Still wondering which table saw to buy? Below, two experts offer their opinions on buying a home-shop saw to a Woodworker's Journal eZine reader:
Q. I am new to woodworking (less than a year). Looking back over my first major project for our home (a king-size bed), I realized that I spent an inordinate amount of time adjusting for the poor quality of cuts I got out of the old Craftsman table saw I inherited. Having discussed this with my wife and considering the future projects we both would like to see in the house, I have a budget not to exceed $1,000.00. Any recommendations for an accurate table saw for that amount or under?
A. Michael Dresdner: "There are several top-notch contractor's saws that are very accurate, excellent machines for under $1,000. Two of my favorites are JET and DeWalt, but they are by no means the only ones.
A. Rob Johnstone: "I hesistate to recommend specific brands of tools for several reasons, but allow me to complicate your buying decision before I attempt to simplify it. With a $1,000.00 to spend, you could buy a good quality new contractor's saw and then spruce it up with after-market options. Why go through this extra rigamarole? It would allow you to create the machine that most suits your needs and shop. For example, you could add an after-market fence and a table extension. The table extension could have a place to mount your router. Add to that a mobile base, and you are really cooking. With all that said, most of the major bands of contractor's saws are of pretty good quality. I always recommend that you look at which product has the best warranty and how close the service centers are. Another good thing to do is to go to a woodworking show (if there are any close to you) and put your hands on the machine. A show would also let you look at the after-market options if you choose to go that rout."
From the Woodworker's Journal eZine archives
If you're in the market for a home-shop saw, and you're looking at contractor saws, consider also looking into hybrid saws, like the relatively new "Supersaws" from Jet. They are generally a little more of an investment than a contractor model, but the extra expense is easy to swallow when you consider the number of features they share with cabinet saws costing nearly twice as much. To name a few: All hybrid saws have a fully enclosed base, making dust collection a much simpler matter; they usually have a more advanced drive belt system to transfer power to the blade more reliably and efficiently; and they have more overall mass, which means that they absorb vibration more effectively.
On the other hand, there's nothing wrong with a contractor saw. They're the most portable and affordable, and a good contractor saw comes with all the equipment necessary for them to qualify as a respectable woodworking tool, like an accurate fence system and enough power to cut all but exceptionally thick hardwood stock. It’s a personal decision, and the only wrong answer is buying a poor quality saw. When you're ready to get serious, remember that Rockler offers a table saw to suit every woodworking style and budget from Jet and Powermatic – two of the most respected names in the business. And if your still on the fence about which one to get, Rockler's article "The Right Table Saw for Your Shop" will help you sort out all the table saw facts and features, so you'll end up with the best fit and the most saw for the money.