If you have a small shop or you work in job sites, a table saw is an essential tool. It will help you make precise cuts, save you money, and allow you to tackle more projects at once.
There are a lot of factors to consider when choosing the best table saw for your small shop. We have compiled a list of what we consider the most important features to look for in your next table saw.
Table saws are powerful and useful woodworking tools. However, they can also be dangerous if used improperly. In fact, they cause more than 30,000 injuries annually. These range from simple lacerations to bone breaks and even accidental amputations.
A number of safety devices help minimize this risk. Many saws come with a riving knife that reduces kickback, and a blade guard that protects your hands from the sharp edges of the blade.
Adding an auxiliary fence eliminates grain tear-out at the cut exit, better supports longer workpieces, and moves cutoffs safely past the blade (photo, above). All but one of our test saws have a rip-fence attachment that slips beneath the standard fence to position stock for narrow rip cuts.
Table saws can also be a convenient tool to have on hand when working at the jobsite or in a workshop, as some portable models are mounted on wheels. They are often accompanied by a table stand and accessories, such as miter gauges and rip fences.
Portable table saws are ideal for beginner DIYers, contractors, or small shops that lack the space for a larger table saw. They can be rolled around from one workstation to another and folded away for storage when not in use.
Some table saws are even battery-powered and require no cords, reducing the hassle of plugging and unplugging cords. The Milwaukee M18 Fuel One-Key Table Saw Kit is a good example of a cordless tool that has all the power and performance of a traditional corded saw but runs off an 18-volt battery, which provides 600 linear feet of woodworking before you need to recharge.
Most table saws also have dust collection ports that connect to a standard shop vacuum, catching any chips of wood that are blown out of the blade while you’re operating it. This is especially important if you’re working in a closed workshop or have poor ventilation.
Whether you’re an experienced woodworker or a weekend hobbyist, a table saw is an essential tool for making accurate cuts. However, some models are better for certain tasks than others.
To find the best table saw for small shop, consider your needs and budget. Generally, you can opt for a benchtop model or a Jobsite table saw.
Portable benchtop table saws are lightweight and easy to move, while Jobsite models are designed for use on construction jobs. Regardless of which type you choose, make sure it’s durable enough to handle your woodworking projects.
You should also check the blade and miter slots for squareness regularly. A saw that’s not square can lead to inaccurate cuts, burned wood, and kickback. To test, put a piece of wood in the left miter slot that’s the same thickness throughout.
If you’re a small shop owner, you need a table saw that will fit in your space and not break the bank. Fortunately, there are a variety of options available that meet this criteria.
A quality saw will have a sturdy and precise rip fence that locks down securely to parallel with the blade every time. It’s also a good idea to choose one with an auxiliary fence, which can eliminate grain tear-out at the cut exit and better support longer workpieces.
In addition to these features, a table saw should have ample cutting power for hobbyist DIY projects and professional woodworking. A 2-HP motor will be enough for home use, but professional woodworkers should opt for a saw with a 3+ HP motor.