Best Portable Table Saw

The Best Portable Table Saw: Review for Woodworkers

The storage requirements for a full-sized table saw can severely limit space in your woodshop. With careful study, you can pick the best portable table saw for your needs. This tool can give you the cutting flexibility you need without taking up floor space when not in use.

Each carpenter has unique goals for their new saw. For those investing in fine woodworking, the biggest risk has to be wobble; if the blade doesn't travel in a perfect circle, your cuts will be crooked and your projects will have gaps.

When studying portable table saw reviews, cutting flexibility also has to come into consideration. Do you need a saw that can make a thousand 8 to 10-inch cuts, or will you need to be ripping down 4 x 8 sheets of plywood? These factors should heavily impact which saw you invest in.

Also pay special attention to weight. Very heavy saws are likely to suffer more rough handling; it can be hard to control setting down a 75 pound saw, so if you need a saw to move from project to project, get a lighter one so you and your crew can handle it in a gentler manner.

Safety is also of great concern. Kickback is always a risk when using a table saw. If you don't have your 4 x 8 sheet lined up correctly, you may bind the saw, or slow down the rotation of the blade by twisting the wood while the blade is inside the kerf or slot that you just cut.

In the best case scenario, you can back off and the blade will start rolling again. Your cut will not be perfect, but you and your saw will be OK. However, if the saw powers on it can "kick" back, or shove that piece of plywood back at you. The force of the kickback can twist a wrist or force the board into your torso. As previously stated, kickback hurts! Get a partner for this part of your cutting project.

Safe alignment is also crucial. As demonstrated in this kickback video, it doesn't take much of a twist to bounce a piece of wood back at yourself. Start small and work your way up to get to know your own limits and to understand the balance of your saw.

Each table saw in the listing below includes a plastic push stick. The push stick is used when you're ripping narrow strips of wood and need to clear the wood that remains between the blade and the rip fence. Never put your hand between the blade and the rip fence. The blade will slice through whatever you put in front of it.

Many woodworking experts recommend using a wooden push stick. The tool featured in this video has a catching groove to hook onto the wood and a high handle. If you're grasping the handle, your fingers can't get anywhere close to the blade.

Many portable table saw manufacturers offer collapsible tables or stands on which the saw can be mounted. It's important to remember that these stands are usually 20 pounds or less, which means they're extremely top-heavy when the saw is settled into place. Take great care not to tip such a stand over when using your saw on it.

The best contractor table saw will also work well in a DIY shop. It may survive longer since it won't get bumped around as much. If you're looking for the best cabinet table saw, look for one with an easy dado blade attachment and as little arbor wobble as possible; while most portable table saws are great for basic ripping, custom cabinetry requires a steady hand and a smooth cut.

If you're looking for a more permanent installation, study hybrid table saw reviews. These saws are mounted on a partial cabinet, which sits on the floor, not on a stand or workbench. As you might expect, these saws are more expensive and much heavier. However, the best hybrid table saw will also provide noise reduction and sawdust capture. For those hoping to finish in the same space they're cutting in, this sawdust removal is critical.

As previously stated, it's important to consider the 90/10 rule. When studying table saw comparison rankings side by side, if you find a saw that will cut 90% of your requirements well but force you to look elsewhere for custom cuts, it's probably a good buy. If you need a saw that will cut angles in oak flooring or bevels in picture frames, a 24-inch ripping deck probably won't be critical; often, the lumber supplier can do that for you when you pick up the lumber.

No matter which saw you choose, take special care to use eye and ear protection. Study your saw and start your cutting projects small. Never try to cut when you're struggling with the weight of a large slab of plywood or other material, and always work with a buddy on the big stuff. Finally, study your manual!

Chainsaw Safety Helmet & Gloves

Best Portable Table Saw Options on the Market 2018

The Skilsaw SPT70WT features a worm drive for greater and more consistent motor power. A worm gear, as opposed to standard gears, uses a screw to act on a gear rather than meshing two gears together. This construction, as depicted in this video increases the contact between the gear teeth and increases torque.

This saw features a ripping rail that will extend to 25 inches, so you can split a piece of plywood in two with this. However, because this saw has more power than a gear-to-gear motor, it's important to consider binding and kickback, particularly when you're working alone.

Best Portable Table Saw Features

The front of this saw only allows a few inches of deck before the lumber makes contact with the blade. If you're ripping something large, get a buddy to help you line up the cut.

