Table Saw for Very Limited Budget

  • Advertise with us

« back to Power Tools, Hardware and Accessories forum

Forum topic by RookieWorker posted 07-17-2012 05:30 PM 3765 views 0 times favorited 25 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View RookieWorker's profile


23 posts in 2583 days

07-17-2012 05:30 PM

Guys I want to add a table saw to my shop. I have a fairly small shop and an even smaller budget, but I feel this is something I really could use. I know a lot of you will discourage buying one of the cheap models, and I completely understand and agree with the old “get what you pay for” way of thinking. That being said, the budget is what it is! Right now I am looking at the ones at Home Depot, Lowes, and Sears, and would like to stay under $300. I want the saw to have a stand and would prefer to be able to rip plywood to at least a decent size. The brands i see at the 3 sites I mentioned in the price range look to be Ryobi, Skil, Craftsman, and possibly a lower end Porter Cable. I realize some of the Craftsman and Porter Cable will be pushing that budget to the max. I would appreciate and welcome any and all recommendations and opinions. Thanks guys!!

25 replies so far

View jmos's profile


902 posts in 2571 days

#1 posted 07-17-2012 05:35 PM

You’ll hear this a lot here, but craigslist might be a good option for you. I see a lot of the smaller TS’s come up on CL and you might get more used than you can afford new. If you want to cut sheet goods, you’ll need to build a table around you saw for support; it’s very difficult to safely cut full sheets on a small benchtop saw.

-- John

View RookieWorker's profile


23 posts in 2583 days

#2 posted 07-17-2012 05:38 PM

And I probably should have mentioned this, but cutting sheet goods would not be a common occurence. Matter of fact, I could cut sheet goods at work and work with smaller items in my shop if it came to that.

View Cole Tallerman's profile

Cole Tallerman

392 posts in 2386 days

#3 posted 07-17-2012 05:39 PM

For $300 you could get a solid used table saw. Any saw you get that cheaply new is going to be pretty crappy. look for a used Ridgid R4512 or similar saw. Lots of people on this forum love that saw. keep a good lookout on craigslist in your area but I defiantly wouldn’t get a new one with that budget.

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 3849 days

#4 posted 07-17-2012 05:51 PM

Spend your money on an EZ-smart rail guide – it’s
a safer and cheaper way to go for accurate sheet
good gutting and you can sell it for 80-90% of what
you spend if you don’t like it.

A little table saw like and old tilt-top Delta works
fine for joinery and ripping short pieces and the
saws are very accurate and have a small footprint.

View RookieWorker's profile


23 posts in 2583 days

#5 posted 07-17-2012 06:17 PM

I really appreciate the replies, but let me try this again because I think people are getting hung up on the mention of cutting sheets. Forget i even mentioned sheet cutting at all. Bottom line is I can get a new table saw on stand from only 3 places with what I have to spend. Would you prefer the Home Depot Ryobi, the Lowes Skil, or the Sears Craftsman. All will be 10” and 15 amp. Looks like the biggest difference in the prices is in the right and left rip size. Here are the brands with price and rip size:

Skil $149 11” Right 11.25” left
Skil $199 24.25” right 11” left
Ryobi $129 12” right 8” left
Ryobi $199 30” right 18” left
Craftsman $299 24”right 24” left
Craftsman $159 30” right 12”left
Craftsman $242 24” right 8” left
Craftsman $149 12” right 8”left

View DIYaholic's profile


19709 posts in 2876 days

#6 posted 07-17-2012 06:27 PM

Craiglist, Craiglist, Craiglist!!!

I picked up this saw for $125.00 (with aftermarket fence & mobile base).

I am upgrading to machined pulleys (2 = 33.50 including shipping) & PALS alignment kit ($20.00 + shipping) from In-Line Industries & a link belt from Harbor Freight ($25.00 + shipping). I also purchased the blade gaurd assembly & mounting bracket (+/- $75.00). With a little internet research, elbow grease and about $280 I got an excellent C’man contractor saw. YMMV!

Good luck hunting.

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 3172 days

#7 posted 07-17-2012 10:57 PM

Absolutely agree that Craigslist is the best bang for the buck.
I see deals on there all the time.

