The most important tool for every woodworker is a table saw because other woodworking tools are centered on the table saw. For this reason, making the wrong purchase can be an expensive mistake and could affect productivity. Below is checklist of features you should consider before you buy a table saw. This way, you will decide the features that are vital and the ones that are not important to you.
Types of Table Saws
These saws fall into three broad categories:
This type is the heaviest, the largest and the most expensive of the lot. Cabinet saws usually have a cast iron table fixed to a smooth surface. A cabinet beneath the table saw contains the motor and the whole system (including the wings and fence) weighs about 600 pounds. Typically, cabinet saws fall within the 3HP-5HP range.
This is the type used by building contractors on job sites. The contractor’s saw is lighter than the cabinet saw and is usually made from aluminum. The strong point of the contractor’s saw is its portability and this is why these saws are relatively small. Most of the saws have 1 HP-3.3 HP.
The hybrid saw is a combination of the cabinet saw and the contractor’s saw. Ideally, one would expect the hybrid saw to contain the best features of the contractors saw and the cabinet saw. However, this is not always the case because manufacturers may favor the contractors saw or the cabinet saw. Motors on most hybrid saws are typically around 2 HP.
Most cabinet saws use 220-volt power while contractors’ saws use 110-volt electricity. Hybrid saws are usually manufactured to use 110-volt electricity but they can be switched to the 220-volt power. If you will be doing heavy-duty work, you should go for the 220-volt electricity option. With this option, the motor of your saw will rarely bog down under a heavy load.
Types of Saw Tables
The table that goes with your saw is vital to efficiency. This is because the table provides stability to the saw. Depending on the type of saw you are using, the table could be made of granite, painted steel, cast iron or painted steel. Most cabinet saw tables are made from cast iron. Contractor’s saws are made from granite, aluminum or painted steel. For most hybrid saws, the tables are made from cast iron but the wings are made from aluminum.
The fence helps your table saw function effectively so you must choose the one that is just right for your table saw. Your fence should be easily adjustable and accurate. In this context, accuracy means that the fence should be parallel to the saw blade all the time. If your fence slides or flexes when in use, this may lead to dangerous kickbacks. On the other hand, if your fence is sturdy but difficult to adjust it can be frustrating and difficult to use. You need a fence that will give you excellent performance all the time and this is why you should go for the T-Style fence. This dual-sided fence comes with safety mechanisms and can be micro-adjusted. This way, it remains parallel to the blade and gives you near-perfect efficiency.
Other factors you should consider if you consider if you want the best table saw include the ones below.
This is a simple matter of preference. You can go for the right-tilt or the left-tilt mechanism.
Choose a dust collection system that allows you keep the airborne dust to a minimum. This is safer and keeps saw and your workshop cleaner.
Your miter gauge should be sturdy with easily adjustable angles.
If you read some table saw reviews, you will notice that experts insist your saw must have the right safety measures. Below are some of the most useful features:
- Anti-kickback pawls
- Riving Knife
- Blade guards
- Paddle-style switch
- Blade brake
The best table saw is the one that functions effectively. Buy a great product with excellent features and you will enjoy peace of mind. Finally, keep the blade clean and the saw will last longer.