Table Saws - a Toolstop Buying Guide

table saw site saw buying guide

Why Own a Table, Bench or Site Saw?

Table, bench and site saws will allow you to perform crosscut, rip, mitre, and bevel cuts safely and with ease. A big advantage of using this type of saw over a mitre or circular saw for these cuts is that saw is stationary, allowing you to easily see the cut as you make it, keeping you safe into the bargain, especially important when performing big cuts in big work pieces.

The saw will be mounted on your workbench or on saw or leg stand. In the case of the Metabo TS254 it comes engineered on it's own integrated leg stand. See below for more details.

How many of you find yourself working in a relatively small area on the job site?

If that's the case for you, and you need to cut wood, then choosing a table or site saw that allows you to work in fairly confined spaces is important. This Toolstop guide will take you through what you should be looking for when buying a table or site saw.

Our guide covers saws from Bosch, DeWalt, Makita and Metabo.

Your demands for a such a saw will be high, but will need to factor the ability to work in a small space. What should you be looking for?

Blade Size


A blade size of around 10" or around 254mm is important. This will give you decent cutting capacities but will also allow you to swap blades with your 10" mitre saw (click here for the Toolstop mitre saw buying guide).

Expandable Sides

A great feature of a good table or site saw is the ability to extend the sides out allowing you to cut larger workpieces, even if you're in a small work area (or as space allows).

The larger the table is the more work-support surface you have, so the bigger you can get the better.

Riving Knife


A riving knife is an important kick-back safety feature. Look out for the ability to remove or adjust it to allow you to make concealed cuts. That being said, it's fitted on the saw for a reason, namely your safety.

Blade Adjustment


Easy blade adjustment is important and should typically be found at the front of the saw, usually in the form of a wheel that you turn or move to adjust the height of the blade for thicker workpieces, or the angle of the blade for bevel cuts.

Side Fence


The rip fence should securely and safely grip the front and back of the table parallel to the blade. Some rip fences can be adjusted up or down depending the work piece you're cutting and the type of cut you're making.

Mitre Guage

This will allow you to make mitre cuts, but the guage should fit safely and securely into the table itself at the angle you desire.

Blade Guard and Dust Extraction


It goes without saying that the blade on a table or site saw is going to be spinning at high speeds, so your protection from it is paramount.

Therefore the guard should sit parallel to the table, moving up on top of your workpiece while you cut.

A push stick will typically be supplied with your saw.

And as you're probably working in a confined area, dust extraction is paramount. Look for a system that will allow you to connect the saw to a dust extractor; this is a health and safety requirement.


Check out the manufacturer's technology in terms of the extractor port and exhause pipe.

What Toolstop Recommends

As mentioned, we've selected saw from the following manufacturers. We've got demo videos of each on Toolstop TV as indicated below.



Table size:
584 x 759 mm.

Features integrated slide carriage as well as table widener and table extension
Saw blade diameter:
254 mm


Cutting depth:
79 mm

Max. cutting capacity on the right:
635 mm
Max. cutting capacity on the left:
250 mm
Bevel Capacity:
47 L
1 R
Comes With:
- Saw blade 254 x 30 mm
- Parallel guide
- Angle guide
- Dust extraction adapter
- Push stick
- Storage for additional saw blade


Table Size:
630 x 570 mm
Saw blade diameter:
250 mm
Max. Ripping Capacity [right]:
410 mm
Max. Ripping Capacity [left]:
315 mm
Max. Depth of Cut at 90:
77 mm
Max. Depth of Cut at 45:
57 mm
Bevel Capacity:
-3 to 48
Comes With:
- 24 tooth SERIES 30 saw blade
- Mitre fence
- 2 blade spanners
- Parallel fence
- Dust port reducer
- Push stick


Table length with sub-tables:
590mm main 790mm

Table width with sub-tables:
610mm main 760mm
Saw blade diameter: 260mm
Cutting capacities:
91mm at 90 and 63mm at 45
Bevel Capacity:
0-45
Comes With:
- Tungsten Carbide Tipped Blade
- Rip Fence
- Push Stick
- Mitre Gauge with Vise
Wrenches
- Triangular rule

Metabo TS254 Site Saw

Table Size:
670x715

Features leg stand and wheels for easy transportation


Saw blade diameter:
254mm
Cutting capacities:
 90/45: 87mm/50mm

Rip capacity:
630mm
Bevel Capacity:
0 - 45
Comes With:
- Saw blade
- Push stick
- Side fence
- Cross cutting fence
- Blade guard
- Dust extraction exhaust pipe


Table size:
642 x 572 mm
Saw blade diameter:
254mm
Cutting Capacities:
Max. cutting capacity on the right 460 mm
Max. cutting capacity on the left 210 mm
Bevel Capacity:
47 L / 2 R
Comes With:
- Saw blade
- Push stick
- On board storage


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UPDATE:

Ed Redfern has added the following thoughts to this article (click here to read his entire piece):

When you check a saw over, check the play on the bed, spindle play to the blade (some are belt transfer drive and some are direct drive) check play on the mitre fence.

If there's wobble on the mitre fence, don't touch it because this causes more problems with material cutting than anything else.

Your saw will be used for rough and fine cutting, so it's important to look at your saw's performance and blades you'll be working with. I recommend a minimum 3 blades for your saw and this depends on the size of your saw and cutting capacities.

You'll need a ripping blade which is a coarse tooth (lower quantity tooth set), a general purpose crosscut / rip blade something like a 48 tooth or higher depending on blade diameter, also a fine or super fine for cross cutting or fine board cutting to minimise tear-out on the cut.

