Need table saw advice

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Forum topic by Jader posted 12-13-2009 04:03 AM 6764 views 0 times favorited 21 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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4 posts in 3087 days

12-13-2009 04:03 AM

Going to buy my first table saw. Would like to know which is the better saw for the price. $249 Ryobi BTS21 or a $219 craftsman 21807 Any opinion on saws in the $200-$300 range would be nice.

21 replies so far

View Kevin's profile


462 posts in 3205 days

#1 posted 12-13-2009 07:08 AM

I would buy the ryobi. I’m not a big fan of craftsman in power tools.

-- Williamsburg, KY

View davidroberts's profile


1027 posts in 3486 days

#2 posted 12-13-2009 08:10 AM

I know there are a lot of LJ’s here that have bench table saws. The kind where the arbor is connected directly to a universal motor. I’d say most are waiting for the day they can trade in those screaming beaters. They do serve a purpose such as for home improvement, cutting a board in half, or ripping small thin stock. I had a benchtop Craftsman for many years, a true PITA and POS. I spent more time aligning the fence than I did driving to the store for material. It takes a special person, one who has a lot of patience and can handle frustration to work consistently with a benchtop TS. With that said, and in my humble opinion, you would be best served to save up and buy a contractors saw or hybrid, or even a cabinet saw, new or used. The arbor is not attached directly to the motor, and the insides are much better quality. Much easier to align and use. Due to the economy, a lot of people of dumping their woodworking equipment onto Craig’s list. Some of it is junk, but some is a steal. Unless a TS has been left outside, a good quality used TS will last a long time, and can be had for half or less the original cost. A Ridgid TS3660 contractor saw at $550, or the Bosch 4000-09-RT reconditioned at $450, or the DeWalt DW745 at $369 would be a much better value. Sorry, I can’t give a printable opinion on either the sears or ryobi bench saws. Good luck with whatever you decide.

-- Better woodworking through old hand tools.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18271 posts in 3676 days

#3 posted 12-13-2009 09:10 AM

I’d watch Craigs list for a used contractor saw before I bought a bench top.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View knotscott's profile


8015 posts in 3375 days

#4 posted 12-13-2009 06:40 PM

Both are well less than desirable IMHO, with similar weaknesses, and both happen to be made by TTI/Ryobi (buy the “saw” not the brand). Regardless of the brand, these are the type of saws that many of us have made the mistake of purchasing as a first saw, only to regret it in short order. They’re too light, too small, too sloppy, too underbuilt, too loud, too unreliable, and have too little resale value to bother with.

There should be several good full size cast iron used saws with belt drive induction motors that’ll have far more upside, with no real financial downside. If you’re not comfortable getting a used saw, or the right deal doesn’t come along, see if you can hold off long enough to save closer to $500.

With Christmas specials, you might be able to find a nice sale price in a full size saw. Those that I would look at would be the Ridgid R4511 hybrid (by Orion), the Craftsman 21833, and the Hitachi C10FL…all should fall at or below the $500 range on sale. You might even find a deal on a Steel City 35920 hybrid, Jet 708100 “Workshop” hybrid, or Delta 36-980 contractor saw. It’s possible that the R4511 could be grabbed below $400 with the Friends & Family deal from Ridgid. These may not be Unisaws but they’re all far better suited for woodworking, and once aligned properly and equipped with a good blade, they’ll serve you well.

Good luck!

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 3893 days

#5 posted 12-13-2009 07:03 PM

why not buy a “used” saw on Kijiji, e-bay, a loacl buy/trade/sell mag or search the auctions. You get way more bang for the buck.

Just my 2 cents but I am of the thought that both saws you are thinking of buying isnt worth the ink thats printed in the manual

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View SEE's profile


119 posts in 3167 days

#6 posted 12-13-2009 09:55 PM

You’re getting some very good advice here!! For $300 or less you should be able to find a decent, used contractor’s TS that will meet your woodworking needs for years to come. Having a bad TS, one that you can’t properly tune no matter what you do, is worse than having no table saw at all.

As others have pointed out already, there are a lot of good deals on CL right now in most parts of the country. In many cases they owner doesn’t even know what they’re offering for sale! Perhaps Aunt Martha is selling off the tools of the recently, dearly departed Uncle Fred and she just wants to clear out the space. The economy is forcing a lot of people to sell things that they’re no longer using. There are many good deals out there if you’ll be a bit patient.

