Whether you’re a professional contractor, keen DIY’er, or woodworking enthusiast, a table saw should be a staple tool in your workshop and will be able to serve a variety of different cutting purposes.
They can be used for making narrow cuts, deep cuts, and, of course, straight, long cuts. However, with the vast sea of options currently on the market, it can be difficult to decide which table saw to buy.
So, to help you decide which table saw you should buy, this guide will take you through the different kinds of table saws on the market, the purposes of each one, as well as the key features all high-quality table saws should have.
Ready? Let’s jump straight in.
What are the different kinds of table saws?
Portable Table Saws
The first kind of table saw available on the market is what is known as a portable table saw.
Just like the name suggests, portable table saws are designed for woodworkers and or professional contractors who have to travel from job site to job site.
They are made of more lightweight materials, and can usually be collapsed down for easy transportation. Portable table saws can also be purchased with a portable stand for added convenience for a fraction more of their price tag.
Benchtop Table Saws
Another type of table saw for you to consider is a benchtop table saw.
Just like the name suggests, a benchtop table saw is designed to be kept on top of a bench in the workshop, and are one of the most lightweight kinds of table saws available next to portable table saws.
For this reason, they are usually used by soloist woodworkers and homeowners with limited space to operate who want a smaller table saw at their disposal, and are usually powered by a blade driven motor.
Jobsite Table Saws
Jobsite models on other hand come mounted on a stand. They’re larger than benchtop models and used by trade professionals.
They’re also more rugged to withstand abuse on construction sites. And still designed with a light frame construction for portability.
Stationary Table Saws
Stationary saws are generally used by serious woodworking enthusiasts and cabinet makers. Models include contractor, hybrid, and cabinet table saws.
Contractor Table Saws
Last but not least, a contractor table saw is another type of table saw. They are the least common type of table saw available on the market today, and are strikingly similar to a job site table saw.
When they were first developed, contractor table saws were designed for professional woodworkers and were very large in size.
What Are Table Saws Used For?
Table saws are known as the ‘workhorse’ of all the different kinds of saws on the market, and can serve a variety of different purposes.
For this reason, table saws are known to vary in size and style, which means that they often vary in price point.
Most commonly, though, table saws are usually designed to be able to cut straight lines and make smooth cuts across longer boards or pieces of material.
However, due to their versatility, table saws can be used to make several types of different cuts, including miter cuts, narrow cuts, and even deep cuts.
For the DIY’er or woodworking enthusiast, a table saw may be used as more of a general-purpose cutting machine, and are an ideal choice for those that have ample workspace.
In contrast, for professionals, table saws are often used for a dedicated reason, such as for making repetitive, straight cuts.
What are the Key Features of a Table Saw?
This feature should go without saying, but we still feel that it’s an important key feature to be aware of.
The table area is the main part of the overall construction of a table saw, so it will need to be totally flat, made of strong material, and strong.
The most common types of materials used to build the table are cast iron and aluminum, although, in some exceptions, they can be made of lighter materials such as plastic.
The table’s purpose is to provide you with a safe and flat surface to precisely cut materials, all the while lowering the number of vibrations due to its mass area.
Another key feature of table saws are trunnions. They are very important to the overall running of a table saw because trunnions help to effectively support the motor area.
As trunnions take the weight of the unit, they’ll need to consist of a strong and sturdy construction, so that it does not buckle or break.
Usually, you’ll find that trunnions are made of a material such as cast iron, as it is strong enough to support the motor, all the while offering a long service life before needing replacement.
In addition to this, trunnions are also pretty easy to spot in the overall design of a table saw.
They are usually securely fastened to the frame of the table in order to lower vibrations and to add support while tilting and positioning the blade. The trunnions are machined for accurate and smooth operation when tilting the saw blade.
Rip Fence and Rails
In order to accurately rip materials or make smooth, accurate cuts, you’ll need to make sure that your table saw has a high-quality rip fence.
It will need to be strong enough to provide all the support needed to precisely make the cut, all the while being able to be adjusted in accordance to the position and type of cut you’re making.
Regardless of design or manufacturer, an indication of a good rip fence is one that can be adjusted to sit just past the middle of the blade, as this will ensure that no kickback occurs while cutting.
Besides offering safety, the rip fence needs to be able to withstand exposure to heat and friction as it is near the blade, so you should ensure that it is made of a durable material such as cast iron.
Optional Sliding Table
This feature isn’t always present on all table saws. However, many woodworkers find sliding tables to be a handy addition to have as part of their table saw set-up.
This is because sliding tables are very easy to install and run parallel to the blade. When not in use, they can be easily unattached from the saw and folded away into storage, which will help to keep your workstation or workshop organized and decluttered.
Smaller sliding tables usually need to be purchased for an additional cost, however, bulkier, ‘professional’ table saws usually feature a sliding table which is an integral part of the machine.
This usually either consists of either a built-in beam that runs close to the blade or a sliding table that can be dismantled.
Regardless, both kinds of table saws will enable you to make more versatile kinds of cuts (such as miter cuts) all the while providing you more support and space when cutting larger pieces of lumber.
There you have it! Thank you for reading our guide on the different kinds of table saws, and the important components of each one.
When shopping for a new table saw, it’s important to not only take into consideration the different types of table saws available on the market but also your personal circumstances and what you need to use the table saw for.
Why not bookmark this page? That way, you’ll always be able to come back whenever you need a little refresher on the types of table saws available on the market.