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What to Look for When Buying a Table Saw?

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RPM? Accuracy? Portability? Sturdiness? What’s more important for you decides the kind of table saw you should think of buying. A table saw is a great introduction to your toolset, and it’s equally useful on industrial jobsites or small manufacturing plants. So needless to say, it’s a serious investment. Whether you’re a woodworker or hobbyist, a table saw is a great utility to have. It’s always been.

Why are you looking for a table saw? That can have many answers. But what are you most looking for? That will dictate what to look for when you’re buying a new table saw.

To know which is the best table saw, you might need to go through a lot of product reviews online. But here’s the thing, most of the table saw reviews can be compromised. You can’t let the reviews dictate you. You got to figure it out for yourself. So, here are the things you should look for when you’re about to buy a table saw.

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  1. What’s your budget?

First and foremost, if you have a set budget, there’s no point looking at stuff that falls outside it. Perhaps you just need the table saw for some minor household work you guess you’d be doing in the near future, and that’s why you’ve set a pretty small budget because it’s not a real priority by any means.

Or, perhaps, you want to make a long-standing investment and make the table saw a part of your daily routine? Then you might’ve picked a higher budget.

No matter which one is the case, when you’re looking for a table saw, always set a price range. For example, setting the numeric range on an online shopping website, or telling the salesperson your limit in a hardware store.

Don’t be sold to over-the-top promises. Always stick to your budget.

  1. Do you need portability?

There are two kinds of these beasts based on portability: portable and fixed (sometimes also called stationary or fixed-base). Think really hard on it, because this makes all the difference.

Some people opt for portable table saws for building furniture, while some prefer the “feel” of a fixed one – a strong machine sitting in one corner, ready to trim those woods.

There is a great deal of difference between stationary and portable table saws. That will take an article of itself, so let’s sum it up quickly. Portable ones take up much less space but that also means there’s less of space in the front region. Stationary ones have motors that can be replaced with more ease than the motors of portable ones. In general, the stationary table saws are more long-term effective than portable ones, and in most cases portable ones are cheaper and lighter.

But that’s talking about the traditions. There are some costly portable table saws that are more efficient than stationary ones. In the end, it depends whether you actually need the benefit of your saw taking up lesser space and the ability of it to move or not.

  1. Accuracy vs. swiftness

You’ll find that most of the table saw reviews don’t talk about the accuracy and swiftness of the motors. Well, this is something that’s considered most important by some. The more accurate your blades are, the slower they’ll be. Of course, that’s not a rigid rule – but a mere philosophy that’s been going on.

Anyway, the best table saw for hobbyists would be one with more swiftness, I presume. And likewise, the best table saw for woodworking people would be the one with increased accuracy. But again, it can differ from person to person.

The RPM decides the swiftness of your woodwork. Accuracy is decided by the cost of motor, more or less. There are certainly many exceptions in the case.

  1. Bleeding edge vs. old-timer

Anyone looking for the best table saw should know that there exists no such thing. Even out of the two sub-genres – you’ll find there’s much arguing about what’s the best. Somebody might be a huge fan of a certain company, so he would say that the best portable table saw is this particular Jet model – but someone who’s new in woodworking or is a hobbyist trying out a table saw for the first couple times might find it tougher to operate or space-manage than some other model.

Modern portables can give you some good cuts, but might not be good with dust collection. There, you’ll need a costlier contractor’s table saw. It’ll have heavy material and flat surfaces – things that remind you of older table saws – but it’ll still be better.

It all depends on whether you want a bleeding edge table saw (one of the newer, fresher models that promise higher efficiency) or you’re good with an old-timer which is known to perform.

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Wrapping up

Woodworking table saws come in many shapes and sizes. They all have different parameters. Benchtop, contractor, portable, cabinet, hybrid, and so on. You might find yourself utterly confused when deciding on a table saw.

That’s why you should first sort out your priorities – what you want and under which budget. Your requirements will define the Chosen One.

You need a portable table saw because you lack of space? Well, then your further requirements will define the best portable table saw according to you.

You want to be a seasoned woodworker and think a professional time-tested stationary table saw is the answer? Well, then your further requirements will define the best stationary table saw for you.

See? Like most of other hardware equipment choices, table saws also are personal preferences. I’ve seen people who don’t need operating space, and only work with smaller areas. At the same time, their whole house is their workplace – I’d easily recommend a low-cost portable table saw to them. It gives them freedom. If you’d give them a stationary one – then they might lose their interest in working altogether.

It’s all about what you prefer, on the personal level. But what you prefer must be figured out once you’ve filtered all the good advice in hardware purchasing and set your priorities right.

So – budget, portability, accuracy or swiftness, and new technology or relying on the time-tested machinery – these are the factors that you need to look for when buying a table saw.