Ask Our Experts

Answers to your questions about gardening, energy, homesteading and other sustainable living topics.

Add to My MSN

Portable Table Saw Purchasing Tips

3/26/2014 1:04:00 PM

Tags: Steve Maxwell, table saw, woodworking, buyer's guide, construction, DIY

I want to buy a portable table saw for constructing outbuildings around my property, and for making furniture in my shop. What should I look for?

For a portable table saw that will suit your needs, Portable Table Sawyou have two main choices: a benchtop model or a contractor model. Benchtop saws have aluminum tops and are the lightest and most easily movable. The best models include folding support stands with wheels for easy portability and vacuum connection ports for effective dust control. The name “benchtop” is a little misleading, though, because these saws are typically operated on stands. Quality benchtop models cost about $500. Some cheaper table saws that look similar are available, but their capacity and power will disappoint any serious user.

Contractor table saws are heavier and don’t have folding stands, but they do offer a more stable, cast-iron working platform that’s typically larger than what you’ll find on a benchtop saw. Contractor table saw prices start at about $800.

So the core question is how important portability is for you. If you won’t be moving your saw often, a contractor model may serve you better. It’ll be larger and thus more stable, though few contractor saws can connect to a vacuum for sawdust control. If you really need the benefit of easy portability, then a benchtop saw is the way to go. There’s no significant power difference between benchtop and contractor models.

If you decide to go with a benchtop saw, consider building a stationary out-feed table in your shop. Build it so the saw will fit right into a cutout in the surface, and you’ll enjoy a large support area for cutting plywood and other materials safely, all without sacrificing your saw’s portability.

Photo courtesy Robert Bosch Tool Corporation: A folding stand and wheels make for an easy-to-move benchtop saw.


Contributing Editor Steve Maxwell has been helping people renovate, build and maintain their homes for more than two decades. “Canada’s Handiest Man” is an award-winning home improvement authority and woodworking expert. Contact him by visiting his website and the blog, Maxwell’s House. You also can follow him on Twitter, like him on Facebook and find him on . 



Related Content

Build Sawhorses: Even Better Than In 1985

Follow the sawhorse plans from our 1985 article (with a few variations), and you can build sturdy, i...

Portable Sawmill Options: Bandsaw and Chainsaw Mills

If you often find yourself in need of lumber for various homestead projects, consider a small, porta...

What Should I Do Before Installing Laminate Flooring?

Here's some helpful advice about how to clean up dust, mold and stains on your subfloor.

Game Of Logging- an Outstanding Safety Class

The Game of Logging is a professional logging program that can benefit anyone who uses a chain saw.

Content Tools




Post a comment below.

 

ALLENL
3/28/2014 1:07:42 PM
I chose the Dewalt DW745 when they went to a 20" fence. I found no better fence mechanism in the price range (and even found some improvement tweaks online). The factory doesn't allow use of dado blades, though.







Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 66% Off the Cover Price

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
Country:
Email:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Lighten the Strain on the Earth and Your Budget

MOTHER EARTH NEWS is the guide to living — as one reader stated — “with little money and abundant happiness.” Every issue is an invaluable guide to leading a more sustainable life, covering ideas from fighting rising energy costs and protecting the environment to avoiding unnecessary spending on processed food. You’ll find tips for slashing heating bills; growing fresh, natural produce at home; and more. MOTHER EARTH NEWS helps you cut costs without sacrificing modern luxuries.

At MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet’s natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. That’s why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.00 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.00 for 6 issues.