Recommendation on a small table saw

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Forum topic by Purrmaster posted 12-07-2012 01:59 AM 3767 views 0 times favorited 24 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Purrmaster's profile


915 posts in 2120 days

12-07-2012 01:59 AM

Greetings and salutations,

Christmas is coming and people are asking me to give them a Christmas list. I’m thinking of asking for a table saw. It’s the big gap in my tool collection. I need the precision a table saw gives, especially for ripping.

I’d like some recommendations on, probably, a benchtop table saw.

There are a few restrictions I can’t get around:

1.) It has to run on 110 volt. I can’t get 220 volt in my “shop.” It’s simply not possible. Also, the circuit breaks are 15 amp breakers. So if the saw draws more than 15 amps it’s not going to work.

2.) It can’t be huge. I have limited space. It doesn’t have to be easily portable but I can’t fit anything approaching a cabinet saw’s girth in my shop.

3.) It’s going to have to be at or less than $500. Even that is probably pushing it.

I’d like to be able to put accessories like a dado blade on it but that’s not required.

Sorry for the long post. And thank you in advance.

24 replies so far

View Kreegan's profile


1452 posts in 2173 days

#1 posted 12-07-2012 02:07 AM

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 2998 days

#2 posted 12-07-2012 02:17 AM

The Bosch mentioned above is a very highly regarded saw for the top end of your budget.

Dewalt jobsite saws are work horses as well, not quite as expensive and have a very good fence, but they can’t run a DADO blade.

The smallest, lightest benchtop saw I know of that still has standard miter slots, runs on a 15 amp outlet, and has the capacity to run a DADO blade is the Porter Cable PC B220-TS. Lowes sells this saw around here for $299.

View knotscott's profile


8057 posts in 3402 days

#3 posted 12-07-2012 02:34 AM

If there’s anyway you can squeeze in a full size saw, you’d get the lion’s share of performance advantages.

The R4512 is close to budget…a 20% HF coupon puts it to your door with a new blade on budget.

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

View a1Jim's profile


117120 posts in 3604 days

#4 posted 12-07-2012 02:54 AM

I agree with Knotscott Job site size table saws are only useful for small projects in my opinion.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View ShaneA's profile


6956 posts in 2625 days

#5 posted 12-07-2012 03:13 AM

I also agree, the benchtop/jobsite saws are a long ways behind the contractor type saws in performance, safety, and ease of use. If you could get that Ridgid with a coupon, you would be farther ahead than the jobsite saws. good luck.

View RonInOhio's profile


721 posts in 2891 days

#6 posted 12-07-2012 03:40 AM

I have a small Craftsman saw and its really performed pretty well but the table is just so small. You only have about 7 inches or so from the back of the table (feed side) to the blade. I had to make an extension board for the miter.

However with your budget you should be able to much better. Just take into consideration, if the length from the blade to the front of the feed side of the table is small, it will be a pain to cut anything over a few feet. Especially sheet goods.

Also get a TS with standard size miter slots and see how easy or feasible it is to build extensions around it in the future .

The Ridgid saw pictured above is a pretty solid saw with a built-in mobile base. Unless you plan on building out-feed or in-feed extensions , I would stay away from the tiny table saws if at all possible.

View Purrmaster's profile


915 posts in 2120 days

#7 posted 12-07-2012 04:03 AM

The key factor is that it needs to be able to run on 110 volts, 15 amps max. I’m not as concerned with portability since I don’t plan to move it around. I can reconfigure my space to an extent.

I should have added that I do have a compound miter saw so I’m mostly good as far as smaller crosscuts go. Ripping would be the main use for it, I would think.

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 2998 days

#8 posted 12-07-2012 05:11 AM

The Ridgid 4512 or the Craftsman 21833 will run on a 15 amp 120 Volt circuit but the circuit will not run this saw if anything else is running on the same circuit at the same time.

I can’t disagree with others here who say you would be better off with a hybrid type contractor saw.
The most notable example of which is the Ridgid 4512 pictured above by Knotscott.

