Table Saw Switch, Left or Right?

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Forum topic by cstrang posted 01-14-2010 08:01 PM 2365 views 0 times favorited 28 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1832 posts in 3191 days

01-14-2010 08:01 PM

Topic tags/keywords: table saw switch left right question

I was thinking the other day about the side of the table saw that the switch is on, my table saw at home has the switch located on the left side, out of the four we have at school (three Generals and one SawStop) two have the switch on the left and two have it on the right hand side. I prefer mine on the left as I am right handed and usually stand to the left of the blade. It seems like most of the saws today are putting the switch on the left. So now I am curious, what do you prefer, left or right?

-- A hammer dangling from a wall will bang and sound like work when the wind blows the right way.

28 replies so far

View Ger21's profile


1074 posts in 3154 days

#1 posted 01-14-2010 08:10 PM

If your right handed, then left is probably better, especially if you need to stop the saw in the middle of a cut. My Unisaw switch is on the right, and can be a little tricky to get to at times.

-- Gerry,

View JimmyNate's profile


124 posts in 3373 days

#2 posted 01-14-2010 08:12 PM

Whichever side you stand on…the best is to make a 3 foot bar hinged down from the underside of the wing that bumps the switch so that you can hit it from either side of the blade as needed. I don’t know who came up with the idea, but it’s been around a while.

-- "We are what we repeatedly do; excellence then is not an act but a habit." ---Aristotle

View EEngineer's profile


1103 posts in 3636 days

#3 posted 01-14-2010 08:14 PM

I am right-handed and prefer it on the left. I am almost always using my right hand to support/guide wood being cut while my left hand is relatively free to start/stop the machine.

-- "Find out what you cannot do and then go do it!"

View MedicKen's profile


1615 posts in 3485 days

#4 posted 01-14-2010 08:22 PM

I am also right handed and prefer mine on the left. It is located where it is easy to each both by hand and left knee if I get into a cut where both hands need to be available to control the cut or off cut

-- My job is to give my kids things to discuss with their

View tooldad's profile


660 posts in 3738 days

#5 posted 01-14-2010 08:24 PM

Proper table saw technique is stand on the LEFT OF THE SAW FACING THE FENCE at about 45 degree angle with your body. This puts your forces in a direction to keep the work against the fence. Standing on the right, causes you to pull the piece, and possibly reaching over the blade. Most people that are nervous stand on the right, then don’t have the proper pressure and kickback happens. Standing on the right actually increases the risk of kickback. Either side proper hand placement, form, and flat straight lumber are the keys to reducing kickback.

by the way, my switches are on the left, at home and school, we moved the switches at school to make it a point to stand on the left for the students

View cstrang's profile


1832 posts in 3191 days

#6 posted 01-14-2010 08:29 PM

Good point tooldad, never thought about that before. It makes you wonder why manufactures put the switch on the right side in the first place if it encourages improper use of the tool. I would like to see if we could get the switches moved in my school, shouldn’t be hard because we have about 25 electricians in a class just upstairs, I bet they would just love to do that for a few cabinetmakers lol.

-- A hammer dangling from a wall will bang and sound like work when the wind blows the right way.

View RedShirt013's profile


219 posts in 3685 days

#7 posted 01-14-2010 08:31 PM

Mine’s on the left and I can’t imagine how I’ll live with it on the right. When cutting sheetgoods I’m on the left side and cannot reach a right sided switch. Plus turning off a switch to the right puts one close to the “line of fire” and I’m not too comfortable with that.

-- Ed

View PurpLev's profile


8536 posts in 3671 days

#8 posted 01-14-2010 08:42 PM

I am left handed and prefer it on the left…. I fail to see what does being right-handed or left-handed has to do with the positioning of the switch, and my point is – if you are standing to the left of the blade, and the switch is on the right – you’d either have to reach it with your left hand – which is practically impossible, or with your right hand – which means you’ll have to support the board with your left hand – and if it’s a thin strip, that means that your arm is crossing over the blade (or crossing in front of the blade) either way doesn’t seem as safe as just bumping the switch on the left with your left hand while not having to cross anything to reach it.

I mean – we’re talking about holding a board down – not some intricate job that really relates to us being right/left handed…

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View cstrang's profile


1832 posts in 3191 days

#9 posted 01-14-2010 08:47 PM

PurpLev, the reason that I thought left handed people may prefer the switch on the right is because some of the left handed people I know find it very uncomfortable to stand to the left of the blade, I guess the reason being is that the right hand is the hand that has the most control over the work piece. Since they stand to the right of the blade in my mind it would make sense for them to want the switch on the right side of the blade as well.

-- A hammer dangling from a wall will bang and sound like work when the wind blows the right way.

View SouthpawCA's profile


270 posts in 3256 days

#10 posted 01-14-2010 08:55 PM

I’m a southpaw and prefer it on the right. I stand on the right, much to the consternation of many shop teachers over the years. My saw had it on the left and I was trying to make that work, but finally moved it to the right. I’m no longer crossing in front of or over the blade to do anything.

-- Don

View PurpLev's profile


8536 posts in 3671 days

#11 posted 01-14-2010 08:55 PM

I see your point, and my comment wasn’t aimed at you – it was more aimed at the general idea of people stating that they are right handed, and thus prefer the switch on the left… which really I don’t understand how it’s related. as tooldad stated – there is a proper way to work with the TS, and a proper position to use – regardless of one’s stronger side.

it’s like driving a car – the gas/break is on the right, the clutch is on the left.. whether your right leg is stronger or your left one… unless you drive automatic that is…lol

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Tim Dahn's profile

Tim Dahn

1567 posts in 3588 days

#12 posted 01-14-2010 08:57 PM

I prefer the switch on the left also. I stand on the left side of the blade as tooldad said and press the piece down and against the fence.

-- Good judgement comes from experience and experience comes from poor judgement.

View degoose's profile


7234 posts in 3377 days

#13 posted 01-14-2010 09:10 PM

I dress to the left… too… lol

-- Don't drink and use power tools @

View PaulfromVictor's profile


228 posts in 3368 days

#14 posted 01-14-2010 09:35 PM

Just like your hunting dog, it should be on your left.

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

5908 posts in 3217 days

#15 posted 01-14-2010 09:35 PM

Greetings Chris: All I can say is: 6 of 1, 1/2 dozen of the other. Pick one—- go for it.

“That’s all I got to say about that”. Thanks Forrest. Goodnight, JohnBoy…......Goodnight everybody..

-- " At my age, happy hour is a crap and a nap".....

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