Dust extraction to any table saw is essential and a requirement of Health and safety regulations to any working environment.

So, when cutting, your best configuration to a saw is over and under extraction mounts, so you extract from under the blade and from above the blade at the guard source.

At the end of the day, it's up to you as a contractor, joiner, etc as to what your saw needs to do and what you expect of it, where your saw's going, etc.

Remember, cheap isn't best.

Buy the best saw system you can afford, after all, it's one of the primary investments you'll ever make. Don't forget, your saw can do many things for you, just utilise it to it's requirements and your requirements.


You can add your voice to the discuss, simply leave a comment in the box below.


Comments

Mike the Limey on Sat, 13 Feb 2016 00:53:09 +0000 (Likes: 0 / Dislikes: 0

This article is in serious need of updating or removing, as none of the saws mentioned are available any more.


Kevin Cullen on Sun, 17 Jan 2016 13:23:50 +0000 (Likes: 0 / Dislikes: 0

Where did you get the table saw t track add on for the dewalt saw?


Singa on Thu, 25 Jun 2015 08:46:46 +0100 (Likes: 0 / Dislikes: 0

Your table is not consistent, the column listing cut capacities left, right and depth should be listed in a clear way for the reader to make an informed comparison.
If you are more than mere box shifters and actually know about the products you sell then you'll know why one is better over the other and should list them in a ranked order for the home diy layman.
As it is now it is nothing more than an advert that you stock these items.
Thank you, just my two cents worth.


Jack English on Mon, 24 Nov 2014 01:32:20 +0000 (Likes: 0 / Dislikes: 0

Except the Bosch, all the other Youtube links point to the Makita.


Edward Redfern on Wed, 14 Aug 2013 10:21:16 +0100 (Likes: 3 / Dislikes: 0

Your table saw has to be one of the most important investments in your workshop or on site. When choosing your saw, take it from me, don't just rely on online specs or demos from youtube, go to a dealer like toolstop and get your hands on the products, check the specs out, feel how comfortable it's going to be with you, etc. I rely on my table saw more than anything for ripping, cross cutting, trenching, V Grooving, veneer cutting and more besides and can't be without it. I use a Festool CS70EB system with sliding bed, right and rear extensions, etc and it performs like a gem. at the mo, it's in for a service, so using my rail saws for most work.

When you check a saw over, check the play on the bed, spindle play to the blade (some are belt transfer drive and some are direct drive) check play on the mitre fence. if there's wobble on the mitre fence, don't touch it because this causes more problems with material cutting than anything else. Your saw will be used for rough and fine cutting, so it's important to look at your saw's performance and blades you'll be working with. I recommend a minimum 3 blades for your saw and this depends on the size of your saw and cutting capacities. You'll need a ripping blade which is a coarse tooth (lower quantity tooth set), a general purpose crosscut / rip blade something like a 48 tooth or higher depending on blade diameter, also a fine or super fine for cross cutting or fine board cutting to minimise tear-out on the cut.

Dust extraction to any table saw is essential and a requirement of Health and safety regulations to any working environment. So, when cutting, your best configuration to a saw is over and under extraction mounts, so you extract from under the blade and from above the blade at the guard source.

There are saws on the market which have design flaws where the rip fences cause drift or can shift in a cut. If you're buying a table saw, make sure you get the best for your money.

The issue here is the use of the word "Table Saw". This is a generalisation. there are actually a few formats of saw in this category.
Cabinet Saw or Panel Saw.
Contractor's / Site Saw.
Bench Saw.

The usual ones from makita, dewalt, etc designed as compact saws are bench top saws and can tackle most jobs a site contractor will need for smaller material requirements.

The Site / contractor's saw is more of a semi stationary framed saw bench with a steel top like Scheppach's TKU series and newer or the old days of ELU and Dewalt benches. These are ideal for large lumber cuts or on site processing of material for rough cuts used in timber framing or structural work, they can handle ripping / cross cutting sheet goods in a suitable configuration including right hand and rear table extensions for operator safety, etc.

The Cabinet saw is a more professional requirement which has a lot of weight to it, needs some floor space for bed extensions, sliding carriage or beam support for panel ripping / cross cutting. A cabinet saw or panel saw depending on where you come from, can undertake tasks that the site and bench top saws cannot do such as trenching with Dado heads, Accurate V Grooving, Veneer grade ripping and fine finish cutting. These also offer benefits including larger cutting capacities. With Cabinet saws, there's a good few to check out but from my own experience and advice, stay away from chinese castings and products under priced for their specifications. You can tell these a mile away if you're like me. As a blind cabinet maker, I have to know my equipment inside out to conduct repairs, maintenance and production runs, so my equipment has to meet exceptional needs. Some might think that's analy retentive but this is the price of a professional finish.

I've worked with both old professional and new professional saws in my time and know the good ones by their build quality, parts used, etc and what could go wrong. Panel saws more than any other machine require a different grade of hardware because they have a longer running expectancy and with this comes cost. Panel Saws like I remember the Scheppach TS4000 complete system offered a high cut performance for their money but did have niggles on parts, so there were areas of down time.

At the end of the day, it's up to you as a contractor, joiner, etc as to what your saw needs to do and what you expect of it, where your saw's going, etc. Good luck on your table saw based travels and remember, cheap isn't best. buy the best saw system you can afford, after all, it's one of the primary investments you'll ever make. Don't forget, your saw can do many things for you, just utilise it to it's requirements and your requirements.

ed

D


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