In fact, I don’t have the Porter Cable I recommended above. I have the Craftsman 21833 which is the Sears branded equal to the Ridgid 4512. I made the recommendation of the Porter Cable because I thought it fit your criterior pretty well and I think it is a pretty good saw for the money.

I got my Craftsman on sale, 3 years ago, for $409. I have never seen it or the Ridgid that cheap since. Normal sale price is more like $500 or $550.

This is just my position on this, and I am sure there will be others who dissagree, but here goes. I am a foundry engineer and I have two opinions on the Craftsman/Ridgid saw. FIRST: I find it hard to believe they can build those saws for the price they sell them for. SECOND: I also think one way they do it is to design and build a tool on the ragged edge of collapsing under its own weight. CONCLUSION: I will be shocked if these saws hold up for more than a few years. They are just too flimsy. Inexpensive, and a good value, but also cheap and questionable durability.

Mine has a common (and well documented now) allignment issue where the blade changes its lateral alignment with the miter slot when you change the blade height. There is no fix for this. I live with it and don’t change blade height very much because of it. When I think about what I got and what I paid for, I wish I had waited and gotten a real cabinet saw like a Grizzly GS 691 for instance. In the mean time, while waiting for the real deal, I think I would have been just as happy with a light weight portable saw like the PC.

Maybe I wouldn’t feel like I do about the 4512 / 21833 saws if I didn’t have one with the alignment issue.

View Purrmaster's profile


915 posts in 2120 days

#9 posted 12-07-2012 05:19 AM

I’m open to one of the contractor saws. I just don’t have 220 volt and can’t get it. I’m sure someday I’ll get a full on cabinet saw.

Thank you for the input. Please, keep it coming.

View NiteWalker's profile


2737 posts in 2604 days

#10 posted 12-07-2012 12:57 PM

For most contractor and hybrid saws you don’t need 220; they run on 110.

The ridgid Scott mentioned is a good deal. The bosch 4100 is a great saw too and you don’t compromise on quality with it, but the ridgid will run longer and quieter than the bosch.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1533 posts in 2388 days

#11 posted 12-07-2012 01:13 PM

The Ridgid portable is sweet.

-- Clint Searl....Ya can no more do what ya don't know how than ya can git back from where ya ain't been

View dhazelton's profile


2771 posts in 2323 days

#12 posted 12-07-2012 01:54 PM

This comes in a dollar under your budget:

But you’d have to give yourself an early birthday present and run a 230 volt line. You would NOT regret it though.

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2137 posts in 3135 days

#13 posted 12-07-2012 02:10 PM

A few things that will quickly become a pain with a benchtop saw -

1. Lack of ability to use a dado set. The arbor might support a partial set but zero clearance is a problem. Which leads to …

2. Problems creating zero clearance plates. Portable saws usually do not have enough support for home made zero clearance plates and most times there is not one that is created by the manufacturer. Expect more splintering from the projects you run through it.

3. Lack of ability to use third party jigs and accessories in the miter slot. Most of them are smaller t style slots. These require making your own runners for your homemade jigs and can be a PIA to create.

4. Lack of rip and crosscut support. To work on projects other than small boxes, expect to have to support pieces with outfeed and infeed rollers. By the time you set it up, you will actually use more space than a contractor saw.

5. Lack of power and more engine wear. Portables use universal motors and are not belt driven. This translates to a real beating on your motor and will easily bog down when cutting thicker wood.

A decent contractor saw would fit within your budget and size constraints. On a mobile base, you can push it to the side and out of the way when not needed.

My two cents.

-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View JoeRPhilly's profile


172 posts in 2179 days

#14 posted 12-07-2012 03:56 PM

For what it’s worth, I have the bosch 4100 and have not regretted purchasing that saw one bit. For me, space and portability was an issue though, and if it doesn’t need to be portable, then you might be better off with the ridgid. The bosch has been very accurate and powerful enough. I just ripped a bunch of 8/4 maple and purpleheart with no problems. You can use a dado, but the zero clearance thing is a bit of an issue.

View waho6o9's profile


8207 posts in 2604 days

#15 posted 12-07-2012 04:14 PM

+1 for DHazelton

Get it.

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