buyers complained about the low quality of Bosch’s fence. Some users have also reported slight wobbling of the blade on their saws. If you need cabinetry-level accuracy, you may want to opt for something different.
SKILSAW SPT70WT-01 Worm Drive Saw
- First ever brass-geared Worm Drive table saw for maximum power and torque
- 15 Amp solid construction Dual-Field motor for increased cutting speed and extended motor life
- 25 inch rip capacity and 3-1/2 inch depth of cut for ripping a wide variety of materials
A list of the best table saws would not be complete without an entry by SKILSAW. SKILSAW has introduced many high-quality power saws over the years. The SKILSAW SPT70WT-01 10″ is no exception.
This model uses a brass gear-driven worm drive system to deliver power from the motor to the blade. This provides better power delivery for a more efficient design. It is powered by 15–amp dual field motor which stays cool even during heavy-duty operations.
The fence appears to be higher quality than most included fences. It allows for a 25” rip capacity, so you can cut most of the lumber you could need with this saw, including large sheets of plywood. SKILSAW makes this unit with aluminum, which brings the weight down substantially. This model weighs in at only 49 pounds.
- Powerful 15.0 AMP motor delivers 4,800 RPM
- ""Tool-less"" modular blade guard system with an adjustable riving knife/spreader
- Blade guard assembly with cam lock provides easy ""tool-less"" installation or removal
The design of this saw allows you to easily carry it with you as needed or put it away for storage. One of the significant features of this Makita saw is that it features a tool-less blade guard assembly. While this may not be an issue for some people, others find it to be quiet convenient.
This table saw comes with a 32 tooth carbide-tipped blade, a rip fence, a miter gauge, a push stick, two-blade wrenches, a socket wrench, a modular blade guard system and independent anti-kickback pawl. It also has a large storage capacity for its accessories and a multi-direction cutting ability.
It runs on a powerful 15-amp motor and can reach a rotating speed of 4800 rpm. It has an extendable table which gives you more room to work. Dado blades can be fitted on it giving it a large cutting capacity.
This unit is a contractor saw, not a portable one. This means there are a few differences to note. First, it is much heavier than other models. This saw weighs in at over 80 pounds. It also has handles that cannot be tucked away for storage.
- Powerful: 10 inch Work site band saw: Features 15 amp circular saw that delivers 4.0 max HP and 3,650 RPM for the power required for ripping, rip cutting, and cross cutting fine and rough carpentry...
- Saves space: Large cast aluminum top provides increased work space and material support with a 25 inch. Ripping capacity to cover all typical job site rip cutting widths
- Portability: Works seamlessly with the included lighter GTA47W gravity rise wheeled stand for easy job site mobility, with single action setup and take down
The Bosch 4100-10 is a 10-inch table. It is presented as a job site model. It delivers power that is equal to that of a contractor saw, but it is portable. This model from Bosch includes a wheeled stand, a carbide-tipped blade, smart guard system, square-lock rip fence, miter gauge, push stick, and two adjustment wrenches. A smaller footprint and upgrades to the barrier guard allow it to stand out from its older version (the Bosch 4100-09). Its lower price makes it more affordable than its DeWalt counterpart, the DWE7491RS model.
This product is a nice fit for users who work a lot with panels and other wide boards. It provides accurate cuts that are repeatable for cabinet makers. Woodworkers who make small projects and jigs may find limited benefits from this saw.
How To Use A Portable Table Saw?
You can use a portable table saw for a variety of purposes, and you can save time and effort with its use. Safety is paramount when operating a table saw, and you should always follow these rules:
Read The Instruction Manual
Even though all the best jobsite table saws are similar, differences exist among brands. The instruction manual provides information on what the machine does, and the proper safety precautions you should take specific to your model.
Wear Eye And Ear Protection
Wearing goggles or a hardhat with a visor when using the portable table saw protects you from sawdust and wood debris that can fly into your face and eyes. Also wearing ear protection protects you from loud sounds that portable table saws produce when you use them.
Guide Thin Boards
Use a push shoe, stick or splitter when cutting thin boards. The purpose of this is to guide your wood as it gets cut. This push shoe is especially required when cutting narrow and short boards. This table saw pushing device can be acquired at hardware stores, online or you can even create one for yoursel
Install The Blade Guard Properly
Blade guards protect your fingers from debris and keep them away from the blade. Most blade guards come with the purchase of your portable table saw. All it requires is a simple installation, and you are good to go.
Locate Your Emergency Turn Off Button
This step is vital as it prevents accidents that could lead to severe injuries. This button turns off your machine quickly in case of accidents. Most times, this button can be hit with your leg if your hands are busy.
Avoid Wearing Loose Hanging Jewelry Or Clothing
Loose clothing such as loose sleeves or ties can get caught in the saw during use. I recommend wearing close-fitting clothes to avoid this. Also, tie your long hair.
Portable Table Saw Injuries And Risks
Instances of an unnoticed nail in a wooden board, a moment of distraction can lead to your hand getting too close to the machine’s blade. These instances can lead to severe injuries. These are some of the potential dangers or risk associated with the use of table saw:
- Falling: Falling while using your table saw can lead to truly tragic consequences. This danger can happen when you use excessive force to push your work-piece through the blade operating at full speed.
- Wet Wood: As a rule, you should never cut a timber that’s not dry enough. Damp wood can slide and slip and leave you impaired.
- Projectiles: This occurs when wood chips, nails, and sawdust fly out of your operating table saw at very high speed. This occurrence can lead to cuts and even damage to your eye.
The Final Cut
This is far from an extensive list, so be sure to do plenty of research before making any major purchase. All in all, we believe that DEWALT DW745 is the best portable table saw out there.
If you are looking for a new tabletop saw, consider a portable model, rather than a contractor saw. Portable models are a natural evolution of contractor models and offer the same benefits for a lower cost and lower weight. They are also easier to carry around thanks to a lack of exposed handles.