choosing a table saw

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Forum topic by jsquared posted 02-01-2010 04:52 AM 3725 views 0 times favorited 40 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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61 posts in 3060 days

02-01-2010 04:52 AM

I’m researching table saws and trying to decide on what to purchase as my first one. My initial plan was to go with one of the hybrid saws by Steel City tools or possibly Grizzly. I am also intrigued by the Saw Stop Contractor saw, especially since I have a buddy missing part of a digit. I would appreciate some suggestions and tips on things to consider. Thanks.

-- Jsquared, Texas

40 replies so far

View MedicKen's profile


1615 posts in 3486 days

#1 posted 02-01-2010 05:04 AM

Your table saw choice should be based on what your needs are. What kind of wood working aer you planning on? Are you gonna be building cabinets and cutting a lot of sheet goods, or is it furniture and cutting thick hardwoods? Cost will also be a major factor as well as safety features and power requirements. Do you have 220V available with a large enough circuit for a 3-5hp cabinet saw? Does your saw need to be mobile?

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

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51457 posts in 3504 days

#2 posted 02-01-2010 05:14 AM

I agree with MedicKen. Also since the table saw is the heart of the woodworking shop its best to get the best one that you can afford. Always be sure it has a good fence that locks square to the blade each time you set it, and that it has the horsepower for the work you do. Also, the weight of the saw is important too so that it doesnt move around when cutting large stock or sheet goods. Its best to have a TS that has a place to attach a splitter or riving knife for safey. When ever I buy anything, I always start looking at the best one available, study the options on them, then trim it back to what I can aford. That way you know what you are giving up.

As I have mentioned on here before, dont discount buying a good used saw on Ebay or Craigs List. There are many great deals there and a good used one is about half the price of a new one.

Good luck with your choice. Keep us posted on how you made out.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

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61 posts in 3060 days

#3 posted 02-01-2010 05:47 AM

Found a Saw Stop Contractor’s on the local craig’s list with cast iron wings, 36” rails, roll-around base, a standard blade brake, a dado blade brake, and an extension table that’s still in the box for about $1800 (OBO). That is attractive. My shop (garage) is a typical 2 car with a 12 foot extension on the back. I have plenty of room in my current breaker panel to add more circuits, including one for 220. I imagine there will be both sheetgoods and hardwoods cut on it, but at this point, I am not sure it will be anything thicker than 5/4. It does need to be mobile so I can get 1 car in the garage. I will start a chart/table and begin filling in the blanks of wants/needs/etc. thanks.

-- Jsquared, Texas

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117115 posts in 3601 days

#4 posted 02-09-2010 07:27 AM

Did you get the Saw stop?

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

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8056 posts in 3399 days

#5 posted 02-09-2010 12:13 PM

If you’ve got 220v, there’s no comparison in construction and overall design of an industrial cabinet saw with 3-5hp. The Saw Stop technology is a plus if that interests you, but you’ll give up some saw technology for the safety feature in that particular case. They based that particular model on a 60 year old design with the outboard motor and all the issues associated with that design….since there’s really no benefit of that motor location, IMHO it really should have been a hybrid from the start with an inboard motor.

Good alignment and good blade selection are the keys to good performance regardless of which you choose.

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

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4861 posts in 3072 days

#6 posted 02-09-2010 01:12 PM

How much money do you have available to invest?
Look at the table saw reviews on this website:

I have a Ridgid R4511 and I am very happy with it, they are no longer available at HD but you might be able to find one used. People were very happy with the Ridgid R3660 also.

As always I recommend that you look at the Central Machinery 10” Industrial Cabinet Saw. For just around $500.00 after discount, this is a lot of saw for your money.

Your choice will be determined mostly by two factors: how much money you have available and what you want to do.
ONe more factor is important: how much room you have to install the saw.

-- Bert

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639 posts in 3069 days

#7 posted 02-09-2010 03:12 PM

One of the best lessons I learned about table saws, was to get one that was solid. A light weight machine will tend to vibrate more, and often result in a jagged cut. Not having to deal with that frustration was enough for me to upgrade.

