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Buying a Table Saw

Buying a table saw is kind of of like purchasing a car. The saw should do what you’d like it to do, be trusty, cost-efficient and durable, and have all the essential safety features.

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

Types of Table Saws
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Cabinet Saws
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Cabinet saws are incredibly powerful and durable, heavyweight and big in size. They often have at least 3-horsepower motors. They have tough cast iron parts, a big table, a strong fence and a full cabinet that completely houses the motor. Their normal weight is 400 – 600 pounds, so they aren’t designed for portability.

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. It can be difficult to keep contractor saws tuned if they have to be moved around or dragged into a construction site.

Hybrid Saws

As the name implies, hybrid saws combine the features of cabinet saws and contractor saws. Their motor usually has the same power as that of contractor saws, and the motor is contained in a partial cabinet.

Essentials vs.

Next thing to do is determine how you intend to use the saw. 75 horsepower motor contractor or hybrid saw is probably enough. However, if you’re going rip thick maple regularly, then you need at least a 3-horsepower industrial strength saw.

Available Space

If your shop has space issues, then some saws can be automatically removed from the list. Rip capacity is wide for saws that are made to break down plywood, which means you’ll need a long table and a long fence rail, along with lots of space in front and behind.


Although table saws nowadays are much safer than ever before, they still have inherent dangers. Newer saws are built with a riving knife to help control kickback, which is considered by many as even more dangerous than the blade itself. If you’re thinking of buying a used and older model, it may not be built with a riving knife.


The adage, “you get what you pay for,” definitely works on 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 be cheaper but with no warranty. And since saws are so heavy – around 300 – 600 pounds – shipping won ‘t be cheap either.

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