Cabinet table saws, often just called cabinet saws, are the largest of the table saws, with huge power and tremendous cutting capacities. As the name suggests, this makes it the best table saw for cabinet-making, which often involves large pieces of wood that need to be cut with a high degree of accuracy. The large tables provided also mean they are excellent for working with 8-feet by 4-feet sheet material.
Buying a cabinet table saw requires a considerable investment. This article will look at all the important features and technical details, and offer some real-world examples that represent the best cabinet table saws available.
- BEST OVERALL: SawStop Professional Cabinet Saw
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Powermatic PM1000 Table Saw with Accu-Fence System
- BEST UPGRADE: Jet 10” Deluxe Xacta Saw, 50” Rip
- MOST VERSATILE: Grizzly G1023RLWX Cabinet Table Saw
Before You Buy a Cabinet Table Saw
For professionals, cabinet saws are often the best commercial table saw choice, but they certainly aren’t for everyone. These are large and expensive tools, so a substantial work space is needed. While strictly speaking they are no more complicated to use than any other type of table saw, a reasonable level of experience is required to get the most from them. In other words, they would not be considered the best table saw for beginners.
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Cabinet Table Saw
These machines are not just the best table saw for cabinet-making but for an array of other large projects or high-productivity environments. However, at a glance, the specifications for many cabinet saws can look quite similar. It’s important to understand the differences to get the right level of performance and thus the best value.
The power of a cabinet table saw is given in horsepower (hp). Few are less than 2 hp, some are as powerful as 5 hp. Most use a single-phase electrical supply like that supplied to homes (rather than three-phase industrial). They are usually specified as 1PH. However, the majority cannot run from a standard 110-volt outlet.
Upgrading to 220/230V is not a difficult process, but unless the owner is experienced with household electrics, it would be best to use a suitably qualified contractor. It may also be necessary to increase the amps of the circuit. Details are available from each cabinet table saw manufacturer.
Size and Weight
Cabinet table saws are usually described by their blade size, which is usually 10 inches but sometimes 12 inches, and the maximum rip (width of cut), which is the usable table length from the right of the saw blade, to the furthest extent of the fence. The smallest of these is 32 inches, the largest is 52 inches.
It’s important to understand that these measurements do not indicate the full size of the saw. There is also table area to the left of the blade, so a 52-inch cabinet saw might actually be 7 feet long or more. The distance needed to feed large material through the blade and out the other side also needs to be taken into account. Cabinet table saws need a lot of space, and this must be considered when planning the installation.
Weight should also be checked. These machines can weigh anywhere from about 300 to more than 700 pounds and are probably only delivered close to the workshop, not brought inside. While some sections are separate, the main body of the machine is still very heavy. A mobile base may help. These are an option with some, or a universal model can be purchased.
The size and weight of a cabinet table saw usually makes it very stable. A secure platform is important for safety, allowing it to support large pieces of material. Stability is also important for accuracy. If the table moves or wobbles, the cut will not be consistent.
The table of a cabinet saw is made of cast iron, which is extremely rigid and helps absorb motor vibration, again improving stability. Cabinets are substantial steel constructions, sometimes with useful storage, that also add to the overall rigidity. Although it’s not necessarily true that the best cabinet table saw is the heaviest, it is certainly not a disadvantage.
Stability is just one factor in cabinet table saw accuracy. How flat the table is also has an impact. Most manufacturers say that their tables are milled and/or ground to be “perfectly” flat, and they occasionally give precise dimensions.
The fence is vital. It needs to be of solid construction so that it doesn’t deflect under pressure. It has to lock in place firmly so it stays square. Screws allow for the fence to be adjusted during initial setup, and this should be checked periodically.
Proper blade setting is the final factor. If it is not running true, the cut won’t be accurate and the finish may be rough. All cabinet saws have some form of blade adjustment, so although it’s important to check this once purchased, it’s not really a consideration beforehand.