I recently purchased a 4 year old G0555 bandsaw in new condition, with a mobile base, for $75.00. A few years ago the seller had “thought” that he wanted to take up woodworking as a hobby. It looked to me like he made a few cuts and lost interest. On that same day, from the same guy, I also picked up a like new Grizzly jointer with mobile base for $75.00. Even though I didn’t need it or want it for myself I picked that one up for my nephew who’s become interested in woodworking.

-- Build for the joy of it!

View Jeison's profile


968 posts in 3108 days

#7 posted 12-13-2009 10:21 PM

I don’t know much details about many specific models, but if you do go the benchtop route (I settled on a inexpensive but surprisingly solid Skil 3305-01 until I can afford a hybrid) here’s a few things to look for based on my experience…

Whether or not the throat plate can be replaced with a zero-clearance insert (the design of the Skil makes it not impossible, but incredibly difficult at my skil level to make one)

The miter gauge slot size – I found most of the less expensive benchtops I looked at use a 5/8” miter slot, meaning about 95% of the aftermarket accessories out there are incompatible, not the end of the world if you like to make your own sleds/runners/etc, but check to make sure its a straight or T-style slot, I almost bought one that had tabs in it, not realizing until later that would have prevented me from using my own shop made sleds (damn glad I got the model that I did lol)

I found most benchtops can’t use a full dado stack, and are limited to a 1/2” wide stack. Again not the end of the world, but something to take into account.

-- - Jei, Rockford IL - When in doubt, spray it with WD-40 and wrap it with duct tape. The details will attend to themselves.

View TheDane's profile


5423 posts in 3663 days

#8 posted 12-13-2009 11:27 PM

Just to sort of pile on … I’d hit Craigslist or the classified ads looking for a decent used contractor saw.

I tried to get by with one of a low-end Delta Shopmaster when I first started out … way too many limitations. The direct-drive motor was way under-powered for anything but the softest of woods, crappy fence, small table, there was no way to use a zero-clearance throat plate, and I couldn’t get more than a 5/8” dado stack in.

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View kosta's profile


946 posts in 3354 days

#9 posted 12-14-2009 03:45 AM

I got a skill and it works great for what I do

View YPA's profile


14 posts in 3092 days

#10 posted 12-14-2009 04:12 AM

I just started too. I recommend that you check craig’s list as stated above for your TS. It is a good way to save money and get a better saw at the same time.

View knotscott's profile


8015 posts in 3375 days

#11 posted 12-14-2009 12:01 PM

Jader – RU still with us or have we scared you off?

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View Jader's profile


4 posts in 3087 days

#12 posted 12-16-2009 04:37 AM

TY for the info. I will research the other models that have been posted. I checked CS in my area and nothing yet. Going to check ebay as well. I ty guys for the advice.

View Spiffpeters's profile


11 posts in 3104 days

#13 posted 12-16-2009 07:03 AM

See: “Having a bad TS, one that you can’t properly tune no matter what you do, is worse than having no table saw at all.”

This really gets to the meat of the matter. You will be far happier buying a tool that is easy to setup and relatively repeatable. Of course until you have suffered the frustrations of trying to make a tool outperform its design you probably won’t appreciate the elegance of a well designed tool.

Price is often times a fair barometer of the quality of a tools design.

Benchtop saw – entry level. Lacks the power and precision required for fine woodworking.

Contractor saw – minimum grade for woodworking. Fair amount of power and can be fairly accurate (so long as you leave the blade at 90 degrees). Dust collection is generally poor.

Hybrid TS – Essentially a poor mans cabinet saw. Lower power than a cabinet saw, but generally has better dust collection and a better fence than a contractor saw.

Cabinet saw – Power and accuracy. This design is for the serious woodworker. Everything else is a compromise.

Perhaps one day I will have a cabinet saw, but for now my hybrid saw provides all the power, precision and performance I require.

-- Some say the glass is half full, others say it's half empty. I say the glass is too big. George Carlin

View Jader's profile


4 posts in 3087 days

#14 posted 12-16-2009 07:59 AM

yea after some more research on the list above
I have to say the 21833 will prob be what i get if I buy new
I dont like the granite top on the R4511 but if I could get it at $400 would be great Going to check my hd
Found some n deals on CL but not in my area

View Jader's profile


4 posts in 3087 days

#15 posted 12-18-2009 08:49 PM

R4511 was on clearance for $499 Decided to keep looking

What I did get a great deal on was the Ridgid 6 1/8 planer jointer 14668 JPO610
On clearance from $429 down to $214

I am waiting for sears to have a sale on the 21833 or I get a good deal on CL or Ebay
TY all for the advise

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