-- ~Jason~ , Albuquerque NM

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39 posts in 3059 days

#8 posted 02-09-2010 08:25 PM


As I am myself in the hunt for a quality table saw, I thought I’d throw in my 2cents. I would echo what everyone has said so far. In my own search I have been opting to stay away from a contractor’s saw because the motor hangs out the back. It’s a small detail I know, but I also have a somewhat small shop to work with and if I’m moving things around I’d like for my saw to be a little more compact. For that reason I’d been looking at the hybrid saws and the smaller cabinet saws. The cabinet saw is nice from the standpoint of how it’s built and power etc., but the cost is a little more that I was wanting to spend. So I keep frequenting the craigslist adds for the best deal I can find.

Also, in terms of brands, I have not been hearing good things about Steel City in terms of quality and customer support. Maybe others on here can speak to the contrary. The brands that I’ve been looking more closely at due to budget and my list of criteria have been Shopfox, Grizzly, and Jet.

Best of luck in your search for a saw!

-- even a mosquito doesn't get a slap on the back until he starts to work...

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8056 posts in 3399 days

#9 posted 02-09-2010 08:39 PM

Smitty – I’ve never directly owned a Steel City tool, so have never needed their CS, but I’ve read several favorable comments from owners. Also, their Orion subsidiary makes the well regarded Craftsman 22124, Ridgid R4511, Steel City 35920/35930, GI 50-240GT, and the new Craftsman 22116….with a few exceptions, those saws generally get favorable comments.

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

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2387 posts in 3570 days

#10 posted 02-10-2010 12:31 AM

Budget has always been our decision maker and thus we have 2 great saws with a small budget. If budget is not a major factor I would think your safety is. I have heard it said, “It is not if you will have that accident but when” if you do a fair amount of woodworking. Safety is definitely something I want to consider more of in my shop and the saw stop might just stop you or another person from loosing a finger down the road. I do have one friend who used the saw “incorrectly” while cutting a dado and had kick back and lost 1/2 of his finger. Well, happy hunting!

-- .

View jsquared's profile


61 posts in 3060 days

#11 posted 02-10-2010 04:29 PM

The used Saw Stop contractor saw is gone so I’m re-evaluating my plan. Thanks for the input. Having young kids (8 & 5), safety is key. Granted, they will not be around it while I’m cutting, but my son has an interest already in using the scroll saw and has cut a few ornaments. I want to feed the interest, safely. There is no doubt that teaching safe practices is of prime importance, but an added safety measure is also reassuring.

-- Jsquared, Texas

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20 posts in 3052 days

#12 posted 02-11-2010 02:17 AM

It’s unfortunate that we put a value on what we want to spend, but never a value on what we are willing to lose. In my opinion, when I consider performance AND safety, the Saw Stop is the best saw out there and the extra money spent on a lifetime purchase is a savings when compared to the pain, disability and expenses incurred with the loss of one or more fingers…hospital costs, loss of work, therapy, etc..

I’ve had a Rockwell Unisaw for over 30 years but it’s time for me to change. As stated above, it’s not “if” an accident will happen, it’s “when”. And when it does, it may not happen at the table saw, but if it does, I want every safety advantage the Saw Stop provides.

Good luck with your decision…Doug

-- Doug Roper Chairmaker and Instructor,

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5723 posts in 3256 days

#13 posted 02-11-2010 02:47 AM

I don’t have one yet, and honestly I hate the inventor’s business tactics (lawsuits and lobbying efforts to try to force the industry into adopting his technology), but the Sawstop technology is really worth the bucks. I am very happy with my BT3100 considering it safety features for the type of saw it is. HOWEVER, when I do upgrade saws, my goal is to be able to afford a SawStop cabinet saw with the wide rails and a cast iron router wing…

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1930 posts in 3789 days

#14 posted 02-11-2010 03:04 AM

RESEARCH….. and purchase what YOU want!

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930 posts in 3512 days

#15 posted 02-11-2010 04:44 AM

I have a Sawstop contractors saw, and I absolutely love it. I haven’t had it bog down once. It is a high quality saw with a great safety feature.

I would not hesitate to recommend you buy this saw for your and your children’s safety. And it is a great saw to boot.

-- Chip ----------- 6:8

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