As mentioned above, cabinet table saws have blades of either 10-inch or 12-inch diameter. Dado blades, used for cutting slots rather than all the way through material, are often smaller in diameter, typically 8 inches. Two cabinet saws that have the same blade size can have different maximum cutting depths, so it’s worth checking the specification.
The number of teeth on the blade has an impact on sawing speed and quality of finish. It is important to choose the best saw blade for the task. A general-purpose 24-tooth blade is often included, but not always, so be sure to check. It can be frustrating for the saw to arrive, only to discover there’s no blade included.
All cabinet table saws must have a guard that fits over the blade and a riving knife, or splitter, that fits behind it. The latter prevents the material from closing up and pinching the blade and jamming. This can result in the material being dangerously ejected. Anti-kickback pawls may also be included. A guard and riving knife cannot be used with a dado blade, but in this case, the cut doesn’t go through the wood, so the material doesn’t pinch the blade anyway. However, extra care is needed to keep hands well away from the blade.
Sawdust can cause respiratory problems, can eventually clog and damage parts of the machine, and can ruin brush-on or wipe-on finishes. Some form of dust extraction is vital. Most cabinet table saws have a 4-inch port under the table for attaching a shop extractor, while a few have the facility to attach a hose that extracts from directly above the blade.
Our Top Picks
From budget-friendly to professional-grade, this list of cabinet saws comprises a variety of categories to meet a variety of needs.
It isn’t easy to pick an overall best cabinet table saw, but the SawStop can meet the needs of many a woodworker. The T-Glide fence is solid and offers excellent precision. The table is extremely flat, with accuracy given as within 0.010 inches across the diagonal. Power comes from a 3 hp motor that requires a 230V supply.
The SawStop cabinet saw comes with a 10-inch, 40-tooth blade, and has a maximum depth of cut of 3⅛ inches at 90 degrees and 2¼ inches at 45 degrees. There is 52-inch ripping capacity. A 4-inch dust port is provided, which is 99 percent efficient, according to SawStop.
The headline feature of this cabinet table saw is the blade safety system. The blade carries a very small electrical current. This current doesn’t change when cutting wood but does if it comes into contact with skin. In this event a sensor activates a brake and drops the blade below the table. All this happens in 5 milliseconds.
It is a superb design and could prevent serious injury. However, the safety cartridge is a one-time use only, and costs over a hundred dollars to replace. SawStop also recommends changing the blade, which could be damaged in the process.
- Power: 3 hp, 230V 13A
- Maximum rip: 52 inches
- Weight: 449 pounds
- Excellent build quality throughout
- Superb blade safety system
- Accurate T-Glide fence
- Brake cartridges required
- Upper end of price range for a 3 hp model
Get the SawStop cabinet table saw on Amazon or at Acme Tools.
Powermatic is known for making reliable woodworking equipment at reasonable prices, and this cabinet table saw is a good example. It is well made, with a precision-ground cast iron table and a sturdy fence. Although none of these machines could be called inexpensive, this is the best budget cabinet table saw available.
The motor is a 1¾ hp unit. Unusually, it comes wired for 115V, so it can be plugged into a standard household outlet (a 20A circuit is recommended). It is noticeably less powerful than most competitors, so although it’s perfectly adequate for sheet materials and softwood, it may struggle with dense hardwood.
Its cutting capacities are competitive, with a maximum depth of cut of 3⅛ inches at 90 degrees and 2⅛ inches at 45 degrees. Ripping is 52 inches. However, a blade is not included. A 4-inch dust port is provided for extraction.
- Power: 1¾ hp, 115V, 20A
- Maximum rip: 52 inches
- Weight: 289 pounds
- Runs off standard household outlet
- Competitive capacities
- Comparatively affordable
- Motor could be more powerful
- Blade not included
Get the Powermatic cabinet saw at Amazon, The HomeDepot, or Acme Tools.