But, if you don’t live in an area with reasonable offerings on CL, due to sparse population or whatever, and you want new, I’ll caution you to not settle for anything that does not have a standard miter slot and will not accept a dado blade. I don’t think any of the Ryobi and Skil saws have those features.

I think that narrows your choices to the PCB220 at $299
and a Craftsman model 21828 at about the same price. Just right at $290 right now on sale.

But, I have found the best way to cut sheet goods is with a circular saw. And I have a good table saw.

View knotscott's profile


8147 posts in 3577 days

#8 posted 07-17-2012 11:23 PM

The new saws you’re considering will be nearly a total waste of money. If you can’t afford a good new saw right now, you certainly can’t afford to waste money on an inferior saw. Those are the types of saws that many of us have made the mistake of starting with. You now have knowledge we didn’t possess at the time. IMHO a good used saw is your best bet…..something full size, with a belt drive induction motor is much more substantial and offers alot more growth and upgrade potential down the road. Ridgid, Craftsman, Delta, GI, Grizzly, PM, Jet, Rockwell, Bridgewood, Craftex, etc….lots of good choices.

A saw like DIYaholic has shown is a much more substantial saw than any of the plastic new saws within budget. If you were to post a general geographic location, someone here might help locate a great deal for you. If nothing good turns up, the cheap saws you’re looking at now will still be available.

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

View MrUnix's profile (online now)


7047 posts in 2400 days

#9 posted 07-17-2012 11:34 PM

Scour Craigslist and other local classifieds for a good deal on a real table saw and rip the ply with a straight edge and circular saw :)


-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

View rance's profile


4266 posts in 3362 days

#10 posted 07-17-2012 11:51 PM

For a bench model, I would certainly consider a DeWalt model. Main reason is the fence has rack & pinion gearing that keeps it parallel. I got a new(almost unused) one from CL for exactly $300.

For the most part, the fence makes the saw.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View StumpyNubs's profile


7681 posts in 3002 days

#11 posted 07-18-2012 12:20 AM

At the risk of getting a bunch of emails saying I’m nuts, let me say this…

Inexpensive tools are fine. If all you can afford is an inexpensive saw, buy it. Just don’t demand more out of it than it is capable of doing. A $30 used Skil or Dewalt, etc. bench top saw from Craigslist can make a lot of projects. I’ve seen some fantastic work done on little, low powered tools like that. It won’t rip sheet goods very well but it will rip and crosscut pine and thin hardwoods just fine.

It’s better to buy what you can afford and keep enjoying the craft than to live without woodworking because you can’t afford what you really want. You can make some projects, get some experience, and upgrade later on.

That said, if you have to buy cheap, buy used and cheap. Don’t throw away $150 on a new cheap saw when you can find one easily at a yard sale or craigslist. That will leave you more money to sock away for that nice saw someday.

-- Subscribe to "Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal"- One of the crafts' most unique publications:

View rance's profile


4266 posts in 3362 days

#12 posted 07-18-2012 01:42 AM

Stumpy is exactly right. I’ll only add that with cheaper tools, you sometimes have to compensate for their lack of precision, heft, etc. But as Stumpy said, you can STILL do good woodworking. It just may take you a little longer.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2891 days

#13 posted 07-18-2012 02:19 AM

I built a lot of stuff with that larger Ryobi from HD when I first got into woodworking and never had a moments trouble from it. I sold it to a buddy when I upgraded to a Grizzly and he has continued to get along with it. If you buy it, put a 24 tooth Diablo on it and make a ZCI for it and I think it will work until you outgrow it. Just sayin.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View willie's profile


534 posts in 2655 days

#14 posted 07-18-2012 03:13 AM

Another good source is local auctions. Check local listings in the newspaper or online. I use for listings with pictures of items to be sold. Check them out, they will have listings for your area. I like being able to see what they have without having to drive there first.

-- Every day above ground is a good day!!!

View Denvy's profile


49 posts in 2340 days

#15 posted 07-18-2012 03:55 AM

Ryobi folding saw with sliding table is good and works fine if care is taken. Best choice is a Craigslist saw for 175 with an after market fence. Look at the picture and see if it has a large bar in front rectangular or round bar that the fence slides back and forth on. That saw, with the upgrade fence can be tuned to be straight and true to the fence and cut just as good as you would like.

-- Denvy, Tualatin, Oregon USA

showing 1 through 15 of 25 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics