The Key Elements of Great Tools

What to Consider When Buying a Table Saw

Buying a table saw is kind of of like purchasing a car. The saw must do as you’d like it to, be affordable, reliable and durable, and come equipped with all the vital safety features.

Below are some things to consider when purchasing a table saw:

Types of Table Saws
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Cabinet Saws
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Cabinet saws are incredibly powerful and durable, heavyweight and big in size. In most cases, they have a minimum of 3-horsepower motors. They have heavy-duty cast iron parts, a hefty table, a strong fence and a full cabinet where the motor goes into. Commonly weighing 400 – 600 pounds, they aren’t meant to be portable.

Contractor Saws

Portability is the key advantage you get with contractor saws. They generally have a 3 – 4 horsepower motor, and are lighter in construction, and smaller in size, with no cabinet and a lighter duty fence. It can be difficult to keep contractor saws tuned if they have to be moved around or dragged into a construction site.

Hybrid Saws

As the name indicates, hybrid saws have the fused features of both cabinet and contractor saws. They usually have the power of contractor saws, along with a partial cabinet where the motor is contained.

What You Need vs.

Next thing to do is determine how you intend to use the saw. 75-horsepower motor is likely sufficient. However, if you’re going rip thick maple regularly, then you need at least a 3-horsepower industrial strength saw.

Available Space

If you have space problems in your shop, then you can instantly strike some saws off your list. Saws which are meant breaking down plywood have a wide rip capacity, and that calls for a long fence rail and table, and also enough space in front and at the back.


While table saws are much safer these days than before, but they are still intrinsically dangerous. Newer saws have a riving knife that helps prevent kickback, which is considered more dangerous than the blade itself. If you’re planning to buy a used and older model, it may not come with a riving knife.


The adage, “you get what you pay for,” definitely works on table saws. Elite machines have totally flat tables, will work forever and cut with impeccable accuracy, and that quality is something you need to pay for. On the other hand, contractor saws have less cast iron and generally lower quality parts, but can be serviceable if tuned properly and used with a good saw blade. A used saw will be cheaper but with no warranty. And since saws are so heavy – around 300 – 600 pounds – shipping won ‘t be cheap either.