Best Portable Table Saw Specifications

PROS

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    Worm gear drive offers great torque and consistent cutting power
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    Cutting deck extends to 25 inches
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    Dado blade is available

CONS

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    Mitre tool is plastic and flexes too far
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    Some saws have a wobble in the arbor
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    This saw is quite loud, some find it uncomfortably

The Ridgid R4516 features a retractable handle for single hand carry. Please note that this handle doesn't make the saw any lighter; this is a 63-pound saw. No small part of this extra heft is tied to the all metal construction, particularly along the top and the rip fence.

In addition to the carrying handle, this saw offers a storage compartment for your miter gauge, push stick and power cord. This saw features a double lockdown ripping fence to guarantee a good cut with no binding. It should be noted that this ripping table will not extend to 24 inches; if you need to regularly rip down 4 x 8 sheets of plywood, this is not the saw for you.

Anyone who needs to regularly make bevel cuts will really appreciate this saw; the top is all metal and the angling mechanism is durable and offers an excellent lock.

PROS

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    Dado head is available
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    Saw is much quieter than expected
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    The rubberized feet are squared off and offer excellent traction

CONS

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    This saw will not expand to make a 24 inch ripping cut
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    No table available
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    Push stick is plastic and slips off lumber

The Makita 2704 is a great worksite tool and will fill all the needs of a DIYer. In fact, if you can mount it to a table and forget it, you should try to do it; this saw weighs in at over 75 pounds.

This saw ships with a carbide tipped blade. You can use up to a 13/16 dado blade. The rip fence expands to make it possible to cut a 24 inch pass, and there an extendable support on the back of the saw to catch as you cut. The deck is cast of aluminum. The rip fence clamps efficiently at the front and the miter gauge is extremely durable.

PROS

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    Precision machined top for easy movement of lumber
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    Durable crank and lock for bevels
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    Miter tool is extremely durable

CONS

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    This tool is heavy, be prepared to lift
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    The base is quite flat; sawdust will not drop through
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    Blade changes will require multiple wrenches, storage is not available.

The DWE7480 offers woodworkers plenty of cutting power in a small, lightweight package. This portable table saw is only 45 pounds, so you can move it as you need to for the safest cutting path. It features plastic feet to grip your workbench and will serve well as a DIY table saw.

The rip guard distance offers a 24" cut to the right of the blade. You can rip down a 4' x 8' sheet of plywood with this tool. However, if you're needing to handle large panels, it's best to have some assistance. The deck of this portable saw is fairly small, so the space you have to line up your lumber before it connects with the blade is only a few inches.

If you bind up your saw, you can be injured; kickback hurts. You may also damage the 4800 rpm motor.  This deck features a beveling capability so you can rip on an angle of up to 45 degrees. The mechanisms for extending the rip guide and locking the bevel angle are tool-free and very smooth.

PROS

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    Saw will accept a dado blade if you remove the riving knife
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    Rack and pinion fence keeps blade and fence parallel
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    Rip fence rails are easy to extend, align and retract

CONS

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    Short deck space leading lumber to blade
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    Deck scratches easily
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    Saw is noisy; exceeds 80dB

The Bosch GTS1031 is built to get bumped around. Not only is this saw built on an all-steel base, but you can carry it with one hand and have a hand free for other tools or a cup of coffee, providing you can carry 52 pounds in one hand.

This saw also features a built in storage bin for the blade changing wrenches, miter gauge, rip fence and push stick. The cord is six feet long, so you have plenty of flexibility once you set up your saw.

The bevel angle options run from 2 degrees to 47 degrees and the rip fence locks in place to give you a solid cutting edge. The rip capacity of this saw is only 18 inches, so if you need to rip plywood down, be aware that you won't get a 24-inch cut out of this saw.

PROS

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    Extremely durable base of all steel construction
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    Built in storage bin for all components
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    Will work with a dado blade and won't require you to alter the deck

CONS

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    Steel base amplifies noise this saw produces, use ear protection
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    Angle guide for diagonal cuts is flimsy
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    This saw only rips to 18 inches

Conclusion

The winner of this review has to be the Skilsaw SPT70WT. The worm drive technology will give you plenty of power no matter how much cutting you have to do. Do not attempt to fly solo when ripping down your first piece of 4 x 8 plywood. Take care to invest in safety gear including ear and eye protection, and put safe practices to work from day one.

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