In a hurry? We have selected DEWALT DW745 as the best portable table saw on our list.
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.
Full list of portable saws we are reviewing in this article:
- DEWALT 10-Inch Table Saw, 16-Inch Rip Capacity (DW745)
- Bosch GTS1031 10-Inch Portable Jobsite Table Saw
- SKILSAW 10” Portable Worm Drive Saw
- Makita 2705 10-Inch Contractor Table Saw
- SawStop Jobsite Saw with Mobile Cart
What Makes Portable Table Saws Different?
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.
What Features Should You 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.
Check Table Flatness
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.
What are the Advantages of compact Table Saws?
- Portability: Obviously, one of the most recognized advantages is that of easy mobility. These table saws are designed to move from one job site to another, and they are easy to maneuver around.
- Size: compared to stationary table saws, portable table saws take less space. This is great for those who work in small woodshops.
- Power: portable table saws require less energy for their operation. Most portable table saws have one to two HP motors. But, you can also find portable saws with as much as four or five HP motors. The tougher the wood you work with, the more power you will need for your table saw. In general, you won’t need a 110-volt outlet.
- Price: prices of portable table saws are often affordable, with lots of varieties for small scale woodworks. Portable saws are much cheaper when compared to their stationary counterparts. You can easily find portable table saws that cost less than $500.
What Are The Cons of Small Table Saws?
The biggest con is usually the available rip area for the saw. This should not be an issue for most people, however, unless you need to cut large slabs of wood. This is a common limitation that you are likely to see on most portable saws. The rip capacity can be expanded by adding an aftermarket fence.
The other potential complaint is power. While a portable table saw does not lack for power, it cannot compete with a stationary model. The best portable table saw should still be able to provide plenty of cutting power for most projects.
Portable Table Saw Vs Contractor’s Saw
Contractor table saws are actually the predecessor to the modern portable table saw. They were designed to make it easier for contractors to take to and from job sites. Generally, these saws were smaller and lighter than their stationary counterparts.
Perhaps the most significant difference is the focus on convenience. Portable saws have been designed to store easily and flat. Contractor saws may have parts that stick out with no way to tuck them away during storage. This is not an issue for portable saws.
Best Portable Table Saw Models
DEWALT 10-Inch Table Saw, 16-Inch Rip Capacity (DW745)
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.
Bosch GTS1031 10-Inch Portable Jobsite Table Saw
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 10” Portable Worm Drive Saw
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.
Makita 2705 10-Inch Contractor Table Saw
This is not a truly portable table saw, but it is small and compact. 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.
SawStop Jobsite Saw with Mobile Cart
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.
Best Portable Table Saw – Verdict
This is far from an extensive list, so be sure to do plenty of research before making any major purchase. While these saws may not be able to compete with their stationary cousins, portable table saws offer most of the benefits of heavier models. They are also easier to store and to take with you when you need to move.
If you are looking for a new tabletop saw, consider a portable model, rather than a contractor model. 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. All in all, we believe that DEWALT DW745 is the best portable table saw out there.
How to Correctly 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:
Wear Eye and Ear Protection When Using the Table Saw
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.
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 yourself
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 regulation 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.
Read the Instruction Manual
Although most 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.
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.