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What You Should Cnosider When Buying a Table Saw

Buying a table saw is kind of of like purchasing a car. The saw must do as you’d like it to, be affordable, reliable and durable, and come equipped with all the vital safety features.

The following are a few things to look into when you buy a table saw:

Types of Table Saws
A Simple Plan: Products

Cabinet Saws
Overwhelmed by the Complexity of Equipment? This May Help

Cabinet saws are incredibly powerful and durable, heavyweight and big in size. In most cases, they have a minimum of 3-horsepower motors. They have tough cast iron parts, a big table, a strong fence and a full cabinet that completely houses the motor. Commonly weighing 400 – 600 pounds, they aren’t meant to be portable.

Contractor Saws

Portability is exactly what contractor saws are made for. They generally have a 1 3 – 4 horsepower motor, are smaller and lighter, and have a lighter duty fence and no cabinet. Contractor saws may be hard to keep tuned if they are being moved around or dragged into a job site.

Hybrid Saws

True to their name, hybrid saws have both the cabinet saw’s and the contractor saw’s features in one package. Their motor is usually as powerful as that of contractor saws, and they have a partial cabinet in which the motor is housed.

What You Need vs.

Next thing to do is determine how you intend to use the saw. 75 horsepower motor contractor or hybrid saw is probably enough. But if you will be ripping thick maple regularly, then at least a 3-horsepower motor industrial strength saw will be needed.

Available Space

If space is a problem in your shop, then you can immediately eliminate some saws from the list. A saw that is meant to break down plywood will have a wide rip capacity, meaning you should have a table and fence rail, as well as ample space on the front and back.


Table saws today are much safer than ever, but they are still fundamentally dangerous. Newer saws have a riving knife that helps prevent kickback, which is considered more dangerous than the blade itself. If you’re buying a used and older model, you may not get a riving knife with it.


As they say, “you get what you pay for,” and that surely applies to table saws. Expensive machines have impressively flat tables, will be dependable, and cut with incredible precision, and you need to pay to get that kind of quality. On the other end of the spectrum, contractor saws have lower quality parts and less cast iron, but can be fully serviceable when well-tuned used with a superior blade. A used saw will reduce the price but warranty will not be available. And since saws are so heavy – around 300 – 600 pounds – shipping won ‘t be cheap either.