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How To Choose a Table Saw

You Need a Table Saw? Let Us Help You!

With so many choices in table saws, buying one can be a daunting task. Let’s admit it: from rip capacity to prices and blade size to proper use, knowing how to choose the best table saw can be down right confusing. Trust us, we’ve all been there. But we’re here to help you make the process a bit easier by breaking down the table saw purchase decision into 4 east to follow steps, making the process a whole lot easier.

We’ll get right to the chase and give you a quick guide to choosing the best table saw. However, if you want to learn more about the process, we encourage you to scroll past this guide and get right in the guts of how to choose the best table saw with these 4 easy steps.

How to Choose a Table Saw

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Four Steps to Choosing a Table Saw

Step #1: Consider Where and How It Will Be Used?
Step #2: Pick the Category That Fits Your Needs and Budget
Step #3: Decide What Table Saw Features Are Important To You
Step #4: Research, Research, Research

4 Steps to Choosing a Table Saw

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Step #1: Consider Where and How It Will Be Used? 4 Steps to Choosing a Table Saw Step 1

Before shopping for a table saw it’s important to know what you’ll be looking for. This will not only help you educate yourself about what you need, it will also prevent you from wandering around the store  pondering what you need: get in and get out (because time is money, right). So do yourself a favor and take a moment to ponder these 3 important things:

#1 HOW will you be using you table saw?
#2 WHERE you will you use your table saw?
#3 WHAT amount of money are you planning to spend?

#1 How Will You Be Using Your Table Saw?

  • What kind of cuts will you be making?
  • How many cuts will you be making?
  • How frequently will you be cutting using your table saw?

#2 Where Will You Be Using Your Table Saw?

  • How much space will you have to store your table saw?
  • Will it be in a spacious dedicated home shop?
  • Will it be stored away in the garage after use?
  • Do you need it to be mobile and easy to transport?

#3 How Much Do You Plan To Spend On a New Table Saw?

Having a set budget in mind can help you quickly narrow down and weed out which table saws may or may not be for you. As with anything, the price  ranges for table saws vary greatly. You can spend anywhere from $169-$16,000+ on a table saw, so yeah, we’d say knowing your budget limit is pretty important!

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Step #2: Pick the Category That Fits You Best 4 Steps to Choosing a Table Saw Step 2

Now that you know how and where you’ll be using the saw, you can review the main categories of table saws to determine which one meets your objectives. There are three main categories: portable table saws, contractor table saws, and cabinet table saws. Knowing what category of table saw that you need is really important because each category of table saw is designed for different skill levels and work loads. Choosing a table saw from the correct category can not only save you time and money but can also help you improve your efficiency.

Portable Top Saws:

best table sawTable top saws often called portable saws or bench top saws, are the smallest and

lightest, and are most often used by DIYers and professionals who are making construction-type cuts but also want easy portability and easy storage. Most portable table saws won’t overtax a home electrical systems, so they can be operated on a portable stand or workbench. However, they still pack a punch and can help you get the job done!

Contractor Table Saws:

best table sawContractor table saws are a popular choice for both DIYers and professionals. Most come with 1 – 2 horsepower motors that provide enough power for nearly all tasks. At 200 – 300 pounds, they feature heavy-duty parts that provide durability and accuracy making them more heavy duty and more powerful than a portable table saw. One of the best features about contractor table saws is that they are spacious and provide good support for larger projects. Many come with superb fences as a standard feature. They also can run off standard residential 120V voltage, making them an ideal table saw for work and play.

Cabinet Saws:

best table sawCabinet table saws are the “King Kong” of the shop and preferred by someone who is into serious woodworking- likely a professional woodworker or contractor. Simply put, these saws can do it all. They are powerful (typically 3 -5 horsepower) and highly accurate. There are many choices for large table extensions and outfeed tables. These machines require a substantial amount of dedicated space, because at 450-plus pounds, it’s not mobile. You should also check to see if you can handle the amp and voltage requirements.

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Step 3#: Decide What Table Saw Features Are Important To You 4 Steps to Choosing a Table Saw Step 3

If you’ve selected the category of saw you want, it’s now time to choose a specific saw. This all boils down to product features and personal preference. Here’s a run-down on the most common features to consider:

  • Flat top: Accurate cuts demand a flat table. Check the saw’s flatness deviation (0.005” is typically acceptable for a cabinet saw).
  • Fence type: The rip fence should lock down solidly and be perfectly parallel with the blade. If a good fence does not come with the saw, you may be able to purchase an upgraded one for it.
  • Miter gaug: Look for an accurate miter gauge, one with stops at 45 and 90 degrees. Also, make sure the saw has a miter gauge slot on the table and that’s perfectly parallel to the blade.
  • Dust collection: If you’ll be using the saw inside, make sure the saw has a dust port so that you can connect a vacuum or dust collector.
  • Power: Know what might want to cut in the future. Make sure your saw is powerful enough for the task.
  • Wing additions: For contractor and cabinet saws, you may want to make sure auxiliary side and outfeed tables can be easily attached.
  • Blade factors: Consider how the blade is changed. You may be switching blades often and you’ll want this process to be easy. Also, if you will be making grooved cuts, make sure the table can handle a dado blade.
  • Bevel capability: To make angled cuts, most table saws allow you to tilt the blade to the left for angled cuts. With some, you tilt the blade to the right. This is a matter of personal preference. In either case, the adjustments to set the exact angle should be straightforward and easy.
  • Safety: Table saws are safe when used properly with all guards in place. However, if you are concerned about added safety, consider a saw with an automatic blade brake that instantaneously engages when the blade encounters skin.

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Step #4: Research, Research, Research 4 Steps to Choosing a Table Saw Step 4

Knowledge is power. Sure, you’ve heard that before, but it couldn’t be more true. Knowing exactly what you need will help you “do you best work” and may help you save some money too! It never hurts to keep researching table saws just to make sure you’re getting the best one! Speaking of research, we are the destination for all things table saws. Visit the Acme Tools blog to learn all about table saws including: our list of the best table saws in 2018, news about the newest table saws, tips for using your table saw, and more. Moral of the story, never stop learning!

Visit acmetools.com to shop table saws, table saw blades, and more.

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