The 3 hp motors fitted to many cabinet table saws are more than powerful enough for most users, but professionals in high-volume woodshops will often upgrade to a 5 hp model like this Jet Deluxe Xacta. Cutting capacities are similar, but the increased performance means these cabinet table saws breeze through even the most dense hardwoods. As is common, a 230V supply is required.
The Jet Deluxe Xacta has a maximum depth of cut of 3 inches at 90 degrees and 2⅛ inches at 45 degrees. Ripping is 50 inches. The fence is particularly good. The rigid steel construction has HDPE (high-density polyethylene) faces, so material moves smoothly across it. It also has a small button at the end that raises it just above the surface of the table and prevents dragging. It has a separate manual so users can maximize precision, though some complain that this, and the general assembly of the machine, is rather complex. The shrouded blade guard is claimed to give particularly good extraction via a 4-inch port.
- Power: 5 hp, 230V, 18A
- Maximum rip: 50 inches
- Weight: 407 pounds
- Immensely powerful motor
- Precision Xacta Fence
- Fast blade changing
- Blade not included
- Time-consuming assembly
Get the Jet cabinet saw at ToolNut or Acme Tools.
Grizzly Industrial has built a reputation for extremely durable equipment. Its products tend to look a bit basic and heavy-duty, but that shouldn’t detract from their performance. This model comes with a powerful 5 hp motor that will rip through hardwood with ease. It has a Shop Fox fence, which is renowned for long-term precision.
The maximum cutting depths are 3 inches at 90 degrees, and 2⅛ inches at 45 degrees. A 40-tooth blade is included. Ripping is limited to 32 inches. However, extensions to the frame and table are available to purchase separately if greater ripping capacity was required.
A cast iron router table section adds useful versatility. It should take most ¼- and ½-inch routers. It provides an exceptionally sturdy platform and could save valuable space in smaller shops.
- Power: 5 hp, 240V, 23A
- Maximum rip: 32 inches
- Weight: 509 pounds
- Very robust construction
- Includes cast iron router table
- Accurate Shop Fox fence
- Modest ripping as standard
- Industrial appearance
Get the Grizzly cabinet saw at The Home Depot or Walmart.
Each of these cabinet table saws is a very good tool, and we would have no trouble recommending any of them. However, the SawStop is our top pick because of its all-round quality and advanced safety system. The Powermatic is a great value (as long as you don’t have to cut dense hardwoods regularly), as is the Grizzly, even though its table is comparatively small.
How We Chose the Best Cabinet Table Saws
With more than 10 years of hands-on woodshop experience and extensive research on leading manufacturers and their current lineups, we compiled this list of top picks.
As stated, most cabinet table saws are largely similar, so we focused on the small but important details, and by doing so, we selected machines that offer something for most woodworkers in search of a cabinet table saw.
Although there is no such thing as an inexpensive cabinet table saw, budget was also a factor, so we tried to find machines that were as affordable as possible while still providing high performance.
There is a lot of useful information in this article about the specifications and features of the best cabinet saws. To round out all of that information, here are some answers to a few more common questions on these products.
Q. What is the difference between a table saw and a cabinet saw?
A cabinet saw is a type of table saw. They are often called cabinet table saws. There are also portable (or jobsite) table saws, contractor table saws, and hybrid table saws. The cabinet saw is the largest, and most powerful of these.
Q. What makes a good cabinet saw?
A good cabinet saw needs a powerful motor, a flat table, and a sturdy, accurate fence. The article above looks at the important considerations in detail.
Q. What is the best cabinet saw on the market?
It’s hard to say which is the best cabinet saw on the market because it very much depends on needs and budgets. Our overall best is the SawStop, and the Powermatic is the best cabinet table saw for the money, but each of our choices has its benefits.
Q. What is the most accurate cabinet saw?
Each of the top picks above is designed for precise woodworking.
Q. Do I need to be grounded to work with a cabinet table saw?
No. The saw should be grounded via the electrical connection to your breaker box.